Bibles and Resources for Bible Study
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.
A Bible Study Guide
for personal Bible Study, rather than for REL101 and/or REL103 :
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.
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.
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.
"Biblical Archaeology Review" (BAR), PO Box 7026, Red Oak, IA 51591, 1-800-678-5555
Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved