Baker Academic

Friday, January 31, 2014

Four Books for Four Stages in Biblical Studies

I can't take credit for this idea. It was suggested to me by a friend (and one who possesses a great deal of wisdom - must be nice). As with most careers, Biblical Studies is a progression of stages. What is helpful advice when you're a grad student may not be the best advice when you are an assistant professor... may not be the best advice when you're preparing for tenure, etc.

I remember receiving a single-page exegetical guide when I was a university sophomore. It was a brilliant checklist for completing a very basic literary-context sensitive, grammatical-critical exegesis of a NT passage. It was so helpful that I used the same guide for several other religious studies classes and did quite well. But as a grad student (actually, only 18 months later), my eyes were opened. What was great advice for me as a sophomore wasn't going to work for me in my grad-level class.

With this in mind, here are four books that target four different stages in the career of a Biblical Scholar:

1. Beginning in Religious Studies:
Margot Northey, Bradford A. Anderson, and Joel N. Lohr, Making Sense in Religious Studies: A Student’s Guide to Research and Writing (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). (Amazon)
2. Graduate work and getting a PhD:
Nijay K. Gupta, Prepare, Succeed, Advance: A Guidebook for Getting a PhD in Biblical Studies and Beyond (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011). (Amazon)
3. Learning to write a lot:
Paul J. Silvia, How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2007). (Amazon)
4. Getting the book deal:
Stanley E. Porter, Inking the Deal: A Guide for Successful Academic Publishing (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2010). (Amazon)
Finally, I can imagine a fifth stage beyond those mentioned here. So I'll throw it out to our readers. Is there a good book that should be added to this list?



  1. There is enthusiasm at my university for Wendy Laura Belcher's 'Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success'. Can anyone provide comparative info about this and Silvia's 'How to write a lot'?

  2. Good man. Your check is in the mail, bro...

  3. A bit cheeky, but... the Bible maybe?