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Building a Basic Teacher’s Library

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|   | | Return | Building a Basic Teacher’s LibraryEvery person involved in the church’s teaching ministries will want to build a library to enhance his or her own Bible study and enrich the learning experiences of the student.The following is a list of books that can be considered the core of a good library. Begin here and then branch out.Concordances An exhaustive concordance contains a listing of all the times and places a given word is used in the Bible. In addition, it will help the student find all of the various Greek and Hebrew words translated by a particular English word. It can also be used to discover the various ways a particular Greek or Hebrew word has been translated in an English Bible. In most cases, concordances contain brief and basic definitions of various Greek or Hebrew words (usually in a dictionary section).There are two well-known concordances for general study. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.Young’s Concordance–Known for the ease with which the Bible student can find all the various ways a Greek or Hebrew word is translated into English. Also noted for the ease with which a student can find every place a particular Greek or Hebrew word is used in the Bible.Strong’s Concordance–Well known for its numbering system that aids the student in easily finding the particular Greek or Hebrew word used in a particular location without any knowledge of the original languages. Several important other word study tools are coded to Strong’s numbering system.Young, Robert. Analytical Concordance to the Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1982 (based on the King James Version, the edition I have cited also includes the Strong’s numbers in the Index-lexicon) Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1947. (based on the King James Version)Rick, Edward W. and Kohlenderger, John R. NIV Exhaustive Concordance. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990. (Advantages of both Young’s and Strong’s)Thomas, Robert L. New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance. Nashville, TN: Holman, 1981. (Much like a NASV Strong’s)Lexicons A lexicon is really a dictionary of the Hebrew and Greek words found in the Bible. A lexicon gives the meaning of various Bible words as used in various representative contexts. It is helpful to know the Hebrew and Greek alphabets to use them. Fortunately, some have been coded to the Strong’s Concordance numbering system (I have placed an asterisk beside these below). It is necessary to use a Hebrew lexicon for the Old Testament and a Greek lexicon for the New Testament–consequently you’ll end up purchasing two of them.*Gesenius, William. Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon. Reprint. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979. *Thayer, Joseph H. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Reprint. Grand Rapids, MI. Baker, 1979.Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs. Hebrew and English Lexicon. New York: Oxford, 1952.Bauer, Walter. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Translated ed. W.F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich. 2nd rev. aut. ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1979.Theological wordbooks Theological wordbooks contain major articles on various significant Hebrew or Greek Words in the Bible. The student will find information regarding how these words came to be, how the meaning of the word changed over time, how the word was used in ancient times and what it meant in secular literature, as well as slight differences of meaning and emphasis that might exist in synonymous words in the Bible.Barclay, William. New Testament Words. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1964. Brown, Colin, gen. ed. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 3 vols. Grand Rapids, WI: Zondervan, 1975-78.*Harris, R. Laird, Ed. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. 2 vols. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1981. (Coded to Strong’s Concordance in the index)*Kittel, Gehard, and Friedrich, Gerhard, eds. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Abridged in one volume by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985. (The English student is assisted by an English index.)Winter, Ralph D. and Roberta H., eds. The Word Study New Testament. Pasedena, CA: William Carey Library, 1978. (This excellent tool suggests word study tools to consult for help with the meaning of Bible words)Bible Dictionaries and Encyclopedias Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias are excellent and essential tools for the Bible student. They contain significant articles dealing with a variety of Bible related topics: Introductory articles on books of the Bible, important people in the Bible, places in the Bible, key Bible words, important theological concepts, articles on other historical, cultural and geographical matters mentioned in Scripture. They will also, in most cases give invaluable bibliographies, pointing you to sources for additional information on a topic. Although price may limit you for a while, making it necessary for you to purchase a one-volume Bible dictionary, in the end it is well worth your while to save money and purchase a multi-volume set. This kind of tool is necessary purchase for anyone involved in Bible study.*Douglas, J.D. ed. The New Bible Dictionary. 1 vol. Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan, 1975. *Bromiley, Geoffrey W. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Rev. ed. 4 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979-87.Buttrick, George Arthur, ed. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. 4 vols. (addnl supplementary volume, Keith Crim, ed.) New York: Abingdon, 1962.Tenney, Merrill C., ed. Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. 5 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1975.CommentariesIt is best to purchase commentaries by authors who have proven expertise in particular books of the Bible rather than sets of commentaries. Generally it is best to select commentaries that assist with the meaning of a passage rather than application, sermon ideas or personal inspiration. Some commentaries fulfill both functions. Consult commentaries that address the biblical writers’ purpose, are based on an analysis of the reading of the original languages, that provide objective discussion of various possible meanings, that discuss the historical and cultural background of the text. The following sets have proven to be evangelical in orientation and reliable for the English Bible student:*Gaebelein, Frank E. ed. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. 12 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979. *Harris, Ralph. The Complete Biblical Library. 16 vols. Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1986.Tasker, Randolph V.G. or Leon Morris, ed. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. 16 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1961.Wiseman, D.J. ed. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. 16 vols. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1980.Other helpful tools Cross-References and Parallel Passages*Torrey, R.A. ed. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, nd. (This study tool is simply an expanded cross-reference aid.)Bible Background*Thompson, J.A. Handbook of Life in Bible Times. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1986.Introductory IssuesArcher, Gleason L. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1974. Guthrie, Donald. New Testament Introduction. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1990.BiblesIn addition to a King James Version of the Bible at least two other "standard versions" of the Bible should be purchased for comparison in Bible study. Select at least two of the following:* The New International Version

  • The New Revised Standard Version
  • The Revised Standard Version
  • The New American Standard Bible
  • The Revised English Bible or New English Bible
  • The New King James Version

A paraphrase or "dynamic equivalent" should also be purchased for comparison in Bible study. Select one or two of the following:

    • Today’s English Version of The Good News Bible (two titles of same version)
    • The Living Bible
    • The New Century Version
    • The Contemporary English Version
    • The Message

It would also be helpful to purchase an expanded version for comparative purposes such as the Amplified Bible.NOTE: * indicates books especially recommended.----

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