Since the Bible is the primary tool for those of us who are called to proclaim the Gospel, we are constantly on the lookout for new translations, new study editions, and new reference works that will aid in the task of preaching God’s Word.
No matter how many Bibles reside on a preacher’s bookshelf, it seems there’s always room for at least one more.
With no major new translations released during the past year, the focus of Bible publishing has been in releasing repackaged editions that are designed and/or marketed to specific market niches within the Christian community. Several such interesting volumes have appeared in recent months.
At the top of the list is The Family Worship Bible, produced by Holman Bible Publishers. Using the New International Version, it is designed to guide families through a regular worship experience, including activities to encourage individual participation. On the bottom of every page of The Family Worship Bible is a suggestion for some action (Family Worship, Family Prayer, Family Discussion, or Family Activity), color-coded to match a section of the biblical text found on the same page. The volume also includes a variety of articles on family, spiritual growth, and moral concern topics, many by well-known preachers and teachers like Charles Swindoll, Wayne Oates, Calvin Miller and others.
While The Family Worship Bible is not what you’ll use for systematic Bible study related to your preaching ministry — although some of the articles will provide quality insights and ideas for sermons on the family — it is a wonderful resource for any ministry or lay family in guiding its own family worship program.
Thomas Nelson has released a New King James Version edition of its popular Open Bible. The New Open Bible (Study Edition) features a variety of articles, indexes, charts, and other study aids along with the NKJV text. It is easy to use and visually attractive, and will be enjoyed by many who work regularly with the NKJV in their preaching. The same publisher has also recently produced a K]V-NK]V Parallel Reference Bible, which includes center column references for both translations. This may be of particular value to preachers who use the KJV in their preaching but wish to take advantage of variations found in the NKJV.
Southern Baptists in particular will be interested in The Believers Study Bible, edited by W. A. Criswell — senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas — and published by Thomas Nelson. Produced by the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies, it features a variety of topical articles by well-known Southern Baptist pastors, such as Joel Gregory, Adrian Rogers, Ed Young, and Jerry Vines. The NKJV text is used.
Zondervan Publishing has released The New Student Bible in the King James Version as well as the New International Version. Designed as a Bible for young people, it includes a host of helpful study features, such as several Bible-reading “tracks” (including several related to specific topical areas, like “Two Weeks on Becoming a Christian” or “Two Weeks on God and Nature”), or hundreds of highlighted comments which point out the significance of a particular text or offer additional information to aid understanding. This would be a wonderful gift for churches to present to graduates before sending them off to college!
The Companion Bible, published by Kregel Publications of Grand Rapids, provides a King James Version with marginal notes on the text. The marginal notes are frequently extensive, offering details on the text’s structure, supplementary textual information, and brief commentary. Many preachers will find helpful insights for sermon preparation.
Bible Reference Works
Commentaries and other Bible reference materials form the bulk of the preacher’s toolbox. Through such volumes, the preacher can take advantage of the insights of a variety of other teachers and scholars in developing biblical sermons. And publishers have been supplying a steady stream of such materials in recent months.
As part of its Baker Reference Library series, Baker Book House has produced a Topical Analysis of the Bible, edited by Walter A. Elwell, professor of biblical and theological studies at Wheaton College. Using the New International Version text, Elwell takes on major theological topics (The Personal God; Jesus Christ; The Holy Spirit; The Works of God; Revelation; Supernatural Beings; Human Beings; Sin; Salvation; Sanctification; Christian Living; The Church; and Eschatology) by subdividing them, then providing biblical references relating to those topics. This substantial volume (893 large-format pages) will be of particular value to those who do a good bit of doctrinal preaching; the subheads alone may provide you with hundreds of sermon outlines!
Many who do expository preaching will be glad to know that Thomas Nelson has released a revised and expanded edition of The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. It is a massive collection of more than 100,000 cross-references, covering virtually every verse in the Bible. Every cross-reference is linked to specific words in the text, and allows you to reference that word or phrase to other passages of scripture that shed light on it; there are also references to some other study aids, such as Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.
Another Thomas Nelson release that many will find helpful (and lighter than the Treasury!) is The New Compact Key Reference Concordance produced by Ronald F. Youngblood, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Bethel Theological Seminary West in San Diego. This volume is linked to the NKJV translation. This will be of interest to those looking for a concordance bigger than that in their study Bible but not as large as Strong’s or Young’s.
Most preachers who plan to do biblical preaching, however, won’t be satisfied with anything less than a complete and unabridged concordance. Thomas Nelson has recently released three such volumes in updated editions: Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, and the NRSV Exhaustive Concordance. These are handsome volumes, and at least one of them should find a place on the worktable of any preacher who takes Bible study seriously.
Good commentaries are an essential tool for the biblical preacher. Too many sermons reflect shallow study spent only in “pop theology” and too little time digging into the meaning of God’s Word. Although most of that study won’t find its way directly into the text of your sermon — Fosdick was right when he said most congregations aren’t dying to know what happened to the Jebusites — yet the undergirding provided by such study gives a preacher added confidence in teaching and preaching the Word and protects us from flimsy and faulty interpretations. Our congregations deserve better.
The Word Biblical Commentary series continues to provide some of the finest material available for preachers today. Among the newest releases in this series (that will eventually include 58 volumes) is Leviticus by John E. Hartley, professor of Old Testament at Azusa Pacific University. Hartley takes a book that is avoided by most preachers and offers insights that will drive you to the pulpit!
While preachers wanting to do intense study on a biblical book will typically turn to individual commentaries on that book alone, most of us need one or two single-volume commentaries covering the entire Bible. After all, if you’re looking to answer a question on a verse in Malachi, you want to have quick reference without going to the book store to buy an entire commentary just on Malachi!
The Believer’s Bible Commentary by William McDonald (Thomas Nelson Publishers) is actually a two-volume commentary — one on the Old Testament, one on the New Testament. It is a conservative commentary with a number of practical insights useful to pastors and Bible teachers.
Warren W. Wiersbe is one of my favorite Bible teachers, and he has a new book that is certain to find wide usage among preachers. Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Victor Books) is a treasure chest of quality homiletical material drawn from every chapter of the New Testament. This is a substantial volume that is a worthwhile buy for anyone who teaches or preaches the New Testament.
The January-February 1993 issue of Preaching will include a survey of the best books published for preachers during the past year — including the Preaching Book of the Year.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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