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Have you ever struggled with learning to study the Bible? The better question might be, who hasn’t?! It’s a big, confusing book that can often feel overwhelming and out of touch. Fortunately, there are a few resources that can turn your Bible study from frustrating and confusing into a rich and life-changing practice.
Did you know the Bible is one big, overarching storyline? It was written by a whole slew of extremely sophisticated writers over a period of some 1,500 years, contains many stories with many, many lessons, yet it all ties together to tell one grace-filled story of redemption. Amazing!
And that is just one of about a zillion fascinating things you can learn when you start really studying the Bible with not just your heart, but your mind.
I grew up in church, have read the whole Bible, and memorized my Sunday school verses, yet it wasn’t until recently that I began to discover how to really study the Bible. And by that I mean to dig into it, struggle with it, question it, and perhaps eventually, to understand it in a way that changes life for the better.
Now mind you, this is pretty new for me and I am sharing more from what I am currently learning than from experience. In fact, until very recently I found studying the Bible to be rather boring. Gasp! I know, right, but honestly, haven’t we all felt this way from time to time?
Thankfully, I’ve recently found a couple of resources that have helped transform my relationship with studying the Bible. Of course, it is still quite challenging, sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes hard to grasp, sometimes even hard to agree with, and yes, sometimes a bit boring (a good opportunity for some self-discipline, right?), but it is always transformative.
So, in my new-found excitement, I thought I would share with you my favorite Bible study resources to help kickstart your study of the Bible.
Women of the Word, How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds is a lovely book by Jen Wilkin. It’s a fast and easy to understand read, packed with practical information on how to read the Bible.
Jen’s book really brought home the concept for me that studying the Bible starts with the mind. It’s a complex book, written by people and for people in a different culture and time than our own. To understand it we need to dig deep and chew on it. It is important to understand the intention behind each book of the Bible, the literary style it was written in, and how it fits into the narrative of the Bible as a whole. This is much deeper than just flipping through and choosing an inspirational verse that speaks to us today (not that I’ve ever done that or anything! 😉 ).
Women of the Word outlines a simple system that can quite literally transform your relationship to the Bible. I’ll leave the details for you to uncover when you get the book for yourself, but the general system is to study with purpose, perspective, patience, process, and prayer. Good stuff!
I have to admit, I have been practically been bingeing on podcasts and videos from The Bible Project. Their mission is to show how the Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus, and they do this with fantastic videos on different themes and words from the Bible, as well as videos on each book. They also offer a Bible reading plan, downloadable resources, and an entertaining and really informative podcast. It’s all available for free, and all presented in a way that is approachable and easy to understand – even for folks who are new to the Bible.
What I think is so valuable about The Bible Project in terms of learning to study the Bible is that every bit of information leads you to a deeper understanding of the topic. Watching a video about, let’s say, the book of Job will help inform your understanding of the purpose, intention, and meaning of the book, giving you more to ponder as you embark on your own study.
The Bible Project website is HUGE and loaded with information, so I would say the best place to start would be with the series of videos about how to read the Bible at TheBibleProject.com/explore/how-to-read-the-bible. Actually, before you do that, I would recommend signing up for a free account on the site so you can easily keep track of which videos you’ve watched. Like I said, the site is huge!
Just to whet your appetite, here is the first video in the series, titled “What Is The Bible?”
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Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
– Psalm 119:105
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What are your favorite resources for learning to study the Bible? I would love to know! Feel free to share them in the comments below…