I vividly remember my first shopping trip to purchase my first “real” Bible. I gathered up all my babysitting money and excitedly entered my local Christian bookstore. My balloon filled with enthusiasm promptly popped when I made it to the Bibles section. There were so many choices! After staring at them all, and haphazardly picking up samples to look through, I hesitantly chose a big black leather-like Bible—mainly because it looked studious and super-spiritual. I did not end up using that Bible much. In hindsight, it was a poor fit for me for many reasons.

You see, I was a toddler in the faith—actually not quite yet walking. I crawled around desiring to grow up and become closer to God. I just knew that getting a brand-new Bible would be the answer. But the version and type I chose was all wrong for me. This particular Bible lacked the simplicity and extra helps I really needed at that point in my spiritual journey. Plus, behind the study notes were beliefs that were a far cry from my own. This led to even more frustration and confusion. If I could go back and stand beside my former self, I would help past-Katie narrow down her choices in order to find a Bible that would fuel her burgeoning desire for the Bible and arm her with the basics of the Bible she needed.

That was in 1996, and the options today are much more numerous than they were then. So if you are in the market for a new Bible today, you might be just a bit overwhelmed! Past-Katie certainly would have been. She might have just walked out of that bookstore and given up on this walking-with-God thing.

So how do you know which one is going to be the best purchase for you? Before you go dropping dough on a Bible, you need to know the answers to three questions.

Why are there so many versions of the Bible?

The Bible was not originally written in English. Duh, right? But I won’t tell you how old I was when that fact finally dawned on me. I guess I just never really thought about it. It is important to recognize this fact because it will help us understand why there are so many different versions of the Bible (it can also help us with Bible study later on). Specifically, it is useful to understand that each publisher that has produced a new Bible has a purpose and a target audience. Some of them want to provide an accessible Bible that is super-readable to the everyday public. Others want to remain as true to the original text as possible, providing a better version for study. Therefore, each team of translators choose between “thought-for-thought” and “word-for-word” approaches, depending on what their end goal is.

If you are new to the Bible and/or want to do mostly Bible reading, I suggest you stick with one of the “thought-for-thought” translations below.  If you want study the Bible, a “word-for-word” translation is going to be most helpful. I think a healthy mix of using both types over time is ideal. There are loads of free Bible apps and websites that allow you to toggle between translations. I’m not super-familiar with all of the translations out there, but here are several I’ve had experience with. Those closer to “word-for-word” are listed first and as we move down the list, we migrate more and more towards “thought-for-thought” translations.

  • New American Standard Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (NASB) – I grew up on this version and it was the primary version I used for study until the ESV came along.
  • English Standard Version Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (ESV) – This is the translation I’ve used since 2005 for all my deep studies and most of my Scripture memory.
  • King James Version Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (KJV) – I’ve never used this much, but it is certainly a popular version.
  • New King James Version Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (NKJV) – I used this for a little while but it never stuck with me.
  • Christian Standard Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (CBS) – My husband and I have several new Bibles in this version, and have been trying them out for the past year or so. It claims to be the “optimal blend of accuracy and readability.” We like it.
  • New International Version Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (NIV) – I’ve never been a huge fan of this version either.
  • New Living Translation Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (NLT) – I enjoy this as fresh look at familiar verses.
  • The Message Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! – This is technically not a translation, it’s a paraphrase. So it is definitely a “thought-for-thought” and can be helpful if you find yourself completely unable to understand what a passage is saying. (Keep in mind, however, this is only one man’s thoughts on the passage.)

Mardel has a super-helpful chart of all of the above translations, alongside several others, and how they rank on the scale of readability and accuracy, as well as loads of other helpful information.

What is the difference between aaaaall the types of Bibles?

Once you’ve narrowed down your versions (translations), you need to understand the different types of Bible you want/need. For each translation, you will find several different types of Bibles available, thus a myriad of combinations can be found. Here are the main categories of Bibles typically found on the shelves.

