With 7,000 editions and 15 English translations available, is there now a Bible for every need and taste?

With Father’s Day around the corner, Beverly wanted to buy her husband a Bible. Finding the perfect Bible at the local Christian bookstore shouldn’t prove difficult, she thought.

She thought wrong. Before her stood an entire wall of shelves crammed with Bibles in every size, color, and binding. She had to sort through a confusing array of translations, to say nothing of the Bibles packaged with study notes from a variety of theological traditions. She found virtually everything but what she went there to buy.

After an hour of foraging, she finally found her Bible—a King James Version with maps and a zipper. But even it would not do; its pages kept getting stuck in the zipper.

“My husband,” she said, “has a hard enough time paying attention when he’s in church as it is. He would have a field day making jokes about this.”

Choosing a Bible from among the new formats and translations gets more complicated all the time. According to Publishers Weekly, almost a third of bookstores do not stock Bibles because of what it calls the “nuisance factor.” Recommending the right Bible to a customer takes more knowledge than many salespeople have time to acquire.

Americans now face an overwhelming number of styles and editions to choose from—over 7,000 versions and some 15 translations. Gone are the days when the black leather, dispensational King James Scofield Bible is the simple choice. And Bible publishers continue to produce more Bibles as they target increasingly specific needs. Here is a small sampling of the latest attempts to make the timeless words of Scripture as timely as ever.

Recent years have given rise to well over a dozen ...

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