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Why Do You Read the Bible?

Why do you read the Bible? If you and I had coffee together and I asked you that question, how would you answer?

Why Do Americans Read the Bible?

A 2016 study by the Barna Group shows that about 1/3 of Americans read the Bible at least once a week. The same study also cites why people read the Bible. Here’s a quick rundown of the top answers:

  • Brings me closer to God (55%)
  • To receive comfort (16%)
  • To find direction or an answer to a problem (16%)
  • Because I am supposed to (6%)

Why do I Read the Bible?

As I write this blog, I’m thinking about how I would answer this question. I mean, honestly answer this question. And you know what? I think my answer would depend on the day. Absolutely I want to be closer to God. But, some days I do read it because I know I should. Other days I need some godly direction or an answer for a specific problem. And on tough days, I just need some comfort.

And you know what? I think all those reasons are legitimate. God’s Word does give comfort, offer direction, and have answers for life today. And yes, sometimes we really should read our Bibles when we don’t necessarily want to, because Christian life requires discipline and purpose. We must “train ourselves for godliness”(1 Timothy 4:7-8).

While all those reasons and more are wrapped up in why I read the Bible, there is another reason. One I desire to be my primary reason.

I want God’s Word to shape me. To refine me. To make me more like Jesus.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

And as it does, all those other things will happen too. My intimacy with God will deepen and grow. His constant presence will comfort and guide me.

So, now it’s your turn. Why do you read the Bible? Maybe your current reason isn’t what you’d like it to be. Or maybe you don’t read the Bible regularly now. The best way to create a hunger for God’s Word to simply to begin to read it. Once you get a taste… (Psalm 34:8).

Why do you read the Bible?

If you’d like to begin to read the Bible but you aren’t sure how to get started, check out my free resources page. It is full of helps, including quiet time tips and Bible reading plans! 

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3 Ways to Encourage Others

encourageEarlier this week I got to teach at my church’s ladies’ summer Bible study. It was a bit bittersweet because it was the last time before we move next week. And ironically, the summer Bible study topic is friendship. I admit, a few times I had to hold back tears.

I taught on the friendship of Barnabas and Paul, specifically the way Barnabas encouraged Paul. What I learned from studying their relationship was enlightening and I thought you might get something from it too!

“Barnabas,” which means “son of encouragement,” was a nickname given to Joseph the Levite by the apostles (Acts 4:36-37). You can guess how Barnabas earned this endearing moniker. He was well-known for encouraging others.

Barnabas and Paul’s relationship began with Saul the Persecutor returned to Jerusalem for the first time after his saving encounter with Jesus. He tried to join the believers, but they fearfully rejected him. “But Barnabas…” (Acts 9:27).

3 Ways Barnabas Encouraged Paul

  1. Barnabas Extended Friendship (Acts 9:26-30) – Barnabas did not act foolishly. He listened to Paul’s story and then with spiritual wisdom and discernment he became an advocate for Paul with the Jerusalem church. Barnabas opened the door for Paul into the fellowship of believers.
  2. Barnabas Fostered Paul’s Gifts (Acts 11:22-26) – When the new, thriving church in Antioch needed leadership, Barnabas brought Paul to work alongside him. Barnabas knew the church needed Paul’s gifts and that Paul needed to grow and develop his leadership skills. Barnabas acted as “matchmaker!”
  3. Barnabas helped Paul reach his spiritual potential (Acts 13:1-13) – In the middle of their first missionary journey together, Barnabas recognized God’s call on Paul’s life. Without any signs of jealousy, he humbly stepped back and let Paul take the lead.

3 Ways We can Encourage Others Like Barnabas

After studying Paul and Barnabas’ friendship, I cast a wider net to see what the rest of the New Testament teaches us about encouraging one another. Both the noun and verb forms of the basic Greek word mean “to call to one’s side; to comfort, exhort, encourage, and console.” After reading numerous examples, I condensed them to these 3 specific ways we can encourage other believers.

