Which is the best Bible?
THE ONE YOU READ.
No matter how good the translation is, how pretty the cover is, how scholarly the notes are, how relevant it is, NO Bible is any good if you don't read it. But if you do read it, any Bible is good enough. So the Best Bible is a READ BIBLE.
Recently, I was asked to recommend a Bible for a rising 6th Grade Student. These are some of my favorite questions, but also hard to answer. If you're looking for a Bible for a Young Teen or Tween (4th-7th grader), maybe my advise to them, will help you out. For young elementary kids, I'll have to write another blog, but for now, I like The Jesus Storybook Bible, though it is not technically a Bible, it will help young students learn the whole story of Scripture and learn to see Jesus on every page.
A couple of our younger youth (6th and 7th graders) have this Teen's Quest Bible, and I think it is really cool. It is probably one of my first choices since it is designed with questions that teens/tweens ask. Really good at those things. It may or may not lack some of the more advanced features like cross-references and a concordance, but should be pretty good.
An older youth, 17 years old, really likes this Revolution Teen Guy Bible, but I think it is more for 16-18 year olds. It helps students think about dating relationships, sex, peer pressure, school performance, family dynamics, alcohol/drugs, gossip, etc.
My old reliable, i.e. what I give to people when they ask for a Bible and give to High School Graduates is this Zondervan Life Application Bible - it is simple and yet has everything you need to do deep study. I started using it at age 18 and it was awesome. I used it until I was probably 21, and it taught me to read the Bible and apply it to my life. Claire still carries it to church weekly. At some point, a Life Application Bible and especially the footnotes may feel “too simple” like “Sunday School answers,” but that is a sign of growth in you not failure in the commentators.
Of them all, I'd probably go with the top one, QUEST, for a 4-7th grader. Just seems like a good age appropriate Bible if they are going to start using it and reading it immediately. If you think he or she will put it on the shelf for 4 years, then maybe the middle one, and if you want to give him a Bible he can carry to church for the rest of his life, then the last one.
Personally, I think a Bible should only last 3-5 years, because if you use it regularly, carry it around, mark and study it, they fall apart, even the leather ones and hardback ones. That or they’re so full of highlighting and underlining that they’re hard to use. That’s ok. That’s what’s supposed to happen. I have my old Bibles on the shelf (except for the ones I gave away to someone who I led to the Lord). My prayer is that the next Bible you buy will be worn out in 5 years, and you’ll be emailing me again about Bibles for college students or young adults or mothers or dads or business men.