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One of the World's Best Bibles:
And Some Books to Help You Read, Interpret, Understand and, Yes, Even Enjoy it

If you are interested in deepening your faith, nothing is more important than having a great Bible and the tools to explore it. "The New Oxford Annotated Bible" is among the best and the companion books reviewed here will give you all you need to become fully competent in reading, understanding and even enjoying it. Why go it alone in your spiritual journey when these great books can become your trusted companions?

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The New Oxford Annotated Bible
The most important part of any Christian's library is a good Bible. This is one of the best. It features introductory essays by world class scholars; excellent footnotes and maps. Whether you are reading alone or joining a study group, you'll be amazed how much this volume helps. The team that put this Bible together is absolutely first rate. A great gift. I use it every day. To read the NOEB now ...
HarperCollins Bible Dictionary
When you come across a word you don't understand, or you want to learn more about a character, place, or term you encounter while reading, you will need a good Bible dictionary. This one by Harper Collins features contributions by nearly 200 leading scholars, hundreds of photographs, scores of maps, drawings, diagrams and tables. A biblical education in one volume.
HarperCollins Bible Commentary
Should you want to deepen your understanding even further, a Bible commentary is a must. There are several multi-volume sets (see #10 below, for example), but if you are just getting started, a one volume commentary such as this one will provide lots of illumination as you explore familiar as well as unfamiliar terrain.
Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels
Matthew, Mark and Luke, the earliest and most similar gospels, printed side by side so that you can easily see similarities and differences between and among all three. Very helpful in giving readers of the New Testament a sense of what these books are all about. Every serious student of the Bible should own this book.
An Introduction to the New Testament
Raymond E. Brown was one of the outstanding Biblical scholars of the 20th century. A Roman Catholic, Brown taught at a Protestant Seminary. His writing is always fair minded, thorough, clear and insightful; he was faithful to tradition while advancing the horizons of understanding. You won't go wrong with this or any other book by Father Brown.
Birth of the Messiah
Another major work from Raymond E. Brown, focusing on the birth narratives of the gospels. Buy this for yourself, or for a loved one at Christmas and make the holiday one of substance, not just tin and tinsel.
Reading the Bible Again For the First Time
Marcus Borg is a member of the controversial Jesus Seminar, and a dedicated New Testament scholar who addresses the concerns of those who have questions about their faith. If you've got an inquiring mind and have not yet found the Bible interesting or engaging, this may be the way to discover why so many have found the Bible so valuable for nearly two millennium.
Liberating the Gospels : Reading the Bible With Jewish Eyes
John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop, will either make you angry or excited, but never bored. Here he liberates the Gospels from literalism and addresses the basic question of why these accounts of the life of Christ were committed to writing in the first place.
When Jesus Became God
Not just about the Bible, this book takes you into the early church as its leaders debated who and what Jesus really was. That debate, illuminated here by Richard Rubenstein, shaped the course of Christianity for years to come.
Genesis: A New Translation With Commentary
If you want to go all out, the "Anchor Bible Commentary" is a massive collection covering the entire Bible, one book at a time. Few will want or need all the volumes in the series, but start with this one exploring the first book of the Bible, and then move along to volumes on the books you are most interested in exploring in greater depth. It you make it through the Bible in this way, you are ready for an advanced degree! First rate.


Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and Executive Director of
  CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).  
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here.
God and Science (Hypertext Edition, 2005).
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion:
Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).

Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.  

For more information about Charles Henderson.