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Quality free online Bible study - it is possible


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#1 Ken Gilmore

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 12:25 AM

Jan's recent post prompted me to go through my bookmarks to see whether it is possible to access quality online resources without cost. Once again, if you want to do serious Bible study, then computer Bible study options are fast becoming the only real option, if only because you can have thousands of books and journals on a single computer which would require significantly more storage space than most houses have. Couple that with the speed with which complex searches across multiple volumes can be performed, along with the ability to access external resources via the internet, and it's easy to see why people such as myself regard 'dead tree' media as a thing of the past.

This of course costs money. No avoiding that. For some, even $20-$30 per month on a payment plan may be stretching a tight budget. There are however options available which while not perfect do allow you to access quality resources for only the cost of an internet connection.

Biblia, a web application from Logos Bible Software, not only allows users to access most of their library via a browser interface from any computer, but makes freely available a number of Bibles such as:

* 1881 Westcott-Hort Greek NT
* Elzevir TR
* American Standard Version
* Authorised Version
* English Standard Version
* NET Bible
* NASB 1995
* NIV Reader's Bible
* New Century Version
* RSV
* NRSV
* NIV
* Revised Authorised Version
* Lexham English Bible
* SBL Greek NT with apparatus

Searching is nowhere near the level you get in the main package, but you do get access to the text of the major English language Bibles, as well as the Vulgate and some of the older Greek texts. This alone will save you a considerable amount of money if all you want to do is read the text, and do basic non-morphological searching.

One hidden treasure is the German Bible Society, which offers free access and searching (after free registration) of the NA27 Greek NT, the BHS Hebrew OT, Rahlfs Greek OT and the Vulgate. In addition, you get either the AV or Luther's German Bible. Having free access to the texts of the standard Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible is quite useful if you're literate in these languages, but admittedly this does tend to exclude most casual readers.

Great Treasures allows you not only to read up to five Bibles and Greek texts in parallel, but allows you to search in either English or Greek, select words and get their lexical definitions. The interface is frankly ghastly on small screens (1074x768) but on larger screens, this should not be as large a problem. Once again, free registration is required.

Tyndale House has STEP (Scripture Tools for Every Person) which:


...is designed especially for teachers and preachers who don’t have access to resources such as Tyndale House Library, which specialises in the biblical text, interpretation, languages and biblical historical background and is a leading research institution for Biblical Studies.

The web-based program, which will soon also be downloadable for PCs and Macs, will aid users who lack resources, or who have to rely only on smartphones or outmoded computers.

The project began when STEP director Dr David Instone-Brewer created the Tyndale Toolbar for his own use. It became popular among researchers at Tyndale House and is now used by thousands of people across the globe. The Beta launch of STEP invites users to try out the new tools and give suggestions for improvement.

"STEP represents the most comprehensive yet user friendly tool for Bible Study I have seen in over 35 years of research," said Dr Wesley B. Rose. Tim Bulkeley, a contributor to the project, said "I wish I was just starting to teach in Kinshasa now, with STEP and a smart phone. Students would find learning Hebrew and Greek, to read the Bible directly, so much easier."

Almost a hundred volunteers worldwide have contributed to this work, including 75 who helped to align the ESV, used with the kind permission of Crossway, with the underlying Greek and Hebrew. All their work will now be freely available for other software projects. There are many exciting features in the pipeline for others to get involved with.

STEP can be found here.


If you're after a Greek and Hebrew interlinear Bible, then BibleStudyTools is reasonably useful. Apart from displaying the texts (AV / NASB and Gk/Heb) in parallel, it allows you to click on the words and get lexical definitions, and a breadown of where they occur in the Bible. The Greek lexicon is an eclectic mix of Thayers and others, though it is keyed to Kittel and the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. The Hebrew is based on BDB / Gesenius, and is keyed to the Theological Dictionary of the OT

The Perseus Classics Library is definitely one to add for the sheer variety of texts freely available, coupled with the ability to search them and the availability of the respected Liddle Scott Jones lexicon. The Greek text available is the venerable Westcott-Hort, but given the power of the Perseus Library, the restriction is perhaps forgiveable.

As mentioned before, one thing that you won't be able to get is access to the full text of the major commentaries and reference texts. However, material which can read scholarly-level quality is available. One all-in-one site is Bookmarks in Biblical Studies. Caveat emptor, but remember your investment is restricted solely to your time and the cost of your internet access.

