Last Sunday I finished teaching the final session on Hermeneutics (basically how to study the Bible) for the Ekklesia School of Ministry. One of the issues I spent time highlighting was the necessity of using good resources in their Bible Study. A carpenter can be skilled but the quality of his craft is limited if he uses inferior tools. The same is with Bible students. Here are some of the best Bible Study resources that I have found (or in some cases found me) over years:
- Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary: Completely Revised and Updated Edition: If you want to quickly look up some Biblical town, person, or cultural custom this is the book for you. Concise and yet thorough articles. Achan and the Valley of Achor never seemed so clear. Also, it has pictures!
- The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible: Revised Full-Color Edition: Basically this is Nelson's Bible Dictionary smarter, stronger, but less fun older brother. Expanded to 5 volumes, bringing with it 5 times as much depth and detail to every article. Also, comes with pictures!
- Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Word Study Series): If you've always wanted to know the original meanings to the words of the Bible then look no further. This will save you a year's worth of seminary because it does the work for you—ah, the American dream. You will need a way to get the Strong's numbers for the passages you are studying. I recommend websites Biblos or Bible Gateway.
- Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Word Study Series): The New Testament companion to the previous Word Study Dictionary.
No study is complete without really good commentaries. We have been blessed with the ability to hear from and sit under some of the greatest theologians and Bible teachers of all time. Take advantage of it because odds are you are not as smart or gifted as D.A. Carson.
- The Bible Knowledge Commentary (New Testament): From the great minds of Dallas Theological Seminary. Single volume on the New Testament. One of the first places I go to if I need a quick explanation of a passage.
- The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Old Testament): The Old Testament companion to the previous commentary.
- Expositor's Bible Commentary---Revised: 13-Volume : For those wanting to get their feet wet in thicker commentaries this is a great place to start. It does the hard exegesis for you and doesn't get too dry and technical. It presents the information in a way that a non-seminarian can easily understand and benefit from.
- The MacArthur New Testament Commentary 29 Volume Set: Save this one for the Christmas List because it is expensive but it is extremely worth it. It was written by John MacArthur as he preached through the entire Bible. Not much more needs to be said.
- John (NIV Application Commentary): The NIV Application Commentary series takes Bible Study full circle. For each passage it gives a historical/cultural background, an explanation of the text, and then gives an application for how the passage applies today. It's like having a full sermon for each passage! I couldn't find the complete set so I only posted the commentary on John (which is excellent by the way).
For more information on how to use these resources to aid your Bible Study, you can download my Hermeneutics Class slides.