Do you wish you had more time for Bible study? Either for yourself or for when you prepare to teach?
Do you wish you were able to understand the Greek and Hebrew words of the original manuscripts?
Would you like to know more about the archeology or history of the Bible?
And would you like to do all this without an expensive and time-consuming seminary education?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, I’ve got some great ways for you to accomplish all these goals in our lesson today—Online Bible Study Tools, easy-to-use, in-depth results.
Below is the podcast, a transcript of it and inserted into the transcript are the video overviews of the sites mentioned.
There are individual short videos for each site and comments on them after the videos. CLICK HERE to go directly to the playlist of them.
Following is a video overview of the various resources:
Like many of you, I feel like I never have enough time to do all the study and preparation I would like for the Bible classes I teach. There is always one more resource, one more commentary, one more word study I wish I had time to look at.
Though that frustration will most likely never totally go away in this earthly life, I have found some tools that enable me to do a much greater depth of study in a shorter time than I was able to in the past. I’m going to share them with you in this brief audio overview of a set of online tools I use continuously as I do my preparation for Bible teaching. Instead of one long video, below are links to short video previews of each of the tools, that include a brief tutorial and demonstration on how to use each one.
I’m not doing this to market or promote any of these, the Bible805 ministry DOES NOT get affiliate or other payments for telling you about them. I don’t do advertising, affiliate marketing, or sponsorship deals in any way for anything I talk about or recommend. I have simply benefited greatly from using the sites I’m sharing here and I’ve promised people in my Bible classes for far too long that I would demonstrate how to use them—finally I’m fulfilling that promise now.
Do check them out, they are really easy to use and will make a great difference in your studies of the Bible.
The YouVersion Bible app
This is the home of the YouVersion Bible app, which is my favorite tool to download onto my phone and to listen to the Bible.
Throughout most of human history, listening was the primary way people took in content from the Bible and even though we can read it today, listening can add another level to our understanding.
The audio versions of the Bible are also a great tool for people who either don’t like to or are unable to read, plus we can listen anywhere, working out, driving, cooking, whatever—God’s Word can fill our minds.
You can listen in the KJV if you want the majestic sound of it; or listen in the Living or Message translation if you’d like a more contemporary version.
You can also download the app to your phone and read the Bible on it. I find that especially helpful when waiting in line. Instead of getting irritated or frustrated, I read a few verses in the Bible and I find my perspective shifts. I can internally praise God and pray for the people around me rather than internally ranting at why the store doesn’t have more checkout lines open.
This is my go-to site to copy and paste passages into lessons—MS Word Docs, PowerPoint, or whatever I’m using. You can also copy and paste verses directly into Canva if you are using that to create Bible images or social media.
You also have your choice of many translations to do this. The site excels in making it easy for you to compare Bible translations. For individual verses, can enter a verse reference—it shows it and below the verse, you can click a link to go to a listing of that verse in dozens of translations. It makes it super easy to read and compare on one screen. Not only do you get a greater understanding of the verse by reading the various translations, but this gives you a good selection of versions to share with the people you are teaching. I will often share several translations to help them understand a verse better.
The tool I just mentioned only works with single verses. If you want to compare translations of passages, you can choose up to five translations that will be compared side by side. This is very helpful in understanding or studying a passage.
Again, you can copy and paste what you want to refer to in your lesson.
The above tools are free on the site. For a small fee, you can upgrade to the PLUS version which does away with the most distracting ads and gives you access to dozens of commentaries, study Bibles, dictionaries, and other tools. What is particularly helpful with an online tool like this (in addition to saving you hundreds of dollars in buying the books) is that the software automatically links you to related passages in the study books.
If for example, you are studying a book of the Bible or topic and click on “Resources” it will immediately link you to the information on that particular book immediately and you can go directly to any of their resources to see what they have to say about it.
This enables you to read a large number of commentaries and look up words in Bible dictionaries and other tools in a short period of time. You can also copy and paste these resources into your notes. I have found this very helpful when I want to share with my class a quote from one of the experts or an insightful Bible dictionary or encyclopedia definition (and again all without retyping).
