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FREE & FABULOUS: Bible Study Tips-Part 4

Hello & Happy Holiday weekend! Before we jump into the FREE & FABULOUS series, I feel it is necessary to take a moment to pause…

The sorrow, pain, disbelief, anger, fear, and heartbreak are overwhelming. Locally, the week began with two less people and now the week ends with the loss of over 20 lives on a state level. For me, I have very little words-the grief leaves me speechless. While studying Amos this week, I read “prayer is a powerful privilege” and that was made evident through the prayers of Amos. I will cling to the faith that our prayers for all involved and effected by these shooting incidents will be provided the greatest level of comfort, healing, and hope. Father God, hear our prayers.

It was through loss and trials for half a decade that brought me to the place where I am today. Although I never want anyone to experience the deep dark pit and pain, it produced an amazing treasure and drive. It developed a steadfast love for God’s Word like never before and sparked a spiritual maturity ministry, Refining. May the LORD be glorified in all things!

Thanks to technology-we have plethora Bible study aids at our fingertips! Some are simple, easy to find, and user friendly while others take a little more know how.

We have been taking a few minutes after our Monday night online Bible study classes and investigating one resource a week. This week I shared a complicated website I use for Greek/Hebrew word study. Once I saw their reactions, I knew Bible study tip #4 would NOT be this one. 😊    

So…drum roll please…Tip #4 has a fun name-Bible Hub! This study source has over 15 versions of the Bible. It has NIV, NLT, AMP, and ESV, most used ones by our online participants. It is also a multilingual resource!

Let’s dig in.

WHAT IS IT?  It is a great FREE website, or you can download the FREE app. They refer to themselves as an online Bible study suite because they have concordances, commentaries, encyclopedias, dictionaries, sermons, timelines, atlas, devotionals, etc. Bible Hub promotes its site as a quick reference to topical, Greek, and Hebrew study tools. The resource itself is elementary in its layout because everything offered is represented on the main page. Don’t be afraid of the acronyms-just hover over them and they reveal exactly what they are.

What captures me the most is their mission:

1) Increase the visibility and accessibility of the Scriptures online.
2) Provide free access to Bible study tools in many languages.
3) Promote the Gospel of Christ through the learning, study, and application of God’s word.

WHY I USE IT? This website gives me an easy-to-use online resource to ‘unfold’ the main verse I want to research more throughout my week. First, I select SUM to read the complete summary of the book. Next, I click on OUT and receive a complete outline of the book. How easy is that! This provides me an understanding of where this verse falls within the overall layout of the message on the Bible book.

Then, I compare versions of the passage on one page by selecting Parallel. It also provides context and cross references for the selected verse. Finally, there is the word study option. You will either see Hebrew or Greek as an option. Once I click on this, the entire verse breaks down into word parts and the original language, spelling, and meaning appears. (WHAT? All on one site!)

Of course, the website doesn’t stop there. There are sermons, concordances, atlas, commentaries, etc. available to help deepen your understanding.

I have grown to love this site because it aligns with my spiritual discipline of drilling down into a verse to discover meaning, cross references, original language, Biblical examples, attributes of God, and direct personal understanding. (Sidenote: I am invested in Scripture Notebooking) It is a wonderful supplement to my study Bible and is not complicated to utilize.

HOW TO USE IT?

TRY IT: https://biblehub.com/

  1. Go to the site. Click on your preferred translation. Then type in Zechariah 1:3 in the search box. Hit enter.
  2. Now click on the word Parallel. You will see different versions, context (verse before and after), cross references, a commentary, then the verse broken into the original language/meaning (Hebrew).

What do you think? Can you believe it is all in one place? Don’t forget to try the SUM and OUT features. Remember the Bible is NOT in chronological order, so the TIM feature will give you a timeline so you can quickly see where the Bible book falls accordingly.

No special training needed for this my friends. All you need is a little time to click and discover. There is much more to investigate but I am happy to find this website mainly because of the word study it provides.

Let the Holy Spirit guide you as you intentionally drill down into a highlighted verse each week. I would encourage you to approach God’s Word daily by expecting a beautiful revelation of hope, a loving guidance to life, and a new depth of understanding of GOD, the one who loves you the most.

Hug those in your life…find joy in every moment…treasure your relationship with the LORD!

Happy Bible Study journey!!   Until we meet again.

Personal Study of the Bible: I Don’t Know How!

Is there a deficiency in teaching when it comes to Bible Study skills?

Have you ever wanted to do something, but didn’t know how? Think about it-roller blading, swimming, driving, etc. For me, I have always dreamed of ice skating. However, I don’t know how! AND I don’t dare try to do so on my own! WHY? I feel incompetent and inadequate.

I would dare to say most of us have to experience some basic type of instruction and training to learn a new skill. Think about this…We attend school most of our childhood to simply become a productive citizen and function in society. Seems as though this alone takes 13 to 17+ years!

