You’ve made the decision to study the Bible, but maybe you’re confused about how to start. While many may argue all you need to study the Bible is a willing heart, a copy of the Bible and a notebook to jot down your thoughts, there are other resources out there to help you on your journey. Let me share with you today a list of 6 tools designed to help you understand the Bible.
Before we go any further, I must admit that the most powerful resource you’ll ever have to help you understand the Bible is the Holy Spirit. Start out each Bible study session with a prayer asking Him to guide you and bring light to the scriptures you are reading. He will prompt you with thoughts and questions and help you understand how to apply what you are reading to your own life. He is the ultimate Bible study partner, so always seek Him first.
Once you’re prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit, it’s time to get to work. Let’s check out these 6 tools to help you understand the Bible.
Study Bibles are designed to give you a better understanding and application of the scriptures. Most have notes in the margins with commentary, references, maps, historical facts and other relevant information useful to Bible study. There are many to choose from with different topics and translations. Some of the most popular versions today are the Life Application Study Bible, MacArthur Study Bible, NLT Study Bible, The Quest Study Bible and The Jeremiah Study Bible. I personally chose The Quest Study Bible because I liked the way the notes are in the outside margins alongside the text instead of at the bottom of the page, but you should do research to find out the one that will work best for you.
Reading the Bible can be difficult if you don’t understand the words and their meaning. A good Bible dictionary will help you understand not only the words, but also the context of people and places referred to in the Bible.
A Bible concordance is an alphabetical list of words used in the Bible with references to the main verses where the words are used. It comes in handy when trying to locate a verse about a particular subject or when you’re doing a word study. While many study Bibles have a concordance in the back, having a separate exhaustive concordance provides with much more detail and information to help in your study. The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is an excellent choice.
A Bible Commentary is exactly what it says, a book containing commentary on the Biblical text. It explains and interprets the scriptures by book, chapter and verse. Commentaries provide a deeper insight and understanding of the Bible and can help clarify questions that may arise in your study. Learn more about the cultural and historical context to enhance your understanding of the scriptures by using a commentary. A great one to try is the Matthew Henry Commentary.
Bible Software Programs
While there are many Bible software programs for purchase out there, Logos Bible Software and Accordance Bible Software are a couple of the most popular ones. These programs allow you to access all the reference tools you need all in one place. If you don’t want to purchase software, I recommend using free online resources like Bible Gateway instead.
A couple of great apps to help you read and study the Bible are The Bible App by YouVersion and The Bible App by Olive Tree. You can use these apps to read the Bible, follow plans, make notes, connect with others and more.
While there are many good apps out there to help you study the Bible, I do advise you do use with caution. Not because the apps are not valuable resources, but because phones are big distractions when it comes to studying the Bible. It’s easy to get distracted by emails, messages and other phone notifications while using a Bible study app. If your Bible study time keeps getting interrupted by these distractions, I suggest you close the app and open the Bible instead.
I’m so glad you’ve made the decision to spend time studying the Bible! It’s a decision you will never regret as you draw closer to God and become more like Him through the study of His word. I hope you’ll find these tools useful in your Bible study journey.