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Monthly Archives: June 2015

The 10 Best Online Study Resources

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The 10 Best Online Study Resources

When it comes to Bible software, I use Logosmore than anything else (though I knowBibleWorks and Accordance are excellent too).

But what about free online resources? Thankfully, the web has made it possible for almost anyone with a computer to access hundreds of valuable study tools. For people who don’t have immediate access to a sizeable library, that’s great news.

If you’re an avid online Bible student, you are probably already familiar with the ten resources I’ve listed below. But these are the ones that I find most helpful in my own personal study.

Having said that, I’m always looking for new sites, to add even more richness to my online study time. So, if you think of one I’ve missed, be sure to add a comment and mention it.

My Top-Ten Favorite Online Study Resources

  1. The John MacArthur Sermon Archive— I grew up at Grace Community Church. So I’m admittedly a little biased when I say this, but it is nonetheless true: When it comes to clearly and accurately explaining the Word of God, there is no pastor I trust more than John MacArthur. The fact that he has preached through every verse of the New Testament, and that all of those sermons are available for free online (both in audio and transcript form), means that this resource is as exhaustive as it is valuable. The topical Q&A section is also an expansive resource, giving practical and biblical instruction on a wide variety of issues.
  2. BibleStudyTools.com– This website came in handy even when I was a seminary student. I especially appreciated the interlinear Bible which worked great with the corresponding BST Greek and Hebrew fonts. While it is no substitute for Logos, this website provides a number of helpful study tools for free—including commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and lexicons. Similar sites include www.studylight.orgwww.e-sword.net, and www.blueletterbible.org.
  3. Online Commentaries– There are probably two dozen classic commentary sets available online. One of the most expansive lists of online commentaries (organized by book of the Bible) is found here. Though the majority of these commentaries are older (which is why they are now in the public domain), they still represent a wealth of insightful information about the biblical text.
  4. BibleGateway.com– I appreciate two things about Bible Gateway. First, it is one of the easiest-to-use Bible searching websites. Finding passages of Scripture in multiple versions is quick and painless. Second, it is home to the online-edition of the IVP commentaries . This is one of the few modern commentaries available for free on the web.
  5. Google Books– Of course, if I want to peruse modern commentaries (or other books) without going to the library, I use Google Books. I am a hugefan of Google Books; and if you’ve never used it before, you really should try it out. It is incredible. Admittedly, most of the modern books are limited to only a “preview.” But, you can still search the entire book; which makes it an extremely useful database.  And, sometimes you find a gem, like the full version of John Broadus on Matthew or Martin Luther on The Sermon on the Mount.

Another nice feature (especially for seminary students) is that, if you cite a source from Google Books, you can cite the actual page in your footnotes, and not some long, messy URL.

On a side note, if a page is not viewable in Google books (because of the “preview” limitations), you can often find it at Amazon.com, using the “Look Inside” feature. Partnering the Google Books database with the Amazon.com database results in more information online and fewer trips to the library.

  1. Google Scholar– This is not quite as helpful as Google Books, and it’s still in a Beta Version. But in essence, what Google Books is to books, Google Scholar is to journals. So, it can still turn up helpful information, especially if you’re looking for journal articles on a given topic. (Of course, a number of schools make their journals available on their websites. For example, if you’re looking to search TMSJ, you can just click here.)
  2. iTunes U– So, technically, this resource utilizes iTunes and not your normal web browser … but it is an incredible resource nonetheless. A significant number of theological institutions (as well as other universities and colleges) have made lectures available for free download through iTunes. Now you can get a free seminary-level education while you commute to work or run on the treadmill.

I’ve personally benefited greatly from some of the Church History lectures that are available from various evangelical seminaries. And it’s fun to know I can “sit in” on a class at MIT or Harvard anytime I want–even if I don’t get official credit for it. (For theological students, another website that is similar to this is, though on a smaller scale, iswww.biblicaltraining.org.)

  1. Christian Classics Ethereal Library– Speaking of Church History, an area near-and-dear to my heart, the Christian Classics Ethereal Library is undoubtedly the largest collection of historic Christian resources on the web. If I’m looking for something from the church fathers, or Augustine, or Aquinas, or Calvin, or the Puritans, CCEL is usually the first place I look.

(Of course, if I’m looking for stuff related to Charles Spurgeon, no site is better than Phil Johnson’s Spurgeon archive.)

