Resources on Bibliology: The Study of the Bible

(Compiled by Pastor David Craig)

Authority, Canonicity, Study, Translations and Application:

(1) Can We Have Confidence the Bible Is The Inerrant Word of God?

For The Beginner:

John Ankerberg and Dillon Burroughs. Taking A Stand for the Bible: Today’s Leading Experts Answer Critical Questions About God’s Word.

John Ankerberg and John Weldon. The Reliability of the Bible.

Gleason L. Archer. New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties.

Matthew Barrett. God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture.

Craig L. Blomberg. Can We Still Believe The Bible?

Darrell L. Bock. Can I Trust The Bible?

F.F. Bruce. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?

Charlie H. Campbell. Archaeological Evidence for the Bible: Discoveries that Verify People, Places, and Events in the World’s Most Influential Book.

Barry Cooper. Can I Really Trust The Bible? 

Steven B. Cowan and Terry L. Wilder. In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture.

John Dickson. A Doubter’s Guide To The Bible: Inside History’s Bestseller for Believers and Skeptics.

Norman L. Geisler and Thomas Howe. Making Sense of Bible Difficulties: Clear and Concise Answers From Genesis to Revelation.

Greg Gilbert. Why Trust The Bible?

Michael Guillen. Amazing Truths: How Science and The Bible Agree.

Hank Hanegraaf. Has God Spoken? Proof of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration.

J. Daniel Hays. A Christian’s Guide To Evidence For The Bible: 101 Proofs From History and Archaeology.

Joseph M. Holden and Norman L. Geisler. The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and The Bible: Discoveries That Confirm the Reliability of Scripture.

David Jackman. Opening Up The Bible.

Timothy Paul Jones. Why Should I Trust The Bible?

Walter C. Kaiser Jr. The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable & Relevant?

Titus Kennedy. Unearthing The Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries That Bring The Bible To Life.

D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe. What If The Bible Had Never Been Written?

Don Kistler, ed. Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position On The Bible.

Erwin W. Lutzer. 7 Reasons You Can Trust The Bible.

John MacArthur. Why Believe The Bible?

John MacArthur. Final Word: Why We Need The Bible.

Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett. Is The Bible True…Really? A Dialogue on Skepticism, Evidence, and Truth.

Jonathan Morrow. Questioning The Bible: 11 Major Challenges to the Bible’s Authority

J.I. Packer. Fundamentalism And The Word of God.

Rene Pache. The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture.

A.W. Pink. The Divine Inspiration of the Bible.

Vern Sheridan Poythres. Inerrancy And The Gospels.

R.C. Sproul. Can I Trust The Bible?

R.C. Sproul. Scripture Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine. 

Don Stewart. 10 Reasons To Trust The Bible.

James R. White. Scripture Alone: Exploring The Bible’s Accuracy, Authority, And Authenticity.

Peter J. Williams. Can We Trust The Gospels?

Intermediate to Advanced:

Richard Bauckham. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Second Edition). 

Craig L. Blomberg. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels.

Craig L. Blomberg. The Historical Reliability of the New Testament.

D.A. Carson. Collected Writings On Scripture.

D.A. Carson, ed. The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures.

D.A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, eds. Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon.

D.A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, eds. Scripture And Truth.

John D. Currid. The Case For Biblical Archaeology: Uncovering the Historical Record Of God’s Old Testament People.

F. David Farnell, ed. Vital Issues in the Inerrancy Debate.

John Frame. The Doctrine of The Word Of God.

Paul Helm and Carl R. Trueman. The Trustworthiness of God: Perspectives on the Nature of Scripture.

K.A. Kitchen. On The Reliability of the Old Testament.

Eta Linnemann (translated by Robert Yarbrough). Biblical Criticism On Trial: How Scientific Is Scientific Theology?

John MacArthur and many other contributors. The Inerrant Word: Biblical, Historical, and Pastoral Perspectives.

John Warwick Montgomery, ed. God’s Inerrant Word: An International Symposium On The Trustworthiness Of Scripture.

