04/09/2018 in: Educationalon
Paper copies don’t allow you to build your own study Bible—at least, not without a lot of glue, precision, and paper cuts. With digital resources, you can have the exact study Bible you want in just four, easy steps. Here’s how to build your ultimate study Bible with Olive Tree.
1) PICK A TRANSLATION
In fact, pick two or three. Using multiple translations in your Bible study is much more helpful than you may realize.
Translations can be categorized across a spectrum. On one side, there are word-for-word translations. These sometimes sound awkward and can be a bit confusing, but are meant to be a more literal interpretation or the original language. The further you get to this end of the spectrum, the better than translation is for word studies and academic research.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are thought-for-thought translations. When we hire translators to interpret a presentation or book, they often use this method. Language does not always translate well word-for-word. It would lose it’s meaning! So, thought-for-thought translations aim to express the main concept and emotion of the text in a way modern speakers can understand.
Like I said, these range on a spectrum! You can research more about a specific translation you are considering using. But here is a short list from us:
- Word-for-word: English Standard Version (ESV), King James Version (KJV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), Modern English Version (MEV)
- Thought-for-thought/Balanced: New International Version (NIV), Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), New Living Translation (NLT)
2) CHOOSE A STUDY BIBLE
If you are only using a Bible to study right now, I really want to encourage you to get a study Bible. When we have sales, we can often discount study Bibles to as low as $8. For only $8 you can read reliable commentary on the Bible, learning from scholars and dedicated Christians. Some study Bibles even come with maps, charts & illustrations, and concordances. Spending less than $10 to invest in your study of God’s Word is definitely worth it.
Here are a few study Bibles that we really recommend:
- Archaeological Study Bible Notes
- New Men’s Devotional Bible Notes
- NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible
- NKJV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible
- First-Century Study Bible Notes
- Case for Christ Study Bible Notes
- Blackaby Study Bible Notes: Personal Encounters with God Through His Word
- NKJV Word Study Bible with NKJV Strong’s
- ESV Literary Study Bible
3) FIND A DICTIONARY
So, now you’ve got a Bible, and some helpful notes. What’s next? A dictionary.
I won’t go too in-depth here about the benefit of dictionaries, because you can read our other blog, “3 Ways Bible Dictionaries Improve Your Bible Study.”
In short, Bible dictionaries help you understand not the definition of the English word, but the definition of the word in its original language. You might not know Greek or Hebrew. You also might not have extensive cultural knowledge of the Bible’s people groups. With a dictionary, you can have extensive knowledge summarized for you and presented when you need it.
Here are a couple great dictionaries you could start with:
4) ADD ONE MORE REFERENCE TOOL OF YOUR CHOICE
If you have these first three resources, you are definitely ready to start studying the Bible deeply! However, there are also lots of other really fun, helpful resources that can make your Bible study more applicable and come to life.
Get visual! Follow Paul’s missionary journey, see pictures of historic landmarks, and learn more about middle eastern geography. Maps and atlases will help you grow in your understand of the Bible as a real, historical document—not just stories that happened to other people way back when.
The Bible gives the best interpretation of itself. From Genesis to Revelation, we see one, cohesive narrative provided by God—and we can use other passages to help us understand the section we are reading.
But, unless you have the entire Bible memorized, you might not know where to look. So, cross references are a fantastic tool that shows you other related passages with just a tap.
Bible handbooks give you condensed information, quickly providing you with an overview of the Bible and its books. You’ll find it easy to learn the basics!
READY TO BUILD YOUR OWN STUDY BIBLE?
Head on over to olivetree.com to start building!