Tools, Instruments and Equipment
The divine exhortation, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” (2 Tim. 2:15) reveals to us the objective of Bible study. The student is ultimately to shew himself before men as divinely approved, and this approval is the outcome of his knowing how to properly divide the Word of Truth. As men in the great achievements of life use helps, machines, and implements, even so, the student will find the profit of certain instruments and equipment. Let us consider some of these.
The Holy Bible
For this great and important work the first essential is to obtain a well bound reference Bible with clear black type. Small print is hard to read and is very hard on the eyes, and the time and labour spent on marking is wasted unless you have a book with a cover that is durable. The money put into a more expensive binding will prove to be a good investment over the years.
The Oxford Wide Margin Bible is very convenient because it provides space for brief notes, alternate translations, or references, which the student may wish to add for personal use. The Loose Leaf Bible provides even greater space for notes, which may be inserted between any pages, as desired. Loose Leaf Bibles are published by Winston International, Scripture Gift Mission, and Scofield.
Many Christians prefer the Scofield Reference Bible because of its helpful notes and comments. There are topical references and chain references for main themes and for key words, also in this Bible.
The Newberry Bible, once very popular, is now printed only in the small edition, and with poor type. However, there is a real field of study provided for those who will follow Mr. Newberry’s signs, and profit by his helpful notes on the prepositions, verb tenses, etc. If the reader should be fortunate to locate one of the old, large-size volumes in some second-hand store, he would have added treasure.
The Two Version is still available at some Christian book stores. This edition gives a marginal note of the changes made in the revision of 1885 over the King James Version.
For reference and comparison, and perhaps clarity of thought, the student would be advised to consult some other translations of The Bible. A New Translation by J. N. Darby is helpful, as is Young’s Literal Translation. The Englishman’s Greek New Testament, published by Samuel Bagster, is interesting because it gives the Greek text and an interlinear literal translation, along with the Authorized of 1611.
The recently published and much publicized Standard Revised Version is to be used with caution. Several of the translators are admittedly Modernistic in their views, and publicly deny the fundamental truths of the Faith. It is difficult to conceive of a translation by such men that would not be tainted by the errors which they personally hold.
There are several other translations of the New Testament available, such as, Weymouth, Moffat, and Phillips (Letters to Young Churches). These are more or less free translations, and are written in modern speech. While they are very suggestive, they are not to be relied upon for the actual meaning of the words.
The Bible Concordance
The Bible student will find a concordance to be of great help in his study of the Word of God. The Cruden’s Concordance gives a list of all the important words in the English text, and is useful for quickly finding any desired verse. This book is also available in abridged editions for smaller size and lower cost.
The Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible by James Strong will be of much greater help in word study. In this volume citations are listed alphabetically under English words in the order of their occurrence in the Bible, and it is quite complete. Then, there are numbers after each citation, referring to the Hebrew and Greek Lexicon at the back of the book. Here one finds in alphabetical order all the words used in the original Scriptures, numbered for the use of the reader. This listing includes the words in their Hebrew and Greek characters and then in the English equivalents, the pronunciation, derivation, and definition of the word, and finally the various translations given the word in the English Bible.
The Analytical Concordance to The Holy Bible by Robert Young is similarly large and useful. Young’s differs from Strong’s chiefly in the following points. Young lists the English words under the various original words which are translated by the English word considered, rather than in one long list, as with Strong or Cruden. The original word is given at the head of each list in original and English characters, with a brief definition but neither derivation nor pronunciation.
Wigram’s Concordance is again in print in two volumes, viz. The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance and The Englishman’s Greek Concordance of The New Testament. This is recommended for those who have some knowledge of the original languages of the Bible.
There is also on the market The English Greek Concordance by James Gall. This contains Greek words and proper names, but is not as extensive as Strong’s or Young’s, and is a smaller book. The cost also is accordingly lower, and for some this is a factor.
The Bible Dictionary
Your library should contain a good Bible dictionary, and there are several good ones available in book stores. Smith’s Bible Dictionary is well advertised and is popular with many. Peloubet’s Bible Dictionary is edited by the founder of the Peloubet’s Sunday School Notes. The Bible Student’s Companion by Nicholson serves as a combined dictionary and concordance, but is limited in its material.
Most highly recommended is A New and Concise Bible Dictionary, published by G. Morrish. To give our readers an idea of its contents and value we might well quote from the Prefatory Note to this volume.
“The principal object in bringing out this Bible Dictionary is to give in concise form information on subjects not usually found in such works, namely;--
“(1)--A short survey of each of the books of the Bible with a glance at the truth of God contained in them.
“(2)--The doctrines of Christianity as set forth in Scripture.
“(3)--The Dispensational Dealing of God as revealed in His Word; the distinction between the various dispensations being often misunderstood and ignored.
“(4)--Prophecy: many parts of Scripture being unintelligible unless the ways of God as portrayed in Prophecy are understood.
“(5)--The Feast and Offerings given in the Old Testament, with their antitypes found in the New Testament.
“(6) The names of Persons and Places have been included to make the work complete, together with the identification of sites as far as they have been discovered by modern travellers.”
To summarize this article of the urge the reader to equip himself first of all with a good edition of equipment of the Bible student, we The Bible, well bound and suitable for marking; then a Concordance and a Bible Dictionary. Further additions to your library will be discussed in succeeding articles.
Children of God through sovereign adoption; in adoption become the Sons of God in seniority.
S of M.