So why do we just assume people know how to study the Bible on their own? God’s Word is the #1 life manual, yet there is little emphasis placed on training others how to study the Bible in many churches past and present.

NO matter our level of knowledge or experience, we are forever students of Scripture, growing in relationship with the Father, and strengthening our faith day by day. Therefore, why not come together in unity and share how to study God’s Word? When will we see the importance of teaching others basic Bible study skills? Will it be time consuming? Could it take more than a year? Is it time for a change?

TRANSPARENCY: I have been in church all my life. Never was I taught how to truly study the Bible and utilize it as a helpmate. Even as an adult I struggled with digging deeper, knowing how to go from text to life transformation, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead, infusing God’s beautiful guide into my everyday living, and so much more… I didn’t know how! I heard the suggestions from the pulpit, but no one ever got down to the “nitty gritty” and shared their strategies nor took the time to teach the “how to” of personal Bible study.

Out of sheer desperation for half a decade, I searched high and low to teach myself how to study and infuse God’s Word. I watched videos, enrolled in “how to” courses, read a ton of books, and tried a multitude of things! I refused to accept my deficiency and I took full ownership of my training needs.

The realization of my lack of training has placed a fire within me for others who struggle knowing how to study the Bible on their own. I never want anyone to experience my feelings of inadequacy and lack of skills.  

Please understand—I am NOT an expert in the field by far!!! I am just an ordinary person with lots of experience-failures & successes, who has a heart to walk alongside others and share some of the tried-and-true methods to studying the Bible on your own. This is how Refining Ministry began.

Refining Ministry strives to bless others by showing them how to go beyond the text. We know the importance of sharing simple Bible study tools and methods to assist in transitioning from accumulating knowledge to living under Biblical authority and encountering a true and lasting transformation the LORD promises!

We would love to hear from you and your thoughts. It is our hope that you will prayerfully approach this subject and ponder its importance regarding growing in relationship with God for all levels.

Does your church offer “How to Study the Bible” classes? Is this something you can facilitate? Would you like to increase your own “how to” knowledge? How can we each take ownership in a change for future generations?

Come join one of our retreats, workshops, or online Bible studies. Reach out to us if you might have an interest in sponsoring a workshop in your area. Let us share with you some of the ways we have found to go beyond the text and keep the spiritual journey fresh and personal.

We believe GOD IS…the most valuable investment along with His Word!

We cannot wait to equip you with ways to enhance your personal Bible study.

FREE & FABULOUS: Bible Study Tips-Part 3

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And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Colossians 1:9 ESV)

Welcome back to our FREE & FABULOUS series! I might should have entitled this Part #1/2 so it would line up in number order in which I typically use these tidbits to study. 😊  SOO…with that being said-we hope you enjoy this series of Bible Study tips and use them in any order you like.

Tip #3 (or tip #1/2) is for anyone who wants a general overview to begin a study for an entire book of the Bible. I enjoy having a brief introduction to the author, timeframe, location, original audience, etc. Since the Bible isn’t in chronological order, I tend to need a bit of background information and overview to get started. Thanks to technology and wonderful resources, these things can be available at a click of a button!

Let me introduce BibleProject About BibleProject | BibleProject™

WHAT IS IT?  It is a great FREE resource for a quick overview to any book of the Bible by going direct to their website. Also, they are easily assessable through YouTube OR you can experience these animated snapshots through the YouVersion app on a mobile device.

These videos are valuable resources because they are understandable, quick, and engaging. This non-profit organization created a simple way for Scripture to be introduced without any religious denominational twist. The visual storytelling resource has only been around since 2014, but their audience has grown tremendously to over two-million viewers!!! WOW!  

WHY I USE IT? I am far from a history buff! As a matter of fact, it is one of my least favorite things. However, once I began my journey of strengthening my relationship with God through the authority of His Word, my outlook on Biblical history changed completely. The quick summary helps me connect with the passage by knowing the purpose of the book, the main message, a short outline, and the writer’s delivery. These animated stories allow me to visualize the Scripture, the theme, and details which I feel I might otherwise miss through just reading through the book on my own.

It sets the tone for me. My mind begins to ask questions and my curiosity delivers motivation to dig deeper. Honestly, it is like a trailer to a new movie for me! It seems to always be action packed with a plot which leads my heart, eyes, ears, mind, and spirit to Jesus.

HOW TO USE IT?

  1. Click on Watch: Bible Book Overview Videos | BibleProject™
  2. Choose Old or New Testament
  3. Select the book of the Bible
  4. A short-written summary is given for each overview. If the video goes a bit too fast for you. Pause it-replay it-take notes-remember this is a study resource to use the way you need it.

TRY IT: Choose Amos

-Did you picture Amos looking like this?

-Can you feel the complacency from the way Jeroboam was displayed?

-What were your thoughts when the chapters were broke into three categories? Will this help you digest the material?

-Were there unknowns or concerns the video exposed?

