Lest I think I’ve ever “arrived,” it takes only a moment of stress to show me how far removed I am from biblical love. My everyday moments more often resemble lovelessness rather than the definition of biblical love. Over and over again I insist on my own way as I bark out commands in haste to my kids or speak short words to my husband and leave no room for doubt that I’m irritated. “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26 ESV).

Impatience, at its core, is a love issue. The Greek word used in 1 Corinthians 13:4 for “patient”(makrothumeō) has the connotation of being slow to act against wrongdoing. Whereas the original word for kind has a meaning of responding with a mild demeanor. These are reactive words.

Love is Patient. Love is Kind.

The challenge here is not to go out and be more patient and kind. Instead, love is displayed in our response to the offenses of others. When someone intentionally wrongs me or is just incredibly annoying, my response reveals love (or hate). I don’t need to look far to find an occasion to love. I am given continual opportunities to love each and every day.

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” (Matthew 12:34).

God loved me so I can show love. “Not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19). God extended me mercy so I can extend mercy. God is patient with me so I can be patient with others. Once again, we have our example of love in our Savior. God’s love for His people is patient. My sin—and yours—is a continual offense to a holy God. Yet, He responded to our offensive actions toward Him with love. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient (makrothumeō) toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Love is evidenced in our responses to others. All too often, when we want to make changes in our lives, we go overboard looking for new things to help us in our journey. In our efforts to be intentional, we skip right over the simplest solution. Truth is, we already know what to do. We don’t have to look far for ways to show love to others. Every moment we have with the people God has planted us next to is an opportunity to love. From the next-door neighbor we rarely speak to, to the girl at work who drives us crazy, to the friends and family closest to us. As we choose to stay near to God and keep in step with His Spirit, He will faithfully enable us to love others and bear witness to the love we ourselves have experienced.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

PRAY THIS WITH ME: God, I praise You for your extravagant love! I deserve judgment, yet You have lavished Your love on me. Jesus, thank You for taking the wrath of my sin so that I can experience the favor of my Creator. Spirit, enable me to respond with extravagant, patient, and kind love with every offense I face today.


This is an excerpt from Everyday Love — a women’s Bible study on love. This easy-to-use, four-week Bible study will help you discover how your life can bear witness to God’s purpose. In as few as 15 minutes a day, you will explore the Book of 1 Corinthians 13 and the deeper truths about God’s love for you and others. 

Join the Online Study Group!

 

Discover what the Bible has to say about love

(And learn how to study the Bible along the way!)

WHAT: Studying 1 Corinthians 13

WHEN: February 11th – March 8th, 2019 

WHERE: Bible Study Hub Facebook group

The threat of my house catching on fire is haunting. Fire can spread quickly and in unpredictable ways, bringing a great potential for destruction. Though fire can be erratic, we do know there are three things needed for a fire to burn: heat, oxygen, and fuel. In light of this, safety experts suggest keeping a fire blanket handy at home, especially for small kitchen fires. A fire blanket is a nonflammable covering used to contain a small fire from getting out of control. It’s designed to contain the fire by preventing oxygen access, thus smothering the fire into submission. The blanket provides a covering in order to suffocate the flames.

You and I have fires that pop up everyday, and they are (hopefully!) not in our kitchen. Every wrongdoing we experience is an ember, and we have an opportunity to smother it immediately or allow it to catch into a smoldering wildfire. Each insult, injury, or inconsideration encountered is a chance to cover the offender in love. When we obsess over the attacking flame on our doorstep we breathe life into it and allow it to burn bright, instead of immediately smothering the offense with love.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)

Love covers. It quickly blows out the flame of irritability, resentment, and pride. Again and again and again. It suffers long toward every ember that tempts to take over. Love is shown in the response we make toward wrongdoing. We don’t need to go out looking for fires to put out, we each have enough to go around. Fires pop up every day, and in those moments when we begin to feel the heat, we have a choice to feed the fire or smother it into submission.

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,” (Isaiah 61:10).