(2) How The Bible Was Formed: The Canon of Scripture

For The Beginner:

Richard Brash. A Christian’s Pocket Guide To How God Preserved The Bible.

J. Danie Hays and J. Scott Duvall. How The Bible Came To Be.

Timothy Paul Jones. How We Got the Bible.

Jeff Lasseigne. Unlocking the Scriptures: What the Bible Is, How We Got It, and Why We Can Trust It.

Charles Leach and R.A. Torrey. Our Bible: How We Got It and Ten Reasons I Believe The Bible Is The Word Of God.

Greg Lanier. A Christian’s Pocket Guide To How We Got The Bible.

Neil R. Lightfoot. How We Got The Bible (Revised and Expanded 3rd Edition).

John Piper. A Peculiar Glory: How The Christian Scriptures reveal Their Complete Truthfulness.

Ryan M. Reeves and Charles E. Hill. Know How We Got Our Bible.

Lawrence H. Schiffman and Jerry Pattengale. The World’s Greatest Book: The Story of How The Bible Came To Be.

W.H. Griffith Thomas. How We Got Our Bible and Why We Believe It Is God’s Word.

Intermediate to Advanced:

F.F. Bruce. The Canon Of Scripture.

F.F. Bruce. The Books and The Parchments: Original Languages, Canon, Transmission and How We Got Our English Bible.

F.F. Bruce, J.I. Packer, Philip Comfort, and Carl F. H. Henry. The Origin of the Bible.

John S. Feinberg. Light In A Dark Place: The Doctrine of Scripture.

Norman L. Geisler. Biblical Inerrancy: The Historical Evidence.

Norman L. Geisler and R.C. Sproul. Explaining Biblical Inerrancy: Official Commentary on the ICBI Statements.

Norman L. Geisler, ed. Inerrancy.

Norman L. Geisler and William C. Roach. Defending Inerrancy: Affirming The Accuracy Of Scripture For A New Generation.

Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix. From God To US: How We Got Our Bible.

Stanley N. Gundry, ed. Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy.

Cahrels E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger. The Early Text of the New Testament.

Michael J. Kruger. Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and  Authority of the New Testament Books.

Michael J. Kruger. The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate.

Arthur G. Patzia. The Making of the New Testament: Origin, Collection, Text & Canon.

John H. Walton and D. Brent Sandy. The Lost World of Scripture: Ancient Literary Culture and Biblical Authority.

(3) How To Study Your Bible: Biblical Hermeneutics/Interpretation

For The Beginner:

T. Desmond Alexander & David W. Baker. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship.

Max Anders. 30 Days To Understanding The Bible (Revised and Updated). 

Bill T. Arnold & Hugh G.M. Williamson. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship.

Clinton E. Arnold, ed. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: New Testament (4 vols.).

Kenneth E. Bailey. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in The Gospels.

Kenneth E. Bailey. Paul Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians.

Richard Bauckham. The Bible In The Contemporary World: Hermeneutical Ventures.

David R. Bauer and Robert A. Traina. Inductive Bible Study: A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Hermeneutics.

Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen. The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place In The Biblical Story.

John A. Beck. Zondervan Dictionary of Biblical Imagery.

John A. Beck. The Basic Bible Atlas: A Fascinating Guide to the Land of the Bible.

Barry J. Betzel. The New Moody Atlas of The Bible.

Craig Blomberg. Interpreting The Parables (Second Edition).

Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning. Interpreting The New Testament Text.

Mark J. Boda & J. Gordon McConville. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series).

James Montgomery Boice. The Parables of Jesus.

Chad Brand, Eric Mitchell, et al. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

Thomas V. Brisco. Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography  of Biblical History.

D.A. Carson. Exegetical Fallacies.

Mitchell Chase. 40 Questions About Typology and Allegory.

Tim Chester. Bible Matters: Making Sense of Scripture.

John D Currid and David P. Barrett. Crossway ESV Bible Atlas.

Jason S. DeRouchie. How To Understand And Apply The Old Testament: Twelve Steps From Exegesis To Theology.

