When I was a kid I used to love the Choose Your Own Adventure Books. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, at the end of each chapter you’d get to choose what happened next. Once you made your choice, you’d flip to a specific page where your chosen storyline would continue on. Essentially, you had control over the story. The Bible Study Tools I’m about to share with you are kind of like that.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to Bible Study and/or growing in your relationship with Jesus. Yes, there are best practices, but your spiritual journey can be compared to an athlete with a customized training plan. It depends on where you’re currently at and where you want to go.
7 Proven Bible Study Tools
You may be a beginner and have no clue where to start, or you may be looking to breathe a bit of life into your years of Bible study. No matter where you’re at, the following list will have something for you. If you find this blog helpful, please let us know, and we’ll make sure to create more blogs like it. If I missed anything that you’d recommend, please share that in a comment for others to see!
A Reading Plan
Some people crack open the Bible and just read it from cover to cover. You absolutely can do that, but I’m not sure I would recommend it. The Bible isn’t ordered like a novel where one chapter (or in the Bible’s case, one book) builds on the one before it. Because of that, it can be challenging to find the storyline.
If you want to get the story of the Bible in chronological order, then snag a reading plan that helps you with that.
If you’ve never read the Bible before, and you’re just trying to figure out what the hype is all about I’d recommend starting in the New Testament. Here’s a plan that will help you digest that in smaller bites over the course of a year.
A journal is such a simple, yet effective tool. It allows you to process through what you’ve read and the questions you have. What I’m doing right now is going through our New Testament in a Year Bible Reading Plan with our kids. It’s a five-day/week plan, which we complete during the week. Then, on Saturdays, I reread the text from the week on my own and journal my thoughts.
I’ve never been a journaler, but I’ve really been enjoying the freedom of this process.
A Simple Bible Study Method
If you have a hard time with open-ended journaling, then the following a specific format/method may be for you. It’s like a little guide that helps you know what to write down and how to process through what you read, instead of trying to figure it out on your own.
There are a million acronyms for Bible Study out there, but SOAPS is my current favorite because of its simplicity.
A Study Bible
Every Bible isn’t created equal. There are different translations and different extras included in each one. Because of that, purchasing a Bible can be confusing. If you’re looking for a translation that’s easy to read, I would recommend the NLT. However, the NIV, ESV, and CSB are also great.
But what is a study Bible? Well, Study Bibles* have a ton of extras like notes on verses. If you’re reading something and it gets confusing you can check the study note for an explanation. It’s like having a Bible teacher in your pocket. Study Bibles also explain the background info on each book. They’ll tell you who the author was, why they wrote the book, who they were writing to, and more.
If you’ve never looked up the background info on a book before reading it, this one simple step will help you take your Bible studying to the next level. If that sounds like something you’d be into, then of all the bible study tools listed here, a Study Bible* is the one for you.
A Guided Bible Study
Guides are some of the best Bible study tools because they help you process through the text. Where reading plans or tools like SOAPS are things you do on your own, a guided study includes questions that help you draw out the meaning and application of the section of the Bible you’re reading.
You can find Bible Study guides on websites like ChristianBook.com, LifeWay.com, or TheDailyGraceCo.com, but my all-time favorite guided Bible Studies* are the ones by Life Application Study Bible. The cool thing about these is that in each book includes the text you’ll be studying, the study notes you would get in a Study Bible, and questions to answer as you read through the text.
And the best thing is it’s all packed into a thin little booklet. If a guided Bible Study is your next step, definitely check out the Life Application Bible Studies.*
Blue Letter Bible
The next items I wanted to include were a concordance and a commentary set, but those can get costly and confusing. If you’re wanting to study the meaning of certain words in their original language (like you would with a concordance), or if your Bible Study notes just aren’t cutting it anymore Blue Letter Bible is for you.
I use this site more than any other digital Bible resource. It takes a little getting used to, so plan to take a couple of days to mess around with it.
Side note: the website defaults to the King James Version of the Bible. If that’s your jam, then you’re all set to use the website. If you use a different translation, make sure you change that in the drop-down menu at the top. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time finding what you’re looking for.
The Best of all Bible Study Tools: A Community
All of the Bible Study Tools I’ve shared thus far are great, but they pale in comparison to this – a community. If you’re currently attending a church, the best thing you can do for your spiritual life is get connected into a Bible study or small group. If you’re not sure what your church offers just snag the pastor after service. Your local church is your best resource for spiritual growth.
If you’re not connected at a church (or if you just want some extra encouragement) we want to invite you into our Facebook group. We’re not always offering Bible studies, per se, but we are a group of people focused on living according to Biblical principles, and we’d love to have you!
One last option here in the community category is to study the bible with a friend or two. This is a great option if you’re not connected at a church or if your church doesn’t offer small groups. Just take matters into your own hands and snag a friend.
question: what are your favorite bible study tools? and why?
Because there’s a better way,
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