I did say that you can't get access to the full text of major recent commentaries. However, Google has digitised a considerable amount of scholarly books. If you're lucky, up to 70% or more of these books can be found via Google Books. Examples include:

The Lost World of Genesis One
Genesis (Commentary by James McKeown)
Inspiration and Incarnation
New American Commentary: Isaiah 40-66
The Theology of Paul the Apostle - James Dunn

Some theological journals are freely available, though often behind a moving time wall, which means the latest year is not available. Two examples include the Tyndale Journal and Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith.

There are libraries of scholarly journals available - while these are limited to what the scholar running the site has included, given the iniquitous price of journal articles (up to $35 per article if you buy it through the official journal site) anything freely available is always welcome. One good example is Theodore Hildebrandt's site, which has many classic journal articles available.

Finally, don't overlook the value of blogs. While these are not peer-reviewed resources, what you do get here is informed commentary on current issues related to Biblical studies, and that's not to be scorned. It helps to select across the theological spectrum in order to avoid getting one view. Blogs that I constantly refer to include:

Evangelical Textual Criticism
Exploring Our Matrix
Diglotting
Euangelion
Earliest Christianity
Biblical and Early Christian Studies
Chrisendom
Larry Hurtado's Blog
The Naked Bible
Paleojudaica
The ASOR Blog
Ritmeyer Archaeological Design
Higgaion
Paleobabble
Faith and Theology
Peter Enns - Rethinking Biblical Christianity

Again, these are not peer-reviewed articles, but blog posts. However, informal commentary from theologians biblical scholars, archaeologists and other related professionals is of no little use, particularly if you've heard something sensational from the mainstream media (as theologically illiterate as it is scientifically), so they're a good reference if you've heard something which proves/disproves the Bible, or whatever.

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention the single best site for freely-available Christadelphian books which is maintained by John Mannell - Christadelphian Books Online.

Edited by Ken Gilmore, 14 November 2013 - 03:32 AM.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#2 Evangelion

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 01:03 AM

Fantastic thread Ken.

:)
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#3 Ken Gilmore

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 01:15 AM

Thanks. :)
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#4 Jan

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 02:31 AM

That is really great information Ken. It's so helpful to have it all in one thread, thanks for taking the time to do it. :)

#5 Ken Gilmore

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 03:21 AM

That is really great information Ken. It's so helpful to have it all in one thread, thanks for taking the time to do it. :)

Glad to be of use. :)
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#6 Ken Gilmore

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 02:54 AM

Here's a few other links of note:

Best Commentaries. While not a source of free material, it reviews commentaries so that when you are in a position to shell out some serious money, you'll do so knowing what the good, bad and ugly commentaries are.

Tyndale Seminary Reading Rooms. To quote Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, Associate Dean, "These resource pages were designed to help make biblical-theological resources available to those without easy access to a theological library. Most of the Reading Rooms are related to courses offered in Tyndale's Master of Theological Studies Modular Program." The reading rooms cover subjects such as:


Christian Classics Ethereal Library. This is a goldmine of classic texts from the Patristic Fathers to the Reformation and later. You can select between PDF / plain text versions (free) or EPub/Kindle/CD ROM (not free). If you want to read the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Calvin's Commentaries or the Works of Jacob Arminius, then here's where you can do it for nothing.

Internet Archive. You'll be amazed at what's been scanned and dumped here. Examples include Joseph Priestley's scientific and theological works (apart from his work in chemistry, he was also a Unitarian),the Racovian Catechism and some of the prophetic writings of Henry Grattan Guinness

Edited by Ken Gilmore, 03 August 2012 - 06:07 PM.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#7 Jan

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 04:30 PM

I'm finding the information in this thread useful and I wondered whether it could be pinned to prevent it disappearing down the list of topics? I think that other people looking at the forum might find it helpful too.

#8 Hudders

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 05:05 PM

Pinned it for you.

#9 Jan

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 05:14 PM

Thanks :)

#10 Ken Gilmore

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 06:08 PM

Pinned it for you.

Thanks. Should have remembered to do that myself. :)
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#11 Diverse

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:51 PM

Biblos.com is a multilingual site with a wide range of bible versions, original language tools, atlases and dictionaries.

#12 Jan

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 04:43 AM

I've seen this mentioned on other forums and thought it would be worth putting a link in this thread.

Tyndale House in Cambridge have launched a new free Bible study resource.

It's the beta version at the moment - looks very interesting.

