How to Use a Bible Handbook or Bible Survey

Bible Handbook/Survey

Class Downloads:

Date Topic MP3 PPT Student Notes Teacher Notes
4 9/30 Bible Dictionary MP3 PPT Student Notes Teacher Notes

What is a Bible Handbook? What is a Bible Survey?

Bible handbooks and Bible surveys are scholarly guides to books of the Bible. They contain a variety of information on the Bible in general and the books of the Bible in particular. Though each handbook or survey will have its own unique contributions, most will include:

  • Introductions of each book of the Bible (these typically include information regarding who wrote the book, who the book was written for, when it was written, and suggestions as to the overall purpose)
  • Summaries of each book of the Bible (including: outlines, charts, and timelines)
  • Suggested Key words, verses, and/or chapters
  • Highlight theological significances/contributions of books
  • May also include History of the Bible/History of the Church/Archaeological Discoveries

 

Why use a Bible Handbook/Survey?

  1. To learn introductory information about the book you are studying
  2. To discover the flow of thought where the passage you are studying fits into the whole book
  3. To discover the key words, verses and themes in the book you are studying
  4. To learn more about the Bible as a whole

 

What kinds of Bible Handbooks/Survey are there?

Most Common

            Halley’s Bible Handbook is by far the most recommended in my corner of the Christian world having over six million sold. Halley’s gives summaries of the books of the Bible and he also includes a brief history of the Church at the end of his handbook.

Most Current

There are too many that could be listed here to do them all justice. So I will list a few with brief descriptions of their individual strengths to give you an idea of what is available.

            Jensen’s Survey of the Old/New Testament is a two volume set which is more of a study guild to surveying the books of the Bible yourself. Jensen offers suggestions for key verses and themes and an outline while asking his readers to do a lot of the work themselves. This is a great way to learn how to do an overview yourself.

Also in a two volume set A Popular Survey of the Old/New Testament by Norman Geisler gives concise outlines, background information, as well as a variety of full color charts and maps. As the titles suggest, these books are written at a popular level. This means that Geisler focuses on just the most important elements and keeps from going into too much detail.

If you are looking for something more scholarly, I would recommend An Introduction to the Old Testament: Second Edition by Longman and Dillard and its New Testament counterpart An Introduction to the New Testament by Carson and Moo. This set is concise and scholarly (lots of foot notes and a comprehensive bibliography for further study).

There are many more that could be mentioned. Here are a few more honorable mentions:

  • The Analyzed Bible by G. Campbell Morgan
  • How to Read the Bible Book by Book by Fee and Stuart
  • Nelsons Complete Book of Bible Charts & Maps
  • The New Unger’s Bible Handbook

 

How to use a Bible Handbook/Survey:

To discover background information
 Look up the book of the Bible you are studying in the Bible handbook/survey. Read through the introduction answer the following questions:

·         Who wrote the book?

·         To whom was the book written?

·         Why did they write it? When did they write it?

Record your answers to these question in your notebook. 

 

To discover key verses and themes
 May Bible handbooks/surveys provide suggestions for key themes, key chapters, and key verses. Write down these keys in your study notebook. The best way to test the quality of these keys is to have them written down and then read through the book. If the keys fit well then keep them.

 

To discover the flow of thought
Find the outline provided in your handbook/survey and locate where your passage is in the flow of the book. Find answers to the following questions:

·         What is the section before about according the author?

·         What does the author title your section of scripture which contains your passage?

·         What is the section after about according to the author?

·         In your own words, describe how your verse fits into section and whole book.

 

YOU TRY IT!

1. Read through the introduction for John provided in your book and answer the following questions:

  • Who wrote the book of John?
  • To whom was John writing?
  • Why did they write it?
  • When did John write it?
  • Are there any key verse(s) or chapter(s)?

2. If an outline of John is provided, find where John 3:16 is in the flow of the book. Answer the following questions:

  • What does the author title your section of Scripture which contains John 3:16?
  • What is the section before about according the author?
  • What is the section after about according to the author?

3. Write down any information that is helpful in understanding your passage of Scripture.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s