It is best if you have a study Bible that has paragraph notations as well as footnotes to help you understand the difficult sections of Scripture. You will want to get some of the modern, reliable, and readable translations, versions, and paraphrases—preferably in hardcover, leather, leather-like, or bonded leather. Thankfully, there are several excellent versions and paraphrases of the Bible available today, which will enlighten your understanding of the meaning of the biblical text. For casual reading, you may wish to use The Message, The New Living Bible, and/or the New King James version.
While it is not the most readable, the New American Standard Version Ryrie Study Bible is very helpful, especially for a serious, in-depth study of the Scriptures. Always remember that some Bibles present a nearly word-for-word translation from the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts into English, while others offer a looser, more contemporary rendering. Both are helpful as you seek a fuller, more complete grasp of the Holy Scriptures in your Bible study.
An excellent resource for the study of Scripture is the New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible. Chuck heartily recommends this particular study Bible, since it provides several reliable, readable helps: in-depth background information, numerous biographical sketches (called “personality profiles”), informative footnotes on key Scriptures and problem passages, easy-to-understand timeline charts, and maps related to the book of the Bible being studied. Most recently published in October 2007, this Bible contains the latest up-to-date research.