A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about different Daily Reading resources that I had used or that had been recommended to me. I love being able to include something in my daily devotions that draws my attention closer to Christ. I do recognize that the Bible must be our final authority and I loved what Brenda Ruse wrote last week in her article, Reading with Discernment. What a blessing it was to me to have those points written down so I can go back and refer to them, but also so I could have a reminder that my focus should be on the Bible and not on extraneous reading.
While there is definitely nothing wrong with reading books outside of the Bible I know my focus should be on what the Lord is saying to me, not on what a man or woman is saying. Sometimes, though, I have trouble completely understanding what a passage is saying and it’s at those times that I appreciate having books by other authors whom the Lord has given insight to. That’s why we have pastors and teachers. God gave them to us for a reason and there is nothing wrong with us using their wisdom while remembering to be like a Berean and search out the Scriptures ourselves (Acts 17:11).
I love doing Bible studies. I think it’s the teacher coming out in me. I love to study and learn more about the customs and geography of the Bible. However, I often need to remind myself that there is a difference between devotions and Bible study. One is a time to praise and worship the Lord for Who He is and what He has done. The other is a time to get to know Him better, study a specific passage, and spend time learning my Bible. The two can be connected but I need to be careful that I don’t substitute the one for the other or I will miss out on sweet worship. I’m often guilty of spending time in study without taking the time to worship Him. I need to tell myself to just stop and meditate on what He has taught me and on what He has done for me. The first question of the Westminster catechism asks, “Why were we created?” The answer, “To glorify God and to love Him forever.” We can do that partly through our personal devotional time, glorifying Him through our praise and in turn learning to love Him more as we meditate on what He has done for us.
The following books somewhat fit into both categories (devotional and Bible study) as I have found that the ones I have used draw my focus to Christ and encourage meditation and devotion to Him while, at the same time, teaching me something about Him, His character, and the Bible that He gave to us. Although the list may seem small today I am looking forward to adding to the list as I hear from other women what they have used and as I research other authors.
Also, keep in mind that these books are Bible-based, meaning they are specifically studying an aspect of the Bible. Next week I plan to give you a list of books that will be for personal study, meaning they encourage us in our walk with the Lord and in becoming Godly women, but are not necessarily studying the Bible directly. I hope that makes sense. It’s not coming out right in my head, but, hopefully, once you can connect the two lists it will all make sense.j
Bible Study Books:
What Do I know About My God – Marty Collier An excellent book that encourages you to journal God’s character while reading through the Bible.
Through the Bible in 90 Days – Chris Tiegreen I didn’t use the book so much as I did the reading plan. I did read parts of it, but the reading schedule itself is heavy duty. I actually found it easier to stay on track than doing a year through the Bible, though, and felt I learned a lot reading the stories together instead of broken up.
Praying with the Kings – Elmer Towns I read this book a few years ago with my husband after we were first married. It was excellent and we both want to read more of his. I will say that, having read it a few years ago, I cannot for certainty say what version was used (I’m guessing it wasn’t KJV) or if there were any questionable parts in it (I don’t remember any). Unfortunately, our copy is packed up so I can’t review it at this moment. One of these days I’ll have all my books out and accessible. I wanted to add it, though, because both my husband and I found it very encouraging and it gave a lot of insight into the books of Kings and Chronicles. Again, read with discernment.
Meeting Him – Beneth Jones This book is written with an amazing insight into Christ’s interactions with the women of the New Testament. I was challenged over and over as I read this book. Mrs. Jones relates each Bible woman to women today both spiritually and, for some, spiritually. I highly recommend this book.
Monthly Topical Studies – Dr. Nell Collins This is a study that I have just learned about and have started this month. I love topical studies because it gives you a good background on a particular subject so that when confronted by someone you will have an answer ready.
A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 – Phillip Keller I have not personally read this book but I know it has been highly recommended over the years by many pastors and pastor’s wives and it is on my list of “Books to Read”. I read an excerpt online recently for some research I was doing and it made me want to read it even more. I know it is one that will encourage you.