Starting Your Library: For Those Who Are Interested!

Hey, Sweet Things! I pray this Holy Week finds you full of wonder and meditation over the days of Christ leading up to His death and glorious resurrection. Melissa prayed in staff prayer time yesterday that this week would not just be like every other week. I so deeply Amen that. I don’t say that only to you. I want it to be true of me. We’ll have some posts up later in the week that are oriented to this season of Passion. Until then, something else occurred to me. So much happened last weekend in Little Rock on a heart level that it will have to wait until I can devote substantial time to a post. Several people have contacted the ministry over one of the points I made so, in preparing a resource list for them, I thought it might be helpful to some of you here on the blog, too. I made a challenge to new students of Scripture to start building their personal Bible study library. No matter what our gifts and callings may be, we know from 2 Timothy 3:15-17 that we can’t be equipped for our designated works without a working knowledge of Scripture.

So, where do we even begin? That’s what this post is for. Here are a few staples to start your library and then, Sister, the sky is the limit.


1. A Complete Concordance (like Strong’s).  Find one that corresponds with your translation (Strong’s for KJV, The NIV Exhaustive Concordance, etc.)


2. A good Systematic Theology Book. Here are two great choices:

*Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

*Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson


3.  A good Bible Dictionary – Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary is terrific. There are also many others.


4.   For beginners: Several two (or few) volume sets of Bible Commentaries (My mentor started me on The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament and New Testament Volumes, but there are plenty out there. Your pastor may be able to recommend a set that is most reflective of your church’s approach.)

*You can access many commentaries free of charge online:,, etc.


5.   The 1st multi-volume set of commentaries I’d recommend is The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (12 Volume Set). They are consistently well written, thought provoking and really practical for teachers. You also don’t have to know basics about the original languages to understand them (They give good insights into the original languages and frequent definitions but the authors are not assuming you have a working knowledge of Hebrew or Greek). If you really love that set and want to keep going, the next step I’d take would be the full volume sets of NIVAC (NIV Application Commentary) and NAC (New American Commentary). Want to keep going?? The next step after that (where you’ll more often need some basic knowledge of original languages) is the Word Biblical Commentary series and New International Commentary of the OT/NT series. And it goes on and on, Sweet Thing! And it’s a head spinner and a blast.


6.  A Comparative Study Bible with multiple translations listed side-by-side.

And, then, start saving your money for Bible Software.   Melissa and I have personally used the following programs and would happily recommend them to you:

  • Logos (Beth)
  • Wordsearch (Beth)
  • BibleWorks (Melissa)
  • Accordance (Melissa)


Last thing:

A few of my favorite foundational books about the Bible are:

Baxter’s Explore the Book

Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth

Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible Book by Book


Last Last thing (this is Melissa now):

In terms of selecting commentaries, I highly recommend purchasing and consulting John Glynn’s book Commentary & Reference Survey. Glynn’s book will help you make the most of your money when you purchase commentaries and reference works.   The book is basically one massive biblical studies bibliography and he updates it often.  I think it is already in its tenth edition or something.  When it comes to commentaries, not all volumes in a series are written equally.  In other words, some are better than others and so you may not want to purchase an entire series.  Sometimes you can grab an entire series for a great price but other times it isn’t economical or necessary. Instead, you may want to pick and choose individual volumes within a series and Glynn will help you do just that. Also check out for a similar idea online.  It is an amazing website.  My favorite feature is the “forthcoming commentaries” tab where you can browse through the commentaries that are due to be published over the next few years.  Also, it goes without saying that commentaries, just like every written work, should be read carefully and critically.  If they are read in such a manner, they can be invaluable to one’s study of the Bible.


A very basic beginner’s biblical/theological library might look a little bit like this:

Are we having fun yet??


We sure love you.





296 Responses to “Starting Your Library: For Those Who Are Interested!”

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  1. 151
    Corie says:

    “Shut the front door”!!! I was just thinking and searching everywhere yesterday for exactly what you posted today. It’s as if you were hearing my frustration at myself for not writing those books down this past weekend!! Praise God!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your tools with us!!
    I cannot thank you enough for such an amazing weekend!!
    I love how you have a direct line into knowing exactly what we all needed to hear that weekend. God truly called each and every one of us women there just to hear what you had to say at just the right time, as usual!! OH how I just LOVE that!!!! It happens everytime I do one of your studies!!! God Bless you and you ministries sister!! Your always saying how you love us so I just have to share the love in saying I or we love you too;)!!!

