The 5 Best Study Bible for Pastors

Editor’s Choice

  • Outline of Systematic Theology
  • Bible reading plans
  • Premium goatskin leather cover

Best Overall

  • Two-color page design with Double-column layout
  • Black-letter edition
  • Line-matched text 

Budget-Friendly

  • Easy readability New King James Version Translation
  • Hundreds of Sidebars
  • Words of Christ in Red

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best Study Bible for Pastors is, then I’d recommend the NIV, Verse-by-Verse Format Preacher’s Bible by Zondervan as the best one.

Pastors are highly respected leaders in the church with their immense devotion to serving God and His people. They are well-versed with the Word of God and commit their lives to unravel the truths of the Bible. 

Pastors have trustworthy tools and resources to increase their knowledge about the Word of God. That’s how Study Bibles come into play. These kinds of Bibles are designed for pastors to help them carry out God’s call in their lives.

As a pastor, it’s imperative to choose the right kind of Study Bible that would be suitable for you. In this article, we’ll be discussing the best Study Bible for pastors.

Here are the Best Study Bibles for Pastors we will be reviewing:

What are Study Bibles for Pastors?

Study Bibles have the same biblical content as regular Bibles. However, they provide more information that helps you understand the history of Biblical passages better. Study Bibles for Pastors include features that will add relevant information like commentaries or explanations of original Hebrew words.

Common Features of Study Bibles for Pastors

Study Notes

These are identical to footnotes that provide explanatory notes to a specific part of the Scripture. They give more scholarly insights into Biblical passages, which helps pastors understand the text substantially. 

Book Introduction

Study Bibles include book introductions that provide introductory information of each of the Bible books. Book introductions help pastors have a better grasp of the history and theme of the book. They usually include the book’s author, background, time, purpose, style, and chronology. 

Maps and Concordance

Most Study Bibles include maps. It provides readers a good vantage point of the historical places happening in the Bible.

Biblical concordances give readers an alphabetic listing of words with their Biblical references. They allow readers to study more about the uses of specific words in the Scripture. For example, if you want to know more about the word joy, you can look it up on the concordance, and it’ll provide you the Bible verses along with the page number.

Intertestamental Section (for wedding and funeral sermons)

The intertestamental period is between the Old and New Testaments. Study Bibles have additional features like these and are helpful in preparation for wedding and funeral sermons.

Christian Creeds

Some Study Bibles include historical Christian Creeds. It informs readers about the early Christian Creeds and what caused their birth. It usually lists the creeds along with their name, date, and some notes.

Benefits of Having a Study Bible for Pastors

It provides a deeper understanding of God’s Word

The Bible is a bit complex and hard to understand. So, pastors need extensive research and broad knowledge to grasp the meaning of God’s Word. And a Study Bible is the perfect tool for that. It’s because they include features that contain more information compared to regular ones. Having a Study Bible will edify pastors and fully equip them to carry out God’s call in their lives. 

It helps avoid Theological error

Many people criticize other preachers for their false teachings. It would be in your best interest to avoid theological errors which cause controversies. 

A pastor’s understanding of God’s Word should reflect the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ and give Him glory. Anything that contradicts the teaching of Jesus is false. Pastors should strive to conduct extensive research when studying the Word of God. Study Bibles will aid pastors in their pursuit of unraveling God’s truth.

It contains valuable information from experts

You can deepen your understanding of God’s Word and avoid theological error with the help of experts! Study Bibles have credible contributors who studied the Bible extensively. It contains information from experts who have committed their lives to help preachers correctly understand God’s Word.

It increases the ability to be an effective minister of God’s truth

Study Bibles can edify pastors and strengthen them spiritually. Studying God’s Word is essential to boost the ministry’s success. When you delve deeper into Scripture and know a lot, people will likely believe in you more. I mean, you can’t trust someone to do something when they don’t know how to do it. When you are knowledgeable about the Bible, you become more credible.

How to Choose the Best Study Bible for Pastors

Preferred Bible translations 

There are different varieties of Bible Translations, and you should select the one that you prefer.

We’ll be talking about each of them briefly to help you choose one that best fits you.

