What is the most important tool in your Bible study toolbox?
The Bible study tool I find most useful is studiously avoided by almost every advocate of Bible study.
I say that because it is almost never mentioned.
I cannot imagine why.
It may be because many authors and teachers don’t know about my favorite Bible study tool themselves. It may be that they have never used it enough in Real Bible Study themselves, so it has not become their own favorite.
I have read many of the writings of Dr. Wilbur M. Smith. He wrote a very helpful, even fascinating book titled Profitable Bible Study. My hardbound copy is from 1953, a revision of the original publication in 1939. The subtitle states “Seven Simple Methods—with an Annotated List of the First One Hundred Best Books for the Bible Student’s Library.”
This volume by Dr. Wilbur Smith mentions the “fascinating little book, What Can Literature Do for Me?” on page 25. I was able to secure a used copy of that work, and have made its chapters into lesson plans for teaching literature to my English classes.
Literature can do commendable things in our lives, but the Bible can do far more.
I once had a student in my remedial reading class who was not interested in reading anything unless it was Bible-related. I typed up special reading selections just for her benefit. She especially liked what I shared about how to study Bible people. She wrote many reports about the characters in the Bible using the study outline I provided her.
I don’t suppose very many English teachers would have been prepared to meet the needs of a student like her. I’m thankful the Lord placed her in my class so she could have a teacher willing to adjust the course material for her study in a way that would meet her interests.
We need to study the Bible, and learn the Bible, and live the Bible.
But back to the writings of Dr. Wilbur Smith: though he shows great familiarity with the value of good cross references, mentioning those given in the Nestle Greek New Testament, and even those in The New Testament with Fuller References, he never once mentions The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, which has the greatest collection of cross references of all.
I have been privileged to expand and correct the cross references in The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge in my first work, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. The New Treasury is no longer available in printed book form from the publisher. It is available in Logos and Libronix Bible study software.
My second work is available only in printed book form, Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible.
The New Treasury and the Cross Reference Guide are the most important tools in my Bible Study Toolbox.
Any person who has any interest whatever in the Bible will certainly find that this extensive collection of cross references will, upon repeated use, become his or her own most important Bible study tool too.