Posted 16 June 2004 - 07:22 AM
June 16, 2004 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service,
P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,
firstname.lastname@example.org; for instructions about subscribing and
unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at
the end of the article) -
The following is excerpted from the Advanced Bible Studies Course
"How to Study the Bible," available in print, VHS, and DVD formats
from Way of Life Literature:
On several occasions, I have heard preachers condemn commentaries.
One year when I was a young Christian, in fact, I determined to read
and study the Bible alone and to forgo consulting any commentaries or
other extra-biblical sources. I did this religiously and prayerfully
for a few weeks, and I can testify that the Lord made it plain to me
that I need help from men and that He was not going to give me
everything by direct enlightenment. It is not that the Bible is weak
or insufficient; it is that I am only one weak man and can't possibly
know and understand everything without help. When I rejected the use
of commentaries, I was left with my own meager resources. And though
I have recognized gifts in understanding and teaching the Bible, I am
at best only a very puny man with very limited ideas. Any man who is
honest before God will affirm that most of his knowledge and
understanding was learned from other men. God has ordained this. That
is why we start in life as a child and are dependent upon parents and
tutors, and even as we grow older, we remain very dependent upon the
help of others.
This is why I believe in good commentaries. If I were shut up on a
remote island with only the Bible, I am sure the Lord would give me
everything I needed directly through His Word, but that is not His
normal way of operation. He has given ministry-gifted men to the
churches and He uses them to edify the saints (Ephesians 4:11-14; 2
Tim. 2:2). I praise the Lord that some of the excellent teaching of
past and present generations has been captured in print so I can
possess it and consult it whenever I please. Such material is
Even those who condemn commentaries want their people to come
faithfully to church to listen to their preaching and teaching. If it
is right to listen to one preacher, why is it wrong to listen to
other sound preachers? Some preachers seem to be afraid of books, yet
a good Christian book is simply good preaching. While it is true that
there are many heretical books available in the average Christian
bookstore (we have warned about that in our video presentation
"Dangers in Christian Bookstores"), it is not true that books
themselves are wrong. God wrote a book! In Psalm 45:1, He said, "My
tongue is the pen of a ready writer." Indeed, God has a powerful pen,
and what a Book He wrote! The Apostles constantly communicated with
the churches and individual believers through writing, and if they
had possessed printing presses, we can be certain that they would
have used them. Men of God through the centuries have valued the
written and printed page. Charles Spurgeon, who is called the Prince
of Preachers, advised the preachers in his Bible College to "sell
your shirt and buy books." Recently the History Channel made a survey
of a wide range of knowledgeable people in various fields on what is
the most important invention of history. The thing that came in first
was the printing press.
SOME TIPS FOR USING COMMENTARIES EFFECTIVELY
(1) The commentaries must be written by men who are sound in the
faith. The use of commentaries written by men who are unsound in the
faith will cause more harm than good. A large percentage of the
commentaries published today fall into the latter category.
(2) The commentary must be based on the right Scripture text. Most of
the commentaries today are based upon unsound Bible texts and
translations, such as the New International Version in English. The
major Christian publishers are even republishing the old commentaries
in modern Bible version editions. God did not inspire many different
texts, and to say that the preserved Word of God today is found
scattered somehow throughout all of the translations makes no sense
if you believe that the Bible is the infallibly inspired Word of God.
Referring to the Bible version issue, a wise pastor once said,
"Things that are different are not the same." To say that two
conflicting Bible versions are both the preserved Word of God is
confusion. The Christian must have one Bible authority, not ten
conflicting ones. This is why we advocate staying with the old
Received Greek text which shook the world to its foundation in the
1500s and broke the age-old shackles of Rome and which shined the
gospel to the ends of the earth as it was translated into all of the
world's major languages in the 1500s, 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s. In
English, the most powerful and accurate translation of the Received
Text is the King James Bible. It has proven itself for 400 years to
be dependable and uniquely blessed of God. You will not go astray if
you stay with this old Standard, but that cannot be said about the
modern versions which use corrupted Greek manuscripts and which
employ unsound methods of translation, such as dynamic equivalency.