Dynamic Equivalence Translation or Sense-for-Sense Translation

The dynamic equivalence translation focuses more on conveying the thought behind the original language of the Bible. It’s a “thought-for-thought” kind of translation. One advantage of the dynamic equivalence translation is that you can quickly understand the meaning of the text more. The New Living Translation (NLT) is one of the best-known dynamic equivalence translations.

Formal Equivalence or Word-for-Word Translation

The formal equivalence translation focuses on translating the original texts in a literal way. It strives to provide each original word with an English equivalent as much as it can. The King James Version (KJV) is one of the best-known formal equivalence translations.

Idiomatic or Paraphrastic Translation

The Idiomatic or Paraphrastic Translation is more of a blended approach. It’s a mix of thought-for-thought and word-for-word translations. It endeavors to translate the original Biblical text by paraphrasing but preserving the idea. The New International Version (NIV) is one of the best-known translations of this kind.

Price

You should have a budget in mind when choosing a Study Bible. Set a price range to help you narrow down your options and make things easier. Is this too expensive for me? Can I afford this one?

Bible Cover

It’s also essential to take into account what kind of cover you want. Do you want a leather cover? Maybe a hard-bound Study Bible? Choosing a Bible cover that’s comfortable and durable will be a game-changer for you. You can also opt for something more stylish if you prefer that.

Size

Study Bibles are heavier compared to regular Bibles because they contain more features. But, there are Study Bibles that are easy to carry. When choosing the best Study Bible for you, consider the size. Choose a Study Bible that’s convenient for you to hold. 

Layout

The layout is also relevant when choosing the best Study Bible. When reading, its font size should be comfortable for you. Do you prefer something with a smaller or larger font?

How about its pages and columns? Do you want something with a single or double column? Thick or thin paper? Having a good layout helps you focus more and lets you navigate easily.

Here are the best Study Bibles for Pastors that we recommend.

NIV, Verse-by-Verse Format Preacher’s Bible by Zondervan

My top recommendation is the NIV, Verse-by-Verse Format Preacher’s Bible by Zondervan. It allows readers to navigate the passages easily because of its verse-by-verse format. It also pairs wonderfully with the NIV Pew and Worships Bible because it matches page by page.

The Preacher’s Bible features the New International Version, so it’s easy to read. The design is elegant with a goatskin leather cover and satin ribbon markers. The Bible cover is beautiful, easy to hold, and durable. It’s not too heavy compared to other Study Bibles, so you can easily carry it anywhere. 

Its layout makes it convenient for you to read and locate passages. It features a comfortable print typeface and thick 36 GSM Premium European Bible paper. It helps reduce eye strain and elevates the reading experience. The Bible has an edge-lined cover construction which adds to its long-lasting durability.

Pros:

  • Two-color page design with Double-column layout
  • Black-letter edition
  • Line-matched text 
  • Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print typeface
  • Smyth-sewn
  • 3/8-inch wide three satin ribbon markers 

Cons:

  • 9.5 font size (can be too small for some people)
  • A bit pricey

The NKJV, Vines Expository Bible by Thomas Nelson

The New King James Version Vines Expository Bible provides guided explanations of key passages from Dr. Jerry Vines. It contains practical teachings from Dr. Vines’s lifetime of teaching in the ministry. It will guide readers as they journey along with scriptural truth and gain helpful insights from the Word of God. 

It has a beautiful, soft, genuine leather cover that’s comfortable and soft to hold. It’s also not too big or bulky compared to other Study Bibles, so it’s easier to carry around. Other features include a Topical Index, 66 Book Introductions, NKJV Concordance, and a 10.5 font size (bigger font size).

The Vines Expository Bible has unique features that help readers present, live, and apply Biblical passages. It contains 205 detailed articles from Dr. Vines’ sermons that help you walk through Biblical concepts. The notes will help readers reflect on their lives and improve their spiritual connection with God.

