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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : How Many Sets of Scriptures Do You Need? » How Many Sets of Scriptures Do You Need?

How Many Sets of Scriptures Do You Need?

Don - May 13, 2008

When I served my mission I used a Bible that my parents gave me when I was about 12…not even a LDS version. And then I had a standard triple combination. These were marked up a bunch with the scriptures that you’re told to mark in seminary etc.

When I got off my mission and was married I taught early morning seminary for several years. I used a LDS hard cover bible. I underlined, wrote in the margins and marked this up like crazy.

Then the “new” scriptures came out. I bought one of the large quads.

Problem is I still like using my old “seminary teaching” bible. It’s the one I take to church. It’s the one I use to teach out of. It’s the one I study from.

My quad sits on the shelf. I’ve thought about going thru and transferring all my comments, underlines and marks from my other scriptures but it’s just too big of task. Plus I know which side of the page and the location of the popular scriptures I refer to – in my old bible – they’re all different in the new quad.

So I’ve got two sets of scriptures, one new one that I don’t use and my old comfortable ones that I do.


  1. I haven’t bought a new set to replace my last lost set. LDS.org is just too good. Now if they could just add personal annotation and a few things like TPJS I’d be in heaven.

    Comment by Clark — May 13, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

  2. I have a set I got when I turned 8 years old and I used them throughout seminary/high school. When I turned 18, my parents gave me a quad. I used that all through college/Institute (well, BYU), and I use it now.

    I like having more than one set. The things I marked and studied when I was 16 are vastly different than the things I mark and study now (nearly 30). It’s kind of fun to look at them both and see the difference not only in my character, but in my spiritual growth (which I guess could be considered the same).

    Comment by cheryl — May 13, 2008 @ 8:48 pm

  3. I have only the set I got before I was baptized. My husband keeps teasing me and saying I really need a new set, but I really like my old ones- I know where everything is, and I like my margin writings. It also has various artwork by various of my kids on random pages, and a pink tint to the side where Bean spilled cherry Kool-Ade once. The gold is all worn off… and I LOVE them.

    Comment by tracy m — May 13, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

  4. I have 2…well…technically 3…It all depends on what mood I’m in.

    I have my missionary scriptures, which have all the typical missionary scriptures highlighted, as well as thoughts I had during my mission.

    I have my large set that I mainly use now, with the bible color-coded for Greek, Hebrew, JST, IE, OR and other footnote references

    I also have my PDA, which has scriptures/reference books on there which I bring to religion classes.

    So no, you’re not alone.

    Comment by brandt — May 13, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  5. I was surprised Sunday in priesthood how many people were reading not only their scriptures but also their lesson manuals with iPhones. I’m holding out for the new one though.

    Comment by Clark — May 13, 2008 @ 11:27 pm

  6. I’ll probably get snarked for saying this, but I wear out a set of scriptures about every 5 years. I’m careful, but the binding breaks, pages start falling out, and there isn’t much room to mark any more. (I LOVE writing marginal notes!) The first time I had to buy a new set after my mission I tried to transfer all the markings, but it was WAY too hard and now I find that it is more interesting to find new ways to look at the scriptures each time. I save all my old ones and refer to them when I need to. It is ALWAYS hard to leave old familiar scriptures behind and start new ones.

    Two years ago was the first time one of my seminary students brought his PDA to class. I didn’t let him use them for scripture chase, but I have contemplated how this technology will change the way we teach our youth.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — May 14, 2008 @ 12:41 am

  7. I have only one set. Mary bought them for me when I started Institute in 1997. I still use them all the time. They are the large ones, which makes it easier to note in the margins.

    I’ve had two other sets over the years. I don’t remember when I received the first set, but the second set I bought about 6 months into my mission. No idea where those two sets are.

    Comment by Kim Siever — May 14, 2008 @ 4:53 am

  8. I have too many scriptures. I have a cheapy set I got when I was baptized at 8; I got another standard set when I started Seminary at 14 (I shouldn’t have gotten a new set then) and these have all the scripture mastery scriptures marked; I got a miniquad when I went on a mission at 21–I still use this set.

    I think I will eventaully get one more set, after I am done lugging my kids’ cheerios and board books around: large print, for sure.

    Comment by ESO — May 14, 2008 @ 5:25 am

  9. I bought a case of the Doubleday Edition of the Book of Mormon when they were $1.67 each at Deseret Book this spring. We use them for “scriptures & prayer” in the evening, so there’s enough to go around no matter how many people are in the house just then (teenagers, etc.).

    I have a mini-quad I’ve been using for about 15 years, but the print is starting to shrink, so I may have to switch to something bigger soon (darned things are so heavy, though). Was using my PDA for a while, but it was inconvenient to scribble notes in.

    Comment by Coffinberry — May 14, 2008 @ 5:26 am

  10. I only have one set, the ones my husband got me just before I was baptized/we got married. They’re literally falling apart. But I don’t want new ones.

    Comment by Susan M — May 14, 2008 @ 7:12 am

  11. I have three non-KJV versions of the Bible that I use at home all the time (and several others I don’t use). I may have to struggle with the archaic language and the cumbersome format when I go to church, but I don’t have to at home so I won’t.

    And I just love Grant Hardy’s A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Mormon, although it’s a bit big for lugging to church every Sunday. It’s amazing how much difference it makes to present even the 19th-century language of the Book of Mormon in a usable format. I hope the church does something similar in the near future. It would make the Book of Mormon a lot more accessible for those who haven’t grown up in the church.

    For those who aren’t familiar with Hardy’s project, he took the 1920 edition of the BoM (the most recent version no longer protected by copyright), and put it in a format much like modern Bible translations. It is broken up into paragraphs with section headings (verse divisions are indicated by tiny, nondistracting numbers), modern punctuation is used, and poetry is displayed as poetry. (There is no change in the words used.) He also includes some useful study helps in the appendix.

