There are times when you’ll want to really dig into the Scriptures to get a deeper understanding of what God has to say.
Bible Study Aids
Here are some aids that you can use to enhance your bible study time. The list is only suggestive and is not meant to be exhaustive. There are new works coming out all the time. Before you buy anything, also remember that many works are available online. We highly recommend some of the Bible software that gives you multiple works on one CD program. However, here are a number of works we recommend for all Bible students.
You can begin with the following five items:
- Two or three versions of Scripture
- The New International Version (NIV) should be one of them.
- Also, at least one of the following: NASB, RSV, NKJV
- And perhaps one of the following: Good News Bible, Living Bible, Phillip’s, New English Bible, or the New Living Translation, or the Message.
- A concordance
examples: PC Study Bible, NIV complete Concordance, or get one online
- A Bible handbook or good study Bible
examples: NIV Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible
- A Bible dictionary
example: New Illustrated Bible Dictionary by Nelson
- A good commentary on the book you are studying
example: Expositor’s Bible Commentary by Zondervan
Other resources include:
I recommend PC Study Bible V3.1 developed by BibleSoft. It has many translations as well as helpful tools, dictionaries, and commentaries for personal bible study. An excellent commentary series that is on the CD is Zondervan’s NIV Bible Library. It’s the Expositor’s Bible Commentary on CD for the Old and New Testaments.
Online Bible Helps
There are many online tools that are free of charge. Check these out.
Study Bibles give additional helps of various kinds, such as introductions to the books, charts, maps, concordances, notes at the bottom of the page, essays, etc.
- Life Application Bible
- NIV Study Bible
- Open Bible
- Ryrie Bible
- Scofield Reference Bible
- Student’s Bible
A concordance lists every word that appears in the Bible and all the verses it is found in. Using a concordance is a good way to find a verse that you only know part of, or you are interested in tracing a particular word or idea throughout the Bible. Many Bibles have limited concordances in the back, which give some of the important references for key words. An “exhaustive” or “complete” concordance gives every reference for every word. You will want to select a concordance for the Bible translation you use most often. Be aware that you can get many concordances online.
- New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance (NASB)
- NIV Complete Concordance (NIV)
- RSV Complete Concordance (RSV)
- Cruden’s Complete Concordance (King James Version)
- Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (King James Version)
- Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (King James Version)
Bible Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
Bible dictionaries have articles on a wide range of biblical topics, including historical, cultural, biographical, and geographical issues.
One Volume Dictionaries
- New Bible Dictionary
- New Compact Bible Dictionary
- Unger’s Bible Dictionary
- Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary
- Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible
- The Anchor Bible Dictionary
- The New International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia
- Zondervan Pictorial Bible Encyclopedia
Bible handbooks give introductions to each of the books of the Bible and then briefly survey the contents, chapter by chapter. Some also give background material, maps, charts, etc.
- Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible
- Halley’s Bible Handbook
- Illustrated Bible Handbook, Lawrence Richards, Nelson
- The New Unger’s Bible Handbook
- Victor Handbook of Bible Knowledge
Introductions and Surveys
These are more detailed than handbooks, giving historical, cultural and social background and introductions to each of the books.
- Introductory Guide to the OT, Merrill Unger
- Jensen’s Survey of the Old Testament
- The Old Testament Speaks, S.J. Schultz
- Encountering the New Testament, Walter Elwell
- Jensen’s Survey of the New Testament
- New Testament Survey, M.C. Tenney
Bible History Books
These books examine the historical background to the Old and New Testaments.
- A History of Israel, John Bright
- Bible History – Old Testament, A. Edersheim
- New Testament History, F.F. Bruce
- New Testament Times, M.C. Tenney
- Survey of Israel’s History, L.J. Wood
- Baker’s Bible Atlas
- Hammonds Atlas of the Bible Lands
- Macmillan Bible Atlas
- Oxford Bible Atlas
- Rand McNally Bible Atlas
- Westminster Historical Atlas to the Bible
- The IVP Bible Background, Craig Keener
- New International Commentary, Commentary N.T. & O.T, general edition. F.F. Bruce
Greek and Hebrew Word Helps
- Analytical Greek Lexicon of New Testament, Wigram, Hendrickson
- New Englishman’s Greek Concordance & Lexicon, Wigram-Green, Hendrickson
- Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament words, Nelson
- Word Pictures in the New Testament, A. T. Robertson, Baker