View Full Version : Best Bible Handbook / Illustrated Bible Dictionary?

Apr 27th 2009, 11:50 AM
I'm looking for a Bible Handbook / Illustrated Bible Dictionary type book to go along with my Bible.

Can anyone please give me some recommendations or input?

Just from a quick look around my area I've found 7 that stand out:
1-Complete Bible Handbook
2- Complete Guide to the Bible
3- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
4- Halleys Bible Handbook
5- Zondervan Handbook for the Bible
6- Essential Visual History of the Bible
7- Oxford Illustrated Bible Companion

If your need a picture to see which each of them refer to:
1- http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Bible-Handbook-Illustrated-Companion/dp/0789481545/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240792534&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Bible-Handbook-Illustrated-Companion/dp/0789481545/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240792534&sr=1-1)
2- http://www.amazon.com/COMPLETE-GUIDE-BIBLE-STEPHEN-MILLER/dp/1597893749/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240792649&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.com/COMPLETE-GUIDE-BIBLE-STEPHEN-MILLER/dp/1597893749/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240792649&sr=1-1)
3- http://www.amazon.com/Holman-Illustrated-Bible-Dictionary-Butler/dp/0805428364/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240792876&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Holman-Illustrated-Bible-Dictionary-Butler/dp/0805428364/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240792876&sr=1-1)
4- http://www.amazon.com/Halleys-Bible-Handbook-International-VersionDeluxe/dp/0310259940/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240793026&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Halleys-Bible-Handbook-International-VersionDeluxe/dp/0310259940/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240793026&sr=1-1)
5- http://www.amazon.com/Zondervan-Handbook-Bible-Revised-Alexander/dp/0310262712/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240793225&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Zondervan-Handbook-Bible-Revised-Alexander/dp/0310262712/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240793225&sr=1-1)
6- http://www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-Essential-Visual-History/dp/1426202172/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240793410&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-Essential-Visual-History/dp/1426202172/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240793410&sr=1-1)
7- http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?r=1&ISBN=9781603760423&ourl=The%2DOxford%2DIllustrated%2DCompanion%2Dto%2 Dthe%2DBible%2FBruce%2DM%2DMetzger (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?r=1&ISBN=9781603760423&ourl=The%2DOxford%2DIllustrated%2DCompanion%2Dto%2 Dthe%2DBible%2FBruce%2DM%2DMetzger)

Thanks for any help you can provide.


Apr 27th 2009, 12:01 PM
:bible: I'd have to say Halley's.

Apr 27th 2009, 03:41 PM
Hi TripleB.

Let's see...hmmm... something to go along with your Bible...

You've listed some good items, any of which would be helpful. There's a big difference between a bible handbook (or survey, guide, or companion) and a bible dictionary. The former tend to go book by book from Genesis to Revelation with a brief overview of each book giving some basic background, summary, and historical context. Of the ones you've listed, the Oxford and Barbour (Complete Guide) titles are the most thorough, while the Halleys is the oldest and most popular. If I were to pick just one, I'd go with Miller's Complete Guide to the Bible. Another handbook you might want to consider is Eerdmans Handbook to the Bible (http://www.amazon.com/Eerdmans-Handbook-Bible-David-Alexander/dp/0802806392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240850889&sr=8-1). A bible handbook/guide/companion/survey is probably going to be the best extra-biblical help to a newcomer or beginning student of the Bible.

However, a bible dictionary may prove more useful in the long run. Most bible dictionaries are no so much a definition of bible words as they are a mini-encyclopedia, giving an alphabetical arrangement of articles on bible people, places, events, and topics. The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary that you've listed is an excellent choice.

Every person has individual tastes and needs as to what will most help them in their studies, and there are quite a number of different ways and methods in which to approach bible study. A nice mini-library for bible study would include both a bible handbook and a bible dictionary, as well as an exhaustive bible concordance (which are specific to individual trandlations, like the KJV or NIV), a good one-or-two-volume commentary on the whole bible (like the MacArthur (http://www.amazon.com/MacArthur-Bible-Commentary-John/dp/0785250662/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_3)), and perhaps a good bible word study book (like Mounce's (http://www.amazon.com/Mounces-Complete-Expository-Dictionary-Testament/dp/0310248787/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1)). If I had to pick just a single extra-biblical tool to help with study, I prefer a good bible dictionary, like the Holman.