Pastor, Blogger and Christian Book Reviewer Tim Challies has been reviewing the bible software Logos since version 3, I believe. I’ve been reading his reviews with interest because I like to study. I’ve been wondering if it is time to move from my hard copy library (all 10 books) to a software library. However, it takes me a long time to pay out money for what I can get for free. I use biblehub, a free online resource featuring an online bible, commentaries, parallel verses, various translations, maps, the original languages, dictionaries, pictures, and more.
However, it also takes me a long time to study a passage while groping around by myself, cobbling together the various things I want so study. I copy and paste, scribble notes, forget where I was going, and start over again.
I also really enjoy studying the maps and the natural history of the context of the bible passage I am reading. You might have noticed this in the various essays I’ve posted on the actual wheat and weeds mentioned in the NT, onions, the process of making linen, cedar trees, and more. If a passage says an army marched here or there, I want to see it on a map. I study the topography, too. For example, in Phil Johnson’s sermons on the Psalms, there is a reason many of them are called a Psalm of Ascent. The geographical or topographical references in a passage are there for a reason, and I enjoy studying the cultural background in addition to the actual verse. It brings depth to my study.
Particularly time consuming is going outside biblehub to find more commentaries and histories on Old Testament texts and having to spend time to discern whether a particular site is credible.
So, like Pastor Challies and many others, I’ve been wondering if now is the time to cough up some money and take the plunge.
By happenstance, a friend posted on her Facebook page that there is an Old Testament online course offered by Crown College for free. I love the Old Testament and have felt for some time that I’ve reached a plateau in my study of it. These kinds of classes are periodically offered by many institutions. They are quality classes, but they are like the display at the front of the grocery store as you go in “where a product is sold at a price below its market cost to stimulate other sales of more profitable goods or services,” or so explains Wikipedia of the concept of loss leader. In the education realm, these classes are called ‘Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)’. For the Crown College MOOC, I will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the 7-week class, and if I want to pursue additional courses by enrolling, I will receive a discount toward future credits.
I don’t anticipate wanting to go through a formal seminary course, but a free, short-term higher education online class in a survey of the OT sounds great. I won’t lose anything if the Professor suddenly starts teaching evolution or miracles as allegory- I can just drop out with no funds lost. Even the course textbook is low-cost and I’ll always have that on my bookshelf at the end of the course. Best of all, my Facebook friend (who I know in real life but who lives over 1000 miles away) said she enrolled too. Even if she and I do not end up in the same small-group, it’s nice to know she and I are sharing this experience together.
So when an email came announcing 20% off Logos 6, accompanied by a tutorial video, I decided to finally check it out. I can’t recommend the software myself yet, it’s still downloading and I have not used it. But the testimonials from credible bible teachers and pastors, and the staying power of the company, seem to indicate that at this stage, investing in it would make sense.
Here are some other resources that may interest you. Online bible reading and studying might not be your preference. It wasn’t mine for these last 7 years. You may not have the finances to afford Logos. It took me a long time to save up for it, lol. Most of these listed below are free, and the ones that cost are low-cost.
I mentioned BibleHub. This website has massive amounts on it. All free.
- Online bibles in most translations
- Greek or Hebrew/Concordance]
- Commentaries (many of them!)
- Lexicon, using Strong’s Word
- Parallel translations, cross references
Biblegateway.com has online bible but I like biblehub better for that. What I really like at biblegateway is their other resources such as “All the women of the bible”. They list all the women by name and you can read a synopsis of their lives with verses. I looked up Michal recently because I’m reading 1 Samuel. “All the men of the bible” are there too. I can never figure out how to get to the list through the biblegateway site so I just google “all the women of the bible…biblegateway” and the search result brings me there.
Biblegateway also has a better search function than biblehub, where you can limit the search for a verse to a specific book, or series of books, like OT or NT or Prophetic Books, or Gospels. Biblegateway also gives a search result that has a few verses where biblehub’s search is one verse only or else the whole chapter. It saves a bit of time over the search at biblehub
As you know I listen to a lot of sermons. I like many preachers but the ones who have the sermons transcribed I find especially helpful
I listen to —
Martyn Lloyd Jones at http://www.mljtrust.org (no transcription)
Don Green (www.truthcommunitychurch.org/) no transcribed sermons, audio only
S Lewis Johnson sljinstitute.net. Sermons are transcribed. He does a lot of OT sermons so that is helpful for reading or listening to a text.
