Q: #58. I am a new Christian. What study materials do you recommend to help me grow?
By: Steve Shirley
A: I believe three study materials are a must for all Christians. First, of course, you need a good Bible. We discussed this at length in the previous question, so please check this out.
Secondly, you should have a good Bible dictionary. These take most of the people, places, and things found in the Bible and help you understand them more clearly. The Bible dictionary I use the most is the "Nelson's Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible." It is very thorough and quite easy to understand. It also has pictures of many things found in the Bible. A good dictionary can be found for about 10-20 dollars.
Third, you should have a good concordance. With a concordance, you can look up any word in the Bible and find every place it is used. In addition, with many you can also look up what the word means in the original Hebrew and Greek if you so wish. In the back of some concordances, they also have a topical index where you can pick a subject or topic you are interested in studying, and they will list verses all through the Bible that pertain to that topic. Strong's concordance is by far the best selling concordance today and it is excellent. You can usually get one for around 20 dollars.
I would also recommend, down the road, you consider a good commentary or two. Commentaries function like the notes found in a study Bible, but they often go into much more depth on many verses. There are hundreds of commentaries out there, some good, some I wouldn't recommend at all. The commentary I use most often is called "The Believer's Bible Commentary" by William MacDonald. I LOVE this commentary. It is very thorough and easy to understand. It has helped me immensely.
I also have a "Wycliffe Bible Commentary," a "MacArthur Bible Commentary" (same notes as his study Bible), and "Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown's Commentary" (free online). All of these I recommend. Vernon Mcgee, an old time Bible preacher from the 1980's, has a series of Bible commentaries, one on each book of the Bible, called Thru The Bible. He is a good Bible teacher.
One of the very first things I got when I was trying to grow in the Lord was a set of tracts from Billy Graham. Over the years, his many teachings have been made into little booklets. You can purchase these for about .10 a piece. There are about 300 of them covering all kinds of topics. These REALLY helped me a great deal early on, and were very easy to understand.
These study aids should get you well on your way to a deeper walk with the Lord.