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In the second episode of Hope for the Heart podcast, I did some groundwork to lay a solid foundation for all future episodes. In this episode we talked about the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, why the Bible is called the “living” Word of God, and why we need to engage with it regularly. We also talked through some excuses (or reasons) given as to why you may not read the Bible or engage with it on a deeper level. In this post, I will be sharing some of my favourite resources for engaging with Scripture in order to add some tools into your Bible study toolbox.
Whenever I talk about “engaging with Scripture”, I’m talking about the practice of seeking to understand what you’re reading, meditating on it, and learning how to apply it to your life. It’s the process of allowing Scripture to “judge the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts” (Hebrews 4:12) in order to grow in our relationship with God.
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the latest episode of the podcast, you can find it on:
Without further ado, here are some of my favourite resources for engaging with Scripture!
Read the Bible for a Change by Ray Lubeck & How to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart
Both of these books seek to help you understand the Bible in it’s original context and then figure out how it applies to our lives today. They break down the different parts of the Bible and guide you in understanding the different literary styles of each of the books. Their purpose is to help you can uncover the full worth that is in God’s Word.
What the Bible is All About by Dr. Henrietta Mears
This book was the course textbook for an online class I took last year and I have already used it on several other occasions to understand the context of what I’m reading and studying in the Bible. Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of the book – like I was at first. This book is a Bible handbook which means it gives you an overview of the whole Bible and shows you how Jesus is revealed throughout the whole book, not just the New Testament. This book provides a historical background for every major event and also highlights recurring Biblical themes. In this book you will also find maps, charts, and other helpful study tools to help you engage with the Bible.
ESV Study Bible
I LOVE my ESV study Bible. It is fairly large so it doesn’t make the best travelling companion but it has been an awesome resource for understanding context and the meaning behind the text. As I mentioned in the second episode of Hope for the Heart podcast, the ESV (or English Standard Version) is a word-for-word translation from the original languages. This makes it a great study tool for understanding the Bible, although I do like to have my NIV (New International Version) Bible on hand as well.
YouVersion Bible App & She Reads Truth
These are two online, free options that provide access to reading plans, devotionals, and community to create conversations about the Bible. On the She Reads Truth app, you do need to pay for most of the reading plans, however, I believe they are all free when you go through their website. She Reads Truth is an amazing resource and I have read several of their reading plans over the years. I love the way they help you engage with Scripture in meaningful and practical ways. They also have great resources for men and kids so you can get the whole family engaged in the Word!