by Dave Hintz
As the Christmas season creeps up on us, many of us find ourselves in a frantic rush to buy meaningful gifts for our family and friends. As my has often lamented with groans and sighs, I am that dreaded “impossible man to shop for.” Thus, over the years I have learned to make up a wish list, both to relieve their struggles and to insure that I do not receive a Prayer of Jabez belt buckle or Thomas Kinkade necktie. For those of you who are pondering your own Christmas wish list, allow me to make the following suggestions. Don’t settle for “Left Behind – The Board Game.” Rather, ask for something that will really invigorate your spiritual life: reference books. That’s right – REFERENCE BOOKS!!! These are resources to help you get the most out of God’s Word.
Any Christian who is serious about the Word needs to study the Word. And while reading the Bible is an excellent start, God has used the scholarship of many godly (and brilliant) Christians to help us understand His Scriptures better. Thus, I commend to you the following books:
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem (CBD price $27.99). For those of you who want to learn about the atonement, predestination, original sin, etc., this is an excellent resource. Wayne Grudem does an outstanding job of conveying profound truths in an understandable way. While solid in most areas, I would disagree with some of his conclusions regarding spiritual gifts and end times theology.
The Moody Handbook of Theology By: Paul Enns (CBD price $24.99) This is a fascinating book which blends the Biblical (i.e. the theology of Paul), Systematic (i.e. Christology), Historical (i.e. Medieval), Dogmatic (i.e. Catholic vs. Calvinsim), and Contemporary (i.e. Neo-Orthodox) theology. This is the perfect complement to Grudem’s work, as Enns is solid with regards to spiritual gifts and end times theology.
Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
By: W.E. Vine CBD Price: $9.99 This classic work gives you detailed definitions and usage surveys of Greek and Hebrew words; perfect for word studies.
The Strongest NASB Exhaustive Concordance – no author listed CBD Price: $24.99 If you want to study the varying uses for the word “flesh” or survey the different meanings of “love,” this is an excellent resource. It lists every word in the updated NASB alphabetically and references them in order of appearance to the book, chapter, and verse of the Bible. These words are indexed with the Strong’s numbering system so that you can find the corresponding entry in Vine’s or the Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries in the back of the concordance.
The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, 5 Volumes Edited By: Merrill C. Tenney (CBD price $59.99) This is a comprehensive encyclopedia with quality contributions from 200 authors. Whether you want to learn about the city of Antioch, survey the life of David, or see a picture of the Temple, this resource will help you to understand the historical background of the Scriptures.
MacArthur Bible Commentary By: John MacArthur (CBD Price: $24.99) If you ever get stuck on a passage, want to check your interpretation with a sound source, or read up on the background of various books, this is a great option.
May these resources help you to grow in the grace knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!