Basic Bible Study Method Tools
Bible study tools are not meant to replace your Bible! But all pastors use them to inform their studies. Tools will help close the gaps that separate you from the original texts (the cultural gap, the historical gap, the literary gap, the geographical gap, the language gap, etc.). You need both general books that cover the Bible as a whole and you need books that deal with very specific issues. Here’s a list that will help you build a good library. Tip—buy used books and wait for sales. Books are expensive.
- Study Bibles
- ESV Study Bible
- MacArthur Study Bible (There are all kinds of study Bibles)
- NET Full Notes (advanced) netbible.org/bible/genesis
- An Interlinear Bible can help you determine which Hebrew or Greek word is used in a passage
- Commentaries—Scholars will explain the Bible texts.
- Bible Knowledge Commentary
- Expositor’s Bible Commentary Series
- For advanced Christians looking for commentaries on individual books of the Bible, see bestcommentaries.com. They make excellent recommendations.
- Dictionaries—they will define the words used in the Bible
- Tyndale Bible Dictionary
- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
- United Bible Society Translator’s Handbook on the New Testament (Advanced)
- English Dictionary (makes sure you know the meaning of the word the translators have chosen in your Bible).
- Bible Survey Books (Give overviews of the books of the Bible)
- Talk Thru the Bible Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa
- Old Testament Survey, Paul House
- Encyclopedia/Background Commentary/Cultural Dictionary
- Kingdom of Priest: A History of OT Israel, Eugene Merrill
- The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era, James S. Jeffers
- Cracking Old Testament Codes: A Guide to Interpreting the Literary Genres of the Old Testament, Brent Sandy Ronald L. Giese
- Words of Delight” A Literary Introduction to the Bible, Leland Ryken
- Computer Bible Software (They can serve as commentaries, dictionaries, atlases, and encyclopedia
- For Mac users—Accordance Bible software
- Logos Bible Software
- Bible Gateway (Also allows you to compare Bible translations)
- Atlas/Maps (FYI, most Study Bible’s will have maps)
- Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines
- Atlas Bible Carl G. Rasmussen, Zondervan
- Satellite Bible Atlas
- Exhaustive Concordance/ (make sure it is from the same Bible translation that you use).
- Concordances will show you all the places a word is used in the Bible and will help you identify the original Hebrew or Greek word being used.
- Bible software and apps will also function as concordances.
- Theology Books of the OT, the NT, Systematic, and Historical
- Know the Truth, Bruce Milne
- Church History Made Easy, Tim Paul Jones
- See bestcommentaries.com They review commentaries and theological works.
- Listen to Sermons from Good Preachers on the passage you are studying
- Bible Translations:
- Literal Translations are word-for-word translations (NASB, ESV, CSB)
- Dynamic Equivalence translations are thought-for-thought translations (NIV, NLT)
- Paraphrases (The Message)
- Journals/Bible Pens (Get pens that don’t bleed through your pages).
- How to Study the Bible Books:
- Living by the Book, Howard Hendricks (for beginners)
- Basic Bible Interpretation, Roy B. Zuck (Intermediate)
- How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth, Gordon Fee and Stuart (Intermediate)
- Invitation to Biblical Interpretation, Köstenberger and Patterson (advanced)
- Josh McDowell’s Guide to Understanding Your Bible: A Simple, Step-by-step Method for Effective Bible Study and Life Application. (This is my favorite, but it’s dated, and hard to find because it’s out of print).
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