I keep very few actual “books” for my bible study these days. With the increase of online resources available today, it makes little sense to take up a bunch of space on bookshelves with books that are easily accessible on the web. As web 2.0 resources become more popular (and less expensive), I’ve been selling off my commentary sets and cumbersome volumes on sites like “Craig’s List” to downsize. I believe before I’m 60, I’ll have everything I used to have taking up a small room in my house on a micro sized device similar to a cellphone hybrid.
But some books are just essential which is why books will never totally go out of style. One of those for me is the “New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge” by Thomas Nelson publishers. The “NTSK” as it is known, is a collection of over 600,000 cross references in the bible that has its history drawn from hundreds of years of scholarly studies. Best known in this vein (and available free on most onlines sites) is R.A. Torrey’s version simply known as the “Treasury of Scripture Knowledge”. That version dates back to the middle 19th century and for years, was on the one I used for my studies. Alas, my book finally died from years of use and was falling apart. I elected to get a copy of the updated work but found it hard to find. Most fans of the Treasury still use the older version which can be picked up in most Christian bookstores for about $15. This newer work added new references, improved the typeset (vital for my bad eyes!), and added a symbol system to help track references. Luckily, I found a used copy online at a store in Arkansas and within a week, I had my book!
Why do I love this book? And why do I like it in print form? Call it my own preference here but I enjoy tuning out tech from time to time and for me, the initial stages of message development involve spending time thinking through God’s word and researching what I want to say. The NTSK gives you wonderful references that you can annotate, write notes about, and personalize to make the book your own. With this book and my bible, I can prepare studies, sermons, and develop all types of ideas before ever opening a commentary. I just don’t get that sense of depth when I’m searching it online. By the time I’m online, I’m usually in the “manuscript” phase of my sermon development and have begun consulting the commentaries of which my favorites ARE available online so I use those extensively.
Few books are worth lugging around to your studies but this is one of them. If you’ve never used the TSK or the NTSK, you ought to at least look at them and give them a shot. Until I did, I never thought I’d have use for such a monster of a book but this one is well worth the effort!
Since purchasing this book, I’ve noticed Thomas Nelson has published a newer work by the same editor, Jerome Smith, under the title “Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible”. I’m assuming its the same book under a different title since some fans of the old TSK didn’t want to switch to Smith’s update so the title itself was put to rest (explaining why I had trouble finding it anywhere!). In either case, pick up a copy and see for yourself if this isn’t one of the best tools you’ll ever use for your bible studies or sermon preparation.