Bible study has never been easier. We live in an age where we have more and better translations, more books, and more technology to assist us than ever before. Honestly, we should thank God for the assistance the technology that exists today brings to studying the Scriptures. Nevertheless, we have to be careful.
Being mindful of technology
In his book The Next Story, Tim Challies wisely cautions us to be mindful about how we use technology. “Am I giving up control of my life,” he asks. “Is it possible that these technologies are changing me? Am I becoming a tool of the very tools that are supposed to serve me?”
Technology, in other words, is a wonderful servant but a cruel master. How this applies to our Bible study is simple: Technology should aid us in confirming our conclusions, not determine them for us. We use the tools that exist to dig deeper, rather than skim the surface of the Scriptures. But technology can easily make us lazy, if we’re not watchful.
- We can run a word search “wrath” or “love” and come up with a short or long list, but not come to a comprehensive knowledge of what the Bible teaches on either.
- We can look up the Greek behind a particular word or phrase and still not actually get what it says.
- We can pull together an explanation of a text from multiple sources, but not actually understand it ourselves.
And so we must be mindful. Technology is a wonderful tool, but one that always tempts us to become lazy in our studies.
What are the right tools for me?
But because we have so many really, really good options available to us, it can be a bit overwhelming. We can be paralyzed by choice. So I want to take a second to offer some recommendations on a few different tools that will help you in your study of God’s Word in three broad categories:
- Memorization and devotional
- Basic study
- Comprehensive study
Memorization and devotional tools
Scripture Typer. This is a service that’s only just come onto my radar, and therefore am just starting to check out. Here’s what it does:
ScriptureTyper accelerates memorization by utilizing both visual AND kinesthetic memory.
Tap into your kinesthetic memory which combines your sense of touch and your innate ability to remember patterns and feelings.
Combine touch typing with Bible memory and feel the patterns of the scripture as you type them so that you memorize faster, increase retention, and enhance your capacity to memorize verses.
An iOS app is also available, so you can use this on your iPhone or iPad.
YouVersion. this is the most widely used Bible app available. It features dozens of translations, numerous reading plans, notation tools and more. Chances are you’ve got this on your phone and promptly forgotten it’s there.
Fighter Verses. Fighter Verses is a five-year memorization plan, focusing on ”the character and worth of our great God, battling against our fleshly desires, and the hope of the Gospel.”
ESVBible.org. Crossway’s site for the ESV allows you to pick and choose various apps to add into your account and enhance your study experience, such as the ESV Study Bible, the new Gospel Transformation Bible, and the excellent ESV Greek Tools app, which allows you to examine the New Testament in its original language.
BibleGateway.com. For years, Bible Gateway has been the go-to site for a quick Scripture check for many of us, but it’s got a lot to offer, including Mounce’s Reverse-Interlinear New Testament, devotionals, reading plans, and commentaries.
BibleStudyTools.com. BibleStudyTools.com is “the largest free online Bible website for verse search and in-depth studies,” with over 39 different translations to choose from, as well as a rich library of trusted commentaries, concordances, Bible dictionaries, encyclopaedias, Greek and Hebrew Interlinear options and lexicons, and more.
Logos Bible Software. This is the Cadillac of Bible Study Tools. It’s got everything built into it—memorization and reading plans, libraries of commentaries and modern books, dozens of translations, language tools, concordances and more. But to be clear: Logos isn’t for everyone. Honestly, if you’re not doing intensive study of the Word, either as a pastor, a student or a writer, you really don’t need Logos. But for those of us who do, I can’t think of a better product.
There’s a bit of crossover among all of these, but I trust the categories will be helpful. As you can see, there’s a fair bit of crossover in these categories, but I trust you’ll find these resources helpful (or tell me about ones you enjoy!).