  1. Comfort the suffering and hurting (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) – When tragedy hits, when troubles rage, our friends need more than our prayers. They also need our presence. They need us to come to their side. To cry with them. To serve and help in practical ways. And they need to share about times God has helped us in similar circumstances.
  2. Strengthen the weary (1 Thessalonians 3:1-3) – Sometimes believers just get tired. There isn’t necessarily any one specific trial, we are just bone tired. Or discouraged by life in general. We need some refreshment. We can encourage each other by helping with the load. By sharing a laugh. By bringing ice cream!
  3. Exhort the spiritually lazy or those tangled in sin (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12) – This is the form of encouragement we lack the most today. We don’t want to “meddle” in others’ lives. We don’t want to “judge.” But all that is merely an excuse to ignore our biblical responsibility to each other. Scripture commands us to call other believers out of sin. To push them toward holiness. And in doing so, we may save them much heartache.

Who needs your encouragement today? Is there someone you know right now that needs an advocate? How can you build a bridge for them into your local fellowship? Is their a weary friend who needs refreshment? What tangible thing can you do today to encourage them? Is there a friend caught in a harmful cycle of sin? How can you bravely intervene? 

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9 Recommended Bible Study Resources

Bible Study ResourcesDo you plan to participate in a Bible study group this fall? Or maybe you are already digging in on your own? However and whenever you study, the following list of Bible study resources will help you get the most of your time in God’s Word. Remember that resources are secondary to discovering what God has for us in His Word. There is no substitute for the Holy Spirit’s teaching!

The list below includes trusted Bible study resources from 9 different categories. Even one or two from each category will be a great start to your Bible study library. Of course some resources, like Bible translations, can be accessed online. (Watch for Thursday’s post about online resources!) Here is the list in a printable PDF for your convenience!

9 Recommended Bible Study Resources

1.Several recent translations of the Bible – Read your passage of study in more than one translation and compare them for greater understanding. Some good ones to try:

  • New International Version
  • New American Standard Bible
  • Amplified Bible
  • English Standard Version
  • New Living Translation

2. Exhaustive Concordance – If you don’t have any other tool, you need to have this index of every word in the Bible. Get one that corresponds to your primary translation. Recommended:

  • The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance

3. Bible Dictionary – Explains many of the words, topics, customs and traditions in the Bible. It also includes historical, geographical, cultural, and archeological information. A few to try:

  • Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
  • Illustrated Bible Dictionary
  • Tyndale Bible Dictionary
  • Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary
  • New International Bible Dictionary

4. Holman Bible Atlas by Thomas Brisco

5. Topical Bible – Similar to a concordance but organizes by topic rather than words:

  • Nave’s Topical Bible
  • Zondervan NIV Nave’s Topical Bible

6. Bible Handbook – Combination of an encyclopedia and commentary in a concise form. It is arranged by Bible book and includes background notes, brief commentary, maps, charts, and more. Look for one of these:

  • Halley’s Bible Handbook
  • Holman Bible Handbook
  • The New Unger’s Bible Handbook

7. Word Studies – Look up the original words and their meanings without knowing Greek or Hebrew. Here are a few resources to try:

  • Mounce’s Compete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words
  • The Complete Word Study New Testament, by Spiros Zodhiates, AMG Publishers
  • The Complete Word Study Old Testament, by Spiros Zodhiates, AMG Publishers

8.  How To Read Your Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart

9. Commentaries – biblical scholars interpret and explain a particular text of the Bible based on their study of the background, language, etc. Keep in mind these are written by humans and are not infallible. But here are some good ones to try:

  • Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney, Tyndale. Provides biblical scholarship and commentary on every passage of the Bible in a user-friendly format (One volume)
  • The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, Craig S. Keener, Intervarsity Press
  • The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, Walton, Matthews & Chavalas, Intervarsity Press
  • The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Zondervan, Set of 12 volumes covers the whole Bible

Do you have a favorite resource you use to supplement your Bible study? I would love for you to share it with us in the comments!


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Are You Disappointed with God?

DisappointedAre you disappointed with God? I know, that’s a loaded question. Even if we feel that way or have felt that way in the past, most of us would hesitate to admit it. After all, God is the omnipotent, omniscient Creator. And we are just, well, us.

But if we are brutally honest with ourselves, most of us have had moments – or perhaps are even there right now – where we felt as though God let us down. That He didn’t meet a need or protect us from pain or act on our behalf.

We’ve been disappointed with God.

I’ve been there.

In fact, during one particularly difficult period of my life, I told a close friend that not only did I feel like God had let me down, but I also felt like He had tricked me. That God had led me to believe He had worked in a certain situation then He pulled the rug out from under my feet.

