Several years ago I attended a two-day conference that focused on improving a Bible teacher’s speaking skills. What I didn’t know was that I would walk away with more than helpful tips on being a better communicator. I was convicted that my bookshelves were scarce with good study resources.
Fast forward. Not only have I spent years accumulating good study tools for personal Bible study, I’ve added volumes of resources that help me with theologically sound research. If you lead a Bible study or just want to improve your personal Bible study skills, consider adding these to your library.
1. The Bible. Now that sounds obvious, doesn’t it? If you are going to be a student of the Bible, own several. This includes having several translations and several study Bibles. You can find several options online that offer ways to look at parallel translations so you can get a good look at how translators have stayed true to the original language and readability. If you haven’t purchased the new Christian Standard Bible, I recommend you add one to your library.
2. Concordance. Many study Bibles will have basic concordances in the back of the Bible, but consider having an exhaustive concordance. Make sure the concordance parallels your favorite translation.
3. Maps. Again, many Bibles have maps in the back, but a good atlas will offer not only maps, but also history and information about the culture and context of Scripture. I have two new atlases and have found them to be extremely helpful.
4. Bible dictionary and encyclopedia. Several years ago I purchased a large Bible dictionary, and while I can find several things online, I still enjoy pulling it off the bookshelf and digging in.
5. Commentaries. There are many commentaries from which to choose, but look beyond the free commentaries provided online. Many of them are older, and there is much to be gleaned from commentaries that are more recent.
6. Lexicons. These will help you understand the original language and provide different perspectives of how words were used.
7. Online tools. Don’t have the resources to purchase a lot of these tools? Consider online tools such as myWSB (my WORDsearch Bible). You can download Bibles, commentaries, and reference tools as well as add book titles to your customized account. I don’t have space for a lot of commentaries, but I have access to several volumes by using this tool.
2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.”
If you want to be a better Bible student and handle God’s Word accurately, never stop learning with these helpful resources.
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources and oversees the YOU Lead events. Join her this year and get to know her heart for ministry leaders. Follow her on Twitter @kellydking.