As teachers of the Word, one of our primary tasks is to gather the whole counsel of the Word on the topic at hand. For example, "What does the Bible say about money?" As counselors, we want to be able to give students answers to questions, not just from our personal experience, but from God�s Word. For example "Is it okay to date a non-Christian?"
Where can we find the relevant Scriptures?
1) From recollections of your personal devotional reading. A systematic plan of regularly reading through the entire Bible will give you a basic store of information which will pay rich dividends the rest of your life. Underline key thoughts and write in those margins.
2) From a Concordance. Some Bibles have a small concordance in the back. An "exhaustive" concordance like Strong�s gives you every verse in the entire Bible where the word is found. (Yes, even the words "the" and "and"!) Make sure to look under synonyms! (e.g., money/ materialism/ possessions/ greed/ covetousness/wealth) Strongs also gives brief definitions, different ways that the word is translated in the Bible, and gives you a number for the word that can be used with other reference tools. Another use for Strong�s: When you remember part of a verse but can�t remember where it is found, look up the word and track it down. Note: Strong�s comes in either King James or The New American Standard version. I prefer Strong�s over Young�s Concordance. You can do a similar search online at www.biblegateway.com.
3) From a Topical Bible. This valuable tool takes a topic like "money" or "materialism" and lists tons of verses that talk about the topic. Remember, the concordance just showed you where the words like "materialism" and "money" appeared. But lots of other passages may talk about these subjects without mentioning those words. That�s where the topical bible comes to your aid. Billy Graham called this book his most valuable tool. I�ve always used the Nave�s Topical Bible. You can now get the NIV Nave�s Topical Bible or the NIV Topical Analysis of the Bible. You can also access it online at http://www.biblegateway.com/tools/.
4) From your Bible's cross reference system. A good Study Bible lists cross references beside each verse. Once you find one verse related to the subject, search the cross references to find others.
5) From a more extensive cross reference system. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge gives extensive cross references phrase by phrase through the Bible. Find it online at http://www.studylight.org/con/tsk/.
6) >From Bible Study Software and Bible Study Web Sites.
7) From books on the topic, commentaries on relevant passages, and word study tools.
8)>From Christian friends and Christian leaders.
ON PURCHASING REFERENCE BOOKS AND LARGE SETS
Going to your local Christian bookstore offers you the advantage of actually looking at the books. Especially if you need it immediately and they�ve got it in stock, this is your best bet. Ordering through a store like Christian Book Distributors sometimes gives you substantial savings on larger sets and with specials. You can order from your home, either by catalog, by phone, or on line. But as you can see below, the local Christian bookstore beat CBD�s price on both of these tools. You can always check Amazon.com for used books. Here�s the comparison:
CBD is at http//www.christianbook.com