Bemusing Bible Buying

Buying a Bible is a difficult and costly business. There are so many versions, from paraphrases like The Message to more accurate translations like the ESV. Then there are those Bibles that have textual commentary. When I was 14, I bought an NIV Study Bible. I thought it was wonderful- commentary on the verses, introductions to the different books and a concordance at the back. I've since gone off the NIV. Its text keeps changing and its publishers have started to 'update' odd words: 'men' has become 'people'. That's probably harmless enough; when the Bible talks of men it often refers to the entire human race. It's always a little disturbing though to think that the Biblical text is being altered to make it more 'inclusive'. Give it a few generations, and we'll have a politically correct but spiritually sterile NIV. 

I have friends, including people at Martin Top, who will only use the Authorised Version. The text is based upon the most accurate manuscripts and the prose is truly beautiful. It is, however, sometimes hard to understand (I can already anticipate howls of protest) as well as being dated and a little inaccurate (vultures, not eagles, gather around carcasses). I therefore elect to use the New King James Version; it has the same structure and textual basis as the old King James Version, but without the hindrances of archaic wording. 
I am, however, a little bemused by the number of 'specialist' Bibles on the market. There is a Life Application Bible, the Spirit Filled Life Bible. These each offer commentary and advice regarding their particular stance. There is even an American Woman's Bible. Why?! Perhaps American women face particular problems that others don't. Or maybe the big publishing houses see a way of making a quick buck. 
 
Buying a Bible isn't easy. My advice is to pick up the cheapest. It's the translated words from the Hebrew and Greek that matter, not the fancy cover, commentary or specialist interest group at which it's aimed.