Even some of the old commentaries, which contain some excellent
thoughts, use the wrong Greek manuscripts. This is true of the notes
in the Scofield Reference Bible, the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown's
commentary, and William Newell's commentaries on Romans, Hebrews, and
Revelation. Be careful about this. Though it is possible to use these
commentaries to good advantage, the student must understand the
textual issue and not be misled by their comments on this subject.
(3) The believer should not lean on commentaries. It is too easy to
get into the habit of running to a commentary the moment we find
something that we do not understand. This is not a good habit. Before
going to a commentary, first try to make your own interpretation
before the Lord. That way you will have a basis for analyzing what
the commentator is saying. (The Way of Life Advanced Bible Studies
Course "How to Study the Bible" explains how to do this. It is
available in book and video editions.)
(4) Commentaries must be judged carefully by the Scriptures (Acts
17:11; 1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:21). No commentator is infallible.
The wise Bible student will carefully test everything the commentator
says by comparing it to the Scripture itself. Beware of the
presumption of commentators who try to add to the Word of God. For
example, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown comments on Gen. 4:3 "And in
process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of
the ground an offering unto the LORD," as follows: "Hebrew, 'at the
end of days,' probably on the Sabbath." In fact, there is nothing in
the Hebrew to signify that it was the sabbath and the KJV translation
is perfectly fine. In his commentary on Noah's flood, Matthew Henry
claims that Noah sent out the raven and dove on the sabbath. He says,
"This intimates that it was done on the sabbath day, which, it should
seem, Noah religiously observed in the ark." In fact, Henry was
letting his imagination run wild, for there is not even a hint of
such a thing in Scripture. These are examples of presumption on the
part of the commentator.
(5) Bible commentaries have strengths and weaknesses. No man can
effectively teach every part of the Bible. This is why single volume
commentaries are often superior to whole Bible commentaries. Also,
some commentaries will be sound in many parts but will have one or
more areas of unsoundness. For example, many of the old commentators,
such as Matthew Henry and even Charles Spurgeon, were unsound in
their view of prophecy, though they are exceedingly helpful on other
matters. For this reason, we recommend using Harry Ironside and J.
Vernon McGee and other dispensational commentators for the prophets
and Revelation. Another example are men such as John Gill and Arthur
W. Pink, who were, in our estimation, unsound in their Calvinistic
theology of the sovereign election of man and associated points, yet
at the same time their commentaries contain many excellent thoughts
apart from that.
(6) It is important to know the theological position of the
commentator. If the commentator is Pentecostal, Calvinistic, or
whatever, that will be reflected in his notes.
SOME HELPFUL WHOLE BIBLE COMMENTARIES
EXPOSITION OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS by Matthew Henry
(1662-1714). This set of early 18th-century commentaries (first
published in part in 1708-10) remains one of the most helpful in
print, in my estimation. In many areas we disagree with Matthew
Henry's position (i.e., prophecy, the church), but rarely do we
regret having consulted him. Henry, a nonconformist Presbyterian
pastor, was a master of biblical languages and a diligent Bible
student who ransacked the old commentary material of his day to pass
the meat along to us. He had a lovely gift for organizing and
expressing his thoughts. He died before completing the full
commentary, having finished his work only through the book of Acts.
The New Testament commentary from Romans to Revelation was completed
by 14 contemporary preachers of that day, all dissenters from the
Church of England. There is now a New International Version edition
of the Matthew Henry Commentary, and it is possible that the
publishers will allow the KJV edition to go out of print at some
point. We agree with Baptist pastor Charles Spurgeon's assessment of
Matthew Henry: "You will find him to be glittering with metaphors,
rich in analogies, overflowing with illustrations, superabundant in
reflections. Every minister ought to read Matthew Henry entirely and
carefully through once at least. You will acquire a vast store of
sermons if you read with your note-book close at hand; and as for
thoughts, they will swarm around you like twittering swallows around
an old gable towards the close of autumn." Spurgeon notes that George
Whitefield read Matthew Henry through four times during his life. All
of this reminds us that men of God used to study the Bible much more
than they do now. I am convinced that if the average independent
Baptist preacher were assigned the task of reading through the entire
set of Matthew Henry even once, he would grow weak in the knees at
the very thought of it.
