How to Study the Bible

Getting Started

The Amplified Bible

You can find it at most any bookstore (Mardel, Lifeway, The Scroll, Books-a-Million, Barnes and Noble, Amazon).

  • Expounds a lot on the definitions from the original texts
  • Provides several different possible renderings
  • Tons of footnotes for cross referencing and texts that influenced their rendering

It does seem a bit “wordy” for regular reading.

The only thing that I’ve found so far that kind of bothered me about it is that it seems to present Christ as an angel…well “the Angel of the Lord.”  Then again, the word angel just means “messenger” and Christ is the Message (i.e., the Word), but that’s a deep one…  So, really, the only problem with them doing that is people present view of what an angel is (wings and a halo).

Comparative (or Parallel) Study Bible

You can find these at most any bookstore (they are anywhere from $25 to $50 depending on features and number of translations)

Combinations include:

  • KJV/NLT
  • KJV/NIV (Great if your church uses both)
  • NIV/NASB
  • KJV/NIV/NLT/NASB (My personal favorite for studying when I’m on the go)
  • KJV/AMP/NIV/NASB (My favorite before the one above came out…I really wish they had a KJV/NASB/NLT/AMP)

Dictionary

Just your standard dictionary is one of the best (yes, I said best) Bible study tools.  Webster’s is good; it gets most of its definitions from the Greek.  (I believe Webster developed the Authorized Version of the KJV).  I use a pocket dictionary from Funk & Wagnalls.

Going Deeper

KJV (or NASB) Greek and Hebrew Key Study Bible (like $30?)

  • On key words (of their choice…let’s not go there, lol) it gives the Strong’s Number for it
  • Has Strong’s Lexicon in the back (mine was kind of a bad, shrunk copy of it, but you know…whatever)
  • Good study footnotes

As you can tell, I wasn’t too pleased with it because I knew there was better out there…but it’s a good beginner thing.

The main thing that I didn’t like about it was the words I wanted to look up weren’t linked with the corresponding number.

Advanced Study Techniques

Interlinear Greek New Testament (about $40)

There are several of these available at Christian bookstores.

  • Shows the Greek text
  • Under the text it gives their literal translation of that word
  • Usually has another translation(s) out to the side(s) for reference and/or comparison

I’d suggest only having one alternate translation because too many gets too hard to read/follow.

At Christian bookstores (Lifeway, Scroll) I’ve seen NIV and an NIV/NASB, there’s also a KJV, but I’ve only found it online.

The only thing about this is that I don’t like the Greek text that they used. It’s the same one that they used for the NIV, so it cuts out a lot…and isn’t very reliable.  Also, an interlinear doesn’t help a whole lot unless you have a lexicon or know Greek.

Strong’s Concordance

Concise ($10 for paperback)

  • Cuts out the small words so you don’t have 100 pages of the word “the”, another 100 of the word “and”
  • Trims other “too frequent” words to the important verses (once again, their judgment) so you don’t have 30 pages of “Moses”

It’s limited to single words, only shows a fraction of the verse, but a good tool nonetheless.

Exhaustive ($30-$50?)

  • Has all the words (but it has alllllllll the words, lol)
  • With links to the Strong’s Numbers

It’s limited to single words, only shows a fraction of the verse.  So it’s better, but wordy.  Also, includes Strong’s Definitions.

Lexicon of Greek/Hebrew definitions

Without going into the Encyclopedia Britannica editions (i.e., 20 volumes for hundreds of dollars)

Thayer’s Greek definitions (I’ve yet to find a book version, but I have electronic ones so I haven’t looked too hard)

  • Expounded definitions
  • Shows all places used in KJV and word how it was translated

Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Lifeway has it for $150)

  • Expounded definitions
  • Shows definition, and the verses that each definition section applies (e.g., a. definition Hebrews 6:13, b. definition2 Acts 2:7, Romans 3:17, etc.)

Study Methods

The most important thing to do before picking up a book is pray.  Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you, because He reveals all things.  (1 Corinthians 2:9-12)

Typically, I study using the following methods:

  • Time and computer/book resources are both available (best method)
    1. Look in the Greek/Hebrew
    2. Reference words with lexicon(s) to get definitions
    3. Reference words in the definitions to get an expounded definition that’s not just my preconceived definition of that word
    4. Collect my thoughts on it
    5. Write them down
  • Time but no Greek/lexicon, or not much time
    1. Compare English translations
    2. Gather thoughts
    3. Write them down
  • Reading, with light study
    1. Read a trusted translation (usually a more of a meaning translation than a word translation)
    2. Compare with word translation on quirky stuff
    3. Pause and reflect