Bible Study Helps
Studying the Bible is a tall order, and we all need help, especially in carrying out the first two steps of the plan I've recommended. This final section of the Guide lists some possible sources of that help -- it's not meant to be exhaustive, but should provide a good start.
1. Print Resources
First and foremost, you need an annotated Bible like the Oxford Annotated NRSV and either a concise concordance like The Concise Concordance to the New Revised Standard Version, J.R. Kohlenberger (ed), or a Bible with running cross-references. It is amazing how much the Bible will illuminate itself if you read it carefully.
For more detailed comments or in-depth analysis, I recommend that you find a library through which you can get access to the Anchor Bible Commentary Series, which began in 1964 and is still on-going -- most of the books of the Bible and Apocrypha have a commentary as of 2006, some with both the original commentary and an update. A list of the commentaries to-date and their authors can be found at Wikipedia:
I've always found the one-volume commentaries on the Bible published by Peake's or the Interpreter's Bible to be very helpful, both for the individual commentaries and for the essays on various historical and theological topics. I am still using Peake's Commentary on the Bible (Nelson, 1962) edited by Matthew Black, and The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible (Abingdon Press, 1971), edited by Charles Laymon. There is a new 2001 printing of Peake's but it has not been updated. They are of course older in their scholarship, especially the archaeological material, but they often give helpful, mainstream information and points of view.
Another good series of commentaries, although restricted to the New Testament, is the New International Commentary on the New Testament, published by Eerdmans. For maps, always helpful for the historical books of the Old Testament, the Gospels, and Acts, a good starting place is The Harper Concise Atlas of the Bible.
2. Internet Resources
There were over 20,000,000 hits when I entered "bible study resources" into an internet browser! Separating wheat from chaff is practically impossible when you have that many choices available. So what I have gone for is a short list of lists from reputable sources, and then one that focusses on lectionary resources.
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