How do you study the Bible? As a minister, I’m often asked this question by people new to studying the Scriptures. Bible study can intimidate a person. However, there are many great resources written by godly individuals that can help you navigate the depths of the Bible.
In this post, I will offer 7 essential books for everyone new to Bible study. (Don’t worry. You won’t need a seminary education to understand the books listed.) These books have helped many (including myself) grasp the content and overall message of the Bible.
#1 Understanding Scripture: How to Read and Study the Bible by A Berkeley Mickelsen & Alvera M. Mickelsen
The first book on the list is Understanding Scripture: How to Read and Study the Bible. A husband and wife team wrote this book. A. Berkeley Mickelson was the professor of New Testament interpretation at Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. His wife, Alvera, was formerly a professor of journalism at Wheaton College and Bethel College.
I came across this book during my time at Lee University. The authors give practical insights for studying God’s Word. This book is also a quick read of only 133 pages. So, there is no need to spend a lengthy amount of time reading how to study the Bible, before jumping into studying the Bible for yourself. I recommend this book for those just starting their journey in the Word of God.
#2 How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart
Second on the list is How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart. Fee is the Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia and Stuart is professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
This book is written in a conversational tone and is very reader friendly. In fact, on the cover is a blurb from Bookstore Journal, that states, “A practical approach to Bible study in an easy-to-understand style.” Like the Mickelsens, Fee and Stuart offer the nuts and bolts of interpreting the Bible (or hermeneutics). Every person new (or old) to studying the Bible needs to own a copy of this book.
#3 How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour by Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart
Fee and Stuart make another appearance on this list for How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour. As the subtitle states, this book walks the reader through each book of the Bible. It gives the readers background information and biographical details concerning every book in Scripture. The authors outline the books of the Bible and comment allowing the reader to see what the biblical authors were trying to convey. You need this book on your shelf. It will be a resource you turn to repeatedly. (Here is an article and Bible reading plan that uses this book.)
#4 Greek for the Rest of Us: Using Greek Tools without Mastering Biblical Greek by William D. Mounce
Since most people are not fluent in the original biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek), I wanted to include some helps in this area. William D. Mounce’s Greek for the Rest of Us: Using Greek Tools without Mastering Biblical Greek is a must have. Mounce, who is the president of Biblicaltraining.org, delivers advice in how to mine the biblical text by using Greek language tools. Mounce’s “phrasing” exercises revolutionized my personal Bible study process. Save room on your bookshelf for this one, because it is well worth it.
#5 Hebrew for the Rest of Us: Using Hebrew Tools without Mastering Biblical Hebrew
How can I not include a Hebrew language to help too? Lee M. Fields’ Hebrew for the Rest of Us: Using Hebrew Tools without Mastering Biblical Hebrew is a companion book to Mounce’s book. Field is the professor of Bible and Theology at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. If you’ve ever wondered how to pronounce the Hebrew names and words in the Old Testament, then you need this book. However, this book will give you so much more knowledge than mere pronunciation.
#6 How to Read the Bible as Literature: … and get more out of it by Leland Ryken
Did you know that one out of every three chapters in the Bible is poetry? In fact, the Bible is filled with a bunch of distinct types of literature. That’s why I’ve included Leland Ryken’s How to Read the Bible as Literature… and get more out of it at #6 on the list. Leland Ryken is the professor of English at Wheaton College. His book reveals how to approach the various types of biblical literature. As a literature nerd, I love Ryken’s work and I think you will too.
#7 The Outline Bible: The Most Comprehensive Outline of the Bible – Covers Every Chapter and Verse by Harold L. Willmington
If you’re like me, the size of the Bible can be overwhelming. So, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Therefore, I’m including Harold L. Willmington’s The Outline Bible: The Most Comprehensive Outline of the Bible. Willmington is the founder and dean of the Willmington School of the Bible at Liberty University. This book provides outlines for every chapter of the Bible. This book has help me frequently to breakdown large portions of Scripture into manageable chunks. I think it will be useful for you too.
Bonus*** Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching by Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
Okay, I know I said I would give 7 suggestions, but I wanted to throw in a bonus. Walter C. Kaiser Jr.’s Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching is more technical than the other books listed. However, I think it will be of great value to those further in their Bible study journey.
In conclusion, these books will help you if you’re just beginning to dig into the Bible. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but I think it will get you heading in the right direction. Let me know if this was helpful in the comments below. Also, are there any other books that you can think of that would be helpful to a person beginning to study the Bible?
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