recommended tools/books

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Jensen, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. Jensen

    Jensen
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    I am fairly new to this board and also new to the pulpit. I am interested in finding out what ya'll pasters use (in addition to the Bible!) to help in sermon prep?

    Do you have any favorite commentaries? If so, which one(s) (author/book/title)?

    I know that no one series is perfect, however, what is the best one? (in other words - someone wanted to buy you a complete set - what would you request?)

    What are your thoughts on:
     
  2. Jensen

    Jensen
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    Sorry...must have hit the wrong button!

    What are your thoughts on:
    Life Application Bible Commentary
    NIV Application Commentary
    Expositor's Bible Commentary
    New American Commentary
    Word Bible Commentary

    Any other helpful tools (software?)?

    Thank you in advance!

    Steve
     
  3. j_barner2000

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    I am doing seminary extension. and training as intern at my home church. I use a tool at www.e-sword.net it is free and includes a number of translations and tools for study. I am building my print library as well, but I am a computer nerd so use mostly electronic resources.
     
  4. Circuitrider

    Circuitrider
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    My preacher was a strong expository preacher with a good library. Rather than buying a lot of sets of commentaries, he recommended buying as many commentaries on a single book when you preached that book. [​IMG] That way your shelves are not cluttered with a lot of sets of books you are not using and you can build it one book at a time. I have followed that rule and it has worked well for me. [​IMG]
     
  5. Pastor Larry

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    Haven't used it.

    Fair, but I don't find them too helpful. I don't always divide the passage the way they do and that makes them hard to use.

    Good, but very basic. I usually use this one first because it gives a good overview without getting too technical.

    To me, the ones I have are too surface to be of any value. But others have spoken highly of volumes I don't have. So I don't know. Like most series, they are probably of varying worth.

    Very technical. Good for research. Not as helpful for preaching. Tend to be more liberal than other mainstream commentaries in the evangelical stream although there are some conservative ones. I wouldn't invest a lot of money in these.

    For Bible software, get one. I have BibleWorks 5.0. 6.0 just came out and it is even better. I love it. Couldn't live without it. I like it better than Logos or Gramcord.

    I generally like the New International Commentary Series (both OT and NT). AGain, I would buy the whole set. Just buy the authors you like or the ones that are recommended.

    The Pillar Commentaries are good, as are the Baker Exegetical Commentaries. Tyndale is good, but short.
     
  6. Circuitrider

    Circuitrider
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    Another good idea taugh to me by my college homeletics professor was that of not buying a book until I had seen it and used it. His philosophy was "courting a book" and only buying it if it would be one you would use. [​IMG] If there is a college or semimary library or a pastor with a strong library close by you can borrow, and today some books are available through the internet. Over the years I have bought a few duds when I did not follow this idea, :eek: but most of my commentaries are good strong usable reference tools. The only sets I bought was Matthew Henry and Barnes Notes. Hendriksen is good on most NT books and Kent Hughs is a great for ideas and clean fill. [​IMG]
     
  7. steveo

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    Vernon Mcgees commentaries are great and if you want detail get Macarthurs New Testament Commentaries. Actually you can get his study bible and use the notes in it.
    The Life application just like the name is good for applying the bible to life.
    I use my Ryrie, which has good notes.
    Spiros Zodhiates Hebrew/greek study bible is good also.
     
  8. Servent

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    I also have e-sword it is a very good tool,and yes it is free all you have to do is download.
     
  9. Jensen

    Jensen
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    Thank you for your responses (so far). If any of you are currently preaching through a book (or just completed one), what commentaries/tools did you find helpful for that particular Bible book?
     
  10. gb93433

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    I have found the NIV Aplication commentary quite helpful in getting a better handle on application. The commentaries that I have found quite helpful lately are those by Ben Witherington III. I came across his commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthinans and found it especially helpful when I struggled with trying to understand several things I struggled with. When I preach through a book I buy several good commentaries on the book. For example when I preached through Amos I bought the Hermeneia commentary by Fortress press written by Hans Walter Wolff. Anything Wolff writes is thorough and excellent. I look more at the author than the series.

