Monday, March 26, 2012

Study to be Approved (Part I)

Basic Tools For Effective bible Study

My wife and I got hooked on a "reality" TV show of all things. The show is called Gold Rush and it is on the Discovery Channel. It features in a documentary form six (6) men from Sandy, OR as "rookie" gold-miners digging for gold in the Klondike. I noticed from the first two seasons that a major problem with this outfit is improper tools. Their heavy mining equipment is either too old, or has been"run hard and put away wet," or may not be the right equipment for the job.

In life, the proper tools or equipment is essential to do well and to achieve any measure of success. The Apostle Paul told his young protege, Timothy"

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." (I Timothy 2:15, ESV)

In order to study the bible well and spiritually profitable one must have the right tools. Here is a list of the bare minimum tools one must have to effectively interpret the Scriptures accurately from a grammatical, historical, and contextual context. Other than the bible you only need one each of the following reference tools. Although there is nothing set in stone concerning how many translations of the bible you use for study, I think you should have the top five (5) versions and at least one paraphrase. (see 1c)

1.       Bible

          a.         bible with no para graphic notations or divisions
            b.         Main translation that you are very confident and comfortable with
            c.         KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, NIV – Paraphrase NLT

2.       Concordance

          a.       Young’s Analytical
            b.         Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
            c.         Concordance for the Bible Version you use

3.       Dictionary

          a.         English - Webster’s English Dictionary
            b.         Bible -  The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Davis Dictionary of the Bible
            c.         Theological – Baker’s Dictionary of Practical Theology, Evangelical  Dictionary of Theology
            d.         Greek/Hebrew -  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

4.       Encyclopedias

          a.         The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (5 volumes)
            b.         The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) (4 volumes)

5.       Cultural Helps

          a.         Manners and Custom’s of the Bible
            b.         The New Unger’s Bible Handbook
            c.         New Testament Times: Understanding the World of the First Century

6.       Atlas

          a.         Baker’s Bible Atlas
            b.         Moody’s Atlas of Bible Lands
            c.         Bible Maps and Charts 

7.       Theology/Doctrine

          a.         Systematic Theology by Grudem
            b.         Institutes of Christian Religion by Calvin
            c.         Christian Theology  by Erickson

8.       Commentaries

          a.         One Volume – The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, MacArthur Bible Commentary
            b.         Multi Volume – MacArthur’s; Hendricksen’s
            c.         Single Volume – Wuest; Newell, Lenski, Leupold, Pink, Heibert, etc.

9.       Bible Study Software

          a.         Online Bible (free)
            b.         e-Sword (free)
            c.         Bible Works (for PC-not free)
            d.         Libronix Digital Library System


Persis said...

Very helpful list of resources. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I agree 110% ... we need to prepare, we need to have all of gear on when it comes to digging in God's Soil ..His Holy Word for hidden beneath the top soil is awesome treasures of great value...have a blessed Monday

Leslie Wolf said...

The first two sentences made me laugh, but the rest of the paragraph made me laugh even more - you should contact the people at the show and advise them to buy some new equipment!

Anyway, thanks for the post. I realize that I could really use a concordance or two, and there are some other items here that would be helpful for me.

The quote from 1 Tim is quite apt.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I love reality shows also. I enjoyed your account on the one you like.