Basic Bible Study Tools

You have found your way to this page because you desire the true meat of the Word.  Some 25 years ago I gave my heart to Jesus and every since then I have studied His Word nearly every day.   One of the first things I done as a young disciple was follow the advice of my Pastor and those that may have charge over me.  My Pastor insisted I build a library of great reference material.  The first book I ever bought was the KJV Thompson Chain Reference.

I still have that Bible…pages falling out…cover literally fell off!

When you became aware of of the importance of a great library is the day you will become a student of the Word.  I mean a true “Study to shew thyself approved of God” student of the Word.  You might say, “brother Kevin, I don’t need a bunch of books…we have this thing now that they didn’t have 25 years ago.  It’s called, The Internet!  True.  The Internet can be a great resource.  At the same time it scares me to death! Today the number of false teachers is great and they do their hunting on the Internet.

I would much rather pick up a book by an author I know and I trust.  And if there is an author that I agree with 99% of the time…it is much easier to sort out in a book.  I do use the Internet..but I would not replace my library for all the Gold in Ft. Knox.  OK, maybe I would because then I could by new books and a new car and some shirts and swing set in the backyard.  “That’s sounds a little materialistic Brother Kevin.”  OK, maybe a little…but there is nothing wrong with stuff unless that stuff became more important than God, your family, your friends, etc.

You should form the habit of purchasing at least one study aid per month for your own library.  I buy 90% of my material from an online store called Christianbook.com.  They are much less expensive than the brick and mortar (I do support my local bookstore too) and they often times have a greater variety.

1. Your Bible

I put this up front because your Bible is the MOST IMPORTANT TOOL IN YOUR ARSENAL.  I once had the great privileged of working with a woman who came to know Christ in her 70s.  She told me one day that she was looking for a Bible and wanted some recommendations.   After writing down some things (which I will share in a moment) I sent her on her way.  A few weeks later I spoke with her and I asked her if she had settled on a Bible yet.  She said, no.  I keep watching the Goodwill for one.

Can I be honest?  If it was not for the fact that she truly did not know any better…I would have blown my stack and kicked over some tables in the Temple!  The Word of God cannot be found in a junk store.  Now, I have bought Bibles there…so I could give them away.  And if you found one there it’s probably OK.

I ended up buying her a KJV Thompson Chain Reference and giving it to her as a gift.  She was upset that I spent $70 on just a book.  No no no…not just a book but THE BOOK
.  As they days and weeks went by I would see her carrying and reading her Bible.  Praise God!

If you have not figured it out yet, either by exploring Airrington.com or by this article, I am one of those radical King James Only fellas that your NIV toting Pastor warned you to stay clear of.   There are many articles on this site that explain my position on the King James Version and it’s modern rivals. I am working on a short book called: “The Perfect Word of God”.  If you are interested in a FREE copy then hit me at my contact page and let me know. I will send the first 50 people this paperback book absolutely free.   For now, if you have any question or doubt that God has ALWAYS kept His promises and has to this day PROTECTED HIS WORD then watch this movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFtI_mVOXbQ.

Am I afraid of the Modern translations?  Nope!  And I will not kick you out of class because you have an NIV, NASB, NKJV, ESV or even the NWT.  I do want you to have a King James version Bible so that you get the Word of God.  These others…think of them as more of a commentary.   Save some money and pick these up for a couple bucks at the Goodwill.   There is not enough space in this article to adequately explain why the KJV is the Bible for the serious Christian.  I will make a couple quick points:

  1. The King James has archaic words.  TRUE.  But every single other translation has archaic words as well.  The King James was written at an average 5th Grade Reading Level the NIV at a 9th grade level.
    1. Here is an example of the KJV being EASIER to understand than the NIV…my 10 year old daughter showed me this one last night
      1. NIV — Job 36:7, “He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever.
      2. KJV — Job 36:7, “He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.”

Her Sunday school teacher insisted the NIV was easier to read.  My daughter pulled out her KJV and said, “excuse me Mrs. ****.  What does enthroned mean?  I have no idea.  Her teacher admitted she didn’t know either.  Then she said, “In my Bible (KJV) it says that the kings are on the throne.”  Enthroned or on the throne.   Get me the KJV!

2.  The King James adds words.  TRUE, these words show up as italicized.  Without them we lose the meaning of the scripture.  And these italicized words were not added just because they looked or sounded good.  There is ALWAYS a scriptural reference.  Also, if you translate from any language whether it be from English to German, French to German, Spanish to English, Spanish to Greek or vice versa you are going to add words to finish to complete a thought.  The Geneva Bible did this before the King James.   If someone says that they have a problem with the KJV because they add words…then they have a problem with the NIV,NKJV, ESV , in fact every Bible on the market.

