Tag Archives: Bible Study Tools

Blue Letter Bible

When it comes to researching the Bible, people often call me a geek. And they’re right. I have little patience for flipping through tomes and trying to remember where I read something. Give me a multi-tabbed Internet browser and an electronically searchable document every time. For casual research (on the couch or Barcalounger) an iPad does the trick nicely, thank you. The guys at Google should be knighted or something for their contributions to society. Put the inventors of the Kindle Reader app right behind. Gotta love Amazon theology for instantly accessible books. Have trouble remembering things? Try Evernote. Bible study has never been so accessible, easy and convenient.

But things evolve rapidly in cyberspace.You can get used to a favorite tool, and miss out on something even better. Likewise, you can try one that is in an early stage of gestation, be unimpressed, and fail to see improvements that are rolled out later on. So it is with Bible reference sites.

For years, I enjoyed using a popular Bible search tool that eventually became thick with advertisements. It failed to keep up with modern resources, instead offering 19th-century commentaries that rarely satisfied. Friends recommended the Blue Letter Bible site and app to me a couple of years ago, but I just didn’t like the interface.

Things change.

My go-to searching tool for Bible study has become the Blue Letter Bible. It has a very convenient and well-thought-out interface that connects resources in a powerful way. Aesthetically it’s a bit like looking at the guts of an engine, but once you get used to it, you’ll have tremendous power at your fingertips. For those who copy and paste Scripture into documents and would like to avoid having to manually remove each verse number and then type the citation after you paste, Blue Letter Bible’s copy and paste options are amazingly flexible and powerful. Seems like a simple thing, but that’s what brought me back to retry the Blue Letter Bible.

Wow, have they delivered a lot of smart features! But don’t take my word for it. Watch this five-minute video tour then try it out for yourself. Enjoy!

12 Apostles

The fate of the 12 Apostles is an interesting topic, and many arguments supporting the reliability of Scripture are built upon the martyrdom of the Apostles as described in extra-Biblical sources and apocryphal writings.  Many of these sources are wildly imaginative and unreliable, but we can learn from them nonetheless.

Sometimes you don’t have to go very far to check things out.  Several months ago, the Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) ran a lead article about the recent discovery of the Tomb of the Apostle Philip in Hierapolis, Turkey, which was updated in this January 2012 Bible History Daily post. The original article mentioned that an interesting artifact depicting the recently uncovered site was on display in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  This artifact is a sixth-century bronze bread stamp that was found at Hierapolis.  Details about the artifact are summarized in this Discovery News post.  This was too good to pass up, so several friends and I made a day trip to Richmond and came back with the following photograph (shot through the glass with my pocket camera).

Apostle Philip Bread Stamp

Sixth-century bronze bread stamp bearing the image of the Apostle Philip

The 4-inch bread stamp labels the figure in Greek as Hagios Philippos (St. Philip), and another Greek inscription around the edge quotes from Isaiah 6:3: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord of hosts; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.”

You can chase down the fascinating details of this news story—which is still unfolding as the archaeologists continue to work and report their findings—by clicking on the hyperlinks above, and gain insight into what happened to the Apostle Philip (and Bartholomew) after he accepted his great commission.  But that’s not the point of this post.

The point is that Biblical archaeology is a vibrant, richly productive, and ever-changing field—full of ongoing discoveries that shed light on the Bible.  A little effort can go a long way to discovering new, rich insights to the veracity of Scripture.  And sometimes great discoveries are just a click or two on a hyperlink away.

Would you like to see more of these discoveries?  How many of them are there?  Lots!

Sometimes you can Google your way to great information, but sometimes there is more beneath the surface than any search engine can succinctly summarize in response to your search query.  This blog is all about sharing resources, so here are two that provide an ocean of archaeological discoveries for your consideration.  And they both happen to be actively sharing late-breaking information on the cutting edge of Biblical archaeology.

The first source packs great, professional teaching into a searchable, fascinating, contemporary catalog of discoveries.  It’s called (oddly enough) Ferrell’s Travel Blog and the name belies the wealth of top-drawer research that Professor Ferrell Jenkins has tied up in this site.  Spend some time here, and you will discover an indispensable addition to your Disciple’s toolbox.  Rather than just casually browsing through the posts, try jumping off on the side links, and use the Search box to investigate any topic you like.

The second site is also a blog (which I found from Ferrell’s Travel Blog).  It’s called the BiblePlaces.com Blog, and in addition to its energetic reporting of contemporary topics, their treatment and responses to ongoing controversies in the field of Biblical archaeology are impressive.  They are high integrity, and out in front of late-breaking events.  Another impressive addition to your toolbox.

Follow both of these blogs and you will be richly blessed.  Enjoy!

Tools for Bible Study

If you want to accomplish just about anything you need tools.

Just a few years ago a disciple’s tools included lots of large books: concordances, commentaries, Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, multiple translations of the Bible, atlases, classic references (e.g. the writings of Josephus, Fox’s Book of Martyrs), modern authors (e.g. Oswald Chambers, Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, Charles Spurgeon), and so on.  Our teachers had great discipline in studying the Bible.

Just as technology has revolutionized everything else, it has certainly made self-directed Bible study an incredibly easy and enjoyable undertaking.  No more tomes or trips to libraries—just videos, hyperlinks, electronically searchable texts, and a limitless wealth of free, digital references and information.  So how do we make sense of all the available material and keep our study focused? Yup, tools.

We have so many great tools and resources to share that this topic deserves its own category.  Welcome to our ‘Tools’ category.

You can use our Toolbox page as a general starting point—and look for more tools in future posts—but for now here are a couple of videos that highlight two powerful resources: BibleStudyTools.com and Evernote.  BibleStudyTools.com is my first stop when searching anything in the Bible.  Nothing else comes close to its’ ease of use and powerful, linked, filtered search capabilities.  Evernote is an amazing device that remembers everything and helps you recall anything quickly and effortlessly. Evernote has great application beyond Bible study, but it is also amazingly helpful for this purpose.

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