Here are some of the basic types of resources, and specific ones that I recommend for your study of the Bible. I’ve also included an attachment here with the notes from the message on Sunday giving the step by step process for studying a passage of Scripture.
Study Bibles – The first purchase the student of Scripture is a good study Bible. A good study Bible will have commentary and articles written by scholars to help with one’s study. There are several very good study Bibles on the market, but my recommendation is the ESV Study Bible. The material in this Bible is a home-run! It also has a great online feature – the entire ESV Study Bible is available online for people who have purchase it, meaning that you do not have to carry the book form to have all of the notes and helps at your fingertips. I’ve linked to the hardcover, but the ESV Study Bible is also available in multiple leather options.
MacArthur’s Quick Reference Guide to the Bible – This book gives a book-by-book overview of the entire Bible, explaining key issues such as the name and life-situation of the author, the recipients, cultural issues, the purpose of the book, and key themes contained in each book.
Bible Dictionaries – A student can use a Bible dictionary when he or she reads about ideas, people, places, or issues in a text and does not know the meaning. There are all kinds of good Bible dictionaries.
Concordances – A Bible concordance helps a person do word studies. Basically, a concordance will let the reader know ever occorance of a word in the Biblical text, and will match the English word with the words used in the original languages. If you would like to find every time the word, “rejoices” is used in the Bible, a concordance will give you that list. The best known concordance is Strong’s Concordance of the Bible.
Topical Bibles – The New Nave’s Topical Bible lists Scripture passages by topic. Want to find all the passages that deal with a subject like “tithing”, Naves will give you all of the passages in the order that they appear in the Bible.
Commentaries – The writers of commentaries have done extensive Bible study, and want to pass on the information to the reader. Most commentaries will work verse by verse through books of the Bible, giving explanation of the author’s purpose and other issues. Commentaries come in all shapes and approaches. A few good “whole Bible commentaries” are available. The best is the New Bible Commentary.
Bible software – For the person who really wants to get serious in study of the Bible, having a good Bible software will help immensely. Just like anything, a person will get what they pay for. All sorts of software options are available. Most of these software packages will give an assortment of the above resources at a person’s fingertips on their computer screen for their study. The software I recommend is the Logos Bible Library. This software has several options at verying costs. It tends to be a little bit expensive, but the combination of the incredible resources available along with the ease of use makes it worth the investment. Furthermore, this software has thousands of books and Bible helps available for download for future use and study.
Online study tools – A few websites have arisen that can help with a person’s study of the Bible. I recommend Crosswalk.com, in fact I would encourage every follower of Jesus to have this in your favorites. I am amazed at the number of resources, including Bible dictionaries, concordances, topical Bibles, commentaries, theological helps, articles… that they include on this website. And all for free!
So, there are a few resources, available to anyone with a desire to dig deeper into the Scriptures for themselves. No investment will produce more in a person’s life than the investment to know God through study of the Scriptures! God bless.