Practical Tips for Helping Customers
Choose the Right Bible Type
Course 2: Bible Types
Our goal in this course is to help you better
understand Bible types available
In the following course, you will learn more about:
1. Why choosing a Bible is confusing for consumers
2. 2 questions to ask to help the consumer
3. Introduction to 4 different Bible types
4. Understanding the differences of each Bible type
Why choosing a Bible can be a very confusing
Most customers don’t understand the breadth of Bible types
available when shopping for a Bible.
This is the most likely reason that 50% of Bible customers walk
away from their first visit without purchasing a Bible.
In order to approach your customers confidently, you need
to understand the different types of Bibles available and the
differences between them.
Choosing Can Be Confusing
Remember: Knowledge is the Key to Helping
Customers Find the Right Bible!
By asking these simple questions, you can help guide
customers towards the perfect Bible for his or her needs!
1. Who are you buying for?
2. How do you intend for the Bible to be used?
The 2 Key Questions
* In the next course we will cover more specifically HOW to
approach customers, and pair them with a Bible that best
fits their needs, but want to expose you now to these 2
questions to help you begin to understand how to effectively
lead a customer to a Bible that fits their needs.
Questions provide a roadmap to successful customer service in
the Bible Department!
Understanding who the Bible is for will:
Help you begin to narrow the many options
Give you a first point of entry for engaging the customer
Help you get to know them and what they are looking for
Bibles are available for all “Ages & Stages”
This means you can buy a bible specifically for an infant (presentation Bible) or
an elderly person (who might need a super giant print Bible!), and many,
many options in between.
The answer to this first question will help you begin to assess how
much the customer knows about the decision they are getting
ready to face.
Question 1 – Who is the Bible For?
Understanding how the Bible will be used will:
Lead you into the details of the choices
Each question you ask will move you from a general to more specific
understanding of their needs
You may need to prompt them with a more specific question to help you
narrow the choices
Customers will appreciate your thoughtful approach to meet their needs
Question 2 – How do you intend for
the Bible to be used?
There are primarily 4 different types of
Bibles that you need to be aware of:
1. Text Bibles
2. Study Bibles
3. Devotional Bibles
4. Specialty Bibles
The 4 Main Bible Types
Text Bibles are primarily scripture* and may
• Reference Bibles (scriptures that link to other passages)
• Compact Bibles
• Thinline Bibles
• Large Print Bibles
• Giant Print Bibles, etc…
What do all these have in common?
• There is no additional content included within the text of the
* Grey Area: There may be some Bibles that include additional
features/study content in the front or back of the Bible (i.e. a
“plan of salvation.” The type & amount of content included will
determine if a Bible is still considered text or not.
What is the goal of a Study Bible?
• To provide study material that allows the reader to dig-in and study the
scripture, to gain greater insight and understanding from the text itself.
A Study Bible includes information to support the
studying of scripture, such as:
• Front and/or back matter helps
• Scripture by scripture commentary
• Enhanced charts or maps
• In-text articles
• And many other types of supplemental material
Study Bibles can come in all shapes & sizes, and…
• Include different formats
• Be personality driven (w/notes from a specific pastor or author
such as John MacArthur or Scofield Study)
• Concept Driven (focused on specific topics like the
Archaeological Study Bible or the Apologetics Study Bible)
• Have broad appeal & be focused more on scripture itself (NIV
Study Bible or the Life Application Study Bible)
Understanding the differences and strengths of each
study Bible can be a bit daunting! There are so many
to choose from, and some features may sound similar,
but could actually be quite different.
Study Bibles (continued)
So what is the best way to become more familiar with the
differences in Study Bibles?
Follow these 3 simple steps:
1. Try reading through the summary on the back of the Bible, and familiarizing
yourself with the features that the publisher feels are most important.
2. It’s great practice when reviewing a new Bible to read through the introduction to
• Usually this is placed in the front few pages of the Bible after the table of contents
• This introduction will provide a more in-depth understanding of the features that are
included in each Bible
• It will also explain what each of the features sets included is trying to accomplish
3. Find similar passages to compare from Bible to Bible.
• Open up different Bibles side-by-side and find examples of each feature
• Determine for yourself how well the Bible accomplishes what it set out to do, and how that
compares to other Bibles.
