Author Archives: Matt Dabbs

Tips for Building Your Own Theological Library

Many of you love to read. That’s partly why you are here. I imagine you probably also like to read about theology, ministry, the Bible, etc…which is also why you are here.

Over the years there have been a few things I have found helpful when making selections of which books to buy for my personal study and for my ministry. Here are some of the best tips I can offer plus a bonus video outlining specific books I would recommend to get started without spending an arm and a leg.

Here we go…

First, take your time. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Study will take years and you can only use so many books at a time. Don’t feel a rush to buy dozens of books at a time.

Second, don’t just look at books from within Churches of Christ. It can be too myopic and some of the best scholarship doesn’t come from within our ranks.

Third, be picky. Buy from the best scholars.

Fourth, don’t buy whole sets with a couple of exceptions. The “For Everyone” series would be an exception. Commentary series have good volumes and bad volumes. No one series has all good volumes.

Fifth, don’t buy from all one author. Don’t buy whole sets by one person (again, For Everyone is the exception). I see the Coffman commentaries on a regular basis. Here is the issue – no one person can be an expert in everything. This limits the quality of the entire work.

Sixth, pay attention to who others recommend. See for some recommendations or ask someone you trust. Feel free to ask in the comments.

Seventh, Bible study is far more than buying commentaries. There are OT and NT intros, Theologies, Historical Background resources, original language resources, English translations, etc.

Eighth, look online for free resources. You will be surprised how much is available free online. Search for things and add pdf in your search and see what comes up. Check out Rob Bradshaw’s work. He has digitized a lot of resources from some of the best scholars in the world, all free!

Ninth, invest in some Bible study software like Logos. It is worth your time and money. Then spend some time learning the system. YouTube is your friend.

Tenth, you need specific recommendations…so here is a start!

Last, give us your best tip in the comments!

A Word to Those Who Feel Stuck

Any time you feel stuck, whether it is personally or congregationally there are a few things you can do. 1 – Confession and repentance. This is a tough one but it is hard to move forward if you are unwilling to take a hard look at how you contribute to the problem. 2 – GiveContinue Reading

Critical Ministry Shift – From Information & Teaching to Skills & Coaching

There is a shift in my ministry philosophy I wish I had figured out years ago. It is a shift from disseminating information through teaching/lecture and the teaching of skills through coaching. This is so obvious it would seem it doesn’t even need to be said and yet it took me to 40 to comeContinue Reading

Positive Contributions By Churches of Christ

With all the negativity flying around out there I challenge you to go to social media and list the positive contributions you see in Churches of Christ to the world and to Christianity as a whole. Here are some of mine: 1 – Our mission. A zeal to take the gospel to the nations. WeContinue Reading

Seeing What You Can’t Yet See to Do What You Can’t Yet Do

I love disc golf. I used to play it every week. Life has gotten busy and now I am down to a few times a year but the sport is one of my favorite things to do. Years back when I was younger and more nimble, I could throw the disc a pretty good distanceContinue Reading

How Healthy Are Ministers? I Ran the Numbers.

As a minister it is important to me to understand the potential ramifications of how ministry affects my health and the health of my family. I ran the numbers on this in 2017 and want to share a few significant findings with you here. I assessed health in multiple areas and then ran correlations andContinue Reading

Why Are We In Decline? What Appears to Be a Math Problem is Actually a Spiritual Problem

Imagine the AAA Widget Company. AAA Widget was started 80 years ago by an energetic team of entrepreneurs. They had a vision and they executed the vision for 50 years with excellence. The problem today is that they haven’t added a new customer in the last 30 years. The only way to add customers isContinue Reading

Kingdom Living in 2020

Welcome to 2020 at Kingdom Living! Whether you have been along for the ride since the beginning or are new to the blog I am thankful you are here. 2019 was the start of several new endeavors for me and that meant less writing here at Kingdom Living. I launched a YouTube channel and aContinue Reading

The Vision Dilemma in the Restoration Movement

When your paradigm is archae-oriented it can be difficult to have vision. We are “restoring the ancient order.” We are “becoming (or have become) the first century church”. Statements like those remind us that our values and priorities are anchored in the past. I appreciate much of that thinking but if we aren’t careful twoContinue Reading

Christmas Grief…when Christmas Isn’t the Hap-Happiest Season of All

Maybe you can relate – December rolls around and there is an underlying feeling of sadness hits. You may not even realize it at first. It creeps up on you and before you know it you are angry or in a fog. If you can relate you are not alone. Many of us experience this.Continue Reading


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