Posted by: pollyw | May 4, 2018

Six Steps to an Easier Bible Study Time — Using Easy Tools Step 2 of the “I Just Don’t Get It” Series

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Image by Polly Warring

Step 2 of the “I Just Don’t Get It” series — Using easy online tools

And now, for the long-awaited step 2 in this series. You are going to learn about some tools I use to dig into God’s Word. Sometimes, it’s so common to read a passage and not quite understand how it applies to your life, or what it even means. Someone might talk about a passage and you think, “Is that what the Bible really says there?” We are to be like the Bereans and keep our teachers and each other accountable by checking what is said with God’s Word.  To do that, you need to understand God’s Word for yourself. It all starts with talking to God as you read His Word. Ask for His wisdom to help you understand. (Paul talked about the Bereans here in Acts 17:10-12.)

. A good start is to buy a reliable study Bible in a version that you can understand easily. One of my favorite first Bibles was “The Student Bible”. It assumed I didn’t have any background knowledge in theology and was an easy read to find background and context in the notes as I read the Bible. My parents gave me a study Bible when I graduated from college (thanks Mom and Dad!). I loved it. It was full of notes on each verse and gave a thorough background for chapters.

One good thing about the internet — there is no shortage of good Bible tools available. You just need to make sure they are teaching sound doctrine, and not their own agenda. Here are a few free online tools that I like to use.

I love, love, love the website EnduringWord.com by David Gudziak. The online commentary is free (scroll to the bottom of the home page). His commentary is very relatable and full of information. He takes it verse by verse and even includes information from other commentaries. This is my go-to source these days for explanations of difficult passages. I often use it to flesh-out my understanding of common verses and usually learn a new way to look at a familiar passage.

The YouVersion app is a free Bible app that I have enjoyed for quite some time now. They have new content to keep your quiet time fresh and free Bible studies categorized by subject/group. There are videos and text versions to available. Under their “Read the Bible” tab, you can access various Bible versions of a verse you are studying. I like doing that. It usually brings a new perspective into play. I like using the NIV, NAS, NET (it has asterisks you can click for original word explanation), Amplified (expands on words like a thesaurus), and Hawaiian Pidgeon translation (found that one through a youth pastor). Side note: My dad was stationed in Hawaii when he was a young sailor, and some of the Hawaiian phrases made it into our family vocabulary. I was surprised how some of the Hawaiian version sounded slightly familiar in a few places because of Dad. It’s a fun version to read and compare to more familiar Bible passages.

When I first started really learning to apply the Bible, I would hear Beth Moore say, “Now in this passage, when it says “cry”, it doesn’t mean the-tear-trickle-down-the-face cry, it means the all-out-pull-your-hair-and-cry-in-anguish cry.” I wanted to know how to find that out for myself. (I don’t speak Hebrew or Greek.) I asked a friend how I could learn the different words and their original meanings and he showed me how to look it up in the Strong’s Concordance. (Thanks, David!)

Turns out there are free online concordances everywhere. It is kind of neat to find out the context of the passage by looking for how the word was originally viewed in that time. (Here is a page where you can click on the highlighted words to see their original meanings in Greek (NT) or Hebrew (OT)  for Psalm 1). Using a concordance can help you picture the scene more vividly in your mind. You can also end up running around in circles if you get too much into chasing down meanings versus looking at the text as a whole. God wants us to understand and apply His Word as we read it. I might need to do a post on how to use the concordance.

My last tip: Look in the children and youth section of your local Christian bookstore for books about the Bible. They can take big subjects and simplify them for the youth and children.

Phil Vischer, of Veggie Tale fame, has done an amazing job of adding “meat” to children’s ministry by creating a series of videos called, “What’s in the Bible?”. They tackle books like Leviticus with sound doctrine and a really fun variety show format for kids. My children even learned all of the names of the Judges of Israel from one of the songs on the Judges video. (Seriously, when you get done reading this and making a clever comment below, go watch it — these guys are funny.)

Tony Evans, a Dallas preacher who is a regular on the radio, has some books out for kids that would be great for adults (I’ve read them). The one I really like talks about the Names of God and explains each one while giving a way to remember what it means in a kid-friendly way. He has another one on the Armor of God.

Bruce and Stan’s Guide to the Bible is written for adults and is for you right-brained visual folks out there. It really helped me understand the layout of the Bible when I was first learning it. Of course, their sense of humor helped make the whole thing not so intimidating, too.

 

I could talk about this stuff all day, but I better let you get back to what you were doing. Let me know in the comments if you try any of these sites/resources out, or if you have some resources that have helped you. I don’t receive any compensation if you follow these links, I just wanted to make them easy for you to find.

Leave me a comment if you get a chance. I read each and every one!

 

 


Responses

  1. Polly, thanks for some great resources. Looking forward to looking them up. You are a blessing to us.

    Like

  2. Excellent work, Polly. Proud of you.

    Like

  3. You’re amazing!

    Like


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