6 Books to Help You Read and Study the Bible Well
Learning and knowing how to study the Bible well gives us a deeper understanding of God.
I think it’s fair to assume that all of us who claim to know and follow Jesus desire to read and understand the Bible well.
I think it’s also fair to assume that all of us have struggled at times knowing exactly how to do this.
Since the Bible is full of ancient texts written in a different culture and language than ours—it’s understandable that there can be some confusion at times.
Thankfully, as Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 2, the Holy Spirit reveals and explains things to us and we can be at rest because through salvation we have “the mind of Christ.” In other words, God is with us and through Him we can understand what would not have been possible otherwise.
One of the ways we can understand the Bible well is by learning from others within the Body of Christ. So many people have been gifted the talent and ability to study and explain the historical, cultural, and spiritual implications of the text. And how beautiful that we live at a time in history when those explanations are available to us!
I want to share several books that I have found to be helpful in widening my understanding of Scripture, allowing me to apply the Word more accurately to my own life and conversations.
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Literarily: How Understanding Bible Genres Transforms Bible Study by Kristi Anyabwile
I have to confess, even though I’m a writer by trade, I did not enjoy English class in school. I did what I had to do to pass but I certainly was no Anne Shirley who excelled at everything literary.
There is one place, however, that I’ve disciplined myself to learn more of the technical side of writing—and that is in understanding Biblical genres. The reason? It matters for interpretation.
Thankfully, Literarily: How Understanding Bible Genres Transforms Bible Study is a book written for anyone (even non-technical people like me!) and it helps tremendously in learning the many genres in Scripture and what that means for interpretation.
Misreading Scripture Through Western Eyes by E. Richards and Brandon O’Brien
I think we can all agree that we are far removed from the cultural surroundings of Scripture because of the time difference between then and now, but did you also know that some of the cultural misunderstandings may be just because we live in the west?
Misreading Scripture through Western Eyes is written in a very simple, entertaining style and it sheds light on some of the passages and practices in Scripture that many of us have wondered about.
How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets by Peter Gentry
This book is a little more scholarly than the previous ones, but if you’ve ever tried to understand the Old Testament prophets and felt confused or unsure, this is an excellent resource to have on hand.
How the Bible Came to Be by Phylicia Masonheimer
Have you ever wondered how we know what ancient texts were inspired by God or not? In this book, each step of the process is explained in layman’s terms. Having a rudimental knowledge of how the Bible was compiled is so important. Partially for your own sake and understanding, as well as providing help and preparation to answer questions from others.
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin
This is my go-to suggestion for anyone who longs to study the Bible more but feels at a loss for where to even begin. Jen Wilkin is an excellent Bible teacher and this book gives an easy-to-understand overview of Scripture and how to apply it well.
The Bare Bones Bible Handbook: 10 Minutes to Understanding Each Book of the Bible by Jim George
This is probably the most practical book on this list. No matter how many times you’ve read the Bible, this handbook will be helpful. It is organized in a way that allows easy referencing to remind yourself of the time period and an outline of every book in the Bible, plus some bonus historical content and excellent suggestions on how to apply the information to your life.
While the majority of us will never be Bible scholars, if we’re believers then we are followers of The Way (as Paul refers to it) and Scripture is how we know what that even means.
So, take advantage, friends, of the many resources we’ve been given and don’t forget the most basic thing: read the Bible for yourself. Ask God questions. Seek answers. And remember the Holy Spirit is available to all those who follow Christ—and He willingly reveals Himself to us.
Here at Club31Women, we recognize that not everyone has the same taste or point of view on books, music, or movies, but we offer these short reviews for your consideration. Our hope is that you will find something new and wonderful on this list of recommended resources!
~ Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women
100 Words of Affirmation Your Son/Daughter Needs to Hear
Matt and Lisa Jacobson want you to discover the powerful ways you can build your children up in love with the beautiful words you choose to say every day–words that every son and daughter needs to hear.
These affirmation books offer you one hundred phrases to say to your son or daughter – along with short, personal stories and examples – that deeply encourage, affirm, and inspire.
So start speaking a kind and beautiful word into their lives daily and watch your children–and your relationship with them–transform before your eyes.