Purpose of this Session
There are many ‘tools’ that can aid our Study of the Scriptures, which are readily available from Christian bookshops and other good bookshops, and via the internet.
• STRONGS EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE
Strong’s Concordance is a reference tool which allows the student to look up every occurrence of a particular word in the King James Bible (concordances are also available for other translations such as the NIV and the NASB). Furthermore it features a system of reference allowing the student to then find the original Hebrew or Greek words and their meanings from which the English was translated.
EXAMPLE: The word “prosper” in Psalm 1 verse 3. We look up the word “prosper” in our Strong’s and find our Bible reference ‘Ps 1:3’ in the list. The number beside our scripture ref. is #6743. This number connects us to the original word from which the English “prosper” was translated. As we are considering an Old Testament verse we would find #6743 in the Hebrew lexicon (NT references are in Greek). If we turn there we find:
#6743. tsaw-lakh´; or tsaw-lay´-akh; a primitive root; to push forward, in various senses (literal or figurative, transitive or intransitive):—break out, come (mightily), go over, be good, be meet, be profitable, (cause to, effect, make to, send) prosper(-ity, -ous, -ously).
This greatly expands our understanding of the word ‘prosper’ in its original context.
Other popular Lexicons include Thayer’s Greek Lexicon for the New Testament and Brown, Driver and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon for the Old Testament. These tools can further extend our search of the original languages. Vines Expository Dictionary also expands on the original meanings and can be very helpful for the serious Bible student.
NOTE: ‘Strong’s Strongest Concordance’ also contains a topical index which can be helpful, Hendrickson Publishers produce a Strong’s which includes a CD Rom with Bibles, Concordance and other materials for the PC.
Free Bible tools are available online which include Strong’s. See section on ‘Computer Programs’ for more info.
• Halley’s Handbook to the Bible
Universally praised as one of the best handbooks to the Bible ever produced, Halley’s Handbook is a great addition to any library, providing a gateway to greater understanding and appreciation of the Scriptures. A brilliant book!
• BIBLE Encyclopedia and dictionary
A good Bible Encyclopedia is an essential tool providing students easy reference to almost any subject. They provide geographic, historic and archaeological, and cultural insights that may not be clear from the Bible itself and otherwise unknown by the student. A well-illustrated version provides more interesting reading. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia and Zondervan Pictoral Encyclopedia of the Bible are some of the most popular (each comes in four volumes). The Holman Bible Dictionary is a one volume reference work which is also very sound. Smith’s and Easton’s are also very popular dictionaries.
Many commentaries are available and the student must be aware that any commentary contains the doctrinal slant and opinion of the author, and therefore no one commentary can be considered fully or finally authoritative. They provide the student with a rich resource however, allowing us to enjoy the fruits of others studies and devotions. It is my opinion that a commentary should be clothed with a devotion to God and a reverence for the Bible as God’s unerring Word however, because some ‘commentaries’ seek to undermine more than to edify. Recommendations of one-volume commentaries available on the market are the classic ‘Matthew Henry’s’ and the excellent Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s commentary on the whole Bible.
• COMPUTER PROGRAMS
Many Bible packages are available for electronic study. Some of the most popular are listed below.
Quickverse: Reasonably priced with a large library of available titles. The interface is not as smooth as it could be but nevertheless a very noteworthy package. Nelsons Electronic Reference Library is also a very good package with some neat features for study and note making. The Logos PC library is also very extensive. The PC Study Bible was highly recommended by Rod Anderson, and exceptional Bible teacher friend of mine.
Quickverse is also available for Mac albeit in a limited way. The Online Bible for Mac is an excellent and very reasonable priced package (the version for OS 10 not yet available however). By far the best package for Mac users is Accordance (this can also be purchased and used on PC’s with Mac Emulation software (available from Accordance sellers)). This package is beautifully constructed, and allows in depth Bible study at the click of a few buttons, it is however quite expensive compared to other software packages available (but worth it!).
Many websites offer free tools for Bible study. Two of the best are:
Blue Letter Bible. www.blueletterbible.org
Broad resource including many bibles and commentaries. Also includes audio bible commentaries by renowned Bible teachers. Excellent.
Downloadable and expandable Bible study software for PC and PocketPC. Includes many non-English Bible versions.