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Posts 47
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Jan 10 2015 10:19 AM

Hello all, I am sorry if this has been addressed somewhere else.  I am curious what is the opinion of some more advanced students regarding a list of "must have" resources. 

I am not schooled in languages, so depend heavily on resources for that.  Along those lines, I am beginning to learn that there are different resources needed to do just that, lexicons are not enough.  I found today there is a "Grammar" companion to that led me to wonder what resources do I need to get if I dont have them.  Then a side, related question is how do I use them?

Fire away folks... I am ready to listen and learn.


Posts 713
Steve Maling | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 10 2015 12:28 PM

Here is a great resource, in Logos, that takes one by the hand and leads one through a tour of the tool shed.

Posts 47
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 3:21 AM

I was hoping for some opinions and comments that will not require me to purchase something to find out about what I may need to purchase...Thanks for letting me know about this resource.

One example of what I am looking at is how much different is Holladay (CHALOT) than HALOT?

Do I have the best Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Lexicons, Wordbooks, Grammars, Commentaries, etc...


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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 4:53 AM

Hi Michael,

Welcome to the forums. 

Regarding your desire for a list of "best" resources, there are some great resources that might be considered the "best", depending on the user's ability to get the best out of them. Take HALOT for example. It is the standard scholarly Hebrew lexicon. CHALOT is an abbreviated version for those that do not require the extensive research provided by HALOT. For me, not being a scholar or proficient at Hebrew, HALOT would be difficult to take full advantage of. Now if I was planning on becoming proficient in Hebrew, then the investment would be a good one. BDAG is the standard for Greek scholarship. For those not proficient in the original languages they can be overwhelming. I have BDAG, but also enjoy the DBL series included in many packages as well as the Complete Wordstudy Series by Zodhiates. Mounce has a similar wordbook that is solid for those not proficient at Greek or Hebrew. You need to decide if best is best for you at this time.

Commentaries come in many flavors: technical, critical, homiletical, devotional etc. What do you need best for your studies? A great technical commentary is the NICNT and NICOT. Critical would be the Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries. A more intermediate conservative commentary would be the New American Commentaries. These have some of the technical aspects, but the original language use it transliterated and translated Of the homiletical or expository commentaries I like Preaching the Word and The Expository Commentaries by Warren Wiersbe. Devotional commentaries I like Focus on the Bible and Opening Up series.

The "best" bible dictionaries are those from IVP and Anchor Bible Dictionary. Many others are very useful if you do not require "scholar" grade research. Most base packages come with some very solid bible dictionaries, but those two series are deemed the best.

A Greek or Hebrew grammar is a tool used to learn and research how those languages work. They come in beginner, intermediate and advanced forms. For beginners you have Kairos Beginning Greek Grammar and one by Bill Mounce; intermediate you have Beyond the Basics by Wallace; advanced grammars would be Greek Grammar of the New Testament by Funk.

What I have provided above is a brief summary. I suggest you go to and review the information provided not only on commentaries, but lexicons, grammars, theological resources as well. If you have opportunity, go to Amazon and "look inside" a few of the resources to see if the material is something useful to you. My personal philosophy is to stretch myself and purchase some resources that I will need to struggle a bit to use. It has helped me grow in my biblical studies.

I suggest developing a plan and take your time to build a useful and used library. 

Just so you know, there are many opinions as to what are the best, and mine are just that. Others from a more liturgical background will have favorites that I may not have included.

All the best in your pursuits.

Posts 157
Sam Henderson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 5:13 AM

Learn the language: Greek or Hebrew or both. It's a fantasy to think that any lexicon or grammar can make up for an ignorance of the basics of the original language of the text you are trying to interpret. All that's left is to rely on and trust the translation/exegesis of those who have learnt it on your behalf.

Posts 713
Steve Maling | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 7:30 AM

John Fidel, thank you for taking the time to share your good advice with Michael S. with care and grace.

Posts 713
Steve Maling | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 7:32 AM

Sam, I could not agree more heartily. I think you're right on, but am careful to add "IMHO".Smile

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 11:34 AM

Just curious, where do WBC and EEC fall in your evaluation?

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 11

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 12:12 PM

The  Word Bible Commentaries are technical commentaries that use a format that is consistent throughout all volumes: an extensive bibliography, the authors translation, notes, form/structure, comment and explanation. I personally like the format, but some people do not. The format may be consistent, but the set is not nearly as even. The good news is that there are some very excellent volumes such as Genesis and the volumes on the Prophets in the OT, Galatians and the Pastorals in the NT. I do not have EEC, so I cannot comment.

