How to Use a Bible Dictionary

Bible Dictionary

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Date Topic MP3 PPT Student Notes Teacher Notes
5 10/7 Bible Handbook/Survey MP3 PPT Student Notes Teacher Notes

What is a Bible Dictionary?

A Bible dictionary is a reference book that contain brief scholarly articles on the people, places, objects, and events mentioned in the Bible. Some, more focused dictionaries, explore geography (Bible Atlas) as well as important historical, cultural, and theological topics as well as historical and cultural backgrounds on non-biblical subjects (i.e. Hammurabi, Moabite Stone, etc.). Similar to Bible dictionaries, Bible encyclopedias cover more topics in great depth and are typically multivolume in length.

Why use a Bible Dictionary?

  1. To learn more about the people, places, objects, and events mentioned in the Bible
  2. To explore important historical, cultural, and theological topics as well as historical and cultural backgrounds on non-biblical subjects

What kinds of Bible Dictionaries are there?

Bible Dictionaries can be put into three basic categories: single volume, multi volume and specialized dictionaries. The following have been put in the order of their publication dates with the first publishing date in parentheses.

Single Volume – less articles, shorter articles

  • Smith’s Bible Dictionary (1871)
  • Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897)
  • Zondervan’s Compact Bible Dictionary (1994)
  • Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary (1995)
  • Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (2003)
  • Compact Bible Dictionary – Nelson (2004)

Multi Volume – more articles, longer articles

  • The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia – 5 volumes (1929)
  • The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible – 5 volume (1975)

Specialized Volumes – Archaeological, Christian Doctrine, Cultural Backgrounds, Bible Atlases

  • The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible
  • A Survey of Bible Doctrine – Ryrie
  • Sketches of Jewish Social Life – Edersheim
  • Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts and Maps

How to use a Bible Dictionary:

To Learn or Explore

1.    Using the passage that you’re studying, select a relevant person, places, object, event, or theological topic you wish to know more about contained in the passage you are studying

2.    Look up your selection and read the entry

3.    In your own words summarize the article and how it helps you understand your particular passage 

YOU TRY IT!

John 3:16 records a small piece of a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.

  1. Select a Bible Dictionary that you think would provide the best information on Nicodemus
  2. In your Bible Dictionary look up the name ‘Nicodemus’ and read the article in its entirety
  3. In your own words write out what you found to be most helpful.

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