Recommended Books
For People Seeking to Grow in God's Word




Bible Bell often receives messages asking us to recommend books for Christians who want to grow in the knowledge of God and His Holy Word.

Accordingly, the goal of this page is to provide a list of foundational books for studying the Word of God.

If you can't find a recommended book, or if you have comments/suggestions,
please let us know.

This page is in two main parts...

1) Part 1: Book Recommendations

2) Part 2: Links to on-line bookstores

Part 1: Book Recommendations

A) Bibles

You already own a Bible, right? Nevertheless, you'll probably buy another one some day, so we'll give you some recommendations...

Buy Hard Cover - Hard cover Bibles aren't as "pizzazz" as leather Bibles, but they last much longer and are less expensive.

  • For looks and convenience, add a vinyl or fabric cover to your hard cover Bible. It looks nice, and has handy pockets for pencils, etc.
  • If you must have leather, for goodness sakes don't buy bonded leather.
  • Bonded leather is made of leather scraps that have been glued onto a backing, then mechanically embossed to make them look like the real thing.
  • With time, bonded leather begins to flake and fall off of its backing. Hideous!
  • The words "Genuine Bonded Leather" are a joke. Genuine? Give me a break!

Don't buy Thumb Indexed - Thumb Indexed Bibles are ugly (and somewhat more fragile) because the pages have to be scalloped. It looks like a mouse has been nibbling on them.

DO buy Index Tabs - If you need help finding books in your Bible, get a set of plastic index tabs.

  • If you need help finding books in your Bible, get a set of plastic index tabs.
  • Buy tabs that are round on the outside edge. The square tabs are worse than useless. You can get rounded tabs from HERE.
  • To install tabs, start at Revelation and work backwards to Genesis. Put each tab on the page that precedes the book it indexes.
  • The tab for Revelation should be at the bottom of the last page of Jude.
  • The tab for Jude should be just above the tab for Revelation, on the last page of 1-2-3 John. And so forth.
  • In other words, work your way from back to front of your Bible, and from bottom to top of the pages.

Don't buy a Bible that has commentary notes -

  • When you want to just study and enjoy your Bible, the commentary notes are very distracting. Very!
  • When you want a clear explanation of a difficult verse, the commentary notes are usually too brief to give you the answers you're looking for.
  • In summary, a commentary Bible is distracting as a Bible, and inadequate as a commentary.
  • You want a Bible? Buy a Bible. You want a commentary? Buy a commentary. (We'll recommend a good one in a subsequent paragraph.)

Check the red letters - Most Bibles nowadays come with "Words of Jesus in Red."

  • Once in a while the printers do a bad job on the red letters.
  • When printers goof, the red letters are very faint and/or misaligned in comparison with the black letters. You should not accept such inferior workmanship.
  • If you can check a Bible for this deficiency before you buy it, be sure and do so. If you can't check your Bible until after you buy it, then check it as soon as it's in your hands.
  • If it's faulty, send it back!

Which Translation?

BibleBell has provided a Comparison Table of key Bible verses, in order to help YOU decide which Bible translation to use.

Recommended Study Bible

If you plan to buy a Study Bible, BibleBell highly recommends the Thompson Chain-Reference Study Bible (published by Kirkbride)

  • The Thompson's has an excellent topical index. Each verse is keyed to the topical index so you can find stuff in a jiffy.
  • The Thompson's is loaded with helps (NOT commentary).
  • It's available in KJV, NKJV, NAS, and NIV.

B) Bible Commentaries

A commentary seeks to analyze and explain the Bible, verse-by-verse.

  • A good commentary can greatly enhance your understanding and enjoyment of your Bible.
  • Just remember -- the Bible is inspired by God, and inerrant. Commentaries are not. When using ANY commentary, be a Berean (Acts 17.11)!

Recommended Commentary

The Bible Knowledge Commentary by Walvoord and Zuck, Victor Books publisher.

  • This comes in a two volume set (OT and NT). Uses non-technical language. Easy to read and understand. Solid scholarship.

C) Bible Dictionaries

A Bible Dictionary defines the words and people and places referred to in the Bible.

  • Our recommendations offer you two options. Either one is good. You do not need both.

Recommended Bible Dictionaries

Unger's Bible Dictionary by Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press

The New International Dictionary of the Bible by J.D. Douglas and Merrill C. Tenney, Zondervan publishers.

D) Topical Studies of the Bible

The Bible's teachings on many of its key topics, such as salvation, are spread throughout several of the Bible's 66 books.

  • This fact has given rise to publication of books that offer Topical Studies of the Bible.
  • Topical Study Books compile and analyze ALL of the Bible's teachings on each major Bible topic.
  • Topical Study Books can be a big help toward giving you a better understanding of the key principles of Christianity.
  • Our recommendations cover two books. We strongly recommend you buy both. You'll be glad you did!

Recommended Topical Study Books

Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer and John F. Walvoord, Zondervan publishers.

What the Bible Teaches by R.A. Torrey, Fleming H. Revell publishers.