J.D. Douglas, Merrill C. Tenney, et al. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. The Baker Illustrated Bible Background Commentary.

ESV Exhaustive Concordance.

ESV Expository Commentary (volumes on the whole Bible – still not complete).

ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.

ESV Study Bible.

ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible.

Craig A. Evans & Stanley E. Porter, eds. Dictionary of New Testament Background.

Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart. How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth.

Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart. How To Read The Bible Book By Book.

Hans Finzel. Unlocking The Bible: Three Steps To Personal Bible Study.

Al Fuhr and Andreas J. Kostenberger. Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation, and Application through the Lenses of History, Literature and Theology.

Frank E. Gaebelein, ed. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (12 volumes).

Scott M. Gibson and Matthew D. Kim, eds. Homiletics and Hermeneutics: Four Views On Preaching Today.

Joel B. Green, ed. Dictionary of the New Testament: Gospels (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series).

Steve & Jackie Green. This Dangerous Book: How The Bible Shaped Our World And Why It Still Matters Today.

Nancy Guthrie. Even Better Than Eden: Nine Ways The Bible’s Story Changes Everything About Your Story.

Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid. Dictionary of Paul And His Letters.

Michael S. Heiser. Brief Insights on Mastering The Bible: 80 Expert Insights on the Bible, Explained in a Single Minute.

Michael S. Heiser. Brief Insights on Mastering Bible Study: 80 Expert Insights on the Bible, Explained in a Single Minute.

Holman New Testament Commentary (12 volumes).

Holman New Testament Commentary (19 volumes).

R. Kent Hughes. Preaching the Word: New Testament Set (many volumes).

Trent Hunter and Stephen Wellum. Christ From Beginning To End: How The Full Story of Scripture Reveals The Full Glory Of Christ.

David Jeremiah. Study Bible ESV.

Dennis E. Johnson. Walking With Jesus Through His Word: Discovering Christ In All The Scriptures.

Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Peter H. Davids, F.F. Bruce, and Manfred T. Brauch. Hard Sayings of the Bible.

Walter C. Kaiser Jr., and Moises Silva. Introduction To Biblical Hermeneutics.

Craig S. Keener. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament.

William W. Klein, Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard Jr. Introduction To Biblical Interpretation. (Third Edition).

Woodrow Kroll. How To Find God In The Bible: A Personal Plan For The Encounter Of Your Life.

Woodrow Kroll. Taking Back The Good Book.

C.S. Lewis. The C.S. Lewis Study Bible.

Tremper Longman III, & Peter Enns. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship.

John F. MacArthur. How To Study The Bible.

John F. MacArthur. The ESV MacArthur Study Bible.

John F. MacArthur. The MacArthur New Testament Set (33 volumes).

Vishal Mangalwadi. The Book That Made Your World: How The Bible Created The Soul Of Western Civilization.

I. Howard Marshall, A.R. Millard, et al. New Bible Dictionary.

Ralph P. Martin & Peter H. Davids. Dictionary of the Later New Testament & Its Developments: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series).

Dan McCartney and Charles Clayton. Let The reader Understand: A Guide To Interpreting And Applying The Bible.

J. Vernon McGee. Briefing The Bible: A Trusted Tool To Get You Started Studying Every Book of the Bible.

J. Vernon McGee. Thru The Bible: Genesis through Revelation (5 volumes).

Henrietta C. Mears. What The Bible Is All About.

Chuck Missler. Learn The Bible In 24 Hours.

D.L. Moody. How To Study The Bible.

Andrew David Naselli. How To Understand And Apply The New Testament: Twelve Steps From Exegesis To Theology.

Lindsay Olesberg. The Bible Study Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide To Essential Practice.

James Orr. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (5 Volume Set).

Grant R. Osborne. The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation.

Charles Pfeiffer and Everett Harrison. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Pillar New Testament Commentary Set (Eerdmans, Incomplete – 15 volumes).

John Piper. Reading The Bible Supernaturally.

