Bible Study Resources
Where to Buy Books
Try to buy these books from your local Catholic bookstore if you can. It is good to support them
In-print books can be purchased through www.amazon.com and out-of-print books can usually be procured through Loomes Theological Booksellers at 612-430-1092 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Out-of-print books can also be found at ABE Books, PCPBooks, Bibliofind, DoveBooks and eBay.
Logos Bible Software has an incredible library of e-books and resources available. This is the best and most powerful Bible Software and Study program available. They have now added many Catholic resources with more on the way. Many of those listed below are available with Logos and cheaper and more accessible than regular books. For software resources, click here.
Books by Catholics and Non-Catholics
Non-Catholics can also express truth and have helpful insights (cf. CCC 819). Just because I recommend a book by a Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish or secular author, does not mean that I agree with everything in the book. In the listed books I have found helpful background material, good over-all outlines, insights, etc.
Packaged Bible Study Programs for Groups or Individuals
Catholic Scripture Study International has tens of thousands of members around the world. I write many of the studies including Genesis, Acts, 1 and 2 Corinthians and Joshua, Judges, Ruth. This is an excellent study especially for groups and includes everything you need to get started effortlessly.
Letters indicate persuasion of the author: (C) stands for Catholic, (O) for Eastern Orthodox; (S) for Secular, (J) for Jewish, and (P) for Protestant. This list updated 9/2/2011.
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
St. John’s Gospel: A Bible Study Guide and Commentary (C) by Stephen Ray, Ignatius Press, 2002. The first section of this book is a step-by-step instruction on how to study a book of the Bible. The remainder of the book goes verse-by-verse through St. John’s Gospel teaching and guiding through the Gospel.
Galatians: the Charter of Christian Liberty (P) by Merrill Tenney; Eerdmans, 1971). This is the first book I used in the 1970′s to learn basic Bible study methods. Very helpful to teach and practice various methods: historical, critical, biographical, theological, rhetorical, topical, analytical, devotional, etc. Neglects basic Catholic understanding of allegorical, moral, spiritual and analogical understanding of Scripture.
Effective Bible Study: A Guide to Sixteen Methods (P) By Howard Vos
The Joy of Discovery in Bible Study (C?) by Oletta Wald
Every Catholic’s Guide to the Sacred Scriptures (C)No Author or Editor listed. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
My book on St. John’s Gospel is a combination “How to“ book as well as a detailed actual study of John. Liturgical Press publishes the widely used Little Rock Scripture Study though I think it is weak. Another series, Our Sunday Visitor’s Popular Bible Study by Fr. Alfred McBride, has some good material. Also, Scott Hahn has a site for Bible Study. Also, keep an eye on my Bible Study page for links and resources.
My DVD documentary series Footprints of God: the Story of Salvation from Abraham to Augustine with detailed study guides also offers an easy to use format for study of Scripture and the history of salvation.
Catholic Biblical School An excellent Bible Study program through the Diocese of Denver.
BIBLE INTRODUCTIONS AND OVERVIEWS
A Guide to the Bible: Book by Book (C) by A. Fuentes, Four Courts Press
Inside the Bible: An Introduction to each Book of the Bible (C) Kenneth Baker, S.J., Ignatius Press
A General Introduction to the Study of Holy Scripture (C) by A. E. Breen published by Roman Catholic Books, PO Box 2286, Ft. Collins, CO 80522.
Introduction to the Bible (C) By Fr. John Laux, published by TAN Books.
You Can Understand the Bible: A Practical and Illuminating Guide to Each Book of the Bible (C) by Peter Kreft (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2005).
Bible History of the Old and New Testaments for Catholic Schools (C) By Ignatius Schuster, D.D. (Roman Catholic Books, PO Box 2286, Fr. Collins, CO 80522).
Every Catholic’s Guide to the Sacred Scriptures (C) (Introductions, History, How to, Church Teaching, etc. By Various Catholic scholars (Thomas Nelson Publ. Nashville, TN).
Making Senses Out of Scripture (C) by Mark Shea and published by Basilica Press, 1999.
Your Invitation to Scripture: An Introduction to the Bible for Catholics (C) by Kevin Perrotta published by Charis-Servant Publications, 2003.
Pathways in Scripture: Book-by-Book Guide to the Riches of the Bible (with Intro by Scott Hahn) (C) by Damasus Winzen, published by Charis-Servant Publishers, 1976.
