Leading and teaching Bible studies requires us to have sound resources. Here's a list of essential minimum resources I suggest for every Bible student’s library:
1. A STUDY BIBLE with cross-references, book outlines/analyses, and basic concordance. Recommended translations include the NASB (New American Standard-updated edition); NIV (New International Version); ESV-English Standard Version (2001), NKJV (New King James Version): or NLT (New Living Translation). Prices range from $20 to $40 for a basic hardcover Bible.
2. An EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE for the translation you use most. These run from about $25 to $50 each depending on sales.
3. A BIBLE DICTIONARY –recommended titles include:
The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Three Volumes edited by J. D. Douglas, (based on the former New Bible Dictionary); Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary (R. Youngblood, editor with F.F. Bruce and R.K. Harrison); The New International Bible Dictionary (J.D. Douglas & Merrill C. Tenney, editors); Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible Dictionary (M.C. Tenney, editor); Holman Bible Dictionary edited by Trent C. Butler; Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible edited by David Noel Freedman; and Richards’ Complete Bible Dictionary by Larry Richards.
4. AN ENGLISH DICTIONARY—current collegiate editions will be most helpful.
5. BIBLE HANDBOOK—recommended titles include:
Zondervan’s Handbook to the Bible (formerly entitled Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible) edited by Pat and David Alexander; The Illustrated Concise Bible Handbook by Lawrence O. Richards; and Halley’s Bible Handbook with the New International Version by Dr. Henry Halley (Zondervan) (this is an update of the original Halley’s)
6. A TOPICAL BIBLE—recommended titles include:
Zondervan NIV Nave’s Topical Bible (Kohlenberger, editor); Nave’s Topical Bible, Revised and Enlarged by Orville Nave (Zondervan publishers); Baker Topical Guide to the Bible (Walter A. Elwell, editor); NKJV Macarthur Topical Bible by John Macarthur, Jr. (Thomas Nelson/Word publishers); and Where To Find It in the Bible: The Ultimate A-Z Resource by Ken Andeson (Thomas Nelson/ Word Publishers).
7. A PARALLEL BIBLE (or two or three additional Bible translations that differ from what you normally use)—recommended titles include:
Today’s Parallel Bible (includes the KJV, NIV, NASB, and NLT listed in side-by-side columns) (Zondervan publishers); Comparative Study Bible, Revised (includes the NIV, KJV, the updated 1995 NASB, and the Amplified Bible in side-by-side columns) (Zondervan); the
CBD Parallel Bible (KJV, NKJV, NIV, NLT); and The Essential Evangelical Parallel Bible (NKJV, ESV,NLT, The Message).
8. A GOOD BIBLE ATLAS. My personal favorite is the Holman Bible Atlas.
These are the tools I use regularly and find the most helpful. These are also the resources I'd recommend every Bible study teacher and small group leader have at their disposal. Many are available at Christian Book Distributors and at Amazon for used or reduced prices.
Happy resource hunting!
That's it for now,