Tag Archives: Tools for Bible Study

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!


Veracity’s Top 10 Scorers, 2015 Edition

Veracity's Top Scorer Award

It’s time again for that most prized of all personal discipleship honors, Veracity’s Top 10 Scorer Awards. (I know, I know…I can hardly stand the excitement either!)

There are lots of great resources for personal discipleship on the web and in bookstores, but these are the sources Clarke and I cite most frequently, and for good reason. They are the players who consistently “put the puck in the net.” No skating around the issues—just on-target discipleship. We listen to their podcasts, read their books, watch their debates, and benefit greatly from their teaching and personal examples. We don’t agree with everything each of them says or believes, and they wouldn’t want us to. But we are blessed by having studied them. They are, in our opinion, among the most influential proponents of the Christian faith today.

This year’s list includes pastors, philosophers, professors, theologians, apologists, an astrophysicist, several world-class scholars, some exceptionally gifted teachers, and a cop. (As in the past there are more than 10 winners on our Top 10 Scorers list because they all deserve the award.) Continue reading


Discipleship Candy

The Promise and the Blessing

The Promise and the Blessing: a Historical Survey of the Old and New Testaments, by Michael A. Harbin

One of the really cool benefits of writing a blog like Veracity is all the backdoor sharing. People are constantly bringing things to our attention or sharing some thought, question or resource from their devotional lives.

This week I feel like a kid in a candy store. One of Marion’s coworkers loaned me her copy of The Promise and the Blessing: A Historical Survey of the Old and New Testaments, by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. I haven’t been able to put it down.

Dr. Harbin’s text is used in Old and New Testament ‘survey’ courses in colleges and seminaries. What makes it special is that it ties all the biblical text to the timeline of Judeo-Christian history while maintaining a brisk flow from Genesis to Revelation. The pieces are thoroughly connected. It’s packed full of illustrations and references and has no qualms about taking the reader off on interesting tangents with sidebars. Theological topics are introduced and adequately summarized, with fair treatment given to opposing doctrinal views.

One of my litmus tests for any resource is how much fresh and useful information it contains. I can’t seem to turn anywhere in this text that I don’t get new information or have the parts of the Bible presented in a fresh light.

Normally I advocate electronic versions of books, particularly when they can be accessed in the cloud with tools like Kindle Cloud Reader. Kindle puts all of my books in a library that I can access with any device, including my iPad, iPhone, and computer. The upshot of reading this way is that you can highlight and bookmark the text, and search it electronically. It makes books very portable and eliminates the need to flip through pages manually trying to find some passage you barely remember.

However…The Promise and the Blessing is such a beautifully composited book I recommend buying the hardcopy version, which you can do for minimal expense by clicking here. If you’d like to preview the book before you buy it, here is a link to the Browse Inside page.

Enjoy!

 

HT: Liz Marshall

 


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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