I’m often asked to review material to see if it is adequate, appropriate, or in some way useful for Bible study, either privately or for small groups. In my business, I must know what my church embraces (The Baptist Faith & Message 2000) and to a small extent what I’m willing to defend for use as a resource. As always, the Holy Bible is the only source. Everything else should simply cause us to understand things better.
Here are some helpful guidelines or actions I take. These are by no means exclusive (or exhaustive) and sometimes personal opinion or bias slips in. Mostly, I offer some degree of affirmation on that which is in question. I might have confidence in it, I might suggest using it with caution because it leans a certain way, or I might say run away!
How to choose resources:
- Determine the publisher and the credentials thereof. For more information, go to Who Owns Whom in Publishing.
Some safe: Baker, Barbour, Broadman & Holman (B&H), Eerdsmans, InterVarsity Press (IVP), Moody, NavPress, Revell, Tyndale House.
Some caution: Answers in Genesis, Crossway, David C. Cook, Group Publishing House, Guideposts, LifeWay Christian Resources, Thomas Nelson, Zondervan.
Run away: Reader’s Digest, Harper Collins, MacMillan, Simon & Schuster, most internet sources.
- Investigate the author and credential thereof.
- Discover the statement of faith that is used as a guide.
- Know the version of the Bible that is primarily used in the resource.
Solid interpretations: New American Standard Bible (NASB), New King James Version (NKJV).
- If it’s an internet resource, check links to see with whom/what there is connection.
Watch out for:
- If in doubt, don’t buy it, use it, or recommend it. Ask your pastor or spiritual advisor if you have questions about a resource.