Jesus smothered our sin into submission, then He gifted us His righteousness. This act of love covered over you and me in a way we cannot fully comprehend on this side of eternity. And as we attempt to grasp the reality of Christ’s covering, let’s move toward extending a covering of love to those around us as extravagantly as Christ did for us.

PRAY THIS WITH ME: Jesus, I praise You for Your covering of grace and forgiveness. Never let me forget what You have saved me from. Help me to see the fires that need covering and enable me to douse them with love today.


This is an excerpt from Everyday Love — a women’s Bible study on love. This easy-to-use, four-week Bible study will help you discover how your life can bear witness to God’s purpose. In as few as 15 minutes a day, you will explore the Book of 1 Corinthians 13 and the deeper truths about God’s love for you and others. 

Join the Online Study Group!

 

Discover what the Bible has to say about love

(And learn how to study the Bible along the way!)

WHAT: Studying 1 Corinthians 13

WHEN: February 11th – March 8th, 2019 

WHERE: Bible Study Hub Facebook group

When I starting seeing that the Word of God is something to enjoy instead of something to do—something to achieve—that was another place in my life that really propelled me forward spiritually. 

Why is it important to study the Bible? In this video, I explain how Bible study affects every part of our life, but most importantly, our view of God.

Watch the video and catch the full transcripts over at LifeWay Voices.

I’m a head-first-diver. When I decide I want to do something, I set my mind to it … and go. Sometimes this approach works, sometimes it doesn’t. There are some cases that you just need to dive in and see where things take you. There are others that a bit of planning and foresight will go a long way. Bible study is one of the latter.

It’s important to recognize that Bible study is a journey and every time we open our Bibles, we lay another layer down for the step ahead. And since it is a journey it is oh-so-helpful to understand where we are and where we are going.

Step 1. Place yourself on the Bible Study Boulevard

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

1 Peter 2:2–3 ESV

We all start out on the left—a Bible Study Beginner. Peter tells us to be like babes who long for the milk that will enable us to grow up. Our spiritual life is just like our physical life. In order to grow, we must take in nourishment. The rate of our spiritual growth is in direct correlation to the amount of “milk” we take in.

No Bible, no growth. A little bit of Bible, a little bit of growth.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

Here we have the end goal when it comes to our ability to study the Bible: an accurate handler of the Bible. This means that we ought to be able to open the Bible, read it, study it, figure out what it means (interpret), and walk forward in worship of the God who wrote it (apply it). There is a biblical expectation that all who come to Christ also become accurate handlers. All Christians eventually should be able to eat the meat.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.

Hebrews 5:12–13 ESV

This is not meant to be a guilt trip, but a reality check—so that we can correctly place ourselves on the Bible Study Boulevard. Once we know where we are, then we can choose the right next step.

ASSIGNMENT: Take a moment in honest evaluation of where you are at on the Bible Study Boulevard. Pick a “hex” above, and take a mental note.

Step 2: Know where to put your primary focus

Build the Habit —> Gain Understanding —> Worship God

Build the Habit

When we are first starting out in our Bible study journey, we need to focus on building the habit. Start small and doable. Get the quick win and build on that success. Place your energies on showing up. This doesn’t mean that you won’t gain any understanding—you will—but you need to first put your best effort toward getting into a rhythm of regularly opening your Bible.

Gain Understanding

Once spending time in the Bible has begun to become routine, you are ready to move on and take the next baby step toward understanding the Bible. Now you can start using those brain cells to focus more about what you are reading. You can flex those Bible study muscles and begin learning how to accurately handle the words in the Bible.

Worship God

All along the way, you are worshiping God. You don’t have to wait until you know everything about the Bible and perfectly live it out before you can worship God with your life. (Spoiler alert) You never will! The depths of the Bible can be mined for a lifetime. And not one of us will ever be able to obey it perfectly. (Good news is, Jesus did on our behalf!) However, every intentional step you take along the way is one that says, “God, I want you more than ________.” And as you gain understanding, you get to see God more and more clearly. As you get a better and brighter view of who God is and what His best plan is for your life, you will naturally want to respond in obedient worship.

