Friday, June 12, 2015

Six Essential Resources for a Home Bible Study Library

If you wanted to invest in a home study library to deepen your knowledge of the Bible, what resources would you put into it? This is a question I have received from a number of people over the years who want to build both a comprehensive but concise set of books that will be great resources for their personal study at home.

Having given the question some thought, here's what I would recommend you purchase to have a great little library which will reward you with a lifetime of study. The good news is that if you purchase all of these resources as "used" on Amazon, your total cost will be about $75. If you are willing to spend just $75, you can have a great study bible and all the resources you need to dive into it for less than a Benjamin Franklin. In fact, you'll have enough money left over to go out to lunch [note: some of the resources below are available in newer editions, but I don't think they are necessary, follow my links and save some money].

So, here's what I recommend. A study bible, a topical bible, a one-volume commentary, a bible dictionary, a bible atlas, and a book of theology.

1) ESV Study Bible. It's not the only study bible on the market, but in my opinion, it is one of the best. Here's a decent review of the ESV if you want more information. The ESV study bible is the one I recommend when people consult me before they purchase a study bible. Go with a used hardcover or paperback from Amazon ($15-20 used).

2) Macarthur Topical Bible. There are lots of different topical bibles on the market, I like the MTB because the complete verses are included. A topical bible arranges all the Scriptures on an important Bible topic, such as marriage, end times, the Holy Spirit, and money management, etc. in one place and makes them instantly available - not just the references but the entire passage. Next to the Bible, this is the best companion a Christian can have for in-depth study for thousands of spiritual subjects ($10 used). Here's a preview of what a page looks like in the MTB:

3) The Transforming Word. A one-volume commentary is a one-stop resource on the whole bible. For most people, I don't recommend a commentary set, just a one-volume commentary. In this one, fifty contributors worked over seven years to produce this monumental work. In one volume, there are over 1100 pages of in-depth commentary. All 66 books of the Bible are explored ($36 used).

4) The New Bible DictionaryThis resource is more like an encyclopedia than simply a dictionary. The scholarship is great and the book is an essential resource for those who are conducting more in-depth study of the Bible. It contains a number of articles from a range of scholars on pretty much every person, place, book and other thing in the Bible, arranged from A-Z ($6 used).

5) The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands.  This bible atlas integrates the geography of Bible lands with the teachings of the Bible. Its one hundred thousand words provide useful commentary for more than ninety detailed maps of Palestine, the Mediterranean, the Near East, the Sinai, and Turkey. Learn of God's protection and guidance by following Israel's forty-year sojourn in the wilderness. Appreciate the results of the Great Commission to 'teach all nations' by seeing the scope of Paul's three missionary journeys ($1 used).  

6) Millard Erickson's Christian Theology. This is a book of theology, a discipline of study which seeks to understand God as revealed in the Bible and to provide a Christian understanding of reality. You will find Erickson's theology to be balanced and helpful in assembling all the Bible says on a particular topic, whether God, humanity, salvation, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church, and the End Times. An essential resource to round out your home study library ($10 used)