Mechanics have tools, doctors have tools, and so do students of the Bible.
If you plan to effectively study the Bible you will eventually want to invest in some of the tools that can help you become a good student. One thing to remember is that all tools contain explanations of people and do not provide the authoritative words of God. Bible study tools should be used as immediate helps and not meant to be the end of your investigation. Do not depend solely on the explanations found in your Bible study tools and never replace the Bible with a Bible study tool.
Bible study tools contain lots of information. You will find helpful introductions to each book of the Bible and outlines that show you how books fit together. Bible study tools will include explanatory notes about the text, doctrine, and Christian living.
If you are serious about Bible study get a good study Bible. A few good ones includes the Life Application Study Bible, The ESV Study Bible and The Apologetics Study Bible. I’ll be reviewing the ESV Study Bible soon. You also want to consider getting a good Bible commentary. For more details on choosing a Bible translation click here.
To begin always interact with the Bible text first before consulting with your tools. It’s important to keep in mind that Bible study tools, (commentaries, dictionaries, study Bibles, encyclopedias, concordances, atlas’ etc.) should not be the final word on any portion of scripture. Remember that you are learning how to study the Bible, not learning how to study commentaries.
Whether you read the Bible in book format, on your cell phone or you would rather listen to it, do not stray away from the Bible. One way to stay on track is to begin a Bible reading plan. You can get a good reading plan from BiblePlan.org free. They have reading plans that will help you read the Bible in a year, read Proverbs in a month, read just the words of Jesus, read just the Psalms or Gospels or read a plan that combines the New Testament and Old Testament. Pick a plan that will help you read the Bible systematically.
Here’s my top 15 “web based” Bible Study Tools.
- The Bible (the actual book)
If you really want to take the study of the Bible a little more serious, I recommend using LOGOS.com. (I wrote a short review here). It’s one of the best if not the best Bible Study Software program that I have ever used. It will cost you some money but then again, this program will definitely take you to the next level in your Bible study. The best part is that you can buy the starter program and keep adding resources as you can plus they have a very nice payment plan.
Keep in mind that a lot of the free “web based” Bible commentaries are in the public domain, (in other words, they were written a very long time ago). Public domain Bible tools are also included in many Bible software packages. Using old (19th-century or earlier) resources for Bible study may present valid insights for interpretation, but they should be used with caution, because of their age, and with awareness and acknowledgment of the original date of publication (rather than the date of the reprint or electronic version).
Learn to be passionate about what you are reading in the Bible. After all, they contain the very words of God. While we are talking about being passionate about the Word of God take a look at this short video interview with John Piper. John is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at http://www.DesiringGod.org He is being asked, “Where and How Did You Learn to Preach?
If you have a good Bible study resource that you would like to share please click on “Comments”
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