Books about a book?

So I wanted to do something a little different today. I was looking around my office and noticed I have a few books. To be honest, I have more than a few books and I keep adding more. This is partly because of classes and partly because of sales. To be honest though the start of my collection was given to me from my father in law Gil. He started the habit so I guess he’s to blame. The reason I bring this up is because when I am reading my Bible a lot of times I turn to these commentaries or studies if I am stuck or want to see what others think about the same passage. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I disagree, and sometimes I learn. I realized though that a good portion of people does not have the same type of library so I thought I would offer some ideas and thoughts. I’ll break down some basic categories below, but please keep in mind this is just a high-level overview not an in-depth look at all possible options. This is just meant to get you going.

Commentaries:

Commentaries are great but to be honest, most people are not ever going to pick one up or read one. I love them but even I don’t read them front to back. I skim through to find what I need. I might read chunks but not a front to back kind of book. There are two-three categories of commentaries but I doubt you care. The most popular in a non-academic setting is a devotional commentary. This is going to go through a book of the Bible and give you thoughts on it. Very good for going deep in a single book.

*It is important to note that there are commentaries that cover a single book like Luther’s Commentary on Romans, commentaries that cover a few books like Alter’s commentary on the Wisdom books, and whole Bible commentaries like MacDonald’s Believer’s Bible Commentary.

Bible Handbook:

Bible Handbooks are like commentaries but smaller and for the books of the Bible. They usually have a few pages dedicated to a book and offer background and highlights. Some are bigger than others but they are great to have because it can fill in some needed information about the book, author, and other relevant background info. Halley’s a good one because it does some chapter breakdown, but the Holman Illustrated is good as well because it is smaller.

Software:

Software is in its own category because there are so many options and ways to customize. If you watch the video then you can see the one I use. There are some free/cheap options like Word Search or E-Sword and I have used both. Word Search is nice and is free and then you buy books to add to it (some are free). I have used Logos in the past because a friend of mine has it and it is great but you need some money to invest in that one. Accordance is another but I have never used it. It is supposed to be as good as Logos. For websites, you can use them to get some help but be weary there are a lot of fruitcakes out there.

Study Bible:

I saved Study Bibles for last because this one of those things you should get. A study Bible is like having a commentary in the Bible. There are hundreds to choose from depending on what you are looking for. There are application study Bibles that tell you what to do with a Scripture, women’s Bibles, men’s Bibles, military Bible’s, children’s Bibles, apologetic Bibles, and just about anything else you can think of. They are great to have and I used one for years as my daily reader. They provide just a little info or help on almost every verse and are a great resource.

Why?

Why get any of these things, though? I mean can’t you just read the Bible and go from there? Sure you can. The Holy Spirit is more than capable of teaching you what the Word says if you are listening. But adding extra things into your Bible study is not about hearing or not hearing from the Holy Spirit. Instead, it is about going deeper. It is about digging deeper and adding to your faith knowledge. How do you know though if what you think the Holy Spirit is telling you is true? Maybe you are reading your own bias into the text. What if you pick up a study note that says there is no mention of three kings just three types of gifts would that change the way you read the section? What about reading and finding out that Isaac was not a little boy during the testing of Abraham. He was a young man somewhere between 18-30. That kind of changes things doesn’t it. We add in these things because we don’t know everything. We should never assume we do. That is arrogance. So grab your Bible, study notes, highlighter, or tablet and dig deep.

 

Just a thought,

Mike

 

Does the TV count as company?

Does the TV count as company? Does a book? What about a video game? FaceBook? I could go on and on, but I think the point is made. In case it wasn’t do the things we give our attention to count as company (that’s better)?

I think they do because they are created to take our attention and pull us into that world. You generally watch a show or movie and “escape” into it. You become connected to the characters and stories. You are saddened when they die, or lose their love. You rejoice when they win. When Captain America is being all awesome you feel good and maybe your arms start twitching like mine do (as if I am beating the bad guy). If we were not connected to them we would not spend our time with them we would just change the channel or grab a different book.

So my new question is this; What kind of company do you keep? 1 Cor 15:33 says Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”” So does the company you keep corrupt your good habits? If you are like a lot of people you can look at that verse and think “almost all my friends go to church” or “I only hang with people who are decent” or whatever. But if the TV and Book company you keep at home is not good then you don’t actually keep good company.

Now don’t think I am shooting down anything in particular. I have no idea what show or book you are thinking about right now but I am willing to bet that most of you are thinking about something. Just know that whatever you are thinking about right now is for you to continue thinking about. Maybe it is not something you do now but did before. Just take that to prayer.

One other thought on how evil company corrupts good habits and this really got me thinking.

I was at a store yesterday and there was this loud mouth kid (early 20s maybe) talking about the last time he got arrested and f this and f that. I mean he was really putting on a show for these other kids. I know him because I was him. I could hear the forcing in his voice trying to sound like I don’t care but I could hear the hurt in his voice. Anyway his actions started to rub off on the lady standing next to me. She started saying things that just did not seem to flow out her mouth naturally. She was letting the company around her influence her language and actions. I left the store realizing the awesome power and responsibility (Spiderman influence) we have and how we have to use it carefully.

None of us are above letting the company around us change our habits either. Galatians says a little yeast works the whole loaf. Do not deceive yourself and think that only “weak” and immature” people deal with that type of stuff. Pride precedes the fall.

Just a thought,

Mike