Sunday, October 9, 2011

Choosing your Sword's features

In today's blog we want to explore the various features to look for when trying to choose a Bible for purchase, regular reading and study.  Yesterday we consider the different types of translations, and now we want to note what features to look for in helping you grow in your Christian walk.

1. Cross References
     When you open up your Bible, have you ever noticed those little Bible verses running down either the middle column or on the side.  Those little verses references are what we call "cross references".  Simply put, many Study Bibles have a system that editors have included to guide the Bible student to other verses that have similar themes as the given verse.  Cross referencing helps you to learn and explore your Bible, and is the most effective way to grow in the scriptures.  By comparing scriptures with other scripture, you begin to know what God has to say on a given matter.  I would recommend Bibles that are strong in this area such as the MacArthur Study Bible, Ryrie Study Bible, Reformation Study Bible, New Scofield Study Bible and Thompson Chain Reference Bible.

2. Study Notes
     Most Study Bibles will not only have cross references, but also study notes either at the bottom of each page or on the side.  Some study Bibles will tell you what the verse means (deductive Study Bibles), while others are designed to help you discover the meaning (Inductive Study).  The top Study Bibles with the best notes that I have seen are the NIV Study Bible, MacArthur Study Bible, New Geneva Study Bible, Archaelogical Study Bible and New Scofield Reference Bible.

3. Articles
     Some study Bibles, in addition to having cross references and study notes, will have feature articles that will sometimes be one or two pages in length.  Usually topics such as parenting or the Deity of Christ are included as aids in helping the Bible student to broaden their understanding of a given topic.  The top four Bibles that do this in my opinion are the Archaelogical Study Bible, New Open Bible and New Geneva Study Bible.

4. Topical index
     All study Bibles will feature verses in the back arranged under different topics.  The NIV Topical Study Bible and the MacArthur Study Bible are fine examples of Bibles with incredible topical indexes.

5. Maps, Weights and Measures, Bible Dictionaries
     Nearly all study Bibles have these features.  Bible dictionaries list main Bible words and concepts in alphabetical order, giving definitions and cross references.  Good colored Maps that have clear ways of finding Biblical locations are a must.  Knowing what the difference is between a shekel and a cubit will be helpful if your Bible as a good weights and measure section.  The NIV Study Bible, New Open Bible, MacArthur Study Bible, Archaeological Study Bible and Reformation Study Bible are the finest examples with these features.

By using a checklist such as this, you can prayerfully compare which Study Bible is best for helping you to grow in your faith. 

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