Building a Theological Library
NYSB 11/90 Bill Cobb
I. Tools for Bible Study
1. An interlinear Greek/English New Testament. (keyed to Strong's numbers)
Use this text to do your structural layout. THe KJV II translation in the side column by Jay Green is particularly useful for getting your initial reading of the verb tenses but not inerrant nor very readable sometimes.
2a. Strong's Concordance (make sure you get the dictionaries in the back)
2b. Englishman's Greek Concordance. (keyed to Strong's numbers) The most helpful book I own. Use to see where else word is used by the author (a fact frequently obscured by translations). Don't neglect to study the root and related forms for key words.
3a. A lexicon: Thayer's. (keyed to Strong's numbers) More conservative than BAGD, easier to use, but less definitive & scholarly
3b. A lexicon: BAGD: Bauer Arndt Gingrich Danker (Alsop's Index). The standard work in the field, somewhat liberal bias. A good lexicon gives you related groupings of words, a range of meanings, and examples of each.
3c. OT = BDB: Brown Driver Briggs (keyed to Strong's numbers)
4a. Analyzed Greek NT -Frieberg. Identifies the various parts of speech and verbs; a grammatical interlinear.
4b. OT Parsing Guide -Beals
5. Linguistic Key to the Greek NT -Reinecker/Rogers. A real timesaver, gives summary linguistic and grammatical data and key parallel passages, and sometimes outstanding word studies and interpretative ideas and insights.
6. Theological Dictionaries give Classical, LXX (Greek OT), Koine (common business Greek), NT, and Patristic (early church fathers) usages of the words. Sometimes group NT use by author and/or meanings.
6a. Theological Dictionary of the NT (TDNT) -Kittle. The definitive work, 10 volumes, liberal, provocative.
6b. Theological Dictionary of the NT (TDNTA) -Abridged (Little Kittle). One volume focus on NT, unfortunately.
6c. New International Dictionary of NT Theology (NIDNTT) -Colin Brown, ed. A three volume parallel to TDNT with a more conservative bent. Particularly good with distinguishing synonyms.
7. Manual of NT Grammar -Dana & Mantey. An intermediate grammar with examples of various syntax. Excellent on prepositions.
8. Bible Dictionary/Encyclopedia (NBD or Ungers; ISBE or Zondervan's) Quick guides to historical and cultural backgrounds, purpose of books, introductory linguistic groupings and theological perspectives.
9. Bullinger's Figures of Speech. Cumbersome but complete guide to figures and structures. Sometimes crucial.
10. Commentaries. Use for surfacing options, alerting you to problems and background information, critiquing other views, hints for preaching/exposition, but NEVER for interpretation.
SETS: Bible Knowledge Commentary (Edited by Walvoord and Zuck)
Expositor's Bible Commentary (Edited by Gabelien); NICNT/OT;
Word Biblical Commentary (not Communicator's); Keil & Delitzsch
Exceptional Individual Volumes:
Genesis...Creation & Blessing -Ross
Leviticus...Gordon Wenham NICOT
Deuteronomy...Peter Craigie NICOT
Judges...Distressing Days of the Judges -Leon Wood
Ezra & Nehemiah...Charles Fensham NICOT
Job...Roy Zuck EBC
Psalms...Perowne (Zond) or Kidner (IVP)
Proverbs...Kidner (IVP) or Allen (Baker)
Song of Solomon...Song for Lovers -Craig Glickman
Prophets...Charles Feinberg or Leon Wood
Gospels...Words & Works of Jesus Christ -J. Dwight Pentecost
Matthew...Toussaint (Multnomah) or Walvoord (Moody)
Mark...William Lane NICNT
Luke...I. Howard Marshall NIGTC
John...Leon Morris NICNT or F. F. Bruce
Romans...John Murray; Stiffler; Cranfield; Newell; Hodge; Sandlay
I Corinthians...Godet; Gromacki; Hodge
Pastoral Epistles...Kent or Heibert
Hebrews...Bruce; Hughes; Newell; Hodges in BKC
How to Enjoy Your Bible - Sterrett
Joy of Discovery - Oletta Wald
Methodical Bible Study - Robert Traina
II. Books to prepare a theological study
A. Find the key verses and major divisions/approaches to the subject.
1. For a quick listing of the major verses and key divisions of a doctrine see the Theological Summaries in the back of a Ryrie Study Bible.