    Thanks again, and God Bless

  2. 152
    Angela H says:

    Kind of funny, because I’ve been studying with you for nine years, I already have a stack just like that! Thank you for sharing every good thing.

  3. 153
    Shelley says:

    Will there be a summer bible study this year?

  4. 154
    Charlotte Skadal says:

    Beth, Melissa and Amanda,

    What a truly blessed Easter gift from you all! I LOVED this post and plan to check my existing library to make sure it’s complete…..and you can bet I’ll get it that way asap!!
    My heart is full with the joy of knowing Jesus, especially on this Easter weekend. I pray that you all have the most blessed Easter ever!

    “Grace and peace be to you” (Romans 1:7)

  5. 155
    MaryBeth says:

    Thank you for this list of great resources!

  6. 156
    April says:

    Yay! We have many of those books already! But you did forget one important thing: more bookshelves!!

  7. 157
    Stefani says:

    Thank you so very much for posting this! One of my favorite questions to ask is “What books do you recommend?” I’ve already printed the post!

    • 157.1
      jill says:

      I am so excited. I am moving into a house that I will finally have room to spread out and get into IT! I needed this list. How wonderful. I wish I could just stay home from work and study all day. YOu are great Beth Moore, 🙂

  8. 158
    Erin D says:

    Ooohhh This is seriously dangerous information for this book-addict gal. I will now be adding a bucket load of material to my Amazon Wish List. Let’s hope “Santa’s” good to me this year!!!!
    For a “Beth Moore-wanna be” (but in my own unique way) – this list is a GOLD MINE!
    Thank you, thank you!
    Erin D, Dover, NH

  9. 159
    janie in shawnee ok says:

    Love the picture and the new ideas!! some are new to me and I surely will be checking them out! Hope all of you LPM have a blessed EASTER! as we celebrate our risen Lord!!

  10. 160
    Genevieve says:

    Thank you for your list. If you don’t mind, I am going to print this out for my Bible study group. We are about to start your Revelation study. Thank you and Happy Easter!

  11. 161
    Deni says:

    Hey Siestas!

    Thanks for the mention of Logos!

    We actually have several of the titles Beth mentioned in the post in Logos form. Then you can easily search all your books at once.

  12. 162
    Joy Nicol says:

    Thank you! This is wonderful! Can you get these for an ipad? 🙂

  13. 163
    Sandy says:

    I’m so excited! I was just starting to feel a longing in the past weeks to go deeper in my studies and didn’t really know where to start. I want to spend more time in the OT too, so I can’t wait to pore over your post a little more to determine which ones to get first and how to attack it! I cannot wait…Thank you so much for giving us all this information. You are precious.

  14. 164
    Michele says:

    Maybe we could have a mini-Camp Logos at the SSMTC2? I’d volunteer to help teach it!
    Or some other type of forum where we help each other learn how to learn.

    • 164.1
      Michele says:

      Like a smaller, informal get-together before or after, because Lord knows we all sure want to hear from Beth during the main event. 🙂

      • Karen says:

        What a good idea. I use my iPad and olive tree software. Maybe we could have a time where we share in small groups the e-tools we all use. I am sure there are things about mine that in could learn better how to use.

  15. 165
    Laura says:

    THANK YOU so much! This list is exactly what I have been looking for! Thank you so very much for taking the time to make these suggestions and I was tickled by the picture of all the books… thank you!

  16. 166
    Stacey C. says:

    Thank you so much Beth for posting this information. I was trying to pay close attention when you were talking about it during the conference. I know that this will help me to understand more of the Bible. I will admit that sometimes I struggle with understanding some of it. Thank you again!

  17. 167
    Heather Smith says:

    Love this post! Thank you so much!!

  18. 168
    Patti says:

    Thank you so much for your posting Beth! I have wanted to go deeper in my study of God’s word and you provided me with some great resources. I just ordered a book called Dictionary of Biblical Images. Have you heard of it? I am now going to go shopping for some titles on your list! Thanks again!!

  19. 169
    Karen says:

    I have also used e-sword ( It is free Bible study software that comes preloaded with KJV, NKJV and Strong’s. You can then download other translations, commentaries, dictionaries, etc (many for free, some have a price). Once you download, you do all your work off-line. It isn’t quite as slick as Logos or some of the others, but it has served me well – even doing research for Master’s level courses. Another online Bible with lots of perks is

    Happy studying!

    • 169.1
      Karen says:

      Sorry – that should be

    • 169.2
      Lori says:

      I,too, use e-sword and LOVE it. The free parts are wonderful and great tools–but you can purchase additional parts (there surely is a more computer-oriented term, but I can’t think of it now) to download, and sometimes they are on sale! (I love a good sale–especially when it involves good books!)

      Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary and Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening are among the free tools avaialable from e-sword.
      Lori from Knoxville, IA

  20. 170
    oops, late again says:

    Whoa Baaaby!
    Glad I wasn’t late on thisssss one.
    thanks y’all for the needed info.

    LifeWay….look out! We Siestas are on our way.

  21. 171
    Michelle says:

    Thank you! I love you girls!

  22. 172
    Pat from Kansas says:

    What a fun post! I love all things related to Bible study. I am blessed to have the Logos program, but am still learning the most efficient and effective ways to use it. My husband got it for me for Christmas two years ago. I can’t say enough about the library it has.
    Thanks for sharing Ms. Beth and Melissa…I think I will check out a few hard copy commentaries you suggested.
    Love you guys at LPM! Can’t wait to hear from you again.

    P.S. Do you think you will ever make it to Kansas for an LPM event? Wichita has a new beautiful arena. We would love to have you close!

  23. 173
    Melissa Danisi says:

    I LOVE this post! The picture is the best part, you two are a crack up! Thanks for admonishing us to love HIM even more with our heart, soul, and MIND!

  24. 174
    Jane says:

    And, this geek sure loves ya’ll, too!

  25. 175
    Janice says:

    What version of the Bible do you use the most? I have noticed you are using the NET Bible for your memory verses. Is that only available as an online Bible or is it an actual hard copy Bible? I cannot find it at the bookstore.

    • 175.1
      Beth says:

      It’s also very much in hard copy. That’s what I have and it includes thousands of scholars’ notes. I memorize out of it (and other less familiar translations) as an added challenge so I won’t just anticipate the verse out of the translation I often use.

  26. 176
    Amanda says:

    Yay! I am soo excited! I can’t believe you posted this list of must haves! I was at the Little Rock LPM, and this is one thing that I felt God was calling me to do, to get my library started, but I did not get the whole list while they were being called out! I was actually gonna try to find the list, and low and behold! Here it is! What an answered prayer! Now I KNOW this is what I need to get to working! Thank you so much!

  27. 177
    Nichole H says:

    Is it possible for this to be an answer to prayer and a bit overwhelming at the same time? Thanks girls!

  28. 178
    Kathleen says:

    Ahhhh, what a blessing to my heart!

  29. 179
    Katie says:

    Yeah…..great information! Thanks. Happy and blessed Holy week to you all!

  30. 180
    moongirl says:

    Yay! So glad you posted this! I have a few of the ones you mentioned, but not most of them. I reference a lot of the free ones online (especially biblegateway and crosswalk) and have QuickVerse (which I’m not in love with) but desire more in-depth info. I’m so glad to have this list so I can add them to my Birthday wish lists over the next few years!!

  31. 181
    RebeccaJoy says:

    When I first started seeking the Lord earnestly and got blessed with a computer,I asked the Lord for a site that would help me study His Word. This site is completely free and is very comprehensive for any study, and can compete with any other study software out there. For a donation of $5.00 you can get a CD of the software for your library. Just thought I’d pass this along to provide yet another avenue of resources.

    Proverbs 10:22
    (22) The blessing of the Lord–it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].

  32. 182
    Nina says:

    The timing of this post is amazing…I had just asked a local mentor for some references to allow me to dig deeper…and then I come home and here’s this post from you! God is amazing – he does provide, he does and always will, take care of us! Thank you and God Bless!

  33. 183
    Sarah Noah says:

    This blog is FABULOUS. Ironically, the very same day I wrote on my own blog ( about the importance of equipping ourselves to study God’s Word on an individual level. It’s hard work that takes diligence and dedication. But we need to be able to decipher error from truth! What a wonderful resource you’ve provided to get us started. Thank you for always encouraging us to do and be our best – lovers of God and lovers of His Scripture!

  34. 184
    Sheryl says:

    I have used Strong’s for years, and still like it. But to me, the Young’s Analytical concordance is by far better. Strong’s takes a word and gives you its usage in a linear chronology, from Gen. thru Rev. and all the foreign words that are translated into that word are all listed together, but differentiated by a different number.
    Young’s will take the english word and break it up into categories based on the foreign word it’s translated from. So, LOVE (in the NT) will have a section for philos, from MT thru Rev. Then a section for eros, from MT thru Rev. Then a section for agape, from MT thru Rev, etc.
    So if a person is doing a word study on the original language, all of them are already separated and categorized for you!