Know Your Bible: A Brief Introduction to the Scriptures (P) by W. Graham Scroggie, Fleming H. Revel Company, Old Tappan, NJ, 1974.
The Great Adventure: A Journey through the Bible A system created to help you learn the narrative books of the Bible.
Catholic Bible Dictionary (C) Scott Hahn and Mike Aquilina, Doubleday, 2009.
The New World Dictionary-Concordance to the New American Bible World (C) C. D. Stampley Enterprises, Inc.
Harper’s Bible Dictionary (C?) editor: Paul J. Achtemeier, published by Harper & Row.
Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period (S and/or J) by Neusner and Green. Published by Hendrickson Publ. PO Box 3473, Peabody, Mass. 01961
New Bible Dictionary (P) by Douglas, J. I. Bruce, F. F. Bruce, J. I. Packer, etc. published by InterVarsity Press
Catholic Biblical Encyclopedia: Old and New Testaments (C) by Steinmueller and Sullivan, published by Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., 1956. Out of print by usually available through Loomes Used Books at 651-430-1092.
Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible (C) by Louis Hartman, published by McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1963. Out of print by usually available at Amazon or through Loomes Used Books at 651-430-1092.
Dictionary of the Bible (C) John L. McKenzie, S.J. (Touchstone Book, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Ave of Americas, NY NY 10020)
Dictionary of the New Testament: A Compact Introduction and Comprehensive Explanation of Key Words, Names and Ideas (C) by Xavier Leon-Dufour published by Harper and Row.
Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History by Thomas Briscoe. Laid out in chronological order starting with a general overview of the geography of the ancient Near East and ending with the expansion of Christianity up to 300 AD. In between the Atlas follows the sweep of biblical history. It filled with beautiful pictures, informative charts and lists, and excellent maps, including cutaway topographical maps demonstrating many key biblical events.
New Bible Atlas by John Patterson, et al. Less expensive than the Holman but not as extensive. Nice maps and information.
Nelson’s 3-D Bible Mapbook which I use in both book and software format. Excellent book to explain each biblical event and time period.
Collegeville Atlas of the Bible (C) Liturgical Press. Very nicely laid out. Pull color pictures and maps and text to explain.
OLD TESTAMENT STUDIES
Cracking Old Testament Codes (P) (Guide to Interpreting the Literary Genres of the O.T.) By D. Brent Sandy and Ronald L. Giese (Broadman & Holman Publ).
How to Read the Old Testament (C?) (Excellent overview, history and book-by-book) By Etienne Charpentier (Crossroad Publ, 370 Lexington Ave., NY, NY10017)
Encountering the Old Testament (P) by Arnold and Beyer, published by Baker Books, 1999. Very good.
Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions (C) (A most excellent and scholarly book, a classic) By Fr. Roland de Vaux, OP (McGraw Hill)
JEWISH COMMENTARIES ON THE BIBLE (Though these are not Christian, they are extremely helpful to understand how the Jewish people interpret and understand their own Scriptures.)
On-line Scriptures with Commentary by Rashi. Rashi was a 12th century Jewish scholar who commented on Scripture and has had a large impact on Christian writers.
The Pentateuch by S.R. Hirsch published in 7 volumes by Judaica Press, Gateshead, 1999. Brilliant insights and commentary.
JPS Bible Commentaries (or Google search yourself) which is a series of commentaries on books of the Jewish Tanach (OT). This site linked has them for sale along with a few other theological books.
Commentary on Torah by Ramban, the ancient and authoritative Jewish commentator.
NEW TESTAMENT STUDIES
The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament Notes and Annotations by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, Ignatius Press, 2010
New Testament Introduction (P) by Donald Guthrie, published by InterVarsity Press.
How to Read the New Testament (C?) Excellent overview, history and book-by-book), By Etienne Charpentier (Crossroad Publ, 370 Lexington Ave., NY, NY10017).
Meet the Bible! The New Testament (C) (History of New Testament and book-by-book study) By John J. Castelot, S.S. (Helicon Press, 1120 N. Calvert, Baltimore, MD Out of print.
Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (P) by Green, McKnight, and Marshall. InterVarsity Press, 1992
Dictionary of Paul and his Letters (P) by Hawthorne, Martin, and Reid. InterVarsity Press, 1993
Dictionary of the New Testament (C) (mainly a dictionary of the Greek meaning behind English words) by Xavier Leon-dufour, published by Harper and Row.
