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1. Parallel Bible
This is a great tool that I use to consolidate my study footprint and save time. If you are like me, you sit down with your favorite Bible to study, and then realize that you need another translation for comparison or clarity. Then you get up, go to the bookshelf, grab at least two more versions and come back.
That was wasted time and now you need more space to spread out your Bibles. Or even worse, stack them on top of one another and then move them each time you want to compare. With a parallel Bible, two to four translations are in one book and no page flipping is necessary.
By the way, this is simpler than managing screens on software, and even better you totally avoid the distraction dilemma.
Sometimes I can’t remember where a verse is in the Bible, but I know some of the key words. Usually, I also have a general idea of what book it is in. In steps an exhaustive concordance.
I can also look up the word in the Hebrew or Greek dictionary. Here are useful things like definitions and all the other ways that same word was translated. No need to worry. If you don’t know how to use a concordance, here is a link on how to do that.
Currently, I use the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, but they are basically the same across translations.
3. Maps/Charts Book
I originally started using the “Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps, and Reconstructions” for maps. The maps are great! There other charts of family lineage, parables, etc., that make this a great resource!
You will find it useful when looking at geography for more meaningful study. Additionally, seeing visual reconstructions can shed some light on Bible stories.
I remember calculating that Jesus walked 30 miles to meet the woman at Samaria in John 4. It says Jesus was wearied from His journey, and that they arrived in Sychar at noon. So, if He walked two miles per hour, He left Judea around 9 pm the night before. After all that, the refreshment which sustained Jesus was a spiritual harvest.
4. Bible Study Methods Book/Workbook*
I may be a little biased, but this is a solid resource that enables new Bible students to lay a good foundation early. The things you learn will set the direction for you spiritual course.
The Holy Bible Companion Workbook is practical, thorough, and fun! After reading this book you will work through:
The Holy Bible Companion Guide is simple, thorough, and compact. After reading this book you will learn:
5. Bible Survey*
I have two books that conduct Bible surveys and have looked at others. By far, my favorite is “The AMG Concise Bible Survey” by Dr. Harry Adams. It provides a quick and clear overview of each book in the Bible with information such as: author description, date of writing, purpose for writing, and an outline plus more.
You will find it beneficial when conducting a book survey in preparation for your own studies. An invaluable resource that I use often, and I know you will too.
6. Bible Dictionary
A solid Bible dictionary is Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible Dictionary. There may be better ones out there, but I have found that this one suits my needs perfectly. It is more like a one volume encyclopedia that has writings on anything from Aaron to Zuzim (literally the first and last entries), and clothing to plants.
This tool also helps me in my book surveys as much of the same information in the Bible survey mentioned above. The two sources don’t always agree, but I prefer that.
I know this is old school, but computers and internet are huge distractions. This goes for veteran Bible study students as well. Technology is not evil, I just find that it’s place is not in Bible study. True, I know there are no search functions in notebooks. However, I have been blessed when trying to find what I am looking for in my notes by reading something else.
I recommend 1-inch binders that have spines you can place inserts into. That way you can label them. Also, binders allow you to add pages later.
Enough said right? Not really, as all pens are not the same. It is essential that the pen be clickable, the ink does not smear, and that it be erasable. These pens are great for just that. I don’t have to explain the reason you should not use computers, do I?
9. One Shelf Bookshelf
Is this a tool? Not totally, but it helps you store your tools. Kind of like a tool box? I recommend tastefully hanging a shelf next to your study area. This shelf is only for your Bible study books. It keeps you from getting up multiple times or leaving a bunch of books laying around.
If you only had the resources I recommend, then your shelf needs to be a minimum of twelve inches. Most shelves are around twenty-four inches if you just bought one. I have used cabinet tops and full bookshelves over the years, but I like the lone floating shelf idea best! It just feels reverent.
10. Book Ends
Trust me, just get the book ends. The ones below are highly functional and economical.
After trying highlighters over the years, I don’t like them. Plain and simple. This is likely because I change my mind later (highlighters are not erasable), it makes the Bible pages messy in my opinion, and if you use the wrong kind you can see the markings through the page. However, there are others who love them! Here is a highlighting system you could use.
12. Extra Ribbon Markers
You are going to love this tool! I was amazed by it! Simple and highly effective. How many times have you had your fingers in five different sections of a book while trying to write with the other hand? I did it all the time!
I have tried the book marks with extra tassels, but the markers fall out and the tassels are not long enough. Great video link on how to make your own extra ribbon markers that hide away in your Bible spine.
Bonus: Here is a video on how to insert note page into your Bible! Another amazing Bible upgrade. It comes from Jason Mayfield at Grace for Life.
*Note: Usually most people already have a Bible which is why the parallel Bible is not an essential. Additionally, the Bible Survey book is not essential, but if I had to choose one of the resources over any other of the extraneous ones, that would be it.
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