This list of Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, and topical resources are for the novices and scholar alike and can help you choose the right ones for your library.

Click the title above.


The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary is my first choice.

The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible is my second choice.

They are both good encyclopedias AYBD seems to have more topics than ZEB so I look at it first. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) just does not compare to these in usefulness.

Topical resources.

Naves Topical Bible is a thorough topical reference but is kind of dense.

Willmington, H. L. (1987). Willmington’s book of Bible lists (p. 344). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale. Is one I prefer to use. It is not as cluttered as Nave’s and the text helps one to assess if a verse is what they are looking for.

I suggest avoiding The (New) Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Sure they can lead you to cross references of a verse or list verses on a related theme, but there are so many verses that you waste so much time looking at them so see if they help your study. If you go there anyway, set a timer.

Topical resources are good for preparing a topical study. It is also a good way to get up to speed on something you come upon during other studeis. LIke following the rabbit trail and picking up loose ends to see the complete picture of what the Bible is saying.