In my research I am often most helped by solid Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, so I keep a good number of them at hand. While the breadth of information packed into a tightly-edited 5-pound dictionary is impressive, trying to manage all the information is a daunting task—unless that information is electronic and searchable. Thankfully electronic reference books are becoming more common thanks to advanced Bible software programs like Logos.
For the past few months I have benefited from two IVP reference bundles in particular:
The Essential IVP Reference Collection Version 3 ($190.00). Works include:
- New Dictionary of Biblical Theology
- New Dictionary of Theology
- The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
- New Bible Commentary
- Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels
- Dictionary of Paul and His Letters
- Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments
- Dictionary of New Testament Background
- IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament
- IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament
- New Bible Dictionary
- … and other smaller volumes
IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament Bundle ($109.95). Works include:
- Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch
- Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books
Anyone familiar with IVP reference works knows these are not ordinary volumes but the fruit of top-tier biblical scholars like D. A. Carson, Desmond Alexander, Graeme Goldsworthy, Sinclair Ferguson, J. I. Packer, Leland Ryken, Tremper Longman, and others. IVP is to be commended for upholding such high standards on their line of reference books.
The books in these two bundles represent 14,000 pages of printed material and cover a broad range of topics: biblical theology, systematic theology, biblical imagery, Jesus and the gospels, Paul, the latter NT letters, important Biblical history and background studies, plus excellent volumes on the Old Testament [note: to date the newest volume the OT series, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (2008), is not yet available electronically]. The bundle also includes my favorite single-volume commentary on the Bible, The New Bible Commentary.
Adding these volumes in my Logos library allows me the freedom to search all the volumes in seconds and easily find cited biblical references (huge benefit!), keywords, and keyword phrases. Rather than surrounding myself with bulky dictionaries, I can take my laptop to the coffee shop and search them exhaustively with nothing more than a few keystrokes.
There are a number of good arguments for the value of electronic Bible software platforms but few are more compelling than the efficiency of sweeping across 14,000 pages of thick reference materials in a few seconds to locate a precious needle of insight in a large encyclopedic haystack. And that is exactly what these additions to my e-library make possible. If you can afford it, the IVP reference bundles are a key addition to any Logos library.