Having the right tools is essential to productive Bible study. They can really help bring the Scriptures to light and keep you from groping in the dark. And in this day of plentiful free resources online, it’s easier than ever!
7 Basic Bible Study Tools
Most are free online, and you can download many!
1. Good, reliable translations of the Bible
The E-sword app is an indispensible tool which enables you to check the passage in multiple versions. (Useable offline and desktop version also available.) Choose a version you understand. And any time you don’t understand the text compare it with other translations until you do. (One of my favorites is the ESV.) But the main thing is to just get into the word!
Bible Gateway is the one of the most popular online reading tools, offering 219 translations in 72 languages. And over 150 of them searchable online!
2. Good study Bibles
There are numerous excellent study Bibles available in many translations. The Thomson Study Bible with its Chain Reference Concordance is a great one, with its chains of topical references that can be followed all the way through the Bible. And it contains other useful tools like: Bible harmonies, Bible book outlines, Biblical figures, historical charts, maps, and more. Possibly you already knew of this Bible, but did you know that you can also search the chain references online at Study Light.org for free?
3. Bible Commentaries
Bible commentaries offer explanations and interpretations which analyze or expound on Scripture, book by book, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse. Many are complete commentaries covering the whole Bible.
I’m not sure just how many Bible commentaries there are, but they’re too numerous to list here! But once again at Study Light, you can read 107 of them for free! I especially like Matthew Henry’s, which provies an exhaustive look at every Bible verse.
4. Concordances and Dictionaries
These reference works provide useful information on dates, customs, everyday life, and more. They can offer great insight into the people, places, and events of the Bible and life in Bible times!
Strong’s is the most complete concordance for studying the text in the original languages. It’s easy-to-use, understandable, and you can now search it online at Bible Study Tools!
5. Bible Encyclopedias
Bible encylopedias offer valuable information on dates, customs, religious environment, family life, language, and literature. They can really bring Biblical characters, events, and places to life!
6. Historical Writings
Many people don’t realize how many historical writings exist and what a great aid they can be to Bible study. You can download and use many reference book modules on e-sword. And StudyLight.org contains many excellent works divided into the following categories: Before Christ (BC), Anno Domini (AD), and Church & Denominational History. Two of my favorite historians are Alfred Edersheim and Flavius Josephus.
7. Bible Map
An often overlooked study tool, Bible maps provide much useful information. By providing distances, we begin to undestand the time required for travel on foot or by donkey. They can provide a clearer picture of the typography of places. Was it a city on a hill, or by the seaside? Or by studying the overall region, we see whether a nation was surrounded by friends or foes, and things like that.
There is no lack of great Bible study tools. All we need is the want and the will to get at it!Tweet
As you can see, there is no lack of really good study tools. All we need is the want and the will to get to it! Which of these tools do you find most useful? (Other than the Bible, for that goes without saying.) And how has it helped you in understanding God’s Word?
So let’s make that a matter of prayer and then get to it!
Images: Man with Bible by Ben White | Books by congerdesign.
8 replies on “7 Productive Bible Study Aids”
Preceptaustin.org is a great free site that contains Bible commentary from several reliable sources. Thanks for sharing these with us!
Great Matthew! I hadn’t heard of that one but will definitely check it out!! Thanks.
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Good resources, Sheila. I see too many who make claims that to use any type of extra-Biblical resources is wrong and that we should only rely on the illumination of the Holy Spirit in our studies. I totally agree that is very important, but on the other hand many historical, cultural and linguistic things that matter cannot be gleaned that way. Thanks much for this.
Thanks Wally! I didn’t know that some people think using extra-biblical resources isn’t good. But I agree with you. Both are important. And why not take advantage of gleaning from the knowledge and hard work of others? What a blessing they have left us!!
Some do, Sheila. It’s almost an arrogant thing, too. I have seen different degress of it also. I even got taked to task once for using a Greek word study book to help, as the KJV already had it quite perfect(according to this fellow)
Wow Wolly! He would be surprised then, I’m sure, to know that the KJV (great as it is) doesn’t even exist here in Italy or in most countries!! lol!
Just checked out Study Light. Thanks for the recommendation!
You’re more than welcome Annie! It’s such a great resource!!