10 Best Study Bibles of 2020

Compare Features of Today's Top Publications

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Are you in the market to purchase a new study Bible, but not sure which one is the best one for you? With dozens to choose from, the decision may seem overwhelming.

Almost all study Bibles are what is known as "application" Bibles, meaning they feature commentary, character studies, maps, charts, and detailed book introductions designed to help readers apply biblical principles in practical ways. Other Bibles serve as "quest" studies, which are meant to assist readers in their search to find answers to some of life's most pressing questions.

Here are 10 study Bibles we consider to be among the best for applying God's Word to your daily life and delving deeper into understanding what it means both intellectually and spiritually.

01
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The ESV Study Bible

ESV Study Bible

2001-2009 Good News / Crossway

The ESV Study Bible, released in October 2008, has received tremendous awards and praise. It ranks at the top of our list for its reputation as one of the most comprehensive Bibles ever published. Teachers and scholars like John Piper, Mark Driscoll, R. Albert Mohler Jr., and R. Kent Hughes endorse this study Bible version of the English Standard Bible. 

In March 2009, the ESV Study Bible became the first Bible ever to win the Christian Book of the Year Award by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). Selling out as soon as it reached bookstores, it also took the prize for best Bible. 

02
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The Life Application Study Bible

NLT Life Application Study Bible

Tyndale House Publishers 

In 2019, this top-selling, award-winning study Bible was updated and expanded in its third edition with fresh and relevant insights.

The Life Application Study Bible helps readers understand God’s Word as they read, and it teaches them how to apply it to the problems and questions that arise in daily life, whether in one's job or in one's relationships. The study notes are at the bottom of each page, so you don’t have to search for them.

In 2020, the NTL version of the Life Application Study Bible ranked among the winners of the Bible category in the Christian Book of the Year Awards by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). The Life Application Study Bible is published by Tyndale House Publishers and comes in several popular translations, including NIV, NLT, NASB, KJV.

03
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Quest Study Bible

Quest Study Bible

Zondervan

The Quest Study Bible is designed for readers with unanswered questions and for those who want to dive deeper into knowing God and his Word. With articles and resources from today's most trusted scholars, you'll find answers to hundreds of popular and challenging topics.

This study Bible also includes helpful sidebar notes that bring clarity to confusing passages. Book introductions identify themes, characters, and events. Whether you are a new believer or a seasoned Christian, the Quest Study Bible will give you the tools to intensify your understanding of Scripture.

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CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible

CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible

Holman Bible Publishers

The CSB (Christian Standard Bible) Ancient Faith Study Bible was published in September 2019 and already ranks among the winners of the Bible category in the Christian Book of the Year Awards by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). This study Bible is designed to give readers insight into their rich biblical heritage through study notes and commentary taken from the writings of famous early church fathers. These spiritual giants of the second through fifth centuries include Irenaeus of Lyons, Origen, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, and many more.

The Christian Standard Bible version provides a highly literal and reliable translation for serious study without sacrificing readability. The Ancient Faith Study Bible allows today's readers to glean wisdom for their modern lives from some of yesterday's brightest saints.

05
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Compass: The Study Bible for Navigating Your Life

Compass: The Study Bible for Navigating Your Life

Thomas Nelson

The concept behind the Compass Bible is just as the title implies. It was designed to help people connect with God by pointing them in the right direction and revealing how they fit into God's story. Compass is written in what is known as the Voice translation, a mix of "word-for-word" and "thought-for-thought" translation approaches. Especially enjoyable is its translation of Revelation, one of the Bible's most difficult books to understand.

Compass makes a great gift for a new believer, a seeker, or anyone who wants to take a fresh and meaningful journey through the Scriptures.

06
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Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible

Key Word Study Bible
AMG Publishers.

The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible is great for Bible school or seminary students who don't have time to learn Greek and Hebrew. This study Bible helps unlock the extensive vocabulary and elaborate structure of the original Hebrew and Greek languages. Features include Strong's Concordance numbers, exegetical notes, lexical aids, and much more.

The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible comes in many translations including the KJV, NKJV, ESV, NASB, CSB, another reason it appeals to seminary students.

07
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The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

B. B. Kirkbride

The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible has a unique reference system that allows readers to follow any subject, person, place, or idea, from the beginning of the Bible to the end. It may be one of the best topical study tools ever put together. It’s especially handy for teachers who need to prepare their own Bible study lessons. Handcrafted and durable, it's perfect for those who really use their Bible.

08
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The Starting Place Study Bible

Starting Place Study Bible
Zondervan.

Let's face it, If you're just beginning your journey of faith, the thought of studying the Bible can seem daunting. Released in 2019, the Starting Place Study Bible provides an introductory exploration into God's Word for those who need help and guidance getting started with their studies. The notes, introductions, character profiles, and other features are all easy to use, allowing new believers to build confidence as they grow in their knowledge of the Bible. Another great feature is the Bible's affordable price. The Starting Place Study Bible makes an excellent gift for new Christians.

09
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The Starting Point Study Bible

Starting Point Bible

Zondervan

The Starting Point Study Bible is an excellent Bible for new believers or believers who have recently rededicated their lives to Christ and need to make a fresh start. This Bible will help you begin (or jumpstart) your journey with Christ by teaching you how to build the proper foundation of faith. It will also help you apply biblical truth to your daily life.

10
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The Amplified Bible

The Amplified Bible

Zondervan

The Amplified Bible is another great Bible for those wanting to understand the meaning of Scripture in the original Greek and Hebrew languages. No need to study or dig for those rich nuances found in the original biblical languages—this Bible does it for you. With a unique system of brackets, parentheses, and italics, the Amplified Bible expands key words and defines phrases as you read. Verse by verse, the full meaning of God’s Word is plainly revealed.