Our house is packed with thousands of dollars’ worth of books. We have both fiction and non-fiction volumes, but the greater number of books we have are Bible study reference books.
Yes, it’s true that we’ve needed them in our ministries down through the years. But we also take this scripture seriously: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)
There are several reasons why a Christian should know the Bible. I’ll be addressing them in an upcoming blog. But for now, there is no disputing the fact that this is a “must” for Christians.
The good news is that, in today’s technological age, it won’t cost you thousands of dollars to have access to the tools you need for extensive Bible study. You can get them on your computer, your tablet, or your smartphone!
Once you start looking around the internet, you’ll come across many websites that can help you with research and study. But to help get you going, I’ll list three of my favorites. And more good news—they’re all free!
You could fill a library with the number of books available on this site alone. StudyLight claims to be “the largest collection of online Bible study tools and resources…StudyLight has more Bible commentaries, encyclopedias, dictionaries, lexicons and original language tools than any other website on the internet.”
You can research historical writings from before the time of Christ, as well as church and denominational history documents. Pastoral resources include illustration and quotation archives.
This site provides audio shows, topical articles, daily devotionals, and Christian headlines from The Christian Post. If you enjoy getting involved in online discussions, StudyLight also sponsors topical forums.
Designed specifically for Bible reading, this software also has a large number of reading plans and devotionals. YouVersion is a simple Bible app for the computer, tablet, and smartphone. It has 1,092 versions available, and supports 780 languages. It’s a very popular app, with nearly 180 million downloads.
Not only is YouVersion free, it’s ad-free! I have it installed on my computer, my iPad, and my iPhone, so I always have my Bible with me. When writing a sermon or lesson, I can copy and paste from YouVersion into my word processing app. I can highlight sections, bookmark pages, view side-by-side versions (not available on smartphones, and only in landscape mode on tablets), and make notes in the app.
When I’m listening to a sermon, I can follow along in whatever version the preacher is using. If I’m driving, or otherwise physically occupied, I can set it for audio and the app will read to me.
This one stays on all my devices!
This interesting site focuses on two areas: media entertainment reviews and answers to questions that Christians and non-Christians would ask.
The entertainment section includes Christian reviews of movies, TV programs, videos, and eGames. You’ll see professional reviews as well as reader-submitted reviews (which are categorized as “positive,” “neutral,” and “negative”). Though this doesn’t technically fit as a Bible study tool, it is certainly useful for Christian living.
The answers section is great for helping to research difficult questions. Each month they add new questions and answers to the database; this month’s include:
- NOAH’S FLOOD — Where did the worldwide flood waters go?
- YOUNG UNIVERSE, OLD STARS?— How can light get to us from stars which are millions of light-years away in a universe which the Bible indicates is only thousands of years old?
- REINCARNATION— Does the Bible allow for this possibility?
You can search an extensive list of topics to find helpful answers to your questions.
A Note of Caution
Please remember that any of the books, articles, etc. that you read on these websites may contain the doctrinal bias of the author. Be careful that what you read and choose to believe is in agreement with Scripture.
Do you have a favorite online tool for Bible study? We’d love to have you share it with others. You can leave a comment about it below!
This is just one of the ideas your church can hear about at our Teach for Maximum Impact seminar. Learn more about this at www.JimMcLoud.com.
© 2015 by Jim McLoud. All rights reserved.