Let’s face it, the Bible can be a difficult book to read and understand, and we all need help capturing it’s meaning. On the Book Shelf tab I have a list of resources that I have found helpful but a list is not always helpful. While reading commentaries is helpful, it is probably impractical to expect most people to buy a library of commentaries and honestly finding the right resources can be challenging. That said I do think most Christians can benefit from a good single volume commentary on the Bible and then a decent commentary on their favorite book(s). Here are a few choices:
- Africa Bible Commentary
- The IVP Bible Background Commentary This is a background commentary rather than an explanation of the text.
- Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible
- The New Interpreter’s Bible One-Volume Commentary
Commentaries are great but they are not the whole story, because we also need to have the tools to understand the text without the aid of commentators. for that I recommend:
- Gordon Fee How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth Zondervan, 2014
- Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet, 2nd Edition: Rethinking How You Read the Bible Zondervan 2018
- Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading, Eerdman’s 2009
Another helpful resource in learning how to read the Bible and a little of the content is Bible Project, their videos and other resources are incredibly helpful I particularly love their read scripture series for getting an overview of a book before reading it.
I recognize that many will balk at these suggestions wondering why one would need to be so “academic” about reading the Bible. I frequently hear people say, “just let the Spirit move”, or “the Bible was meant to be understood by everyone”. but the reality is the Bible is more nuanced than many understand, and it is meant to be read in community. Using these resources is another layer of community that helps us better gather the meaning of Scripture and it is only a fool who turns down the wisdom.