Studying the Bible can be both daunting and richly rewarding. Thankfully, an abundance of excellent Bible study resources is available to assist our efforts. If Bible reading and study interest you, please check out The TouchPoint: Connecting with God through the Bible. In addition, several free and helpful resources are highlighted below.
Below is an excellent diagram to assist in choosing a Bible translation. The versions on the left end of the spectrum are generally more accurate to the original meaning, while those on the right end tend to emphasize readability. The numbers in parentheses represent the estimated grade reading level. The NET Bible, for example, is written for a seventh-grade level and provides a nice balance between accuracy and readability. I recommend finding the translation farthest to the left that you are comfortable reading. You can use an online site such as Bible Gateway to quickly compare a wide variety of translations.
Some people have an unrealistic tendency to think that they need only the Bible and nothing more. Without question, the Holy Spirit is the one who opens our eyes and illuminates God’s Word for us. However, to protect us from wrong beliefs, our subjective understanding of the Scriptures must be built on an understanding of objective truth.
The languages and cultures of the Biblical times differ radically from what most of us know and experience today. Thus, a fuller understanding of truth for us as individuals should be built upon the foundation of the original intent. A few helpful print resources are listed below:
Interlinear Bible – A literal word for word translation of the Bible, often in conjunction with one or more contemporary translations.
Parallel Bible – Contains a number of translations side by side for comparison.
Study Bible – A specific edition of the Bible accompanied by scholarly notes and information provided to benefit the reader. It is important to note that study Bibles often reflect the theological views of their editors. Choose wisely!
Bible Concordance – An alphabetical index of the words used in the Bible, usually numbered, and often compiled for specific translations. An exhaustive concordance will contain all of the words used in the Bible along with links to their original language definitions.
Bible Atlas – Contains the maps and geography of the Bible during various time periods.
Bible Dictionary – Contains a variety of entries concerning people, places, customs, archaeology, and more that are all pertinent to Bible study.
Bible Expository Dictionary – These resources explore the meanings of particular words used in the Scriptures and often their origins.
Bible Encyclopedia – Very similar to a Bible dictionary, with perhaps more information and detail.
Bible Handbook – Provides extensive information about the Bible and its specific books of the Bible.
Bible Commentary – The published form of someone’s (usually a scholar’s) efforts to interpret the Bible. A Bible commentary can cover the entire Bible or just one book. Just as with most study Bibles, commentaries are strongly influenced by personal opinions. Still, they can serve as helpful references to weigh the things we believe God is teaching us.
The internet has its drawbacks, but it also provides opportunities like never before. For centuries, those who were serious about studying the Bible had to purchase an expensive library. Also, many of the resources were difficult to understand due to the scholarly language utilized. Below is a list of online sites that are free and generally user-friendly. The inclusion of a site or program on this list does not apply an endorsement of all of its content. We are simply trying to steer you in the direction of online resources that you may find helpful for Bible study.
Bible.org – This site features the NET Bible—a copyright-friendly version of the Scriptures. The site also contains the Lumina Bible study tool.
Bible Explorer – Free Bible study software with additional resources available for purchase.
Bible Gateway – Bible Gateway contains many online Bible versions (in various languages) as well as reading plans and a few additional resources.
MyStudyBible.com – This online site has several versions of the Bible as well as Bible study resources such as Bible commentaries, dictionaries, etc.
Bibles.net – This site contains online versions of the Bible, various Bible study resources, and an interesting history of the English Bible.
BibleStudyTools.com – This extensive website has 30+ Bible translations as well as many other Bible study resource materials.
Bible Hub – An array of Bible study tools and language resources.
StudyLight.org – A variety of online Bible study tools and resources including some historical writings.
PRECEPT AUSTIN – A variety of online Bible study resources.
YouVersion – In addition to various translations and a vast array of Bible reading plans, this website provides the opportunity to create online community groups.
Bible study software allows the user to download Bible study tools onto a computer. Beginners should take note that the first two on this list are free, with additional resources available for a small fee. The others–most of which are used by pastors and scholars–come in a wide range of prices and with a variety of features.
Bible Study Pro – Free downloadable software for a variety of electronic devices.
E-sword – E-Sword is a free, well-developed downloadable Bible study program that has been around since 2000.
BibleWorks – Utilizes a variety of original language Bible study tools for advanced study.
Logos Bible Software – Bible study software and resources for the “hard-core” user.
WORDsearch and QuickVerse – Bible study software for various levels of study.
PC Study Bible – Bible study software for various levels.
Bible Study Apps
We are hesitant to recommend specific apps because the availability is so fluid. Many of the Bible study websites listed above will provide their own apps. A quick search will reveal many more. Just remember to do a little homework to find apps that are well-vetted and secure.