10 Must-Have Bible Study Tools

Do you need some extra help understanding and applying God’s Word in your life? Don’t worry, we all do! In this post, I’ll share ten awesome Bible study tools that have helped me, that I hope will help you too.

10 Must-Have Bible Study Tools

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It doesn’t matter if you’re completely new to Bible study, or you’ve been poring over God’s Word for decades… I think we can all agree, that the Scriptures are vast and complex, and sometimes we just really need help understanding and applying it to our lives!

If you’re a Bible study newbie, it might seem as though none of it makes sense, and you haven’t yet seen any benefit from reading it.

And even for those of us who are seasoned students of God’s Word, there are still those times when we’d rather do anything else other that study the Bible… or perhaps there are still those parts of the Bible that are perplexing, and we’d rather just ignore them (*cough, cough* Revelation).

BUT, the Bible itself tells us that God’s Word is alive and active, inspired by God, will accomplish exactly what God intends it to, and is useful for molding and shaping us into who God wants us to be! Which means, saturating ourselves with Scripture is IMPERATIVE, if we want to grow and flourish as Christ followers.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

So, what is the easiest way to study the Bible? You have to start by cultivating in yourself a thirst and hunger to dive deeper into God’s Word… and then, to find the best Bible study tools, to facilitate your understanding of it.

I can definitely say from experience, that the more I study the Bible, the better equipped I am to deal with life… and not only to survive, but learn to thrive in loving God and loving my neighbors (I mean, I still have such a LONG way to go, but I’m getting there!)

After all, where would we be, without knowing what Jesus did for us on the cross? What would we do, if we didn’t understand what God asks of us? How could we cope with all the ups and downs of life, if we couldn’t understand this fallen world and why things happen the way they do?

Simon Peter answered [Jesus], “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
John 6:68-69 (NIV)

➡️ I’d like to take a moment to mention here, that so many people in the world still don’t have access to a Bible in their native language… much less any Bible study lessons to help in their understanding of Scripture. Check out Wycliffe Bible Translators to learn more about the all-important mission to bring God’s Word to more people, and how you can help!

Okay, now onto the tools…

Bible and notebook

10 Must-Have Bible Study Tools

I’m calling these the 10 “must-have” Bible study tools, but I say that lightly… because the only truly “must-have” is God and His Word.

Whichever of these tools you use, keep in mind that nothing will help you understand God’s Word more than praying to Him, and allowing God’s Holy Spirit to work in you. Only He can open your eyes!

So, ask God for help FIRST, and THEN explore the Bible study tools available to you. Rest assured, God wants you to understand His Word! In this modern age, we have so many resources available to us… but even in ancient Israel, when an Ethiopian eunuch needed help understanding the Scriptures, God sent help! (See the full story in Acts 8:26-39).

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Acts 8:26-31 (NIV)

Are you ready for this? Let’s start with the best free online Bible study tools, and then explore some great hands-on tools you can use in your Bible study…

1) A good study Bible

The first thing I highly recommend, is to get a study Bible! Not only is this the best of all Bible study tools for beginners, but it’s great for everyone. And truly, there are study Bibles of all kinds, so you can easily find one that fits your age, season of life, preferred Bible translation, and so forth. Look for study Bibles for teens, women, or men… or study Bibles with a particular focus such as Biblical archaeology, or apologetics.

But no matter which one you choose, your study Bible will have all kinds of useful notes and study aids, to help you understand the context, historical and geographical significance, and meaning of the Scriptures.

In my college Bible classes, our required ‘textbook’ was the basic NIV Study Bible. Nowadays, I read from the NIV Life Application Study Bible, which as the name infers, is geared towards practical application of the Scriptures to our everyday lives.

And just recently, I got this new NLT journaling Bible, which comes with the ‘Filament’ app. It’s pretty cool—I can just scan a Bible page with my phone, and the app brings up all kinds of notes and resources pertaining to that particular Bible passage.

Bible journaling on 2 Timothy 3:16-17

2) YouVersion Bible app

Looking for a place to compare different Bible translations? YouVersion’s Bible.com is one of the best online Bible study tools out there. Get their Bible app too, and you’ll have access to dozens of different Bible translations on your computer and your smartphone. Not to mention a wealth of Bible studies and devotionals right at your fingertips!

There are several other online Bibles as well, such as BibleGateway.com. Each one has unique features, so definitely try each one and see if there’s one you prefer more than the others. I tend to use Bible.com and BibleGateway.com interchangeably, depending on what kind of Bible study I’m doing or what Bible stories I’m searching for.