Posts 3106
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 12:39 PM

Michael S.:
I was hoping for some opinions and comments that will not require me to purchase something to find out about what I may need to purchase

Funny. With Logos, you even have to purchase the instructions to tell you how to use it. (See my sig for details.)

But back to your original request; Qualifying (i.e., "the best...") is very difficult from on user to the next, especially with only general information about you. We don't know what dictionaries, lexicons, etc. you have, so it is impossible to say if you have the 'best'. Can you be more specific about what kind of information you are wanting? Some info on your preferred worldview would be essential for recommending commentaries, for example.

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

Posts 47
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 1:33 PM

Thanks John,

that was very helpful.

Posts 47
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 1:56 PM


that is good questions, and I can understand your thought process on that. I am a Southern Baptist, and I am Reformed in my theology.  Theology I am familiar with, Greek and Hebrew and study resources am still a novice.  I own the Starter Baptist v6, Reformed Platinum in v5, and Silver in v4, Scholar's v.3(I think v3...) and some weird Scholars RE or something like that Libronix.  I have some added resources like "Learn to use Greek and Hebrew"- which is why I bought BDAG and Holladay, as it was recommended in the videos.  I purchased Morris Proctor's CampLogos videos 1 and 2.  I have purchased the Tyndale commentary set, Boice's commentaries, Joel Beeke's set, Kent Hughes' set, ESV Study Bible notes, Carson and Beale's Commentary on the NT use of the Old, and Grudem's Systematic Theology.

The Camp Logos sets have helped understand some of the nuts and bolts of Logos, but it has been some videos by Mark Barnes that has helped most I think.  I am about to rewatch the "Learn to use Greek and Hebrew", so maybe I am at a place better to understand them.  I am still a little fuzzy on the difference in both function and purpose of Grammars and Lexicons and Dictionaries... When do you use each?  why would you use one over the other?  Is there an order to use them?  All are questions out of unfamiliarity.  I have used BDAG and Louw-Nida and Strongs while doing some word studies, but where do the others come in?  Maybe I am just confusing myself.  As the only Biblical language knowledge I have has been what I have picked up and stumbled on myself.  I am horrible with English grammar, so very inadequate with Biblical Languages on this matter- so the dependence on good resources.

The other impetus to my question is where to invest future monies with Logos- I really don't want anymore nonversified books in my library, and that is what you get a lot of with base packages.  So I thought maybe I should start putting money towards resources that I lack.  I would be happy to tell you specifically what I have in my Library if you want to know to see if you think I have a good spread, or if I lack an area.

Thank you all so much for helping.


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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 13 2015 5:41 PM

Hi Michael,

You are well on your way to getting the most out of Logos 6. You have some good resources already!

I will let Doc answer your questions and follow up on his post with you. I thought that a summary of using Greek Grammars from "Interpreting the Epistle to the Hebrews" might shed some light on their use. It helped open my eyes as to how to use the more advanced grammars. BTW, the best way to access grammars if you are studying a particular passage is through the Exegetical Guide. It has a section which will link to grammars that have any reference to the pericope you are studying.

There are a few resources that are helpful in getting us up to speed on grammar. Years ago I bought a book (Paper) on English Grammar and Style. It refreshed and expanded my knowledge of English grammar. This in turn helped me with original language grammar and terminology. Persistence was the key for me and still is. Here is a book that I would have bought if I did not invest the time years ago:

Using Greek Grammars

The size, depth, technical vocabulary, and academic look of Greek grammars sometimes puts off pastors and teachers who have no inclination to become professors of NT at Bigtime U. But to think of these valuable resources in this way is to give up on books that can be a great source of life and joy to your ministry. Even scholars don’t regard them as something to be mastered, but rather as reference tools to be used in small bits to look up specific things. I learned this the hard way.

During the period when I was contemplating doing a Ph.D., I had occasion to get to know one of the great NT scholars of this century, Bishop Stephen Neill. He asked me what I was doing to keep up the Greek skills I had learned in graduate school (I was at that time teaching high school). Wanting to impress him, I told him I was working in Herbert Weir Smyth’s Greek Grammar, a famous and standard advanced grammar for classical Greek. It was, I am ashamed to say, a half truth at best. I was really using it only occasionally, certainly much more rarely than I led him to believe.

I will never forget the next words out of his mouth: “You foolish boy! Why waste your time on a massive tome like that? Unless your calling is something other than what you’ve told me (I had told him of my desire to teach the Scriptures to lay people), master the Scriptures using books like Smyth, but don’t spend time mastering Smyth. He put all this stuff down in his book so that we might use it in interpreting texts, not reproduce grammar for its own sake. I, at least, have always only used it when I needed to understand a text.”

I was properly chastened. I was using the book simply and easily as a reference tool with only my seminary knowledge of Greek to guide me, but thinking that the great scholars used grammars a different way, I lied in order to try to impress him, only to find out that he used it exactly as I did! That exchange was an important lesson for me in many ways, but the point for our purposes is clear: there is no other way to use these grammars than as reference tools for looking up grammatical points of interest, and anyone who has had even a year of Greek can use them to great advantage.

Now, how does one use them? First, you need to become familiar with some terminology. It is generally recognized that there are three levels of Greek grammar books: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. To lay out the distinctions in this way, however, is a little misleading. It implies that one begins the study of Greek with a beginning grammar (true), and then proceeds over an unspecified number of years to use intermediate grammars (not true) until finally achieving some height of expertise where one can use the advanced grammar (certainly not true). One does normally begin with a teacher and a beginning grammar, but the categories of “intermediate” and “advanced” grammars are artificial and seem to be only terms of convenience, differentiating grammars that are less comprehensive and less lengthy (intermediate grammars) from ones that are more comprehensive and more lengthy (advanced grammars).

Which of these latter two types you should use depends on what you want to do with a text. Do you need a simple answer to a general question about some form? (Ah, yes, this commentator calls this construction a genitive absolute. What again is a genitive absolute?) Look it up in an intermediate grammar. There will often be a brief definition of the form and several examples. Are you interested in a usage in a particular passage that seems strange to you? (Hmm. Here I am reading Heb. 6:1, and I wonder why μετάνοια [repentance] appears in the genitive case? It looks like it is describing θεμέλιος [foundation], but is it somehow the source of the foundation? What does the author mean here?) Look it up in an advanced grammar. You may well find a discussion of the verse and of your particular problem.

Using reference grammars has always been relatively easy and is even easier now that several books have been put together to help you know where to look for what you want. All the grammatical works we will mention below have both a subject and a Scripture index, so you can use them the way you would any index. But looking through every one of these grammars in hopes of finding a discussion of your particular passage can be time–consuming. Fortunately, two books have been compiled to help you bypass this process, and they can quickly tell you which grammars discuss your passage.

Robert Hanna. A Grammatical Aid to the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983.

Timothy Owings. A Cumulative Index to New Testament Greek Grammars. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983.

Both of these works are arranged in canonical order; you simply look up the verse you are studying to find out which grammars refer to it. There are several minor differences between the two works, but the major difference is in content. Owings’s book indexes more grammars and is comprehensive. As he puts it: “It [the Index] exhaustively includes the indices of eight major advanced and intermediate grammars used in colleges and seminaries today. It is in no way selective.”  But it is simply a list of references to places in the grammars where a verse is mentioned, with no indication of how extensive the discussion in the grammar is. It could be anything from a passing reference to a full discussion, and one has no idea from looking at Owings’s citation which it will be.

Hanna, on the other hand, is much more selective and comments on each reference, giving some indication of the extent of the discussion in the grammar. His index is in no way exhaustive. In fact he has only included what he believes to be the substantive treatments of NT texts in the grammars, so one is trusting the accuracy of Hanna’s judgment. Time and necessity may demand that we sometimes make that choice, but it is something to keep in mind when using this book.

There is another problem with Hanna’s work, though, besides its selectiveness. In his comments on the grammatical explanations of the various authors he has indexed, it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between his comments and those of the authors of the grammars. He admits to rewording some of their comments, but he does have a mechanism for marking his own comments “when a contradiction or question arises.”  Nevertheless, it is essential to look up the discussion in the grammar itself and not just depend on Hanna’s gloss to prove a point. Hanna’s intention of course is to move the reader to the grammars he has indexed anyway, so his method actually supports his purpose nicely.

Posts 47
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 14 2015 3:42 AM


I cannot express my appreciation for your help.  You are answering my questions precisely!  Thank you for the kindred spirit and the help.

Yours in Christ,


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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 14 2015 10:25 AM

Actually the IVP reference series, usually or often on sale, includes those two excellent commentaries and some really good dictionaries.

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