Hendrickson Publishers has come out with an excellent one-volume
edition of the Matthew Henry Commentary. It contains the entire text
of the original multi-volume set, including chapter summaries and
outlines. It omits the KJV text to conserve space, and it
incorporates some helpful revisions: Roman numerals are changed to
Arabic; Greek and Hebrew words are transliterated. The type style is
smaller than that used in the multi-volume editions, but it is clear
and legible. Hendrickson Publishers, P.O. Box 3473, Peabody, MA
01961-3473. (508) 532-6546 (voice).
Some of the Bible software packages include the unabridged Matthew
Henry Commentary. There is also a software edition of an abridged
edition of Matthew Henry, which is called the Matthew Henry Concise.
It is TOO concise for my taste, though it can be helpful. The
unabridged Matthew Henry is available on the web at
BARNES' NOTES ON THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT by Albert Barnes
(1798-1870), Frederic C. Cook (1810-1889), and James Murphy. There
are 14 volumes in this invaluable set of commentaries. Barnes was a
Presbyterian preacher and Bible expositor. He was brought to trial in
1835 for his rejection of the unscriptural doctrine of limited
atonement. He advocated total abstinence of alcoholic beverages, was
a soul winner, and promoted Sunday Schools.
THRU THE BIBLE by J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988). This five-volume set
contains the messages preached by the late J. Vernon McGee on his
Thru the Bible radio broadcasts. Though I was saddened by McGee's New
Evangelical compromise in many areas, he always gladdened my heart
with his warm, Christ-centered commentary on the Word of God. I
particularly recommend his commentaries on the Old Testament
prophets, because he maintained a literal pre-millennial,
pre-tribulational approach in contrast to most of the well-known
Bible commentators, including those mentioned above. It is not easy
to find sound commentaries on the prophetic portions of Scripture.
WIERSBE'S EXPOSITORY OUTLINES ON THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT by Warren
Wiersbe. Though Dr. Wiersbe has become committed to the New
Evangelical philosophy in recent decades, he is a gifted Bible
commentator. His chapter-by-chapter Expository Outlines was completed
decades ago during his 10 years (1961-1971) as pastor of Calvary
Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky, before he had become so
thoroughly committed to the New Evangelical path he walks today (as
an editor of Christianity Today, working with Youth for Christ, board
member of the National Religious Broadcasters and TEAM, preaching at
Willow Creek Community Church, and preaching at the Billy Graham "The
Cove" center in North Carolina, etc.). The edition of Wiersbe's notes
published by Thomas Nelson is two volumes, titled Bible Commentary
New Testament and Bible Commentary Old Testament. The Cook
Communications edition is also two volumes and is titled Wiersbe's
Expository Outlines on the Old and New Testaments. I have found the
O.T. outlines to be particularly good. Wiersbe's Outlines are
available for Logos Bible Software and possibly for other Bible
search computer programs. Wiersbe takes the position that the kingdom
was offered again to Israel in the early part of the book of Acts,
but we do not agree with this.
IRONSIDE COMMENTARIES by Henry A. Ironside (1878-1951). These
commentaries are devotional, practical, and Christ-centered. Ironside
worked with the Salvation Army in his early Christian years, and he
earnestly sought the "entire sanctification" experience promoted by
the Army and the Methodists of that day. It was the turn of the
century, and a "holiness" fervor was sweeping across North America.
The problem was that it was a false view of holiness that promised
various degrees of sinless perfection. From this fervor, the
Pentecostal movement arose in the early part of the 20th century.
Ironside became so discouraged by his failure to achieve an
experience of sinlessness that he ended up in a hospital with an
emotional and physical breakdown. There God began to teach him the
truth of biblical justification and sanctification through some
literature that he found, and he was led out of the confusion and
doctrinal error of the holiness movement. He joined the Plymouth
Brethren and conducted a long and very fruitful ministry as a pastor
and Bible teacher. His experiences were recorded in the book
Holiness: The False and the True, which is still printed by Loizeaux
Publishers and which is also posted at the Way of Life web site under
the Charismatic section of the End Times Apostasy Online Database. I
have found Ironside to be especially helpful in the Old Testament
prophets. Like the previously mentioned J. Vernon McGee, Ironside
held a literal pre-millennial, pre-tribulational approach to Bible
prophecy in contrast to most of the well-known commentators. The
Ironside commentary series include five volumes on the O.T. prophets.
There are individual volumes on Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and
Daniel; and the Minor Prophets are covered in one volume.
