A Reader’s Hebrew Bible

For beginning and early intermediate biblical scholars, one of the more useful tools for studying the Hebrew Bible is A Reader’s Hebrew Bible, edited by A. Philip Brown II and Bryan W. Smith.

A Reader’s Hebrew Bible is not an interlinear bible, but a complete version of the Hebrew Bible that happens to contain glosses for words which may be difficult for a beginning student. A Reader’s Hebrew Bible was created in order to facilitate the actual reading of the Hebrew Bible. It tries to bridge the gap between the classroom study of Hebrew grammar and the individual study and reading of the biblical text.

Just like BHS, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible is based upon the 11th century Leningrad Codex, the earliest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible that still exists today. However, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible has a few key differences from BHS.

Unlike BHS, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible does not contain the critical apparatus and is therefore inappropriate for intermediate and advanced scholars to use for serious academic inquiry. However, for beginning scholars looking to gain reading fluency, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible can be an excellent tool.

Key features of A Reader’s Hebrew Bible:

  • Glosses are provided for all words used less than 100 times (except proper names)
  • Proper names occurring less than 100 times are shaded so that they can be easily identified.
  • The glosses for verbs not only provide information about a verb’s meaning, but also about a verb’s binyan (such as Qal, Piel, Hiphil, etc.)
  • The different Qere/Ketiv readings are included. (Qere/Ketiv refers to the difference between the written and oral traditions of certain words in the Hebrew Bible.)


  • It is easy to read quickly through the text. For beginning and intermediate scholars, it can be very frustrating to have to look up every other word. A Reader’s Hebrew Bible solves this problem quite nicely.
  • Large fonts are easier for beginning readers
  • A Reader’s Hebrew Bible is relatively inexpensive
  • You can use A Reader’s Hebrew Bible to test yourself while reading. To do this, simply cover the section with the glosses and try to recall definitions and/or binyanim of difficult words. Such self-testing is often not so easy when using electronic resources such as Bibleworks, Accordance, or Logos, and certainly not with an interlinear bible.


  • Some people may become dependent upon the glosses and not build up a strong knowledge of Hebrew vocabulary.
  • A Reader’s Hebrew Bible won’t teach you about Biblical Hebrew grammar or advanced syntax, etc. You’ll need to look in a reference grammar or commentary for some of this information.
  • If you have a professor, they may scowl at you if they see you with this Bible. This is because they understand the previous two points above!

Final Verdict:

A Reader’s Hebrew Bible is a great tool for helping beginners or casual scholars to gain reading proficiency in the Hebrew Bible. If you use it regularly (and don’t cheat by immediately looking at the glosses), A Reader’s Hebrew Bible will help make your study of the Hebrew Bible much more comfortable and rewarding.

Information about purchasing A Reader’s Hebrew Bible can be found by clicking on the image below:

Please note: some of the above links are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Please know that I recommend these products because I think they are helpful for biblical studies.  Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel they will help you achieve your learning goals.