The Best Bible for Orthodox Christians

Orthodox Christianity 101
By Orthodoxy Christianity 101
April 2, 2024

If you’re an Orthodox Christian, you know that your faith isn’t just about showing up for Sunday services. It’s about immersing yourself in the Word of God. But what’s the best Bible for you?

Importance of Choosing the Right Bible

The Bible serves as the cornerstone of your faith, so choosing the right one is more than just a matter of personal preference; it’s about deepening your spiritual life.

Historical Context

Brief History of the Orthodox Church

Orthodox Christianity has a rich history dating back to the early days of the Christian church. It developed mostly in the East and has maintained traditions that are distinct from Catholicism and Protestantism.

Evolution of the Bible in Orthodox Christianity

The Bible’s evolution in Orthodox Christianity intertwines deeply with tradition and scholarship. Originating from the Jewish scriptures, the Orthodox Bible took shape with the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, crucial for early Christian communities. This was complemented by the New Testament, written in Greek, and forming the core of Christian teachings. Orthodox Christianity uniquely includes the Deuterocanonical books, underscoring differences in its canon. Throughout its history, the Orthodox Church has emphasized the Bible’s liturgical and doctrinal importance, maintaining its texts as both a historical foundation and a living component of ongoing religious practice and interpretation. This blend of ancient tradition and continuous relevance marks the distinctive journey of the Bible in Orthodox Christianity.

Significance of Language

Importance of Original Texts

Traditionally, the Orthodox Church holds the original Hebrew and Greek texts in high regard.

Modern Translations

However, there are now various modern translations that seek to capture the essence of these texts for today’s believers.

The Septuagint

What is the Septuagint?

The Septuagint is an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.

Importance in Orthodox Christianity

For Orthodox Christians, the Septuagint is particularly significant as it’s often considered more authentic than the Hebrew version.

The New Testament

Canonical Books

Unlike other Christian denominations, the Orthodox Church has a few additional books in its New Testament canon.

How it Differs from Other Christian Denominations

For example, the Orthodox New Testament includes texts like the Epistle of Barnabas.

Features to Consider

When selecting a Bible suitable for Orthodox Christians, it’s crucial to consider certain features that not only align with the theological and liturgical traditions of Orthodoxy but also enhance the reader’s engagement and understanding.

Translation Accuracy

  • Original Texts: Orthodox Christianity places a significant emphasis on the original texts of the Scriptures. Check whether the Bible is translated from the Septuagint for the Old Testament, as it is the version traditionally used in the Orthodox Church.
  • Theological Consistency: Evaluate how the translation aligns with the doctrinal and theological perspectives of the Orthodox faith. The choice of words and phrases in translation can greatly affect the theological nuances.
  • Comparative Analysis: Compare different translations to assess their closeness to the original texts. Cross-referencing with other versions can offer a broader understanding and highlight any translational biases or variances.

Commentary and Notes

  • Orthodox Perspective: Look for Bibles that include commentaries and notes written by respected Orthodox theologians. This ensures that interpretations and explanations are consistent with Orthodox teachings.
  • Historical and Cultural Context: Good commentaries should provide insights into the historical and cultural background of the texts, helping readers understand the Scripture in its original context.
  • Application to Modern Life: Seek out editions where the commentary bridges ancient teachings with contemporary life, offering practical guidance for living an Orthodox Christian life in the modern world.

Layout and Typography

  • Readability: The font size and style should be easy to read. A well-designed layout that avoids clutter and provides clear demarcation of verses enhances readability.
  • Aesthetic and Liturgical Consideration: Many Orthodox Christians appreciate Bibles that reflect the beauty and solemnity of their liturgical traditions. Look for editions with traditional Orthodox iconography and artistic elements.
  • Durability and Usability: For those who frequently use their Bibles for liturgical purposes or study, the physical durability of the book, as well as features like ribbon markers or gilt edges, can be important factors.

Here are the Best Bibles for Orthodox Christians

Orthodox Study Bible

This is a popular option that includes notes and commentaries aimed at Orthodox Christians. You can purchase it here.

The Orthodox New Testament

The Orthodox New Testament is one of our favorites because it includes commentaries from Orthodox saints. This version comes in two volumes: Volume One and Volume Two.

There’s also one for the Psalms; check it out here!

EOB: Eastern / Greek Orthodox Bible

Another solid option that focuses on the most accurate translation possible.

Orthodox Bibles for Children and Youth

Easy-to-Read Versions

For younger readers, look for translations that use simple language.

Bibles with Illustrations

Bibles with images can make the text more engaging for kids.

Online Resources

In the digital age, access to the Scriptures has become more versatile and convenient, especially for Orthodox Christians. There are a variety of websites and mobile applications that offer online Orthodox Bibles, providing a wealth of resources right at your fingertips.


  • Comprehensive Libraries: Look for websites that offer a range of Orthodox Christian texts, including different Bible translations, patristic writings, and liturgical texts. Sites like Orthodox Christian Information Center and Bible Gateway with its Orthodox Bible versions, are valuable resources.
  • Interlinear and Parallel Versions: Websites offering interlinear Bibles (displaying the original Greek text alongside English translations) and parallel versions can be particularly useful for in-depth study and comparison of texts.
  • Commentaries and Study Aids: Seek out websites that provide not just the biblical text, but also extensive commentaries, glossaries, and explanations from an Orthodox perspective. This can deepen understanding and provide context to the readings.

Mobile Apps

  • On-the-Go Reading: Mobile apps are ideal for reading and studying the Bible on the go. Apps like the Orthodox Study Bible app offer a user-friendly interface with access to both the Old and New Testament texts, along with Orthodox notes and commentary.
  • Interactive Features: Many apps incorporate features like bookmarks, note-taking, and highlight options, making it easier to keep track of your reading and reflections. Some even offer read-aloud functions for auditory learning.
  • Daily Readings and Prayers: Apps such as Daily Readings provide not only the scripture readings for each day but also include daily prayers, saints’ lives, and liturgical texts, integrating the daily practice of reading scripture into the rhythm of Orthodox liturgical life.

Online Communities

Where to Buy

Local Churches

Your local church bookstore is a good starting point.

Online Stores

Online retailers offer a wide range of options such as the Orthodox Calendar Company.

Cost Factors

Budget-friendly Options

There are Bibles available for all budgets.

Investment Pieces

Leather-bound and annotated Bibles make for a great long-term investment.

How to Choose

Personal Needs

Consider your reading habits, whether you like to annotate, and how often you read the Bible.

Congregation Recommendations

Ask around in your congregation. Your fellow parishioners might have some valuable insights.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Inauthentic Sources

Beware of counterfeits and Bibles that aren’t approved by the Orthodox Church.

Inaccurate Translations

Some translations might not capture the true essence of the Scriptures.

Theological Differences

Comparing with Catholic and Protestant Bibles

Orthodox Bibles differ significantly in terms of translation and canonical books.


Choosing the right Bible as an Orthodox Christian can be an overwhelming task given the plethora of options available. But now that you have this guide, you’re well-equipped to make an informed choice.

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