Billy Graham

Billy Graham: How to choose a Bible that will speak to a young person

Q: Last week I went to a bookstore to buy a Bible to give to my nephew for his birthday (he’ll be 14), but I got discouraged and finally gave up because there were too many choices. Why are there so many different Bibles? — M.G.F.

A: Don’t give up; nothing you could ever give your nephew is more valuable than a Bible. Remember: The Bible is God’s Word, and God gave it to us to guide us and help us come to know him. The Psalmist wrote, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word” (Psalm 119:9).

Let me suggest three things you might keep in mind as you choose a Bible for your nephew. First, get a modern translation, one that is widely used and easy to understand. (I mainly use the New International Version in this column.) As a footnote, choose one with decent print; my wife used to say that Bibles with print you couldn’t read were one of the devil’s most effective tools!

Second, consider a Bible that includes footnotes that will help him understand its meaning. These are usually called “study Bibles,” and they can be fairly detailed. Choose one that’s written specifically for young people. A knowledgeable bookstore assistant should be able to help you with this.

Finally, encourage your nephew to make the Bible part of his life every day. Tell him why the Bible is important and suggest ways to get started (such as reading first about Jesus in one of the Gospels). As you have opportunity, also encourage his parents to make the Bible part of their family’s life. May the Psalmist’s experience become theirs — and also yours: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or visit