A close-up shot of a dusty bookshelf reveals rows of worn-out Bibles, their spines faded and pages well-thumbed, waiting patiently to be discovered in a quaint, dimly lit bookstore.

Where To Buy A Bible: The Top Places Both Online And In-Store

Finding a bible to purchase used to mean heading down to the local Christian bookstore. But with the rise of e-commerce, there are now more options than ever for obtaining holy scripture, whether you prefer a physical or digital copy.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The top places to buy a bible are ChristianBooks.com, Amazon, Mardel, LifeWay, CBD, and local Christian bookstores. You can also find Bibles at big retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Barnes & Noble.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover the pros and cons of buying a Bible online vs. in a brick-and-mortar store. We’ll also provide tips on how to choose the right translation and format for your needs. And we’ll highlight the top places to purchase Bibles both on the web and in-person.

Buying a Bible Online

Pros of Purchasing Online

Buying a Bible online offers many advantages over purchasing in a traditional brick-and-mortar store. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Convenience – You can shop for Bibles anytime, anywhere with an internet connection. No need to drive to a store or worry about store hours.
  • Selection – Online stores offer a much wider selection of Bible versions, formats, covers, sizes, etc. You can easily find rare or specialty editions not carried locally.
  • Price – Online prices are often lower since ecommerce sites don’t have the overhead of a physical store. You can easily comparison shop to find the best deals.
  • Reviews – Most online stores have customer reviews so you can get feedback before you buy. This helps ensure you pick the right Bible for your needs.
  • Speedy Delivery – Bibles ship right to your door, usually within just a few days. No more waiting for restocks at the store.

Cons of Purchasing Online

Despite the many advantages, there are also a few potential drawbacks to buying a Bible online that should be considered:

  • No ability to examine Bibles in person – You can’t physically inspect, hold and flip through the Bible before purchasing when shopping online.
  • Extra cost for returns – If the Bible doesn’t meet expectations, you’ll likely have to pay return shipping costs.
  • Shipping delays – Occasionally orders get lost or damaged during shipping which can be frustrating.
  • Browser limitations – Some specialty Bibles with unique features may not display properly on all browsers.

However, most major online Bible retailers have generous return policies and solid logistics to minimize any downsides. Overall, for most buyers the pros still outweigh the cons when purchasing a Bible online.

Top Online Stores for Bibles

Many excellent online stores cater to Bible buyers today. Here are some of the most popular and reputable options:

  • Christianbook.com – This is one of the largest online Christian book and Bible retailers with over 100,000 Bibles in stock. They offer free shipping on orders over $50.
  • Amazon – The online mega-retailer allows you to get new and used Bibles with fast, free Prime shipping.
  • ChristianBooks.com – A sister site to Christianbook, this store has a massive inventory of Bibles at discounted prices.
  • BibleGateway – Along with online Bible study tools, this popular site also sells Bibles and ebook versions.
  • Barnes & Noble – The bookseller sells Bibles online and in their stores, often at significant discounts.

Some other reputable online Bible sellers include Mardel, FaithGateway, ChristianCinema, LifeWay, and Cokesbury. Be sure to compare prices across sites to find the best deals on the Bibles you’re interested in.

Buying a Bible In-Store

Pros of Purchasing In-Store

There are several advantages to buying a Bible in-person at a physical store:

  • You can see and hold the actual Bible before purchasing – this allows you to inspect the print quality, binding, size, and feel of the Bible in your hands.
  • Most Christian bookstores have staff well-versed in the different Bible translations and formats who can help guide you to the best Bible for your needs.
  • If the Bible is a gift, you don’t have to worry about shipping delays and can give it to the recipient right away.
  • There is no waiting for delivery if you need a Bible quickly for an upcoming event or trip.
  • You support local brick-and-mortar businesses and Christian ministry organizations when buying in-store.