Robert L. Plummer. 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible.

Vern S. Poythress. Reading The Word Of God In The Presence of God: A Handbook For Biblical Interpretation.

Michael Rydelnik, Michael Vanlaningham, et al. The Moody Bible Commentary.

Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery.

James S. Sire. Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread The Bible.

Matt Smethurst. Before You Open Your Bible: Nine Heart Postures For Approaching God’s Word.

Colin S. Smith. Unlock The Bible in 30 Days.

Wilbur M. Smith. The Incomparable Book: To Guide You As You Read It Through.

Klyne R. Snodgrass. Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus.

R.C. Sproul. Knowing Scripture.

R.C. Sproul. ESV Reformation Study Bible.

R.C. Sproul and Robert Wolgemuth. What’s In The Bible? A Tour Of Scripture From The Dust Of Creation To The Glory of Revelation.

Robert H. Stein. A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible.

John R.W. Stott. The Bible (God’s Word For Today).

John R.W. Stott. Understanding The Bible (Expanded Edition).

James Strong. The New Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

Charles R. Swindoll. Searching The Scriptures: Find The Nourishment Your Soul Needs.

Charles R. Swindoll. The Swindoll Study Bible (NLT).

Merrill C. Tenney. The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of The Bible (5 Volume Set).

The Apologetics Study Bible (CSB).

R.A. Torrey. How To Study The Bible Intentionally.

Merrill F. Unger. The New Unger’s Bible Disctionary.

Merrill F. Unger. The New Unger’s Bible Handbook.

Douglas Van Dorn. Christ In The Old Testament: Promised, Patterned, and Present.

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Craig G. Bartholomew, et al. Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible.

Kevin J. Vanhoozer. Is There Meaning In This Text? The Bible, the Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge.

W.E. Vine. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary Of Old and New Testament Words.

Henry A. Virkler. Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation.

John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews & Mark W. Chvalas.  The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament.

John H. Walton, ed. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament (multiple volumes).

John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds. Bible Knowledge Commentary (2 vols.).

Rick Warren. Bible Study Methods: Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God’s Word.

Warren W. Wiersbe. Wiersbe Bible Commentary, 2 Vol. Set.

Warren W. Wiersbe. Delights & Disciplines Of Bible Study.

Warren W. Wiersbe. Wiersbe Study Bible (NKJV).

Michael Williams. How To Read The Bible Through The Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ- Focused Reading of Scripture.

Paul H. Wright. Rose Then And Now Bible Map Atlas With Biblical Backgrounds and Culture.

Mark Yarbrough. How To Read The Bible Like A Seminary Professor.

Intermediate to Advanced:

John S. Feinberg, ed. Continuity and Discontinuity (Essays in Honor of S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments. (Advanced)

Graeme Goldsworthy. According To Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God In The Bible.

Graeme Goldsworthy. Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation.

Michael Graves. The Inspiration and Interpretation of Scripture: What The Eary Church Can Teach Us.

Christopher A. Hall. Reading Scripture With The Church Fathers.

Elliot Johnson. Expository Hermeneutics: An Introduction.

Andres J. Kostenbeger, Darrell L. Bock, and Josh D. Chatraw. Truth in a Culture of Doubt: Engaging Skeptical Challenges to the Bible.

Stanley E. Porter, ed. Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views.

Rhynne R. Putnam. In Defense of Doctrine: Evangelicalism, Theology, and Scripture.

E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brian. Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders To Better Understand The Bible.

E. Randolph Richards and Richard James. Misreading Scripture With Individualist Eyes: Patronage, Honor, and Shame in the Biblical World.

Anthony C. Thistelton. Hermeneutics: An Introduction.

Robert L. Thomas. Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old.

Timothy Ward. Words of Life: Scripture As The Living And Active Word Of God.

(4) Translations of the Bible and Language Helps

For The Beginner:

D.A. Carson. The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism.

Kevin DeYoung. Why Our Church Switched to the ESV.

Leland Ryken. Choosing a Bible: Understanding Bible Translation Differences.

