Through history, many believers studied the Bible in various ways. In the early church only rabbis or higher Jewish leaders would have had a copy of the Old Testament scrolls. Thus, the scripture was learned orally. In our parents’ time a family might have one family Bible and a personal copy of the Bible was a treasured gift. We are blessed to have almost unlimited access to the Bible in our country today, while other people groups are just now getting pieces of the Bible in their heart language.

There is no doubt that God will reveal Himself to anyone truly seeking to know Him and His word is His primary method of doing that through the Holy Spirit.

Yet, we have some really good tools at our fingertips. Here is a short list of shovels and spades to help you dig deeper.


Good study Bible (paper or digital)

Typically, a good study Bible will contain the following components.

    • Concordance – a guide to verses in the Bible by a key word
    • Verse commentary
    • Verse cross reference – a guide through footnotes or a margin note to other verses on the same topic or word
    • Bible maps – for our study we really only need this at the beginning to understand where the churches are that Peter is writing to


English Dictionary (paper or digital)

According to Jen Wilkin, in her book Women of the Word: How To Study The Bible With Both Our Hearts And Our Minds, “Translators choose English words with great care. Our comprehension of what the text is saying can be enhanced simply by looking up a difficult word in the English dictionary.”

Multiple translations

Don’t worry about buying more Bibles. Almost every translation of the Bible is available online and free.

It is important to understand the various types of translations, so I have included some guides on choosing.

Notebook with plenty of blank pages (paper or digital)

If you’ve never tried taking notes as you study, I hope you will try it for these few weeks to determine if this helps you retain what you learn. The big value comes in reviewing the notes following the study.

I can make recommendations of digital note-taking tools if you’d like to take your notes with you wherever you go.

Bookmarks to helpful websites

Once you’ve found online resources you trust, create a bookmark in your browser. If you don’t know what that means, let me know and I can help. Here are some of my favorites.