Fresh Manna Conclusion


 The secret to a job well done is to be found in having the correct tools for the job.  The carpenter, the surgeon, the dentist, the auto mechanic, etc., ad infinitum all depend on the right tools in order to do a proper job.  Not only are the right tools needed, a thorough working knowledge of how to use them is also important.

For the most part, man’s knowledge of the universe is in direct relation to the tools he has and his skill at using those tools.  For much of the history of man, those who studied the heavens could number the stars in the sky.  With the invention of the telescope, man’s knowledge of the stars increased many fold. With each new tool that is developed (more powerful electronic telescopes, etc.) there has come a change in the ideas that man has regarding the universe.

Tools are not meant to take the place of the human mind (or skill of the craftsman), but are intended to increase man’s ability whether it is in woodworking or study of the Word of God.

None of the tools of study that are discussed in this chapter are in any way to be thought of as being a substitute for the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the one that has been given the responsibility by the Father of bringing to our minds everything that Jesus taught. “Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall be speak: and he will shew you all things.” (John 16:13)

 The tools that are discussed in this chapter are intended to assist the student of the word.  They must never become a substitute for the Bible itself.  The two problems that are noticeable in students of the Bible are that either they will completely reject the use of any sources outside the Bible or they will rely almost completely on books about Christianity and Christ instead of studying the Book itself.  Both tools and the Holy Spirit are necessary for proper understanding.

This chapter presents eight essential tools to effective Bible study.  There are many other Bible helps that are available and some of them will be listed in a special Bibliography for the student who wishes to expand his or her library beyond the essentials.


Most ministers tend to develop rather large libraries over their lifetime.  A real love of books seems to be a general characteristic of preachers.  This writer feels that the minister should become acquainted with many types of literature, not in place of good books on theology, but in addition to a Christian library.  Some of a preacher’s best illustrations will come from literature that is not specifically Christian in nature.

It is the purpose of this chapter, however, to present some of the books that are most helpful to the new Bible student.  A veteran preacher may also find this information interesting and informative as a review or for further assistance.

It is particularly important that the new Bible student (especially a new convert) utilize the simple tools that are presented here rather than becoming “bogged down” with complicated commentaries, or textbooks on theology.

The books listed here are not, except for the first one, listed in any order of importance as a study help.  Each book has something special and specific to offer to make Bible study more effective.


 As already noted, there is no substitute for the Bible itself.  Actually, the serious student of the Word should have not just one, but several different versions (or translations) of the Bible.  Although there are many people who feel that is it almost sacrilege to even suggest the usage of anything but the King James Bible, there are a number of versions that do more justice to the original text.

The King James Bible remains to most bible students the most beautiful text because of the poetic quality of the King James English.  Some of the words in this translation have become archaic and no longer mean what they meant at one time.  For an example of this use of archaic language see II Thess. 2:7, For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”

 The word letteth (a form of let) means hinders or prevents.  Thus, in I Thess. 4:15 the word prevent means shall not go before, whereas, in modern English it means to stop something from happening.  Because the King James Bible has been around for such a long time, most of the people who still use it, including this writer, have few problems with these ancient words.  The new convert, or young Bible student may have some difficulties with the mixed meanings.

Certainly, the King James Bible should be a part of the student’s library of helps, but in addition it is advisable to add the New International Version, which is thought to be one of the very best available at this time.  Further, the Living Letters Version is in the opinion of many a valuable reference tool.

The Living Bible is written in modern English not unlike that which is spoken in everyday America.  Comparing a verse or a portion of scripture from the NIV or the KJV with the same text in the Living Bible often helps to add meaning to the scripture.

The writers’ personal favorite is the New American Standard Bible, as it is highly accurate to the original texts.

The are many other versions available that Bible scholars enjoy using in their study.  Some of these versions will be listed in the special bibliography.  There are also many excellent books on the market that have published side by side versions, so that the scholar can make many comparisons for a consensus.

Other things that the student should take into consideration about the particular Bible that they choose to use for study are;

A.   The size of the Bible.  It is wise for the student to use the family style Bible”.  This might be fine for the home, but is impractical as a Bible to carry on a regular basis.

B. When buying a new Bible for the purpose of study, it is important to make sure that it is not loaded with unnecessary pages.  Pages used to keep family records, genealogies, etc. only add bulk and weight to the Bible and are not advisable for the Bible that one carries to church.