Leland Ryken. The ESV And The English Bible Legacy.

Leland Ryken. The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation.

Leland Ryken. Understanding English Bible Translation: The Case For An Essentially Literal Approach.

Mark Ward. Authorized: The Use & Misuse of the King James Bible.

Paul D. Wegner. The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible.

James R. White. The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations?

Intermediate to Advanced:

Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland et al. The Greek New Testament: With Dictionary (Greek and English Edition)

Robert Alter. The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary.

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgatensia.

Colin Brown. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (4 volumes).

Philip Comfort. The Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts (2 Volumes).

ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament: English Standard Version (English and Ancient Greek Edition)

ESV Greek-English New Testament: Nestle-Aland 28th Edition and English Standard Version (English and Ancient Greek Edition)

Greek-English Interlinear ESV New Testament: Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (NA28) and English Standard Version (ESV) (English and Ancient Greek Edition)

Greek-English Parallel New Testament ebook: NA28-ESV: Nestle-Aland 28th Edition and English Standard Version

J.P. Green. The Interlinear Hebrew/Greek-English Bible (4 volumes).

R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer., et al. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

Hebrew-English Interlinear Old Testament: Bible Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS)/(ESV).

Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (10 Volumes).

John R. Kohlenberger III, Edward W. Goodrich, et al. Greek-English Concordance to the New Testament.

John R. Kohlenberger III. The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament.

Bruce Metzger. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament.

Barclay M. Newman and Florian Voss. The Text of UBS 5, readers Edition (English and Greek Edition)

The Hebrew-English Interlinear ESV Old Testament: Biblia Hebraic Sttgartensia (BHS) and English Standard Version (ESV) (English and Hebrew Edition)

The Zondervan Greek and English Interlinear New Testament (NASB/NIV)

(5) How To Read and Apply Your Bible

Kay Arthur, David Arthur, et al. How To Study Your Bible Workbook: Discover the Life- Changing Approach to God’s Word.

Mike Bullmore. The Gospel and Scripture: How To Read The Bible.

Kevin DeYoung. Taking God At His Word: Why The Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me.

Daniel M. Doriani. Getting The Message: A Plan for Interpreting and Applying The Bible.

Daniel M. Doriani. Putting The Truth To Work: The Theory and Practice of Biblical Application.

J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping God’s Word: A Hand-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible (4th Edition).

Sinclair B. Ferguson. From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading and Applying the Bible

George Guthrie. Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding and Living God’s Word.

Brian Hardin. Passages: How Reading the Bible in a Year Will Change Everything for You.

Matthew S. Harmon. Asking The Right Questions: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Applying the Bible.

Howard G. Hendricks and William D. Hendricks. Living By The Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible.

Life Application Study Bible (Available in NIV, KJV, Living, NAS, and NKJV – has a plethora of notes focused on understanding and applying the Scriptures).

R.T. Kendall. The Parables of Jesus: A Guide to Understanding and Applying the Stories Jesus Taught.

Jack Kuhatschek. Applying The Bible.

Robertson McQuilkin. Understanding and Applying the Bible (Revised and Expanded Edition).

NIV Application Commentary: New Testament Set (20 volumes).

NIV Application Commentary: Old Testament Set (available in 12 volumes).

Nick Pickowicz. How To Eat Your Bible: A Simple Approach to Learning and Loving the Word of God.

Charles F. Stanley. Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, 2nd Edition (NASB).

Bridging the Gap From the Biblical Text From “Then” to “Now”

1 Triangle, 3 Corners, 4 T’s

Unknown

By Tim Challies

Every word of the Bible was written at a certain time and in a certain context. Even the most recent of those times and the nearest of those contexts is at a great distance from us in time and space. Thus, when we read the Bible, we have to determine how those words apply to us today in our very different times and very different contexts. It is not always a simple task.

TTTT1We have all seen situations—and many of us have caused situations—where we have been sloppy in going from the text to today. The young man who marches three times around a young woman and waits for her walls of romantic resistance to crumble is not properly understanding how to go from the text to today. Similarly, the muscleman who tears a phone book in half while quoting, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” is not properly accounting for the context of that verse.

