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The Top Three Bible Study Tools We Use

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We are often asked how we answer Bible History questions. We use a variety of concordances, histories, academic contacts and online tools.  Here are three of our favorites. One of the most common questions we get is how often a word or phrase is in the Bible.  The second most common has to do with people of the Bible – the life story if possible and more.  Let’s just focus for a minute on that most common question.  The words. Here’s what we do.  We start with the free tools found at http://www.biblestudytools.com/.  Here we can get a quick count of verses, what words were translated as that English word (e.g. 20 different Hebrew/Greek words were translated as love) and what those Hebrew/Greek words mean.  How they differ.  However it’s a fairly tedious process to track down which verse used which of the 20 words.

Bible_Study_Tips_Free

For that information, and more, we use our interactive “bible discovery” software where we can look up a word or verse and then click on the parallel Hebrew/Greek word and go immediately to the dictionary.   Why?  Here’s an example.  When we were studying light we found that the root word for the Hebrew translated as darkness means “a twisting away.”  Interesting.  Darkness twists away from light.  (evil from good?)

There are several of these on the market.  We’ve used a couple. Here’s one interactive Bible with dictionaries we’ve been testing lately. https://www.olivetree.com/  By the way, we make no money from recommending this software.

To really deepen our understanding we’re learning Biblical Hebrew with all it’s history, subtleties, and implications.  Costs some money, takes some time but it’s worth it. We’ve taken courses from this company and they were very good. Even better, they have an ongoing series of FREE webinars. Sign up for those to learn a lot
Check out Eteacher Biblical Hebrew course here and get on the free webinar mailing list

Go here to get on the free webinar list and see what the webinars are about

This is only a small part of the research we do when answering Bible history questions.

 

Free Bible Study Tips

Picture References: 

http://pixabay.com/en/ray-of-light-live-death-weird-526506/

http://pixabay.com/en/steelwool-dark-firespin-spiral-art-458840/

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How Is The Bible Organized?

The Authorized King James Bible is organized in the following way:

The Old Testament

Histories and the Law (Genesis through Esther)
Wisdom (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes)
Prophecies (Isaiah to Malachi)

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‘The Last Supper, a late 1490s mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci.’

The New Testament

Histories (the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts of the Apostles)
Wisdom or Doctrine (the letters concerning doctrine starting with Paul followed by Jude,  Peter, and John. These are organized by length, longest to shortest, rather than in order written)
Prophecies (Revelation of John)

A list of the books of the Bible including the author, when written and where, as well as the time frame covered, can be found on the page:  Chronological Order of the Books of the Bible

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Using the Bible Timeline with World History: Five Tips to Power Up Your Bible Study or Teaching

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Your study and teaching have more meaning when you see how it all fits into God’s plan for man on earth.

That’s where teaching principles along with a Bible timeline adds power and excitement to your teaching.  A Biblical timeline chart with World history is even more useful.  You see His hand directing all of the world events and the Bible set against that background.   Let’s start with first things first.

Here are the five tips.  Study or teach

  1. The Biblical Principles
  2. The Order
  3. The Overlap
  4. The World
  5. The Why
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The Principles: Most of us know the stories included in the Bible are there to teach us principles.  Unfortunately we often just grab a story when we need to teach or learn a principle and just go for it.  But that leaves a lot of questions.  When did Ruth live compared to Esther?  Or how about Daniel and Solomon?  Who was first? Some of us don’t know, even after years of Bible study classes.  When we know the order of events in God’s overarching plan the principles gain greater meaning.

The Order: The order and the timing of people and events.  Most people have no idea how much time passed between Adam and Noah or between Noah and Abraham.  Using a timeline makes it visual.  You can literally see the passage of time; long, short or in between. The long, slow building of a strong foundation for 2500 years from Adam to Moses, a short 500 years from Moses to Solomon as the Israelites are prepared and taught and then 1000 years of ripening before Christ at last comes.  Now the 2000 years of the Christian doctrine being spread through out the world from that small center in Israel is seen in a much larger context of God’s overall plan and timing.

