There are tons of options when it comes to Bible study resources. They often are presented as guides for women or men or some life stage, whether we’re young, old, or somewhere in between. Historically, and sometimes still today, denominations will offer resources in an attempt to have a baseline for everyone to work under. These approaches are worthwhile and try and get to a place where this top list of resources tries to influence as well: this is the day that the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad. And, seek first the kingdom and everything else will be given. And, take up your cross everyday. In a Bible study, a group comes together in order to fellowship and devote time to Scripture reading, discussion and prayer. It’s also a time of sending people back out into our unruly world with more of a sense of God’s presence working in and through them. Oswald Chambers, the famed author of My Utmost for His Highest, recounts an encounter with God in which he heard him say, “I want you but I don’t need you.”
We hope the list below provides helpful tools for Bible study leaders and members. God wants us to be part of his mission in the world, and, isn’t it better to be wanted by God than just to be needed?
Author: Wayne Grudem
I can’t say enough about this resource. Dr. Grudem was one of my professors at seminary and his book is reliable, informative and organized. He has a passion and heart for God’s word and you can see it in this marvelous work. I remember that he started each class with a hymn because it’s the worship of God’s people that bursts forth our theology and Bible study.
Cost: $16.99 | LINK
Editors: Henry Bettenson, Chris Maunder
This is a handy guide that I’ve used often. It provides a good collection of original creeds and early Christian documents up through the more modern era. It’s a book that may not be on your list every week as a reference, but have it in your library because it will help in explaining some of the thinking of the Church through the ages. The Table of Contents is exhaustively nice, making it easy to find your way.
Cost: $20.99 | LINK
Author: by Ron Rhodes
This is a quick guide to topics and where to find Scriptural support. Whereas Grudem’s book will provide both the reference and the argument, this book gives you some key passages for topics A-Z.
Cost: $5.66 | LINK
If you’re looking for a creative overview or lead into your study, check out The Bible Project. You’ll find intros into topics that are animated in the sketch/drawing infographic manner that is more popular today.
Cost: Free | LINK
This is good guide to reading the Bible and how best to have a fruitful and thoughtful Bible study. This is one of several resources on our list that you may want to use as a tool if you get together on an ongoing basis with your teachers.
Cost: $9-12 | LINK
Author: Michael Card
CCM artist and writer Michael Card has taught many listeners about Scripture through his music. This resource combines both his thoughts in commentary book form and his musical journey through all four Gospels.
Cost: $8-12 | LINK
This handbook offers illustrations and historic references from Genesis to Revelation. It has charts, maps, illustrations, images, and key verses. This is great guide to better prepare your study in context with scripture and culture at the time.
Cost: $5 | LINK
The 52 Greatest Stories of the Bible
Authors: Kenneth Boa and John Alan Turner
This is an excellent guide to the Bible start to finish, from the garden to the promised homecoming at the end of time. It will be a good refresher to the larger story and you can likely read excerpts that fit your particular study to prompt additional discussion.
Cost: $17.99 | LINK
Chuck Swindoll continues to be a faithful radio pastor as well as a senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, TX. His Insight for Living website offers both audio tracks of his sermon series as well as books of the Bible outlines and overviews. Make sure to find out where you can listen to him locally on a Christian radio station.
Cost: Varies from free to a small charge for mp3 audio
Authors: John H. Walton & Kim E. Walton
This book has a great index and write-up of 175 stories on the Bible and it provides suggestions on how to teach these stories. Each story has a lesson focus, application, biblical context, interpretations, background and mistakes to avoid (especially helpful).
Cost: $17.49 | LINK
The New Unger’s Bible Handbook
Authors: Merrill F. Unger, Gary N. Larson
Similar to the Holman Illustrated Handbook, Unger’s handbook acts as a good reference to the culture at the time the stories occur. I received my copy a number of years ago and it has served as a nice resources for Bible study preparation or my own study. I especially like the “How the Bible Came to Us” chapter that concludes the book.
Cost: $26.99 | LINK
Author: John Piper
This may be an unexpected entry in a list of general Bible Study resources, but John Piper does a good job here in reminding and clarifying for us the centrality of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In your preparation, this is a nice anchor. It would also make a nice study for your group. The book is available as a PDF for free here:
Cost: $4.99 for Audio
Cost: $5.99 as ebook
Authors: C. Brand, C. W. Draper, A. England
A solid Bible dictionary is a necessity because it helps you cross-reference and see the broarder scope of particular words. Though you can get a dictionary in digital form, there’s nothing like having a few hard copy references beside you and your Bible as you prepare. (That’s coming from a tech-oriented person.)
Cost: $14.99 | LINK
Bible Gateway Online Search
This is my go-to place for side-by-side translations and keyword searches. The interface is clean and simple and the text includes the small letter footnotes that you can pop up and read.
Author: John A. Beck
This guide offers a lot of images and has the particular focus on helping us realize what daily life looked like during biblical times and how the context helped shape the message as well as the message, the context.
Cost: $5 | LINK
Author/Editor: David Horton
This is an excellent combination of overview and commentary. The book is “for anyone who wants an introduction to a seminary education but cannot afford the time or money to attend seminary, who lives where formal training is unavailable, or whose previous education is primarily secular.” To that end there are notes from more than 50 professors that help whet your desire for study even further, greats like Alistair E. McGrath, Ravi Zacharias, and the late John R. W. Stott.
Cost: $19.99 | LINK
I know you’re on Sharefaith’s website, but as I was searching out the best resources, I came across the LINKed article on top Bible apps for your phone. It’s an impressive list and Sharefaith continues to be a place that fosters good resources in the service of its many church partners.
John Piper is long-time pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. He is now retired but he’s still at work through his Desiring God ministry. You’ll find sermons, videos, interviews and commentary.
Author: Matthew Henry
This is a strong, stayed and true classic and one that you might find yourself returning to often, especially since it is verse by verse. I know many a leader is grateful for Matthew Henry’s strong witness and work. (He lived from 1662 to 1714, serving in England as a minister.
Cost: $18.99 (you can also find it free and searchable online through Bible Gateway) | LINK
Author: Tim Keller
There are many choices when it comes to the Psalms from reformer Martin Luther to C.S. Lewis. Tim Keller is pastor of Redeemer Church in New York City and his book is a daily reading and reflection of the Psalms. I include it in our list because the Psalms are often helpful in beginning or concluding a Bible study in a disciplined way as a book like this allows.
Cost: $12.99 | LINK
Author: Sarah Arthur
I include this in our list because often as Bible study leaders, we are asked about good devotionals, and, perhaps something that the group can read together on a daily basis. There are a lot to choose from. Oswald Chambers, for example, is a favorite for me and many. Sarah Arthur is a nice blend of thoughtful commentary and accessible presentation, if that makes sense. I encourage you to get some coffee spend some time with God.
Zach Kincaid is a part of the Sharefaith Editorial Team. He managesworkoutyourfaith.com and has written on C.S. Lewis, G.K Chesterton, and general Christian thought for more than 15 years. He is a husband, father, and collaborator on a variety of Christian outreach projects including films and educational resources.