Are you searching for a great study Bible for women that will radically deepen your faith and understanding of God’s Word? There are so many study Bibles to choose from, and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to find the perfect study Bible that will meet your specific Bible study needs.
In this post I cover 15 of the best study Bibles available for Christian women, with all of their amazing features, to help you determine which study Bible will help you deepen your understanding of Scripture each day. Before laying out the best study Bibles out there for women, it’s important to know exactly what a study Bible is, along with the most common features included in a study Bible.
What’s the Difference Between a Study Bible and a Regular Bible?
Study Bibles contain more historical information for each of the books of the Bible than regular Bibles. Regular Bibles tend to be thinner and smaller in size, and contain the pages of Scripture without book summaries or additional commentaries by biblical scholars.
A regular Bible is great to take on a trip, or to a church service because it can easily fit in a handbag. Study Bibles are usually larger in size because they contain more written footnotes at the bottom of each page, and include more Bible cross references, chapter summaries, and geographical maps.
An example of a regular Bible would be the NIV Thinline Bible that I received as a gift a few years ago. The width of the Bible is less than one inch thick, and has a font size of 9.4. This makes the Bible thin, compact, and easy to carry with me. This would not be considered a study Bible because it only contains the pages of Scripture with no other notes or commentaries. I also received the Homeschool Mom’s Bible as a gift, which is a small, compact Bible that I can easily fit in my purse.
What is a Devotional Bible?
I would also add that a study Bible is different from a devotional Bible. Devotional Bibles are a bit thicker in size than regular bibles, and include devotionals and inspirational writings from various authors. Some examples of devotional Bibles would include The Everyday Bible by Joyce Meyer, the A Woman After God’s Own Heart Bible by Elizabeth George, or the NIV Women’s Devotional Bible.
Related: Check out this post on the top 14 Bible study methods to enhance your time in God’s Word!
What Features are Included in a Study Bible?
I love using study Bibles to go deeper in my Bible study and to really get a better understanding of God’s Word. Here are some of the unique features of a study Bible that you will not find in regular Bibles or devotional Bibles.
Detailed Books of the Bible Summaries
I really like the fact that most study Bibles include a summary of each book of the Bible. When you are ready to dive into a new book of the Bible to study, a study Bible will include a detailed summary of the book.
It may include key points within the book like the author, the original audience that the book was intended for, the geographical setting of the book, the key themes, and the overall purpose of that book of the Bible. This is very helpful when you want to gain a deeper understanding of the book of the Bible you are ready to read.
For example, if you’re getting ready to read the book of Leviticus (which our family just did not too long ago), it is helpful to know who wrote the book, where it was written, the setting of the book, and the key people and places mentioned in the book. Knowing this information will help you gain a greater understanding of the entire Book of Leviticus in light of the Old Testament narrative.
Timelines are great because they give you an idea of what was happening in the history of the world when a certain book of the Bible was written. Many study Bibles include timelines because they give us a deeper understanding of the historical context of the book of the Bible.
When did the Israelites exit Egypt? How long did they stay in the desert? Who were the rulers and kings of the surrounding nations? A biblical timeline can answer many of these questions during your Bible study.
Commentaries and Footnotes
Many study Bibles also include verse-by-verse commentaries and study notes near the bottom of each page. Have you ever read a Bible verse and were not quite sure what it meant? Study Bibles are great ways to better understand specific Bible passages through the study notes and commentaries.
These commentaries are written by biblical scholars who can shed more light on Bible passages that might need a bit more explanation. We can approach commentaries as helpful tools and resources to help us better understand Scripture.
Bible Cross References
Have you ever wondered why there are often tiny letters and Scripture references written next to some Bible verses? These are cross references, and they are included in study Bibles so that you can look up other Scriptures that are related to the Bible verse you are currently reading. Many of these cross references can be found in the margins of a study Bible.
Many study Bibles also include comparison tables and charts that you can use to compare biblical characters, concepts, or themes within a certain Bible passage. These tables and charts are also great ways to deepen our understanding of the Bible.