It is, however, good to have a Bible concordance in the back of the Bible so that scriptures can be found at times when the student is not at his home study station. Most good Bibles have helpful introductions to books, center column references, etc. that can be valuable.  One such Bible that has many useful helps is the Thompson Chain Reference Bible.  One effective feature of the Thompson Chain Reference Bible is the way that it helps the student to follow (like a chain) topics and themes throughout the Word.

The center column references in many Bibles can help the student quickly find other scripture texts that are similar to the one being read.  This will increase understanding and reduce the possibility of misinterpreting a passage by taking it out of biblical context.

For example, in I Thess. 3:3 it states “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for you yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.”

 The center column in many Bibles will list a reference to Ephesians 3:13 (among others), which states;

“Wherefore, I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.”

 This assists the student to greater understanding.

 Another excellent Bible that warrants mention is the Open Bible.  Both the Open Bible and the Thompson Chain use the King James as well as the New King James.  Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible also comes in the NIV and the NAS versions. The important thing for the student to remember is that the Bible he uses most of the time is one that he should become highly comfortable with.


 Many Bible scholars find it very helpful to use either a high lighter pen or a regular ball point pen to mark various verses in their Bibles.  It is helpful to highlight or underline certain outstanding scriptures making them easier to find in a hurry, but there are a few dangers to consider.  If the student marks too many scriptures the whole purpose of highlighting is defeated.  Care must be taken in using a ballpoint that the verses around the one being marked do not become covered and therefore not readable.

Many students use different colored high lighters to indicate different topics, i.e. red is used to highlight scriptures about salvation (red for the Blood of Christ).  If this system is used the student needs to be sure that he is consistent in the use of colors so that he won’t become confused later.  The safest method is to create a legend in the front or back of the Bible telling what each color stands for.  Also, a large high lighter may show through the page.


 There can be no doubt that Halley’s Handbook of the Bible is and has been one of the most helpful aids to Bible students ever published.  Halley’s is not a commentary as such, but there is valuable information about every book in the Bible as well as useful information about people, places and customs of the time.  The chapter by chapter summary of each of the books of the Bible can be most helpful to the student when looking for specific information on a particular passage of scripture.  This valuable tool also tells of important archeological findings that assist in confirming Biblical accuracy.

Halley’s Bible Handbook is not intended for the seasoned scholar, however, many veteran preachers use it from time to time to refresh their memory about certain facts.  Many pastors will wear out several copies during their lifetime.


 Smith’s Bible Dictionary has earned a reputation as one of the most incisive tools of the Bible student.  It describes the important people and places of the Bible, as well as the major teachings of Scripture.  The latest edition has a section containing 4000 questions and answers that can be a valuable tool in developing topical Bible Study programs.

Another excellent dictionary is Unger’s Bible Dictionary, by Merrill F. Unger.  Serious Bible scholars often prefer this one over the Smith’s.  No Bible student’s library would be complete without one of these important reference books.


 A complete Bible concordance can be of greater value than one might think.  The complete concordance has every word that is in the Bible (yes, even the articles the, a, an, etc.)  Not only does a good complete concordance contain every word that is in the Bible, it will list each place that the word is used.  The proper pronunciation of the Hebrew and Greek word are given as well as a reference to any roots of that particular word.

Probably the most valuable part of the complete concordance is that each word is given a number that refers to either the Hebrew or the Greek dictionary in the back of the book.  By looking up the number in the dictionary the student is able to find the original meaning of the word.  Next to spending several years studying Greek and Hebrew, this is the best way to discover original meanings.

It is important to purchase a concordance in the same version as the Bible being used.  If the student is going to use the King James version, he should obtain a concordance for the King James version.

The most popular complete concordance is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.  This fine book is often offered on sale and can be purchased for as much as 50% off the retail price of $32.95.


Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

 Sample Entry

 For purposes of illustration, here are some sample references from the Strong´s, which will show how helpful a tool it can be. 

love  See also loved; love’s; loves; lovest; loveth; loving.

Ge.  27: 4  make me savory meat, such as I l’.   (Strong´s Number 157)

       29:20 few days for the l’ he had to her.  ( Strong´s Number        160)

(New Testament)

Matt. 6:5  for they l’ to pray standing in the… (Strong´s Number 5358)

In the first entry the word love is the Hebrew word ahab.  By looking in the Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary at the back of Strong’s and looking up the Strong’s number 157 the student will find:

157.  (first the Hebrew letters)  followed by the English equivalent = ahab then the phonetic pronunciation aw-hab’ which comes from a prim. root: to have affection for,  (sexual or otherwise)  the word can be translated as love, like, or friend.

