Since I just finished teaching a class on “How To Study The Bible” that I found personally rewarding, I’d like to share about the books I consulted on this important topic. Collectively, Christians seem to be ever sliding backward on personal Bible study. We are starting to reap a disaster in Christianity as Christians know little of what the Bible says. Whether the preacher in the pulpit, the teacher in the classroom, or the Christian at home, we need help.
Here are the books that I found most helpful:
1. Interpreting The Bible by A. Berkeley Mickelsen
The best all-round volume that covers all the bases well. It’s scholarly, yet the reasoning can be easily followed. It’s especially helpful on specialized topics like parables and figures of speech. Begins with a good section on the history of interpretation. If I could only have one volume on the subject, this would be it.
2. Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy Zuck
More focused and to the point than many, yet it contains sufficient depth. Dr. Tim Jayne, who has taught the Bible for many years, actually gave this book when he was telling me that it was most effective for students to his mind. Mr. Zuck is a solid teacher from Dallas Theological Seminary. Although he finds dispensationalism in every shadow, I highly recommend this title for the real help it gives. (Logos is now offering this title here)
3. Principles of Expository Preaching by Merrill Unger
The title is misleading in that this book is not about preaching, but Bible interpretation. In that good preaching springs from right interpretation, this book will help any Bible student. A worthy addition to your library.
4. Understanding and Applying The Bible by Robert McQuilkin
A popular, helpful tool for the Bible student trying to gain principles to study the Bible. A different approach from Mickelsen, Zuck, and Unger, but he sheds real light.
5. Biblical Interpretation by W. Randolph Tate
A volume well respected in the scholarly world and helpful to we Bible students. A little deeper than the aforementioned titles, but I’d grab a copy if I could.
6. Bible Explorers Guide by John Phillips
This well-beloved Bible teacher has really given us a worthwhile volume. Pitched at the S.S. teacher/layman level, it really brings concepts alive that some of the more scholarly volumes just can’t give us–at least not as passionately. Not the last word on the subject, but I would hate to be without it!
7. Not Like Any Other Book by Peter Masters
Not as well known as other volumes on the subject, but a timely expose on ridiculous ideas that have infested Biblical scholarship and renders them unable to grasp the riches of God’s Word. I love this book!
You might grab: Biblical Hermeneutics by Terry (old, large, and mined by later writers), Hermeneutics by Virkler (old, but shorter), Protestant Biblical Interpretation (influential, but not as helpful as some to a Bible student), and Toward An Exegetical Theology by Walter Kaiser (Popular and helpful).
Books to encourage doing Bible study: How To Master The English Bible by James Gray, Methods of Bible Study by W. H. Griffith-Thomas, and How To Study The Bible by R. A Torrey. J. Vernon McGee, I.M. Haldeman, and Arthur Pink have written on this as well.
Books more geared toward personal Bible study: Independent Bible Study by Irving Jensen (Inductive Method), How To Study The Bible by Braga, Dynamic Personal Bible Study by Cyril Barber, How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth by Fee and Stuart, How To Study The Bible For Yourself by Lahaye, Creative Bible Study by Richards, How To Understand Your Bible by Alan Stibbs, The Joy of Discovery by Oletta Wald, How To Enjoy Studying The Bible by Joseph Gettys, Principles of Bible Hermeneutics by Haritt (fine, but lacks perspective), Methodical Bible Study by Traina, Knowing the Scriptures by A.T. Pierson (unique), Enjoy Your Bible and Simply Understanding The Bible both by Irving Jensen, Understanding the Bible by John Stott, Interpreting God’s Word Today by Kistemaker, and How To Get the Most From God’s Word by John MacArthur all might prove helpful.
Here’s something similar on Bible Atlas books. Just click: