Originally published Saturday, 17 March 2012.
These are A Few of My Favorite Things, an on-going, once-a-month (or so) series that sheds some light on, well, my favorite items throughout my home. (To read through all posts in the series, click here.)
In this Bible Study Resources Edition, I'll be looking at five of the resources that I find most essential to nurturing a deep quiet time with the Lord and his Word each day.
1. Life Application Study Bible (New Living Translation): This is the study Bible I currently use in my daily Bible reading. I have been using it consistently for almost a decade and have come to love how it provides a great mix of insights from how to apply what I'm reading to my own faith to gaining a better understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of what's in the text. You can read a more in-depth review of this study Bible that I wrote about here.
2. Devotion Journal: I've found that it's much more fruitful for me to take notes while I'm reading through the Bible or praying, so I recently created a devotion journal where I can write out my thoughts, prayers and notes all in one place. There are sections devoted to a variety of categories, which helps me be able to go back and see what I learned about a certain section I was studying or read through prayers and see how God has answered them. I wrote more about creating my devotion journal (along with instructions for making your own) here.
3. Seminary Lectures and Podcasts from iTunes U: Thanks to iTunes U, you can download lectures from a variety of seminaries around the country and listen to them for free. I've found this really helpful, as I've been wanting to dig deeper into certain bits of Scripture and hear insights from other scholars. Some favorites that my husband and I like to listen to come from Reformed Theological Seminary, Fuller Seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary and Covenant Theological Seminary, all of which have selected lectures available on iTunes U.
4. YouVersion: YouVersion is a free app you can download onto your computer or mobile device (I have it on my iPod) that includes hundreds of Bible translations in all different languages. I've found it helpful to have on hand when I'm reading a verse and am not quite sure what it means; I'll pull the verse up in this app and scroll through the different translations of it so that I get a better understanding of what the verse means. It's also handy to have with you on the go to be able to look things up. You can bookmark verses, use their Bible reading plans and more via the app.
5. Bible Study Workbooks: I've done a lot of Bible studies in my day, but there are a couple that I keep coming back to because they were so enriching for me: Beth Moore's Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent and Priscilla Shirer's Discerning the Voice of God. Whereas I feel like a lot of packaged Bible studies can be overly simplistic and empty, both of these were eye-opening for me and taught me so much about the Lord and my relationship with him. They both include lots of space for taking notes and engaging with the text as you go, as well as delivering deep insights and personal stories that brought the texts alive for me like never before. I've written more about the Stepping Up Bible study here and a little about Discerning the Voice of God here.
What are some of your favorite Bible study tools and resources? Anything you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments!
Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twentysomething woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."
Feel free to read more at her blog, Life Blessons.
Related Posts at Life Blessons
Psalms Bible Study Review
Making the Psalms Your Own
10 books I want to read