Encouraging God’s People to Study the Bible Better!
Welcome to the February edition of the Bible-Student-Online.org e-zine, The Encourager.
Snow, snow, snow! That's what we've been getting for the last three months here in Ohio. We have about two feet on the ground right now. I've never seen so much snow like this winter!
Shoveling, spin outs, frozen hands and dead batteries are just a few disadvantages of weather like we've been having. But there is one advantage...
People stay indoors more!
You're probably asking, "How is that a good thing!"
That gives people a little extra time to do "indoorsy" types of things. But instead of watching TV or cruising the internet...
May we offer a great alternative?...
Study more in God's Word! Even if you live in a part of the country (or world) where it's warm, there's no better time to get into the habit of studying your Bible than today. Don't put it off...do it today or you won't do it!
And we've got some great ideas this month to improve you Bible study. So...
Without further ado...
Here are some of the useful little tidbits we’re offering in this issue…
1. Tip of the Month – Supercharge your Bible study time with these great ideas.
2. Starters of the Month – Can’t find anything to study? Look here for “starter” ideas.
3. Study of the Month – We’ve posed a question that we would like you to answer by making a thorough study of the Bible. Feel free to use resources. But the applications need to be your own.
4. What’s New? – We have several projects going (and are we busy!) Find out the "new news" here at Bible-Student-Online.org!
Alright…let’s get to it!
Bible Study Tip of the Month
I have to confess, I've always been a notebook paper notes person. I've never been one to write or highlight in my Bible. I've been criticised for my feelings in this matter. But at least I have a good reason.
I have a hard enough time reading what's there. With all that other "stuff", it's hard for me to focus in on what's really important...God's Word...not my own ideas.
And I also preach a lot. So I do lots of public Bible reading. And I just can't see the text if there are a whole lot of text notes swimming in the blank areas. So I've never been a big fan of writing in my own Bible.
If you're the kind of person who does do that...terrific! There's nothing wrong with that! You're a much better student than I am if you can focus even with your Bible looking more like a giant ink blot than the Holy Bible. And I'm in no way being sarcastic.
I'm just saying I can't do that. Trying to read and study with notes and cross references screaming for my attention just isn't the way God made me. And I just have never been able to do that...that is...
No, I'm not contradicting myself. I finally found a great "compromise" to my lifelong dilemma. It's called "Bible study software." I can now make notes and highlight in the Bible on my computer. And I don't have to worry about straining my eyes to see the text on Sunday morning!
Bible study software is the single most effective renovation in Bible study since the printing press. And you can break into electronic Bible study without breaking your bank account!
Just one thing I want to make clear before we start though...
I'm not trying to "sell" any of these to you. I know different people have different needs and abilities. One person's great software platform may be another person's worst nightmare. So approach with caution! Find what works for you!
There are several free and/or inexpensive Bible study software "suites" out there. E-Sword is probably the best purely "free" software for doing personal Bible study. It has text notes and highlighting options. And it has a great lineup of classic references.
Bible Explorer is another great free Bible program. You can also upgrade it for just a few dollars and get the NKJV for it along with some other great Bible reference titles. The free version also gives you the highlighting option along with note taking capabilities.
Much to my chagrin, my favorite free software, Online Bible, doesn't have a highlighting option that I know of. But it does have many great addins the others don't have (the library is huge!) And you can still take notes, albeit the note taking abilities are limited. This software is better for reading classic works than for personal study, however.
The best free software just for pure Bible study is the free demo eBible download from Thomas Nelson's site. It doesn't have many titles (I think it has five free titles.) And it doesn't have all the capabilities the retail versions have. But I have to say the Libronix platform is probably the best Bible study tool out there. Of course you can get other Bible study collections from eBible for just a few dollars more. It's definitely worth the money spent.
And if you're really serious about Bible study software, you can purchase the Logos Bible software titles. These are also based on the Libronix platform, although these titles tend to get a bit "pricy".
I highly recommend the Libronix platform. It has the most flexible Bible study options of any of the other Bible programs. It's what I use to put together the studies on our site because, it's much faster than any of the other platforms. It definitely has the most efficient search capabilities...if you know how to use them, that is.
Highlighting has many different options including different colors, textures and study methods (including inductive study.) And these titles can be affordable if you go the eBible route.
But whatever platform you go with, use the tools these Bible study software collections provide. Read the help guides and download any tutorial videos the manufacturers provide. It pays to know your software.
Next month we'll go over several effective methods of using Bible study software (including why I now love writing in my electronic Bible!) But until then...
Keep up the good work. And...
Keep the Faith!
Bible Study Starters of the Month
Here are a couple ideas to jump-start your brain for your personal Bible study…
1. The book of Acts holds many wonderful truths about the first Church and warrants a close study. Go through the text and find some of the practices the early Church took part in (such as celebrations, prayer meetings etc.) Keep track of the verses on a separate piece of paper, recording the ideas you had about the themes in each verse. Then answer these questions...
Who took part in these practices?
Why do you think the early Church did what they did?
Does the Church of that day remind you of the local Church today?
2. When we think about God's workings in the New Testament one word in particular comes to mind..."grace." But what about the Old Testament...especially the Prophets? Was the God of Grace in the New Testament the same God of Vengence in the prophetic books of the Old?
To answer these questions, do a study on the word "grace" in the Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. You may want to use a Strongs Concordance or a good Bible study program to do this.
Bible Study Project of the Month
Put on your thinking caps this month...
It's February...the month of "love"! So this month's study is on (what a surprise) "love." Get out your Strongs Concordance or a good Bible study program and find all the references to love you can.
Keep in mind, there are different Greek and Hebrew words behind our one English word "love." Catalogue the uses of the English word "love" under groupings for each original language use. For example...
Agape...Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:35, John 3:16, etc.
Phileo...Matthew 6:5, Luke 22:47, John 5:20, etc.
But just a reminder though...
I prefer the King James Version when I study. But sometimes the King James Version uses other words (like "charity") in place of the English word "love." Because of this, you may want to use a more modern version to do this study.
Or you may want to start with each Greek and Hebrew word for the English word "love" to create a more accurate list of all it's uses in the Bible. This is a little more challenging, if you don't have a basic knowledge of biblical languages. But a good Bible study software can solve that problem.
Contact us through our “Contact Page” and tell us what you found. We're interested to hear what your studies turn up!
If you've spent time on our site this month, you've probably noticed we've added a new study..."Spiritual Warfare." We're still developing those studies. But we've almost completed them and should have them all up this month (but please, don't hold your breath!)
Don't forget about Successful Strategies for God's Soldiers!
Our e-book (which has taken an immeasurably long time to produce) is almost complete. We just have to work out a few "wrinkles" before it goes into production. One of those wrinkles is a built in study guide.
We kicked around the idea of producing a separate study guide. But we concluded it made sense to make this volume a complete study resource in itself with the study questions integrated into the book at the end of each chapter. We're also including a few charts and other resources to aid in your study time.
And if anyone is wondering, we're offering this e-book in Adobe Acrobat format so that anyone can access it from their computer. And we're making this title readable and affordable. We want as many as possible to benefit from our ministry. Lord willing we'll have Successful Strategies for God's Soldiers out at the end of this month or the beginning of March.
And lastly, we can't forget to ask...
Please pray for the ministry here. We can't do any of this without your prayer support. Thanks everyone!
That about wraps it up for this month. We hope you enjoyed this e-zine provided by Bible-Student-Online.org.