ASSIGNMENT: With where you are in mind, decide if you need to focus primarily on HABIT or UNDERSTANDING. Now we can move on to choosing the right next Bible study baby step for you.

Step 3. Pick the right approach for you

This is where things get exciting!! Now that you know where you need to focus, you can put together a plan. I’ve laid out all the products I have available so you can see where they are on the boulevard. Each is designed to help prepare and propel you forward to the next Bible study baby step.

Choose by skill level

  • Completely out of the habit? Never read more than a few verses at a time? —> Pick a reading plan.
  • Completed at least a few weeks in a row of Bible reading? Studied the Bible before but it’s been a while? —> Start with a reading plan, then add FLEX 3 as you feel ready to take the next step.
  • In a great routine of Bible reading and ready for a challenge? —> Start off with FLEX 3 and move on to FLEX 6 once you get the hang of things.
  • Tried out a few Bible study tools and ready for more? —> Start with FLEX 9 or even the FOCUSed15 method.

These decision-making suggestions are based primarily on skill. But you can also make your choice by the time you have available that day.

Choose by time available

  • Only have a moment available today? —> Read a few verses. Then thank God for what you read.
  • Have a few minutes to spare? —> Study a few verses (2-4) with the FLEX 3 layers.
  • Have several minutes? —> Study several verses (5-7) using FLEX 6.
  • Have 10 minutes today? —> FLEX 9 on 9 verses or so.
  • Have 15 minutes or more? —> Go through the FOCUSed15 study steps on a few verses (3-5).

Of course, there are loads of other reading plans out there and Bible study tools besides these. Go out there and try out as many as you can. We all learn differently, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to Bible study. All of my products are build to help you toward the goal of being able to rightly divide the Bible on your own. However, there are some really, really awesome Bible studies out there that are geared primarily toward understanding. I’ve completed dozens of them and grew tremendously from them. You may not learn how to study your Bible, but you will gain LOADS of understanding on the topic or the book it teaches on. There is a place for both!

ASSIGNMENT: Chose an approach and prepare for your next step. Here are a few resources you might find helpful.

Step 4. Start Studying

Now all this is cool info, but it all means nothing if we don’t move forward! To recap, here is what we’ve covered:

  1. Place yourself on the Bible Study Boulevard.
  2. Know where to put your primary focus. (Habit? Understanding?)
  3. Pick the right approach for you and prepare for your next step.

Now, it’s time to dive in. Start now. Determine your next baby-step and take it!


I’m super-duper-excited about a new product I’ve created with all of this in mind. The Proverbs Bible Study Pack allows for all of the above beginner steps. So whether you are brand new to Bible study, or have a bit of experience under your belt, you can utilize this pack.

PLUS, my online Bible study group for women is studying Proverbs together in 2019. Grab the pack, then join us!

proverbs bible study
Proverbs Bible Study

Do the words “Bible study” send you into a cold sweat? It used to do so to me! Many find studying the Bible intimidating and hard—often accompanied by a constant feeling that she is just not doing it right.

On top of these, there is a notion out there that if we are a Christian, then we ought to be able to pick up the Bible, easily understand what it says, then put it into practice immediately. I vividly remember the first time I opened my Bible with sincerity—I just knew it was going to be the turning point in my relationship with God. However when I opened it up and started reading … I was confused. I had no idea what the words on the page meant, nor how I should move forward because of them!

If you want to be able to understand the Bible on your own, you’re not alone. Nor are you stranded! Below are a few tips to help get you started.

Beginner Bible Study Tip #1

Start with the right mindset

I’ve made many Bible study attempts—and fumbled more than a few. Each attempt was super-frustrating. Here are a few pieces of advice I wish I’d had before I started out.

