All These Resources and No Idea Where to Start!
Many if not most Christians are largely unaware of what kinds of reference tools and resources are out there. This is a real shame, because we live in a time of unprecedented access to knowledge about the Bible and to resources for learning and studying the Bible.
But all of this accessibility isn’t really able to have its intended effect, and this is for two reasons:
- First, sometimes the people who produce all of this awesome reference material don’t really understand the average Christian in the pew or the average customer in a Christian store. They have good intentions, but they don’t seem to realize that the average Christian doesn’t automatically understand what a concordance is for, or why you would pick one commentary over another.
- Second, the sheer number of Bible reference materials can be overwhelming. A person might walk into a store wanting to find something to help them with their Bible study but not really knowing where to start. They will see five to ten different dictionaries, a half a dozen handbooks, books of maps and charts, lots of different concordances (in fact lots of different Strong’s concordances), and an array of different kinds of commentaries, not to mention all the other books that don’t fit easily into one of these categories. Unless someone can help who actually knows what they’re talking about, these people will probably just walk right back out and continue to struggle in their Bible study when help is within reach.
Well, we at BSE have determined to solve this problem. Now more than ever it is vital that Christians be studying their Bibles. Christians often don’t study regularly because they find it difficult or unrewarding. But the more Christians are equipped to study the Bible effectively, the more they also love Bible study.
The Four Basic Reference Tools
- Handbooks summarize the Bible
- Commentaries analyze the Bible
- Concordances catalog Bible words
- Dictionaries explain Bible words and concepts
These four kinds of tools and their functions make up the core of any reference library.
For an helpful and handy introduction to Bible study reference tools, check out our ebook Your Bible Study Tool Belt: A guide to finding and using the resources you need to study the Bible for yourself.