Friday, November 9, 2012

My Preaching Bibles

As a Bible edition aficionado I am always curious about good Bible editions and their function, and quite pleased when I find someone else who has thoughtfully chosen an edition. When it comes to preaching Bibles, function and affordability rule. I fully intend to use and abuse my preaching Bibles and am unashamedly guilty of "the wraparound" in which I wrap half of the Bible around the other, causing significant stress the spine, but enabling me to hold the Bible in one hand. In choosing preaching Bibles, I wanted editions that would be able to stand the stress moderately well, but also be cheap enough to replace in a few years.

I settled on two editions which reflect my translation preferences. The NKJV is my memorization translation and what I personally prefer to preach from as I'm most familiar with its language. The NLT is what I use to do most of my ministry, however, because the majority of my audiences are non-native English speakers or have a low level of literacy. I choose which edition to use based on my audience and my preferences for each passage. Occasionally I bring both and swap back and forth.

My NKJV edition is an NKJV Ultra Thin Large Print Reference Bible in genuine leather published by Broadman and Holman. It features a sewn binding, a readable font, and a concordance at a very affordable price. The Bible is built to last, and though I dislike ultra thin, thinline, and slimline Bibles this edition is a gem in a very spotty field for the NKJV. It's cheap enough that I don't feel bad abusing it, but durable enough that it should hold up well for years.

The NLT edition I chose is an NLT Premium Value Large Print Slimline Bible in brown imitation leather. This edition is less than half the price of the NKJV, but still features a smyth-sewn binding and should be reasonably durable. The print is larger and more readable than the NKJV, but it doesn't feature references, a concordance, or red letters. I have found it to be just as durable as the NKJV and much more readable. This is basically a plain text edition, which is really what I want for preaching.

Both editions lay flat fairly well, but also can be folded over and easily held with one hand, which is exactly what I want to do when I'm preaching. I move fairly constantly, and if I have to hold a mic, holding the Bible in one hand is a necessity.

Please comment and let me know what editions you preach from and why. I see more and more people switching to tablet devices, which can be easily held in one hand. I'm more of a traditional book guy, and would love to hear about your choices.

Listen to a sermon.

528BK: NKJV Ultra Thin Large Print Reference Bible, Genuine leather, Black NKJV Ultra Thin Large Print Reference Bible, Genuine leather, Black
By B & H Publishing Group

This Bible is about the same thickness as the regular ultrathin . Large print edition takes the ultrathin to a whole new generation. The NKJV ultrathin, with its larger pages and type make it extremely popular. Features include: center column reference; words of Christ in red; presentation page; family records section; Full-color maps; gift boxed. Black Genuine Leather.
  • Presentation Page
  • Family Record Pages
  • 10-point text
  • Double-column format
  • Book Introductions
  • Words of Christ in Red
  • Center-column references
  • Harmony of the Gospels
  • Concordance
  • 8 Full-color maps
  • Ribbon Marker
  • Gold Gilded Edges
  • 9.50" X 6.50" X 1.00"
  • Black Genuine Leather
364650: NLT Premium Value Large Print Slimline Bible, Brown Leatherlike NLT Premium Value Large Print Slimline Bible, Brown Leatherlike
By Tyndale House


  1. I've really enjoyed exploring your blog a bit, brother! Especially blessed by your commitment to The Commission in your community. Hope your Bangla study goes well.

    I am a missionary in Thailand, and am pastoring a small church. When I preach, I need to use two (large 6x9) Bibles, one for Thai, one for English! It's not convenient, but sometimes I still have to refer to the English. Generally I use the HCSB Ministers' Bible, which has a nice-sized print, and a clean layout. I prefer the HCSB for working with ESL speakers over my ESV, for the same reason you prefer the NLT over the NKJV. Not sure I could preach from the NLT; it feels so imprecise in its language. The HCSB seems a good middle-of-the road translation.

    I was also intrigued by your use of paragraph-formatted Bibles for preaching. I do the same! But most of my preacher friends have a strong preference for the verse-by-verse. Did you ever give that much thought?

    God bless your work!

  2. Great to hear from you Dru. The HCSB Minister's Bible is a great Bible! I prefer paragraph format for reading and verse by verse for preaching, but it's not a major concern. Thanks for reading and may God richly bless your work as well!