Have you been there? If you have or if you’re there now, here this:

Our feelings do not always reflect the truth. Our emotions very often deceive us and lead us astray.

Last Sunday, my pastor said something I’ve been mulling over for a week:

“Disappointment with God is almost always a result of bad theology about God.”

If we are hurt or angry or disillusioned with God it’s usually because our understanding of God and His ways don’t align with the truth of who He is. And it can happen so easily.

Maybe we’re still learning about God. Maybe we’ve been taught something wrong about God in the past. Or maybe, our emotions took over and we temporarily forgot the truth we know.

That’s what happened to me. I knew “trickery” was out of character for God. But I allowed my emotions to take over.

Maybe you’ve been in a painful, difficult situation for a long time. Your emotions may tell you that God doesn’t care about you or He would fix things. He would stop your pain.

Yet Scripture clearly teaches us that God cares deeply about each of us. He cares about every detail of our lives. He sees our pain and wants to meet our needs (Matthew 6:25-34). If we knew, really knew deep in our souls that God cares, that He grieves when we grieve, that would change how we felt about God and our situation.

The more we know about God’s character, the more we know about trials and how God uses them in our lives, the less “disappointment” we will experience. Our emotions will catch up to the truth.

If you’re disappointed with God right now, immerse yourself in His truth. Study His character and ways in Scripture. Talk to a godly friend. And keep praying.

Are you disappointed with God? How can God’s truth speak to your emotions?

Related posts you may find helpful: 

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Thankful I was Forced to Unplug

unplugMy phone blasted out a severe thunderstorm and tornado warning at 4:30 yesterday morning. I had been awake a few moments anyway, so I crawled out of bed. Since I knew we might have to “shelter in place,” I quickly took the dogs out to potty, fed them, then made some coffee. First things first.

The wind began to howl so I looked out the front windows. No rain yet, but I could see the trees whipping in the light from our front porch. Then it happened. About the time I took my first sip of java the lights went out. Everywhere.

We keep two battery operated lanterns for times such as this. I grabbed them both from the cabinet in the laundry room and took one to Wayne. He was in the bathroom getting ready for work.

On a usual morning I get up when Wayne heads into the kitchen so we can visit while he has breakfast. He leaves for work about 5:45. That’s when I sit at my desk with my Bible, journal, and coffee. After some time with the Lord – often rushed and never long enough – I open my laptop and get to work. Then some time late morning I get some exercise on the treadmill while I watch the news or something on my iPad.

Yesterday’s routine looked a little different. No electricity meant no internet. No electricity meant only so much battery power on the laptop and phone. No electricity meant no television and no treadmill. So, what was a plugged-in girl to do?

The unwanted unplug was a blessing in disguise

Bible by LanternWithout the ability to turn my attention to email or deadlines or Facebook, I lingered with God’s Word, reading and journaling by lantern light. Without power for the treadmill, I walked through our neighborhood. I purposefully choose not to listen to music or an audio book. Instead I talked to God about some things on my heart and mind.

And I worked to listen.

The power was out for about six hours this morning. When it did return, I was a bit disappointed. I actually felt grateful for the forced time to unplug. God blessed it. And it highlighted how noisy my life has become.

Email. Social media. Online research and study. Instant entertainment. All this “convenience” is deafening. And addicting. I will be totally honest with you. I had some difficult moments in those 6 hours. I tried to do a needed task or two on my phone when I should have simply turned it off too and completely soaked in the silence.

I believe God is asking me to unplug a lot more regularly for the sole purpose of plugging back in with Him. Not sure how often or how long or exactly what that looks like yet. But it’s coming. I’m going to pull the plug!

What about you? Has God been asking you to spend some time unplugged? If so, what will it look like for you?

Regular, quality time with God can be difficult. You may find these posts helpful:


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3 Steps to Help You Choose a New Bible

New BibleTime to choose a new Bible, but overwhelmed with the sheer volume of the choices available? Dozens of translations combined with a myriad of features yields hundreds – if not thousands – of specific Bibles to choose from. Selecting a new Bible can be a daunting task!

Before you throw your hands up in surrender, keep reading. This post will walk you through a simple 3-step process to help you choose the Bible that will best meet your needs.