The BlueLetter Bible
This is my go-to site for looking up the Hebrew or Greek meanings of words in the Bible. It is super quick and easy to do that (though not necessarily intuitive, which is why I did a video to demonstrate it for you).
In summary, you enter in a passage, it takes you to it and the Strong’s number (a numbering system for every Greek and Hebrew word in the Bible) appears beside each word. If you click on it, it takes you to the Strong’s number and not only do you get a definition, but it has Vines and Thayer’s Lexicons which provide invaluable additional information on the word and various usages. It also shows you where and how the word is used elsewhere in the Bible.
It is the BEST resource I know of for an in-depth study of Biblical words or passages. Using it will answer many questions people have about confusing passages.
In addition, the listing of the verse also links you to a selection of commentaries. There are far fewer than the links and resources available on the BibleGateway, but these are free and some very useful.
There are many other resources on the site (articles, hymns, maps, etc.) but the word studies are the primary way I use it.
One bit of personal trivia—many years ago I had one of the first Blue Letter Bible CD’s—what a wonder that was—it could hyperlink verses (hence the name “Blue-Letter” Bible, because back then all hyperlinks were blue). I was scared of it and never really figured out how to use it. It took them getting in online for me to take advantage of the wonderful resource it is.
There are many, many great resources on this site in the form of commentaries, articles, and sermons, plus an extensive collection of maps and illustrations by many solid Bible teachers. However, they can be quite difficult to find as the site is not indexed or organized very well.
Sadly, it’s gotten worse in the last few years as the creator of the site has added more and more material and not improved the indexing.
Why then do I recommend it? Because, if you have time to search and explore, it has some wonderful resources that I haven’t found free elsewhere including Barclay’s commentaries and word studies which are fantastic, quotes by D.L. Moody, and various other lesser-known commentaries that are still highly beneficial. The free map collection is one of the best online.
In addition to being prepared to spend time on the site, I also HIGHLY recommend that if you find something useful you immediately copy and paste it into a Word or other doc you have open to take notes as it may be difficult to go back to the section. In the past I’d find something that was great—not copy it right away and spend hours trying to find it again.
The video will give you a brief tour of it that might help.
Of course, you need to use this site with discernment for Bible Study preparation, but it is a wealth of great material to help you prepare for Bible teaching. The site is most useful for background history and archeology to give you in-depth background and insight into Biblical times.
I found invaluable information in the past about Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham’s birthplace—not only did it have incredible images, but the history of its discovery, fun historical tidbits such as that the main archeologist on the site, Leonard Woolley, had a young assistant, T.E. Lawrence (you can see a picture of them together) holding up an artifact and that Agatha Christie met her second husband Max Malloran on the dig at Ur.
I also learned more serious things like the wealth of the city and that it was a sophisticated, rich, urban environment, not at all like the desert backwater I’d imagined. Wikipedia also showed the royal tombs of UR and how dozens of the leader’s servants were poisoned as they stood to be buried with their king. This realistic view of the world Abraham was called out of adds greatly to understanding his story.
Wikipedia is also an excellent resource for copyright-free artwork for you to use in your lessons, communications, or personal study. Many of the incredible Biblical illustrations by James Tissot are available as copyright-free Public Domain images as well as Public Domain reproductions of many of the older Biblical Masters’ paintings, all of which work well to illustrate PowerPoint and other visual lessons we prepare.
Finally, I hope you try these sites
Bible.com, the BibleGateway, The BlueLetter Bible, Precept Austin, Wikipedia—I know there are many other online sites, but you can access all of these for free. Do go to www.Bible805.com for links to the videos for a visual view and briefly how to use them.
There is so much more to these sites than simply serving as time-savers and keeping me from making embarrassing typos because I tried to copy a verse or passage too quickly, lousy typist that I am. They have enabled me to more deeply and fully understand God’s Word and in doing that get to know my God Better. My prayer is they will do that for you.