Multiple Bible Translations – It seems that a new translation of the Bible arrives every day. I’m sure you have a translation that is your favorite. Consider adding at least one more translation to your library. Choose a second version that is opposite from the one you carry most often. For example, if you like the King James, add a New International Version. Consider the New American Standard or, my favorite, the English Standard Version. Comparing the same passage from two or more translations can be enlightening. Plus, differences in translations suggest a useful beginning point for further study.
Dedicated Notepad or Notebook – Notes are essential when delving into a passage. Spend a dollar and dedicate a notebook to your bible research. Your notes do not need to be neat or even readable by anyone else. They will serve as a reminder of things you discover and are a fine place to record suggestions for further study.
Concordance – A concordance is an essential tool. Today, the best concordances are digital and can easily be downloaded to your phone or tablet. These electronic books allow you to search for all occurrences of a single word or even an entire phrase. Hardbound concordances are available but are not nearly as useful as electronic versions.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge – This tool, available in both digital and paper versions, allows you to search other passages that are like the one you are studying without requiring an exact word match. If you are familiar with the center column references in many paper Bibles you will be very comfortable with TSK.
Bible Dictionary / Encyclopedia – For a quick definition or to check on a historical reference, turn to a Bible dictionary or a Bible encyclopedia. These specialized volumes are geared toward Bible study and are not cluttered with information unimportant to your study.
Of course, the most important tool is your attitude. If you hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6) you will be filled. But if you are simply killing time and have little interest in the word of God then you will accomplish very little.
Next, we will examine a few additional titles that can provide expanded depth to your studies.