One of the most helpful tools that any student of the Bible can own is a good Bible dictionary. While there are a number of different ones available, there has been a recent addition that is worth noting: The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by Tremper Longman III.
Weighing in at a hefty 5.6 pounds, this reference work contains over 5,000 articles in its 1,700+ pages. Complementing the articles are over 400 full color illustrations, maps, and pictures to further enhance the content. Colored tabs on the edge of the pages makes it easy to find a subject quickly. Despite its girth this dictionary uses readable font and is attractively laid out. More than 100 different scholars contributed articles.
I had the privilege of contributing the following articles: citizen/citizenship, Clement, courier, fellowship, fulfill/fulfillment, impute/imputation, inheritance, new birth, paraclete, priesthood of believers, reconciliation, regeneration, salvation, and sin.
If you are interested in taking a sneak peek inside the dictionary, you can follow the link above to the Amazon page and click on the image of the book. I highly recommend this resource as a companion for your own reading and study of the Bible.
As today marks the beginning of 2013, I thought I would briefly share my own Bible reading plan for this year. I’m not suggesting you necessarily follow it, but some may find it helpful to see what I am doing and the rationale behind it. There are four parts to it.
1. Read through the Old Testament in English. I find it immensely beneficial to read through the entire Old Testament each year. Every time through I see new things such as connections to Christ, nuances in familiar stories, and fresh application to my life. To accomplish this part of the reading plan, I use the Old Testament portion of the M’Cheyne Bible Reading plan. This is the staple of my Bible reading, something which I make time for every day.
2. Read through the New Testament in Greek. The best way (besides teaching it!) that I have found to not only maintain but deepen my grasp of Greek is consistent reading through the New Testament. I have been using this plan for the past three years, and I love it. You read one chapter per day unless the chapter is 38 verses or longer. This allows for 2-3 catch-up days at the end of each month. I recommend using this Greek text as it provides the vocab for every word occurring less than 30x in the NT.
3. Read through Isaiah in Hebrew. In an effort to sharpen my Hebrew I am taking on this project as well. I have set up a plan in Logos that sets the pace for me to read through the entire book by reading three times a week. I chose Isaiah because I am already familiar with the book from my dissertation.
4. Read through Isaiah in Greek. In an effort to improve my comfort level with LXX Greek, I am also reading through Isaiah in the LXX as I do the Hebrew. Not only will this sharpen my Greek, but it will help me notice differences between the Hebrew and the Greek texts.
I recognize that this is ambitious, and time will tell whether I can keep the pace. And I certainly don’t recommend that you imitate my exact plan. But whatever you decide, there is no substitute for making a plan.
So what is your plan for reading the Bible in 2013?
Earlier this Fall the German Bible Society released the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graeca 28th edition, the latest version of the critical text of the New Testament. It includes 34 changes to the text, all of which are in James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude. And they even revised the critical apparatus to include more witnesses and make it easier to read.
But I am most excited about this particular edition: The Greek-English New Testament: Nestle-Aland 28th Edition and English Standard Version published by Crossway. It has the complete text of the NA-28 (including introduction and appendices), but in a much larger format to make it easier to read. On each facing page is the ESV translation, usually with half a page of blank space at the bottom of each page (great for notes!). The cloth-over-board binding seems solid and lays open nicely as it rests upon my desk.
I only have two small quibbles that I think would have made this version even better. First, there are no cross-references included for the ESV. This is disappointing, as I thrive on being able to use these. True, the NA28 has its own set of cross-references, but they are not as extensive as those included in the ESV. Second, there are no bookmark ribbons. Its just nice to be able to open immediately to the exact place you want.
Even with these two quibbles, I warmly commend this tool as a way of combining your love for the Greek text of the New Testament with the best English translation available.
In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther comments on our lack of gratitude for God’s Word:
“2853. The lack of appreciation for the Word is always the greatest horror, and it is no wonder that this lack of appreciation is the greatest aggravation for religious people, and that God has the same reaction as the religious..'” (p. 269)
DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.