Every Sunday I spend about 15-20 minutes teaching the kids at church a Bible story. And that 20 minute lesson is the culmination of about 10-15 hours of study.
That’s right. For every 2 minutes I speak, I put in about an hour of work during the week. Now I know, what you are thinking. And yes, I am probably ridiculous and am definitely a work-a-holic. But I desperately want what I say to be both interesting and accurate so I take the time to get it right.
I believe part of being a great teacher is being a great student. That means putting in the study to get the results you want.
But I’d like to save you some work.
In particular, I’d like share with you 10 websites that I look to for insight as I prepare my Sunday School lesson each week. Within each of these sites I generally find a few “nuggets” of information that make the lesson more interesting. It’s these pieces of information that, I believe, make the story come to life. The lesson goes from simply verses in the Bible, to a real life event that happened in history.
Now, I am sure each of these websites aren’t perfect, and they probably have information you may disagree with. My purpose here is not to tell you these sites are perfect. I’m sure they aren’t. What I am suggesting is that these websites have been helpful for me, and perhaps they will be helpful for you as well.
So here they are, in no particular order:
1. Bible.org – A collection of great contributors provide articles and commentary on the Bible. Many times I’ve been reading an article on this site and the writer will say something in a passing sentence that sparks a whole new direction of research. For instance, they may mention the fact that a particular mountain was a “high place” or that this was the first time this person was ever mentioned in the Bible. I’ll often be reading this site and then go off exploring a whole new direction.
‘Cause I’m not ADD at all! 🙂
2. Enduring Word – I would say out of all the sites I’ve found to date, this one has given me the most “interesting tidbits” of information. What I mean by that, is this site does a nice job of incorporating historical facts, and details that explain the context of the story and make it seem more ‘real life’. The details and information I get from this site can often be the “I bet you didn’t know this…” information I talk about on Sunday.
3. Working Preacher – I feel like this site might have been designed for people almost like me. There are a lot of preachers who work a full-time job and preach on Sunday, so they need a place to go that will give them answers and insights quickly.
This site does a great job of providing information in a way that is interesting but not overly complicated. It is really great for people who aren’t professional preachers, but speak from God’s Word on a regular basis.
4. Books.Google.com – Perhaps this site is a bit of a wildcard here, as you can get any number of things from this site, both good and bad
But what I like is that I can search the texts of thousands of books and look for specific information quickly.
Google books isn’t a great place to do your ‘core’ research, but it’s great for confirming facts, and finding consensus from authors you trust.
5. Wikipedia.org – obviously not a site to use for commentary on Scripture, but when researching places and events in history, few websites are consistently better than this massive digital encyclopedia.
6. Bible.com – I have a habit of looking at my lesson schedule, finding this week’s lesson and then immediately jumping into commentaries and explanations of the passage.
Umm…how about reading the story from the Bible first!?!!
It’s so obvious, but in my best efforts to study, I can completely miss the most important book of them all!
Bible.com is my favorite Bible reading platform because it’s clean, it’s got tons of translations, and well, I’ve been using it for a while.
7. BibleHub.com – This one might seem fairly obvious as well, since it shows up at the top of many Google searches for Bible passages. But what I like about BibleHub is that it puts lots of information on one page. For any single verse you can see several translations, view several commentaries, look at the cross-references, and more.
For me, it’s a great “one-stop shop” when analyzing one particular verse.
8. SpurgeonGems.org – This is a collection of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons. I don’t think I need to say much more than that!
9. RayStedmanorg – Ray used to be a pastor in Palo Alto, CA. The legacy he’s left online has been a tremendous help to me as I’ve stumbled across his site several times while studying for my lesson. As I was looking back through my research notes I noticed his URL pop up quite a bit.
10. Search Google using “filetype:PDF”
I’ve found that quite a few pastors will post transcripts of their sermons online as PDF’s. So if I’m not finding enough information sometimes I’ll just go to Google and search for something like:
“filetype:PDF King Josiah”
What I’ll get is a list of PDF files that mention King Josiah. Oftentimes the PDFs are transcripts or detailed studies of the topic I’m researching. It’s a great tool when you find yourself stuck in your study.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list and there are many more great sites. But I hope perhaps one or two sites off this list struck a chord with you and that you’ll now have a new research tool in your arsenal!Share this post: