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Here's the complete list of Bible Study websites. Details below...
Every Sunday School lesson we teach is the culmination of hours of work.
Every Sunday I (Hi, I'm Nathan) 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.
Part of being a great teacher is being a great student.
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. Enduring Word
I would say out of all the sites I've found to date, Enduring Word 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.
Over my years of teaching I've noticed this site rank higher and higher for the classic searches on words like "commentary". I think this is a popular source for people...and for good reason.
Enduring Word nicely incorporates historical context into the commentary
Bible.org features a collection of great contributors provide articles and commentary on the Bible.
Getting Started: Begin to explore these sites by using their "Search" functionality to begin exploring the topic you are studying.
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! 🙂
This site often provides inspiration for new areas of study.
3. Working Preacher
I feel like the Working Preacher website 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.
Get elementary Sunday school lessons, presented in a way kids (even the regulars!) actually enjoy, encouraging them to fall in love with Jesus.
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4. Google Books
Perhaps Google Books 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.
What I'll often do is search my topic and then look for authors or publishers that I am familiar with and that I trust. As with any website, discretion is needed - but I find being able to search literally millions of titles all at once to be incredibly valuable.
Not only that, but I have DEFINITELY discovered a great read on a given subject and then went and purchased a copy of that book for myself. I've found some absolute GEMS a couple of times as I was browsing books here. Give it a try!
Heeeerreeee comes the naysayers! There are going to be a group of people that do not like this suggestion.
I can hear it now, "How DARE you suggest Wikipedia as a Bible study resource. Have you lost your MIND!!??"
It's quite possible I have lost my mind, yes. But...just in case there is something to this:
I never treat Wikipedia as an authority on Scripture. I don't use it to study the application of God's Word to my life or to the lives of the elementary kids I teach. That would be cazy.
But - if you think of parts of the Bible as historical record of things that really happened...this online encyclopedia might be helpful to dig into the history a bit.
I consider the Bible to be 100% inspired and completely infallible. So when it says something happened, I believe it!
And when secular history can provide interesting or informative context around a story from Scripture I'm interested. Details from history really add some nice "color" to your Bible story without altering the text one iota.
6. The Actual Bible 🙂
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.
I'll also throw in here a shoutout to one of my favorite Bible translations to use when I am teaching kids. It's called the NCV. Basically - it uses words they can understand instead of 18th century "Therefore's" that make comprehension SO much more difficult.
This one might seem fairly obvious as well, since it shows up at the top of many Google searches for Bible passages.
BibleHub puts lots of information on one page
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.
This is a collection of Charles Spurgeon's sermons.
While that is probably enough of an explanation let me add this: Many times in your Bible study you'll run across a clip or a small quote from Spurgeon. That is great stuff! What I find helpful is going to this website after finding an especially great quote to discover the full sermon or writing from which the quote originated. Sometimes there is even more goodness to mine from the complete context of the quote.
Ray used to be a pastor in Palo Alto, CA. The legacy Ray Stedman 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. Use "filetype:PDF"
Think about what people save (and then upload to the internet) as a PDF. Things like commentaries, devotional studies, sermon transcripts, and detailed notes.
There are a WORLD of riches inside PDF files that are publicly available. You just have to find them.
To find them, go to Google and search for something like:
"filetype:PDF King Josiah"
What you;ll get is a list of PDF files that mention King Josiah. Oftentimes the PDFs are transcripts or detailed studies of the topic you are researching.
This is a great resource / searching technique - when you find yourself stuck in your study.