    More than any commentary is continuing to keep up your language skills. Most commentaries will not address the deep struggles. I have found that many times I have to struggle with that. I can remember one time when I read every coommentary and asked several people on an issue I was to preach on. Some told me to just bypass those group of verses. Other gave me their opinion. The more i read and the more I asked the more cionfused I became. Well I had gotten lazy and started getting lazy about doing what I had always done first. It was my standard procedure to do a block diagram of the passage. Which is the same as discourse analysis. After I read all the comentaries and talked with several people I realized that not one person or commentary or person was of any help except to discourage me. So I went back and diagrammed the text and realized that I should have done that first. I had the answer to a number of my questions when I did that. Because in the process it forced me to make decisions with the grammar of the text. I also learned who studied and who didn't. One of those men was the pastor of a large church and told me to ask one of the elderly men on staff. I found out that he had not kept up his skills but elderly man had. The elderly man had answers. He also enocuraged me a lot. When I had serious questions I found in him someone who had been through the text and had studied. He knew his Bible well.

    The commentaries that I like consistently are The New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) and The International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT).

    I read books by those who are classified as conservatives and those who might tend to be less conservative. Reaeding an array of material makes me struggle with issues. By the time I have wrestled with those issues, I have come up with some answers.

    In addition I have several lexicons and Bible distionaries. Good reference books help so much.

    Some Books that I have found very good are the Dictionary of ... series. Like the Dictionary of JEsus and the Gospels. Another is the Dictionary of Paul and his Letters. THere are a few more.

    Good books cost a lot but they save in the long run.

    If you are new to the ministry I would try and get the church to budget for the pastor a book and conference allowance.

    It is hard to preach from a dry well. When I first started preaching I had almost no money for books and the church was poor too. So I bought books that helped me a lot with application. I noticed how much it helped. The congregation noticed too.
    I had great reference books but few other books.
     
  11. Jensen

    Jensen
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    Thank you gb93433 !!!!!!!

    Can anyone else reply?

    What about Theological Workbook of OT?
    John Phillips commentaries??
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    Since this is a Baptist only thread, one of the strongest expository preaching Baptists of our age is John MacArthur. He has a set of commentaries that are top notch.

    They break each passage into "preaching" outlines, with some strong Greek help and quotations from others. His 4-volume set on Matthew are quite useful for the typical pastor.

    And agree with Circuitrider. Opt for a book to preach - Matthew, Philippians, I John - then buy books directly related.
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    While I'm thinking about it -

    Vine's Expository Dictionary of Bible Words has the English word and gives strong Greek meanings. Fabulous for studying, especially since you probably do not have Greek study backround.

    Strong's Concordance - big, exhaustive EVERY WORD linked to Hebrew and Greek words.

    Good study Bible with maps, illustrations, and overall commentary - NIV Study Bible is first class. [​IMG]
     
  14. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I have TWOT. They are great.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  15. gb93433

    gb93433
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    I know several who have graduated from Masters College and seminary and would not call themselves Baptists at all.
     
  16. gb93433

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    I have the Theological Distionary of the OT. It is not completed by quite good so far. I also have the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament and it is very good.

    There are two things that I have said that if you practice will have little chance of straying far off. One is to study the text and increase your language skills. The other is do evangelism. Questions from non-believers will provide a constant supply of questions and will help you to think about the Bible. I have found some of them to ask very good questions. It will keep you having a ready defense to those who ask. I find when I take someone with me it encourages both of us. Some of the best relationships I have today are from those times.
     
  17. Dr. Bob

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    And your point is? I can list you hundreds who went to good "baptist" schools that are calling themselves baptist and SHOULDN'T.

    That is a non-sequitor. It doesn't change the fact that John MacArthur is one of two or three of the most prolific and prominent Baptist writers of this era.

    Like them or not, Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell and John MacArthur will go down in history as some of the "big names" in Baptists in our generation!
     