    As for systematic theology, Beth lists 2 good ones. I would give the nod to Erickson over Grudem. I would like to suggest a couple more for those seeking a deeper level of study and/or more conservative scholarship…
    John Gill
    R.C. Sproul is another great source for online commentaries and bible study tools (hence the name)
    The Expositor’s Bible Commentary is one of the BEST!

    Enjoy your studies!

  35. 185
    Annette says:

    Thank you. Love the website @ Best Commentaries.

  36. 186
    Tammy says:

    Thanks for posting those. I did not get them down at the conference.

    I love studying God’s Word! I have a few of those, but definitely could use some of the others.

    I don’t know why, but I was thinking now I can “be a nerd in the Word” (: A nerd in this world is okay with me. I am living for the next life, the eternal one!

  37. 187
    Angie says:

    Thank you so much for the infomation. I love your picture of the book tower. When I saw it, I pictured Melissa running for the book while Beth was blogging and then while Melissa blogged, Beth, with your vibrant energy I saw your happy little body jumping for joy as you ran for the last one. 😉 Thank you both and have a wonderful Easter!!! In Him always

  38. 188
    Karen Ward says:

    Wow…that’s a big stack of books and I’m a little afraid!! LOL…I would love for you to come to Chattanooga, TN. I follow the blog of a girl who saw you in Little Rock and she just gave an awesome word regarding “so that”.

  39. 189
    Gail says:

    I love this! I’m always so intimidated by all the different study books, and feel I’m in way over my head, but it’s so great to have something that you know a friend recommends! So, I’m printing off my list! Some I have, but most I don’t. This is going to be a great resource! Thank you!

  40. 190
    Lora from Florissant says:

    The recommendations are much appreciated!! You’re certainly equipping a mighty army of Siestas. This is my first year with the scripture memorization and wow, what a difference it makes. I’m on a break here at Curves looking out of a huge picture window at the glorious Pikes Peak and saying my scriptures out loud. Thanks for all of your sharing:)

  41. 191

    I love Easter. I love to prepare for the holiday with my family and I often find myself thinking about all that Jesus did for me and my heart swells with love for my precious Savior. He was betrayed. He took the penalty of death. He was beaten. He was mocked. He was crucified. His cloths were divided up. He was insulted with cruel words. He was forsaken. He died. He was buried, but then there was a violent earthquake and angels came from Heaven. Angels rolled back the stone and the angel announced “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified, but He is not here! He is risen, just as He said.”
    May your Easter be filled to overflowing with the glorious love of Christ this holiday. Think about what He’s done for you and let’s praise Him with all our hearts, for He is RISEN, HE IS RISEN INDEED!

  42. 192
    Sharie Simmer says:

    Dearest Beth and Melissa,
    I so love God and how He is at work. You posted this wonderful information on Wednesday. That day I had lunch with a dear friend and we were discussing Bible Study resources and sharing our favorites with each other. THE SAME DAY of your post!!!
    I’m sure He is laughing at me right now as He shakes His head and says with a smile “Oh My dear child”. I love how He speaks to me. Abba.
    Thank you.
    May you all have a very blessed Easter.

  43. 193
    Valerie J. Eades says:

    Love it!!! My stack is really big, but you mentioned some things I don’t have. I don’t know about you, but when I find good sources, my debit card has a tendency to start smoking. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

  44. 194
    Nicole says:

    Printing, now! Thank you, Beth. This is fantastic! It all seems so overwhelming at first, but I’m confident God will guide my steps to get started!

  45. 195
    Charlotte says:

    I was in Little Rock at Living Proof Live last weekend and wrote Beth’s comment about starting a library in my journal. Thanks for this more detailed information. I’m going to begin building a library this summer while I am not teaching and have more time to read and focus on God.

  46. 196
    sandy says:

    “Oh the JOY of this glorious thought…
    My sin, not in part, but the whole, was nailed to the Cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Oh my soul!”

  47. 197
    Tammy says:

    Great post!!! Thank you so much. Love the pic.

  48. 198
    julie says:

    on my way the becoming an official” WORD NERD”;) and absolutely loving it!
    beth, melissa and all you wonderful siestas, thank you so much for all of the books and sites ( i have bookmarked every one) that were mentioned!!

    HE IS RISEN!! and i pray all of you have a blessed resurrection sunday,

    love you all,

  49. 199
    Ola Mae says:

    Thanks SO much for this! I have been looking to create a study library. But when I start seeking what to add I get SO overwhelmed and I give up! I am a list girl and do much better with a list of choices than endless websites of shopping!

    Happy blessed Easter Siestas!
    Much love,

  50. 200
    Jamie Gallagher says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!

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