Note: Many of the books referenced below are now in the public domain. While they may still be in print and available for purchase, many of them can also be downloaded free from the Internet, and many are available to refer to at various Internet websites.
Even though the references mentioned below may prove useful for studying the Bible and related subjects, their inclusion is by no means to be taken as an unqualified endorsement of everything that is written in any particular reference. Bible students are advised to exercise caution, integrity and due diligence in the use of any reference source.
It’s intended that this page will be updated and expanded from time to time.
Church of God Publications
Over the years there have been many fine books and articles written by various Church of God ministers, such as Herbert W. Armstrong, John Ogwyn, and others. While there are errors in some of the writings, there is also much valuable information and spiritual insight to be gleaned on many basic Bible subjects. Many of these books and articles can be found on various websites, even though they may not be available from the original publisher.
Valuable as these materials are, they should not be viewed as suitable replacements for the Bible itself. Also, not every teacher or minister who wears the “Church of God” label can be trusted as competent, honest, or truly representing God. Beware that you “prove all things,” and do not allow yourself to be deceived.
For background relating to Jewish customs, beliefs and practices at the time of Christ
Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993.
Edersheim, Alfred. The Temple: Its Ministry and Services. Peabody, Massachusetts. Hendrickson Publishers, 1994.
Jeremias, Joachim. F. H. and C. M. Cave (trans.). Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975.
Josephus, Flavius. William Whiston (trans.). The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus. New York. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Neusner, Jacob (trans.). The Mishnah: A New Translation. New Haven and London. Yale University Press, 1988.
Talmud and other Jewish traditional writings may be found in some libraries.
Fine Lexicons for everyday use, both tied to Strong’s Numbers
Gesenius, William. S. P. Tregelles (trans.). Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 1979.
Thayer, Joseph Henry. The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Christian Copyrights, 1983.
Lexicons often acclaimed as the best available, but more difficult to use
Brown, F., S. Driver, and C. Briggs. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Peabody, Massachusetts. Hendrickson, 2004.
Arndt, W. F., and E. W. Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. University of Chicago Press, 1979.
Note that using several lexicons will often serve you better in getting the sense of the meaning of the original than just relying on one. Lexicons are valuable tools, but can sometimes be misleading. “It has often been said that the best commentary on Scripture is Scripture itself. Nowhere is this more true than in Hebrew word studies. The best method for determining the meaning of any Hebrew word is to study the context in which it appears” (Vine’s Complete Expository of Old and New Testament Words, p. xvi). The same could be said for Greek in the New Testament (cf. Isaiah 28:10, 13). “Theology is the whole meaning of Scripture — the sense taught in the whole of Scripture, as that sense is modified, limited, and explained by Scripture itself” (Angus-Green Bible Handbook, p. 201).
Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. New York. Abingdon Press, 1890.
Beitzel, B.J. New Moody Atlas of the Bible. Chicago: Moody Publishers. 2009.
Rasmussen, Carl G. Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House, 1989.
Dictionary of Important Hebrew and Greek Words
Vine, W. E., Merrill F. Unger, and William White, Jr. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1985.
Many Bible commentaries have been written. Below are some I’ve found useful. None is totally reliable.
Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Keil, C.F., and F. Delitzsch. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971. (Conservative German commentary originally published in the 19th century and soon after translated into English. Detailed and scholarly. Especially useful for Pentateuch).
Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, (Generally conservative, published in early 19th century).
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown, published in 1871. (Often referred to as simply JFB, generally conservative).
Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, John Gill. (Conservative commentary published in the 18th century).
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. (Published in the early 18th century. Wordy but occasional useful insights).
Word Pictures in the New Testament. A. T. Robertson.
Bible Dictionaries, Handbooks, Encyclopedias
Angus, Joseph, and Samuel G. Green. The Bible Handbook. Westwood, New Jersey. Fleming H. Revell Company, 1961.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary. M. G. Easton (1897).
Halley’s Bible Handbook. Henry H. Halley.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. James Orr, (various editions).
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament; Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, Geoffrey William Bromiley. (1964) Eerdmans. Note: This massive work (ten volumes) is written mostly by “liberal” scholars who accepted the “Documentary Hypothesis” and other God-rejecting nonsense. Nevertheless, the work can be a valuable source of worthwhile information if used with discretion and discernment.
Some Worthwhile Books on the Creation / Evolution Controversy
Hoyle, Fred, and N. C. Wickramasinghe. Evolution From Space. New York. Simon and Schuster, 1981. Two world famous scientists discuss the flaws in Darwinism and why it is untenable.
Lubenow, Marvin L. Bones of Contention. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Book House, 1992. A thorough analysis of “hominid” fossils that demolishes the myth of human evolution.
Thaxton, Charles B., Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen. The Mystery of Life’s Origin. New York. Philosophical Library, 1984. Scientists discuss details from a scientific perspective why biological life did not and cannot arise spontaneously from non-living matter and energy without intelligent intervention, i.e., a Creator.
Health and Nutrition
Blumenthal, Mark, ed. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Integrated Medicine Communications, 2000.
Colbert, Don. What Would Jesus Eat? Nashville, Tennessee. Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2002.
Duke, James A. The Green Pharmacy. Rodale, 1997.
Murray, Michael, N. D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, CA. Prima Publishing, 1991.
Russell, Rex, M.D. What the Bible Says About Healthy Living. Ventura, California. Regal Books, 1996.
