One of the joys of running the Bible Study Tips website is I get to try out lots of new Bible study tools. Some items are donated or given to me for review, but the vast majority come at my own expense. I enjoy reading these books, trying out the new tools, and seeing how each fits into my workflow. Then I get to figure out how you can get the most out of these same products.
I’ve been afforded the opportunity to try many great tools in 2018. Today, I want to share with you my favorites. These items are things I’ve either encountered this year or have made significant use of in my own studies. I would heartily recommend adding any of these items to your library.
So, let’s dive in!
I first found out about the CSB Disciple’s Study Bible late last year when fellow Bible Study Tips community member Coby Munsey told me about it. On a whim, I contacted Holman Bibles and they sent me a copy for review. I quickly fell in love.
The design of this study Bible made it the perfect Bible study tool for a new or young believer. The notes were in-depth but simple. It organized the notes by doctrine, so the reader could better understand Scripture. Then there are the additions from Robby Gallaty & the Replicate Ministries team. The Foundations 260 reading plan is weaved throughout the pages of the Bible, making it the perfect Bible for reading and journaling through God’s Word. Then, there are tons of discipleship focused articles in the back.
I eventually gave away my review copy to a reader of this site, but picked up a copy when I was at Robby’s Discipleship Blueprint back in September. I plan on using this Bible in 2019 to go through the Foundations 260 reading plan, and then I will give the completed Bible to my son as a record of my time in the Word.
There is not a bag thing I can say about this Bible. I truly believe it is a Bible study tool every Christian should have in their library. It is that good.
Click here to purchase your copy of the CSB Disciple’s Study Bible, or get it digitally for Olive Tree
Seven Arrows is another great Bible study tool I came across in 2018, this time thanks to my friend Alex Rodriguez from the Men’s Muster. If the CSB Disciple’s Study Bible is the first resource I’d give a new believer, this book would definitely be the second.
Every Christian needs a solid approach for studying the Bible, and Seven Arrows does this in an easy to use manner. The method was born out of pastor Matt Rogers’ desire to help a young believer become a self feeder from God’s Word. He didn’t want him dependent upon Bible study guides or devotionals to get meat from God’s Word. So, after doodling on a napkin how he studied Scripture, the Seven Arrows method was born.
These arrows are questions we need to ask of Scripture every time we approach it. As we answer each question, the text unravels and reveals a solid way of interpreting the passage at hand.
I love this resource because it is simple and straightforward. It teaches you what you need to know and tells you the tools you need to get the job done. If there were one approach to studying God’s Word that a Christian could have, this is one of the best.
I’m unashamedly a Bible study geek, so this next Bible study tool was right up my alley when I heard about it. The book is aptly titled Inductive Bible Study and is authored by Andres Köstenberger and Richard Fuhr, Jr. This book is a deep dive into the inductive Bible study method and how to do it.
As I wrote my tip on the inductive method, I leaned heavily on this book and used it as the outline. There is so much meat in this book, that it is perfect for the person who wants to really learn how to dive deep into God’s Word.
In many ways, as a logical progression, this is probably the book I would give someone after they were comfortable with the Seven Arrows method of study and was looking to learn more. I appreciate how this book looks at the inductive method and then weaves in how other study methods fit in, such as topical and word studies. Köstenberger & Fuhr do a great job of keeping the focus on Scripture before introducing or leaning on outside tools.
This is a book that will maintain a prominent place in my library and will be referenced often, whether I’m referring it to others or using it in my own studies. A Bible study tool like this is a must have for any Bible student who wants to go beyond the surface.
This next Bible study tool is not new, but it’s one that I’ve used quite frequently this year. The Streetlights Audio Bible is a project started by three individuals in Chicago, born out of their desire to help people understand God’s Word.
Streetlights began as a means of helping members of a Bible study read the Bible. Literacy rates are low in the inner city of Chicago, which made it difficult for some of the group members to get much out of the Bible study. So, one day, one of Streetlights’ founders decided to read the passage and put a beat behind it, so he could give it to his Bible study members. In the subsequent weeks, he found that their understanding was much improved and they were able to dialogue about God’s Word. From this experience Streetlights was born.
I personally don’t like a lot of audio Bibles because they are too dry for my liking. But, being a hip-hop head, I was immediately drawn to the Streetlights Audio Bible. I like driving to work with it playing, so I can spend time in God’s Word even when I cannot read it. The beats are crafted to fit the tone of each book of the Bible and changes from chapter to chapter. The readings are passionate, yet simple. And the use of the New Living Translation (NLT) makes it easy for everyone to understand.
This is my go to audio Bible and it’s so good I can leave it on repeat. There are even visuals and curriculum that go with it.
Purchase or download the Streetlights Bible at their site, or download their app
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two Bible study tools that I got the most use out of in 2018. Neither is a new item, but they remain staples in my Bible study repertoire. I am a big fan and proponent of Bible software, especially when used in the right contexts. And, of all the software available, the two I get the most use out of are Logos and Olive Tree.
I’ve been a user of Logos Bible software since I was first gifted a copy in 2007. Since that time I have amassed a substantial Bible study library, sold it to a missionary (to pay off some debt), and have started another library. At present, I am using the brand new Logos Bible software version 8, and this is the first time in years that I was excited to upgrade.
Logos has been great for Bible study, whether my needs were simple or in-depth. But, with the release of version 8, I finally feel like it is a software package I can recommend to every Christian. The biggest feature that has me feeling this way is the Workflows feature that walks you step-by-step through how to do various Bible study methods. I also like that I can create my own workflows and share them with others (which I plan to do in the future).
Logos is powerful software and it makes studying God’s Word a breeze. And, they’ve finally made it affordable with their Logos Fundamentals package, which gives you everything you need to study the Bible for $99. Then, you can build from there.
Logos is great, but sometimes it’s beyond what I need. For most of my day-to-day Bible study needs, Olive Tree fits the bill. When I do my Bible study I do not like to sit at a computer, and prefer to just have my Bible and notebook. Yet, Olive Tree is right there when I need it, on my phone or iPad. I can quickly pull up a study Bible, original language resource, or any other study tool I need. It makes studying on the go super simple.
One of the things I appreciate about Olive Tree is they don’t force you to buy packages with resources you may never use or need. Everything is a la carte, so you only purchase what you need and will use. This means I can build a library that is specific to my study needs. When it comes to getting a new study Bible, I generally get it for Olive Tree first, if I can.
Olive Tree is the perfect app for mobile because it doesn’t sacrifice on speed or power. The vast majority of what I need to do in Bible study I can do with Olive Tree, and I can do it all on my phone or iPad, no Internet connection required. The simple fact that I have an entire theological library at my disposal in my pocket is mind blowing.
So, as we close, what were your favorite Bible study tools this year? I’d love to hear about them. And, be sure to check out my favorites and add them to your own library if you find them valuable.
This week, meditate and journal on the following passages: