Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spiritual Training Equipment

We live in an amazing time for people who want to read the Bible. From excellent translations to reading plans to tools for helping with our understanding, it's a great age. Here are some of my favorite tools (and one tool I created myself). And as a bonus, I'm also including a link to the prayer app I'm currently using and enjoying.

Translations

In my teaching, I lean heavily on three primary translations, the New Living Translation (NLT), the New International Version (NIV), and the English Standard Version (ESV). These aren't the only good ones, but they are among the best and cover the spectrum from the more free NLT to the more literal ESV, with the NIV tucked neatly in the middle.

Reading Plans

If you've never read the Bible through, you should. Problem is many of the plans don't seem to have been written by people who actually use them. To fill that gap, I devised my own plan specifically aimed at people who've never read the whole thing, or who are tired of getting bogged down in the tough sections. I even wrote introductions to each book with some hints on how to get the most out of  your reading. We keep physical copies at church, or you can download it here

If you're not sure you want to read every word of every book in the Bible, but still want to get the big picture story, the OWNit365 One Story plan could be what you're looking for. Big plus, you can manage and read the plan on your computer or smart device using YouVersion's Bible App. 

Tools

To get the absolute most out of your Bible reading, these are the two best books available. How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth revolutionized my Bible reading when it first came out quite a few years ago, and the more recent How to Read the Bible Book by Book by the same authors, is an excellent addition to help you get even more from your reading.

And finally, I've found the PrayerMate app to be extremely helpful. Not only can I put in my own requests and organize them as I want, I can also subscribe to prayer needs from mission organizations like Africa Inland Mission, as well as Operation World, a wonderful tool to help you learn about and pray for Christianity throughout the world.

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