As you begin your devotional journey, being faithful to the Word of God, there are tools available that can enrich and enhance your experience. Though not necessary, these tools can be extremely helpful. I would like to mention five tools that can assist you in your journey being Focused on the Word.
A good bible is essential if you are going to read the Word. A simple copy of the Scriptures can be bought from a Christian book store, online, or many thrift stores give them away for free!
If you would like to enhance your experience reading the Word, Study Bibles are available. Usually Study Bibles are a bit more expensive depending on the publisher and edition, but they are worth the investment. Study bibles have useful information and tools that accompany the Scriptures. The assets of a good study bible are usually a concordance (find scriptures by using key words), basic commentary (comments and explanation on the Scriptures you are reading), cross references, bible dictionary, and more. Though these features are available in the study bible, they are usually very limited: Concordances will not be exhaustive, commentaries will be brief and not on every verse, dictionaries will not include every word, and cross references will only be key verses. The ability to have basic helpful information as you read is a major plus though.
I have included some Study Bibles I have found helpful, or I would recommend:
Another great tool is the Bible Dictionary. It really is just what it sounds like... a dictionary of the Bible. Unlike a typical dictionary, the Bible Dictionary usually provides pictures and tons of information about the word, place, or person you are looking up. It is more like a encyclopedia or Wikipedia type information. Bible Dictionaries are helpful if you come to a character, place, or event that you would like some more information about.
Below are some Bible Dictionaries I would recommend:
If you would like to get a simple overview of each book of the Bible, Bible Handbooks are the tool for you. A Bible Handbook offers the key themes, characters, and events of each book. Handbooks also helps set the historical setting, telling you the date it was written, who it was written by, and to whom it was written to.
Bible Handbooks really are wonderful tools that can take your Bible reading and devotional life to the next level.
Below are some Bible Handbooks I would recommend:
Another great tool that can greatly improve your bible study time is commentaries. Commentaries are "comments" or explanations of the Scriptures. Usually commentaries only cover one book of the Bible at a time, and are quite exhaustive. They go verse by verse, defining words, explaining customs, and giving details as to what the Scriptures mean.
A word of caution is needed with any study tool, but especially commentaries. Remember that most commentaries are just the opinions of one individual who often comes to the Bible with bias and personal beliefs. With that said, commenatries are great tools and can be a wonderful asset to your Scripture reading.
You can check out www.bestcommentaries.com to get some ideas of commentaries that can be helpful.
Below are some commentaries I would recommend:
I am a huge proponent of technology and the available tools through it. Just using google to search for information can sometimes be more helpful than all the afore mentioned books, and it is free. I could (and probably will in the future) write an entire post about useful digital tools available. I will just mention a few here: