Most churches do not stress the arsenal of research tools that are necessary for a Bible student to carry out better, more competent, Bible study. As a consequence, many Christ-followers do not have a clue that they need research tools, much less what research tools they ought to have in their library. Such research tools are necessary to accomplish competent Bible study because of the cultural and language differences from 21st Century America. A November 6. 2019, article by Lindsay Olesberg at biblestudytips.com entitled “9 Research Tools for Bible Study” is an instructive listing of Bible study tools. The article comes from the book The Bible Study Handbook by Lindsay Olesberg. The internet link to the article is https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/tips/research-tools-for-bible-study.html . I suggest you review that article.
Using Olesberg’s list as a guide, I have set out corresponding research tools in my library. In future blog posts, I plan to elaborate on the tools I use. While most of the citations are to paper tools, the most comprehensive research tool in my arsenal is the Logos 8 Bible study materials. I strongly recommend the Logos 8 materials.
The first research tool is a Bible Background Commentary. This tool provides basic background material that often, the student cannot obtain from the biblical text itself. The sources in my library include Jensen’s Survey of the Old Testament, (1978) Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois; An Introduction to the Old Testament 2nd Edition by Longman III and Dillard (1994, 2006), Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Old Testament Survey 2nd Edition by Hosue and Mitchell (2007) B&H Academic, Nashville, Tennessee; Jensen’s Survey of the New Testament, (1981), Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois; and An Introduction to the New Testament 2nd Edition by Arson and Moo, (1992, 2005) Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan. These research tools provide a wealth of background data for the Bible student.
The second research tool is a Bible dictionary. I use the dictionaries in the Logos 8 library, and these include Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers, and Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001), and Tyndale Bible dictionary (pp. 504–505). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
The third research tool is a Bible concordance. Bible concordances are in most English translations and for every English word list citation and the corresponding Hebrew or Greek word. I use The New American Standard (updated edition) Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, The NIV Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (King James Version).
I also use the Wigram Englishman’s Hebrew-Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament. This reference is keyed to Strong’s Numbers and cites each usage in the Old Testament of a particular Hebrew word. My library also contains The Englishman’s Greek Concordance of the New Testament, and this book carries out a similar function for the Greek usages in the New Testament. The Englishman’s resources are important to identify usages of the original language words rather than rely on the English translations.
The fourth research tool is a Cross-Referencing Bible. This kind of Bible cites references to a specific passage that is deemed by the editors or publisher to be relevant. This kind of Bible is a helpful resource. My library contains the following Bibles with a cross-referencing feature: The New Inductive Study Bible (NASB95 translation) published by Harvest House Publishers in Eugene, Oregon; The NIV Study Bible (New International Version) published by Zondervan; Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible published by Dake Bible Sales; and the ESV Study Bible (English Standard Version translation) published by Crossway.
The fifth research tool is a Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. This resource is not in my library but will be within a couple of weeks. I look forward to the insights it adds to my Bible study.
The sixth research tool is an English Dictionary.Sometimes it helps to know for certain the definition of an English word used in one’s English translation of the Bible. I use a desk dictionary (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). My library also includes two larger dictionaries: Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language and The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (the compact version corresponds to the twenty-volume edition and comes with a magnifying glass).
The seventh research tool is an Interlinear Bible. An interlinear Bible matches up the Hebrew or Greek words with the English word. Sometimes this kind of a Bible includes Strong’s Numbers. I use the interlinear Bible resources in Logos 8.
Research tools that relate to an interlinear Bible are lexicons (or dictionaries) of the original languages. I like to use Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words published by Zondervan, and Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Also, the Logos 8 database contains many helpful lexicons.
The eighth research tool is a book of Maps.These are very helpful to understand the biblical narrative better. The map books in my library are Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible and Carta’s New Century Handbook and Atlas of the Bible.
The ninth research tool is a Study Bible. Study Bibles are great, but one has to keep in mind that the editor has a specific theology. The study Bibles I use are The John MacArthur Study Bible, The Life Application Study Bible (New Living Translation), and the NET Bible. I also use a Comparative Study Bible (NASB, NIV, Amplified, and KJV translations) published by Zondervan.
In addition to the nine research tools listed above, I believe it is helpful for a Bible student’s library to contain the following additional resources.
Books on how to study the Bible. My library contains a lot of “how to study the Bible” books, but my favorites are: How to Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur et al., Inductive Bible Study by Bauer & Traina, Knowable Word by Peter Krol, and The Hermeneutical Spiral by Grant Osborne.
Systematic theology books. My library includes Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, a shorter version by Dr. Grudem entitled Bible Doctrine, and Practical Christian Theology by Floyd H. Barrackman.
This article at biblestudytips.com has caused me to organize better my research tools. I highly recommend that all Bible students read Lindsay Olesberg’s article. 1 LIKES