The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
—2 Timothy 4:13
Going through some of my Bible college notes I came across a list of books we were told we should have for a well-rounded library of Bible study tools. Today you can get much of this material online and in Bible study software. But it is nice to pull a book off the shelf and flip through the pages while studying–especially if you have to go back and forth between pages looking for connections between concepts. Most reference books you wouldn’t want to read cover to cover, but there are a couple that would make great devotional material for someone more serious about Bible study.
Here is the list with Amazon links. Obviously Amazon is not the only place you can get these. See if your local Bible bookstore has them so that you can browse through the pages and see if you really want or need the book. Some of these titles have Kindle editions available for them. For the multi-volume sets the Kindle version might be better since you can easily search for the information without pulling 25 lbs. worth of books off your shelf.
- A good Bible. Four specific ones were recommended:
- Scofield Study Bible — I like the one with the 1917 notes
- Thompson Chain Reference Bible
- Ryrie Study Bible — The format of the Ryrie Bible is very easy to read
- Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible
- Strong’s Concordance
- Vine’s Expository Dictionary
- Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament — A 2 volume set
- Reference Passage Bible — I only found used ones at Amazon
- Vincet’s Word Studies in the New Testament — A 4 Volume set
- Wuest Word Studies of the New Testament — A 4 Volume set
- Barne’s Notes on the New Testament — This is the Kindle version because you probably aren’t going to read the 11 volume NT set enough to justify the hundreds of dollars it would cost
Though it wasn’t on the list I got in school, one of my favorite Bible handbooks is Halley’s Bible Handbook.
If you are interested in building a lasting library, look for hardback versions of these books. For the Bibles, the hardback version will be cheaper than leather covers–even bonded leather. They won’t get beat up as easily either.
I hope this list helps you get started in serious Bible study. If you have a book that you recommend either in place of one of the books listed or in addition to the list, leave a comment below and share it with the other readers. I am curious as to what others are recommending in the 20+ years since this list was given.