Hey there friends! I am often asked about recommendations for studying the Bible. So I am publishing this blog post as a resource so that I can point people to it for resources to help them with private study, sermon or devotional prep, and small groups. It features only links to resources that are online and free. Each item given has a brief annotation. I have broken things into two simple categories: “Bibles” and “Other Resources.” This list will continue to be updated in the future. I pray it might be a blessing to you in whatever endeavor you find yourself.
Bible Gateway – You can search and use a broad range of translations, parallel multiple translations, and view various study notes, cross references, and commentary. A unique feature is the “Scripture Engagement” page. It offers various ways to engage with scripture based on how you might prefer to engage given your personality. For example, there are tips for journaling scripture, singing scripture, memorizing scripture, dramatizing scripture, hand copying scripture, and more. The suggestions are simple, but helpful and several of these ways to engage include tips for practicing the method in a small group. Mobile app is available. Bible Gateway Plus is a paid for subscription service that the site offers and is worth your consideration. It gives you access to several study Bibles and other books that are of quality.
Blue Letter Bible – This online Bible is best recommended for its search features. After performing a search of various kinds you have easy options for sharing, printing, or citing. It also includes commentary, cross references, and a miscellaneous section that includes word cloud generations. The page “Study” includes various resources worth combing through depending on what you may use it for. Mobile app is available.
STEP Bible – STEP stands for “Scripture Tools for Every Person.” It contains multiple translations and includes key vocabulary highlighted in blue. When your cursor hovers over these key vocabulary words you can see some facts about the original word such as definitions and number of occurrences. It will also highlight any other occurrences of the word in the same chapter. There is also a page full of “reports.” It is like a digital version of those appendices and maps in a print Bible. It includes free interactive versions of various “reports” such as a gospel harmony, list of Old Testament usage in the New Testament, and more. Mobile app is available.
ESV – The English Standard Version (ESV) is free online and the website includes the notes of the ESV Global Study Bible. If you create a free account on the site you can save your notes. There is a paid-for version that includes the ESV Study Bible and some others resources. There are also some original language tools that give an interlinear, reading plans, and audio recordings of the text.
NABRE Bible – This online version of the New American Bible Revised Edition is a part of the website for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The NABRE is a Catholic translation, but is still an excellent resource for the non-catholic Christian. This site includes introductions and study notes for each of the books of the Bible (including the Apocrypha). These introductions and study notes are the same as what is provided in the well-respected Catholic Study Bible.
NET Bible – The New English Translation is a fully original, ongoing, and online translation. The notes included with the NET are excellent observations including background information and comments about the grammar of the Greek or Hebrew behind it. There are also some blogs available on a related site (find here). Mobile app is available.
Y’ALL Version – Allows you to use several typical English translations, but with the plural “you” translated as “Y’all.” You can change the settings to use different regional dialects of English.
Bible Odyssey – The self-description of this site is informative: Explore the fascinating origins of the Bible and its eventful history. On Bible Odyssey, the world’s leading scholars share the latest historical and literary research on key people, places, and passages of the Bible. It also has a page that allows you to search the entries of the full HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. This site has a great layout and organization with plenty of quality material. **A lot of the material is critical and may be more than a typical believer cares to know, but it is still worth your time to comb through and find what you could use.**
Biblical Studies Online – A vast library of videos of lectures about the Bible and related literature. Some of it may be more than you care to look into, but some of it may be for popular interest and add some depth to your study. I recommend watching a video that relates to a text you are studying (use the index) and taking notes.
The Visual Commentary on Scripture – An online collection of art exhibits curated around Biblical texts and themes.
The Bible Project – Collection and organization of material produced by the Bible Project group. There are videos, articles, and study guides outlining scripture, explaining Biblical words and themes, and exploring Biblical genres. Mobile app is available.
Spoken Gospel – Poetic meditation, introduction, and devotional material on scripture.
Best Commentaries – This site rates commentaries based on various criteria. This is provided in case you are looking for a commentary on a particular book of the Bible. Read through the recommendations and consider what might be most helpful for you. **This site is HEAVILY influenced by reformed (Calvinist) perspective. Hence, the commentaries written from a reformed perspective are given the top rating most of the time. I use it primarily to see a fairly complete list of the commentaries that are available.**
N. T. Wright’s Website – N. T. Wright is the world’s leading New Testament scholar. This site is full of his material in a variety of forms. Explore this site if you are studying something in the New Testament.
Craig Keener’s Website – Craig Keener is a highly respected New Testament scholar who specializes in Biblical backgrounds. There is a lot of great free content to explore on this site. Be sure to see the free ebook Bible In Its Context.
Introducing the New Testament – Technically, this is a supplemental website to pair with the textbook Introducing the New Testament by Mark Allen Powell. But the resources, videos, and other materials available for free on this website are well worth combing through regardless of whether you own a copy of the textbook or not.
Psephizo – This is the blog of Ian Paul, a New Testament scholar who has a heart for ministry. The tagline of the blog says a lot about his personality: “Scholarship. Serving. Ministry.” There’ s a lot of great stuff to comb through here. His posts tend to follow the Liturgical year of the Revised Common Lectionary, but is not bound by that. Use the categories at the top of the home page to navigate based on your interest and need.
Working Preacher Commentary – Commentary on the texts of the New Revised Common Lectionary from Working Preacher.
Bible Places – High quality photos of places in and related to the Bible.
Holy Land Photos – High quality photos of the Holy Land and surrounding areas.
Life in the Holy Land – Illustrations of the People and Places of the Biblical world.
Bible Reading Plan Generator – Use this link to customize your own Bible reading plan.
Communication for Serving the Church – An open-source course I developed for a practicum project while finishing my MDiv. The idea is to help hone the skills associated with communicative service roles in the Church such as preaching, teaching, leading a small group, reading scripture, and public prayer.
“Biblical Studies” tagged posts – Posts on the blog that are tagged for Biblical Studies. Also try searching the blog posts for the book of scripture you are studying (for example: “Book of Leviticus” or “Gospel of Matthew” or “Luke”).