Best Study Bibles for Preachers and Pastors

Most Preachers and Pastors use basic Bibles for preaching and teaching, but study Bibles are a great resource for sermon and classroom preparation, and counseling duties that Ministers often face… and they can make great preaching Bibles. Here is a list of study Bibles that I find the most useful for these tasks. As always, I cannot give a blanket recommendation on the accuracy of study notes as they all have a bias (even mine would have a bias). I still find them to be great resources. They’re in no particular order.


ESV Study Bible (ESV)

Crossway ESV Study Bible 026

25,000 notes, 80,000 cross references, 50 articles, 200 full-color maps, 200 charts, word studies, concordance, 9-point font.

Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble | See Review


Holman Study Bible (HCSB, KJV, NKJV)

Holman HCSB Study Bible 017

24 essay’s, 408 word studies, 100+ color photos, topical concordance, commentary, etc.

Buy from Amazon| See Review


Archaeological Study Bible (NIV, KJV)


This is my favorite study Bible. Rather than notes on Theology, its notes are on history. It does a great job of proving the accuracy and inerrancy of Scripture. 520 articles, 500 color photos, cultural facts, archaeological notes.

Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble | See Review


Thompson Chain Reference (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV)

Thompson Chain Reference Bible KJV 007

Rather than commentary, the Thompson Chain Reference has topical chains that run throughout the Bible. It also has topical lists in the back and an archaeological supplement. I consider it a ‘study Bible’ and not a ‘commentary Bible’ or ‘study Bible with commentary notes’. It still has lots of useful study tools.

Buy from Amazon, Books-A-Million | See Review


Keyword Study Bible (KJV, ESV, NASB, NIV, NKJV)

Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible ESV 011

The primary focus of this Bible is Hebrew and Greek word studies. This is the only study Bible available that I’m aware of that has Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionaries in the back.

Buy from Amazon | See ESV Review, NKJV Review


Hendrickson Minister’s Bible (KJV, NKJV, NIV)

Hendrickson NKJV Minister’s Bible 005

This one doesn’t have any commentary in the text. Instead, it has Minister’s helps in the back. It has several articles on key Ministerial duties such as funerals (I used it for this), grief counseling, weddings, etc. It’s now out of print and might be difficult to find.

Buy from Amazon | See Review


Holman Minister’s Bible (KJV, HCSB)

Holman Ministers Bible

Like the Hendrickson, the Holman doesn’t have commentary, but instead has Ministerial helps in the back. This one is giant print with wider margins for notes.

Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble | See Review



Hendrickson Ministry Essentials Bible (NIV, KJV)


This one has lots of articles throughout the Bible on many ministerial topics.

Buy from Amazon| See NIV Review, KJV Review



Did I miss your favorite? Is there something you would add to this list?


Updated 11/1/2016

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.


  1. Don Denison

    Dear Randy:

    The problem with study bibles to me is that the notes are often prejudicial, and tend to set one’s mind in one direction depending on the notes. You would think though ministers could use these aids in preparation and study without falling prey to the agendas of the writers of the notes. Still, the bible itself is its own best interpreter, given a enough cross references, a good concordance, dictionary, time and industry, the results I believe are superior. If one gets really stuck, a few notes in a bible won’t help, a good comprehensive commentary is required, after doing the other work first. Just as the maps in the back of the bible are not sufficient as an atlas, the notes along with the text won’t work as well as first study, comparing references, then visiting a trusted commentary. My opinion.

    Yours in Christ

    Don Denison

    • Ryan

      I believe that the another of the article covered these points. I’m not certain if you thoroughly read this page but I think your comment is confrontational and unnecessary.

    • Betty

      Amen to that. I agree

  2. Christopher Lewis

    I always keep my Thompson Chain Reference close to me.

  3. Pastor Ron Parish

    In my humble opinion, you left our one of the best study bibles I have ever had the pleasure of using. The Dake Reference Bible has been a steady companion of mine for over thirty years, and I never grow tired of looking at the depths of riches it holds.

    You certainly wrote of a good number of excellent study bibles, but the Dake is, by far, at the top of the list.

    I would love to own an ESV Study Bible, but the notes font is entirely too small for me. I don’t want to use a magnifying glass while studying the scriptures and topics.

    Blessings to you.

  4. Scot Schieferstein

    I would suggest the NIV Study Bible should also be close at hand because of its popularity.

    While there is no end these days to study Bibles there is value in being aware of which ones are being used within your congregation. If you are preaching on a passage and a congregant reads the note in their study Bible than it may indeed lead them on a path you don’t wish them to go down (during the sermon anyway). Thus, you need to acknowledge these notes and find a way to use it to refocus people on the Big Idea of your message not someone else’s footnote!!

  5. Pastor Dan Santos

    I must agree with above comment – Dake is one of the top study bibles all leaders should have.

  6. Romina Jules

    would like to purchase a study bible for preacher and paster cause i’m doing diciple course.i’m from seychelles

  7. pst.dominic

    pls,I need the best study bible

    • charles smith

      I would get the Reformation Heritage Study Bible that Joel Beeke puts out. Very Biblical Based Studies without the extra unproven errors of modern editors. Please if you see any Council of Church produced Bible don’t buy it and get out of their Church if they support them.

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