Saturday, January 7, 2017

6 Must-Have Bible study tools

So in my last video I talked about basic rules for your personal Bible Study. What I want to do in this video is to walk you through some must-have tools and resources to give you the cutting edge in rightly handling God’s word.

1. Commentaries

Bible commentaries aid in the study of Scripture by providing explanation and interpretation of Biblical text. Whether you are just beginning to read Scripture or have been studying the Bible daily, commentaries offer greater understanding with background information on authorship, history, setting, and theme.

2. Concordances

A concordance is a listing of words and phrases found in Bible and shows where the terms occur throughout all books of Scripture. With cross-references for verses, concordances make it easy to understand the meaning of terms and the context in which those words are used.

Suggested resource:
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is the most widely known and popular and includes Greek and Hebrew dictionaries for a better understanding of the original meaning.

3. Dictionaries and Lexicons

Lexicons provide definitions and meaning of Biblical words found in the original New Testament Greek and Old Testament Hebrew languages of the Holy Bible.
They provide a concise meaning of the original Hebrew and Greek words, often providing Bible verse references as examples. If there are several Greek words that may translate to the same English word, the Lexicon will distinguish the connotation that may be lost in the English translation. This helps in understanding the origins and root meaning of the ancient language. Additionally, lexicons give the context and cultural meaning intended by the authors.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testaments

4. Systematic Theologies

A Systematic theology will outline essential Christian Doctrines based on how they are presented throughout the entirety of Scripture from Genesis through to Revelation. Now just like a commentary, Systematic Theologies will of course lean in favour to the views and opinions of the scholar, so it may be a good idea to grab a few different ones just so you get a balanced perspective.

My recommendations:

Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
Know the Truth by Bruce Milne
Pilgrim Theology by Michael Horton

6. Study Bibles

A good study bible will include the standard Bible text, as well as tools such as commentary, maps, an index and a brief theology overview. Now in today’s technological age, you can get a study Bible either in hardcopy format, or you can purchase it as an app from iTunes or Google Play.

My weapon of Choice: The ESV Study Bible

Which brings me to my last and most versatile tool:

6. Bible Study software

Now lets be honest: having all these thick, hardcover books on your shelf in your living room on display will command instant respect and just screams “hardcore nerd.”

But let’s also be practical: what if you’re on the move and you still want to have these tools on hand when you need them?
Answer – go digital with Bible software. You just open the app on your tablet of computer’s desktop, and there you go – instant access to all of your Bible translations, commentaries, dictionaries at the click of a button.

Now the price of the various packages and what they contain will vary. On one end of the scale you have E-Sword which you can download for free and will give you all of the above resources mentioned with the option of purchasing additional modules should you choose.
On the other end you have Logos 7, whose starter Library package will set you back $135, though for the full portfolio you will spend as much as $4000. As one who uses the Logos starter pack, I will say that you definitely get what you pay for, and with their new cloud feature, you have the added plus of downloading any content you already purchased in the event of your computer’s hard drive getting wiped.

So whether you decide to go with hard copy or digital, these tools will surely up your game and uncover those treasures in your studies.
So have fun, and I look forward to talking to you soon!

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