ON BIBLE STUDY:
Why should you study the Scriptures when you’ve heard the stories before? God’s Word is rich enough to provide new insights every time you study, no matter how many times you’ve read the same passage. You have an opportunity to more fully understand the God of the Scriptures and what Jesus Christ has done for us. Because the Bible is transformational, as you routinely study you can anticipate a closer walk with Jesus. God has so many blessings for those who seek him, blessings only found in His Word.
Come January 11th, I will be leading an in-depth inductive study through the book of Esther. As a women’s class in my local church, we study a book of the Bible (the Bible itself, not a pre-written study) twice yearly. I will also share with you that Precept and BSF studies have aided my growth in Bible literacy, and both options for women’s Bible studies come with my recommendation. If you would like to know how to get more out of your personal Bible study, check out the blog series How Can I Get More Out of my Bible Study? You can find the posts from this series here. And if you are local, feel free to contact me about the Esther study.
To aid the believer in her Bible study, I encourage her to take advantage of resources readily available. The first I will mention is an app called STEP (Scripture Tools for Every Person). STEP Bible is a study Bible app used to dig deep into the Bible with original Greek and Hebrew meanings just a tap away.
In the way of Bible software, I use Logos. I find that Logos software is best utilized with desktop or laptop, but there is an app for phone and tablet use. Logos, through Faithlife, offers a limited number of free eBooks and sends a monthly email with an additional free book option. These free and deeply discounted offers will quickly expand your library.
ON BIBLE TRANSLATIONS:
Although there are many good translations, my preferred Bible translation is the ESV. This is not only because my pastor uses ESV in the pulpit but because I’ve done some research.
About the ESV (Crossway)
“The English Standard Version (ESV) is an “essentially literal” translation of the Bible in contemporary English. Created by a team of more than 100 leading evangelical scholars and pastors, the ESV Bible emphasizes “word-for-word” accuracy, literary excellence, and depth of meaning. Suited for personal reading, public worship, in-depth study, and Scripture memorization, the ESV is available in more than 200 print editions. Since its publication in 2001, the ESV Bible has gained wide acceptance and is used by church leaders, numerous denominations and organizations, and millions of individuals around the world.”
This is my newest study Bible that I am enjoying. At this writing, it is one of the latest by Crossway. “The ESV Church History Study Bible is designed to help believers in all seasons of life understand the Bible with notes from over 300 of church history’s most prominent figures. Edited by Stephen J. Nichols, Gerald Bray, and Keith A. Mathison, this Bible features 20,000+ study notes from historical figures including Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, Martin Luther, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, and Charles Spurgeon. This study Bible also includes articles by trusted scholars on major aspects of church history, a glossary of historical figures, and “This Passage in History” callouts. Created for serious readers, students, and teachers of God’s Word, the ESV Church History Study Bible highlights voices from the past offering wisdom for the present.”
The study of theology is peace giving to the Christian and as a counselor, I have come to the understand that many life problems are rooted in theological error. It is my prayer that women would respond to the call of Matt. 22:37 and not be theologically shy or shallow. If we love God with our hearts, we must also consider our minds. Good theology reveals to you the greatness and holiness of the God who made you and takes care of you. Furthermore, how can we praise God when we don’t know much about Him? How can we sing of His goodness if we don’t know what it is?
I encourage all Christian women to study theology and you can read more about that here. It’s crucial that we learn, understand, and apply the core doctrines of the Christian faith. I lead a women’s theology class on Sunday evenings. Beginning January 22nd, we will be studying the doctrines of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In addition to good books, I use a variety of systematic theologies for both my studies and my teaching. For those women who might be new to the study of theology, I recommend Michael Horton’s Bible college version, Pilgrim Theology. Many women find the ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible helpful when connecting doctrinal truths to Scripture.
When doing Bible interpretation or in-depth Bible study, consultation is where you may use reliable Bible helps, tools, and commentaries. I recommend you don’t go to them too soon, but rather use them to validate your own interpretation as you summarize the passage. It is my belief that pride alone would not consider good resources authored by biblical scholars who’ve devoted much of their lives to study and teaching. Standard rule of interpretation is if you consult two or more commentaries and none share your interpretation, you’d best abandon yours. Christ-Centered Exposition series is my absolute favorite for the layperson and is inexpensive to purchase in paperback. Another good, easily understandable commentary is the ESV Expository Commentary series.
Reading has the ability to stretch our thinking. When reading a novel, your mind is pulled into the life and emotions of a fictional character. Reading a memoir deepens our sense of empathy. Non-fiction reading expands our knowledge of topics and events. Books are a very important part of Christian culture and Christian life. I encourage all Christian women to take up the discipline of reading to honor God and for the growth of the church. My current reading choices are pictured.
In addition, if you are looking for Christian classics and biographies, I recommend searching Monergism. Their site is extensive and I will link the page for over 900 free eBooks.
Tim Challies’ blog keeps me informed about Kindle deals for Christians. The link to current deals is: https://www.challies.com/kindle-deals-for-christians/
A few of my Kindle Downloads are 12 Faithful Women: Portraits of Steadfast Endurance by Melissa Kruger and Kristen Wetherell, Forever by Paul David Tripp, Caring for One Another by Ed Welch, Desiring God by John Piper, Rediscovering Jonah by Tim Keller, God’s Glory Alone by David Vandrunen, The Unexpected Jesus by R.C. Sproul, Christ & Culture by D.A. Carson, Why We’re Protestant by Nate Pickowicz, Reviving New England by Nate Pickowicz, Humility by Andrew Murray, The Cross by J.C. Ryle.
My most recent Audible downloads: Growing Together by Melissa Kruger, Everyday Faithfulness by Glenna Marshall, The Loveliest Place by Dustin Benge, God Shines Forth by Michael Reeves, What Does it Mean to Fear the Lord, Strange New World by Carl Trueman, and Unoffended by Brant Hansen.
I’m not a TV watcher, so it seems I’m listening to more podcasts. I’m sharing some favorites with you.
“We are inundated with voices that claim to have answers. And we’re left empty and longing for something better. God’s word has the answers – superior, fulfilling, joyful answers! We’ll discuss how to filter the good from the bad so you can confidently rest and rejoice in the truth. We hope to inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful, biblical truth on their journeys as women of God. When you choose truth, you’re choosing joy!”
“The Crossway Podcast is a show where we sit down with authors each week for thoughtful interviews about the Bible, theology, church history, and the Christian life.”
“Life’s a journey we were never meant to walk alone. We all need friends along the way! On the Journeywomen podcast we’ll chat with Christian leaders about gracefully navigating the seasons and challenges we face on our journeys to glorify God.”
Set apart from the podcasts above, I find Credo Magazine Podcast (linked below) to be an excellent source for theological truth.
“Listen to Elisabeth Elliot’s timeless talks via The Elisabeth Elliot Podcast. Hear weekly encouragement and wisdom from one of the world’s most beloved Christian women, missionaries, and mentors of the Faith.”