Bibles and Resources for Bible Study


1 Bibles for Religion Courses

Students should use at least 2 different translations of the Bible : a "traditional" one such as the King James' Version, which keeps close to a literal translation of the Hebrew and Greek texts, and a "modern" one such as "Today's English Version", the "Good News Bible", the "New International Version", the "New English" - these are easier to read, but are further from the original.
The "Living Bible" is not suitable for study - it is a paraphrase rather than a translation.
The "Amplified Bible" attempts to give a fuller sense of the original, but can be cumbersome to read.
If you know a foreign language, try a Bible in that language alongside your regular Bibles. Working in a foreign language will increase your concentration and attention to detail.
Whenever possible have a Bible which includes the Apocrypha.
Sources of Bibles : American Bible Society, 1865 Broadway, New York NY 10023, 1-800-322-4253
Go here for links to On-line Bibles and Bible helps

2 A Bible Study Guide

for personal Bible Study, rather than for REL101 and/or REL103 :
Some scheme for covering the whole Bible in a directed study.
Most Bible Book Stores have a shelf of such guides; the best way to find one that suits you is to browse the Library and the Book Stores.
Beware of "Lectionary-based" material - Church Lectionaries only cover selected portions of the Bible, and tend to cut out anything challenging or uncomfortable.
"Search the Scriptures" (editor, Alan Stibbs) ISBN 0-87784-856-4 gives a good way to study the whole Bible in 3 years at 20-30 minutes per day.

3 Bible Aids

Concordance, Handbook, Commentaries, Atlas, Dictionary, etc. These tend to be expensive. It is not necessary to buy them all at the start. Plan to get one a year, as a Christmas or Birthday present to yourself.

Concordances list every word in the Bible, and then give the places (book, chapter, verse) where the word occurs. Some concordances also have a key to the Hebrew or Greek root of the word - this can be useful for word studies. A Concordance is one of the most useful study aids - if you can only remember one word of a saying or verse, you can retrieve the whole text by looking up that one word.
CAUTION - make sure you get a complete concordance rather than an "abridged" one which does not contain every occurrence of every word. eg. "Cruden's Complete" (Alexander Cruden made the very first Concordance in the 1700s). It has been revised and edited through the years, and is still a favorite, though it is not keyed to the Hebrew/Greek words.
"Strong's Exhaustive" ISBN 0-87981-626-0 lives up to its name.

Handbooks generally have some general chapters or articles on various topics relating to Bible Study, eg. the plants and animals of the Bible, the history and customs of peoples in the Middle East, clothing, money, working conditions, the various empires of Bible times. They usually deal with each book of the Bible, or each group of Books, putting it in context with its date and place. They are usually very well illustrated, with maps and colored photos.
eg. "The Zondervan Handbook to the Bible" ISBN 0-310-23095-0

Commentaries deal with a specific book of the Bible, or with the whole Bible, and tend to go through verse by verse, explaining obscure terms and giving an exegesis of the text (saying what it means, or what the commentator thinks it means). They are usually not illustrated, and are chiefly used for preparing sermons or lessons. However, there is a series of commentaries by William Barclay which are excellent for helping one to understand the text.

Bible Atlases usually contain much more than a series of maps. They may have chapters on history, climate, the nations of Bible times and their wars, etc. and sometimes have pictures of places and people.

Bible Dictionaries not only explain the meaning of Biblical words, but also usually have fuller descriptions of key topics, people, places, customs. They are often illustrated at least with b/w line drawings.
eg. Harper's ISBN 0-06-069862-4; Nelson's ISBN 0-8407-4922-8 - both are modern, with colored illustrations.
Smith's Bible Dictionary ISBN 0-8407-5542-2 (originally published in the 19th century, but revised and updated, with articles by a panel of distinguished scholars, 1986). The illustrations are still old-fashioned b/w.
The best way to find the books that will fill your needs is to browse the shelves of a good Bible Bookstore.
If you are not able to do that, there are several Christian discount Book suppliers who operate by mail :
"CBD" - Christian Book Distributors, PO Box 7000, Peabody, MA 01961-7000
"Great Christian Books" 229 S. Bridge St, PO Box 8000, Elkton, MD 21922

4 Magazines

"Biblical Archaeology Review" (BAR), PO Box 7026, Red Oak, IA 51591, 1-800-678-5555
Reports and articles on archaeological digs of Biblical interest. Not all the authors are Christian, and the discussions and letters to the editor get a bit esoteric at times, but the illustrations are generally superb.
The ENMU Golden Library carries BAR.

Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved

Dr. Rollinson

Station 19, ENMU
Portales, NM 88130

Last Updated : June 26, 2017

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