OK, I thought I’d take a minute to make mention of a couple of tools that I have just fell in love with when it comes to bible reading and bible study. It is always important to have the right tools for the right job. As a guy who is an IT professional and an overall lover of technology period, my tools for bible study are technology based. These are just my personal preferences and I make nothing for the tools I am about to discuss. These are just the things that I use and thought it might help others who are trying to use technology to help them in the own personal walk with God. I should also mention that just because I prefer technology solutions to bible study, there are many that feel that a “real bible” is the best for them. To them I say that is totally awesome for you. The key is, use what will help you in your studies and walk, not those things that hinder you.
In order to study the bible you need to have a bible. Personally, I believe that only the original language versions of the bible are actually inspired. That means all translations are just that, translations. If you do your homework into the differences in bible translations you will find that there are a number of different ways the translators come up with what these versions say. The whole translation discuss can be an interesting one to have (if your a geek like me) but I will spare you that for now. The King James Version, being one of the oldest and widely used translations is my standard translation. Not because it’s necessarily better but because the translational issues are well documented and the translators used the original Hebrew and Greek sources. Once you get over some of the Old English, it’s really a well written translation. I love the KJV because I can get copies that have Strong’s Numbers, which are a huge help when you want to really dig into the meaning of particular words in Scripture. I don’t rely on just one version of the bible when I am doing in depth study. I like to reference multiple translations so I can see the different ways verses can be translated and how those translations might affect the meaning. Finally, take notes on what you read. You will be amazed at how much of a blessing recording your thoughts, ideas, concerns, praises, and prayers can be.
With all that said, here are my bible study tools:
Bible Gateway is an amazingly well put together online bible. My favorite features of this online bible are the ability to view multiple bible versions side-by-side. This gives you a great way to read multiple versions of the bible at the same time without having 3 or 4 books laid out in front of you. Bible gateway has devotionals, reading plans and other resources for your use. They also have a way for you to save certain preferences like default bible, language, words of Christ in red, and others.
Blue Letter Bible is another online resource I use. The thing I like most about the BLB is that you can get all the extra study tools for the verses you are reading. The have Strong numbers with original language pronunciations, meanings, other uses in the bible, and many more tools. Excellent for in-depth study. BLB also has a way for you to set and save a number of preferences like Bible Gateway. BLB also give you the option to create an individual account. I have not done this yet but will and will let you all know what I think.
Hands down, for offline use, I use the BP Bible. This software works with Windows for sure and I believe Linux. It can be installed directly to Windows or to a USB Stick so you can use it on any Windows machine. This software gives you a nice clean interface, allows parallel views, allows installation of multiple bible version and other resources like commentaries and Strong numbers. This is my fall-back program if I cannot get online for some reason.
For my note-taking, I am an Evernote guy. I have been converted to Evernote for a while now and I love it. I use it for just about everything, including all my note-taking and journaling associated with my bible study and my spiritual walk. Evernote lets you organize you notes into notebooks, allows tagging, has advanced search features and more. I love this software and I am currently learning how powerful a note-taking resource it can be.
I have really only scratched the surface with these tools in this post. Stay tuned though, as I will be adding more focused posts on these tools so I can really show you how to take advantage of these resources in order to help you in your spiritual walk. Until them, please check them out yourself. If you find any of this information helpful, please let me know with a comment. If you have any tools you use that you’d like me to look at, drop me a comment. Your feedback is always welcome!