Top 10 Bible Study Recommendations

After reading a brother’s post about Bible Study, I decided to put together a Top 10 Bible Study suggestion list.

Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

  1. Read in Context – This includes: reading previous and latter verses and/or chapters, understanding the characters involved and the setting, as well as the audience. I.e. Paul is sometimes speaking to Jews, and sometimes both Jews and Gentiles are in the audience.
  2. Strong’s Concordance – This will show us where a word, such as Spirit, is elsewhere in scripture. It also gives a number that is related to the Hebrew word (Old testament) or Greek word (New Testament). Note: Sometimes the same word will have different meanings.
  3. Strong’s Lexicon (definitions) – This is in my top 5 tools. This is a must in my opinion. It gives the definition of the Hebrew and Greek words. But more importantly, we will see via the Strong’s concordance that some words have 2 or more meanings. Unless we have this information, scripture is misrepresented. I.e. The word “Law” has something like 3-4 different meanings, and in some cases, more than 1 meaning is used within just a couple verses from each other. In other cases, the same word/meaning is used, but in the context, it can speak of 2 separate things. Thus, if we do not understand the definition and context, the Word can be misrepresented.
  4. Multiple Bibles – I’m always asked, “What is a good bible to buy?” I always say more the merrier. I’m partial to the KJV and NKJV. Those 2 together have done me well. When something in the KJV can’t fully be grasped, I’ll check it in the NKJV (or vice versa). Sometimes, I’ll open up a 3rd and 4th version too.  There are some parallel bibles out there that have 2-4 versions within the same book. The easier to read bibles, in my humble opinion, change meanings too much. They are very good for those that are having a hard time with the KJV, but I firmly believe that they should not be our only bible.
  5. Study the Bible (not ‘reading’) – There is a big difference between studying the bible and reading it. Sometimes I catch myself reading the bible to get my daily read in. But then I get done, and I have no idea what I just read. It’s because I’m reading in terms of ‘works’ instead of having a heart for God and His Word. 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Note: It is very dangerous to preempt our reading with searching for an answer on something. When doing this, we will almost always find the answer we want to hear. Yes, God definitely will speak to us via His word. Just be very watchful on this. Sometimes we will find exactly what we desire to find. It may be ourselves answering and not necessarily God speaking to us. Randomly flipping through the bible or randomly opening it to see what God says on the first verse we come across is dangerous. It is the Living Word of God, but I also believe there is a higher probability for something to be taken out of context. Satan has and will use the word of God. We should be wise and pray for discernment, ask for confirmations, etc.
  6. Prayer – This is another in my top 5 tools that I don’t do enough of. Before reading, I suggest praying for the Holy Spirit to fill us up and give guidance on the Word. Let us ask the Lord to speak to us, write the word on our hearts, and to help us study. Afterward, pray the same with thanksgiving and ask for the seeds of God that were planted to be protected from the enemy. A good addition to the prayer: “Lord, your word says that it will not return to you void and it will do what it is sent forth to accomplish. I thank you Lord for this promise.” (Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.)
  7. Holy Spirit – This is my #1 tool. Guide us Guider, teach us Teacher, and help us Helper. John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Note: If you are struggling with a specific scripture or are getting pulled in 2 different directions by doctrinal warfare of denominationalism, then go away from the topic and pray for the Holy Spirit to teach it. I have had some major topics not understood until almost a year later, and the topic is still being taught. If we’re caught in such a trap and something is confusing, causing a struggle, turmoil, etc., I suggest to surrender it to God and cease from seeking man’s opinion about it. Pray for the Helper to help, the Teacher to teach, then be watchful. It will come, in His good timing. Peace be with us, always.
  8. Jewish roots – I’m a firm believer that we must have a good understanding of the Jewish culture. Remember, we are grafted in Gentiles. Grafted in to the chosen ones, Israel. It is very good to understand the culture in order to fully understand our #1 point, Read in Context. I have found some verses that have meanings changed after understanding the Jewish culture and correct context. A guide I just started to use that seems very good thus far: The Jewish New Testament Commentary by Stern. This is a companion to his Jewish Bible, which I plan on getting soon.
  9. Using a Study Bible – These last 2 of the top 10, I’m standoffish on recommending, but they are helpful. When it comes to the words of man (even in the Jewish NT Commentary mentioned above), I have found that we can get swayed by the opinion of man very easy. This is why Prayer and the Holy Spirit are very important. I have read some great commentaries that sound very good, but have later found that they were contrary to other commentaries (which places man’s words in question). Thus, I recommend using a study bible with caution. I have comments crossed out in my study bible that were denominationally based. Some things are fact and are very good in the study bible. As a matter of fact, most of the info is very good. Just be careful and pray for discernment.
  10. Commentaries – Same as comments in #9. I think some commentaries are very good, but keep in mind that many of them are denominationally based. There is a huge challenge in the church today on contradictions to some doctrine. Commentaries will fall into one or the other belief systems on specific doctrine. I love commentaries, they surely do help. This is where bible study software helps, such as Sword Searcher. It gives tons of commentaries to read as well as a lexicon/concordance, multiple bible versions, and many other helps. So if commentaries are used, I read multiple commentaries in combination with #1-9 above. Then, with all of the information, allow the Spirit to guide on what sets well with the Spirit (not what sets well with me and my ways).
  11. BONUS: Relationship – I had to toss this one in there. It has been a huge leap for my studying lately. Speak the Word of God back to God. Like, while reading a Psalm that is praising God, then praise God out loud while reading the words! While reading promises of God, speak them out loud – “Lord, thank you for your promise.” For instance, look at John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. I change some of the words. Like the “I” will be changed to “you” and the “you” to “me”, thus the verse changes to a relationship with Jesus Christ: “Lord, peace you leave with me, your peace you give to me, not as the world gives it.” Man, there is power in reading the word this way. There is a spirit to spirit communication going on, a relationship with the Word of God, Jesus Christ.

I cannot stress these 3 points enough: 1) The Spirit will teach, 2) We have to put our own ways/thinking aside, and 3) Be wise that man’s words may not be God’s words.

Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

There are free bible study resources available here: Bible Study. God bless you and your studies. Enjoy your time with Jesus, the Word!

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