There are different ways Christians attempt to get from the text to today in ways that are faithful and accurate. I’m going to borrow from my friend James Seward and display one of these ways with a triangle that has four T’s on it. Look at figure 1 and you’ll see it: One triangle, three corners, four T’s.

TTTT2We will begin with the right side of the triangle. Let’s let the top corner represent our text—any text within the Bible. The bottom-right corner will represent today. You can see this in figure 2. What we are prone to do is to hurry our way from the text to today, just like that young man and that muscleman. We underestimate or under-appreciate our cultural and chronological distance from the text and are too quick to assume we know how to apply the text to our lives today. We sometimes get it right, but often we do not. Every Christian acknowledges this as a potential problem and different traditions attempt to deal with it in different ways.

I am convinced that the most faithful way to deal with it leads us to the bottom-left corner of the triangle. The TT down there stands for them/then—the people for whom the words were originally written (see figure 3). What if, instead of going straight from the text to today we go from the text, to them/then, and only then to today? In this way, before we apply the text to ourselves, we attempt to understand what the words meant to those who first heard them. So when Paul wrote the church in Philippi and said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” what did he mean? What did he mean to communicate to them/then? Once we have established what the text meant to them/then, we can more accurately apply it to ourselves—to us/now.

TTTT3How can we go from the text to them/then? Broadly, through prayer, through meditation, and through study. We pray and ask the Holy Spirit to illumine the text so we rightly understand it; we meditate on the text, expecting that God will reward this deep contemplation with greater understanding; we study the text through cross-references, word studies, sentence diagraming, commentaries and other resources. We do all of this to understand what the text meant to the original recipients.

Once we have done that—once we have a solid understanding of what the text meant to them/then, we are prepared to visit the third corner of the rectangle. Now we take what we have learned and we ask how it is meant to impact us today. How do we do this? Largely through prayer and meditation, though some further study may be involved. Now we pray and ask God to show us how he can apply his truth to the specifics of our lives and times; we continue to meditate on the text, looking for immediate application, and still trusting that God will use our deep contemplation to give us insights into his Word. You can see this all in figure 4.

TTTT4In his book Expositional Preaching, David Helm gives an example of how he, an experienced preacher, was too quick to go from the text to today. He had determined that he would preach 2 Corinthians 8-9 at time when his church needed a financial boost. Even before he began his sermon preparation he knew what he would say—he had a major theme, he had an outline, and everything else he needed to make a great, Bible-based appeal for money. But as he dove into the text he realized that his understanding of the text was too simple: this text isn’t about regular and cheerful giving to meet the church budget, but about a famine relief collection for churches full of Jewish Christians. He came to see that this collection was meant to serve as a test of these Corinthian Christians so that if they gave generously, it would show that they aligned with Paul and the gospel over against the so-called super-apostles. When he went from the text to today he had one sermon, but when he went from the text to them/then to today he had a very different one, and one that more faithfully understood the original meaning of the text. I suspect almost every preacher—every expositional preacher, at least—has had a similar experience at one time or another.

A couple of weeks ago I quoted David Helm and his concern with lectio divina. His concern is exactly this—that lectio divina may too quickly move from the top of the triangle to the bottom-right. It moves from one corner to the other through prayer, meditation and contemplation, but in all of that may not adequately account for the distance between the text and today. This is true, at least, when lectio divina is done apart from serious study and serious work in the text prior to that contemplation. On the other hand, people who value study may be too reliant on their effort while short-changing both prayer and meditation (and I put myself squarely in this camp). And this is why I find this simple triangle so helpful. In three corners and four little T’s it helps us move from the text to today in a way that faithfully captures what God means to communicate to us.

Source: http://www.challies.com (June 2, 2014).

Charles Spurgeon’s 7 Principles of Bible Study

How To Read The Bible by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Bible opened image

(1) READ THE BIBLE WITH AN EARNEST DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND IT. 

