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Ask Bible Buying Guide: Archaeology Study Bible Comparison

In this Ask Bible Buying Guide I compare several Archaeology Study Bibles.

Marc asks:

“How does this compare to the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible? Would it be redundant to have both?”

Nonny asks:

“Still having trouble deciding between the ESV Archaeology Study Bible and the out of print Archaeological Study Bible (which I could still get on eBay). Any thoughts? I’m mostly interested in the content of the notes on archaeology.”

All four are excellent Bibles and I find it difficult to choose between them because they have different information. Hopefully, this video will help you see what you need to decide which is best for you.

Here are the individual reviews:

ESV Archaeology Study Bible

Purchase from Amazon


Zondervan’s First-Century Study Bible

Purchase from Amazon


Zondervan’s NIV Archaeological Study Bible

Purchase from Amazon


NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible

Purchase from Amazon

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. Alexander thomson

    Thanks for this! I have two. I need to get the other two!

  2. Alexander thomson

    OK! I plunged in and got the other two! Shekels depleted! But (and I have to hold you responsible here, Randy)I came across, and bought, yet another related book, “Zondervan Handbook Of Biblical Archaeology”, ISBN 9780310286912, reduced Amazon price under £20/€30. Just having got this, haven’t yet read it to any extent, but it seems to be good and not to duplicate too much the other books. (And, if there is duplication, one can always find another to benefit from a surplus book!) Do you know of this work? Indeed, have you possibly reviewed it? (But a review may be outside your defined, and already onerous, task?!)

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Alexandar! I haven’t seen that one, but it does look like something I would like. Thanks for letting me know about it.

  3. Marc

    Sorry this is months late! Thank you for the detailed look at each Bible. I’ve been enjoying the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, but I’ll have to give the Crossway Archaeology Study Bible a look when I get a chance. Appreciate the work you do here! Merry Christmas!

  4. Chris

    Thank you for your reviews. If you had to chose, which would you recommend? The First-century Study bible or the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible?
    Both have good reviews, but I have heard while the CBSB is very good, it takes a higher-criticism approach to scripture. I.e. it questions the authorship of books of Moses, Isaiah and some pauline epistles. I’m curious if the First-Century Study Bible is the same?
    Thanks for your advice in advance.

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Chris. It’s really hard for me to choose. I’ll need to get the First Century from my office at the Church and check. It might be a few days.

  5. Greg Stone

    Great video. I want to read through the Bible for a year and focus on biblical geography – especially the kind of things that can be learned through maps. So, considering the maps (both in-text maps and end-of-book maps), what Bible would you recommend?


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