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Friday, September 6, 2013

O be careful little eyes . . .

I love searching for information on the Internet. For instance, I like being able to quickly find out how many tablespoons are in an ounce or to look quickly and see how long it will take me to drive to my next appointment. If I’m watching something and I want to find out what else I’ve seen with a particular actor, I can find that out in about 10 seconds. I can also tell you everything I’ve ever purchased from Amazon going back to 1998. I know that the first book I ever ordered from Amazon was The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, still one of my favorites. 

Of course you can also research a bible passage or a theological topic on the Internet. You could find good information that way. You may also turn up material that will mislead you or confuse you. So I’m way more careful in searching for this kind of help. If I’m going to allow someone to speak into my heart from God’s word, I have to know something about the person’s credibility. I need a sense of whether or not the person is authentically following Jesus in a community of believers. It’s possible for a person who can’t tolerate other people or who won’t submit themselves to a local church body to churn out bible studies they hope other people will read. But if their bible study doesn’t provoke them to live out with their life in community with other believers through a local church, they are missing something critical and so I’m less likely to trust that source.

With that in mind, I wanted to pass along some websites that I use or have used to help me study God’s word. I’m certain there are many other sites of value, but these are sites that I trust or that look promising. You still need to exercise discernment when reading any material outside of the bible or when listening to someone else teach or preach. Plus we all need to keep growing in spiritual discernment. (Here’s an excellent book on that topic.)

Next week I plan to write on the one purchase ($30-$50) that could make the biggest difference in your personal bible study.

Here are my recommendations:
Bible Gateway is the site I’ve used more than any other. It provides multiple translations that you can compare side by side. You can also listen to some translations. The site contains several commentaries that will sync with the passage you are studying. is a companion site to Logos Bible Software which I own and use, but the web site is free and it has good basic material and some commentary resources.

YouVersion is probably the most well known of these sites and is what I use for my daily bible reading. The site has lots of  reading plans to choose from and depending on the translation, you can listen to your specific reading each day. This year I’m using the Eat this Book plan.

Desiring God is the ministry connected to Pastor John Piper and has every sermon he preached in his long ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis along with many, many other short articles, books, and resources. Several of his books are available for free to read or download. The primary site for the ESV provides similar resources to the above presented in a unique format.

Finally I just discovered Bible Hub today so I don’t have any experience with it but it looks comprehensive and they have a few more commentaries than Bible Gateway from what I can tell.

What online bible sites have you used? Leave me a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear about them.

Sunday at Bethany Place I’m continuing the series The Danger of Fitting in. Sunday’s message is Keeping in Step from Galatians 2. You can see the outline here. You can watch the video of the message here

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