Bible Thought Study Tools

Need a Free Bible?

I was doing research for an article on how to get a free Bible. There are several websites you can visit which will give you a Bible for the asking. However, the easiest way I have found to get a free Bible is to just go to a church and ask for one.

A local church which teaches the Bible is interested in people having a copy of God’s Word. You can get a Bible from a church without having to pay taxes and shipping costs. You also get the Bible immediately.

The church we recently worked with in Argentina would automatically give a free Bible to anyone who attended 3 Sundays in a row. These were new Bibles of pretty high quality. However, I can’t imagine any church denying a free copy of the Word of God to anyone who walked up to them and said that they were searching for the truth and would like a Bible to read. You may not be given a brand new one, but the precious words of God are not diminished because someone else has read them.

If you are in need of a free Bible, then take a stroll to your local church and ask them for one. One of the bigger difficulties is finding someone at the church when there is not a service going on. That’s OK. I assure you that if you walked in during a service and sat in the back until church was over, there would be someone there who can help you obtain a copy of God’s Word.

Study Tools

Maps for Every Chapter in the Bible

Have you ever wondered where the places were on the map that the Bible talks about? There is a website called Bible Geocoding that maps out each place name on Google Earth according to where they appear in the Bible. For example, if you are reading Luke 2 you can look up that chapter on the website and it will place all the locations mentioned in the chapter on a map.

Ideally you would use Google Earth to look up the place names. This is because you have so much more control of what you can do with the information. There is also more information that is available while using Google Earth. However, you can also view the information on the satellite view of Google Maps by clicking the ‘preview’ link beside the chapter you are reading.

It is a nice tool to help you get an idea of where certain events took place in the Bible. Of course you could look up each place name on your own while you are reading. However, using this tool gives you a chance to pull up a whole chapter’s worth of places at a time and you can glance at the map while reading your Bible text.

Study Tools

Finding Bible Study Topics: Study Guides

There are different places to look for Bible study topics. Some of the ways previously written about here are topical Bibles and concordances. Another great place to look for Bible study topics is in the study guide section of your local Christian bookstore.

In the study guide area you will often find books arranged in broad topics such as: women’s interests, men’s interests, teens, children and students. There may also be sections based on certain books of the Bible. By flipping through some of these study guides you can generate plenty of study topics for personal use or for small group studies.

If you are only looking for ideas, then there is no need to buy several books. Browsing through a book with a 3X5 card in hand can give you a list of topics. You should not stand in the bookstore and copy down whole lessons. If you are interested in that, then you should certainly buy the book. But if you are just needing to generate a list of ideas, this is a quick way to load up an idea file with Bible study topics.

Study Tools

Finding Bible Study Topics: Concordances

Bible study topics can be found in many different ways such as using a topical Bible or looking through Bible study guides. Another way to find a Bible study topic is to use a concordance.

A concordance is a type of reference work that helps you find Bible study topics based on certain words. You can look up a word in a concordance and see where the Bible mentions that word. Some concordances will also show variations of the word in the same listing. Don’t forget to look up synonyms for the word too. Concordances are also helpful if you remember certain words in a verse but can’t remember the reference. You can quickly find it by looking up the main words that you can remember of the verse.

Strong's book coverMany Bibles will have a concordance at the back after the main text. These are concise concordances. They don’t have every instance of every word; however, they usually have critical words. You can also buy a concise concordance in book form that is more complete than the one in the back of your Bible. It is also more convenient to have a separate book that you can reference while flipping through your Bible to the right verses.

An exhaustive concordance, like the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, is much more comprehensive. This type of concordance will have every instance of every word in the Bible. Some have dictionary and lexicographical information in them. These will tell you the underlying Hebrew or Greek word that makes up the translated English word.

There are several websites which give you the same ability as a concordance. You are able to search for specific words through the whole text of the bible. Smartphone apps can do the same thing. One popular website for quick word lookups is Bible Gateway. It has many different Bible translations you can look through. The Blue Letter Bible website not only has the ability to look up words, but also ties every word to the Strong’s concordance numbers. There are Bible study tools which use those numbers to help with word studies.

A concordance is indispensable for pastors and teachers when preparing for their Bible study lessons. A concordance can also be a help to people wanting to do personal Bible study.

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Types of Study Bibles

If you are in the market for a new Bible, consider getting a study Bible that will provide you with many years of study material. When reading your Bible, you may prefer a Bible with just the text of God’s Word. However, when studying, you can take advantage of many different types of study Bibles.

Topical Bible

A topical study Bible arranges the Bible text into specific topics. Other topical Bibles simply give the references to verses of the same topic. Either way, having a topical Bible is a great way to find all, or at least most, of the verses in the Bible which deal with a certain subject.

Chain Reference Bible

A chain reference Bible is one which has references to verses on the same subject matter. Usually they will reference a verse positionally before and after the one you are reading. This lets you find a verse on your subject and then link forward and backward through the Bible to the next verses. One of the most well-known chain reference Bibles is the Thompson Chain Reference Bible.

Chronological Bible

There are Bibles which contain the text of God’s Word in a chronological format. Many books of the Bible contain the history of many years. There are overlapping stories which may be covered in more detail in one book of the Bible than in another. A chronological Bible lets you see how events unfold in time even though the details are contained in various books throughout the Bible.

Edited Study Bible

There are Bibles like Scofield Study Bible or The Defender’s Study Bible. These are Bibles which have commentary interwoven with the Bible text–usually at the bottom of the page so that the text is unbroken visually. Many of them contain a basic outline of the books of the Bible at the beginning of each book. One such Bible is the Ryrie Study Bible.

There are many other types of study Bibles. You should take some time to visit a local Christian bookstore to find one that fits your needs and expectations. Don’t forget to consider the different binding materials. The better bound a Bible is, the longer it will serve your needs.