Study Bibles (continued)
A Devotional Bible has built in plans and/or content to
encourage reading of the Bible on a consistent basis.
Some options are:
• Daily reading Bibles where the Bible is set up in a format that
organizes the scripture in chunks that allow for similar readings
each day throughout the plan. (like the One Year Bible or Once
A Day Bibles)
• Author written devotionals placed within the text that support
the Bible text around it.
• Audience specific (like for children, teens, or women to name
just a few)
• Themed (like writings from classic authors or devotions for those
Specialty Bibles tend to be a broad and comprehensive
• Depending on how a Bible Department is organized, many Bibles
within this category could fall within other categories as well.
• When we refer to specialty Bibles we could be referring to Bibles with
special themed content that could fall in-between study Bible and
devotional Bible or could refer to special formatting.
• The differences between each “specialty Bible” may be vast, so the
best way to understand this category is for us to list different types of
Bibles that could fall within this category and then define them.
• Special Content/Themed
• Special Format
• Special Purpose
The 3 Categories of Specialty Bibles are:
1. Special Content/Themed
• An example of this might be The Celebrate Recovery Bible, where the
content included in the Scripture is really as much about the issues a
reader might be facing, and what the Scripture says about that issue.
2. Special Format
• Wide Margin – Text itself is formatted in a way that provides space for
making notes in the margins.
• Single Column – One column of text opposed to the more traditional 2
• Parallel Bibles – Text would include multiple columns that would place
translations side-by-side for easy comparison of translation differences
• Audio Bibles – The Bible text delivered in an audio format that is read and
can be purchased on CD, MP3, or other audio formats
• Electronic Bibles – Electronic device sold that includes the scripture on it.
• Software – Bible text and content that can be purchased for a computer
Specialty Bibles (continued)
3. Special Purpose (Not full text)
• This typically would include Bibles produced to deliver the Bible text in
an untraditional way that would lead to greater Bible engagement.
• The Story (created as a condensed version of the Bible to give you
a greater understanding of the over-arching story of the Bible)
• Graphic Novels (created to visually represent specific portions of
the Bible with quality)
• Children’s Storybook Bible (Condensed or simplified scripture,
usually illustrated, allowing the Scripture to be engaged by
Specialty Bible variations can be numerous, however, many times
the feature being requested is a bit obvious by the name (single
column, wide margin, black letter, etc). So, the different variations
can be learned quite easily.
For more on this, refer to our glossary of terms!
Specialty Bibles (continued)
• Don’t be intimidated by the breadth of choices available.
• The more you use them the more familiar you will become, and the easier
it will be to point to a specific Bible when customers come looking for
• However, until you are fully comfortable, don’t be afraid to join the
journey of finding the right Bible for your customer.
• Knowing where to look (on the packaging or in the Bible) to identify the features
of each is half the battle.
• Then find a few Bibles, and do side-by-side comparisons until your customer
begins to identify what features are appealing.
* This is an important decision for each customer that comes
through the door, and by showing interest in them and their needs,
and then joining them in their journey, you will most definitely help
ease some of the surprise of how many choices are available to
* Key Points to Remember
• Choosing can be confusing
• Ask these 2 questions to help guide the customer:
1. Who is the Bible for?
2. What is the intended purpose for the Bible?
• There are 4 Bible Types
1. Text Bibles - no additional content included within the text
of the Bible page
2. Study Bibles - provides study material that allows the reader
to dig-in and study the scripture, to gain greater insight and
understanding from the text itself
3. Devotional Bibles – Helps readers engage in the scripture
4. Specialty Bibles – This variation contains many options –
such as special themes, special formats or special purposes
Please see the “files*” section of this training to download a
samplers of the following:
• NIV Notetaker’s Bible – text/reference sampler
• NIV Study Bible – study Bible sampler
• NIV Celebrate Recovery Bible – Devotional/Specialty Sampler
• NIV Women’s Devotional Bible – Devotional Sampler
• Parallel Bible – Specialty Sampler
• The Story – Specialty Sampler
*files are in the
corner of the