My Top 15 Elements for Successful Bible Study – Study Bible

As we grow in our walk with Christ, knowing God’s word (and seeking it with zeal) is one of the most important things we can do.  After all, he’s revealed himself to us in two primary ways: Through his Holy Spirit, which we received as a gift when we became Christians, and in his Word.

This post is the second of 15.  In each post, I’ll be examining my personal “Top 15” things leading to successful bible study.  I want to be clear that this may not be your top 15.  But I’ve observed that over the last six months, all of these things play an important role in my spiritual journey.  Maybe a few of them will be valuable for you, too.

Click the link to view yesterday’s post on The Message.
Element number two: A good Study Bible.
Bible – New Living Translation (Life Application Study edition).  Having a study bible is a really good idea; the important things for me to find were:
  • A translation that made sense to me from a readability perspective
  • Reference notes to other relevant scriptures in each margin
  • Forewards to each book of the bible establishing authorship, historical content and key themes
  • Footnotes for translation issues
  • Study notes for important passages
I found what I was looking for in Zondervan’s New Living Translation Study Bible.  This bible also includes many historical maps (e.g., Paul’s missionary journeys), timelines, and analyses of key themes.  While those features aren’t absolutely necessary, they are incredibly handy.  When studying the new testament, I usually read the message first, and then follow up with the NLT to make sure I’m not falling pray to an overly liberal translation in the former.
One note: It’s really useful to buy a study bible translation that matches up with your church or study group’s primary translation.  I DIDN’T do that, and I have often regretted it.  My old church (Southeast Christian in Louisville, KY) used the New International Version.  I was in a study group there (Discipleship Curriculum) for two years and memorized over 100 passages from scripture … in a version that was different from my primary bible.  It was a pain, and often confusing.  My current church (the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX) seems to use the English Standard Version primarily, so I’m out of luck there as well.  I generally prefer the NLT to either of those versions, but the multiple-translation issue isn’t worth the headaches it causes.  My advice: Give your church a call and ask which translation they use most frequently, and go with that one.
Tomorrow’s Post: YouVersion Mobile
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5 responses to “My Top 15 Elements for Successful Bible Study – Study Bible

  1. Element # 16 has 2 be 16 oz of dunkins’ finest. Have a blessed week!

  2. It’s hilarious that you remembered that, Joel. That was one of my big rewards (aside from the spiritual ones of course) for being at church at 6AM every Monday … Dunkin Donuts!!

  3. Pingback: My Top 15 Elements for Successful Bible Study – The Message | Finding Approval

  4. Pingback: My Top 15 Elements for Successful Bible Study – YouVersion Mobile Bible | Finding Approval

  5. Pingback: My Top 15 Elements for a Successful Bible Study | Finding Approval

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