Another day passed and it felt like the book of Job was becoming a bore. I didn’t seem to understand what the writer meant and kept falling asleep. Yet, one of the things that has helped my faith journey is access to free bible study tools.
If you’ve ever had difficulties while studying Scripture, you’re not alone. We all do, literally. Difficulties like:
- Understanding the context,
- Wondering what the writer meant at that point in time,
- Imagining the point of repetition, or even
- Making out time to study
The amazing thing is there are tons of resources now to aid our study. All we need do is seek (and we shall find, haha!)
One might ask, what exactly is Bible study? It is the analysis of the Bible. The analysis may depend on the reader and his/her purpose of study. Take for instance those who study Theology as a major or in Seminary. While not all Christians would go to seminary or have the Bible as a study course, we’re encouraged to be like Berean Christians. They studied the Scriptures for themselves. Paul also encourages that we study to show ourselves approved ( 1 Tim 3: )
Bible study is so important for the believer because it’s how we know God. It’s how He has revealed Himself through history. That way, we are transformed in our thoughts and give grace to others.
Most times the major difficulty comes from approaching the scriptures because it could feel overwhelming. Thankfully, our feelings don’t determine what is necessary. That leads me to an issue before delving into the tools.
The first battle to be won is with the mind. Remember that you’re not approaching a school master who is stern. It is God and He tells us to draw near to Him. For so long, I would approach Scriptures as something to be checked off my list and not learning at the feet of a real person Lord. When you see it as something to look forward to and not determinant of God’s love, the pressure of not immediately understanding every single verse or word read, leaves.
Also, I learned recently that God is not a feeling but presence. He is always with us just as He promised.
What free bible study tools are available?
When I want to visit a friend, I plan. My transport fare, my outfit, what time I need to leave the house and even how to get to her address. Basically, all the little details. I don’t just hit the road and expect to appear in her house. My analogy may be limited but I hope you get the point.
In our study of the Bible, we don’t just wake, open a part of the book, glance and walk away. Nothing wrong with a glance, but an analysis is much more. I admit there are different seasons and phases in our lives that could change things. I’ve had days where bible study was sweet and others where I had to consciously remind myself. I’ve also had days where I didn’t even want to pick up my Bible.
Yet having a structure you can fall on is wise. That way, you know what you’re studying ahead and don’t feel overwhelmed when it’s time to pick your bible up. Another benefit of bible study is you are storing God’s word in your heart.
There’s something beautiful about understanding the context in which something was spoken about. Below are some free tools and resources I use that have been of great help as I study the bible.
I heard about TBP for the first time via a friend some years ago. What drew me to them was the content via their YouTube videos. They have studies on lots of categories like Books, themes, visual commentaries, bible study plans and well-thought out answers to frequently asked questions. I usually use their resources when I’m about to start a new book just to have a broad overview. Did I mention the resources are free? It really is worth your trial.
Ever since I found out about podcasts from another friend (my friends are gems, for real), I can’t stop updating my library. They are another favorite set of free tools for bible study. My top picks are:
Java with Juli – Juli Slathery hosts this podcasts and interviews Christians who attempt to answer questions with a biblical worldview. She is also the head of authentic intimacy.
Let’s talk – 3 amazing ladies talk about daily activities and how to apply biblical wisdom.
Bible project– we’re now familiar with the bible project. They also have a podcast arm
Verity by Phylicia Masonheimer– Phylicia brings in a lovely depth about questions women have and gives biblical answers in context. She has a whole series on the Canon.
Ask Pastor John– A short question and answer session between people and Pastor John Piper.
Majority of these podcasts are short (except for bible project), because I don’t have a long attention span. I like them concise and they’ve been super helpful.
Our smartphones are increasingly fighting for our attention. Why not have apps on it that could remind you about bible study and even provide resources? A popular one is YouVersion.
4. Audio bibles
Some people prefer listening to their Bible on a journey, on their way to work, or school or during a chore. I think its a blessing to have that option. Apps with that option are Bible.is and YouVersion. Olive Tree is another one as they recently added an audio feature for the gospels.
5. Commentaries and dictionaries
Logos is one online app I know for it. I use a Bible dictionary my dad has had for a long time. It’s usually once in a while as almost everything is digital now. Some study bibles have commentaries as well.
While there are tons of people in persecuted states and nations who don’t have access to the bible talk less of resources, God is faithfully helping them as they memorize and fellowship with one another. I believe that if you have an access to these free tools, most of which you can get online, go for them!
It’s important to note that these are resources, not the main dish. They are not to take the place of God’s word in our hearts. I’ve fallen into moments where I wouldn’t pick up my bible for days on end because I was on a devotional. Bible study can look different on different days, but don’t build your study off of others only. Get into the Word yourself.
On a final note, these examples are to guide you. They’re not exhaustive or even conclusive. Most of them are what I have tried in the past and loved. In fact, you don’t need all of them to have a beautiful study of Scripture. Pick what works for you and enjoy it.
Ps- this was originally an Instagram post but I believe more people should have access to this information. I’ve also added more details to make it comprehensive.Follow my blog with Bloglovin