I get emails everyday about the newest and best study Bible ever and why I should buy it. FREE SHIPPING FOR THIS WEEK ONLY! Alternately, I get emails daily about why I should ignore all the new study Bibles and stick with the tried and true. And why I need one today, and why there is FREE SHIPPING FOR THIS WEEK ONLY!

My advice? Eschew study Bibles for your main reading. Know that every single note or help or explanation in any – in every – study Bible is someone’s opinion about what it means. It’s telling that there are hundreds of study Bibles, each one telling you what that verse really means. Some agree with each other, and some don’t. Since you’re dying to know, I use the reader’s edition of the Jerusalem Bible for my reading. It’s academically excellent and very readable. No thees or thous.

Don’t misunderstand me: I use study Bibles all the time and, in fact, have an entire section of them on my bookshelf where they hang out, ready and willing. And I do use them. I use them for reference and nuance. Did you know that the name Balaam (Numbers 22) is a Hebrew derivative of ‘Little Ass?’ I love that and am glad I have a copy of The Complete Jewish Study Bible to tell me that. But I remember – always remember – that every study Bible is a collection of opinions. Remember, too, that when your priest or pastor or Bible teacher speaks about religious things that they are giving their opinion, or the opinion of their society, regarding that scripture. And it may be a very learned opinion, but still an opinion. I do the same thing, though it’s not very learned. 

Know this: you are the arbiter of your truth. This is my opinion, of course. And yours is yours.