Cons of Purchasing In-Store

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to be aware of when buying a Bible at a physical retail location:

  • Selection is often more limited compared to the vast options available online – you may not find the exact Bible translation, cover, or format you want.
  • Prices in-store are sometimes higher than purchasing online, especially for premium leather Bibles.
  • Hours of operation may be inconvenient if you work standard business hours Monday-Friday.
  • You need to physically visit the store, which takes more time and effort than ordering online.
  • Availability of specific Bibles may be limited due to inventory stock.

Top Brick-and-Mortar Stores for Bibles

Some of the most popular national chains for buying Bibles in-person include:

  • LifeWay Christian Stores – With over 170 locations, LifeWay offers a huge selection of Bibles from top publishers like Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.
  • Mardel Christian Stores – Focusing on Bibles, books, and church supplies, Mardel has over 35 stores across the Southern U.S.
  • Family Christian Stores – Recently reopened after declaring bankruptcy, Family Christian has over 25 locations and partnerships with churches.
  • Bibles by the Case – As a wholesale distributor with 3 retail stores, they offer discounted prices in bulk.

You can also find a good selection of Bibles at local independent Christian bookstores, church bookstores, and even major retailers like Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Cokesbury.

When purchasing in-person, be sure to compare prices between locations to find the best deal. Also look into church/ministry member discounts that may be offered at some retailers. While buying online provides more convenience, visiting a physical Bible bookstore can be a rewarding experience and is still preferred by many believers.

Choosing the Right Bible Translation and Format

Most Popular Bible Translations

When looking to buy a new Bible, one of the most important choices is which translation to get. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • King James Version (KJV) – This is the oldest translation still commonly in use, originally published in 1611. It uses elegant, formal language.
  • New International Version (NIV) – First published in 1978, this version aims for a middle ground between word-for-word and thought-for-thought translation. It is written in modern English.
  • English Standard Version (ESV) – This translation, first published in 2001, aims for word-for-word accuracy. It uses readable, contemporary language.
  • New Living Translation (NLT) – First published in 1996, this thought-for-thought translation uses natural, conversational language that is easy to understand.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both formal/literal translations like the KJV and ESV and dynamic/meaning-based ones like the NIV and NLT. Consider which would be most meaningful and useful for your purposes.

Study Bibles vs. Standard Editions

Another key decision is whether to get a study Bible or a standard edition. Study Bibles contain extra annotations, definitions, maps, charts, etc. that help explain context and meaning. Standard editions just contain the biblical text itself.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Study Bibles are great if you really want to dive deep into research and commentary. But the extra notes can also be distracting if you prefer focusing just on Scripture.
  • Study Bibles often use a single denomination’s perspective for commentary. Standard editions let you draw conclusions yourself.
  • Standard editions are more compact and portable. Study editions are often huge in size due to the extra content.

In the end, it depends if the additional study helps will aid or hinder your reading. Try samples of both to see what’s best for you.

Features to Consider Like Size, Cover Material and References

Here are some other features to keep in mind when selecting a Bible:

  • Size – For easy portability, look for compact and thinline editions. Giant print Bibles are useful if you have vision needs.
  • Cover material – Hardcover and imitation leather last longer than paperback. Leather or leather-like materials look elegant and professional.
  • Font – Consider the font size and darkness. Thinner paper allows more content per page.
  • References – Cross references link related verses for deeper study. A concordance provides an index of words and keywords.
  • Special features – Some Bibles add helpful tools like reading plans, maps, timelines, or devotionals.

Take time to research all the options so you can find the perfect Bible for your needs. Look at different translations and editions by Christianbook.com, Amazon, or your local Christian bookstore. Ask questions and try before you buy to get a Bible you’ll love reading, highlighting, and passing down.


Whether you decide to buy your next Bible at a familiar local shop or take advantage of the vast selection online, you now have the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision. Taking the time to consider translation, format and special features will ensure you select the ideal Bible to enrich your spiritual life for years to come.

Similar Posts