Maps are another a great way to get a full and complete understanding of Scripture. When we know the geographical location of where something took place in the Bible, that makes the passage come alive even more. Isn’t it amazing to know that the places in the Bible are REAL places that exist today? This further solidifies the truth of Scripture.
The Bible isn’t a group of fictional stories, but God’s Word is living and active, and is backed by historical and geographical evidence. Many study Bibles include maps of ancient Israel as well as modern-day maps of those same locations.
Most study Bibles include some type of Bible index where you can look up specific people, places, and events in Scripture. If you aren’t quite sure where the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho is, you could search for “Joshua” or “Jericho” in the Bible index in order to find that specific story.
Bible Dictionary and Concordance
Study Bibles are also great because they include Bible dictionaries and concordances that are found in the back of the Bible. If you come across a term or phrase that you are not familiar with, you can look it up in the Bible dictionary. A concordance is also handy if you are looking for specific Scriptures on topics like “grace”, “kindness”, or “peace”.
Which version of the Bible should I read?
There are so many translations of the Bible that are available today! The best thing to do when choosing a study Bible is to choose a Bible translation that is as close to the original languages of the Bible as possible, and a translation that is easy for you to understand. Some of the most common Bible translations are:
- New American Standard Bible (NASB)
- English Standard Version (ESV)
- New King James Version (NKJV)
- Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
- New International Version (NIV)
- New Living Translation (NLT)
You can always look up your favorite Scripture in Biblegateway.com and select the different Bible translations in the top right corner where the search bar is. Read through some of the translations to see which one you like best and is the easiest for you to understand. When you choose a study Bible with the best translation, you can always refer back to other Bible translations, so feel free to use Biblegateway.com as often as you like!
The 15 Best Study Bibles for Women
Now that we are more familiar with the key features in a study Bible, you can choose the best study Bible for women that you can use to study the Bible with power and purpose. Some of the study Bibles in this list are specifically designed for women and include beautiful floral designs, and others on this list are more neutral and can be enjoyed by both men and women.
1. Life Application Study Bible
I personally LOVE the Life Application Study Bible. I was given my first copy of this Bible in my teenage years and I used it so much. The Bible footnotes are easy to understand, and I also really like the books of the Bible summaries. This Bible also has great maps, a helpful Bible index, and concordance.
2. The Woman’s Study Bible, Hardcover, Full-Color: Receiving God’s Truth for Balance, Hope, and Transformation
Not only is this study Bible beautiful, but it is a comprehensive study Bible that features book summaries that include: the author of each book, the date, the biblical and historical setting, the audience and purpose of the book. It also includes an outline of each book of the Bible, as well as tables, charts, and footnotes woven within the pages of the Bible. A great study Bible if you desire to go deeper on your Bible study, and a great gift for women of all ages!
3. The ESV New Inductive Study Bible
I love studying the Bible inductively, which is a deep-dive into the Scriptures. In the inductive study method you observe the passage and take note of any observations you find, and reflect on how to apply the Scriptures to your life. The New Inductive Study Bible includes a 32-page explanation of the inductive study method, along with tips on how you can use this study Bible in your personal devotion time.
4. ESV Women’s Study Bible
This study Bible includes plenty of commentaries and footnotes, and is filled with descriptive charts and detailed maps (it also contains colored maps at the end of the book). This study Bible also includes devotional-like summaries of different themes and events within each book of the Bible. A very budget-friendly study Bible that gives a ton of value!
5. HCSB The Study Bible for Women
The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) study Bible includes charts, timelines, and detailed outlines of each book of the Bible. I really like the maps that are included, as well as the “Character Profiles” that give more information about some of the main people mentioned in the books of the Bible. There are plenty of footnotes and commentaries in the margins and at the footer of the pages.
