Easy to Read Bibles for Adults
Reading the Bible on your own is an essential part of your relationship with God. The Bible helps us learn more about ourselves, God, and how to develop the relationship between us and Him.
Most Christians don’t read the Bible on their own. Considering the Bible is full of encouragement, stories of faith, and the teachings of Jesus, it should be a priority. Even people who don’t believe in God or the authenticity of the Bible can gain wisdom by reading it.
If you’re looking for a Bible that’s easy to read, I recommend reading the New Living Translation (NLT) or the New International Version (NIV). It’s also a good idea to compare different Bible translations online before buying one so you see if you like how different translations are written.
According to Statista data, 11% of Americans say they read the Bible daily, and about 50% say they read the Bible once a year or less.
Data also shows that about 60% of Americans have a desire to read the Bible. It seems like there’s a disconnect between wanting to read the Bible and actually reading it. I’m sure most people who attend church hear about the importance of reading God’s Word, but few follow through.
I do my best to read the Bible for at least 10 minutes a day.
One of the reasons for that is the belief that the Bible is confusing, outdated, and difficult to read.
I remember struggling trying to read the Bible at first. I didn’t know where to start, and the language was confusing. I didn’t know much about the different Bible versions or which one was best to start with. There are plenty of Bible reading resources that can help you navigate the Bible, and get more value out of God’s Word.
In this post, I’ll share a few helpful Bible reading resources and help you decide which Bible version is good and which ones to avoid if you’re new to reading the Bible on your own.
Easy Bible translations to read
The YouVersion Bible App has 67 different English translations of the Bible. It’s overwhelming to choose which one to read–especially as a new believer.
I remember walking around the Bible section at Barnes & Noble struggling to understand what the different translation acronyms meant.
I had no idea where to begin.
Each Bible version is slightly different, and it can be challenging to choose which one is right for you. Some translations are easier to read and understand than others. As a general rule of thumb, I always recommend reading a few different Bible translations to get a more well-rounded understanding.
Every legitimate Bible translation was translated from various manuscripts that are hundreds, or thousands of years old.
Bible versions are usually translated by a team of Biblical scholars that spend years translating verse by verse, and word by word. There is a ton of work that goes into translating the Bible to keep it as accurate as possible. There are over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts, and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages, which are used to develop a Bible translation.
There is a lot of work done to avoid losing biblical truth in translation.
I read a lot of different Bible translations online, and I like to compare the various versions of Bible verses. The first Bible I bought as an adult was a New King James Version (NKJV). I like this version now, but when I was a brand new Christian, it was difficult to understand.
Next, I bought the New International Version (NIV) and loved it. At that point, I had some more Bible knowledge and the language used was more understandable.
Over the years, I’ve bought a few other translations. I also learned about how the different Bible versions were translated. If you’re looking for an easily understandable Bible, I recommend one of these four versions: the NLT, NIV, Amplified Bible, or The Message.
As you become more familiar with the Bible, I’d encourage you to branch out and read other versions.
The New Living Translation Bible (NLT)
The New Living Translation is a Bible translation that uses simpler language and is very easy for first-time Bible readers to understand. The NLT Bible version was first released in 1996, and small parts have been reviewed and updated a few times since then.
The NLT translation is considered a thought-for-thought translation, which is sometimes considered less accurate than word-for-word translations. The translators take a sentence in the original language and translate it into a sentence in English that communicates the same message.
The NLT is a great Bible to read and easy to understand. If I was looking for my first Bible again, I’d choose this translation. but it’s probably not the best for in-depth Bible studies.
Example NLT Scripture:
5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. 7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”
Matthew 6:5-8 NLT
The New International Version Bible (NIV)
The New International Version is one of the most popular Bible translations used today. It was first published in 1978, and is considered one of the most accurate translations. A team of 15 Bible scholars used the oldest and most reliable manuscripts to express the Bible in broadly understood modern English.
The NIV is a combination of word-for-word and thought-for-thought translation. That means that this version uses less paraphrasing compared to the NLT.
The NIV isn’t as simplified as the NLT, but it’s still and easy translation to read and understand if you’ve never read the Bible before.
Example NIV Scripture:
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Matthew 6:5-8 NIV
The Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Amplified Bible is a unique translation of the Bible that can help you get additional context. It was produced jointly by Zondervan and The Lockman Foundation from 1954 to 1965, and expanded in 1987.
There are many Greek and Hebrew words that are more complex than English words. One Greek word could be accurately translated into 5 slightly different English words.
The AMP Bible adds some extra words [in parentheses] that gives us some more context. The additional context makes this version easier to read and understand.
