Here are six Bible study tools for your church as you equip them to feast on the Word of God.
By Vickey Banks
“Your words were found, and I ate them. Your words became a delight to me and the joy of my heart, for I bear your name, Lord God of Armies.”Jeremiah 15:16 (CSB)
God’s Word is a smorgasbord to be enjoyed. Unfortunately, most professing believers don’t know how to feed themselves from it.
As Christian leaders, it’s imperative that we not only know the joy of feasting on God’s Word and feeding others with our find but that we faithfully teach others to feed themselves from it. There are life-altering ramifications if we don’t do this. We leave people vulnerable to the false teaching and off-centered philosophies of this world. We hinder the depth of their intimacy with God and withhold a key ingredient to living a full life of faith.
If you’ve been a Christian leader for some time, you may have forgotten how intimidating studying the Bible can be to someone who doesn’t know how to intentionally do so. You may also utilize tools and methods that aren’t readily accessible or that seem too complex to pass on to the everyday church member. In an age saturated with resources, there’s an ever-growing need to be aware of various, relevant tools to help people with a vast array of learning styles, spiritual maturity, and availability. Here are six free, easy-to-use apps and websites for you to share with those you lead (and for you to use as well!).“In an age saturated with resources, there’s an ever-growing need to be aware of relevant tools to help people with a vast array of learning styles, spiritual maturity, and availability.” — VIckey Banks Click To Tweet
Those you minister to may have heard of or even downloaded the YouVersion app on their smartphones or tablets for its free and easily accessible variety of text and audio Bible versions. Yet, they may not know about some of its other helpful features (which can also be found on Bible.com). Two features I find people respond particularly well to include: Bible reading plans and BibleProject and Spoken Gospel videos.
With over 800 Bible reading plans, there’s something for every level of Christian maturity and interest. To access these plans, go to the bottom toolbar and click on “Plans.” From there, find short- and long-term plans on everything from anxiety to reading through the Bible. If you don’t readily see a plan of interest, or to avoid being overwhelmed, use the search feature to type in a topic, length, or type of plan (e.g., “addiction,” “Genesis,” “read through the Bible”). Many plans will give the option of reading in community, which is great for those who are in discipling relationships, want accountability, are especially social, or just enjoy talking about what they’re reading with others and hearing insights from them.
BibleProject and Spoken Gospel videos are collections of brief but visually compelling videos that share important background and overview information on each book of the Bible. Spoken Gospel videos are acted out by human actors (4-6 minutes) and BibleProject videos are well-animated (7-8 minutes). I regularly view BibleProject videos before beginning to read a new book of the Bible. To access these short videos, go to the bottom toolbar and click “More.” Then click “Videos” and scroll to find the book (or topic) you want. These videos are of particular interest to visual learners, younger viewers, and anyone interested in background and context information in a brief, creative format.
2. Blue Letter Bible
This is one of many solid overall Bible apps that are loaded with Bible versions and study tools. On Blue Letter Bible, every verse is automatically linked to tools aiding in its study. When you touch a verse, Blue Letter Bible automatically takes you to pertinent cross-references, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, etc. The Bible Hub is another popular app that works similarly.
3. Best Commentaries
Finding a good commentary for your purposes is overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. This website allows you to search for a single volume or individual book commentary. Its practical and succinct reviews help you quickly determine if a commentary is right for you.
Check their “Resources” tab to find some of the most practical Bible study helps around as well as tools for other spiritual disciplines. The Word Hand tool is pure gold with its combined visual illustration and emphasis on meditation. As a bonus, Navigators offers free downloads for you to print and use with those you’re leading.
Replicate Ministries is designed to help churches multiply disciples. They do this through their website, D-Group (D=Discipleship) plan, and a variety of printed resources. Particularly helpful in processing and applying Scripture is their H.E.A.R. Journal tool. Access it from their toolbar to see how easy it is to use and pass on.
Find a selection of Bible study helps on Lifeway.com including the number one tool for every Bible student’s library—a study Bible. With their book intros, generous footnotes, concordances, Bible land maps, and more, these are great for Bible students of any age and spiritual maturity. Study Bibles are a foundational tool for any Bible student.
God’s Word really is a smorgasbord to be enjoyed. Let us be found faithfully helping others experience the true delight of feeding themselves from it.
Vickey is a Bible teacher, author, and disciple maker who serves as Women’s Ministry Director at Council Road Baptist Church in Oklahoma and as a Lifeway Women’s Ministry Trainer. She has a degree in Interpersonal Communication and is currently pursuing a Master of Biblical Studies.
For permission to republish this article, contact Marissa Postell Sullivan.