– Do not be content to just read the words of Scripture. Seek to grasp the message they contain.

(2) READ THE SCRIPTURES WITH A SIMPLE, CHILDLIKE FAITH AND HUMILITY.

– Believe what God reveals. Reason must bow to God’s revelation.

(3) READ THE WORD WITH A SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE AND SELF-APPLICATION.

– Apply what God says to yourself and obey His will in all things.

(4) READ THE HOLY SCRIPTURES EVERY DAY.

– We quickly lose the nourishment and strength of yesterday’s bread. We must feed our souls daily upon the manna God has given us.

(5) READ THE WHOLE BIBLE AND READ IT IN AN ORDERLY WAY.

– “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable.” I know of know better way to read the Bible than to start at the beginning and read straight through to the end, a portion every day, comparing Scripture with Scripture.

(6) READ THE WORD OF GOD FAIRLY AND HONESTLY.

– As a general rule, any passage of Scripture means what it appears to mean. Interpret every passage in this simple manner, in its context.

(7) READ THE BIBLE WITH CHRIST CONSTANTLY IN VIEW.

– The whole Bible is about Him. Look for Him on every page. He is there. If you fail to see Him there, you need to read that page again.

About Charles Haddon Spurgeon:

C. H. Spurgeon was to nineteenth-century England what D. L Moody was to America. Although Spurgeon never attended theological school, by the age of twenty-one he was the most popular preacher in London.He preached to crowds of ten thousand at Exeter Hall and the Surrey Music Hall. Then when the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built, thousands gathered every Sunday for over forty years to hear his lively sermons.In addition to his regular pastoral duties, he founded Sunday schools, churches, an orphanage, and the Pastor’s College. He edited a monthly church magazine and promoted literature distribution.Sincerely and straightforwardly he denounced error both in the Church of England and among his own Baptists. An ardent evangelical, he deplored the trend of the day toward biblical criticism.

Book Review: Passages – How Reading the Bible In A Year Will Change Everything by Brian Hardin

Tremendous Motivations For Reading Your Bible Daily

 In Brian Hardin’s own words from his blog on the writing of this book, “In researching the book I discovered that 93% of professing Christians don’t have a daily relationship with the Bible.  I found that a majority of people find the Bible hard to understand.  And yet with these facts comes the startling reality that more than 200 million people in the United States alone would affirm that they believe the Bible is the Word of God and that it is the truth.  It’s an ironic disconnect that believers in Jesus think the Bible is true and contains the path to life but don’t actually learn that path by becoming intimate with Scripture.  This book was written to create a context for that path.  I wrote it to explain that the Bible is not a manual or rule book to live up to, rather, it’s a story….our story.  We can find ourselves in it’s passages.  It’s not a book of exceptions, rather, it’s a book of examples and we are invited as Walt Whitman so eloquently put it to, “contribute a verse.”

I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s fascinating to read this book and hear from Brian how he was led by the Holy Spirit to begin the Daily Audio Bible on the Internet and hear his own testimony of how reading the Bible daily has radically changed his life and the lives of millions of others around the world for the better.

If you have never read the Bible before this book will give you much added motivation for making this very enjoyable discipline a habit for life. The book contains many personal testimonies of people whose lives have been changed for the better that will inspire you to read and listen to God’s Word daily. The book also contains many resources on the Internet to help you begin the exciting journey of Bible reading. In the back of the book there are three reading plans to help you get started.

As a Pastor and Life Coach there is nothing that I can recommend more to help you in your life than to read the Bible and apply it daily. I agree and pray for you what Brian writes and prays at the end of the book, “The Bible is about becoming more like Christ. It constantly invites us to submit ourselves in obedience not to make us miserable but to change us from the inside out…May you find life in God’s Word, my friend, and may true life find you. May he make his face to shine upon you and keep you. May he lift up his countenance on you and give you peace. May the strength of God go with you. May the wisdom of God instruct you. May the hand of God protect you. May the Word of God direct you. May you be sealed in Christ this day and forevermore. Amen.”