Let’s look at Exodus 8:21,22,24,29

This is about Moses and the Exodus and the 10 plagues Egypt.

21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.

22 And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.

24 And the Lord did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.

29 And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.

31 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one.

*Bold added by me for emphasis, italics added by the King James translators.

Flies, Flies, Flies.  The truth is no where in Exodus 8 will we find the word, “flies”.  This is why the italics.  So, how do we know that it was not a swarm of bees or a swarm of misquotes or a swarm of bats for that matter?

Lets look at Psalm 78:45:

He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.”  No italics.  This is how we know that it was flies in Exodus 8.  For greater prospectus read the entire chapter of Psalm 78.  An interesting note…The critisizers of the KJV for adding words…don’t even realize that reading NIV Exodus 8 it also has the word flies.  The difference is…the KJV lets us know (by italics that the word flies was not in the original Hebrew).   You have no idea reading the NIV.  Sneaky aren’t they?  Hmmm…I have heard that term…sneaky before…oh yes, Genesis 3:10.

These modern translations don’t always sneak the italicized words in sometimes they just pull out the word.  Let’s look what happens when they pull these words out.

BTW, are there any contradictions in the Bible?  YES, I can show you hundreds in the modern translation…but not a single contradiction can be found in the King James Version.

Who killed Goliath?
Many of you reading this will quickly say, David!   David killed Goliath.  That is what you believe and that is what I believe.  But what happens when these people just start yanking words out?

2 Samuel 21:19

English Standard Version
And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, struck down Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

King James Bible
And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

*Bold added by me for emphasis, italics added by the King James translators.

We know that in 1 Samuel 17 the Scriptures tell us that David killed Goliath. In fact, both KJV and ESV it says that David Killed Goliath.

However, the ESV has a problem.  According to the ESV Elhanan killed Goliath.  Do you see that?  Not only does the ESV have the wrong guy killing Goliath…the ESV contradicts itself in 1 Samuel 17 where we first learn that David killed Goliath.  The King James has it right. Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath and David killed Goliath.  Now who’s confused?

Well it gets worse:

1 Chronicles 20

A brief look for context:

First and Second Chronicles. These books, along with the parallel account in Samuel and Kings, clearly are historical accounts of Israel’s monarchy.  The six books of First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings, and First and Second Chronicles record the history of God’s people from Samuel, the last judge, to the end of the Babylonian Captivity.  This is a period of about 600 years. This period can be divided into three sections (1) The end of the rule of the judges; Eli and Samuel’s leadership; (2) The United Kingdom with Saul, David, and Solomon each ruling for 40 years; (3) The Divided Kingdom.

The tribes of Judah and Benjamin made up the Southern Kingdom which was known as Judah. Their capital was at Jerusalem. They were ruled by nineteen kings and one queen. In 606 B.C. many of the young people from the royal family were carried to Babylon. Among these were Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. In 596 B.C. some of the priests and skilled craftsmen were taken to Babylon. Ezekiel was among them. In 586 B.C. the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, including the temple built by Solomon, and took the rest of the people into captivity in Babylon.

The book of First Samuel tells of the judgeship of Samuel and the kingdom of Saul. It is believed that Samuel wrote the first twenty-four chapters and the prophets Nathan and Gad completed the book (1 Chronicles 29:29,30). The book begins with the birth of Samuel and closes with David as king of Judah.
Samuel was raised up by God to be the judge of Israel because the sons of Eli were corrupt. The people of Israel were not satisfied with God’s rule through the judges. They wanted to have a king so they would be like the nations around them. God gave the people what they wanted.

The book of Second Samuel tells mainly of the rule of David, Israel’s greatest king. David was an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 49:10; 2 Samuel 7:12,13; Luke 1:32,33; Acts 2: 25-36; Romans 1: 2-4). He also was a poet and musician. He wrote many of the psalms in the book of Psalms. He is known as “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1). He is also called a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). Much of the history recorded in First Samuel is also found in First Chronicles.  The book of First Kings continues the history of the United Kingdom. It covers a time period of 120 years. The book begins with the death of David and the selection of Solomon to be king. It ends with the death of Ahab, ruler of the Northern Kingdom.

Solomon’s glorious reign is known as “the Golden Age” of Israel. God blessed Solomon with great wealth, wisdom, peace, and prosperity. The temple was built during his rule. Sadly, in his old age, Solomon’s heart was turned away from serving God. The foreign women he married led him to worship idols.

The book of Second Kings continues the history of the kings. It covers a period of more than two hundred years. It begins with the death of Ahab and ends with the beginning of the Babylonian Captivity. The Jews commonly believed Jeremiah wrote Second Kings. The first half of the book tells the story of Elisha, God’s spokesman who followed Elijah. Elisha prophesied for about fifty years. Sixteen miracles which he performed are recorded in Second Kings.