  • Don’t feel like you have to study every single verse. Focus on quality over quantity. Bible study is not a race or a performance.
  • Don’t be afraid to test the waters. There are LOADS of different study methods out there. Some you will love, some you may not. We all learn differently, so if the first thing you try out just doesn’t do it for you, keep trying until you find one that fits. As you try out different methods, look for the four pillars of Bible study you want to make sure you include over time.
    • Read: Simply read or write out the verses to get a big picture overview.
    • Observe: The goal here is to start seeing the truths contained in each verse.
    • Interpret: This is where we gather what we’ve observed in order to figure out what it means. (A good study Bible is of great help for this step.)
    • Apply: Once we know what the verses mean, we get to respond to what we’ve learned.
  • Don’t forget why you are studying. It’s not to impress other people. It’s not to gain approval from God. We study our Bible in order to meet with God and know Him better. He’s not concerned about the color of your pen or how many verses you studied. The act of setting aside time to spend with Him is what matters—even if you walk away from the Bible scratching your head. Over time, you will learn more about Him as you keep showing up and enjoy the time you have with God.

Beginner Bible Study Tip #2

Focus on building the habit

Habit —> Understanding —> Worship

Studying the Bible regularly starts with getting into a regular routine. You can have all the Bible study tools available to you, but if you aren’t in the habit of sitting down to study, those tools won’t be of much help. You cannot gain understanding without a regular routine of opening your Bible.

Here are a few thoughts to consider as you embark on creating a rhythm of regular time in the Bible. (The tips here are the same for building the habit of regular Bible reading which I gave in an earlier post, so this is an abbreviated version.)

  • Take it a day at a time. Don’t worry about finding the “perfect” time, simply look at your schedule for tomorrow and pick out the best 10 minute slot. Then do the same until you find a routine.
  • Keep going. Don’t give in to the paralysis of perfectionism. Resist the thought that 10 minutes of study isn’t enough. Something is always better than nothing.
  • Invite a friend to study with you. If you are not sure who to invite, consider an online Bible study group. (We’re studying Proverbs in January. Join us!)

Beginner Bible Study Tip #3

Start small; take baby steps

Trying to tackle a large book of the Bible is probably not the best option for most when starting out. Instead, consider setting a small Bible study goal. Something you can complete in a week or month time frame—in just a few minutes a day—is a great place to start. This will give you the easy win—especially if you are not already in a regular habit of Bible reading.

Here are a few beginner-level suggestions:

A mixture of big picture Bible reading and then zooming in to study for a few minutes is a great approach. For example, in my Proverbs Study pack, I recommend reading one chapter a day, which should take you about 5 minutes. Once you are done reading the entire chapter, then you can zoom in to apply some study tools to just 3 of the verses you just read.

FLEX 3-6-9: Beginner Bible Study

I’ve worked with thousands of women to help them learn how to study the Bible in as little as 15 minutes a day through my FOCUSed15 Bible studies. When I put them together, I wanted to bridge the gap between devotionals and the long workbook studies. A hole has been filled with the FOCUSed15 studies, but there is still a big jump for someone with little-to-no Bible study background.

So, I went back to the drawing board and created a method of Bible study specifically geared toward newbies. I call it FLEX 3-6-9. It’s a flexible tool that will help you learn how to flex your Bible study muscles. You’ll start out small—3 verses, 3 questions, 3 minutes—then once you are good at that, you can move up to 6 verses, 6 questions, for 6 minutes. Eventually, you’ll learn how to study 9 verses at a time, asking 9 questions, and study for 9 minutes.

You can do this!

bible study for beginners

Features of FLEX 3-6-9

  • Easy Start – At just 3 minutes of Bible study a day, this is a great place to start.
  • Incremental Steps – Through small baby steps you’ll learn how to open the Bible, ask the right questions, and begin to understand what it means.
  • Flexible Time – Depending on how much time you have in your day, you can study more or less.
  • Transferrable Method – From Genesis to Revelation, this method can be used to study every type of book of the Bible.
  • Strengthens Skills – You’ll learn how to study the Bible on your own.

For now, this brand new tool is available through the Proverbs Study Pack which includes everything you need to get started!

Are you ready? Let me know what you are going to study and when!

