Bibles for all: Special review of rich choice of new bibles

bible wondersReview by Val Viljoen

This is a great time of the year to plan how you are going to engage with God’s Word during the year — and we in South Africa are truly blessed when it comes to a choice of bibles to meet our study or devotional preferences.

In this review, I give you a brief introduction to some of the wonderful selection of bibles that are available in Christian bookstores.

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Wonders of Creation Holy Bible (NIV)

In keeping with the trend of adult colouring-in-books, this bible has over 50 pages of black-and-white illustrations, with a key verse, ready to be coloured. Each illustration features an animal, landscape or other wonder of creation. This affords you the opportunity to bring out your creativity and personalise your own bible while pondering the scriptures. The full text of the New International Version is included.

Other features include:

  • lay-flat binding for ease of colouring
  • presentation page for gift-giving
  • ribbon marker

bible expressionsThe One Year Chronological Bible Expressions (NLT)

This bible is divided into 365 daily readings, taking you through the entire text in a year. Events are presented in the order they happened. Prophetic books are interwoven with historical accounts, psalms follow events about which they were written and the life of Christ is one story. The text of the New Living Translation breathes new life into otherwise difficult-to-understand bible passages.

The bible features over 100 scripture line drawings for your creative colouring-in expression.
In addition, each page has blank lined space for journaling in word or graphic form, allowing you to create a legacy of your personal faith journey throughout the year.

Other features include:

  • an introduction to the New Living Translation
  • a detailed general time line
  • a scripture index
  • presentation page for gift-giving

bible exThe One Year Bible Expressions (NLT)

This bible is similar to the one reviewed above, having the same format and similar features. The reading plan is however quite different; again you are taken through the whole bible text in a year, but each daily reading comprises four sections – a scripture reading from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, one from Psalms and one from Proverbs. The passages from each section run consecutively.

Both of these Expression bibles are potentially great treasures, facilitating as they do the reading of the entire bible in a year (a habit developed by many great men of God through the ages), as well as inspiring creativity and journaling.

bible thriveNLT Thrive: A Journaling Devotional Bible for Women

Sheri Rose Shepard is an author and conference speaker who has devoted over 30 years to the ministry to helping women thrive in Christ. In her Thrive bible she invites women on a year-long journey through the bible, helping them to discover their identity in Christ and God’s plan and purpose for their lives, as well how to have a pure, genuine and life-giving faith.

The bible is divided into daily readings for a year. In addition, there is a one-year key passages reading plan.

Additional features:

  • extra-wide margins for journaling
  • daily devotionals, including a “Letter from God”
  • 50 “Treasure of Truth” callouts
  • introduction to each book in the bible
  • bible character profiles
  • presentation page for gift-giving
  • ribbon marker
  • attractive cover – cream fabric with decorative blue stitching

bible sufferBeyond Suffering Bible (NLT)

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:30

Pain and hardship can sometimes feel so overwhelming that it is difficult to grasp the wonder of a loving and victorious God. Joni Eareckson Tada and her team have created the Beyond Suffering Bible to highlight the goodness of God that can be found during life’s hardest times and to show that the scriptures do have answers to tough questions.

Joni has been a quadraplegic since a tragic diving accident as a teenager many years ago. She is thus very familiar with pain and extreme hardship.

Features include:

  • A Word from Joni articles reflecting her heart for pursuing God in the midst of suffering
  • devotionals which help one to be blesssed or challenged by scriptures that deal with the topic of suffering
  • nine essays by leading experts (including Joni) dealing with issues such as the theology of suffering, ethical issues surrounding sanctity of life, and living with chronic pain
    reading plans which walk you through scriptures which deal specifically with pain and suffering
  • profiles of bible characters as well as contemporary Christians illustrating how to discover God’s goodness in times of hardship
  • Connection Points study notes specifically addressing suffering
  • book introductions that focus on key suffering and disability themes
  • dictionary / concordance
  • presentation page for gift giving

bib hidHidden In My Heart

“I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

This scripture memory bible consists of the entire text of the New Living Translation as well as 100 Core texts and 136 Challenge verses each given in three translations: New Living Translation, New International Version and King James Version. These memory texts are all featured boldly and in large print alongside where they occur in the scriptures.

Core texts also have the following headings :

  • Explore and apply
  • Pray
  • Digging deeper
  • Song number and name

A particularly interesting feature of this bible are the free downloadable scripture memory songs. Each of the 100 core verses have their own song, available in each of the three translations. There are a variety of musical styles, some appealing to children, some for all ages.

Other features include:

  • topical memory verse finder with all core and challenge texts as well as others under
  • numerous topic headings for easy searching
  • list of great bible passages to memorize
  • list of great bible stories to know and share, including tips on exploring and remembering
  • important elements so that you can share these stories
  • song index 1: by age range
  • song index 2: musical styles
  • presentation page for gift-giving
  • ribbon marker

This is indeed a wonderful resource for anyone trusting in Psalm 119:11 (quoted above and written on the front page and back cover of this bible.)

bib kidsInternational Children’s Bible (Red) (Hardcover)

This is not a story book or paraphrased translation. It is an actual translation of God’s Word from the original Hebrew and Greek languages, by a large team of highly qualified and experienced scholars and translators. The International Children’s edition is the first bible translation that has been created for children. It is simple to read and understand (3rd grade reading level), yet it is faithful to the manuscript in the original languages.

The text is in a large type, with words in bold that correspond with a dictionary/concordance entry for meaning clarification. Headings are also in boldface type for easy searching of passages. A new feature of this updated hardcover and durable edition is the highlighting of more than 300 verses to read and memorise. Bible story insert pages are beautifully illustrated and written in a style that brings the popular stories to life.

God intended everyone to be able to understand his Word. Earliest scriptures were written so that even the barely literate would have access to them. The International Children’s Bible gives children the opportunity to learn the truth for themselves and experience it’s transformative power in their lives.

bib cultNIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible

The purpose of this hardcover edition is to bring to life the ancient world of scripture. Understanding context and cultural background can be a valuable tool in discovering new depth of insight to familiar scripture passages.


  • complete text of the New International Version
  • book introductions explaining context in which each of the books of the bible was written
  • verse by verse study notes
  • Hebrew to English translation chart
  • chart of ancient texts relating to the Old Testament
  • in-depth articles on key contextual topics, with indexes
  • numerous full-colour photos, diagrams, charts and maps
  • concordance
  • words of Jesus in read
  • presentation page for gift-giving

bib kjvThe KJV Cross Reference Study Bible

This hard cover edition has the following features:

  • complete text of the King James Bible
  • centre-column cross references
  • study notes at the bottom of each page explaining difficult wording and providing background information
  • introduction to each book of the bible
  • character profiles
  • full-page articles with in-depth information on interesting topics
  • Q & A articles giving biblical answers to various burning issues
  • charts, lists and full colour maps
  • messianic prophecy icons marking prophecies of Jesus’ birth, ministry and death
  • parallel passages icons notating passages that describe the same event
  • dictionary / concordance
  • words of Jesus in red

bib thinNIV Value Thinline Holy Bible

This slim imitation-leather bible is lightweight, making it easy to hold and transport. It is also attractive in appearance. Its relatively small size is made possible by the fact that it comprises merely the text of the New International Version.

It has a presentation page for gift giving.

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  1. These all look good, but it would be helpful if the distributor is noted and email as well as the price.

  2. Thanks for your feedback Pam. The bibles are certainly available at Cum Books. Have a look at their website for prices.