Why are there so many different editions of the Bible? I went into a bookstore the other day to buy a new Bible to give to my niece for her birthday, and I just got confused because there were so many choices. Finally, I gave up and didn't even buy one.


Yes, it can be confusing to select the right Bible—but I hope you won’t stop trying. After all, could any gift be more important or more lasting than the Bible, which is God’s Word to us? Job declared, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12).

Let me give some suggestions that might help you. First, choose a translation that is easy to understand. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek and has been translated into English many times. Although my wife and I love the majesty of the old King James Version, the English language has changed over the centuries and most people find a modern translation much easier to understand. (Unless indicated otherwise, the New International Version is used in this column.)

Second, consider getting a Bible that includes not only the text of the Bible but also notes that explain the meaning of difficult or obscure passages. These so-called “study Bibles” are often targeted for special groups, such as students. Your local Christian bookstore should be able to help you.

Most of all, encourage your niece to make the Bible part of her life every day. Not only will it give her guidance for daily living, but it will point her to Jesus Christ, who alone is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).