WILLMINGTON'S GUIDE TO THE BIBLE by H.L. Willmington. This volume
contains the heart of the Bible school course developed years ago by
Willmington for Jerry Falwell's correspondence school. The last we
knew, Willmington was still at Liberty University. Obviously we do
not recommend Falwell's school, and it is sad to see men who should
know better continue to be aligned with that type of compromise
(hosting a Promise Keepers conference, promoting Billy Graham and his
ecumenical evangelism, promoting the most radical charismatic
ministries such as The Rock Church in Virginia Beach, promoting
Christian rock, etc.). Be that as it will, Willmington's Guide to the
Bible is very helpful. It is divided into two major sections: A
chapter-by-chapter commentary on or survey of the entire Bible, and a
section on Bible doctrine. The doctrinal studies are thorough and
practical. Willmington's studies on Genesis are particularly
excellent. Willmington has published separate volumes entitled New
Testament Survey and Old Testament Survey, but in our estimation,
these are not as helpful as his original Guide to the Bible.
EXPLORE THE BOOK by J. (James) Sidlow Baxter (c. 1903-199?). This is
an unusually thorough Bible survey course. Baxter was born in
Australia and grew up in Lancashire, England. He was a Baptist. "He
attended Spurgeon's College in London and pastored in England and
Scotland. He authored twenty-six books and ministered in churches,
Bible conferences, and missionary centers throughout the United
States, Canada, Great Britain, and around the world."
Baxter shows Christ through the Scriptures. He is dispensational. He
defends the infallibility of the Scriptures against modernism
(defending Genesis 1-11 as literal, Mosaic authorship of Pentateuch,
Jonah swallowed by whale, etc.). His article "Our Bible: The Most
Critical Issue" defended the infallibility of the Scriptures: "I have
said it many a time, and am surer of it than ever, that the life and
death issue of Christianity is the inspiration and authority of the
He spends considerable time on the typology of the Old Testament. In
his notes on Revelation, he hints at the possibility of a
mid-tribulation Rapture, but he is not dogmatic on it and passes over
it quickly. He treats the first part of the book of Acts as a renewed
offer of the kingdom of God to Israel, which we strongly disagree
with. He also presents a type of gap theory between Genesis 1:1-2,
which we also disagree with. Originally, this was a six-volume work.
In 1960, Zondervan published a one-volume condensation.
JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN COMPLETE COMMENTARY by Robert Jamieson
(1802-1880), Andrew Robert Fausset (1821-1910), and David Brown.
First published in 1871, This three-volume set is frequently critical
to the Received Text and the King James Bible, as many of the
commentaries are, but it contains much practical thought on the Bible
text. Spurgeon said: "We consult it continually, and with growing
interest. It contains so great a variety of information that if a man
had no other exposition he would find himself at no great loss if he
possessed this and used it diligently." It must be noted that the
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown's commentary contains a prejudice against a
strict fundamentalist position on doctrine. For example, in Romans
14, this commentary warns against "setting up narrow standards of
Christian fellowship" and claims that we should overlook "lesser
differences." In fact, Romans 14 is only referring to matters about
which the Bible is silent and is not talking about doctrine that is
based on Scripture. The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown commentary is on the
web at this site: http://www.site-berea.com/B/jfb/.
HANDFULS ON PURPOSE by James Smith and Robert Lee (1886-1978). This
five-volume set contains more than 2,000 expository outlines covering
the whole Bible. I have not found many outline sets to be helpful,
but these are unusually practical and useful. Robert G. Lee, a
Baptist pastor and three-term president of the Southern Baptist
Convention, was a master of alliterative sermons.
SPURGEON'S EXPOSITORY ENCYCLOPEDIA by C.H. Spurgeon. This is the only
collection of Spurgeon's sermons classified by topic and
alphabetically arranged. The 750 sermons are comprehensively indexed.
There are also a number of other sets of Spurgeon's sermons with
HALLEY'S BIBLE HANDBOOK by Henry Hampton Halley (1874-1965). He was a
pastor and Bible lecturer who was ordained in 1898. Halley memorized
entire books of the Bible and frequently quoted these in churches.
