Engaging the Scripture is a relational process. Much more than the mere calling out of words as one’s eyes cross the page, it is the primary means by which God engages the believer.
To engage the Scripture requires work, and as we all know, having the right tool for the job can make all the difference in both the process and the outcome.
12 Powerful Tools for Engaging the Scripture
- A Journaling Bible – This type of Bible has wide margins that provide space for recording personal thoughts and reflections. There are even some Bibles now where every other page is blank.
- An English Dictionary – Bible translators choose English words with great care. Our understanding of a biblical passage can be greatly enhanced by using an English dictionary.
- A Thesaurus – Synonyms and antonyms can also greatly enhance our understanding of a passage. I particularly enjoy using a thesaurus when Verse Mapping or Reading with a Pen.
- Bible Commentary – Use a Bible Commentary for help with understanding the background and context of passages.
- Concordance – An “exhaustive” concordance lists every occurrence of every word in the Bible.
- Maps – Need help with locations, distances, or proximities? Maps are a huge help with all things geographical.
- Cross-references – These are the verses listed on the pages of your Bible. Cross-references identify commonalities between different parts of the Bible. These are the best way to grasp what a Bible text is saying. “Let Scripture interpret Scripture.”
- Bible Translations – Translations of the Bible stick closely to the original language – word for word, thought for thought. They answer the question, “What does it say?”
- Bible Paraphrases – Paraphrases offer man’s interpretation of the Scripture and should be used as a commentary. They answer the question, “What does it mean?”
- Online Bible Study Sites – Bible Study Tools, Bible Gateway, Bible Hub, Blue Letter Bible, and others.
- Soul Friends – Engage the Scripture with a friend (or two). Soul Friends help you pay attention and process what you read. They also add an element of FUN!
- Journaling Methods – Verse Mapping, Reading with a Pen (or Lots of Pens), Journible-style, Praying Scripture in Color, Color Coding, Lectio Divina, and more.
12 Powerful Tools – A Reminder
Tools – implements; means for performing or facilitating work.
We must take care to use our tools as they are meant to be used – not as our primary source, not as a substitute for our own thinking – in a support role, facilitating our work.
“The Scriptures are our vineyard in which we should all work.”Martin Luther
Engaging the Scripture: Encountering God in the Pages of His Word is a practical guide to interacting with the Bible. Full of ideas, inspiration, and tools for working in the vineyard of Scripture.
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