6. The CSB Study Bible for Women
The CSB (Christian Standard Bible) includes beautiful floral pages at the beginning of each new Book of the Bible, as well as a detailed description and summary of each book. It has a brightly colored timeline at the beginning of each book of the Bible introduction, as well as word study and doctrine sections to give us a better understanding of certain words and doctrinal concepts incorporated in each book of the Bible.
7. CSB She Reads Truth Bible
I would say that the She Reads Truth Bible is a mixture of a study Bible, a devotional Bible, and a journaling Bible. It operates as a study Bible in the fact that it includes color timelines, maps and charts, but it does not have as many footnotes and commentaries as other study Bibles do. This Bible does include 183 devotional readings, which is a great start into studying the Bible further, and it includes margin space for notetaking and Bible journaling.
8. NIV Rainbow Study Bible, Hardcover
If you love color in your Bible, you may want to look into the Rainbow study Bible. This study Bible has a unique color-coding system that is outlined in detail in the introduction of the Bible. There are certain colors associated with themes and topics in the Bible, like God, discipleship, love, faith, etc. Throughout the Bible you can refer to the color coding system and see the common themes throughout each book of the Bible. This study Bible also includes book of the Bible summaries, color maps, and cross references, but does not have many biblical commentaries.
9. ESV Study Bible
This study Bible is very comprehensive, with ample commentaries and footnotes, cross references, color maps, and helpful charts. I also like this study Bible because it includes great illustrations of architecture from biblical times. There is also space in the margins for note taking.
10. NIV, Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible
This study Bible includes verse-by-verse study notes and written contributions by Charles Stanley, Randy Alcorn, and Ed Stetzer, N.T Wright, and others. You will also find great color illustrations of key places and biblical items, timelines, and tables and charts. Such a great study Bible!
11. NIV Zondervan Study Bible
This is another great study Bible that has beautiful illustrations and actual photos of items and architecture from biblical times. When we have a chance to visualize Scripture through actual pictures and illustrations, we can definitely receive a greater understanding of the Bible. This Bible also has tons of charts, color maps, cross references, study notes, Bible indexes and a concordance.
12. NIV, Starting Place Study Bible
This study Bible is unique because it offers great biblical character “spotlights”. Each book of the Bible includes additional information about specific Bible characters. It also includes study notes and commentaries, charts and maps.
Study Bibles By Pastors
13. MacArthur Study Bible
I have always enjoyed the teachings of pastor John MacArthur through his ministry Grace to You. This study Bible has great book introductions, and detailed outlines of each book of the Bible. It has a comprehensive concordance, color maps, lots of study notes, and biblical articles by John MacArthur. This Bible is also offered in the NIV, ESV, and NASB translations.
14. The Jeremiah Study Bible
I have also greatly benefited from the teachings and sermons of pastor David Jeremiah through his ministry Turning Point. The Jeremiah Study Bible follows the inductive Bible study approach by investigating Scripture more deeply to understand what it says, what it means, and what it means to us today. This study Bible has tons of study notes, color maps, a full concordance, over 50 articles of biblical information to go deeper in your study, and lots of charts and tables.
15. The Tony Evans Study Bible
Tony Evans is another one of my favorite pastors to listen to and watch through his amazing ministry at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. This study Bible is unique because not only does it have thorough book introductions, study notes written by Tony Evans, color maps and detailed charts, but it also includes video devotionals that you can access on your phone by scanning the QR codes in the Bible. What a cool feature!
One of the greatest privileges we have on this earth is to get to know God better through understanding Scripture. Using a study Bible is a great way to dig deeper into your Bible study to gain a deeper understanding of who God is.
When we immerse ourselves in the truth and power of who God is, we will discover the beauty and wonder of our Lord. His Word truly is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). The more time we spend in his presence, the more we will reflect his glory–sparking in the radiance of our garments of splendor.
Whether you are looking for a study Bible for yourself or as a gift for someone else, a study Bible is a wonderful investment in deepening your faith and knowledge of our Savior!
Check out this post on 14 Bible study methods and download these free Bible study printables!