  • A Bible – This is just a plain ol’, regular Bible. There might be a few textual notes in the bottom margin, but typically these contain only the book titles (Genesis, Ephesians, etc.), maybe a few headings throughout each book, and the chapter and verse references. These are often referred to gift edition, slimline, compact, or thinline Bibles. One example is this pretty “Premium Gift” teal Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! .
  • Study Bible – These are typically very thick Bibles, filled with loads of helpful information. Most include important info like the author, audience, and aim of each book, commentary (teaching and explanation by the really smart people who have studied the Bible in an academic setting and know what they are talking about), charts, and maps interspersed throughout—all geared toward helping you understand what you are reading/studying. Many study Bibles are geared around a certain Bible study method or even a theme, which often means the commentary provided will be mostly within that subject. Study Bible examples: ESV Study Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! , CSB Study Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! , Inductive Study Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!
  • Devotional Bible – Typically geared toward a certain group of people (women, men, students, children, etc.), these Bibles contain short devotional thoughts and stories throughout each book of the Bible. You can think of them like a devotional book all split up and appropriately placed into the Bible for you. Examples include the (in)courage Devotional Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (I contributed to this one!), She Reads Truth Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! FamilyLife Marriage Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! ESV Men’s Devotional Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! , The Message Devotional Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! and many, many more.
  • Journaling Bible – These Bibles are laid out to give you white space for note-taking or art journaling. Some provide designations in the title of where the journaling space is, such as single column, double column, interleaved (where every other page is blank), and whether or not it is lined. If not in the title, you’ll want to be sure to check the description or look for an opened sample so you purchase your prefered layout. Examples:  ESV Journaling Bible, Interleaved Edition Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! ESV Single Column Journaling Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! .

How are you going to use this new Bible?

This may seem like a silly question, but it is important. Another way to ask this question is, “What do you primarily need from this Bible?” Room for sermon notes? Teaching on what a verse means? Space to record prayers and/or what you are learning? You might have your eyes on a stunning journaling Bible, but what you really need is a solid study Bible. Maybe you have a well-loved study Bible, but need room to record your study notes. You might be like me—continually forgetting to pack your Bible and favorite pens Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! —so having a Sunday morning bag like this Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!  with a dedicated Bible and pens for recording sermon notes is just what the doctor ordered.

Generally speaking, a solid study Bible is going to be a great first investment ( I recommend the ESV Study Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! ), especially if you are new to the Bible. Here’s the key though: you need to use it! Study Bibles can be pretty overwhelming at first, but the charts, book info, and study notes are invaluable guides as you begin to explore Scripture.

Though ill-fitting, I’m glad I did pick out a Bible way-back-when. It was a choice of obedience for me. A determined step in the right direction. Though it wasn’t a perfect choice, God used my frustration with not understanding what I was reading to draw me even closer to Himself and also to seek out help from others. So if you are still feeling a bit stymied by all the options, I encourage you to step out, regardless. His Word is alive (every version and type!), our God is in control, and He can guide you even through an eeny, meeny, miny, moe approach. Narrow it down by version, type, and something you can afford, then take action … pick one!

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode 11

Though certainly not absolutely necessary for Bible study, having access to commentaries when you are studying a passage of Scripture can be super-helpful. However, if you’ve been down the commentary aisle at a bookstore, or searched Amazon for one … it can be pretty overwhelming to know which to chose. We’re here to help! Listen in to this 15 minute episode for answers to your question, “Which type of commentary should I use?!”

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • How to select a commentary to match your skill level
  • The importance of understanding the goals behind the publisher of every book, and who their target audience is
  • Clues you can find from the back of the book that will help you know if it is a good selection for you
  • How looking up theological “hot spots” can help you determine if that author is theologically sound
  • The importance of asking your pastor and/or leaders in your church that you can trust for commentary
  • How to think out of the box when it comes to finding help on a passage
  • The best bang for your buck when it comes to investing in commentary
  • Why it’s a bad idea to buy a full set of commentaries

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

  • ESV Study Bible – A great resource for any book of the Bible. Includes all the basic info you would need to know about a book (author, audience, aim) and more.

HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode 10

Today we chat about Song of Solomon!

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • The author, audience, and aim of Song of Solomon.
  • Chris’ thoughts on the male lover debate – who is the main character in the book?
  • Why did Solomon write this book and why is in included in Scripture?
  • What we can learn from studying Song of Solomon:
    • The importance of “don’t awaken love until it pleases”
    • The value of healthy sexuality within the confines of marriage
    • The goodness of romantic love

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

  • ESV Study Bible – A great resource for any book of the Bible. Includes all the basic info you would need to know about a book (author, audience, aim) and more.
  • Precepts Austin – This is a TREASURE TROVE of resources for the entire book of Bible.