Basic Requirements for a Bible Student’s Library
First, I think a Bible student ought to be familiar with the reference section of the local library. There are likely to be reference sources many cannot afford to own themselves. The Encyclopedia Britannica and others, and various Bible commentaries, encyclopedias and dictionaries will usually be available for research. Many books not available locally can be borrowed through the interlibrary loan service.
Basic to a Bible student’s library besides the Bible could include the following: General historical surveys; historical sources from Biblical times, including those featuring primary source documents; surveys of intellectual history, including that of professing Christianity; sources which shed light on the religious customs of the world and how they developed; Hebrew and Greek lexicons; concordance; interlinear Bible; Bible atlases; theological dictionaries; basic helps for Hebrew and Greek grammar. Many primary historical source documents and public domain books are available on the Internet.
In addition to the books named earlier, I would recommend the following:
There are many. One multi-volume series I’d recommend is:
Durant, Will. The Story of Civilization. New York. Simon and Schuster.
A good quick reference
Langer, William L. An Encyclopedia of World History. Boston. Houghton Miffilin, 1952.
Biblical History and Archeology Resources
Free, Joseph P. Archaeology and Bible History.
Gray, John. Archaeology and the Old Testament World. New York. Harper and Row, 1962.
Kitchen, Kenneth A. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2003. “Kitchen’s book provides the reader with the most thoroughly researched and comprehensive collection of relevant ancient Near Eastern material available for the establishment of Old Testament history within its original and authentic world” (from review by Richard Hess, Professor of Old Testament, Denver Seminary, www.denverseminary.edu).
Kitchen, K. A. The Bible In Its World. Eugene, Oregon. Wipf and Stock, 2004. An eminent Egyptologist, archeologist and Biblical historian explores the relationship between the ancient near eastern world and ancient Israel, demonstrating that available archeological evidence clearly exposes the falsehood of critical and minimalist doctrine on the history and development of Israel and its religion.
Merrill, Eugene H. An Historical Survey of the Old Testament. Phillipsburg, New Jersey. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1966.
Owen, G. Frederick. Archaeology and the Bible. Westwood, New Jersey. Fleming H. Revell Company, 1961.
Schultz, Samuel J. The Old Testament Speaks. San Francisco. Harper, 1990.
Thomas, D. Winton (ed.). Documents from Old Testament Times. New York. Harper Torchbooks, 1958. Primary source documents from Old Testament times of historical interest with discussion by various scholars.
Frazer, James G. The Golden Bough. New York. Macmillan, 1951.
Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons. Neptune, New Jersey. Loizeaux Brothers.
McMullen, Ramsay. Paganism in the Roman Empire. New Haven. Yale University Press, 1981.
White, J. E. Manchip. Ancient Egypt. New York. Dover, 1970.
Donner, Morton, Kenneth E. Eble, and Robert E. Helbing. The Intellectual Tradition of the West (Volume I, Hesiod to Calvin). Scott, Foresman, 1967.
Jones, W. T. A History of Western Philosophy. New York. Harcort, Brace and World, 1969.
Neve, J. L. A History of Christian Thought, Volume One: History of Christian Doctrine. Philadelphia. Muhlenberg Press, 1946.
Hebrew and Greek
With an interlinear Bible and the Analytical Hebrew and Greek Lexicons the grammatical form of any word in the original Bible text can be determined.
Analytical Greek Lexicon. London: Samuel Bagster && Sons, 1794.
Davidson, Benjamin. The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon. Slough, Bucks (Great Britain). Hollen Street Press, Ltd., 1967.
Green, Jay P., Sr. (ed.). The Interlinear Bible. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1986.
Goodrick, Edward W. Do It Yourself Hebrew and Greek. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Multnomah Press, 1980. A guide to Hebrew and Greek for those who don’t want to learn the languages.
Robertson, Archibald Thomas. Word Pictures in the New Testament. Nashville: Broadman, 1931. A useful commentary on the grammar of the New Testament Greek.
Barclay, William. New Testament Words. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1974. Interesting word studies of the New Testament Greek.
Monce, William D. Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan, 1983. One of the best grammars for beginning New Testament Greek. A companion workbook, Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook, is available.
Page H. Kelley. Biblical Hebrew: An Introductory Grammar. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eerdmans, 1992. A detailed introduction to Biblical Hebrew, with exercises.
Internet and Software Resources
The Internet is a rich resource for ready access at no charge to public domain materials related to the Bible and Bible software – some of it free also.
Many encyclopedias, such as the Jewish Encyclopedia (jewishencyclopedia.com), 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica (encyclopedia.jrank.org), historical books, etc., can now be accessed or downloaded at little or no cost from the Internet. There are many sources but some worth checking out include Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org); Project Gutenberg Australia (gutenberg.net.au); Google books (books.google.com); Internet Archive (www.archive.org). Amazon (www.amazon.com) also has many books available for download free or at very low cost, among which, for example, is Rodkinson’s twenty volume translation of the Babylonian Talmud.
Some of the free software and related resources include the following:
The SWORD Project. The Crosswire Bible Society’s (www.crosswire.org) free Bible software project. The project features Bible study software for all readers, students, scholars, and translators of the Bible, and has a growing collection of over 200 texts in over 50 languages. Texts available include more than a dozen each of English Bible translations and commentaries, Hebrew and Greek Bible texts, several lexicons, Bible dictionaries, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the 1913 Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, the works of Josephus, and Alfred Edersheim’s The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.
The resources are available as modules, and frontend software is available for popular operating systems, including Linux, Windows and others.
E-Sword. Free Bible software for Windows (www.e-sword.net). Similar to the Sword Project, but works only with Windows. Many resources are free, others require payment.