Halley desired to see every Christian read the Bible daily,
systematically, and fruitfully, and that is why he produced his Bible
handbook. The first edition was a small 16-page booklet, but it
continued to grow until today it is 864 pages. It has gone through 24
editions. More than five million copies have been sold in many
languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean,
Portuguese, Thai, Russian, Greek, Tagalog, Cebuano, Indonesian, and
Romanian. It contains a wide variety of helps in addition to the
survey on the Old and New Testaments. These include maps and charts;
archaeological notes; tables of weights, measures, and money; outline
of Bible history; and comments on reading and memorizing the Bible.
Halley approaches Bible prophecy from a non-committal position,
presenting the literal interpretation as well as other
interpretations, but he leans toward the non-literal.
AN INTERPRETATION OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE by Benajah Harvey Carroll
(1843-1914). This 13-volume set of commentaries on the entire Bible
by the famous Baptist preacher B.H. Carroll was edited and published
by J.B. Carnfill between 1913-16. Carnfield, who was associated with
Carroll for many years and who taught Bible for more than 30 years at
the seminary level, testified that Carroll was "one of the greatest
Bible scholars and exegetes living in the world today." Carnfield
wrote that in the General Introduction to the commentary on Genesis
in 1913, the year before Carroll died. The Wycliffe Biographical
Dictionary says Carroll "was a powerful preacher, keen debater, ready
writer, widely-read historian." Carroll pastored the First Baptist
Church of Waco, Texas, from 1871 to 1899. In 1894, he became the
principal of the Bible department at Baylor University and was
professor of English Bible there from 1901 to 1910. He was
influential in creating the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
in 1910 and was president of Southwestern from its inception until
his death in 1914. He published 33 books, including a volume on
Baptist Doctrine and many influential pamphlets on such topics as
"Communion from a Bible Standpoint" and "The Modern Social Dance."
Calvary Publications in Fort Worth, Texas (P.O. Box 181212, Ft.
Worth, TX 76118, 817-281-4720), still carries 200 of Carroll's
sermons in booklet form. An Interpretation of the English Bible is
long out of print and is rare. It is not a verse-by-verse commentary,
but it has many helpful thoughts for preachers and teachers. It is
available in an electronic edition entitled "The B.H. Carroll
Collection" from Ages Software, Rio, Wisconsin, www.ageslibrary.com.
COMMENTARY ON THE HOLY BIBLE by Matthew Poole (1624-1679). Poole was
a Puritan. "He graduated from Emmanuel College in Cambridge in 1645,
and succeeded the great Anthony Tuckney at St. Michael-le-Querne
church. This was the only pastorate Poole would hold. A strict
Presbyterian, he resigned his living rather than conform to the Act
of Uniformity." His commentary, which was originally called a
"Synopsis," required 10 years of earnest labor. He awoke at 3 or 4
a.m. and studied and wrote until the afternoon. His work was first
written in Latin, and its translation into English was finished after
his death. The three-volume set of commentaries by Poole is not as
extensive as that of Matthew Henry, but the tone and approach is
similar. It is a helpful, concise commentary on the entire Bible.
Poole's commentary was originally published in 1685, not long after
the completion of the King James Bible. He ransacked the commentary
material of his day, incorporating the best of it into his work. A
lot of thought is packed into the concise language of this
commentary. Charles Spurgeon wrote, "...having read Matthew Henry as
I have, I would rather have none other commentary beside that of
EXPOSITION OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS by John Gill (1697-1771).
Gill was a renowned British biblical scholar and Baptist pastor. For
over 50 years he pastored the Particular Baptist Church of
Horselydown, Southwark, London, the church that later moved its
location and became known as the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle of
Charles Haddon Spurgeon fame. His knowledge of Greek, Latin, and
Hebrew was equal to that of the greatest scholars of his day, and he
diligently searched out and studied ancient materials relating to the
Bible. The Baptist Encyclopedia observes that "no man in the
eighteenth century was as well versed in the literature and customs
of the ancient Jews as John Gill." Spurgeon ranked Gill fifth among
all commentators of the whole Bible and stated, "He is always worth
consulting. ... for good, sound, massive, sober sense in commenting,
who can excel Gill?" We personally overlook Gill's complete
capitulation to the most extreme TULIP Calvinism and glean from the
riches of knowledge he passed on via his commentaries. The set of
Gill's Commentaries is available from The Baptist Standard Bearer,
Number One Iron Oaks Dr., Paris, AR 72855. (501) 963-3831 (voice),
Baptist@worldnet.att.net (e-mail), http://www.standardbearer.com/
(web page). The full set of Gill Commentaries has been made available
for IBM and MAC computer users by the diligent efforts of Larry
Pierce, author of the Online Bible, and it is available in the Online
Bible for Windows CD-ROM. Order from (800) 778-3390.
