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Tools of the Trade
Tools for learning more about the Bible
Barb and I have been faithfully reading the Bible daily every day for quite a few years, following Nicky Gumbel’s Bible In One Year plan in the Bible app. When we first started this, I hadn’t read the Bible cover to cover before, and I was sure that I was going to get bored and give up.
What I found is that…
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Hebrews 4:12 NLT
Needless to say, I found the Bible to be far from boring!
Reading and digging deeper into the Bible is now part of our lives, and we can’t go a day without studying it. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to talk about some of the tools we use to learn more about God’s Word and His plan for us.
Regardless of your career or avocation, you use tools every day. Some tools find constant use, others lay in the bottom of the toolbox until that rare time that you need them.
There are a number of Bible apps available, but I’m talking about the one that has been downloaded over 534 million times, is available in 1,600 languages, and includes over 2,400 different Bible translations, both written and audio. The Bible app is free and syncs between different devices and the web, so you can always find verses that you highlighted, sign up for bible reading plans, and so forth.
Since many of us have a smartphone or tablet at our fingertips all the time, this is the perfect way to have God’s Word available every moment of every day. Once you know which Bible translations you feel most comfortable with, they can be downloaded so you don’t even need an Internet connection to read them.
Blue Letter Bible
If the Bible app is a great way to read God’s Word, Blue Letter Bible is the tool every Christian should have at hand to learn more about what she or he is reading. In fact, Blue Letter Bible is more than just a single tool — it’s more like a hardware store with every tool you could think of!
An interlinear tool provides word-by-word translation from the original Hebrew or Greek, including how to pronounce each word, what it means (through various dictionaries, lexicons, and definitions), how many times the word is used in the Bible, and even links to example verses using that word!
There’s a way to cross-reference verses to other similar verses. There are study tools by the dozens, sermon notes, text commentaries written by a variety of Biblical scholars, study guides, Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, even complete online courses that can build credit toward an undergraduate degree.
Blue Letter Bible is free to all, but if you use it frequently it’s recommended that you support the work with a donation.
“This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord : I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
What better way to write God’s laws on your mind than to memorize the verses that mean the most to you! The Bible Memory app (free, with Pro in-app purchases) turns memorizing verses into a game.
Precept International is an organization that equips Christians with training through in-person and virtual classes, with over 2 million people attending their Bible study courses. Precept Austin is part of the organization, with a powerful online presence where the inquisitive Christian can search for verse-by-verse commentaries, find other resources for most books of the Bible, and browse an exhaustive collection of sermons and journal articles as well.
These aren’t the only tools available for those desiring to learn more about the Bible! If you have a favorite tool that isn’t listed here, please let us know in the comments.