The New Testament Background (P or S) by C. K. Barrett, published by Harper Collins.
Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey (P) by Walter A. Elwell, published by Baker Book House
An Introduction to the New Testament Raymond Brown (C) published by Doubleday. A bit liberal unhappily but much good material as well.
CONCORDANCES & TOPICAL BIBLES (List and location of every word and idea used in the Bible)
The best popular reference to the whole Bible is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In the back there is an Index of Citations which has an amazing Scripture reference section. You can look up any passage of Scripture in the back and find the paragraphs in the Catechism where that biblical passage is cited or referred to. Powerful!
Young’s Anyalytical Concordance of the Bible (based on the King James version) A standard biblical concordance, Young’s puts all words in the Bible into alphabetical order and arranges them under their respective original words with definitions. This helps the reader to analyze more accurately the various uses of the original Hebrew and Greek words. Includes over 300,000 biblical references.
New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible Best comprehensive Bible concordance (based on the King James version). A classic word-and-verse reference for more than a century. Every word used in the King James Bible. Includes extra Bible study aids, including a 200-page topical index, the famous Hebrew and Greek dictionaries tied to each word in the concordance, and convenience features such as pronunciation guides.
Of course there is no book concordance that can compete with a computer search engine. Biblical text on computer allows searches for not only words but phrases and much more.
Nave’s Topical Bible is a comprehensive digest of over 20,000 topics and subtopics with more than 100,000 associated Scripture references. Nave’s groups verses by “idea” (or “topic”), whereas a concordance groups only by specific words.
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE TOOLS (Links to sources coming soon)
The Wordbook of the Old Testament (P) by Harris, Archer, and Waltke
Theological Lexicon of the New Testament by Spicq (C) in three volumes
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Bible Words (P)
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (nicknamed “Kittel’s) (P) in 10 volumes
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited version in one volume (“Little Kittel“)
Dictionary of New Testament Theology (P) in three volumes by Colin Brown
Expository Dictionary of Bible Words by Richards
Sacramentum Verbi (Encylopedia of Biblical Theology (C) by Bauer
Sacramentum Muni (Encyclopedia of Theology) (C) edited by Rahner
WHOLE BIBLE COMMENTARIES
Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism is an excellent commentary of sorts for Scripture. Using the scriptural index in the back provides an excellent source for seeing how the Church understands each passage of Scripture. Faith Database and Welcome to the Catholic Church have software versions. Coming soon to Logos Bible Software also.
The Jerome Biblical Commentary (C) editors: Brown, Fitzmyer, Murphy, published by Prentice-Hall.
A new and orthodox set of commentaries are being produced which are excellent. They are in the Catholic Commentary of Sacred Scripture set. Published so far are Matthew, Mark, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 1 &2 Peter.
Collegeville Bible Commentary, Old and New Testament. Catholic commentaries based on the New American Bible. I hear it is being revised and may be more faithful and conservative in the new edition. However, this set is very helpful.
The International Bible Commentary (C) by various Catholic scholars, Liturgical Press, 1998.
A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (C) editor: Dom Bernard Orchard, published by Nelson and probably out of print.
A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture (C) by Frederick Knecht and re-published by TAN. Excellent and very orthodox Catholic commentary.
Jewish New Testament Commentary (especially helpful!) (P and J) David Stern (Jewish N.T. Publ., PO Box 1313, Clarksville, MD21029)
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (P) By Craig Keener (InterVarsity Press)
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (P) by John H. Walton (InterVarsity Press)
Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica in Four Volumes (Anglican) J. B. Lightfoot (Hendrickson Publ.)
Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) (C) collections of patristic quotes verse-by-verse through each Gospel by St. Thomas Aquinas, Preserving Christian Publications, Inc., Albany, NY. Also available on the Harmony Media’s “Aquinas” CD Rom.
Various recommendations: Berit Olam (C) Old Testament commentaries being published by The Liturgical Press; Sacra Pagina(C) New Testament series being published by The Liturgical Press; The Anchor Bible series (wide-ranging traditions represented)
Especially get the Catholic Old and New Testament commentaries in the Navarre Bible Series published by Sceptor Publishers. Filled with comments on the passages from the Fathers, history and Church teaching.
