I was a sophomore in college when I first learned that there were actual methods and tools for studying the Bible. Before then, Bible “study” meant reading a few verses and saying a quick prayer. Nothing wrong with that, mind you. But over the years I’ve gathered resources that help me deepen my understanding of God’s Word. These are some of my favorites:
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Questions to ask after reading a passage from the Bible:
- What does it say?
- What does it mean?
- What does it mean to me?
- What does this passage tell me about the character of God the Father?
- What does this passage tell me about Jesus?
- What does this passage tell me about the Holy Spirit?
- Who is the original audience for this passage?
- What do I know about the cultural and historical background for this passage?
- Are there literary patterns evident in this passage of scripture?
- Does this passage point to other scriptures? Is this passage cross-referenced anywhere else?
UPDATE: I wanted to give you something tangible that you could print and keep in your Bible. So I created a bookmark for you with the questions from above. There are four bookmarks to a page so you’ll have a few extras to give to a friend!
Just click the image to the left for an immediate PDF download. Love ya.
Print. Share. Study.
www.biblegateway.com – useful for reading large passages of scripture in different translations
www.biblehub.com – useful for comparing parallel translations of the same verse at once, and for researching the original meaning of the Greek or Hebrew of a particular word.
www.bible.com – app for mobile devices, useful for reading the Bible on the go. Try the audio versions to listen to scripture as you go about your day, or try one of the many reading plans they offer.
www.blueletterbible.org – useful for in-depth study of the Bible, with access to cross-references, commentaries, and dictionaries.
The Bible Project – an organization committed to making the Biblical story accessible to everyone. They produce creatively animated videos that explore the Bible as a unified story, always pointing to Jesus. Definitely check out their videos, but also take a look at their study notes and other resources here.
Books & Things
Essential Atlas of the Bible, by Carl Rassmussen
Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, by Chad Brand and Eric Mitchell
The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by James Strong
The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary, edited by Gary M. Burge and Andrew E. Hill
The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook, edited by J. Daniel Hays and J. Scott Duvall
The BE Series Commentary Bundle, by Warren Wiersbe (Kindle version…individual paperbacks also available)
Life is Beautiful in Jesus Scripture Memory Cards, from DaySpring
NIV Journal the Word Bible, Zondervan
Verses to Pray Over As You Study the Bible
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
Proverbs 2:1-5 – My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God.
Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.
James 1:5 – Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
I’ll update this post as I find more resources that you might enjoy. But if you’ve got one that I didn’t mention, post it in the comments below for future readers to see. Learn something new about God’s Word today!