There are endless number of Bible study tools floating around the internet. Unfortunately, not all of them are equal when it comes to helpfulness or doctrinal soundness. When we all live busy lives full of, well, life, it is important to use our small opportunities in ways that have big impact.
The tools below are all ones I love and use, or recently discovered and can’t wait to dive into! I hope you benefit from the abundance of wisdom and helpfulness these resources have to offer.
I’ve categorized them by how they are utilized: Listen, Read, Watch, and Write.
Help Me Teach The Bible Podcast – Nancy Guthrie and The Gospel Coalition
This has quickly become my favorite podcast of all. This is most certainly not just for teachers and pastors. Nancy Guthrie interviews a wide array of pastors and teachers, and together they discuss the important themes and ways of understanding the books in the Bible. Each episode offers so many helpful tips on what to look for as you read, the context to keep in mind, and the important ways it points to Jesus.
Deep Bible Reading Strategies for the Tired and Busy – Ask Pastor John Podcast, Episode #1141
A short and encouraging talk on the essential practice of studying our bibles and why we do it.
The Top 5 Commentaries on Every Book of the Bible – The Gospel Coalition
Excellent recommendations for commentaries on every level, for every book of the Bible. It might seem like a big commitment to buy a commentary, but I assure you it is a worthy investment. For less than $20 (usually) you have an invaluable resource you will reference for the rest of your life.
Reading the Bible Supernaturally – John Piper
Listening to or reading John Piper never fails to stir my soul and affections for God. This entire book is FREE as a PDF download, and just glancing at the table of contents will convince you that this pastor has much encouragement for you in your pursuit of knowing God better.
Hebrew + Greek Lexicon – BibleHub.com
At the very top of the page select the book, chapter and verse you are interested in knowing more about. If it is Old Testament, the Lexicon will show you the original Hebrew translation, word by word, and you can click the Strong’s Concordance number for each word, to read further about the definition of a word and the other places it is seen in the Bible. This resource works the same way for New Testament scriptures, but for those you will see the original Greek.
This is so incredibly helpful when you are studying the Bible. Seeing the Bible in the original written language helps you pick up clues and themes that are literally lost in translation. Writers of the Bible had astounding literary craft and wit! There is wordplay, irony and so much more to be discovered when you look for it.
The Bible Project – Timothy Mackie and Jonathan Collins
There is a video for every book of the Bible. Each one illustrates, in comic book style, the main themes and historical context of every book of the Bible. They have also done some word studies. This is an incredible resource both for adults and children (kids may only catch bits and pieces, but it’s a great place to start!). This is a relatively new resource so I look forward to seeing what other helpful videos they create. I thank God for the creativity behind this project!
Look At The Book Series (LABS) – Desiring God Ministries (John Piper)
In these videos, pastor John Piper tackles small sections of scripture that are often misunderstood. He explains them well.
Application Grid – 9Marks (Mark Dever)
This is a sermon application grid that Mark Dever created and shared. While most of us aren’t preaching sermons, I still find his categories helpful. The idea is to take the lessons and messages from Scripture, and look at how they apply to different areas of our lives. This can be helpful for getting a fuller view of how God’s Word may be speaking to us or others in multiple areas. An exercise like this can really grow us in thinking deeply about God’s word!
S.O.A.P. Method Worksheet – Dear Crissy
SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. This is a useful worksheet if you want to summarize your work on one page for easy reference. I don’t think a worksheet like this should stand alone as the only type of bible study you do, but it is a nice way of cementing what you’ve studied in your memory.
*Note* The SOAP method calls for observation, but it is also critical that we study and investigate the meaning of a text. We cannot rely solely on our own insight for rightly understanding our Bibles. Investigation strengthens observation. If we do not understand Scripture rightly we will move on to application prematurely, and most likely, err.
Bible Maps App – Yuku
Okay this one isn’t so much about writing as it is tapping with your finger on your phone screen. It is a very easy-to-use app that places a red dot on any location mentioned in scripture. Type in a single place name or view all the places mentioned in one book for an interesting bird’s eye view of the movement occurring in a narrative.
For example, I looked at 1 Samuel (checkout my devotional for this book!) in this app, and it really surprised me to see so many dots clustered together in such a small area. For me it highlighted how constantly David was moving place to place, running from Saul, and also how frequently Israel was being pursued in battle by the Philistines.
Looking for more free resources? Checkout 10 Free Christian Books With Solid Theology.
Also, this is my highlighting, underlining, journaling, margin-writing tool of choice.