Building the Christian library: The New Bible Dictionary

The New Bible Dictionary

Bible Dictionaries are legion, and they all aim to help the student understand God’s Word. But there is only one, which is unashamedly ‘Evangelical’.

The Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research was founded in association with the Inter-Varsity Fellowship (now the IFES) “to foster evangelical biblical scholarship”. As a result of their efforts The New Bible Dictionary is a major work of high quality.

Originally published in 1962, a second edition in 1982 improved and updated the work. The excellence of the text was supplemented with very helpful coloured illustrations in 1980 with the publishing of the The Illustrated Bible Dictionary in three volumes (at a much higher price). The range and quality of these pictures, diagrams, maps and graphs makes this version of the dictionary the one to buy.

Having said that, it is the text of the written articles, which are the substance of the work.

What’s in it?

1 Books of the Bible

Every book has an article. All the basic questions are answered, such as authorship, date and any controversies. Then follows a summary of the text, its events, its teaching.

Under “Romans, Epistle to the” we have “The Leading Themes of the Epistle”:

a The Righteousness of God

b The Goodness of God

c The Sovereignty of God

d The Grace of God

e The Law of God

2 People and Places in the Bible

Every person and place is listed and described. Not only are you informed as to where a place is on the map, but also you can often find out what the place was like, and what else happened there. People are sorted out; one from the other-a short history/summary with biblical references is given for each person.

3 Themes and Words

Concepts both big and small from the Bible are dealt with thoroughly. They range from a helpful article on COURAGE to a more demanding article on ELECTION to a difficult article on PREDESTINATION.

4 Illustrations

Even the ‘plain’ NBD has over 200 maps and diagrams. For instance, the overview diagram of the Old Testament prophets on page 977 is extremely simple, and helps us to place each prophet.

With overhead projection transparencies now being acquired so easily through the photocopier, these aids are invaluable for teaching. (But beware breaching copyright. Ed.)

5 Bibliographies

At the end of each article is a list of recommended books for further reading.

Who’s it for?

The NBD is for the serious student and the studious teacher. It is for anyone who is Self-motivated to learn more about God’s word-the Bible Study Leader, the Youth Fellowship Leader, the Parish Minister, and the Theological College Student.

It is not an easy book to read, but for those with the desire and ability to research the Scriptures for themselves, this New Bible Dictionary is a gold mine.

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