If you’re looking to get started in growing your faith and are searching for some Bible study tools you have come to the right place. Beginning to study the Bible can be overwhelming and confusing so I want to break it all down for you!
Keep reading and you will be ready to dive into your own personal study of the Bible and beginning to grow your relationship with God.
What are some Bible study tools?
1. A Bible is the first tool you should always have when you begin to study the Bible! Of course, you can access Bibles digitally through an app or your tablet or smartphone or listen to an audio Bible.
I like a soft leatherbound type of Bible to use for everyday use and to take with me to church and Bible study. I don’t like to lug around a huge study Bible–mama ain’t got room for that in the diaper bag! Keep reading for my list of Bible versions and types of Bibles I recommend!
2. A journal and pen — I like to have a journal and pen handy when I am reading my Bible so I can jot down notes, ask questions, write out Bible verse and prayers. Any journal or pen will do just fine. I tend to start one spiritual journal and fill completely up over the course of a year or so, instead of using different journals for different studies.
My favorite type of journal to use are these lined Decomposition Notebooks. They are available in a lot of independent bookstores or can be ordered online.
I have these colorful, no bleed journaling pens and really like them to keep things colorful and fun while I’m writing down my Bible study “aha moments”. But, just as with the journal–you don’t need anything special to get started. Any old pen or basic notebook will do.
3. A plan — If you approach reading the Bible with zero plan or forethought into what you will be reading, you will probably be lost and confused quickly! Don’t just flip to a page , close your eyes, point to a verse and start reading! You wouldn’t read any other book like that would you?
You can grab my FREE Vibrant Quiet Time Bundle to help you read, think and pray through a passage of Scripture. These questions I have been asking myself and journaling as I read my Bible and they have hugely grown my faith. PLUS there are prayer journal pages and prayer request list to help grow our prayer life.
Here are a few simple Bible reading plans you could use:
- Read a Proverb that corresponds with the day of the month, write or notice things that could apply to you today.
- Read through the book of John, writing down things you see about Jesus.
- Do a Bible study around a topic. See some of my favorite Bible studies here!
- Use an app to find a plan that you like (more on that below!)
- Complete my Claiming the Promises of God Bible study
4. A heart posture of a humility and worship — I can remember when my daughter trotted off to Kindergarten, she came home surprised to have learned something new! The most important thing you can bring into your study of God’s Word is a heart posture of humility and worship.
Humility recognizes that you are the learner in the situation. Unlike my daughter who thinks at 6 years old she has life figured out, you know that you are lost, unsure, and in need of the nourishment God is eager to pour out on you through the Bible!
Worship is something we all do–we admire, we become fans, we give our time, attention, and income to things we love. An attitude of worship is a posture of awe and adoration and excitement that you get to be in a close, daddy-daughter, best friend relationship with Creator of the Universe who made you and loves you unconditionally.
Where should I begin to study the Bible?
If you’ve never cracked the Bible open before in your life. I would start reading in the gospels, that is Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They just to the right of the middle in most Bibles. Or you know, you can use the index at the front!
These are the books that capture the time of Jesus on earth. They are beautiful, insightful and historical and honestly each time I read them Jesus just captivates me. You will read familiar stories and hear them again and again from four different perspectives.
Use your journal to write down things you notice about Jesus. How is he different than you expected? How is he like what you’ve heard about him? Write down questions you have and take them to a trusted pastor or Christian friend (maybe the person who told you to try reading the Bible?).
You can also drop them in the comments if you don’t have a relationship with a Christian mentor you trust. I may not be able to get to them all, but I will do my best.
Try talking to Jesus. That’s called prayer in Christian/spiritual-speak, but it’s really just talking to God. You don’t have to start a certain way, you don’t have to be confident, just start talking.
“Hi Jesus, I read today about you healing a man that was blind. That’s kind of crazy to think about. Some people that are Christians seem to be all about healing and it seems fake, but it didn’t seem fake when you did it. I don’t know. I’m still not sure if it’s real, but you seemed really kind and like you noticed people and I like that about you. I’d like to be like that too….a person that helps others. Thanks for listening. -Amen”
(Amen is typically how people end prayers and how Jesus modeled praying, but it’s not magic and you can end your prayer with bye or talk soon or anything.) You can also write out your prayers if that feels more comfortable. (There is a spot for writing down prayers in the Bible Study Worksheet too!)
Choosing a Bible
What Bible translation should I choose?
You may be surprised to learn that not all Bibles and Bible verses sound exactly the same. This is because the Bible wasn’t written in English, but in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.
The first English version of the Bible was the King James Bible published in 1611 and funded by a king of England. Like most things written in the 1600s it can be a bit difficult for a modern reader to understand, but may be familiar to you if you’ve heard the Bible quoted by your Grandma or in a movie (like the scene with Linus from A Charlie Brown Christmas).
In the 1970s Bible scholars wrote (and continue to write) newer versions that take into account modern English language and better tools for understanding the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts. You can learn more about the history of the Bible translation into English here.
There are many opinions on what version of the Bible is best. I’m not here to debate, just share the Bible study tools I have used to grow my faith over the years.
Overall I like the New International Version a lot. I also like the English Standard Version. Both are reliable and easy to read and follow the original text closely in translation.
I’ve read from both these Bibles for a long time, so sometimes when I’m reading something and it feels like I’m just skimming because “I know this” I switch things up and read from the New Living Translation or The Message.
These versions are more “thought for thought” paraphrases, so I don’t read either as my sole source of study, but they are definitely helpful and impactful, especially if you are just beginning your spiritual journey or would just like a Bible study tool to help you see things with fresh eyes.
What type of Bible should I choose?
I recommend choosing a study Bible as a great tool to help grow your faith! Although I love my lighter weight Bible, if I had just one (I have an almost embarrassingly large collection of Bibles) I would choose my NIV Study Bible.
I like this because it is a translation that closely follows the original text and is easy to read. The study Bible has notes that run along the bottom of the page with helpful commentary. It also has introductions to each book of the Bible telling you about the author, date written, historical background, book themes and more.
There is also a large concordance in the back where you can look up, every use of the word “peace” in the Bible if you want to, for example, study the word peace or look up a Biblical character like King David.
Some other great Bibles to consider:
She Reads Truth Study Bible — Beautiful devotionals and reading plans in this Bible.
Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible — This is very nerdy; if you’re into history you’ll like all the extra info!
Journaling Bible — This Bible has wide margins so you can write notes or creative art journaling right in the Bible.
Truly picking a Bible comes down a lot to preference. You can go browse Bibles in person at a local bookstore so you can get a feel for weight, page thickness, and how each one reads. Don’t get caught in the weeds though. Just pick one and start reading! 🙂
What is a good Bible study app?
If you’re looking for a good Bible study app you have come to the right place! I love that there are so many awesome apps that can literally put a Bible college worth of resources at your fingertips!
Youversion Bible App — Super easy to use, tons of translations, Bible reading plans and a community aspect that can link you to your friends who are also reading the Bible so you can complete studies together!
She Reads Truth/He Reads Truth App — Paid and free plans that cover a variety of books and topics. Usually designed with short Scripture, devotional and response areas.
Blue Letter Bible App — If you’re ready to dive into the original meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words, cross reference what you’re reading with other parts of the Bible and get sermon notes from all over the world– this is the deep dive app for you!
Pray As You Go App — I love this app for busy days when I may not have time to open my Bible and sit down for a longer reading session. Listen to music, Scripture reading, and meditations while driving to work, folding laundry or doing dishes.
There are so many great Bible study tools available to us today! What a blessing to have so many rich resources to know and worship God in our daily lives.
True vibrance in our in our everyday messy moments starts with being in a relationship with our heavenly Father. I know for me if I start my day with Jesus, studying His Word, praying, meditating on His characteristics, and journaling– I’m more able to be a patient mom, a kind spouse and a considerate friend. Bit by bit, being with Jesus changes me. I hope it does for you too, friend.
Don’t forget to grab your printable VIBRANT QUIET TIME BUNDLE too!