2. For a quick overview of a subject and some pertinent verses look it up in a Bible Dictionary or Encyclopedia (New, Ungers, Zondervan, ISBE, etc.)
3. More detailed discussions and divisions of a topic may be found in order increasing length:
Elwell: Dictionary of Theology.
Ryrie: Survey of Bible Doctrine
Ryrie: Basic Theology**
Chafer/Walvoord: Major Bible Themes
Willmington's Guide to the Bible*
Theisson's Lectures on Systematic Theology
Chafer's Systematic Theology (2 vol)
Torrey: The Fundamentals
*[If you could only buy one book, Willmington's Guide to the Bible presents not only the divisions of theology and survey of the Subject matter, but includes the verses written out (a real time-saver) plus a survey (also with verses and charts) of each book in the Bible.
**[If you want to buy one theology book, Ryrie's Basic Theology is your best bet.]
B. After familiarizing yourself with the subject, study what appear to be the key Biblical verses, using whatever skills and tools you possess.
C. Arrange the results of your study in an orderly fashion: group related verses, note logical progression/development, highlight key conflicts (between verses and systems of thought) and resolve them.
D. Synthesize your findings into a concise statement and compare it to other doctrinal statements on the same subject. Note where you'd agree and where you understand a statement to depart from Scripture. Study verses which supposedly support a view with which you'd differ.
E. Write out a number of lifestyle responses or commitments someone should make who believes what you've believe the Bible states about the subject, which would be appropriate to include in a covenant of membership for a Biblically based church.
III. TOYL Reading List
Your Work Matters to God -Sherman & Hendricks
Finding a Job You Can Love -Mattson & Miller
What Color is Your Parachute -Bolles
Happiness is a Choice -Minirth & Meier
John Powell: Why am I Afraid to Tell You...Fully Human, Fully Alive...Secret of Staying in Love
Dale Carneige: How to Win Friends and Influence People
Caring Enough to Confront -David Augsberger
Quality Friendship -Gary Inrig
Building Up One Another -Gene Getz
C. Personal Growth
Psychology of Winning -Dennis Waitley
Lead On -John Haggai
The Making of A Christian Leader -Engstrom
Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be -Leroy Eims
Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman -Anne Ortlund
Spiritual Leadership -J. Oswald Sanders
How To Get Control of Your Time and Your Life -Alan Lakein
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People -Steven Covey
Managing Your Time -Engstrom & Mackenzie
D. Spiritual Life
True Discipleship -MacDonald
The Healthy Christian Life -Minirth & Meier
Scripture Talks with God -Anders & Boa (Drawing Near)
Money Possessions and Eternity - Randy Alcorn
Shadow of the Almighty -Elizabeth Eliott
My Upmost for His Highest -Oswald Chambers
The Man Who Shook the World -John Pollock (Bio of Paul)
Growing Deep in the Christian Life -Chuck Swindoll
A Layman's Guide to Applying (Interpreting) the Bible -Hendrichsen
Joy of Discovery -Wald; Methodical Bible Study -Traina
How to Enjoy Your Bible -Sterrett; How To Read a Book -M. Adler
The Lies We Believe -Chris Thruman (M/M)
Disciples are Made, Not Born -Walt Hendricksen
Lost Art of Disciplemaking -Leroy Eims
The Essentials of New Life (Follow Up) -Francis Cosgrove (Navs)
The Dynamics (Essentials) of Discipleship Training -Gary Kuhne (CCC)
I'm Glad You Asked -Boa & Moody
Sharpening the Focus of the Church -Gene Getz; Body Life -Stedman
Dynamics of Church Growth -Jenson & Stevens
Marriage Takes More Than Love - Jack & Carole Mayhall
Dare to Discipline -James Dobson ; Christian Child Rearing - Meier
IV. Authors worth Reading
Minirth/Meier & Clinic