‘Tis the season for extra activities, endless shopping lists, and out-of-control eating because we’re all so stressed from the formerly mentioned activities. Come December 26th, we’ll be more than ready to get back to our normal routine and excited for the new year ahead. High on the priority list for most Christ-followers is to read the Bible more. Many will start reading through the Bible with great enthusiasm, but fizzle out before the next page in the calendar is turned.

I’ve been there. My guess is that you have been as well. Why do so many of us struggle to simply read the Bible consistently? I believe it has much to do with our motivations. It is important to pay attention to the desires of the heart, especially when we are setting out on a spiritual endeavor.

Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t put “read my Bible more” on your resolutions list this year

  1. I read my Bible to make God happy with me.
  2. I read my Bible to impress other people.
  3. I read my Bible to because it is what good Christians do.

If you are currently reading the Bible for any of the above reasons, don’t stop! Keep going. But as you do, begin praying and working toward a healthier perspective.

Here are three healthy reasons why you should read the Bible

  1. I read my Bible to build the habit.
  2. I read my Bible to gain a better understanding of God and His plan for my life.
  3. I read my Bible to worship God through responding to what I learn.

Read the full post over at LifeWay Voices.

Ready to start reading your Bible? Not quite sure how or where to start? You’re in the right place!

I’ve been in your shoes and I’ve since turned the corner and now help thousands of others learn how to begin reading and studying the Bible … and how to keep going.

How to Start Reading the Bible – A Beginner’s Guide

I know you want to open your Bible, read what’s on the page, and understand it immediately. Yet there are many barriers that keep us from doing just that.

1. Choose the right Bible for you

This goes without saying, but you need to get a copy of the Bible in order to read it. You probably already have one, but it may not be the best fit for you. There are a bunch of different Bibles on the shelves at the Christian bookstore and it can be super-overwhelming to know the difference between them all. Here is a post all about the different types and versions, if you are interested. But the bottom line is this: use a version you can read easily. If you’ve had a Bible for years, but the reading level is way over your head, consider grabbing a version that is easier to read. The 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) or the NET 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!  are both very readable and great for beginners.

If money is tight, I’m sure your local church has copies on hand they would love to give you. Alternately, check your local thrift shop and/or bookstore for inexpensive copies. I often see $5 deals at LifeWay or through online promotions. There are also loads of free apps you can grab. (My favorite is the ESV Bible app.)

2. Start building the habit of reading your Bible

Habit —> Understanding —> Worship

Probably the most common barrier to reading and understanding the Bible is a lack of habit. In fact, I often have to go back to this step, even after decades of reading and studying the Bible. Because I cannot gain more understanding without a regular routine of opening my Bible. Until we have established the habit of regular Bible reading, understanding is going to be hard to come by. Why? Because without the habit, you’ll start off strong but fizzle out by the end of the week. How do I know? Been there. Done that. My guess is, you have to.

Here are a few thoughts to consider as you embark on creating a rhythm of regular time in the Bible.

  • Start small. Choose something that will give you the quick win!
  • Schedule a date with God. Don’t worry about finding that perfect time, simply look at your schedule for tomorrow and pick out the best 10 minute slot. Put it on your calendar and get ready for it like it is any other appointment.
  • Make it enjoyable! Grab a new coffee mug or some yummy hot chocolate reserved only for your time with God. Buy a new blanket to cozy up with, or a pretty basket to keep your Bible in. I like to keep tissues and sticky-notes with my 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!  handy in case I need to jot down something I need to remember to do later.
  • Keep going. Don’t give in to the paralysis of perfectionism. Resist the thought that reading for 5 minutes isn’t enough. Five minutes of reading one Bible verse is better than none read at all!
  • Invite a friend to read the same plan and consider meeting up in a week or so to talk through what you’ve read. If you are not sure who to invite, consider an online Bible study group.

Once you are in a regular rhythm of Bible reading then you can begin to focus on understanding what you see in the pages of Scripture.

3.  Know where to start reading the Bible

There is no one “best place” to read the Bible, but there are certainly some places that will be easier to understand right away, more than others. By and large, most people pick up the Bible and begin reading it from cover to cover … and get stuck somewhere in Leviticus. God’s Word doesn’t have to be read “in order.”