    Comment by E — May 14, 2008 @ 9:16 am

  12. PDAs are great for linking and referencing other books, and highlighting is also great, but I hate adding notes.

    BiV, my parents had Elder Perry come to their Stake for Stake Conference, and he whipped out his PDA. He told the congregation that it’s a lot easier to bring than his bulky scriptures, so we might be seeing a trend.

    Comment by brandt — May 14, 2008 @ 9:21 am

  13. That’s interesting GAs are doing that now.

    Comment by Clark — May 14, 2008 @ 9:32 am

  14. BiV-
    I don’t think that’s snarky at all; if anything, I wish I could be like you! Wearing out scriptures over and over means they are well used.

    My husband has tried to get me to use a PDA, but I won’t have it. I like the feel of the paper and the sound it makes…

    Comment by cheryl — May 14, 2008 @ 10:53 am

  15. I have 2 sets but have only ever used the one brown bible, black triple combination and blue scripture case since I was baptized in 1989.

    I’ve had the fake leather cover to my bible reattached and have needed to do the same for my triple for years. They’re marked with my own drawings, inserts, questions and assorted combinations of blue, red and yellow and nothing else.

    They’re black and grey on the edges from constant thumbing and don’t have tabs like I like. My other set has tabs and I hate that. They make me slower!>:)

    Comment by Bret — May 14, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

  16. I “need” several. I have my now well-worn quad from my mission. Two different editions of the OT in Hebrew (BHS and Reader’s Edition). A UBS Greek New Testament. NIV Study Bible. Jewish Study Bible. Plus a barrel of translations and English versions in Bibleworks.

    But LDS editions? One is good ;)

    Comment by NItsva — May 14, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

  17. I agree – scriptures are like a journal. The markings and especially the comments track my growth in spiritual understanding. It’s good to get new ones every so often.

    Comment by SilverRain — May 16, 2008 @ 3:44 am

  18. I had a set of scriptures that I used for seminary. Suitable for the abuse that enthusiastic scripture chase causes.

    On my mission I got a cheap BoM and read it so frequently that it fell apart. When I got home, I had it spiral bound and used it in my BYU religion classes. I think that with Margret McConkie-Pope the state of my BoM was enough to earn me an A.

    Since then I’ve worn out several sets of scriptures. My most long lasting is a BoM xeroxed on to regular sized sheets of paper to allow wide margins. It’s in a loose leaf binder allowing me to insert printouts of longer materials. At this point, it’s complete enough that I can teach BoM using it and my testimony only. Deseret Book- Please feel free to steal my idea. Even if it’s only the standard size printed page on the large format paper. We need wider margins!

    Comment by Floyd the Wonderdog — May 17, 2008 @ 6:10 am

  19. I have my old french set of scriptures that I got when I got baptized. I love them. Then I had my american quad on my mission. Then when I went back to the US for vacation I got myself the “new” scriptures in french. It was a good thing because for example in D&C they had “forgotten” to translate one verse. So when we were teenagers we loved to make this scripture say anything we wanted.
    But I still read from the quad. First it keeps my english at a fairly good level. Second I have just no emotional connection with my french most recent set of scriptures. I don’t think I have ever read from it really.
    I guess I have to wait until they become special to me. But until then I am fine with the quad.

    Comment by G — May 17, 2008 @ 11:28 am

  20. I currently have three Bibles: a King James Version, a New International Version, and a New Revised Standard Version.

    I keep the KJV mostly for its place in my heart, but I rarely read it. I think that the Gospels sound wonderful in KJV’s Elizabethan poetic language, but Paul is hard enough to follow as it is.

    I do most of my reading in the New International Version, mostly because it is extremely, well, readable. It’s a contemporary translation without being too vernacular, and as far as widespread use goes, it’s definitely the Bible of choice for most American Christians.

    I have an NRSV with apocrypha mostly because–as far as I understand–it is widely accepted by academics as one of the truest translations available. And it gets a lot of use in the mainline denominations, which is what I’m most interested in. On the other hand, I find it neither as readable as the NIV nor as beautiful as the KJV, so it’s not really my favorite to read.

    I tossed my LDS edition of the Bible when I first started questioning the Church–I found the extensive footnotes distracting and too often felt they were misleading or loaded with specifically LDS doctrinal twists, and at that time I wanted to at least try and figure out what the Bible actually said for itself, not when seen through the lens of Mormonism.

    I’d like to get a copy of the Message, which is a paraphrase, not a translation, but is pretty popular in Emergent circles. It’s definitely a different twist on the Bible, and while I certainly wouldn’t use it for study or any kind of rigorous exegisis, I wouldn;t mind having it for casual reading or for a fresh take.

    I don’t make notes or markings in my scriptures much anymore, so that’s not really an issue. When I was active and believing Mormon, I had too many experiences where I wrote what at the time seemed like incredibly incisive notes, but later just didn’t make sense anymore. These days, if I have an insight I want to write down, I write it down somewhere else.

    Comment by Kullervo — May 28, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  21. Also, I have my German triple combination from my mission which is more a souvenir than anything else at this point, and I have a cool little Luther Bible in the old German script. It’s not a valuable antique or anything, but it’s pretty old, 80 years or so.

    Comment by Kullervo — May 28, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  22. I just have one set.
    My last set got stolen out of my luggage and it had all the margin notes and my own personalized bookmarks out of photos, and nice highlighters…

    But I’ve figured out what to do when the margins get too full of notes and you have to get a new set to mark in..

    Just dump the best of those notes from your old scriptures into your blog and you’ll have plenty of material to blog on for quite a while, and everyone else will benefit from your insight!

    Comment by Michaela — July 17, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

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