Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Bible Reading Resources



HOW TO READ THE BIBLE:

As Christians it is important we make it a priority to read the Bible regularly.  The following guidance is designed to help you in reading the Bible.

  • Set aside time: Carve out a regular time and place each day, with as few distractions as possible to read the Bible.
  • Pray: Before you read the Bible ask God what He has to say to you through his word.  Pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit to help you understand what it is you are reading.
  • As you read the Bible ask yourself the following questions:
    • What is it saying?
    • What does it mean? What did it mean to the person who first wrote it, and those who first read it (here Bible notes & commentaries are very useful)
    • How does it apply to me, my family, my work, my neighbours, and the society around me? 
  • Have a note book and pen close at hand: to jot down any thoughts and ideas that come to you as you read the Bible.

BIBLE NOTES

When it comes to studying Scripture, Bible reading notes are particularly helpful.  They give you a short passage of Scripture to read every day, and a short commentary to help you understand the passage.

There are many different Bible notes available, here are some that we recommend:

DAILY BIBLE NOTES:

  • Daily Bread - 3 months of readings  (available also in large print)
  • Encounter with God -3 months of readings
  • Every Day with Jesus - 3 months of readings (available also in large print)
  • Inspiring Women - 2 months of readings
  • Life every day – written by author and speaker Jeff Lucas - 2 months of readings
  • The MANual - Bible notes for men, 2 months of readings. This has 6 books taking you through the whole year.
  • Explore Time with God - an introduction to daily bible readings with  28 days of readings.
  • New Every Day - 30 day readings for older people  (Slightly larger print)
  • UCB word for today - 3 monthly readings

 YEARLY BIBLE NOTES:
  • Grace for the moment - by Max Lucado (two volumes)
  • Daily readings by Spurgeon

 THE BIBLE IN 40 MONTHS

  • SACRED (Simply A Chapter Read Each Day) written by the Rev Phil Moon, Vicar of Little Aston, this reading plan takes you through the Bible in forty months, reading one chapter of the Bible each day with accompanying notes.  Variety is maintained by moving between the Old and New Testaments reasonably regularly, and by separating out similar genres of literature.  There will be eventually six volumes of SACRED published, each volume costing £6 (or £1 a month).  For more information about SACRED please contact Phil Moon on  0121 352 1076 or speak to Simon.


INTERNET RESOURCES & APPS

Developments in modern technology mean it has never been easier to access the Bible.

USEFUL WEBSITES

http://www.biblegateway.com - a fantastic website, with numerous versions of the Bible available in many different languages.  It also has a Bible search facility, and reading plans and devotionals for you to follow.  It is also available as an app.

https://bible.org – lots of online Bible resources

http://www.textweek.com – this website is particularly useful for preachers, as well as those who want access to online commentaries, sermons, and other resources

http://almanac.oremus.org/ - from this website you can download a calendar and lectionary (Bible readings for morning and evening prayer) throughout the year.  This can be displayed as a web page (with the bible references linking to the corresponding passage) or as a file that can be loaded into various desktop calendars (such as Outlook) and onto smart phones & tablets. 

http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/home - Pray as you go is a daily prayer session, designed for use on portable MP3 players, to help you pray whenever you find time, but particularly whilst travelling to and from work, study, etc. It is not a 'Thought for the Day', a sermon or a bible-study, but rather a framework for your own prayer.  Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection.  The aim of pray as you go is to
o   become more aware of God's presence in your life  
o   listen to and reflect on God's word   
o   grow in your relationship with God
Pray As You Go can be accessed online or downloaded as an app for smart phones & tablets.

APPS

There are numerous apps available for you to download onto your smart phone and tablets, all of which are free.  These are my must have recommendations: 
  • Pray As You Go (see above) – downloadable as an app for your phone or tablet.
  • You Version The Bible App – the most popular Bible app available.  Hundreds of Bible versions and reading plans in dozens of languages.  Download numerous Bibles for offline reading.   They also have a Bible for Kids app. 
  • Biblegateway App (see above) – more than 90 different Bible translations, including NIV, KJV, ESV, NKJV, CEB, The Message, Amplified Bible and many more.  Easy to use & reliable Bible search.  Daily Bible verse in the translation of your choice.  Daily Bible reading plan.  Bible audio in a number of different translations and styles.
  • Olive Tree Bible Study – The Olive Tree Bible Study App has been designed for deper Bible study.  Learn from great scholars through thousands of resources including commentaries, maps, and dictionaries all available off line.  You can also highlight Bible verses, take notes & bookmark passagesm and have everything sync to all your devices.
  • Logos Bible Software - With the Logos Bible app, you open up more than 40 free Bibles and other books. When you sign in with a free Logos account, you get access to additional resources and tools, such as devotionals, reading plans, favourites, highlighting, and note taking. The Logos Bible app syncs across all your platforms, so you can pick up right where you left off on any web-enabled device.

These are just a few of the hundreds of Bible apps that are now available.

BOOKS & COMMENTARIES

There are lots of helpful books and commentaries to help you in reading the Bible, here are two recommendations:
  • Tom Wright’s ‘For Everyone’ commentaries – written with the average church goer in mind, Tom Wright’s commentaries are  designed to help you understand the Bible in fresh ways under the guidance of one of the world’s leading New Testament scholars. Thoughtful questions, prayer suggestions, and useful background and cultural information all guide you into a deeper understanding of the Christian story and the Christian life.
  • The Bible For Dummies – takes you through the different books of the Bible, in a fun and entertaining way.  You’ll find answers to such questions as: Where did the Bible come from? Who wrote the Bible? How is the Bible put together? Follow the history of the Bible from its beginning thousands of years ago as tattered scrolls to its status as the bestseller of all time. The Bible For Dummies covers these topics and more. 


Remember:

Find what suits you
Try different reading plans
Ask questions
Share what God is saying to you with others
Encourage one another to read God’s word