Bible Study Resources
Here are some the different kinds of Bible Study Resources available. These are some the main references tools used for serious study of the Bible. I include a page for each type of resource for Bible study and give the title of each book and short descriptions.
These Bible Study tools were written by top Bible scholars and represent mainstream academic Bible research. The theological perspectives of the scholars who produced these resources for bible study are usually moderate. Some of these scholars are liberal theologically and some are moderately conservative. The work of both and Protestant and Catholic scholars is represented, sometimes within the same book. Almost all biblical scholars use the same kinds methods for studying the bible, so personal differences in theology do not effect biblical scholarship as much as one might think.
Most of these Bible study resources are designed for the average reader with little or no knowledge of the Bible. Sometimes I have include include more advanced Bible study resources that scholar use after the more basic Bible study resources.
The most important tools for Bible study are Bible Translations. The Bible was written ancient Hebrew and Greek, so a translations are necessary. There are many different translations and kinds of translations. I have reviewed the major translations and provided some guidelines for choosing between translations.
In addition to the different translations of the Bible, there are lots of different types of Bibles. Study Bibles are Bibles with introductory articles, notes, maps, diagrams, and sometimes pictures. A Study Bible will usually have an introductions to each book of the Bible, and sometimes to the different sections of the Bible. There may also be articles on topics such as biblical interpretation, the cultural contexts of the Bible, literary contexts of the Bible, archeology, biblical history, etc. Study Bibles also contain notes at the bottom of the page that are a kind of brief running commentary. These notes are especially useful with difficult or obscure passages. These notes also often provide historical, cultural, or theological information. Different interpretations of a given passage of the Bible are also often presented.
For a more in-deph study of a particular biblical book or passage, Bible Commentaries are extremely useful. Bible Commentaries have introductory discussions of a book or group of books along with section-by-section or verse-by-verse interpretive notes. There are many commentaries that are vary basic and are written with beginners in mind, as well as more advanced commentaries written for scholars. There are single volume commentaries that cover the whole Bible, multivolume sets that cover the whole Bible, and single volume commentaries that cover one biblical book or group of books. Some commentaries have a more academic emphases, focusing on historical or theological issues, while others are more spiritual and devotional.
A more general Bible reference tool is the Bible dictionary. Bible Dictionaries have articles on different general topics related to the Bible and are arranged alphabetically. For example: a book or section of the Bible, a person in the Bible, theological terms or other important words in the Bible, biblical archeology, biblical interpretation, ancient culture, money, pottery, or just about anything you can think of. There are single volume Bible Dictionaries that are written with beginners primarily in mind, and more in-depth multivolume Bible Dictionaries designed for pastors and/or scholars.
Knowing about the places mentioned in the Bible and biblical geography is also very helpful in understanding the Bible. A Bible Atlas is filled with maps of the biblical world, and specific places mentioned in the Bible. Bible Atlases also contain maps depicting biblical events such as the Exodus and the missionary journeys of Paul. In addition, bible atlases contain archeological information about important places in the bible.
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