Beyond the use of commentaries, another important area in personal Bible study is the use of lexical tools (dictionaries and word study helps). In many cases these reference works are somewhat more objective than commentaries in dealing with the meanings of words and phrases because they are not always directly tied to the meaning of specific passages, but are attempting to cover the range of meaning across numerous passages.
Unfortunately, though, unless you're using a software program like Logos Bible Software or BibleWorks for PC, or Accordance for the Macintosh, which are capable of using Strong's numbers to link words in an English Bible to entries in a Greek or Hebrew lexicon, it's going to be a little difficult to get access to the best and most up-to-date lexical reference works unless you know some Greek and Hebrew. In addition these "top-tier" works like the Bauer, Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich "Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature" (BDAG) or the "Hebrew-Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT) are very expensive both in printed and in electronic format.
Many Bible students will therefore settle for older and somewhat out-of-date works when it comes to word studies. A good example is Joseph Henry Thayer's Greek-English lexicon (a popular and influential Greek-English dictionary still available in electronic form in a number of Bible software programs). Thayer's work was first published in the late 19th century (1886, revised 1889) and quickly became dated after scholars began to uncover around the end of the 19th century many documents from Egypt that shed light on the meaning of many biblical words.
Two tools contained in the NeXtBible Learning Environment can help the English Bible student with word studies. First are the Strong's number links connected with the words in the King James Version under the "KJV" tab on the main display window. Clicking on one of the Strong's numbers takes you to a summary page for that word, showing the word in Greek or Hebrew and transliterated Greek or Hebrew, pronunciation helps, and a summary including all the different ways that Greek or Hebrew word has been translated in both the NET Bible and the KJV (= AV, "Authorized Version"). In addition there is a summary of all the possible meanings of the Hebrew or Greek word throughout the Old or New Testament, and some other related information and links. Second, if you have a word in the English Bible you want to look up, whether it's a noun, a personal name, or a place name, there is the "Study Dictionary" accessible from the list of linked resources to the left of the Bible text display. Words can be looked up alphabetically using the Index on the Study Dictionary main page. The Study Dictionary in the NeXtBible Learning Environment is actually an electronically-generated composite of multiple sources like Easton's Bible Dictionary, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary, and several others. If the word you look up has an entry in any of these sources it will show up on the search results page.
All the resources of the NeXtBible Learning Environment are available online for free at www.bible.org from the "Study Tools" menu near the top of the home page.