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The Companion Bible (KJV) is the absolute BEST Study Bible that I know of. Each Book of the Bible is introduced, outlined and it's structure is shown. Every page of the text has a parallel column jammed packed with explanatory notes. Many of the Old Testament notes are based upon Ginzberg's Massorah (small writings in the margins of the Hebrew texts). E. W. Bullinger, the Editor of The Companion Bible, was the only Christian Ginzberg allowed to help him with his collection of the Masoretic Notes or even to see them. This is the ONLY place I know where an English reader has access to this extremely enlightening material. The New Testament marginal notes are a great help to any Bible student, as well! Not to mention the virtual treasure trove of Bible knowledge available in the 198 appendices in the back of the book. If I could only own one Bible for the rest of my life -- this would definitely be my choice hands down! Don't miss this one!

New Geneva Study Bible (NKJV). "Bringing the Light of the Reformation to Scripture." Now that's full circle for you! The Scripture translated into the language of the people was what brought the light to spark the Reformation in the first place. This Bible offers extensive study notes and theological notes from a team of 50 Reformed scholars. Some familiar names include the General Editor, R. C. Sproul, Associate Editors, J. I. Packer and James Boice, Old Testament Contributor Willem VanGemeren and New Testament Contributors Sinclair Ferguson, Wayne Gruden, Leon Morris and Vern Polythress. There are quite a few maps and charts throughout the text to illustrate content and provide background information. Each book of the Bible is introduced and fully outlined. There is a complete cross-reference system as well as a concordance and an index. A very good tool which allows the Covenant structure of God's Word to shine forth. I find myself using this Bible quite often and I highly recommend it!  

MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV) by John MacArthur, one of my favorite expository Bible teachers. This study Bible will answer almost any question a serious Bible student might have. It is overflowing with charts, graphs, and maps. There are detailed introductions to each of the books of the Bible. Each and every page is full of useful footnotes --almost 25,000 in all! It also provides an extensive Topical Index which is quite helpful. Plus an Harmony of the Gospels! This is a scholarly work but it won't be above the average reader's head. MacArthur explains things clearly. There is a wealth of information in this single volume. Impressive!

Study Helps

The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (Complete and Unabridged) by James Strong. This is the VERY BEST concordance that there is for a layperson. It has every word in the King James Bible in it and every occurrence thereof. Plus Hebrew and Greek Lexicons. With this cool tool an English reader can easily take each and every word of Scripture back to the language it was written in and trace each original word back to it's prime root for a better understanding of the meaning. And the new version is in a much larger easy on the eyes print! As they say...Strong's is for the STRONG, Young's is for the young, Nave's for the naive, Crudens for....well, you get the idea. Be Strong in Your Father's Word.

Smith's Bible Dictionary by William Smith. The beauty of this dictionary is that it covers people, places and things mentioned in the Bible. It will give you a short history of people and places so you can keep them all straight. Plus people's names and place names mean something and often the meanings of the names add detail to the stories in Scripture. Smith's will fill you in on all those. Plus there are lots of maps and illustrations, a history of each book of the Bible, special sections on ancient coins, gems, Biblical weights and measures, the rivers and waters of Scriptures, and all the animals of the Bible. There's even a concordance in the back and much more. The knowledge to be gained from this book will really flesh out the stories in the Bible for you. Very interesting and helpful, too!

Knowing Scripture by R. C. Sproul. "If I were the devil," writes J. I. Packer, "one of my first aims would be to stop folks from digging into the Bible...I should do all I could to surround it with the spiritual equivalent of pits, thorns, hedges and mantraps...But I should be very far from pleased to see this book by R. C. Sproul." And I'm sure the devil isn't pleased with it one bit, but you will be! First Sproul will motivate you to study Scripture then he presents the science of interpretation in simple, basic terms, giving practical guidelines for applying it. It's a great book for someone just beginning to study the Bible, but one who has been at it a long time will benefit, too.  

How To Study The Bible by John F. MacArthur. One in a series of MacArthur's books that are based on teachings from his radio program, but go into a bit more depth on the subjects than can be covered in the time period on his show. In this one, MacArthur covers how best to study the Bible and explains in detail why Bible study is so very important in every believer's life.

The Apocrypha: An American Translation translated by Edgar J. Goodspeed. The Apocrypha is made up of books that are in the Septuagint - the Greek version of Old Testament - the earliest complete version of the Old Testament that we possess - but which were not included in the final canon of the Hebrew Old Testament. That's why they are called "Apocrypha" which means hidden books. They are still in Catholic Bibles today and were included in the 1611 version of the King James Bible, but are not in many Protestant Bible versions anymore. They may not be canonical yet they contain important historical information about the Jews in the period between the rebuilding of the Temple and the time of Jesus and are therefore good background for New Testament study. My favorite part is the information about what happens to a soul after death found in Second Esdras, chapter seven starting at about verse seventy-seven. Very interesting, indeed!  

The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah by Alfred Edersheim. This is a fantastic book. One of my all time favorites. I could read it over and over and I have! Edersheim wrote it in 1883. he was born in Vienna to Jewish parents and was trained as a Biblical scholar. Eventually he converted to Christianity, became a missionary to the Jews of Romania and went on to become the Church of England Vicar of Loders, Dorset. He had an almost encyclopedic familiarity with ancient Jewish sources which he drew upon to make this work so much more than just a life of Jesus or an harmony of the Gospels. He makes the Scriptures come alive, giving you an extraordinary insight into the culture, people,and lands of Galilee and Judea in the first century. You will laugh, you will cry, you will feel pain and sorrow, you will rejoice, you will feel just like you are THERE with Jesus, His family, His disciples and others He came in contact with. And you will constantly find yourself understanding for the very first time nuances of the New Testament record that you perhaps just passed right over before. I can't say enough good things about this one!  

Number in Scripture by E. W. Bullinger, a direct descendant of the great Swiss reformer, Johann H. Bullinger. Bullinger writes in the preface, "May the result of this contribution to a great subject be to stimulate the labours of Bible students; to strengthen believers in their most holy faith; and to convince doubters of the Divine perfection and inspiration of the Book of Books, to the praise and glory of God." The great subject here is Numerics - how numbers are used in the Holy Writ - numbers that are in plain view in the text. No speculative numerology or secret pseudo "Bible codes" to be manipulated here! Here's another book that calls the small, often overlooked details to our attention, deepening our knowledge and understanding of the God-breathed Word. The designs of the numbers and the numerical features of the Word of God give amazing evidence to their Designer. This book does exactly what Bullinger hoped for, stimulates students of the Word to dig deeper, builds faith and if it doesn't convince doubters of the perfection of the Scriptures, I don't know what will.

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