#044: My Favorite Bible Study Tools + How to Use Them
Today I'm sharing my favorite Bible study tools and how I use them.
A little disclaimer: I believe that these tools are best used if they are complementary to your own Bible study, and not the primary source you use to study the Bible.
Here's what I mean by that: These Bible study tools are written by other people after they have done their due diligence in studying the Word. These people are gifted and wise; their insight and knowledge certainly help us understand the biblical text better. But because they are just like you and me - sinners who are trying to comprehend the mind and heart of God - that is why their insight should not be our only source of gaining biblical knowledge.
Studying the Bible is primarily between you and the Lord; you should begin your studying as such.
So start with you reading the Word over and over again. Think through the text with the Inductive Bible Study Method (if you don't know what this method is, go back to episode 42 here. This method is also what our Bible studies follow; you can check out the studies in the shoppe here.)
Pray before, during and after you read the Word, and let the Spirit guide you as you read; listen to Him. Let Him speak to you.
After you've done your own studying, then use Bible study tools to help you comprehend the Bible even better.
My Top 5 Bible Study Tools (and How to Use Them)
Blue Letter Bible
Blue Letter Bible is a comprehensive site that makes in-depth Bible study easy.
If you've never used Blue Letter Bible before, you might get overwhelmed when you land on their website for the first time.
But, fear not, once you get the hang of it, you'll find that it is an incredible tool that'll help you dig deep into the Bible.
Blue Letter Bible offers so many different resources. To go through all of them would take hours so I'm only going to focus on the features I use the most.
The first one is their interlinear tool. It is a basically a detailed lexicon and study on the words in the Bible. It matches the Scripture to its root words before they were translated into English, whether it is in Greek or Hebrew. It explains the meaning of the root words and how the root words are used in the Bible. It also gives you all the verses that the root words have appeared in.
This is an important tool because it will give us an added layer of understanding when we know how the words were used in the original transcripts and in what contexts the words were used.
You might be wondering: "But isn't our translation accurate? Why do we need to know the root words?"
As a bilingual person, I can tell you that no two languages are exactly the same. For that reason, it is hard to translate one language into another and 100% stick to its original meaning. There are going to be words or expressions that you'll need to study further in order to fully comprehend them. That is why looking at the lexicon is going to deepen your understanding of the Word.
Another tool that I use a lot is the translation comparison tool. Reading how the same verse is worded in another translation of the Bible can help wrap my brain around the verse better.
Blue Letter Bible has a rich library of commentaries written by different theologians and Bible teachers. I read Matthew Henry a lot, which is one of my favorites. I'll touch on that in just a little bit.
So these 3 tools are just a very small tip of what Blue Letter Bible offers. I've learned a lot from what the website. I encourage you to play around on the website and see how it can help you in your own studying of the Word.
PS - To help you navigate through Blue Letter Bible - I will make a video tutorial on how to use the website. Subscribe to Indwelt TV on YouTube here so you don't miss it.
ESV & NIV Study Notes
The Study Bibles are great because the resources are right there to help you. They give you the introductions and outlines to the books of the Bible; they also give you the cross-reference verses, the charts, maps, word studies etc.
NIV Archaeological Study Bible
I love looking at the historical and cultural background of the biblical text because 1) it helps minimize the chances of misinterpretation, and 2) it's just so interesting to me how things used to be, which is why I love my NIV Archaeological Study Bible. It's got maps, pictures and short essays that give me the background information I need to read the Scripture correctly.
Matthew Henry's Commentaries
As I mentioned earlier, I like reading Matthew Henry's commentaries. He commented on every single book of the Bible and you can read the comments right on Blue Letter Bible. His writings are rich and meaty so be warned that it will probably take you awhile to read and that's okay :)
The MacArthur Bible Commentary
Another great commentary was written by John MacArthur. I think it is important to read a variety of commentaries because different members of the body of Christ are gifted differently, they'll have something to offer to the table. So, it's okay to have a favorite, or a go-to, when it comes to Bible commentaries, but don't restrict yourself to just one author. Keep an open mind and you'll be blessed by what other people have to say about the Bible.
So these are my favorite Bible study tools. I use them a lot. They have been so helpful and have taught me so much.
Do you have a favorite Bible study tool you use? I'd love to hear in the comments below!