Bible Study Tools

COMMENTARIES (Examples):

Critical/Exegetical —The Expositor’s Greek Testament, W. Robertson Nicoll, editor

Theological—Romans by Charles Hodge

Expositional—Expositors Bible Commentary (12 Volumes), Frank E. Gaebelein, general editor

Devotional—Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Homiletical—The Gospel of John (5 Volumes) by James Montgomery Boice

CONDORDANCES

The following concordances are based on the King James Version, but they are also quite useful for
the New King James Version, since both translations share much of the same vocabulary for
significant words:

The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (Nelson). This concordance exhaustively lists the English
words of the Bible. It also has a system of numbers that lead you to information about the original
Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words used in the passage you are studying. Several other Bible
reference tools use Strong’s numbers to facilitate reference to the original language words. (The New
Strong’s is from Nelson and has additional features; several other publishers offer their own editions
of Strong’s.)

Young’s Analytical Concordance (Nelson and others). Young’s is similar in purpose to Strong’s but
is arranged differently: Under each English word there are separate sections for each original language
word from which that English word has been translated. This makes Young’s a little more
complicated than Strong’s to use for locating passages, but the benefit is that useful information about
the original languages is on the same page with the English words.

Cruden’s Concordance to the Bible (various publishers). Cruden’s has been around in one form or
another since the early 1700s. It is a concordance for locating Bible passages by English word without
reference to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It is smaller and easier to handle than Strong’s and
Young’s, and generally quicker to use. Cruden’s is especially appropriate when your concern is
locating a certain passage.

Large concordances for other translations such as the NASB and the NIV (both from Zondervan) are
available and include help for tracing the words in the original languages, similar to what is available
in Strong’s.

BASIC LIBRARY FOR THE ENGLISH READER

The Comparative Study Bible: NIV, NAS, KJV, AMPLIFIED in parallel columns (Zondervan)

Reader’s Digest Atlas of the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the Holy Land

The Unfolding Drama of Redemption: The Bible as a Whole by W. G. Scroggie (Zondervan)

Living Messages of the Books of the Bible by G. Campbell Morgan (Revell)

An Introduction to the New Testament by D. Edmond Hiebert (Moody, 3 volumes)

Old Testament Times by R. K. Harrison (Eerdmans)

The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Edersheim (Hendrickson)

A Harmony of the Gospels by Thomas & Gundry (Moody)

The New Unger’s Bible Handbook (Moody)

Willmington’s Guide to the Bible (Tyndale)

Strong Exhaustive Concordance (Baker)

NIV Exhaustive Concordance (Zondervan)

The New Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance (Hendrickson)

The New Englishman’s Greek Concordance (Hendrickson)

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Revell)

NASB-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English (Zondervan)

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words (Nelson)

The Revell Bible Dictionary or The Revell Concise Bible Dictionary (Revell)

New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Moody)

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (5 volumes, Zondervan)

A Good English Dictionary

The Moody Handbook of Theology (Moody)

The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker)

Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson (Baker)

Theological Perspectives: Arminian-Wesleyan Reflections on Theology (U.B. in Christ)

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (12 volumes)

Commentaries on the Whole Bible:
Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Baker)
Eerdmans Bible Commentary (Eerdmans)
MacArthur Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson)
The International Bible Commentary (Zondervan)
The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Victor, 2 volumes)
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Hendrickson)
Liberty Bible Commentary (Liberty University, 2 Volumes)

Many of the tools mentioned above and others are free with the downloadable Bible programs on the
internet. Others are in software you can purchase along with thousands of other books and tools for
biblical study. A word of caution, if you research a topic on the internet, you must be careful of its source.
Not all websites are sound biblically or trustworthy when it comes to the Bible.

BIBLE TRANSLATIONS IN ENGLISH

Different Bible translations render the Scriptures into English using different philosophies of translation
to suit the diverse needs of Bible readers. Below is a description of a number of currently available Bible
translations (listed alphabetically):

The Contemporary English Version or CEV (American Bible Society) gives the meaning of the text in
plain modern speech. It smoothes out rough places and eliminates repetition, making it a good choice for
casual reading and devotional use.

The English Standard Version or ESV (Crossway) is noted for its traditional Bible style while using clear
modern language. Based on the Revised Standard Version, it is good for study and doctrinal exactness.

The Good News Translation or GNT, also called Today’s English Version or TEV (American Bible
Society, Zondervan), seeks to express the ideas in scripture as they would be expressed if they were
translated into current English today. It is good for reading and understanding the message of the Bible.

The Holman Christian Standard Bible or HCSB (Broadman & Holman) is a fresh translation in modern
English that seeks to maintain traditional style and accuracy. Its footnotes are highly regarded. It is good
for study, reading, and teaching.

The King James Version or KJV (various publishers), the all-time bestseller for four centuries, is the
choice for those wanting a firmly traditional Bible. It is good for study because of the huge selection of
study helps that are available for it. It is widely used for memorizing and for worship.
The Message (NavPress and others) is a very free retelling of the Bible that expresses the meaning in
language that is often surprising and which grabs the reader’s attention. It is especially good for
devotional reading and discussion.