  1. Bible.org– This site houses an expansive array of articles, organized by both topic and by book of the Bible. Contributors include well-known scholars like Daniel Wallace, Kenneth Boa, Darrel Bock, Eugene Merrill, and John Walvoord. (The site’s connection to Dallas Theological Seminary is no secret.) Also, this site is the home of the NET Bible, which is notable because of the translation notes that accompany the text.
  2. Monergism.com– This site is somewhat similar to www.bible.org, though from a more Reformed perspective. Also, it serves largely as a topic-based portal—directing visitors to helpful articles on a wide array of subjects. The site includes an excellent database of sermon manuscripts, making it especially helpful for Bible study.

Well, there you have my top ten picks.

There are OBVIOUSLY many more websites that I could have mentioned. You’ll notice I kept the “blog” category completely off of this list. (Perhaps that is due to the fact that blogs tend to distract me from studying, rather than help me study.)

Having said that, I’m always looking to expand this list to include other great websites.

If you think I missed something, please share it with us in the comments section below.

by Nathan Busenitz

What version of the bible is best for you?

biblestudy

 

 

Answer:Depending on how one distinguishes a different Bible version from a revision of an existing Bible version, there are as many as 50 different English versions of the Bible. The question then arises: Is there really a need for so many different English versions of the Bible? The answer is, of course, no, there is no need for 50 different English versions of the Bible. This is especially true considering that there are hundreds of languages into which the entire Bible has not yet been translated. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with their being multiple versions of the Bible in a language. In fact, multiple versions of the Bible can actually be an aid in understanding the message of the Bible.

There are two primary reasons for the different English Bible versions. (1) Over time, the English language changes/develops, making updates to an English version necessary. If a modern reader were to pick up a 1611 King James Version of the Bible, he would find it to be virtually unreadable. Everything from the spelling, to syntax, to grammar, to phraseology is very different. Linguists state that the English language has changed more in the past 400 years than the Greek language has changed in the past 2,000 years. Several times in church history, believers have gotten “used” to a particular Bible version and become fiercely loyal to it, resisting any attempts to update/revise it. This occurred with the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and more recently, the King James Version. Fierce loyalty to a particular version of the Bible is illogical and counterproductive. When the Bible was written, it was written in the common language of the people at that time. When the Bible is translated, it should be translated into how a people/language group speaks/reads at that time, not how it spoke hundreds of years ago.

(2) There are different translation methodologies for how to best render the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into English. Some Bible versions translate as literally (word-for-word) as possible, commonly known as formal equivalence. Some Bible versions translate less literally, in more of a thought-for-thought method, commonly known as dynamic equivalence. All of the different English Bible versions are at different points of the formal equivalence vs. dynamic equivalence spectrum. The New American Standard Bible and the King James Version would be to the far end of the formal equivalence side, while paraphrases such as The Living Bible and The Message would be to the far end of the dynamic equivalence side.

The advantage of formal equivalence is that it minimizes the translator inserting his/her own interpretations into the passages. The disadvantage of formal equivalence is that it often produces a translation so woodenly literal that it is not easily readable/understandable. The advantage of dynamic equivalence is that it usually produces a more readable/understandable Bible version. The disadvantage of dynamic equivalence is that it sometimes results in “this is what I think it means” instead of “this is what it says.” Neither method is right or wrong. The best Bible version is likely produced through a balance of the two methodologies.

Listed below are the most common English versions of the Bible. In choosing which Bible version(s) you are going to use/study, do research, discuss with Christians you respect, read the Bibles for yourself, and ultimately, ask God for wisdom regarding which Bible version He desires you to use.

King James Version (KJV)
New International Version (NIV)
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
New King James Version (NKJV)
English Standard Version (ESV)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Century Version (NCV)
New English Bible (NEB)
American Standard Version (ASV)
Good News Bible (GNB) / Today’s English Version (TEV)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Today’s New International Version (TNIV)
New English Translation (NET)
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
God’s Word Translation (GW)
Common English Bible (CEB)
New International Readers Version (NIrV)
Easy-To-Read Version (ERV)
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Bible in Basic English (BBE)
Mind you these are just my thoughts on the subject of ‘finding a good bible’.

What do you think?

What bible translation do you like best and why?

 

 

 

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