Pros:

  • New King James Version paragraph-style text 
  • Black, comfort print
  • 148 articles with illustrations for living the Christian life
  • 237 notes that help you see the relevance of Scriptures in your life
  • 311-word studies that illuminate the meaning of keywords in Scripture

Cons:

  • No verse-by-verse commentaries (only specific parts of the passages)
  • A little expensive

NKJV, MacArthur Study Bible 2nd Edition by Thomas Nelson

The New King James Version MacArthur Study Bible provides in-depth study notes from Dr. John MacArthur’s life in the ministry. He’s been faithful in the ministry for over 50 years, and his notes will help readers understand God’s Word better.

It contains 25, 000 verse-by-verse commentaries, book introductions, concordance, and articles that provide additional information for readers. It will help readers study the Bible extensively.

The layout makes it easier to read and navigate. It has a lot of information that helps pastors prepare for their sermons like the chronological charts for major biblical periods.

The NKJV MacArthur Study Bible is complete with Thomas Nelson’s cross-reference system with over 72,000 references in comfort print. The new 2nd edition contains maps, diagrams, and charts. Other features include Index to Key Bible Doctrines, Harmony of the Gospels, and Overview of Jesus’ Life, and Ministry. 

Pros: 

  • Outline of Systematic Theology
  • Bible reading plans
  • Premium goatskin leather cover
  • Smyth-sewn and edge-lined construction for flexibility
  • Red stain under gold art gilding on page edges with black letter text
  • Three 3/8-inch wide satin ribbon markers
  • Premium European Bible paper 39 GSM

Cons:

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Expensive
  • 9-font size (can be too small for some people)

NIV, Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible by Thomas Nelson

The New International Version Life Principles Bible by Charles F. Stanley leads believers into a transformative Christian life by deepening their relationship with Jesus. It aims to help readers understand God’s truth on a whole new level. Despite its vast amount of Biblical information, it’s relatively easy to comprehend. 

It features a 10-font size comfort print typeface and notes that enrich spiritual life. It includes visual aids like maps, and over 43,000 cross-references to enhance your study. It also has topical indexes that provide life-giving principles. It contains maps, book introductions, and charts that help important biblical places and themes come alive.

It has a great layout that improves the reading experience, and the cover is made of soft, genuine leather that makes it very elegant. 

Pros: 

  • Thumb indexed
  • 30 Life Principles articles highlight Dr. Stanley’s essentials for Christian living
  • Over 2,500 Life Lessons verse notes 
  • Exclusive NIV Comfort Print typeface
  • Easy-to-read 10-point print size

Cons:

  • Bulky and heavy

NKJV, The Jeremiah Study Bible by David Jeremiah 

The New King James Version Study Bible by Dr. David Jeremiah focuses on helping readers understand what the Bible says, what it means, and what it does for them. It provides a comprehensive study of the Bible yet it’s easy to understand. The Jeremiah Study Bible contains 2,220+ pages.

It contains helpful insights and practical applications that genuinely transform your life. It features over 8,000 study notes, 60+ Christian Faith articles, full-color maps, 80+ page concordance, topical index, and book introductions. These features are beneficial in helping you study the Word of God extensively.

It also includes historical insights, geographical and archaeological information that enriches your study.

Pros:

  • Easy readability New King James Version Translation
  • Hundreds of Sidebars
  • Words of Christ in Red
  • Cross-Reference Embedded in the Study Notes
  • Easy-to-Read Full Size Print
  • Ribbon marker

Cons:

  • Thin Bible paper, not suitable for Bible highlighters

Conclusion

A Study Bible plays an integral part in a pastor’s life. It’s an essential resource to increase knowledge about the Bible and empower pastors to do God’s calling for them. Study Bibles help pastors deepen their intimacy with Jesus and strengthen their spiritual life. Having a good connection with the Lord through His Word is necessary for success in the ministry. Choosing the right Study Bible can be a game-changer for pastors.

Overall, the best Study Bible for pastors that I recommend is the NIV, Verse-by-Verse Format Preacher’s Bible by Zondervan. It features easy readability from the New International Version translation, amazing layout, and beautiful Bible cover! The verse-by-verse format allows easy navigation. Most importantly, it’s definitely worth its price. 

Alex Shute
AUTHOR
Alex Shute
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow. In his free time, he enjoys perfecting pour-over coffee, smoking meats, and discovering new cycling routes around Southern California.