Since many of you probably already have one or more Bibles, the first step is to determine why you need another Bible and which Bible that should be.

3 Steps to a New Bible!

  1. Determine Your Primary Purpose – How do you intend to use this new Bible? Your purpose will guide the next two steps. Maybe one of the following describes your intended purpose:
  • In-depth study
  • Devotional reading
  • Casual reading/simple enjoyment!

2. Choose the Translation – Unless you read Hebrew and Greek – the original language of the Bible – you must choose from one of the many English translations of the Bible. There are three basic levels or groups of translations. One of these groups will better align with your purpose than the others. Also, it’s always helpful to have more than one translation. You can compare the same passage in different translations for a greater understanding.

  • Word-for-Word (also known as Formal Equivalent) – These translations are the closest to the grammar and syntax of the original language as possible, but they can often sound wooden. Also this kind of translation makes no consideration for cultural changes. This kind of translation is a great choice for in-depth Bible study. (Ex: Amplified, NKJV, NAB, ESV, NASB. Note: NIV falls somewhere between the Formal and Dynamic Equivalent)
  • Thought-for-thought (also known as Dynamic Equivalent) – These translations work to keep the overall original thought rather than attempt a literal word for word translation. Although not as literally as accurate as the Formal Equivalent, they are much easier for 21st century westerners to understand. For instance, Dynamic Equivalent translations change idioms, figures of speech, and measurements into “equivalent” terms that we will understand. This kind of translation is still close enough to the original to be good for Bible study, but it can also be used for devotional reading. (Ex: NLT, CEV)
  • Paraphrase – this translation group departs the furthest from the original language but it provides a fresh reading experience. A paraphrase is more of a big idea-for-big idea translation. This translation group is fine for devotional reading but not a good idea for study. With the paraphrase’s “storytelling” format, it would be great for family devotions with young children. (Ex: The Message)
  1. Select the Features You Want – Ah, there is no end to the possible tools, special editions, and unique features you can get in the different Bible translations. Select the ones that best meet your needs and circumstances. By the way, at you can refine your Bible search by translation and features! Here is a sampling:
  • Study Bible – includes book introductions, character studies, notes, etc.
  • Tabs – helps you quickly find individual books
  • Cross-references – read related passages
  • Concordance – alphabetical index of words and where they are found in the Bible
  • Dictionary – definitions of Bible words and terms
  • Journaling space – empty wide margins on every page gives room to journal or draw
  • Large print – hard time reading tiny print? This may be for you!
  • Maps, charts, timelines – helps you step into Bible times
  • Devotional – will help you meditate on and apply the passages
  • Focus on a select audience like women, students, men, children
  • Parallel translations – shows more than one translation side-by-side

You’re almost there! Choose the translation based on your purpose. Then add in the features you’re most interested in. Congratulations on your new Bible!

What was the last Bible you purchased? Why did you choose that particular one?

Helpful articles and posts:



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God is Eternal. So what?

God is EternalHave you ever studied or mediated on an aspect of God and it totally blew your mind? Last week, in preparation to teach a Bible study class, I dug into the truth that God is eternal. My brain hurt before I was done.

What does it mean that God is “eternal?” Honestly, I can’t fully answer that question because I don’t have the capacity to understand it myself. However, I did learn some things you might find helpful too.

The Bible expresses God’s eternal nature

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible uses words and phrases to express the eternality of God. Here is a sample:

  • Eternal God (Genesis 21:33)
  • Everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2)
  • In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1)
  • Without beginning of days or end of life (Hebrews 7:3)
  • The One who was and is and is to come (Revelation 1:4)
  • Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8)
  • The First and the Last (Revelation 1:17)
  • Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13)
  • I am (used more than 5,000 times in the Old Testament)

“I am” or Yahweh is the name God gave to Moses from the burning bush. It expresses existence. The One who exists. God simply is.

God has no beginning and no end. He is ever-continuing and never ceasing. God’s existence is independent of anything and everything. He is totally self-sufficient. He has everything within Himself and needs nothing.

Our eternal God’s relationship to time

God exists before and outside of time. He is independent of time constraints and considerations. Therefore, God’s experience of time is qualitatively different than ours. A thousand years is like a day and a day like a thousand years to Him. Every moment in time is “present” to God. He is present in every moment of time. God can see all events in time equally vividly, yet He can also act in any moment of time.