John MacArthur at gty.org, all sermons transcribed, except the most recent one.
Phil Johnson (MacArthur’s executive director of GTY.org) sermons are transcribed, Phil does great with the psalms, very helpful.
Mark Dever’s 9Marks site has a wealth of resources for living church life. http://9marks.org/
Studylight has a lot of commentaries. The James Burton Coffman commentary is at studylight, and his commentary is one of the best of the 20th century. Some commentaries stand out. Certain men are known for digging into this book or that book.
I have a hard time finding good commentaries or texts on the Old Testament, especially the Prophets. here are a few resources.
David Baron is known for his work on Zechariah’s prophecies/visions. This link gos to a .pdf. http://servantsplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Zechariah-by-David-Baron.pdf
Puritan John Owen is known for his work on Hebrews. http://theessentialowen.com/owens-hebrews-commentary/
George Adam Smith (1893) is known for his work on Isaiah. https://archive.org/details/bookisaiah00smitgoog
From Kay Arthur’s Precept Austin site, a variety of works on Jeremiah. http://preceptaustin.org/jeremiah_commentaries.htm
Oliver B Greene (1963) on Revelation, A Verse-By-Verse study. I have this book in hard copy. It’s good. Here is the online version- http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/NTStudies/RevelationofJESUSCHRISTbyOliverBGreene.aspx
The Master’s Seminary has a free The Master’s Journal online and also on youtube, seminary lectures
The Master’s Seminary Journal http://www.tms.edu/journal.asp
Joshua Crooch’s youtube channel has the Master’s Seminary lectures https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-deZ7ubmEzKxch1zqAwN6g
Kevin Halloran has a site where you can access 250+ additional resources, articles, commentaries, book recommendations etc. here is just one paragraph of his page, (at his page they’re all hyperlinks)
Audio lectures are one facet of a complete education involving personal instruction and reading relevant books. For each of the disciplines listed below, I have assembled a list of recommended books from my own personal study or various recommendations. For more recommendations, see: 9 Marks’ Ministries book recommendations, The Gospel Coalition’s Recommended books, Westminster Theological Seminary’s Recommended Reading, Alistair Begg’s Recommended Books for Pastors, or Reformed Theological Seminary’s reading list, or Wayne Grudem’s Seminary Book List. For recommended lists of the best Bible Commentaries, I’d suggest BestCommentaries.com, and for a Reformed perspective, Ligonier Ministries and Tim Challies have great recommendations.
Though these are not free, these resources have been so great I can’t help but mention them. Todd Friel’s ‘Drive By’ series. There are many more than these two, but I bought these two and went through them. I am almost done with “Drive By Pneumatology” and I finished Drive By Discernment. There’s Drive By Marriage, Drive By Parenting, Drive By Theology, etc. There are many lectures on each, DBD has 72. DBP has about 50. It is called “drive by” because they are short lectures. Short enough to listen to on even the shortest commute.
At the Wretched Store: http://www.wretchedradio.com/store/
They’re short, 15 min or less lectures on the topic. Todd Friel has many different men speak on the topic, like Phil Johnson, Justin Peters, Trevin Wax, and the short lectures are very clear and helpful. You can buy CD or do an immediate download. For 72 or more lectures it only costs 19.99.
I hope this suggested list has been helpful. No matter what the tools, the premier Helper is the Holy Spirit. He has taken me from a babe in Christ to where I am now, embarking on a more organized and rigorous study plan, over the last 7 years. He is more than able to teach you, with or without additional study tools. Hopefully your entire interest in any of these tools is to study the word so as to know more about the savior who reigns. We worship a risen Savior whose attributes are revealed in God’s word. Knowing Him and worshiping Him is the highest goal and a full meal of spiritually satisfying food. In using these tools they help us in this pursuit- but don’t let the search for tools distract you from personal and persistent study.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Thanks and God bless.