Here are a few favorites that many love to read through again and again:

A few things to keep in mind:

  • You are not going to understand everything you read. The Bible is a deep, complex masterpiece. There are certainly many truths we can easily see on the surface, but there is much more below than can be mined. It takes time to put all the pieces together.
  • The Spirit of God lives within you. Though you may not comprehend everything right away, if you are a Christian, you have the very presence of God within you to guide and teach you as you read!
  • Remember the end goal of Bible study. It’s not simply to gain knowledge. The end goal of Bible study is worship. Bible study is about getting to know our magnificent God! Opening your Bible with a heart of expectation is an act of drawing near to Him. Even if you walk away scratching your head about what you just read, it is still an act of worship. A step closer to experiencing God in your everyday.
  • Look into investing in a good study Bible. The helpful notes and charts found throughout are invaluable in helping with understanding what you are reading. Here is a post all about my favorite study Bible.

4. Engage in two needed viewpoints: Bird’s Eye View and Bug’s Life

There are two main lanes of Bible study that will help us begin to understand the Bible: the “bird’s-eye-view” and the “bug’s life.” Both perspectives are important elements in our journey toward comprehension.

A bird’s-eye-view of the Bible provides a big picture perspective and helps us connect the dots between all the different pieces. I learned many Bible stories in my early years, but I lacked a basic timeline and understanding of how all the characters are associated. Reading plans through a book of the Bible and reading through the Bible chronologically are an excellent way to gain this critical viewpoint.

There is much to be gained from that big-picture vantage point, but we can also learn from the details the “bug’s life” can provide. When we dig deeper into a passage—zoom in to a small portion of Scripture and take our time while we are there—we begin to see details we never noticed on a quick read-through. And these details can be seen in as little as 15 minutes a day through these Bible studies for busy women.

Both are lanes of Bible study are necessary. Both help us enjoy the Word. Both help us see God more clearly and worship Him better.

5. Connect with your local church for resources

God created us for community. Specifically, His will is for each of us to be a member of and involved in a local church. Most local churches have some sort of small group Bible study option. Finding a church home and a small group will be a great step towards experiencing God daily.

6. Pray

You don’t have to have all the right words. It can be in your head, spoken out loud, or written out in a journal. Simply express to God your desire to know Him better through His Word. He desires the same. It’s His will for you to experience a deep and enjoyable time in the Bible. If you ask Him to help you create the habit in order to understand what you encounter and worship Him better, then you make consistent choices toward that end, He will answer that prayer! Without fail.

What other questions do you have about getting started in regular Bible reading?

Advent is right around the corner and this is a great time for us to set our minds on Jesus, you know, the reason for the season! I’ve collected many advent plans and studies along the years. Here’s a list of studies I’ve done—or have wanted to do!

Advent Bible studies for women

Love Comes Near 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!

  • 25-day Bible study from Jenni Keller
  • Includes a bonus Family Advent Experience
  • Learn more about Love Comes Near 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!

He Is 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!

  • An Advent Bible study from Becky Kiser
  • 20 Bible Study days on the attributes of God written by 20 guest writers (including me!)
  • Includes a 5 Advent Candle Bible Study and Instruction days
  • Learn more about He Is 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!

Then Came Jesus 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!

  • A 4-week Bible study by Lara Williams
  • Each week organized into a 5-day study plan
  • Suggested Scripture memory passages for each week
  • Each day includes an optional “Family Idea”
  • Learn more about Then Came Jesus 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!

advent bible studies for women

free advent reading plans for women

Adore Him Reading Plan

Advent Reading Plan

Born Is The King

  • A free 28 Day reading plan from She Reads Truth
  • Starts on the first Sunday of Advent
  • Learn more

Christ Was Born for This 

  • A free 29 Day reading plan from She Reads Truth
  • Starts on the first Sunday of Advent
  • Learn more

Joy to the World

  • A free 29 Day reading plan from She Reads Truth
  • Starts on the first Sunday of Advent
  • Learn more

advent reading plans free

kids advent calendars

Kid’s Advent Calendar and Reading Plan

  • This looks like a load of fun!
  • A 24 day reading plan and activity guide for families from Not Consumed
  • Learn more

Advent with the Jesus Storybook Bible

  • A 24 day plan through the Jesus Storybook 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! (our fav!!)
  • Includes Bible verses to read alongside the Jesus Storybook 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!
  • Simply grab your copy of  Jesus Storybook 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 download her free reading plan!