The book of First Chronicles covers the same period of history as Second Samuel. The Jews commonly believed that Ezra wrote First Chronicles. It is clear from reading First Chronicles that the author had two purposes in mind for writing: (1) To provide a history of God’s people showing they had gone into captivity; (2) To give the family records so that families returning from Babylon could claim their land.

The book of Second Chronicles gives additional information about the kings of Israel and Judah. It covers a period of about four hundred years. This is the same time that is covered by the books of First and Second Kings. Second Chronicles begins with the glory of Solomon’s rule and ends with the decree of Cyrus which permitted the Jews to return from captivity.

Sorry that is a lot of context.  I said all that to say that Chronicles is a second accounting to Samuel.  In other words, five men go to a party.  We will call them Ted, Larry, Tom, Sandy and Bob. Then Ted write a story about his day at the party.  Bob does the same thing.  Now, since Ted, Larry, Tom, Sandy and Bob (Jeremiah, Ezra, Samuel, Nathan and Gad) are inspired by the Holy Ghost we know two things.  1) There will not be a single contradiction between the five authors. We can check this off in the King James without hesitation…the modern…contradictions galore.  2) We will get some of the information from one and perhaps none of the information from the

Back to 1 Chronicles 20:5

ESV: And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

KJV: And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear staff was like a weaver’s beam.

So, the same battle at the same time the ESV has Elhanan killing two different people.  The ESV contradicts itself twice.

3.  The KJV has many revisions.  yes and no.

The truth is most of the changes were spelling, punctuation, printing and grammatical error corrections.  Please watch this video for the best explanation: http://airrington.com/?page_id=1982.

OK, we have spent way too much time on the KJV Bible here.  Please contact me if I can be of further help in selecting your new Bible.

2. Concordances

A concordance is a must. It is an alphabetical listing of all the words in the Bible and of all the verses in which they appear.

3. Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

4. Geographical and Cultural Helps

5. Bible Doctrine Books

6. Commentaries

  • Surveys of the entire Bible—The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty (in two volumes, Old and New Testaments) is outstanding. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary is my preferred one-volume commentary.
  • Expositional (verse by verse)—some of the best are by Donald G. Barnhouse, Kenneth S. Wuest, William R. Newell, R. C. H. Lenski, H. C. Leupold, William Barclay, John F. Walvoord, Arthur W. Pink, and Tyndale House
  • Devotional—books by G. Campbell Morgan, F. B. Meyer, Alan Redpath, H. A. Ironside, and Charles R. Swindoll
  • Analytical—books by W. Graham Scroggie and Merrill Tenney as well as the I. C. C. (International Critical Commentary) series (critical and tends toward the liberal side)

Concerning Commentaries:

  • Best to purchase one of the entire Bible first
  • Best to use different types in your study
  • Best to consult them after your own personal study
  • Best to read with discernment; don’t be afraid to challenge or disagree
  • An excellent volume by John Glynn, Commentary & Reference Survey, lists and explains the most popular and recommended commentaries (from various perspectives — evangelical, liberal, etc.) on every book of the Bible. It is helpful when you’re looking for which commentary to buy . . . and which one not to buy.

7. Bible Study Computer Programs

  • BibleWorks (for PC)—see www.bibleworks.com
    Designed for analysis of the biblical text, BibleWorks is the best program for the PC platform—for all levels of users. It offers search tools, lexicons, and dictionaries for Bible study, sermon preparation, and detailed Bible research.
  • Libronix Digital Library System (for PC)—see www.logos.com
    An astounding assortment of commentaries, books, dictionaries, and tools allows for quick research on any passage or topic. Many of the recommended resources in this article are in the Libronix Library.
  • Accordance (for Macintosh)—see www.accordancebible.com
    From basic Bible study helps to advanced research tools, Accordance is the best program for the Mac environment. Accordance offers Bibles, commentaries, lexicons, and a comprehensive library of materials and tools that can grow with your needs.

8. Web Sites

  • www.bible.org—”In the last decade bible.org has grown to serve millions of people and ministries around the world through providing thousands of trustworthy resources for Bible study — including an exciting new translation of the Bible (the NET Bible)”—from their Web site.
  • www.bibleplaces.com—”BiblePlaces.com features photographs and descriptions of sites in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Greece with an emphasis on biblical archaeology, geography and history”—from their Web site.

9. Bible Study Methods

  • Living by the Book by Howard G. and William D. Hendricks
  • Independent Bible Study by Irving L. Jensen
  • How to Study the Bible for Yourself by Tim LaHaye
  • Methodical Bible Study by Robert A. Traina

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