I am starting a series on what books to buy for various areas of study. I am going to break it down two ways: the list is in order of importance. Second, I realize people are on a budget…maybe you are in school and just getting started and so money is tight. I will point out the ones that are excellent resources at a low price so you could more affordably piece together a decent theological library. Most of these can also be found on Logos. So here we go starting with the best, IMO:
Anchor Bible Dictionary: This is a 6 volume Bible dictionary from the 1990s by some of the very best in biblical scholarship. It is getting a bit dated at this point but still something that you will eventually want to purchase. It runs close to $300.
IVP Dictionaries: These are fantastic. I would say if you buy all of these your need for Anchor Bible Dictionary is greatly diminished. These are also more up to date than ABD but are not as comprehensive in their scope as ABD. I would buy these as needed as you teach various books of the Bible. This series includes:
Dictionary of the Old Testament:
Dictionary of the New Testament:
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible By David Noel Freedman: Freedman is the same man who edited the Anchor Bible Dictionary. If you want a single, stand alone Bible dictionary at a very reasonable cost (less that $15 used) this is the one to get. (deal)
IVP Dictionary of Biblical Imagery: This goes by topic through various symbols in the OT & NT. This is very, very useful when studying anything from the lamb to the vineyard…anything that has symbolic meaning in the entire Bible.
Evangelical Dictionary of Theology By Elwell: This is a standard reference book that you will eventually need when studying biblical theology. Older editions can be purchased very inexpensively and are still quite good.
What Bible dictionaries would you recommend?
It is a dictionary of sorts: The Oxford Companion To The Bible from Oxford Press, edited by Bruce Metzger and Michael D. Coogan, is a valuable tool.