 The New Testament entry in Matthew (Matt.), the Strong’s number is 5368.  By looking up that number in the Greek Dictionary the student will find:

5368.  efilew  phileo, fil-eh’-o from 5384; to be a friend to (fond of [an individual or an object]),  i.e.  have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment…)

 The entry 5368 goes on to an even more detailed definition of the word love that was noted in Matthew 6:8.  It is not difficult to see how valuable this tool would be in serious Bible study.  Using the Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary as well as the Greek Dictionary is not intended to be a complete research of Hebrew or Greek works.  There is another tool that will serve the student better here, such as a Greek Lexicon.

 Most preachers would feel lost without their concordance.  Being able to check the original meanings of words is very important in a day when there are so many different translations of the Bible.  Without being a Hebrew or Greek scholar, the average student is able to check for contradictions, etc. in various translations.

The shorter concordance that is found in the back of many bibles serves only to help find a particular verse when away from home.  Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible or (Young´s Analytical Concordance) is not very practical for carrying to church. The volume weighs about 10 pounds.  It is strictly a library reference source, but one which is most valuable.


 There are many different Bible commentaries on the market.  For instance, The Pulpit Commentary consists of 23 volumes and is a very fine commentary.  It lists for about $595.00, but it is usually on sale somewhere for about 50 – 60% off.  The new Bible student, however, would be best served by beginning with a one volume commentary such as the Matthew Henry’s Commentary, published by Zondervan Publishing Company.  This commentary has been edited down from the original 6 volume version and is quite popular among ministers.

The value of a good commentary is especially seen when the student looks up a passage of scripture that may be difficult to understand.  A commentary allows the student of the Word to draw from the scholarship of the writer, which can be a blessing in deed.  However, the student must remember that the commentary is not to be considered as inspired.  The commentary is the learned opinion of another Bible scholar.  As a tool, the commentary can be most helpful, but the student must always seek the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in recognizing truth. A few other commentaries will be listed in the Bibliography at the end of this chapter.


 Another valuable tool for the serious Bible student is the Vine’s Greek Word Study.  This fine book lists in alphabetical order some of the more important words in the New Testament and lists the various Greek words from which they came.  Under the listing love the student will find major Greek words that are translated love in the New Testament: filew, agape.   These two words are almost always translated love but they each represent a different kind of love.  The first word is Phileo, which is a love like a brother may have for his brother.  Agape love is more like the Love of God.  There are other words that are usually translated as love, and it is important for the Bible scholar to be aware of which Greek word was translated to arrive at the correct meaning from a given text.


 Many Bibles have a few maps in the back of the book, but there is a need for a greater knowledge of the geographical places that are mentioned in the scriptures.  Just looking at a map is not enough.  The written text in a good Bible atlas will help the student trace the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul, examine where Jesus ministered, see more clearly the distance that the Hebrews traveled from Egypt to the promised land and gain a better knowledge of the famous places discussed in the Bible.

During the recent Desert Storm war in the middle East, many scholars were fascinated with the fact that the country of Iraq played a major role in the Old Testament histories.

Any Bible bookstore will carry several different Bible Atlases.  The student should examine several and choose the one that seems to be most interesting and is within the student’s budget.  Some students find it helpful to purchase a few larger wall maps to hang in their study so that they can refer to them as they are studying.


For the student who has a computer, there are a number of almost unbelievable Bible programs available.  These software programs will do everything that can be done with the concordance.  The program will have anywhere from one to eight different translations of the Bible with a complete Hebrew and Greek dictionary.  They will also have a complete concordance of the words in the Bible.  Depending on the particular program that the student uses, it is possible to compare verses from several different translations at the same time.  With a good printer, the student can print out any scripture from the Bible for use in sermon outlines or reports. Even more can be accomplished with a comprehensive CD Rom.

For those who do not as yet have a computer, there is a marvelous little machine that will do at least a part of what the bigger programs will do.  One company that produces such a machine is the Franklin Company.  Most Bible bookstores will carry one or more of these little wonders.  One advantage of the smaller (hand held) computers is that they can be taken wherever the student may go.

Bible software programs are advertised in most Christian magazines and can be frequently found in the larger Bible bookstores.


That concludes the study of Fresh Manna…. we will begin the study of I Want to Be Like You Dad next….

Until Then… blessings from Dr. Stan  purchase your copy at

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