It can be found at in (ESV)/0/ESV/NONE/pageSize=50|detail=0|context=0|textPrimaryIncludeAllWords=|textPrimaryIncludeWords=|textPrimaryExactPhrase=|textPrimaryExcludePhrase=|textPrimaryExcludeWords=|textPrimarySimilarSpellings=|textPrimaryWordsStarting=|textPrimaryIncludeRangedWords=|textPrimaryWithinXWords=|textVerseProximity=|textCloseByIncludeAllWords=|textCloseByIncludeWords=|textCloseByExactPhrase=|textCloseBySimilarSpellings=|textCloseByWordsStarting=|textCloseByIncludeRangedWords=|textCloseByWithinXWords=|textRestriction=Gen-Rev|textRestrictionExclude=|searchVersions="]www.StepBible.org

#13 Ken Gilmore

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 01:29 AM

Overview video for STEP:



Slideshow here: http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/STEP/intro/STEP1.htm

Edited by Ken Gilmore, 18 August 2013 - 01:29 AM.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#14 Colliersan

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 02:14 PM

Internet Archive. You'll be amazed at what's been scanned and dumped here. Examples include Joseph Priestley's scientific and theological works (apart from his work in chemistry, he was also a Unitarian),the Racovian Catechism and some of the prophetic writings of Henry Grattan Guinness

 

Related to Internet Archive is its non-profit project Open Library where you can find other books that have been scanned, and while these are far from being eligible for a public domain status, you can borrow them for a 14 day period and read them in a browser you know from Internet Archive or download a pdf or epub copy and use Adobe Digital Editions.

 

I spent some time "book-hunting" this weekend and here are some examples of what can be found there:

 

OLD TESTAMENT

Old Testament Theology - Walter Brueggemann

 

A survey of the Old Testament - Andrew E. Hill, John H. Walton

 

Reading the Old Testament - Lawrence Boadt

 

How to read the Old Testament - Étienne Charpentier [Ed.]

 

Old Testament Exegesis - Douglas K. Stuart

 

Crisis and Story: Introduction to the Old Testament - W. Lee Humphreys

 

Introduction to the Old Testament, from its origins to the closing of the Alexandrian canon - J. Alberto Soggin

 

A History of Israel - John Bright

 

Old Testament Theology in Outline - Walter Zimmerli

 

The Old Testament Roots Of Our Faith - Paul and Elizabeth Achtemeier

 

Wisdom in Israel - Gerhard von Rad

 

Documents from Old Testament times - D. Winton Thomas

 

Understanding the Old Testament - Bernhard W. Anderson

 

The Text of the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Biblia Hebraica - Ernst Würthwein

 

Ancient Orient and Old Testament - K. A. Kitchen

 

The Distinctive Ideas of the Old Testament - Norman H. Snaith

 

The Israelites - B.S.J. Isserlin

 

Families in Ancient Israel - Leo G. Perdue, Joseph Blenkinsopp, John J. Collins, Carol L. Meyers

 

A History of Ancient Israel and Judah - J. Maxwell Miller, John H. Hayes

 

Old Testament History - Charles F. Pfeiffer

 

A Thousand Years and a Day: Our Time in the Old Testament - Clauss Westermann

 

A Survey of Israel's History - Leon Wood

 

Hebrew Man - Ludwig Kohler

 

He That Cometh - Sigmund Mowinckel

 

The Ancient Near East - James B. Pritchard

 

The Bible As It Was - James L. Kugel

 

The History of Ancient Israel - Michael Grant

 

Israel: An Echo of Eternity - Abraham Joshua Heschel

 

NEW TESTAMENT

The New Testament: Proclamation and Parenesis, Myth and History - Robert Ferm, Dennis C. Duling, Norman Perrin

 

From Jesus to Christ: the origins of the New Testament images of Jesus - Paula Fredriksen

 

The New Testament: a student's introduction - Stephen L. Harris

 

Beginning New Testament Study - Bruce Chilton

 

The New Testament in Its Social Environment - John Stambaugh

 

Introduction to the New Testament - Raymond F. Collins

 

Reading the New Testament - Pheme Perkins

 

The interpretation of the New Testament, 1861-1961 - Stephen Neill

 

Interpreting the New Testament - James Price

 

Unity and diversity in the New Testament: an inquiry into the character of earliest Christianity - James D. G. Dunn

 

How to read the New Testament - Étienne Charpentier [Ed.]
 

