Picture this: it’s 2014 and I’m rocking my first baby, my newborn baby boy. Fast-forward to 2017 and now I’m rocking my second baby boy while his big brother plays, and I’m battling postpartum depression (PPD). What I needed those first years in motherhood, and especially in early adulthood and even well before then, were these bible study tools for modern women.
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Young believers don’t understand or pursue “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable…”. This is what Paul is exhorting all believers to do in Philippians 4:8. In my opinion, a huge reason for the grand failure of understanding even just what this one bit of Scripture is really telling us, is greatly due to lack of knowing how to understand our bibles when we don’t.
Where does one look when they come across a word they simply cannot define? Do they turn to a search engine online, and come up with the worldly definition for it? Or, even worse, do they fail to ask the Holy Spirit to bring clarity to the living Word they’re reading? Do they run directly to what some biblical scholar has to say about any given verse? There are so many wrong turns available to take, especially with the technology available at our fingertips. Reliable and trustworthy bible study tools for modern women are vital if we are to grow in the process of sanctification as we should be.
Find a Bible Translation
There is much to be said about which English translation is “best” and it’s important to research it for yourself to land somewhere that you have decided in wisdom is appropriate. I enjoy primarily using what my church I belong to is using, and that’s always been enough for me. Currently, that means I have an ESV journaling bible. I recently have been enjoying checking what the CSB version says when comparing verses. I also own a Thomas Nelson NKJV Study Bible that I rely heavily on for giving me an introduction to any given book as well as defining many important terms.
Do some digging, and find a translation that you are comfortable with. This is one of the most vital bible study tools for modern women, having a bible to open up anytime you need to (which is like all day, everyday, if you’re anything like me). Digital is great, but there’s nothing like having that hard copy in your hands and distraction-free reading time with you and the Father.
Daily Disciplines for Bible Studying
They say it takes 30 days to make something a habit. (“They” still say that, right? Anyways.) Listen, if you pick up your bible and think to yourself, “This is the last thing I want to be doing right now,” that is OKAY. We’ve all been there, and it’s a grace that you even have that bible in your hands. Sometimes leading our hearts means doing things we don’t want to do. That’s a reminder I need daily, oye.
Set an alarm, if you have to. Get to sleep early to rise for solitude, if you can. Even if it looks like tiny, noisy humans with your bible to your nose, that is a beautiful act of obedience you’re modeling for those tiny, noisy humans. Whatever you need to do to set the time aside to prioritize this important discipline, do it. We can’t commune or truly love a Holy Lord that we haven’t learned about through his Word. Loving is knowing, and knowing God is being immersed in who he says he is.
I personally set my alarm for 5am daily, and can be found sitting with my breakfast coffee soon after that to read God’s Word and pray. This habit has grown into sometimes over an hour in length. It certainly didn’t start out that way.
Galatians 6 provides framework for biblical community. We weren’t meant to carry the weight of our lives on our own, but alongside others. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” says Galatians 6:2 and “…as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith,” says 6:10 (emphasis added). As we have opportunity signifies to me that we must provide the opportunity for other believers to come alongside us in our walk. We must pursue Christ-like people in our lives and ask them to come alongside us in accountability and to speak truth into our lives.
This can look like being persistent about building community within your local church body. This requires attending a church, yes. You could join a missional community (as our church likes to call it) or small group. Find a bible study (not to be confused with a book study, those are not bible studies) and commit to it.
Bible Study vs. Book Study
This is super important to point out. In a culture where books are read more often than the Scriptures they quote, we simply cannot accept that. Are books about the bible bad? Absolutely not, I have this list on Amazon solely dedicated to theologically sound books about Scripture. What is bad is relying only on these books, rather than reading Scripture for yourself first and primarily. If you’re going to read books about Scripture, make sure you’re dedicating most of your time to Scripture itself, first. If you attend a bible study, make sure it’s centered primarily about reading and understanding God’s word and not a book club.
In the midst of the darkest parts of PPD I mention at the beginning of this post, a friend introduced me to something that drastically impacted me. I joined a local Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) about three quarters into their year-long study. I was blown away. BSF is an incredible way to study with fellow believers through one book of the bible for an entire (school) year. Each year they study a different book from beginning to end. This was the first experience I had ever had with spending that length of time in any given book within Scripture.
I was blown away, and captivated by how much could be interpreted by one single verse. BSF is an incredible bible study to attend and grow in your studying skills. They provide bible study tools for modern women that are deeply needed.
This was far superior in developing tools and understanding than any book study I had ever been a part of. There is much richness available to absorb by reading and studying a single book over a length of time.
Free Bible Study Tools for Modern Women
BSF runs solely on donations, so everything they provide is free. Each week provides a new set of sheets with what Scriptures to read, questions to answer, articles to read, all in your own quiet time. That is followed by a lecture and group discussion in person. They even have excellent, free child-care. It is such a blessing, to so many.
Risen Motherhood is another free resource with excellent printable to guide you through the inductive bible study method. This is my favorite way to work through Scripture. It helps me understand so much more than I would without these bible study tools for modern women. The Abide Method is very similar to what BSF does. These free printable got me through a miserable five years of church-hopping while we lived in Northern California.
Blue Letter Bible is both a website and an app with LOADS of content and resources. You can access the interlinear concordance to accurately define words in the bible. They provide reliable commentaries for the entire bible. You can compare bible versions all next to each other. All of this is available for free on their app and website, just waiting for you to utilize it.
A Book to Start With
I know, I know…I said don’t rely on books. However, if you’re just stepping your toes into your pursuit of studying Scripture, there are some books I suggest you start with. Just remember to also pick your bible up every single day while you learn how to utilize these new tools.
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin is a really outstanding and helpful book to begin to understand both the process and the purpose of studying God’s Word.
PS: Many men (my husband included) read through this book alongside a year-long bible study and they loved it, too.
“We all know it’s important to study God’s word. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. What’s more, a lack of time, emotionally driven approaches, and past frustrations can erode our resolve to keep growing in our knowledge of Scripture. How can we, as Christian women, keep our focus and sustain our passion when reading the Bible?
Women of the Word has helped countless women with a clear and concise plan they can use every time they open their Bible. This book will equip you to engage God’s word in a way that trains your mind and transforms your heart.”
Breathed Out By God
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
The all sufficient Word of a holy, omniscient God. The grand Narrator of time and space. Seek him, sister, and you will find him.