I’ve always said that you need more than one Bible. The reason I say this is there’s no one Bible that is best for every situation. One example is a general reading Bible. I don’t always pick up my primary carry/study Bible for general reading. I have different needs for my reading Bible than I have for my carry Bible. Buying a reading Bible is not an easy choice. There are four main things I look for in a reading Bible:
- Cover and binding
The most important factor is the font. It can have great paper and a nice binding, but if the font is too small or not bold enough I won’t use it. It doesn’t have to be a large print. I prefer at least an 8-point font that’s fairly bold. Bibles that fit this requirement include the Cambridge Concord, the ESV Single Column Legacy Bible from Crossway, and Holman’s Hand Size Giant Print.
Next is the paper. It needs to be as opaque as possible. I prefer paper that has a cream tint. Bibles with my favorite paper includes most Bibles from Cambridge, and the TBS Westminster and Windsor.
The cover doesn’t have to be leather but it does need to be durable. I can use a hard cover, imitation leather, calfskin, or goatskin. I prefer to hold the Bible in one hand and I like it to lay flat instead of droop down. I also want a sewn binding. This allows the Bible to stay open no matter where I’m reading. Bibles that fit this requirement include the Cambridge Concord in split-calf, the TBS Windsor in calfskin, and any edition of the Cambridge Clarion with either a calfskin or split-calf cover.
As far as size, I prefer a Bible that easily fits in one hand. It doesn’t need to be a small Bible, just small enough. For me, the best size range for one hand is around 7.5 x 5.5 x 1. Bibles that fit in this range include the TBS Windsor (7.5 x 5.25 x 1), the Cambridge Clarion (7.5 x 5.5 x 1.5), the Cambridge Cameo (7.5 x 5 x 1.25), the Cambridge Pitt Minion (6.75 x 4.75 x 7/8), the Holman Hand Size Giant Print (8.5 x 5.75 x 1.5), and just slightly larger is the Cambridge Concord (8.5 x 6 x 1.25) and the TBS Westminster (8.5 x 6 x 1.5).
Reading Bibles don’t have to have all the features that I would need in a study or carry Bible, but there are some features that are nice to have. As far as layout, most prefer paragraph format over verse format. I prefer at least one ribbon, but 2 ribbons are better. A reading plan is nice but not a must-have. Thumb-index is nice. I’ll choose it if it’s an option but not having it won’t make me not use that Bible. I also like to have references and translation notes.
There are other good choices, but these are a few of my favorites. You’ll notice this list includes a lot of Cambridge Bibles. There are many good Bibles out there, but Cambridge has the features I like the most. It’s hard to choose when there are so many good options. My personal choice is the Cambridge Concord. It’s one of the larger Bibles on this list, but it has my favorite font. It has a clean text for reading without distractions and it includes references and translation notes in the center column.
Here are the Bibles I’ve listed with links to my reviews for each:
Do you have a favorite reading Bible?