Have you ever wanted to know how to study your Bible? Where do you look for information? What websites can I use? Are there any good programs I can purchase? With all the books out there on how to study your Bible, which ones are the best?
Studying the Bible can be a daunting task if you don’t know how to do it. Before I get into all the cool resources out there, it must be said that the Holy Spirit is the best teacher you could ever get for studying the Scriptures and learning what they actually say.
Personally, I use a whole bunch of different books, Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries and pretty much anything I can get my hands on. If you don’t have internet access at home and don’t have a lot of money to spend, I would recommend setting aside some money to purchase a Strong’s exhaustive concordance of the Bible. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one.
If you don’t know what it is, it is a book that lists every occurrence of a word in the King James Bible and the verse reference. It also assigns a number to each word either in regular format or in italic. The number for the words can then be used to lookup the original language’s word. Example, I want to know where to find the verse that says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. So, I will look for glory. I know that the verse is in the book of Romans, but just don’t remember chapter and verse. Looking in the concordance, I learn that the chapter and verse is Romans 3:23 and the number assigned to this word glory is in italics. It appears as 1391. Now, take that number and find it in the Greek dictionary section at the end of the book. Once you find that number, you will find out how the Greeks looked at the word we use as glory.
From the base of dokeo; glory (as very apparent), in a wide application (literal or figurative, objective or subjective) — dignity, glory(-ious), honour, praise, worship
I would also recommend getting a variety of versions of the Bible. In my personal collection of Bibles, I have the Amplified Bible, the New King James Bible, New Living Translation, The Message, The King James Bible, and The Living Bible. I also have some great study Bibles. Specifically, I have the New Spirit Filled Life Bible, The Jeremiah Study Bible, a Thompson Chain Reference Bible, and a Chronological Bible.
Some versions of Bible translations are better than others as some are watered down and some leave things out and others re-word things to make them easier to understand in today’s culture and therefore, lose their intended meanings. That is for another article, though.
There are a lot of Bibles you can read online as well. The rule of thumb I have is that you should have one main Bible to read from. Find one that you can read and understand easily and have fun reading. I prefer to use the New King James Bible because it is easy for me to understand and I do have fun with it. I don’t use the King James Bible too much for the sake of Bible reading because the language is not practical for me. I don’t speak that way. I do enjoy reading it because of the old feel of it, but I don’t always understand what I’m reading.
What is the difference between just a Bible and a study or reference Bible? Footnotes and margin notes. The earlier Bibles usually did not have any type of study aides in them. It was just pure Bible text. Modern Bibles can be that way today, but most of them now include at least a center margin with references to other related verses.
Study Bibles are as numerous as Bible versions. My favorite one is the New Spirit Filled Life Bible. It is full of a wealth of information and teaching. Nearly every page will contain something to help you understand what you are reading. These are categorized into three topics. Kingdom Dynamics, which include several other subtopics, or themes,
are derived from abounding biblical and experiential evidence that verifies proven biblical principles and values as essential for the dynamic spread and effective advance of the gospel of the kingdom.
Then, there is Word Wealth. There are 550 important words or terms that are covered in this section. The Word Wealth gives detailed, easy-to-understand definitions for the selected words. If one of the 550 words came up in the passage you were reading, you would find in the center column a note as to where you would find the word wealth information for the particular word. The example given in my Bible is in Acts 4:33. The specific word used is power. The Word Wealth box on that page will show the word power, the original Greek word, the Strong’s number, and insight into the original word used and how it was used.
The third thing is the Truth-In-Action section. Simply put, there are numerous places where you would be directed toward a Truth-In-Action section, and you would essentially find ways you could apply the Bible’s truths in your own life.
Before each book of the Bible, there is also an introduction to the book. It will cover the author, or, who is the accepted author of the book, the date it would have been written or the events took place. You would find background for the book, content of the book, personal application, revelations of Christ and how the Spirit would be found working. There is also an outline for the book.
There are also numerous charts and maps to help visualize different key topics, events and places.
Who knew a study Bible would have all that? Some of them do. Some of them don’t have as much information. And the cool thing is that even with all this extra content, the Bible isn’t any bigger than one without!
For those of you who do have internet access at home or at the church office, there are some excellent online sources to use as well as some apps for your electronics. Some are free and others have a cost. I will start with the free ones.
Biblehub – Online Parallel Bible, search and study tools including parallel texts, cross references, Treasury of Scripture, and commentaries www.biblehub.com.
Read and study God’s Word with Bible study software that has in-depth resources such as commentaries, Greek and Hebrew word tools, concordances, and more
Bible Gateway – here you can read the Bible in several different languages and translations. You can also get access to commentaries, devotionals, and reading plans. www.biblegateway.com
Now for the not free one. This program is one that I want to be able to purchase. Maybe for my birthday, my wife might let me get it??? It is called Logos. It does have a “free” option, but it is very limited in what you would gain access to. To purchase the program, you could expect to spend from $300 to $1000.00, depending on what you wanted access to. Click here for more information. Despite the cost, it is well worth it. With the silver package, you get:
- Read the Bible, take notes, search, and highlight
- Consult devotionals and commentaries
- Compare translations and do basic word studies
- Find anything with precision searching
- Explore cultural context in depth
- Do original language exegesis
- Write sermons with smart tools
or choose a payment plan.
That’s about all I have to share with you for today.