Bible Study Tools that You'll Eventually Want to Have

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Your Bible study can be very profitable by just reading and meditating on the Bible all by itself. In fact, such meditation is essential to spiritual growth. But to learn more, having the right tools is important.

Obtaining a study Bible is the place to begin. But as your Bible studies increase, you may want to invest in some more specialized books. Some to explore:

  • Bible Handbook. Provides a great deal of information about each book of the Bible, life in Bible times, history of the English Bible, etc.
  • Bible Dictionary. Brief articles on each significant subject, word, and person in the Old and New Testaments. You'll often find helpful summaries of Bible teaching.
  • Bible Concordance. While study Bibles provide an abridged concordance, you can find an unabridged concordance that helps you find every occurrence of a particular word in the Bible. The best-known of these is Strong's Concordance (based on the KJV) which identifies each Greek and Hebrew word, and gives it a brief definition and a number. Now concordances are available for the NIV and NASB containing Strong's numbering system.
  • Bible Commentary. Bible commentaries provide an overview and running explanation of each book of the Bible. A good place to start might be with a fairly recent one-volume commentary on the whole Bible. There are also a number of inexpensive commentary series available that cover each book in the Bible, if you want to study a particular book in greater depth.
  • Word Study tools include an interlinear New Testament that shows the Greek text on one line and a literal English translation below it. A Greek-English Lexicon provides clear, precise definitions for each Greek word in the New Testament. Some of these are keyed to Strong's numbers so they can be used by students who haven't learned to read Greek letters. Similar resources are available for Hebrew as well.
  • Topical Bible. A topical Bible will give a great many scripture references listed by topic. Great if you're doing a topical or thematic Bible study.
  • Bible Atlas. An atlas contains more than detailed maps. It also describes the geography and places of the Bible, usually with fascinating illustrations and archeological details.

These days many Bible study resources are available online at no cost, such as Crosswalk Bible Study Tools (bible.crosswalk.com). You can also purchase excellent Bible study software for your computer. If you need advice on Bible study books, ask your pastor or the manager of a Christian bookstore.

If you were to ask a carpenter to build a house with hand tools he could probably do it. But with power tools the job will go more quickly so that the carpenter will have time to spend on the details. Bible study books are tools that help cut the time you need spend on Bible learning, so you can get to the really important matters of your study -- seeking after God himself.

 

Dr. Ralph F. Wilson has pioneered Bible study on the Internet since 1996 with his JesusWalk® Bible Study series (www.jesuswalk.com). The site offers more than a more than a dozen no-cost interactive online Bible studies, plus books and DVDs designed for personal and group study.

Copyright © 1985-2017, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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