This is what you should see:

Now this is just the beginning to Bible Project’s offerings. They have information on how to read the Bible, themes, word studies, visual commentaries, book collection videos, podcasts, bible studies, and so much more!!!

EXAMPLE OF A BIBLE STUDY: Since we have been on a journey in 2022 Discovering God Beyond the Text with our retreats, workshops, and online studies, the bible study concerning God’s attributes captured my attention. Here is the information given on the website, “Would you and your group like to learn more about God’s faithfulness? Download the BibleProject app and explore the Character of God Study, where we dive into five attributes of God that are repeated throughout the story of the Bible.” After reading this introduction, Refining may need to plan a Fall Kick-Off with this study! Would you be interested?

Once again, here is another FREE resource jam packed with a visual type of learning based solely on God’s Word! For me, it is always a welcoming way to gear up for another full book study of the Bible. It has been extremely helpful in our Major Wisdom through Minor Prophets series.

Do you have a consistent group where you strictly study God’s Word chapter by chapter each week? Share these Bible study tips with them.

If you are looking for a group, email us at refiningjourney@gmail.com. We meet every Monday night via zoom for only one hour beginning at 6:00 p.m. (CST) TOO BUSY to interact-driving home from work during this time-delivering kids to events-cooking dinner-no problem-hop on and listen. The LORD knows life can be demanding, but He loves it when we are creative and intentional in the ways we choose to know Him more.

We are truly here for you. It is our desire to walk alongside you and grow in knowledge and faith with the LORD.

Happy Bible Study journey! We will chat soon.    

FREE & FABULOUS: Bible Study Tips-Part 2

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But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 ESV

Hello. Thank you for joining us as we continue our FREE & FABULOUS series! Tip #1 we put into practice immediately with our Amos study group. It was delightful to find various translations of Chapters 1 & 2 as we individually studied the passage prior to Monday night’s meeting. What an amazing time to live—we have a world full of technology at our fingertips and can deepen our knowledge of Scripture at our own convenience. AND-most of these online study tools are FREE!

Tips #2 is for those who want to dig deep into the meaning of God’s Word. If you are like me, I want to consult a commentary mainly when a particular passage captures my attention. However, I don’t particularly want to always consult the set we were given years ago.  

Let me introduce Study Light. https://www.studylight.org/commentary.html

WHAT IS IT?  It is a verse-by-verse Bible commentary where you can search for specific Scripture and have a large collection of commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, and encyclopedias at the click of a button. Some of the Bible commentaries include Clarke, Bridgeway, Coffman, Henry, Barnes, Calvin, Smith, Gill, Kelly, etc. There are over 100 different commentaries used to build this resource. It does have pastoral resources if some of you are leading a Bible study over a particular book of the Bible and need some ideas, sermon illustrations, and the like. There are suggested daily reading plans and daily devotions if this is something you are needing. The site offers solid, foundational material for studying God’s Word.

WHY I USE IT? This online resource has become a new love of mine. In the past I have searched the internet for commentaries, sermons, and videos based on the chapter I was reading/studying. I like this site because I can drill down into the chapter verse-by-verse and receive some of the world’s greatest Bible scholar’s comments all in one location. I have enjoyed finding meaning over a particular verse which stood out to me each week. (Sidenote: I use a Scripture Notebooking plan) It is user friendly and doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles to sidetrack my attention. Although I have my favorite commentaries, this site has given me the opportunity to see Scripture through other’s eyes which I probably would not have entertained/found/read on my own.

HOW TO USE IT?

  1. Click on Bible Study Tools. Then choose your resource (commentary, concordance, dictionary, encyclopedia)
  2. When choosing Bible Commentary-now click on the book of the Bible, the chapter, and then the verse.

TRY IT: Choose Bible Commentary-New Testament 1 John-Chapter 1-Verse 1

Scroll down and look at Barnes’ Notes. You will the verse is broken down into small parts and each is explained in depth. Most of the commentaries give you cross references as well as other Bible study tools to use. I really like this style of commentary because it reminds me a lot of Verse Mapping.  

This is what you should see:

Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible

That which was from the beginning – There can be no doubt that the reference here is to the Lord Jesus Christ, or the “Word” that was made flesh. See the notes at John 1:1. This is such language as John would use respecting him, and indeed the phrase “the beginning,” as applicable to the Lord Jesus, is unique to John in the writings of the New Testament: and the language here may be regarded as one proof that this Epistle was written by him, for it is just such an expression as “he” would use, but not such as one would be likely to adopt who should attempt to palm off his own writings as those of John.

This is one you need to experience. Play around with it a bit and see what commentaries you like best. Like I said, this is a new resource for me! There is a wealth of knowledge on this site. It has been around for over 20 years so I am sure you will find a lot more offered than the small tip I have shared. I will continue tapping into this free resource as I drill down weekly into my Holy Spirit guided Scripture study method.

Let us know what you liked about Study Light.

Happy Bible Study journey!!   

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