Every so often someone will ask me to recommend a resource that will help them understand the Bible. This gets into the area of study Bibles, commentaries, reference works, etc. The problem with these resources is that the bad ones cost as much as the good ones. So, I thought I’d use today’s post to name some good ones.
1. The MacArthur Study Bible: No study Bible has better commentary notes than this one. MacArthur’s knowledge of the scriptures is second to none. The only negative thing I can say is that MacArthur is a staunch Calvinist and there are a few places, especially in the New Testament, where his Calvinism, in my opinion, adversely affects his interpretations. But if you can ease around these places, this study Bible is great.
2. Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible: This study Bible has awesome notes. They are conservative in their theology, but not quite as conservative as those found in The MacArthur Study Bible. Also, with this study Bible, you don’t have to pick over any Calvinistic interpretations.
3. The Ryrie Study Bible: For many years, Charles Ryrie served on staff at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is a legend as a Bible teacher. His commentary notes are excellent, but there are some places where I wish he had written more of them. Overall, this study Bible doesn’t have as many notes as the first two I listed.
Commentaries That Cover The Whole Bible:
1. William MacDonald’s Believer’s Bible Commentary. I consider this to be the best one-volume commentary I have.
2. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: This two-volume set was written by some of the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary.
3. The Bible Exposition Commentary: This six-volume set was written by Warren Wiersbe. For years, Wiersbe wrote the little “Be” books (“Be Delivered”: Exodus; “Be Skillful”: Proverbs; “Be Right”: Romans; “”Be Victorious”: Revelation; etc.). The “Be” books can still be purchased individually, but now they’ve all been compiled into this six-volume set. If you’re just looking for New Testament commentaries, those “Be” books have also been compiled into a two-volume set.
4. The King James Bible Commentary: This commentary’s Executive Editor was Jerry Falwell, and its General Editor was Woodrow Kroll, the teacher on the “Back To the Bible” radio broadcast.
5. The Baker Commentary on the Bible: This one-volume commentary was edited by Walter A. Elwell. I can honestly say that I’ve often found helpful material in this commentary that I didn’t find in any of my other commentaries.
Other Helpful Resources:
1. Charles Ryrie’s Basic Theology: This is the best book on Bible doctrine that I’ve ever used.
2. Nave’s Topical Bible: When you are trying to locate any relevant passages on a specific subject, this book is a must.
3. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: If you know one word from a certain verse and want to locate that verse, this is the book you grab. It also gives definitions for the Hebrew words of the Old Testament and the Greek words of the New Testament.
4. Adrian Rogers’ What Every Christian Ought To Know: This book does a wonderful job of covering the basics of living the Christian life.
5. Steven Waterhouse’s Not By Bread Alone: This is an outlined guide to doctrine that offers a ton of good information on just about every Bible topic.
6. Halley’s Bible Handbook and Wilmington’s Guide To The Bible: Each of these little books gives a lot of “bang for the buck” by relaying a wealth of information on the Bible.
7. David Jeremiah’s God In You: This is the best book I’ve ever seen on the subject of the Holy Spirit.
8. John MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos: If you wondering about speaking in tongues, healing, signs and wonders, the “health and wealth” gospel, and “prosperity preachers”, this book is the standard.
9. Tim Lahaye’s Revelation Unveiled: Everybody is fascinated by the book of The Revelation. To me, this commentary does the best job of explaining the book.
10. Walter Martin’s The Kingdom of the Cults and the Josh McDowell-Don Stewart book Handbook of Today’s Religions. Each of these books does a fantastic job of naming religions other than Christianity and explaining how they differ from Christianity.
I’ll stop here, but I’m not claiming to have done a thorough job on this subject. Just because a resource isn’t on my list, don’t automatically take that to mean that I wouldn’t recommend it. My space here is limited, and I just wanted to give you a brief list of some resources that, to me, stand out in a very crowded field. The prices on each of these is very reasonable considering what they will give you in return. So what are you waiting for? If you really want to understand the Bible, real help is readily available.