The overlap:  What can we get from that?  When we see mapped out in front of us that Enos, Adam’s grandson lived until Noah was in his 90’s and that Noah’s son Shem lived until after Abraham was born (and was still alive in Isaac’s youth) – that’s a wow moment.  Do you suppose that Abraham and Isaac heard about the flood from people who actually lived through it?  And about the garden from a person who knew a person who knew Adam?  Talk about your six degrees of separation!

Other world events:  Most of us have bits of history floating around in some kind of hazy mess; like looking at an out of focus picture.  Some parts are less blurry but the picture as a whole doesn’t make sense.   Using a Bible timeline with World history on it as well brings it all into sharp focus.  We see the whole not just random bits.
When we discover that Daniel and Confucius lived at the same time, or that the Greek poet Homer and Solomon lived in the same century, we begin to connect all those bits of history into a solid map in our minds.  These aren’t isolated events happening “somewhere in time.”  History is a series of connected events all under God’s direction.

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Why:  We see God’s hand dealing with all of His children, the descendants of Noah, scattered across the globe to bring about the saving of the human family through Jesus Christ.  That’s your why.  We see His hand orchestrating major events to bring about prophetic promises of blessing or cursing.    Especially now during the wrapping up years as the entire world is in contact and relationship with each other.  Now we see His hand played out on a world stage, all of that history coming together into one grand finale.  A Bible World History Timeline gives us that whole world view of God’s plan.

There are your five steps.

  1. Teach or study your principle.
  2. Orient the story in time.  Place it in order on the timeline.
  3. View the overlap and what that tells us.
  4. Consider other events going on in the world at the same time.
  5. Why.  See it all as part of the God’s great plan for man.


Now that’s powerful study and teaching.

Learn more about the Amazing Bible World History Timeline

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The Three Bible Timelines: Why and How They Differ

The three most widely used Bible Timelines are:

Ussher’s Chronology: included in the margins of the Authorized King James Bible is based on the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Old Testament. The Masoretic text had an unbroken history of careful transcription for centuries.

Thiele: a modern Biblical chronologist whose work is accepted by secular Egyptologists as well as biblical scholars – often used by modern Evangelicals.

The Septuagint: on which the Catholic Bible is based, is the Koine Greek version of the Hebrew Bible translated between 300 BC and 1 BC.

Most people who try to compute a Bible timeline are faced with the same dilemmas. The Rvd. Professor James Barr, a Scottish Old Testament scholar, has identified three distinct periods that Ussher, and all biblical chronologists had to tackle:

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Early times (Creation to Solomon). Anyone who starts out reading the Bible with Genesis, as many people do, can easily compute the years from Adam to Solomon. The key male players are all linked with genealogies and ages. It’s later that the problems start. Although also it’s here that the Catholic and Protestant (King James) Bible timelines differ. The Masoretic text and the Septuagint both link all the key male players, but the Septuagint gives longer time frames for many of them. There’s a 1500 year difference between the two timelines.

Early Age of Kings (Solomon to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity). Now we have gaps in the record. Times have to be calculated using cross-links between various people mentioned in the Bible and some inferences made.

Late Age of Kings (Ezra and Nehemiah to the birth of Jesus). Here events are just mentioned with no possible way to link or calculate time frames. Historians use well known secular kings or events mentioned in the Bible (i.e., Nebuchadnezzar) to calculate the Bible dates. Thiele is particularly interesting. He recalculated the dates of the Northern Kingdoms based on a new understanding of how reigns of kings were computed in ancient times. His calculation of the date of 931 BC for the division of the Israelite kingdom has been used by secular Egyptologists to give dates to Egypt’s 22nd Dynasty. The Bible timelines differ because they are based on different original texts (the Masoretic or the Septuagint), because some of the dates are based on dating of secular events that have been recalculated by modern historians and also by a re-reading of the Bible in light of new knowledge.

Related article: What is the date of the Exodus?

 Learn more about the Amazing Bible World History Timeline