Does your brain hurt yet?

As I studied and mediated on these truths, some implications began to come to mind. If God is eternal and exists outside of time, as we know it, then what does that mean for us in this life right now?

Here are a few key things that are applicable to all of us:

  • God has a different perspective than we do and thus a different set of priorities.
  • Though God cares deeply about our temporal, physical circumstances, eternal things are even more important.
  • God’s plans and purposes are already accomplished in eternity even though we may not yet see them realized in history.
  • God is constantly working in our individual lives and history’s stage to fulfill His eternal purposes.

These truths encourage and comfort me! My perspective is so limited compared to God’s. I may see only trials, and struggles, and grief, but I can rest in the fact that God sees the end from the beginning. And I can fully trust Him to be faithful and to work out all these things for my good and for His great glory (Romans 8:28).

Are there shaky or difficult circumstances in your life now? How can the great truth that God is eternal change your perspective?

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11 Tips for Spending Quality Time with God

11 tips quiet timeDid you resolve to spend regular time with God in 2016? We are 3 days into the New Year and you may already be wondering how to stay on track. These tips are for you!

I have posted some version of these quiet time tips for several years now, but it never hurts to review. The post also includes links to helpful tools and resources. Feel free to print what you need and share as much as you’d like!

11 Tips for Spending Regular Quality Time with God

  1. Establish a regular place and time – We are creatures of habit. If we know when and where we will meet with God daily we are much more likely to do it. Build it into your daily schedule. If this is new for you, start small, commit to it and God will grow it.
  2. Organize your “tool” box – Gather your tools (Bible, reading plan, journal, pen, etc.) and keep them together in your designated spot so you’ll always be prepared. I’ve found having a reading plan greatly increases the chance of me staying in the Word regularly. Without a plan, reading stays haphazard at best. Here are 5 different plans that would take you through the year.
  3. Minimize Distractions –  Though it’s not possible to eliminate them all, we can take steps to help maintain our focus. Email and social media are my biggest distractions. I had to determine not to open my laptop until after my quiet time. What competes for your attention the most?
  4. Start with prayer – Ask God to speak to you and help you understand His Word today. Thank Him for meeting with you.
  5. Begin to read the Bible – Remember your purpose is to communicate with God. The Bible is the primary way God speaks to us. Don’t read hastily just to get through the passage. Let God stop you.
  6. Meditate on the passage – Meditation is not emptying your mind. It is deep thinking on spiritual truths. As you read, linger over verses that impact you. Ask God questions and “listen” for His answers. These 5 PROBE questions are a great guide to meditate on a passage.
  7. Pray as you read – Time with God should be interactive. Respond to God as He speaks to you through His Word. Reading and praying creates a conversation with God.
  8. Sit still in God’s presence – We are products of our rushed, busy culture. Unfortunately, this tendency affects our time with God. We often rush through so we can get on with the next thing. I am certainly guilty of this. Commit to purposefully slow down! Sense God’s presence? Then simply sit still and be with Him.
  9. Journal – Read with pen in hand. Record what God says to you and how you will respond. Writing can help you stay focused on God and His voice. You can also read your thoughts later to be reminded of something God taught you, an answered prayer, a time you felt His presence, etc. Here are some extra tips on journaling by Rachel Wojo.
  10. Memorize – Commit to memorize verses God calls special attention to. Knowing Scripture by heart helps us guard against sin, reminds us of God’s promises, provides guidance, and allows us to meditate on God’s Word anywhere and anytime. These two posts will help: Scripture Memory Tips and 7 Activities to Help You Memorize Scripture.
  11. Application – Apply to your life whatever God says to you through prayer and His Word. It may be repentance. It may be a change in behavior. It may be a specific action.

May God draw you ever closer to Him in 2016!

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5 Bible Reading Plans for the New Year

5 Bible Reading PlansDo you plan to read your Bible regularly in 2016? Many of us start the year with good intentions, but regular time with God in His Word often falls by the wayside because we’ve failed to put a plan in place.

Planning is not “unspiritual.” Paul told Timothy to “train yourself to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7) because real spiritual growth takes discipline and purposeful intent.

A great place to begin is with a Bible reading plan. Haphazard reading will always be just that – haphazard. If you have a plan, then you have direction and structure. You never have to wonder, “What will I read today?”

