I recently did an Instagram live talking about my favorite Bible study tools, and since so many of you had requested the video, I thought it would be fun to summarize everything in a blog post! So, here we go. 🙂
1) Use commentaries
I just finished studying the book of Romans, and it was such a rich book to dig into. But, Romans has some tricky passages–really tricky passages. Like chapters 1, 9, and 11. So, I used commentaries. A lot. And I was able to grasp those difficult verses so much better!
Bible Gateway is my favorite Bible app, because it has an abundance of study resources and commentaries to choose from–for free! I used Matthew Henry’s commentary for Romans, and it was really thorough and easy to understand.
2) Consult books like this one
This book was required for my Hermeneutics class last semester and I fell. In. Love. “Understanding and Applying the Bible” explains the importance of handling God’s Word carefully, and provides every caution, useful tool, and piece of wisdom that you could think of. I especially love it because it goes into depth about Biblical genres, historical settings, and how to interpret “blurry” or seemingly contradictory passages. It’s an excellent tool. You can preview the book by clicking the image. 🙂
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2, NIV).
3) Consult different translations
You may not be comfortable trying other translations, and I totally understand. But I’ve personally benefited so much from exploring other variations. Of course, discernment is important, but there are so many solid translations that can help you understand the full scope of a passage and experience its richness better!
My favorites are the ESV, Amplified Bible, CSB, and the NIV. The NLT really helps me in difficult passages, but I wouldn’t use it as a primary source since it’s more paraphrased.
I found this chart online several months ago, and it really helped me understand the different translations and what I should or shouldn’t read. I hope it’s useful for you too. 🙂
4) Study with an older believer, mentor, or pastor
My dad is a pastor, so he’s definitely my #1 go-to if I need help understanding a verse 😉 But mentors, mature believers, or teachers are such a great, encouraging resource. My brother and I dug into Romans 9 a little bit together last summer, and he helped me so much. Sometimes just picking each other’s brains is all we need to enrich our Bible study. 🙂
5) Find sermons on the passages you’re studying
We are so blessed to have the freedom to download sermons and study God’s Word as we please! Why not take advantage of all the pastors and theologians who are willing to help us dig deeper? Dr. John MacArthur’s app, “Grace to You” is a fantastic resource. He has sermons on just about every book and chapter of the Bible! (almost 😉 )
You can also hop over to this post for more sermon resources.
Go the extra mile:
Take some Bible classes!
I know this may be a total impossibility for some of you, but if you’re able to snatch up a couple courses, I promise they are so worth the time and money. If you’re in high school, you can take college Bible classes for half price (and get dual credit!) here. I took three classes this way, and I reaped so much from them. ❤ If you want to know more, feel free to contact me!
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8, NIV).
I hope this post is helpful to you! I can’t wait to hang out more in future posts. 🙂