SERMONS ON THE BOOK OF Song of Solomon:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode 9

Studying the Bible can be complicated. And especially if you are new to the Word of God, there are features in your Bible you may be missing out on.  In this 15 minutes episode we chat through what the itty bitty super-scripted numbers and/or letters that may be in your Bible. They’re there for a reason!

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • What are all the little letters and numbers in the Bible?
  • What is a footnote?
  • What is a cross-reference?
  • WHY they are in our Bibles.
  • How cross-references lead us to those “ah-ha!” moments.
  • Helpful tools to use for cross-referencing.
  • The NEW NAME for our Florida “studio.”
  • Plus a personal update from Chris and Katie!

RESOURCES MENTIONED:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #7

We’ve been working through the Wisdom Literature this season. We’ve hit on the book of Psalms as well as Proverbs and now it’s Ecclesiastes’ turn!

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • The AUTHOR, AUDIENCE, and AIM of Ecclesiastes.
  • The similarities between VH-1’s Behind the Music and the book of Ecclesiastes.
  • The main themes in the book.
  • How a meals at Denny’s and Ecclesiastes led Katie to marry Chris.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

SERMONS ON THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post or watch the Facebook Live video version.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #6

Today we tackle how to incorporate praying while we study the Bible. There are many potential ways to do this. In this 15 minute episode, Chris and I share what works for us!

Three ways to incorporate prayer into your Bible study time:

  • Before you study:
    • Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18 ESV).
    • Before you begin to study, take a moment to ask the Spirit to illuminate your time in the Word.
    • Approach God’s Word with a HUMBLE heart.
  • While you study:
    • “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45 CSB).
    • When you come to a verse you are uncertain what it means, ask God to open your mind to understand it!
    • Study God’s Word with a DEPENDENT spirit.
  • After you study:
    • “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22 ESV).
    • Once we’ve identified the main idea of what we are studying, we need modify our lives to what we’ve learned.
    • Leave God’s Word with a posture of RESOLVE to obey what we’ve seen.

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

(Affiliate links are present. At no extra cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!)

ADDITIONAL PRAYER RESOURCES:

  • Val Marie Paper – These are the prayer journals I use. I CAN’T WAIT for the 2018 journals to get here. I’ve pre-ordered mine!!

HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #5

Though you don’t need to know Greek or Hebrew to understand the Bible, having a general understanding of how to access the original language can be a helpful Bible study tool. No need to head to seminary or give in to defeat because you can’t. In this 15 minute podcast episode Chris and I share a few simple tips to begin your journey through the original languages of the Bible. 

How to get started with Greek and Hebrew

  • TIPS FROM THE SEMINARIAN (Dr. Orr): Start out with word studies
    • Pick a verb you want to study
    • Look at the semantic range – all the different ways the word can be translated
    • Look at how else the author uses this word
    • Once you are familiar with these steps and are ready for more, look in to the following:
      • voice – is this active, passive verb?
      • tense – is this word a past, present, or future, or perfect (completed) verb?
      • mood – is this a command (imperative)? an indication (indicative)?
  • TIPS FROM THE BEGINNER (Katie): Try this simple, three-step process used in the FOCUSed15 Bible studies
    • DECIDE – pick a KEY word to look up. (Don’t waste your time looking up the word “the.” Pick a word central to the verse.)
    • DISCOVER – find the original word as it was originally written
    • DEFINE – that original word
  • More tips and insight in the full episode!

RESOURCES MENTIONED:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #4

From the ideals promoted in the “Proverbs 31 Woman,” to the promise of Proverbs 22:6 (Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.) there is much we can glean from the book of Proverbs. Yet many struggle to understand exactly how to apply these wisdom sayings to everyday living. In this 15 minute podcast episode, we chat about some of the important principles to keep in mind as you study this book of wisdom.

What do I need to know about Proverbs?

  • Proverbs is one of the books of Wisdom Literature
  • AUTHOR: There are several authors
    • First 29 chapters were written or collected/adapted/grouped together by King Solomon
    • Proverbs 30 – written by Agur
    • Proverbs 31 – first half written by Lemuel
  • AUDIENCE: Fairly broad audience. Solomon was a collector of wisdom, and spent much time collecting
  • AIM: To provide wisdom from God for everyday life.
  • INTERPRETATION NOTES:
    • The wisdom found in Proverbs is intended to be general principles, not guaranteed promises.
    • The Proverbs should be read like poetry, with imagery present. Not everything can be taken literally.
    • Make sure any potential interpretation from a proverb can be confirmed by the rest of Scripture.
  • Listen in to the podcast for more tips!

