Recently I was addressing a group of young men who wanted to learn the Scriptures in greater depth. I was about to speak to them about the value of having and using great Bible resources. By resources I mean books and other physical and digital materials beyond the Bible itself which help illuminate and explain aspects of the Biblical text.
I asked the group of about 18 how many of them owned a Bible dictionary: one. How many owned a Bible commentary: two. How many owned or used Bible software: zero!
While I firmly believe the Bible alone is sufficient to teach us all we need to know in order to be saved and pleasing to God, that is not the same as saying we do not need anything else to understand (and teach) it better!
The Scriptures were written over a period of some 1,500 years by numerous different authors on three continents, and in many different historical circumstances. But the Biblical texts do not provide for us much of the “background” information which the original authors and recipients knew well. Places, people, customs, events, geographical features, words, and more often escape our understanding without additional resources to supply is with more knowledge.
These resources take the form of dictionaries, atlases, histories, lexicons, concordances, and commentaries which step in to fill the void. More and more, digital resources are filling this need as physical Christian bookstores are disappearing.
We will be reproducing a series I taught on the Epistle to the Ephesians over the next several weeks. But I want to supply links to both free and paid resources on Ephesians that I recommend to those who want to build their libraries. Most of the free resources are digital (online or downloadable) while the physical books must be purchased. I expect serious Bible students to use resources by authors from different theological perspectives which will sometimes present some viewpoints with which the students disagree… yet know how to benefit from their contribution.
- Devotional Commentary on Ephesians, by F. B. Meyer
- Ephesians – A Study Guide, by Mark Copeland at www.executableoutlines.com
- The Epistle to the Ephesians, Sermon outlines by Mark Copeland at www.executableoutlines.com
- Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible: Ephesians, by James Burton Coffman on www.studylight.org
- The Biblical City of Ephesus, by David Padfield on www.padfield.com – PDF download
- Ephesians Study Guide, by Gene Taylor on www.padfield.com – PDF download
- Sermons on Ephesians, 64 messages by Jown W. MacArthur at www.gty.org – download or listen online – includes transcripts of each lesson.
- e-Sword Bible Software, by Rick Myers – free download for Windows PC. Free classic commentaries, dictionaries, and lexicons including materials on Ephesus and Ephesians. Recommend Albert Barnes Commentary, Expositions of Holy Scripture by Alexander MacLaren, The Pulpit Commentary, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, and Brown-Drive-Briggs Hebrew Dictionary.
- www.biblesupport.com – hundreds of free additional books and resources for use in e-Sword. Recommend especially College Press Commentaries, Daily Study Bible by William Barclay, You Can understand the Bible by Bob Utley, Mounce’s Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament by Dr. Bill Mounce.
- Video and chart providing overview of the Epistle to the Ephesians from www.bibleproject.com.
- Here are two lists of the most recommended commentaries on Ephesians in print form: https://www.bestcommentaries.com/ephesians/ and https://www.ligonier.org/blog/top-5-commentaries-on-the-book-of-ephesians/. A number of these are also available in digital form either through the Kindle ebookstore or through some of the popular Bible software packages like Logos and Olive Tree.
- Ephesians New Testament Commentary, by John W. MacArthur. Also available as a Kindle ebook.
- Be Rich (Ephesians): Gaining the Things That Money Can’t Buy, by Warren Wiersbe. Also available as a Kindle ebook.
- Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine. Available in several different print and Kindle ebook forms. Also available for purchase in most of the popular Bible software programs, including e-Sword.
Our image is from the original printing of the King James Version Bible of 1611. Available from www.kingjamesbibleonline.org.