I have recently been in a season of studying my Bible harder than ever before. I became a Christian when I was in middle school, but I cannot honestly say that I’ve been a STUDENT of the Bible for the past 20 years. In fact, I have read my Bible a ton, but studied it very little.
(And if this makes you feel better, I’m a pastor’s wife who is probably supposed to be at least slightly Biblically literate…)
There are many reasons I could list for my lack of study. If pressed, I’d probably blame it on a busy schedule. If honest, I’d tell you it’s because I didn’t really know how to study it. I didn’t feel equipped to actually STUDY the Word, whether that was due to a lack of discipleship, direction, etc., I’m not sure. I just felt thoroughly overwhelmed by anything more than a quick, cheerful little “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Or a pat-yourself-on-the-back-for-reading-the-Old-Testament, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Years ago, I started using several Bible study apps to help guide my personal study of the Word. I am sure there are many other amazing Bible study apps out there, but these are my no fail, go-to options. I recommend them to friends often. Honestly, as much as technology can be a terrible thing in our lives, there are some incredible free resources for Christians with a few simple taps on our screens.
Here’s a list of my current top 4 favorites:
1. First 5
The First 5 app through Proverbs 31 Ministries is my go-to. I think Lysa Terkeurst (the founder and CEO) hung the moon- she is very relatable and yet such an incredible Bible teacher. From their site: “Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-proﬁt Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ.” They use various tools to accomplish this: free app with daily devotions, free online Bible studies, daily radio messages, events, conferences, and trainings.
I cannot get enough of what they put out on a daily basis! I seriously have to pick and choose or I wouldn’t have time for anything else. Their (FREE!) First 5 app, as well as their free online bible studies have been instrumental in my spiritual growth during this past season.
This free app falls under the umbrella of if:Gathering. If you are unfamiliar, if:Gathering is led by it’s founder and CEO, Jennie Allen, and in their words “exists to equip women with Gospel-centered resources, events, and community so they may learn more about who God is and disciple other women right where they are.” I love the intentionality of Jennie and the If team to disciple women. What’s not to love?!?!?
Their annual if:Gathering conference is incredible. I’ve never been in person, but have attended several live-stream events. The teaching is always dynamic, inspiring, and biblically sound. I’d love to go in person some day. The app offers a taste of what you would get during one of their conferences.
This really is another incredible (FREE!) Bible study app that will push you to grow in your spiritual walk. Like Proverbs 31 Ministries, if:Equip is not just a bible study app; it is also part of a multi-faceted ministry with loads of amazing resources. This is deﬁnitely one to check out if you haven’t already.
3. She Reads Truth
This has been a long-time favorite. SRT is another bible study app with both free and paid plans, that focus on various topics, books of the Bible, or even seasons of the Church calendar. In their words “She Reads Truth is a worldwide community of women who read God’s Word together every day.” This app is similar to the last two in that you can engage in online conversation based on the daily reading. They also offer wallpaper for your phone in their always BEAUTIFUL graphics.
This ministry even put out their own ESV Bible, which is, of course, BEAUTIFUL! They are obviously all about getting women into the Word.
4. YouVersion Bible App
This is my favorite Bible app. You can use it both online and ofﬂine, connect with friends to hold each other accountable in your daily reading, and even complete various (FREE!) bible studies. I love that you can highlight verses, as well as take notes.My most favorite feature right now though is the audio- this app will read the Bible to me in the translation of my choice! This is amazing for a busy mama who ﬁnds herself constantly in the car getting everyone where they need to go. It certainly limits my excuses for not having time to read my bible!
While I believe there is no replacement for actually reading your paper Bible and studying the scriptures on your own, I feel there is a place for these online resources. In a day where convenience and technology are king, these are resources that will make the Word more accessible and even understandable. I believe this can be a great place to start a daily Bible study as a new believer, as well as during a spiritually hard and dry season when you feel a little lost as to what and where to study. I have personally beneﬁtted greatly from the use of each of these (FREE!) resources and feel conﬁdent that you will as well.
While this resource is not free, the study Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story, by Angie Smith is incredibly helpful to increasing biblical literacy. This study delivers exactly what it promises: exploring how the Bible ﬁts together as one complete story. I’m sure to those of you unfamiliar with this study, it may sound like a perfect ﬁt for someone who is a new believer. But I can tell you that even after following Christ and reading my bible regularly for 20+ years, this study absolutely changed the way I read and understand Scripture. I highly recommend it!