PATRISTIC QUOTATIONS AND STUDY OF THE BIBLE
Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (multi-volume set; I have linked to the individual volume of Romans to get you started) (P–though quoting Catholic Fathers) InterVarsity Press. Excellent resource for the comments of the early Christians verse-by-verse through the Bible. Another multi-volume patristic commentary is also under production from Eerdmans entitled The Church’s Bible, and it will probably be more scholarly.
Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) (C) collections of patristic quotes verse-by-verse through each Gospel by St. Thomas Aquinas, Preserving Christian Publications, Inc., Albany, NY. Also available on the Harmony Media’s “Aquinas” CD Rom
THE BIBLE AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Crossing the Tiber (Scripture and Tradition; Baptism and Eucharist: Biblical and Historical Studies) (C) by Steve Ray (Ignatius Press)
Scripture Matters: Essays on Reading the Bible from the Heart of the Church (C) Scott Hahn, Published by Emmaus Road Press.
Where We Got the Bible (C) (excellent history of the Bible in the history of the Church), by Fr. Henry Graham
Not by Scripture Alone: A Catholic Critique of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura (C) by Bob Sungenis, Queenship Press, 1-800-647-9882
By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition (C) by Mark Shea, published by Our Sunday Visitor Publ.
The Catholic Church and the Bible (C) by Fr. Peter Stravinskas, published by Ignatius Press.
The Biblical Commission’s Document “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church” (C), By Joseph Fitzmyer (Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico-Rome 1995)
TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE
Picture a sliding scale from left to right. Every translation fits somewhere along that scale. At one end of the scale are dynamictranslations which try to relay the authors’ meaning without being overly literal—telling what the author means. At the other end of the scale are literal translations which try to relay the actual words of the original languages without being overly concerned with ease of reading or conveying the authors’ meaning. The first emphasizes what the author means, the second what the author says. All translations fit somewhere in between.
See my list of Recommended Bible Study and Catholic Reference Software
Revised Standard Version (Catholic and Protestant editions; balance between dynamic and literal; especially recommend the Ignatius Catholic edition; 1-800-651-1531 or visit www.ignatius.com) (New Revised Standard not as good, inclusive language)
New American Standard Bible (Protestant; pretty accurate, some Protestant bias, missing deutero-canonical books; literal text)
New American Version (Catholic; dynamic, easy to read text, Fr. Jaki says it’s a very good translation)
King James or Authorized Version is outdated though beautifully written, especially the poetry. New King James Version has recently been published. Protestant Bible.
NIV or New International Version (Protestant; dynamic, easy-to-read translation but displays some theological Protestant bias (see NIV which gives a few examples)
The Jerusalem Bible (not the New Jerusalem Bible) (Catholic; I have been told the New Jerusalem Bible has a lot of inclusive language, etc. though I have not verified this.
The Navarre Bible Old and New Testaments are exceptional and very Catholic. It has multiple volumes with the text in English, Latin, and a good commentary utilizing the Fathers, Church documents, background material, etc. Highly recommended.
The Rheims-Douay Version (traditional Catholic translation) The Confraternity-Douay translation which was used in the United States from the late 1940s until 1970 when it was replaced by the New American Bible. It is similar to the Douay-Rheims Bible and retains some of the traditional language (thee, thou, etc.) but adapted a more modern sentence structure and pace of speech. Although no longer in print, it can be readily found in used book stores.
The Precise Parallel New Testament Six translations in one book! Contains Greek text, King James version, Rheims Bible, Amplified Bible, New International Bible, New Revised Standard version, New American Bible, and New American Standard Bible.
The New Testament translated by Ronald Knox. Catholic and published in 1997 by Templegate Publishers. This translation was originally published in 1945 in England, and is based on the Latin Vulgate. Softcover, list price $14.95 ISBN 0-87243-220-7
Jewish New Testament (brings out all the distinctly Jewish aspects of the text thouigh he also comes from a Protestant theological perspective) translated by David Stern, (Jewish N.T. Publ., PO Box 1313, Clarksville, MD21029). David Stern has just released his Complete Jewish Bible which attempts to bring to the fore all Jewish aspects of Old and New Testaments. This translation is written for Jewish converts to the Christian faith.
The Holy Scriptures: The Jerusalem Bible (different from the popular English translation above) with Hebrew on one page and English on the opposite page. Translation by Jewish scholars from Hebrew to English, read from right to left in Hebrew style. Published by Koren Publishers, Jerusalem, Israel.