When preparing for a Bible study or simply reading the Bible for your own quiet time, you will stumble on questions you don’t have the capacity to answer. Don’t let it stop you from reading! We live in a fantastic age of on demand resources that can help you in your scripture pursuits.
Below are the resources I use most often when I’m feeling stumped by scripture:
1. Lumina: This site is awesome! Not only can you look up scripture in your preferred translation, but on the right side of the screen is pretty much any information you could possibly want for whatever scripture you’re reading. There are five tabs on the right side of the screen to help with your study. The tabs are labeled, “Notes”, “Bibles”, “Greek/Hebrew”, “Library”, and “Search”.
Under the “Notes” tab, there are the footnotes for your chosen Bible translation, there’s the option for Constable’s notes, and then a place for your own personal notes. Dr. Thomas L. Constable has written a commentary for every book of the Bible, among other achievements. For more information on him, click this link and it will take you to a short career biography. His commentaries are excellent and have answered many questions for me.
The “Bible” tab allows you to read different translations parallel to each other. The “Greek/Hebrew” tab lets you see the scripture you’re reading in Greek or Hebrew. If you have a question about how a word was translated, you can hover over the English word and the site will highlight where that word is in the Greek or Hebrew text. A definition of the word will pop up at the bottom of the screen.
I love this site and it’s what I use the majority of the time when writing a Bible study.
2. Pick Your Favorite Pastor: This resource caters a little bit more to your own preference. When I’m writing a Bible study, I like to hear other pastor’s takes on the book or topic I’m writing on. It helps my mind process and keeps me thinking on the subject throughout the day. My favorite pastor to listen to is Tommy Nelson from Denton Bible Church. I like him because he teaches straight through a book of the Bible. If I have a question on a particular chapter in a specific book, it’s almost certain that he has a sermon on it. I also trust his interpretation of scripture.
I don’t listen to sermons to steal material. I listen to it for inspiration and clarification on work I’m already doing. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or make up a meaning to scripture you have a hard time understanding. There are some well-seasoned pastors who have done a lot of the work for you. Look to them for direction when you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your study.
3. Read More: Sometimes a scripture can be difficult to understand because there were points made in previous chapters of the book that led to the particular topic. When you read around the text of choice, it will oftentimes lead you to the meaning of what you’re reading.
4. Pray: Ask God to show you what He wants you to see in the scripture. Don’t feel like you have to force an answer from Him right when you ask. God may lead you to the answer through one of the resources listed above.
Obviously this list is not exhaustive, but this is the basic approach I take when stumped. What are some of your go-to methods when you need answers? Comment below if you have suggestions or questions!