Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bible Helps

Last night, at Men's Training (our final meeting until the New Year), I shared a number of FREE internet resources available for Bible Study. Here are some links to those sites:

Blue Letter Bible--allows you to search by word or passage in 14 different English translations (plus the Vulgate and some Greek forms). For whatever reason, this site seems to be the most compliant for copy/paste of text into "Word".

StudyLight.org--about 40 different English translations, plus allows you to do a little bit of work in "Strong's." I have found this site to be "glitchy" however (sometimes Strong's pages are missing).

Bible Study Tools--just redesigned their site, which means I'm struggling while outside my comfort zone, but am learning that the new interface seems to be a bit easier. Has over 30 translations, and now allows you to reveal (or hide) Strong's links. Also offers a limited amount of commentary help.

NET Bible--pretty cool site (once you find the relatively small search box...make sure you click "Bible" not "Site" when searching). Offers quite a bit of textual criticism and lots of footnotes.

The above sites allow you to interact a little with the original languages, in a non-intimidating way, since most of the material is still in English form.

Bible Web App--allows you to place two translations side by side. Very helpful in that you can place the Greek or Hebrew in one of your settings. Even if you do not know Greek/Hebrew, this can be helpful because when you roll your mouse over the english word, it highlights the corresponding Greek/Hebrew word. Then, if you click your mouse on that word, it will parse for you! (Though the English can convey the grammar quite well most of the time, there are quite a few occasions when the reader is served by getting into the specifics...which aren't always easily conveyed in translation.)

Reader's Version of Greek and Hebrew Bible--much like above, but does not place translations side-by-side. However, if you are trying to learn the original languages (or sharpen up), this site allows you to determine how many helps it will give you...thus pushing you to do a bit of the work yourself.

Calvin's Commentaries--I don't list this in my attempt to get everyone to plant t.u.l.i.p.'s in their front yard, but simply because the man preached on almost every book in the Bible. This site gives you a translation of his works and is laid out in a fairly user-friendly format. (As with any commentary, don't cheat yourself by going to a commentary first. In fact, there should be things you disagree with Calvin about [as is ultimately true with any expositor]. Do your homework first so that those areas are easier to spot.)

ESV Study Bible--Ok, it's not actually free (you have to buy a copy of the ESV Study Bible first. I bought the cheapest form...hardback.), but it is so worth the money. Even though ESV isn't my preferred translation (note: value was simply preference, not assessing its accuracy or quality), this is the best Study Bible I've seen. Once you buy a copy of the Study Bible, it comes with a code that allows you to use their online tools. Very helpful.

We live in a marvelous age that so many study tools are just a mouse-click away. Please understand that these tools are not intended to intimidate others or create some caste form of Bible Study. Just like a magnifying glass allows you to see more of the beauty in a gem stone, these tools are intended to help you grow in your understanding and appreciation of the great treasure God has given us in His Son revealed as the Spirit illumines His words to us!

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