One of the four markers we talk about in young adult ministry is “depth.” Depth of Bible study is more than just knowing the whos and whats, of the Bible; it’s also being able to talk about and wrestle with the whys. The goal of depth is not just intellectual stimulation; true depth is measured by the level of encounter one has with the information.
Given that, someone can facilitate a group of depth whether or not they have a seminary education because the question is more about how deeply you encounter the Bible personally and, consequently, how deeply you can lead others to do the same. Though seminarians may be more equipped to dig into the biblical text, it’s often because they have more resources at their disposal. The good news is that many of these tools are self-explanatory and user-friendly. So here’s a list of great study tools that are easy to use and helpful for any serious student of Scripture.
- Concordance: Bible concordances help to locate important Bible references by indexing every verse that contains a particular word. These entries are listed alphabetically, and when you use a Bible concordance you can quickly assemble a list of Bible references on just about any subject.
- Bible encyclopedia: These are often massive in their scope—they present, in an organized fashion, page after page of information about Bible times and customs, important historical periods and persons.
- Bible dictionary: Arranged much like a typical English dictionary, it contains valuable entries which will help you to learn the proper pronunciation of obscure biblical words, will provide information on important biblical persons and summaries of various books of the Bible as well as its important teachings.
- Commentaries: A commentary is a compilation of many of the same things you might find in resources like the Bible encyclopedia or dictionary, but it’s much more focused and in depth about a particular book of the Bible. A good commentary balances information with readability and practical application, so spend a little time researching online reviews before deciding on one.
- Online study tools: There are thousands of resources currently available online at no cost to you. Spend a little time searching for Bible study resources and you can bookmark your favorites. Here’s a list to get you started: crosswalk.com; biblestudytools.com; studylight.org; bible.org.
Editor’s Note: This article was taken from the upcoming Threads release, Context: Engaging the Young Adults of Your Community. Context is a practical manual built as a desk reference tool for leaders in young adult ministry, releasing September 1.