This translation wasn’t done to add words or phrases to the Bible, but rather to give us some more insight into the original language that’s used. Some critics say that the Amplified Bible tries to add context or synonyms that aren’t present in the original translations.
I think this translation is interesting to read, but this might not be the best option for your daily Bible reading.
Example AMP Scripture:
5 “Also, when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray [publicly] standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets so that they may be seen by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your most private room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 So do not be like them [praying as they do]; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
Matthew 6:5-8 AMP
The Message Bible (MSG)
The Message Bible receives a lot of criticism. Personally, I’m not a fan of the MSG translation, but it’s one of the easiest Bible translations for adults to read.
This translation is more like reading a poem rather than a word-for-word translation of the Bible.
The Message Bible was translated by one man—Eugene H. Peterson—who wanted to make the Bible easier for the reader to understand. He also had a team of Bible scholars review it, so even though he did most of the work, it’s not just his opinion about what the Bible says.
His logic behind the Message translation is this:
“When Paul of Tarsus wrote a letter, the people who received it understood it instantly, When the prophet Isaiah preached a sermon, I can’t imagine that people went to the library to figure it out. That was the basic premise under which I worked. I began with the New Testament in the Greek — a rough and jagged language, not so grammatically clean. I just typed out a page the way I thought it would have sounded to the Galatians.”
I’d say if the Message Bible helps you read and understand the scriptures, then you should read it. Once you become more familiar with the Bible, you can buy a word-for-word translation that’s more accurately translated from the original text.
Example MSG Scripture:
5 “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for fifteen minutes of fame! Do you think God sits in a box seat? 6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. 7-8 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.”
Matthew 6:5-8 MSG
Consider buying a study Bible
A study Bible is one book with multiple resources. A study Bible might have a list of devotionals, lists of related Bible verses, Bible verses sorted by different topics, additional author insights, definitions of words, some helpful cultural context, and more. All of this is intended to give you a better understanding of the Bible’s message.
I believe that the Bible wasn’t written to us, but it was written for us.
That means that the letters Paul wrote, and the Psalms that David wrote weren’t mailed to us. They were written thousands of years ago, long before any of us were alive. Some parts of the Bible were written to individuals, or a group of people. Other parts were laws or instructions that God gave to people. There are also songs, and books of wisdom.
All of these people had their own culture, governmental systems, and living situations. The world we live in today is much different, so a good study Bible will help us understand how people lived during the times when the Bible was written.
A study Bible can help us take the truths in the Bible and learn how we can apply them to our life.
Personally, I get distracted by the additional information that a study Bible has, so I prefer reading a regular Bible. I’ll let you decide which is best for you.
Pray for God to give you more insight
God’s priority is always to develop the relationship that He has with us, His children. Reading the Bible isn’t just something to add to a to-do list. God wants to speak to us, through His word. He knows that the Bible contains truth and wisdom from Him, and it’s designed to help us.
Since God inspired the words and verses in the Bible, we should ask Him for additional insight. If I was having trouble understanding a book, the author is always the best person to ask.
This can be a simple prayer before, during, and after you read the Bible. Here are some examples of how to pray for more insight:
“Father, I pray that you would open my eyes and ears to your word. I ask that you would give me a deeper insight into your word and help me apply it to my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.“
“God, I ask for your help and pray that you would speak to me clearly through your word today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.“
Bible verses about reading Scripture
When the Bible was being written, it was relied on much less than it is today. Most people would rely on a priest to share what was written in God’s word, as well as prophets to share what God was speaking to them at that moment.
We live in a much different world today. I believe that it is a great privilege to read the Bible, and we hardly take advantage of that privilege. Reading the Bible has taught me countless life lessons and transformed my relationship with God.
Here are a few Bible verses that can inspire us to read the Bible on our own.
"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."
John 15:7 NIV
"For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires."
Hebrews 4:12 NLT
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
Psalm 119:11 NIV
"Every word of God is tested and refined [like silver]; He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him."
Proverbs 30:5 AMP
I believe that reading the Bible is an important piece of the Christian faith. Having a Bible that you enjoy reading, and one that helps you understand what you’re reading is essential.
Trying to navigate an older Bible translation like the King James version makes building a Bible reading habit even more difficult.
I hope that you’re able to choose the best Bible translation and fall in love with God’s word! If you buy a Bible and don’t love the translation, you can always buy a different translation. I’d also recommend reading some of each translation online before you buy a new Bible.
Please reach out if you have any questions. I’m happy to help you along on your Bible reading journey!
Recommended resource: Download a free Bible-in-a-year PDF