Summer Bible Study Tools

I am writing this post specifically to support my summer Bible study small group, but the resources here can benefit everyone who seeks to explore God’s Word more deeply.

My hope is that you also will share the resources you have found helpful so that we can build a more complete and rich reference here.

Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…

Bibles

I am a logophile, a lover of words, so the specificity of words and language matter greatly to me; they can reveal and sometimes completely change the meaning. That’s why I love to read myriad translations of Biblical texts when I really want to get to the heart of it.

I own an NIV study bible, The Message paraphrase and I just got my copy of the Jesus Bible. The New International Version (NIV) was a revolutionary translation created in the 1970s to make the Bible more accessible and easily understood to modern English speakers for whom the Old English of the King James Version became a stumbling block. For me it is a great starting point that I then love to compare and contrast with Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase known as The Message. Here is a quick example from John 1: 1-5:

NIV Excerpt

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

The Message for Comparison

The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
in readiness for God from day one.
3-5 Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.

Other translations I like include the CEV, NASB and NRSV. The online Bibles, profiled below, make it easy for you to change and compare versions to discover what versions you prefer.

The Jesus Bible, a new NIV-based Bible, was pioneered by some of my favorite Christian voices, Louis Giglio, Ravi Zacharias, Max Lucado, John Piper Randy Alcorn and others,  to help readers understand how the entire Bible, all 66 books, is one story…about Jesus. I’m reading it now, beginning in Genesis, and am excited for the perspective it will offer.

Online Bibles

As much as I love holding a Bible in my hands–and aspire to take notes that can make it a keepsake for future generations–I cannot deny my love for the convenience and ubiquity of online Bibles. There are several out there, but my go-to app is Biblegateway.com.

Here’s why I love it: Looking up passages, choosing translations and reviewing commentary requires just a couple clicks. I’ve also done reading plans on Bible Gateway, like the chronological Bible.

Finally, Bible Gateway is on my phone, so sitting in car line at school I can read. And there is an audio version that supports at least three or four translations, so I listen to the Bible on my walks.

Tools

Blue Letter Bible

Both a phone app and a website, Blue Letter Bible is a great resource for understanding Biblical text. Look up a passage and choose “Tools” to see the root form of the word in Hebrew or Greek, hear it pronounced and get a link to the Strong’s reference, which then takes you to the definition, pronunciation, part of speech, etc.

In my opinion, the most helpful tool here is the “interlinear Concordance,”  which shows where else in the Bible that exact word is used. I’ve gained valuable insights in my own study time using this tool, and you’ll see its findings reflected in many of my blog posts.

Bible Minded

Memorizing scripture is a valuable discipline that weaves God’s word into our hearts and minds. But memorizing is a lot easier when you’re six than sixty, right?

Well, I’ve been using Bible Minded to help me do this successfully. You add the verses you want to memorize, and then you can study them in virtual flashcards (like Quizlet), practice with fill in the blanks or do “choose the next word” quizzes. You can even record audio and play it back for yourself as you rehearse. And then when you think you’ve got the verse committed to memory you can test yourself.

With all of the worldly content online today it’s encouraging to know that technology resources can also serve the Kingdom.

I look forward to expanding this list with apps, websites or other online resources you like!

 

 

 

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