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Bible Study Tools

    Getting More Out Of The Bible

Many of us want to learn what the Bible has to say about our lives, our purpose, our struggles, and our questions. But we don't know where to begin.

Perhaps we've never been given the information we need to read and understand the Bible. And perhaps we've never stuck with it long enough to learn. The truth is that understanding God's Word can be hard work, especially at the beginning. But with a little background information, some tools, and the help of other people, we can begin to experience God speaking to us through His Word.  Our hope is that the tools provided on this site will help you grow in the knowledge of God's Word.

Background of the Bible

Below are some helpful basic facts:

  • The Bible is not written like a novel. It is not chronological. You cannot read it from front to back and expect the events to unfold in the order in which they occurred.
  • Although the Bible looks like one book, it is actually a collection of 66 different books. These 66 books are arranged like a library. In other words, just as books in a library are grouped by type (history, philosophy, decorating, auto repair, fiction, etc.), so are the books of the Bible.
  • The books of the Bible are divided into two main sections: The Old Testament and the New Testament.

The Old Testament is a record of God's interactions and relationship with his people prior to the time of Christ.

The Old Testament's main points:

  • God existed before creation, and created everything that exists. His creation was perfect and completely good.
  • Sin entered the world and with it came death: Death to our relationship with God, ourselves, and the rest of creation.
  • God began to reveal His plan to heal and restore relationships broken by sin.
  • What is the plan? God promised to send a rescuer (or Savior). Throughout the Old Testament God revealed what the Savior would be like and what he would do.

The New Testament tells us about the life of Christ, the promised Savior.

The New Testament's main points:

  • The Savior came: Jesus Christ.
  • Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus made a way for people to be restored to God once and for all. Learn more with ALC's web page Do You Know Jesus?.
  • The rest of the New Testament teaches us how our new life with God through Christ works in the real world.
  • God then gives us glimpses into what is yet to come.

Additional information about the Bible.
  • These 66 books were written over 1500 years by over 40 very different authors; some were kings, fishermen, and herdsmen/farmers. The list also includes a prime minister, a medical doctor, a slave, a tax collector, and a Jewish Rabbi-to name a few.
  • The Bible was written on three continents and in three different languages.
  • In spite of this large time span over which it was written and the huge cultural, economic, and geographical differences of its authors, there is a consistent message. Think about that: Even a small group of similar people struggle to agree on simple decisions. The fact that a group this diverse could agree on the most controversial of all topics is unheard of. There is no other book like it!


There Are So Many Different Bibles. Which One Should I Read?

The version of the Bible you choose is a matter of personal preference and may be affected by the type of study you intend to do.

If you are new to the Bible...we recommend a Bible in the New Living Translation (NLT) because it is among the easiest to understand. You can choose to buy a plain NLT Bible, or one that contains explanation notes and study helps, such as a Life Application Bible, NLT version.


   How To Begin Reading/Studying The Bible For Yourself

Choose one of the Bible Reading Plans, or begin with the book of Mark. Don't forget to pray and invite God to teach you through what you read.

Here are some ideas for you to make your personal Bible reading more effective:

1. Observe: What does it say?

  • Read the passage through two or three times.
  • Identify the main subject. For clues, watch for repeated words or ideas.

2. Interpret: What does it mean?

  • What is being said about the main subject?
  • Try to identify the author's timeless principle(s).

3. Apply: What do I need to do?

  • Is there an example to follow?
  • Is there a sin to avoid?
  • Is there a promise to claim?
  • Is there a command to obey?
  • Is there a challenge to face?
  • What do I need to do, and when?

As you finish studying:

  • Write down any unanswered questions you have about the passage. Later on, bring these questions to someone you trust in order to understand better.
  • End your study by writing out a prayer to God in response to what you just learned from Him.

Note: you do not need to read large passages at a time-even a few verses a day will do!

Other Resources to help you:


Bible GatewayBible Study Tools

Blue Letter Bible,




Bible Sprout which is a resource whose mission is to educate young Christians with access to the top biblical resources (translations, commentaries, dictionaries) on the web. They have also compiled hundreds of bible questions and answers to help young Christians strengthen their faith to become tomorrow’s leaders for Christ. 

Recommended Reading Resource:
Grasping God's Word by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays

Other People

In addition to personal Bible study, make it part of your life to regularly study the Bible with others.

We invite you to get involved in a group if you have not done so already. Stop by the Information Wall to learn how to connect. You may also want to go to Our Small Groups Page to learn more.