Torch, Fall 1979

good Bible study helps are keyed to the King James Version. Use of the authorized version would be the best place to start effective study. Probably the most important supplemental study tool is a complete concordance of the Bible. Although small, abridged concordances such as those included in Bibles may be helpful, the exhaustive concordances offer the most potential in accurately and completely following a word, concept or theme through the Bible. Henry Morris III, in his book Explore the Word!, advocates that the only Bible study help you need is a concordance. The function of exhaustive concordances is to list every word used in the English text so that the Bible student can find every use of any word. Concordances also list all the words of the original language used and provide basic meanings of all Hebrew and Greek words. Bible students with little or no knowledge of the original language can still do a fair job at word studies. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Abingdon) and Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible (Eerdman's) are the two most commonly used concordances. Each has a slightly different approach to listing words, but both provide similar information. Although both are excellent concordances, those who have had little experience in their use might prefer Strong's. Next to good exhaustive concordances, Bible dictionaries are an important part of a basic Bible study library. So much in the culture, geography, terminology and practice of Biblical times is foreign to the Bible student today that adequate explanations are necessary. Bible dictionaries provide historical and cultural background information to understanding the meanings of some Scriptural passages. They also include introductions and outlines of each book of the Bible and basic explanations of fundamental Bible doctrines. Two very adequate Bible dictionaries are Unger's Bible Dictionary (Moody) and Zondervan's Pictorial Bible Dictionary (Zondervan). For those who desire a more extensive (and more expensive) treatment, multi-volume encyclopedias are available. The five– volume Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (Zondervan) or the two-volume Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia (Moody) would be fine additions to the basic library. Bible dictionaries include maps and geographical information, but more specialized Bible atlases are often helpful. Since much of the Bible is a text of history, geography and politics, settings are important in understanding the development of Biblical history. Bible atlases are more than collections of maps. They provide users with summaries of historical events, geographical explanations and discussions of the relationships between geographical locations during various Biblical eras. Good atlases will also clarify the changing configurations of political boundaries during different periods of history. Two good Bible atlases are Zondervan's Pictorial Atlas of the Bible (Zondervan) and Baker's Bible Atlas (Baker). Both provide not only maps but also extensive geographical and historical background information. For those desiring greater detail in an atlas, the Macmillan Bible Atlas (Macmillan) includes more than 160 maps with accompanying discussion. Bible handbooks are effective tools for providing basic background material in easy-to-use formats. Because Bible dictionaries are arranged alphabetically, you as a Bible student may sometimes have difficulty in finding a topic because you don't know under which word to look. Bible handbooks alleviate this problem somewhat because they are arranged according to the books of the Bible. These inexpensive Bible study helps combine some of the information in a dictionary with the chapter-by-chapter arrangement of a Bible commentary. Bible handbooks then become brief reference volumes for the Bible student who has few or no commen– taries. Chapter-by-chapter summaries of the entire text of the Bible and the archaeological and historical background help provide a good introduction to each book of the Bible. The most famous and most highly recommended by Bible scholars is Halley's Bible Handbook (Zondervan) . An equally helpful tool is the Unger's Bible Handbook (Moody). Since we commonly study the Bible in English and since many Bible students have little knowledge of the original language, an English language dictionary is a must in Bible study. Much can be gleaned from the meaning of an English word used to translate the original word, and the etymologies or histories of English words can do much to provide insight into the facets of the interpretation of words used in the English text. A good desk dictionary like Webster's New World Dictionary (Collins-World) or the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (American Heritage) would be excellent purchases. The basic Bible study library then includes: Good cross-reference Bible Exhaustive concordance Bible dictionary Bible atlas Bible handbook English language dictionary These few volumes will provide you, the Bible student, with tools necessary for discovering on your own some of the truths of Scripture. With the exclusion of the Bible and the English language dictionary, $50 will purchase this basic library-a reasonable investment in the joy of personal discovery. Mr. Brock is Director of Library Services for Cedarville College. 13