THE BIBLE A prerequisite for Bible study is a good study Bible. It should be one with print that can be easily read and with paper that is suitable for marking.
I find the King James Version unsurpassed for its beauty of expression in the English language. However, in view of language changes, a reading of various modern translations will help to throw light on many Bible passages.
Some translators have allowed their theological bias to enter into their translating work. Therefore, it is wise to anchor our reading in the King James Version and to use other versions as supplements, referring to the original languages, if possible, when questions are raised regarding translation.
Here is a partial listing of other useful translations, each with its own study helps.
The Scofield Reference Bible is a popular resource. The text is prominent in bold type, with comments at the foot and numerous synopses on various subjects. Some of the notes are excellent; to many, others are unacceptable.
In places the comments are strongly Calvinistic. Unlike a number of other Bibles, it is not self-pronouncing. A loose-leaf, wide-margin edition is available for notes.
The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible has a host of notes in the margin and the "Condensed Encyclopedia," which is an excellent section divided into more than 4,000 topics. It also contains information on the canon and the principal English versions, an outlined analysis of each book, a number of maps, a concordance and an index. This Bible also has a good harmony of the four gospels and several excellent charts.
The New King James Bible is believed by many to be the translation nearest to the original transcripts of the Bible.
The New Jerusalem Bible is esteemed by many, along with several other reference Bibles that are worthy of mention such as The New Oxford Reference Bible, The Holman Study Bible and The New American Standard Bible.
The Worrell New Testament includes notes by the translator, A.S. Worrell. It is footnoted with many helpful alternative renderings and explanatory notes.
The Emphasized Bible by Joseph Bryant Rotherham is useful as a study and reference book, particularly in sections containing Old Testament notes.
The Moffatt Bible translation has many brilliant insights. However, the liberal theology of the author shows on occasion.
The New Testament in Modern Speech by Richard F. Weymouth is a clear, simple, dignified translation. It is sound from a doctrinal viewpoint.
The New Testament: In the Language of the People by Charles B. Williams is valuable, particularly in the translation of the Greek tenses.
The New Testament in Modern English by J.B. Phillips is a paraphrase. Its low-key prose is almost casual. For example, the familiar King James "holy kiss" (see 1 Cor. 16:20) becomes "shake hands all around."
Reading the same verse from different translations can shed light on the passage's true meaning as we ask the Holy Spirit to unveil the divine message it contains. Although it is good to follow a daily reading schedule, it is not necessary to devour large portions of the Scripture at a time.
Many times the Holy Spirit will illuminate one word in a passage, and it becomes beneficial to search out that word in other passages. He will always lead us to unearth the richest veins of silver.
THE CONCORDANCE One of the foremost tools for Bible study, the concordance, provides immediate access to any verse of Scripture, even if one remembers only one word or a few words contained in it.
Three concordances are recognized as leaders in the field: Cruden's Unabridged Concordance, Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. The latter two are more comprehensive.
Englishman's Greek Concordance of the New Testament and Englishman's Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament, along with a Greek lexicon and Hebrew lexicon, can be of great value for more advanced Bible students.
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