“geek out” time…
The English Standard Version is my favourite bible translation for daily reading and studying. Cross Way has produced an excellent ESV Study Bible. With the purchase of the physical copy, one gains access to the online version (TOTALLY rad). They just released the iPad app version, too, though it has to be purchased separately.
This study bible contains background historic and cultural information, essays and commentaries on almost every chapter, unlike the NIV Study Bible* I had before.
*Example, when something really weird would happen (let’s make something up, say Rahab did a hand-stand just after hiding the Israelite spies), the NIV Study Bible would comment on everything around it (Jericho had a population of n, there is an oasis within walking distance of the gate, etc), and completely silent on the thing that was obviously confusing (re hand-stand, zip).