  18. rbrent

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    Commentaries and study helps are always a blessing but sadly, many of the books available, even the ones purporting to be evangelical or conservative or fundamental, are full of stuff that just isn't true.

    I would be careful about using any commentary or Bible Study help unless you know something about the man who wrote it.

    (1) Was he saved? Many of the 'help' books focusing on Greek and Hebrew were written by men who were not saved. Why go to a dry well for information and inspiration from a lost man if you are saved?

    (2) Was the author mainly a theoretician or did he live what he writes about?

    (3) Did the author have a close, personal walk with the Lord?

    (4) Did the author focus his life on fulfilling the Great Commission or was his a cold, sterile form of 'christianity' that would make God sick to his stomach (Rev 3:16)?

    (5) Did the author you are reading believe in verbal plenary inspiration AND also in God's providential Preservation of His words?
    If the answer is 'No' to either question, how much do you think God would show a man who doesn't believe what God said about HIS words in HIS Book?

    As you use commentaries, dictionaries, word study books, and all the other stuff that is supposed to help you, do so with a sceptical, analytical mind. Don't believe it just because its in a handsome book with a nice binding and a famous name on the spine.

    Keep in mind that your most important task is to get the word of God inside you - "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." - Psalm 119:11

    Reading all the commentaries in the world will not give you one ounce of spiritual power when you step into the pulpit.
    The more time you spend in the scriptures, the more people will take notice that you've been with Jesus when you step into the pulpit.

    You can't preach about Jesus with power unless you know Him intimately.
    You can't know Him intimately unless you spend more time in His word than you spend in commentaries and Bible study helps.

    I would encourage you to focus on Expository Preaching and stay away from those inane and generally worthless, though sometimes entertaining, topical messages.

    I've heard many, many sermons from guys who tried to give us "nuggets" from the original Greek Text - Those sermons always seem more like a waste of time to me than a time to hear from God.

    They generally come across as an attempt to demonstrate the preacher's scholarship but in most cases, the preacher isn't a scholar and everyone listening knows he got what he is telling us from a commentary or from Vines or from Kenneth Wuest.

    The idea that conveys itself in that type message is that the laymen in the pew can't understand the Bible because he doesn't know Greek or Hebrew. Therefore, isn't the layman lucky to hear a guy who took Greek in seminary, who can tell us what God "really" meant to say.

    If you're preaching to folks who read koine Greek, by all means exposit the Greek text - preferably the Majority text and not the cobbled together eclectic Catholic text of Westcott and Hort.

    But if you intend to preach to English speaking people, exposit the English Bible. Why perpetuate the Catholic myth and the Watchtower myth that ordinary Christians cannot understand the scriptures unless they know the Greek and Hebrew or unless they are guided by a Pope, Bishop, Priest or JW Circuit Overseer?

    BEFORE you resort to the commentaries, read the passage you are going to preach from, in your King James Bible, 50 to 100 times.

    Read it aloud.

    Read it silently.

    Pray over it.

    Pray over it on your knees.

    Read it aloud on your knees.

    Ask the Holy Spirit to open the passage to you.

    Get it into your heart so that you can communicate it from your heart to the hearts of your hearers.

    Your people can tell when you've spent time with your books and when you've spent time with God.

    Your people don't need to hear from your books.

    They DO need to hear from God.

    Your expository messages will hit every problem in your congregation that needs to be hit.

    If you will preach through a book verse by verse, passage by passage, your people will eventually come to you and tell you something like this:

    "When you first started preaching here, I didn't like your sermons...but now I am growing. I feel like I've learned more since you came here than I did in the five years before you came here..Thank you pastor."

    It won't really be you who is producing the growth however.
    It will be the scriptures getting into your people and growing them toward spiritual maturity.

    As a newbie here, I get the impression that many of the posters use the NIV or one of the other truncated, eviscerated "new" versions.

    May I encourage you that your BEST resource for preaching with power will be the old-fashioned King James Bible. It has about 64,000 more words than the NIV
    .
     

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