Bible Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
Bible dictionaries are very practical and useful reference tools that give information about a wide range of Bible subjects arranged alphabetically. They generally provide definitions and proper names. This reference tool can greatly aid your understanding and add to your Bible study. Suppose you just read about King Darius in the Old Testament book of Daniel and you wanted to know more about him. A Bible dictionary will have an entry about Darius including the verses you have just read and other Bible references. It will probably introduce information from history and archaeology as well. Bible dictionaries come in book form, on-line and in on-line Bible programs.
A Bible encyclopedia is similar, except it usually has more detailed articles about more subjects and is published in several volumes. This reference tool often contains historical references that include time periods, the environment, customs and culture. Terms found in the encyclopedia are linked to verses in the Bible, which helps connect the information to the Bible passages. Like Bible dictionaries, Bible encyclopedias come in book formats and on-line.
Remember that dictionaries and encyclopedias are the work of men and women (not inspired by God) commenting about inspired Bible passages. Such reference books are very useful, but they should always be used carefully. Check for yourself what they suggest by comparing the Scriptures.
Bible atlases are a great reference tool to help familiarize you with Biblical geography and history. They contain maps, plans and diagrams, and some atlases refer to and describe archaeological excavations. This helps you visualize where locations are and the distance between locations. Some atlases will detail journeys of individuals in the Bible such as Abraham, Jesus and the apostle Paul. They may also show the location and terrain of battles and other events that are described in the Bible.
Similar to Bible dictionaries, Bible atlases come in book form, on-line and in on-line Bible programs. Many Bibles themselves contains maps and information. Some Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases are connected to various versions of the Bible or are contained in various Bible versions such as the King James Version, the New International Version and the English Standard Version.
A list of these reference tools can be found by typing “Bible Dictionaries”, “Bible Encyclopedias” or “Bible Atlases”, in your Internet browser. Using more than one of each reference tool will enable you to get a good cross-section of information. This can help to ensure accuracy and reliability of the information.
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