SERMONS ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

 

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #3

Ever been in a place where you don’t have a desire to study the Bible? If this is you, you are NOT alone. This is a common struggle every Christian has dealt with. In this quick 15 minute episode, Chris and I share a few reasons WHY this might be the case, as well as several practical steps to take in order move forward!

What if I don’t enjoy studying the Bible?

There are many potential reasons for why we may not enjoy reading the Bible, but here are three of the most common reasons why many find it hard to open the Word.

  • Running and hiding – All too often, our response to our failures is to run away from God. Instead of experiencing the mercy of God by drawing near to the throne of grace, we believe the lie that it would be better to hide our sin and keep our distance.
  • Spiritual pride – Some get to the point where they feel they’ve read it all and have answered all the big questions they’ve had about the Bible. The felt need for learning more and knowing God better has diminished.
  • Comparison to a past spiritual high – Sometimes we open our Bible and we feel God speaking in incredible ways. This often happens when we first come to Christ, or while attending a conference or retreat. It is exciting to feel the sudden stirrings of a truth that changes everything for us, or a much-needed comfort of a promise delivered during a time of need. But these “feel-good” moments do not occur every time we approach Scripture, and it is easy to get stuck feeling like time in the Word is not worth it if we don’t immediately feel something.

So, we’ve all been there. Now what? Here are 6 actions to take if you find yourself lacking a desire for Scripture.

  • Be encouraged! The fact that this lack of desire bothers you is a good sign. God is working in you!
  • Pray. It is God’s will for you to be in the Word. If you ask Him to grant your heart a longing for time in the Bible, He will answer that prayer because that request is in line with God’s will.
  • Act in faith, not on your feelings. Feelings are deceptive and poor guides. Move ahead in obedience, with the expectant faith that God will answer your prayer to stir up a passion for His Word.
  • Quit comparing. In the age of Pinterest, it is easy to fall into the trap of feeling that our time in the Word needs to look like so-and-so’s. Though it can be helpful to see how others spend their time in the Bible, we must not give into trying to one-up what everyone else is doing.
  • Manage your expectations. We must let go of the thought that our “quiet times” must be a certain length, depth, and with a particular ambience to be worthwhile. Have 1 minute? Take it. Not exactly sure what to study? Start somewhere. Have no idea what you just read? Trust that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to what you need to see, when you need to see it. His Word does not return void. Any time in the Bible is good.
  • Remember. Recall what is true about God and who you are because of Christ. God is not going to reject you because you don’t always want to open your Bible. His acceptance of you is not dependent on your actions. Preach the gospel to your heart and remember that you are loved unconditionally.

HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #2

Have you read a verse and not been sure how to take it? Every wonder of something you are studying should be taken figuratively or literally? Some passages are pretty clear. Others are not. Listen in to this 15 minute episode for a few tips to help you move toward a better interpretation (and thus, application) of these tricky passages.

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN TO TAKE THE BIBLE LITERALLY?

  • Keep in mind the genre (type of writing) and the context. This goes back to our three “A”s.
    • Author: Who is writing?
    • Audience: Who are they writing to?
    • Aim: Why are they writing it?
  • When reading prophetic Scripture, know that there are Godly, educated, (way) wise(er than us) scholars who differ on their interpretations … so if you are unsure if a certain passage is literally or figuratively speaking of what is to come, you are probably not going to be able to figure it out either.
  • When it comes to moral issues and daily practice issues, cultural and contextual clues must be considered.
  • When you encounter a teaching that is also taught frequently and clearly in other places in Scripture, then we can apply the Bible literally to our lives.
  • If something is taught sparingly and is unclear, we ought to look at the PRINCIPLE behind the command, instead of the SPECIFICS of the actions.

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

  • Go to your pastor (or small group leader) if you have questions. He will LOVE it!
  • Bible Study Hub online study group

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

Links below may include affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks!

  • Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
  • The IVP Bible Background Commentary – If you do think something is figurative instead of literal, this resource will help you see the meaning of the words through the eyes of the original audience by spelling out the cultural significance.
  • A solid study Bible will also help with some of these tricky passages. Our favs are:

HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.