The New American Bible or NAB (various publishers) was created primarily by and for Roman
Catholics. Accuracy and ease of reading make it useful for school and Catholic teaching. Its detailed
notes and references make it great for study.

The New American Standard Bible or NASB (various publishers) is highly regarded for its literal
accuracy. It is good for word study because it pays close attention to the wording and structure of the
original Hebrew and Greek and attempts to use words consistently.

The New Century Version or NCV (Nelson) is a clear and accurate translation. It’s good for devotional
reading and group study, and useful for outreach and for people new to Bible reading.

The New International Version or NIV (International Bible Society, Zondervan, and others) is widely
used. A fresh translation that combines meaning-based and formal translation, it maintains a fairly
traditional Bible sound. It is very good for reading and individual or group study.

The New King James Version or NKJV (Nelson and others) seeks to maintain the traditional King James
style and accuracy while using up-to-date English. It is good for devotional use and study. Many good
study and application-oriented Bibles use the NKJV.

The New Living Translation or NLT (Tyndale) was prepared with the goal of making the Bible especially
usable for reading aloud in group teaching or worship settings. It presents the meaning of the Bible in
common, everyday language.

The New Revised Standard Version or NRSV (various publishers) maintains a traditional Bible style. The
NRSV uses gender-inclusive language and is preferred by many in academic and mainline
denominational settings. It is both accurate and readable, making it a good choice for study or devotions.

Today’s New International Version or TNIV (International Bible Society and Zondervan) updates the
language of the New International Version, provides some improvements for better accuracy, and uses
gender-inclusive language. It is good for reading and group study.

The New International Reader’s Version or NIRV (International Bible Society and Zondervan) uses
language understandable by children and other early readers. It is good for education and outreach to
learners and nonreaders.

The International Children’s Bible or ICB (Nelson) uses short, simple sentences that can be read easily by
children and other early readers.

Parallel Bibles: for comparing different Bible translations side by side.

The Parallel Study Bible (NKJV, NCV, Message, commentary; Nelson). This study tool, a first of its
kind, offers a formal translation, a functional translation, a free translation, and a commentary in parallel
columns.

Hendrickson Parallel Bible (KJV, NKJV, NIV, NLT; Hendrickson). This parallel Bible offers a
combination of the four best selling Bible translations (at time of publication).
Essential Evangelical Parallel Bible (NKJV, ESV, NLT, Message; Oxford). Four different translations
that are all popular with evangelical Christians.
Daily reading Bibles: for pursuing a steady practice of reading passages from the Bible day by day.

The NKJV Daily Bible (Nelson). There are portions from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms,
and Proverbs for every day of the year. It takes you through the entire Bible in one year.

The MacArthur Daily Bible (Nelson). The portions are similar to the ones in The NKJV Daily Bible, but in
this one there are notes and articles for each day from Bible teacher John MacArthur.

The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible (Nelson). The NKJV text is arranged similarly to the
two above, with notes and articles from Dr. Stanley based on his Life Principles Bible.

The One Year Bible (Tyndale, Crossway). A one-year daily reading Bible available in various translations
including the KJV, NLT, NIV, and ESV.

The One Year Chronological Bible (Tyndale). This daily reading Bible arranges the passages in the
historical order in which they most likely occurred. Available with NIV or NLT.

Other study Bibles: for seeing how different study Bibles, both general and specialized, have applied the
scriptures to the reader’s needs.

The MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV or NASB; Nelson). With detailed expository notes from John
MacArthur and his associates at the Master’s Seminary.

The King James Study Bible (Nelson). A longtime standard for King James users, includes theologically
conservative notes from a team assembled by Liberty University.

The Blackaby Study Bible (NKJV; Nelson). Henry Blackaby, the bestselling author of Experiencing God,
and his sons Richard, Melvin, Thomas, and Norman have written a set of notes to help Bible students
have daily encounters with God as He speaks to us through His Word.

The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible (NKJV; Nelson). Dr. Stanley’s thirty Life Principles derived
from his years of Bible teaching and pastoral ministry are explained and applied throughout the books of
the Old and New Testaments.

The Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible, NKJV (Kirkbride and Nelson). Generations have
appreciated Thompson’s numbered topical chain reference system, detailed index, and numerous other
study helps. Available also in the original KJV and other translations.

The Open Bible (KJV, NASB, or NKJV; Nelson). A longtime favorite, this study Bible features detailed
book introductions, outlines, the Christian’s Guide to the New Life notes, the Biblical Cyclopedic Index,
and end-of-verse references.

The NIV Study Bible (also available for NASB, TNIV, KJV; Zondervan). A general study Bible with a
thorough set of trustworthy and balanced expository notes written by reliable scholars. A bestseller since
the 1980s.

The Life Application Bible (KJV, NLT, or NIV; Tyndale). This study Bible was a pioneer in providing
notes that focus on the practical application of scripture. Still a favorite.

The New Scofield Study Bible (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, or ESV; Oxford). Since 1909, Scofield Bibles
have been teaching the dispensational premillennial approach to Bible study. The New Scofield was first
published with it revised set of notes in 1967. (Abstracted from 2007 The NKJV Study Bible, pp. 20662070).

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