THE PULPIT COMMENTARY. This 23-volume set was first published between
1880 and 1919. Each Bible passage is considered in a two-fold manner:
commentary and homiletics. While some portions are dull and
unimaginative, there is enough helpful thought and meat to make the
set a worthwhile investment, in our estimation. Eerdmans reprinted
the Pulpit Commentary in 1963. The Pulpit Commentary is available in
an electronic edition from Ages Software, Rio, Wisconsin,
SHOULD I BUY BOOKS OR COMPUTER SOFTWARE?
Computer Bible research tools are not necessarily for everyone. While
it is true that Bible research can be more efficient on a computer
than with books, this does not mean that such is always the case. The
computer is only more efficient if it is readily available and if the
Bible student can use the computer properly and in a godly manner.
Books well used are certainly more efficient than a computer not
used! Books that produce godliness and wisdom are more to be desired
than computer programs that distract from the same.
If you have already incorporated the computer into your daily Bible
study, you know by experience that a computer Bible study tool can be
very efficient. There are many Christians, though, who do not yet use
a computer, who use it only occasionally, or who use it only for an
occupation other than Bible study, and who are asking themselves the
question, "In making further additions to my Bible study library,
should I obtain books or should I turn to computer software?" Let me
offer some tips that might help you answer that.
First, if you do already have a computer, ask yourself if you are
committed to using that computer for your daily Bible studies. It is
one thing to own a computer or to have access to one and even to use
that computer for various other tasks; it is another thing to
integrate the use of the computer into your personal daily Bible
study routine. There are many people who own computers but who do not
have ready access to that computer every day for their Bible study.
Perhaps the computer is shared by several family members and is kept
in a central location for that purpose. If that is the case, you
might not be in the habit of using the computer for your daily Bible
studies even though there might be a computer in your home. If such
is the case, I would recommend that you continue to purchase and use
books until you can obtain a computer which is used strictly by you
for your own studies. For Bible software to be practical for you, it
must be readily available every time you do Bible research. The
computer must be handy, it must be turned on, and it must be
mastered. Otherwise, you will tend not to use the computer for Bible
study even if you own Bible search software because it will not be
convenient. Owning Bible study software is not the same as using
Bible study software!
Second, if you do not already have a computer, ask yourself if you
are truly committed to obtaining one, mastering it, keeping control
of it, and then actually using it for Bible study. Many computer
programs are purchased which are not used. This is a waste of money.
There is a real learning curve with computers. The personal computer
is easier than ever to use, but to master its use still requires
dedication and time. Children seem to take to them naturally, but
that is not always the case with us "old fogies." If you are
contemplating purchasing a computer and incorporating it into your
Bible study routine, I would encourage you to go for it. It is
doubtful that you will regret it, IF YOU ARE COMMITTED TO GIVE ENOUGH
TIME TO THE PROJECT TO GAIN A MASTERY OVER IT. Otherwise, you are
probably wasting your time and money. As noted previously, books well
used are certainly more efficient than a computer not used.
Third, are you easily distracted from your study of God's Word? Do
you find yourself daydreaming a lot? Do you find your attention drawn
away from the Lord by the thought of other things entering in? If so,
you might be wise to avoid trying to incorporate the computer into
your Bible studies. I have used a computer every day for 22 years and
I am sold on its value, but I also have a ministry somewhat different
from that of many preachers, because of the publishing and
contemporary research aspects. I do not believe the computer has
produced more godliness in the ministry and I do not believe it is
necessary for the ministry. It can as easily be a distraction and a
hindrance as it can be a help. I have seen preachers waste many hours
simply playing with their computers. One can play with his computer
even when he isn't using computer games! A man might say, "Look at
all the time I save with my Bible search program." That is no doubt
true, but the other side of that is to consider all the hours you
might be wasting by merely playing around with your computer. Each
man must answer these questions for himself. A man who is able to use
his books without distraction to study God's Word in such a manner
that he draws near to the Lord and increases in holiness and wisdom
is far ahead of the man who owns and masters the most expensive Bible
software but who frequently gets distracted from godly worship of
Christ and serious meditation on God's Word by the bells and whistles
of his software and of his computer system.