The Littlest Watchman – Advent Calendar 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!

  • Includes an Advent Calendar and Devotional Booklet 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!
  • Gives suggestions on how to make your own “Jesse tree”
  • Has an accompanying book: The Littlest Watchman: Watching and Waiting for the Very First Christmas 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!
  • We used this last year and enjoyed it!
  • Order your copy here 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!

kids advent calendars


Looking for online bible studies for women?online bible studies for women

Today I’m sharing the answer to one of the frequently asked questions I receive: “What is your favorite Bible?” Though I have many Bibles on my shelf, the one I consistently recommend is 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! .

The Best Study Bible

I’ve used 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! in various ways throughout the years. The ESV (stands for English Standard Version) is the translation I love to study from the most because it is more of a “word-for-word” translation than most others, which makes it a great Bible to study from. The ESV is also my preferred version for Scripture memory, mainly because it is most familiar to me.

best study bibleI have a large well-loved copy of 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! , which I happily lugged around with me to and from home, church, and Bible study group for years. The study notes alongside all of the resources within is a treasure trove of information—especially for the beginner to Bible study. (If I could purchase again today, I would grab this pretty teal 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! !)

best study bible

Nowadays this copy collects dust on my shelf because I have learned how to access all 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! goodness on-the-go through the free ESV Bible app.

best study bible

It is AMAZING!! This is one of the biggest reasons why I love 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! so much. There are other study Bibles just as solid as this one, but (as far as I am aware of) this is the only one who boasts this incredible feature. I can access the same study notes, charts, maps, and all the other resources included in 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!  at the tap of a button on my phone. I typically consult it multiple times a week, if not daily. It is super-convenient having all these Bible study charts, maps, notes, and book information with me at all times.

My Favorite Pens for Bible Study

Alongside the “favorite Bible” question, I get a bunch of questions about the pens I use! Though not necessary, I think it is great to personalize our Bible study time. This is a time to enjoy, and I enjoy color (plus, I am a very visual learner!) so some nice colorful pens are a must for me. best study bible

My all-time favorite pens are Staedtler Pens. I have several sets of the Triplus Fineliner 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! in the plastic case (one for home, one for my church bag), and one in the pink roll case 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! which I purchased when it was marked down and keep in my handbag for the kids to use while we are out and about. As you can tell, I don’t like to be stuck without my pens!

best study bible

Here’s what I love about these Staedtler Fineliner 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! :

  • They don’t bleed (unless you write over and over again in one spot).
  • They are very resistant to drying out. (I used to love Flair pens … until they stopped working due to drying out! My Staedtler Fineliner 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! have lasted much longer than my Flair pens did.)
  • The case converts into an easel that props up the pens for easy access.
  • They are fine point at 0.3mm, which is small enough to be able to take lots of notes in my Bible.

best study bible

best study bible The only problem I’ve had with these pens is actually with the case … it kept popping open while in the easel position. I grabbed some gorgeous floral duck tape 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! to keep it shut. Problem solved and my case was further beautified!best study bibleEnjoy!

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 book store. 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 sooo many different Bibles for sale in the Christian book store?

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.

Common translations of the Bible for sale in the Christian book store:

  • 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.)

The Mardel book store 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.

Why are there so many different types of each Bible version at the Christian book store?

Once you’ve narrowed down your preferred Bible versions (translations), you need to understand the different types of Bible you want/need. For each translation, you will find several different types available, thus a myriad of combinations of Bibles for sale at your local Bible book store.

The main types of Bibles for sale in the Christian book store:

  • 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 help from others. So if you are still feeling a bit stymied by all the options of Bibles for sale at the Christian book store, 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!