Each of these 5 Bible reading plans below is for a full year. Some are more time-intensive than others. Look at each of them and pick one that will challenge you but not overwhelm you. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

For instance, if you are currently reading your Bible only for a few minutes just a few days a week, don’t try to read the Bible through in a year which requires several chapters 7 days a week. You may become discouraged quickly and give up. Instead, choose a plan that has smaller chunks of reading for 5 days a week. (Note: The first three plans were developed by Kathy Howard. The last two were developed by Dr. Doug Lamb, one of Kathy’s former pastors.)

  1. Key Character Bible Reading Plan – Spend 5 days a week discovering how God wove individual lives into His overall plan! From Abraham, Moses, and David to Peter, John, and Paul, God still uses His people in the Scriptures to impact His people today. With the life and work of Jesus Christ central to this Bible reading plan, it’s a daily experience you won’t want to miss.
  2. Christian Doctrine Bible Reading Plan – This 5-day-a-week plan walks you through the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith. The first quarter focuses on “Theology,” the study of God and His character. The second quarter on the nature of the Bible, mankind, and Christ. The third on “Soteriology,” the study of salvation. And the fourth on the Holy Spirit, the Church, and end times.
  3. Chronological Story Bible Reading Plan – Spend a year getting familiar with the big picture of the Bible. Read through all the major stories and key passages in five days a week.
  4. New Testament in a Year – This handy daily Bible reading guide will take you through the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs in one year.
  5. The Bible in a Year – Dr. Doug Lamb, developed this daily plan to read through the entire Bible in one year. He is glad to share it with you.

Pick a plan that works for you. Print it off and put it in your Bible. Get a journal or notebook to record insights from the Holy Spirit, God’s direction for you as your read, and your prayers to Him. May 2016 be a year marked by spiritual growth and wonderful time with our great God!

I’d love to hear from you! Share with us about your plan to read the Bible in 2016.

Some additional posts you may find helpful:

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5 Resources to Equip You for Bible Study

5 Bible Study ResourcesBible studies written by someone else can be great guides to help us study God’s Word. But they should be supplemental to our own personal study of the Bible. They shouldn’t be the only – or even primary – way we study. There is no substitute for going straight to the Source!

Want to study the Bible on your own, but you aren’t sure how to get started? Maybe you’re afraid you might “do it wrong.” Remember, as believers, we have direct access to THE Teacher. The Holy Spirit, who indwells every Christian, is our Counselor and Guide. He is the One who gives us understanding of spiritual truths.

However, there are right ways and wrong ways to approach God’s Word. For instance, we always need to consider the context and the book’s literary genre. But with just a little help, you can easily study the Bible for yourself. Once you are equipped with the right tools, you will enjoy a lifetime of digging into the depths of God’s truth!

Although there are numerous great resources available, I want to share five with you today. I have read all but one of them and it came highly recommended from a trusted source.

  1. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart – I first read this book during seminary. The author’s primary purpose is to help readers understand the differences between the various literary genres of the Bible – like poetry, narrative, prophecy – and how that affects the way we understand and apply it.

2. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin – This book is a great place to start. Wilkin identifies common ways we incorrectly approach the Bible and gently gets us back on the right track. She gives an easy to follow and correct approach to personal Bible study.

3. How to Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur – Arthur did not invent the inductive approach to Bible study, but she did make it popular through her Precepts Bible studies. This book will show you how to study any passage through “observation,” “interpretation,” and “application.”

4. Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks and William Hendricks – This book is the only one of the five I haven’t read, but it’s next on my list. Like Arthur’s book, this one also teaches the inductive method, but it goes into more depth, adding valuable information and tools.

5. Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods: Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God’s Word – Warren shows readers how to do 12 different kinds of approaches to Bible study like a chapter analysis, word study, verse-by-verse, or character study. The book includes examples of each method as well as helpful forms you can reproduce for your own use.

If this is all new to you, a good place to start is with Women of the Word. It’s easy to read and gives great overall direction. Again, the idea is to let God speak directly to you through His Word instead of using another go-between. Use those Bible study guides as a supplement to what you’re doing on your own!

What have you been studying recently? I’d love to hear. Also, if you have another resource to equip us for studying on our own, share it with us!

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