E) Books about Bible Prophecies

There are tons of books about Bible prophecy. Why? Because prophecy sells books!

  • If you just want recreational reading, then fine -- buy whatever grabs your attention.
  • However, if you want to REALLY get a handle on Bible prophecies, you need all three of the books listed below.

Recommended Books on Bible Prophecy

Things to Come by J. Dwight Pentecost, Zondervan publishers

  • Explains the main approaches for interpreting Bible prophecy.
  • Explains prophecy terminology

The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook by John F. Walvoord, Chariot Victor publishing

  • Catalogs and explains every major Bible prophecy, from Genesis right on through Revelation.
  • This book was originally published under the title, The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook. It's the same book in every respect, so don't hesitate to buy it under its old title.

The Footsteps of the Messiah by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Ariel Press

  • Explains the sequence of Bible prophecies.

F) Word Study Books

Your English-language Bible is a translation of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

  • As is true for words in the English language, many Greek and Hebrew words carry several different shades and nuances of meaning.
  • For example, the Greek word kosmos is usually translated "world," but an explanation of the FULL meaning of kosmos requires a lengthy paragraph.
  • Often, you can gain a clearer understanding of a difficult verse by looking up key English-language words in the verse so as to determine the full meaning of the underlying Hebrew or Greek words.
  • We list two books. You need both, plus a KJV Bible, for reasons given below.

Recommended Word Study Books

Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words by W.E. Vine with Merrill Unger and William White, Nelson publisher

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, Nelson publisher

  • You need this book to effectively use Vine's Dictionary.
  • Reason -- often there are two or more Hebrew or Greek words that are translated by the same English-language word. You need to know which Hebrew or Greek word was used in the particular verse you are studying. Strong's will tell you.
  • You'll also need a King James Version of the Bible because Strong's English-language word list is based on the KJV.

G Apologetics
Proof-books about God's existence & the Bible's inspiration

Books on apologetics are designed to offer proofs about God's existence, &/or the fact that God inspired every word of the Bible, &/or the fact that God created the universe.

Be aware that giving a book of apologetics to an unsaved person will have little or no effect if that person is willfully determined not to believe. This sort of person will sometimes say things like, "If God is real, tell Him to show Himself in this room, or get Him to do a miracle for me."

Bottom line: DISbelief is most often a *heart problem* instead of an intellectual problem.

Books of apologetics can be useful for giving to an unsaved person who is sincerely seeking to understand the reality of God, and has shown himself or herself *open* to discussion of spiritual matters. Such books are ALSO useful for believers to read. These books can serve to help you strengthen your faith.

There are many books about apologetics but only a few will really hold up to the attacks of informed skeptics. In fact, many books of apologetics are so scientifically misinformed that they can do more harm than good.

Bottom line: Scientifically valid books of apologetics can be difficult reading. Some folks want to ask *college-level questions*, & receive *kindergarten-level answers.*

Here are some excellent books on apologetics. In each case I have given my
OPINION as to the overall complexity of the discussions in the book

Recommended Apologetics Books

NOTICE: I have indicated the ISBN numbers of the books I presently own. However, be aware that the ISBN numbers often differ for hardcover books versus softcover books, and for new editions versus older editions. If you are unable to locate one of these books, let me know. I will be glad to help.

Darwin's Black Box by Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at LeHigh University, The Free Press Publisher. ISBN 0684834936 [OPINION: Technical portions- College senior level; Practical illustrations- High School Junior-Senior level]

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Zondervan Publishers. ISBN 0060652888 [OPINION: College freshman-sophomore Level]

Dear Agnos: A Defense of Christianity by Arlie J. Hoover, Baker Publishing Group. ISBN 0801041562 [OPINION: High School sophomore level]

Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics by Norman L. Geisler, Baker Books. ISBN 0801021510 [OPINION: High School junior-senior level]

Part 2: Links to on-line bookstores
This is the on-line presence of Christian Book Distributors or CBD. CBD is Christian owned and operated. Theirs is probably the largest stock of Christian books in existence. They offer good discounts, too.
My favorite online place to shop for books. I usually buy them *used* because it's cheaper. Used books come from individual sellers, but Amazon itself backs-up the guarantee of satisfaction.
Our beloved mentor, Chaplain Harold, steered us to this site -- an excellent source for USED Bibles at low prices.
These folks specialize in prophecy books.
Another great site from Chaplain Harold. It's not Christian, but has great prices on Christian books if you know exactly what you want.
If you're into books, Christian and otherwise, the Bookfinder site is a must-visit. This site is a Search Engine for books, both new and used. They search over 20,000 bookstores to find the book you are seeking. Amazing!
Wow! We happened across this interesting bookstore site. It's a bit different, don't you know? Thought we'd share it with you.
This excellent site provides price comparisons of books across major online book sellers in real time. Other services include but aren't limited to...

  • Rare Book Search
  • Audio Book Search
  • Search by both UPC code and ISBN


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