3) Through the Word app

Speaking of free Bible study tools, the Through the Word app is pure gold! This handy tool contains audio Bible studies with commentary, for every book of the Bible. So if you need some extra ‘hand-holding’ to get through a particularly complex book (such as Isaiah), download the app and give it a try!

By the way, the YouVersion Bible app also contains a few Through the Word devotionals… (which is where I discovered them), but if you want access to ALL the full-length FREE online Bible study plans, get the Through the Word app.

4) DesiringGod.org

Not all Bible study tools online are super obvious… and DesiringGod.org is one of those ‘tools’ that I consider to be a hidden gem! The articles and podcasts they offer are truly in-depth… they often address the question of “Okay, but really… how am I ACTUALLY supposed to apply this Biblical teaching to my life?”

One thing I will warn you about though… the articles on DesiringGod.org tend to get really into deep theology, so they’re sometimes a challenge to read. But, the topics and questions they explore are SO IMPACTFUL, I think they’re worth it.

Some of my favorites include why true Christianity is a fight (if you’ve ever wondered why you feel conflicted/under attack/still struggle so much with sin), and what the difference is between sloth and rest (this topic really strikes a chord with me—living with narcolepsy, there is a fine line between getting the rest I need vs. just being lazy!).

5) GotQuestions.org

Whereas DesiringGod.org is filled with deep intellectual discussions, GotQuestions.org provides practical answers to your burning questions. If you’re looking for Bible study tools that explain the meaning of God’s Word, these two websites are both excellent resources… but GotQuestions.org is definitely easier to understand.

The topics they address range from basic beginner questions, such as Can a Christian lose salvation?, to practical life advice like What does the Bible say about tattoos?. Pretty much anything you’ve ever wondered, you can find Biblical answers for… and if they haven’t answered your question yet, you can submit it!

6) Pigma Micron pens

Now, for some hands-on Bible study tools! Taking notes is so important in Bible study. Whether you scribble a few sentences with a pen, or create colorful Bible journaling pages, taking notes will help you to remember what you learned.

And these oh-so-handy Pigma Micron pens are great for Bible study note-taking because they’re less likely to bleed through the page than other types of pens. Plus, they come in multiple tip sizes—the superfine 0.15mm or 0.25mm tips are perfect for taking tiny notes in a regular Bible.

Pigma Micron pens - set of three

I use my Pigma Micron pens ALL the time, to take sermon notes in church, and in my Bible journaling too. They’re water-resistant, smudge-proof, and just very handy to have around.

(Want some other pen options? Check out my top three picks for the best Bible journaling pens, of which the Pigma Microns were #1).

7) Pilot Frixion highlighters

Of course, we can’t talk about the best Bible study tools without mentioning highlighters, right? Before Bible art journaling became a thing, Christians everywhere were simply highlighting key passages of Scripture to refer back to later. The only problem is, where do you find highlighters that won’t bleed through the delicate Bible paper?

Bible study highlighters - Romans 8

For that, there are Pilot Frixion highlighters! These unusual highlighters sit on top of the paper, rather than soaking into it… which makes them my #1 pick for the best Bible highlighters! ⬅️ Click here to see my other top picks!

8) Prismacolor Premier colored pencils

Are you short on funds or storage space, and need one great Bible study tool that can do it all? Get some colored pencils! They can totally pull triple-duty—use them for writing, highlighting, and coloring as well. Prismacolor Premier is my most-recommended brand; I love them for their soft and smooth coloring abilities, and the sheer number of colors you can get them in (they come in everything from a 12-pencil set, all the way up to 150!)

You can see here how I’ve used them in my pocket NIV New Testament, to write, highlight, and color with.

pocket Bible journaling - a new creation in Christ

9) Bible tabs/page markers

Once you have some Bible study notes going, you really need a way to bookmark those pages so they’re easy to find later. I’ve seen people use paperclips, ribbons, and all sorts of things to accomplish this… but there’s nothing quite so cheap and simple as post-it flags.

In fact, of all these Bible study tools I’ve mentioned, I bet post-it-flags are the one tool you already have at home! So, if you’re not already using them mark your Bible pages, you should be. 😉

That being said, there are lots of other options… including making your own Bible tabs!

10) Bible study journal

One of the last best Bible study tools you can have, is a journal to take notes in. Especially if you don’t have a journaling Bible, or you just need more space to write, a Bible study journal can be very useful.

And of course, there are lots of different journal options out there… this Inspired to Grace Bible Study Journal is just one such example. Try searching on Amazon for a soft- or hard-cover journal, or if you want some printable Bible study tools, Etsy is a great place to look.

Now that you’ve explored my most recommended Bible study tools, I’d like to know: What’s YOUR most essential Bible study tool? What has been the most helpful for your understanding of God’s Word?

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