The New Testament Its History And Message - W. C. van Unnik

 

Introducing the New Testament - Archibald M. Hunter

 

The Theology of St. Luke - Hans Conzelmann

 

The New Testament Documents - F. F. Bruce

 

New Testament History - F. F. Bruce

 

The Moral Teaching of the New Testament - Rudolf Schnackenburg

 

 
Opening the New Testament - Floyd V. Filson
 

PAUL OF TARSUS

Paul: Saint of the Inner City - Joseph Fitzpatrick

 

The Letters of Paul: Conversations in Context - Calvin J. Roetzel

 

The First Christian: A study of St. Paul and Christian Origins - Arthur Powell Davies

 

Paul: His Letters and His Theology - Stanley B. Marrow

 

Theology and Ethics in Paul - Paul Furnish

 

Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free - F. F. Bruce

 

The Pauline Epistles - D. Edmond Hiebert

 

Paul and the Thessalonians - Abraham J. Malherbe

 

Pauline Theology & Mission Practice - Dean S. Gilliland

 

Ministering in the Pauline Churches - Pheme Perkins

 

Paul and his Letters - Leander E. Keck
 
Hard Sayings of Paul - Manfred T. Brauch
 

JESUS AND CHRISTOLOGY

Resurrection: Interpretng the Easter gospel - Rowan Williams

 

The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth - Willi Marxsen

 

 
 
 
Appointment in Jerusalem - Max I. Dimont
 
The Lord - Romano Guardini
 
The Work and Words of Jesus - Archibald M. Hunter
 

HISTORY

When Jesus became God: the epic fight over Christ's divinity in the last days of Rome - Richard E. Rubenstein

 

Heretics: the other side of early Christianity - Gerd Lüdemann

 

Testament: The Bible and History - John Romer

 

From early Judaism to early church - D.S. Russell

 

Documents of the Christian Church - Henry Scowcroft Bettenson

 

The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) - Jaroslav Pelikan

 

The Reformation in Germany - Joseph Lortz

 

The Early Church - Henry Chadwick

 

Reformation and society in sixteenth-century Europe - A. G. Dickens

 

The Early Church - W.H.C. Frend

 

The Protestant Reformation - Henri Daniel-Rops

 

Socinianism in Poland; the social and political ideas of the Polish Anti-trinitarians in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - Stanisław Kot

 

Readings in the History of Christian Theology - William C. Placher

 

Classics of Protestantism - Vergilius Ferm

 

Men and Movements in the Primitive Church - F.F. Bruce 

 

The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls - Arthur Powell Davies

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Luther: His Life and Times - Richard Friedenthal
 
 
 
The Anabaptist view of the Church - Franklin Hamlin Littell
 
 
 
From ancient Israel to modern Judaism: Intellect in Quest of Understanding - edited by Jacob Neusner, Ernest S. Frerichs, Nahum M. Sarna
 
v. 1. What is at stake in the Judaic quest for understanding. Judaic learning and the locus of education. Ancient Israel. Formative Christianity. Judaism in the formative age: religion - view vol. 1
 
v. 2. Judaism in the formative age: theology and literature. Judaism in the Middle Ages: the encounter with Christianity, the encounter with Scripture, philosophy, and theology - view vol. 2
 
v. 3. Judaism in the Middle Ages: philosophers. Hasidism, Messianism in Modern Times. The Modern Age: philosophy - view vol. 3
 
v. 4. The modern age: theology, literature, history - view vol. 4
 

MISCELLANEOUS

Evangelical Theology: An Introduction - Karl Barth

 

Existence and Faith: shorter writings of Rudolf Bultmann - Schubert M. Ogden

 

The Systematic Theology of Paul Tillich - Alexander J. McKelway

 

The Cost of Discipleship - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 
The Communion of Saints - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 
I and Thou - Martin Buber
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Cambridge Companion to the Bible - Howard Clark Kee [et al.]
 
 
 
 
 
Sources for the study of Greek Religion - David G. Rice, John E. Stambaugh
 
 
 
Living with Death - Helmut Thielicke
 
Nine Modern Moralists - Paul Ramsey
 
God's Colony In Man's World - George W. Webber
 
 
Salute to a Sufferer - Leslie D. Weatherhead
 
 
 
 
Young People's Method In The Church - Percy R. Hayward; Roy A. Burkhart
 
This is the Church - Anders Nygren
 
 
 
Ultimate Questions - Nathaniel Micklem
 

Edited by Colliersan, 28 December 2013 - 11:48 AM.
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#15 BDW

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 04:13 PM

Wow! That's a good find Colliersan! Will be getting onto a few of those titles.



#16 Evangelion

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 08:45 PM

Great job Colliersan!

:)
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#17 Ken Gilmore

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:13 PM

Excellent. Now I have a list of material for Logos conversion that I can provide to a group I help administer. :)
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#18 Colliersan

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:37 PM

Excellent. Now I have a list of material for Logos conversion that I can provide to a group I help administer. :)

 

Going through their catalogue and working on yet another list of available books published between 1950 and 1990.



#19 Colliersan

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 06:29 AM

^^

 

I have substantially revised and updated the initial list of accessible books.



#20 luke

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 04:45 PM

Wow! Thanks, Colliersan.






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