It is also important that a man get the right software. An important
challenge was contained in a note I received from a brother in the
Lord: "I love Logos [Bible software] but I would not suggest it to
anyone unless they had excellent computer skills and the right
computer. Also, I believe Logos is an excellent tool for the advanced
student of the word but not for everybody. When I first purchased
Logos, I spent all my time 'playing with the computer' rather than
studying God's Word. I was ready to toss Logos. If I had to do it all
over again, I wouldn't buy Logos even though I do realize its
potential." In contrast to Logos, which has a higher learning curve,
are programs like Parsons Quick Verse, the Online Bible, and
SwordSearcher, which are easier to use.
I am saying that there is danger with the technology. High technology
does not equate to deep spirituality. It can be a servant, or it can
be a master. Each man must make this determination for himself. I am
merely saying, don't be intimidated into putting away your books
unless you are certain that is God's will for you. The greatest
sermons ever preached and the greatest Bible study tools and
commentaries ever made were produced with BOOKS WITHOUT COMPUTER
If you can use a computer effectively and spiritually for your Bible
study, that is great. If not, that is also great.
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Posted 16 June 2004 - 07:29 AM
Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible
Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Geneva Bible Translation Notes
John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Matthew Henry‚??s Commentary on the Whole Bible
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary
Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
The People's New Testament (B. W. Johnson)
The Treasury of David (C. H. Spurgeon)
Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge
Vincent's Word Studies
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Posted 25 June 2010 - 09:45 PM
Bible Analyzer is great free software for doing bible study. It has many free modules and most if not all paid modules are very cheap, with one notable exception (which might be worth it anyway being it was written by a IFB) Understanding The Bible Commentary by Dr. David H. Sorenson. Other than this commentary all other modules are free if not extremely reasonably priced. Not to mention the author of Bible Analyzer is a KJV IFB himself, so a lot of the books offered with this software can be found in a good baptist church.
Edited by nymusicman, 25 June 2010 - 09:45 PM.
Posted 25 June 2010 - 11:27 PM
Edited by Wilchbla, 25 June 2010 - 11:28 PM.
Posted 26 June 2010 - 12:52 AM
J. Vernon McGee is a perfect example. He's a Bible corrector, plain and simple. I hate that. But you know what? He's just a man and God still loves him and used him in spite of that, and it would be a shame to toss out everything he ever did. For years when I was a painter I used to listen to him in the morning on my way to work, and I always got a blessing from him.
All a commentary is is a bunch of Sunday School lessons put to print. Those who go to Sunday School but are too spiritual to read a commentary are being inconsistant.
For what it's worth, in my commentary in the preface I said something to the effect that I didn't want people to believe this commentary. Obviously, I worded it that way for a surprise element. Then I explained that the Bible is the only book that should be believed, and that every other book is secondary and should simply be used. I wrote my book so it could be used, not believed.
Posted 01 August 2010 - 07:40 PM
The reason so many people preach against commentaries, is that many people read them in place of their Bible. Either that, or they belive every bit of what they read, as if it were Gospel (pun intended).
Edited by irishman, 01 August 2010 - 07:40 PM.
Posted 05 August 2010 - 01:54 PM
As is with all study aides and commentaries, nothing replaces my King James Bible. Commentaries were written by fallible man and must be read with that in mind. The Final Authority is God's Word.
Edited by DarrinG, 05 August 2010 - 01:55 PM.
Posted 05 August 2010 - 02:18 PM
My hubby and I like O.Greene, too.
I have found commentaries by Oliver B. Greene to be fantastic study aides. There "used" to be a local radio station here that still played "The Gospel Hour" preaching sermons by Mr. Greene and I enjoyed them tremendously. However, that station is no longer on the air and I miss listening to Mr. Greene's sermons.
As is with all study aides and commentaries, nothing replaces my King James Bible. Commentaries were written by fallible man and must be read with that in mind. The Final Authority is God's Word.