As Paul wrote to Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Every church leader should aspire to be like Ezra, who “had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). This page is intended to provide basic guidance toward resources that will help you grow in your knowledge of Scripture, equipping you to live by its teachings and to teach it faithfully to others.
Disclaimer: My recommendation of a resource does not entail my personal endorsement of everything in it.
FREE ONLINE RESOURCES
Numerous ministries provide free online instruction in biblical studies. Consider making a donation to these ministries if you make regular use of their materials.
BibleProject: A Youtube channel featuring short, animated videos giving overviews of biblical books and prominent themes in Scripture. Videos on individual books of the Bible are especially helpful for getting oriented to the big picture of each book.
Sermons and Lessons from Cornerstone Community Church: Is there a particular passage or book of the Bible that you need to learn more about? Browse through Cornerstone’s collection of expository sermons and lessons.
BIBLICAL THEOLOGY RESOURCES
Biblical theology is the study of how the whole Bible fits together. More particularly, it is the study of how the New Testament relates to and fulfills the Old. Within biblical theology studies, some focus entirely on the Old Testament or New Testament, tracing the shape of each and the major theological themes that pervade each. Some studies in biblical theology focus even more narrowly on one section of Scripture, such as the Pentateuch or the letters of Paul.
Helpful resources in this field are as follows:
Introductory Level (especially helpful for new believers or small group studies)
More Advanced Studies
Gentry, Peter J. and Stephen J. Wellum. God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology. Wheaton: Crossway, 2015. This is a condensed version of the larger book Kingdom through Covenant listed below.
OLD TESTAMENT RESOURCES
These resources will give you an overview of each book of the Old Testament, as well as important historical background information on each one.
NEW TESTAMENT RESOURCES
These resources will give you an overview of each book of the New Testament, as well as important historical background information on each one.
There are so many commentaries out there that it can be daunting to try to sift through them all to find truly valuable help. One option you always have when you come to a challenging verse is to look up what John Gill, the great Baptist theologian of the 18th century, had to say about it. Gill’s commentary on the entire Bible is free online. You probably won’t always agree, but you will almost always be enlightened in some way.
Matthew Henry was a Congregationalist minister of the 17th-18th centuries whose devotional commentary on the whole Bible has been used with profit for generations.
And, of course, you can always consult with John Calvin’s commentaries, which he wrote on most books of the Bible.
For recommendations on more modern commentaries on specific books of the Bible, I cannot improve on the valuable work Tim Challies has done in his Best Commentaries series, which gives annotated recommendations of the best available commentaries on various books of the Bible.
Do you have to know Greek and Hebrew in order to lead a church effectively in the ministry of the Word? No, it’s not essential. God has used many pastors and missionaries who knew only their native languages, armed with translations of the Scriptures, to advance his gospel in mighty ways.
However, that does not mean that the knowledge of Greek and Hebrew is unimportant. Often times, if you compare Bible commentaries on a given passage, you will find commentators arguing for different ways of translating and nuancing the same Greek or Hebrew text. As a pastor, you will have no way of judging the arguments for one position vs. another when it comes to languages unless you have personal knowledge of the languages for yourself. One of the best things you can do to enhance your understanding of the Word of God is to read it and study it in its original languages. You may never reach a point of fluency in either language (I haven’t!), but being able to navigate the languages with the help of aids can vastly enhance your abilities in biblical interpretation, preaching, and teaching.
The key to learning a language is persistent, regular study. You don’t have to set aside five hours a day to learn Greek or Hebrew, but you do need to set aside at least some time each day for these important tasks if you want to advance in them. So, if you want to learn the languages and don’t have an opportunity to do so in a formal academic setting, I urge you to jump in on your own and stick with it.
For Greek, I recommend the resources available at billmounce.com.
For Hebrew, I recommend the courses from Zondervan Academic.
Once you have a basic knowledge of either language, I recommend that you subscribe to the free daily videos (roughly 2 minutes) from Daily Dose of Greek and Daily Dose of Hebrew. As you watch these professors break down and explain a verse of text each day over a period of time, you will find your instinctual knowledge of the languages increasing. The same is true for the Greek and Hebrew courses in Duolingo. Even though this app uses the modern forms of these languages, familiarity with the modern forms can only help your familiarity with the biblical languages.