How to Study Your Bible

Using an iPad

In our last study we looked at the importance of spending time with God. We live in a world that is so anti-God, and yet at the same time a world that needs to see Spirit-filled believers to experience what true Christianity looks like. We concluded that it was impossible, whatever our age, for individuals to live the life God intends for us without prioritizing time in His presence and reading His word. If we try to live for God in our own strength or effort we will portray a very lifeless and powerless Christianity. Something this world has seen enough of!

It was suggested that I should write an article about the use of an iPad/Tablet computer for Bible study, and what I’ve found beneficial as I used this technology.

I bought an iPad over two years ago, and since then, I’ve used it extensively for reading and study. As I go through my recommendations in terms of applications (app) to use I recognize that some will use other apps, which are just as good. This issue is not about the version of app, but the way they are used and more importantly the fact that they are used. There is a danger that the iPad/tablet just becomes like my Bible - something I take back and forward to the meeting with no reference to in between.

First things first! Any serious study of God’s word will need the following -

  • More than one version of the Bible
  • A good concordance
  • An expository dictionary
  • A Greek word study for the New Testament
  • A Hebrew word study for the Old Testament
  • A Bible dictionary and
  • A good Bible atlas.

I would also add some reputable commentaries to give you some objective viewpoints. After you have collected all this and a large desk, or at least space to work, you are ready to get started.

Just in case my last statement about study is misinterpreted, to get to know God all anyone actually needs is a healthy prayer life and a well-read Bible. These are all I need to hear God speaking to me. We do however have the privilege of being able to dig deeper into God’s word.

The first advantage of the tablet is you can have all of the above and more on the one device, hence no real need for the large desk, and most Bible study material comes at a fraction of the cost. You do have to pay out for the iPad or equivalent but overall it works out cheaper.

Secondly, many Bible packages will link all of the previous study aids together. So for example if you are reading a particular story - say, the wedding at Cana of Galilee, you can reference all sorts of information just by touching the words on the screen, e.g. -

Where Cana is on the map in relation to Jerusalem, for example.

  • What the Bible dictionary has to say about Cana at the time when Jesus was there. What weddings were like in New Testament times.
  • What Greek words were used for the ‘good wine’ just by tapping on the word good.
  • Various translations to give you a broader understanding of the text and so on.

In addition you can also save your own notes, which will always be available to refer to later. These are linked to the very verse you were meditating on. Before I had an iPad, I would write my thoughts on a piece of paper and then lose it! Maybe this is an indicator of how disorganized I can be!

The two apps I use are -

1. The Olive Tree Bible Study App. Main reasons - as detailed above. I now have about 10 different versions of the Bible in the one app. I also use the following -

  • Vine’s Expository Dictionary
  • A complete Bible word study for Greek and Hebrew
  • Strong’s concordance and dictionary
  • The Olive Tree Bible maps app, and
  • Various commentaries including a full Matthew Henry collection for the whole Bible.

I save my personal notes within this app as well.

2. The second app I use is the Glo Bible. There are three main reasons why I find this so beneficial.

  1. The multi media facility is superb with various map/pictures and videos all connected to the verses you are reading. This linked to a projector is a great resource for Bible teaching and youth work.
  2. The various Bible reading plans which also chart your progress and;
  3. It’s visually very impressive with layout and style.

In addition to the various apps and versions of the Bibles, you can also reference many podcasts about the subject or passage you are reading. The tablet will have access to free podcasts from across the world, which can be listened to. Our church is going through the New Testament epistles, at our weekly teaching meeting. At various points I’ve had some difficult subjects to deal with from the Roman and Corinthian epistles. As I prepared for the various meetings, I was able to access sermons from all over the globe. They were easily accessed through my iPad and listened to at my convenience, something, which would have been impossible before I had this medium.

Both the Olive Tree and Glo Bible applications will be available through the app store of the tablet you are using.

My last point picks up were I began. A thirst for God can be satisfied through the reading of the God’s word irrespective of the medium. Many reading this might prefer a physical Bible with the feel of the pages and text. Others will like the iPad/tablet idea. Whatever your preference, make it your daily counsel and your spiritual food.

Paul tells us in Colossians ‘And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God’, Col. 3. 15,16 ESV. This is how we set our minds on things above.

If you have a tablet or thinking of getting one hopefully the information in this article will give you some food for thought.