Okay folks, you know what time it is! I’ve been blogging for what, 10 months now, and I have yet to give you a post with recommended bible study resources? I know, crazy right? Well, the moment has finally arrived! This week, I sat down and compiled a list of books that I have found helpful in my own life as I’ve sought to grow closer to God and spend time in His Word. Whether you’re a bible study veteran, a parent snooping on the internet for something for their kids to read (I see you!), or are completely new to this whole thing and have no idea where to start, this book list has a little something for everyone. I hope you find these amazing resources as helpful as I have!
As a quick note before we dive right in, these books are arranged in alphabetical order, not from least to greatest or vice versa, so just because something’s at the end of the list doesn’t means it’s not as good!
Okay, enough preliminaries! Let’s get this show on the road!
Christian Heroes: Then & Now
There is something uniquely special about reading a well done missionary story. It’s inspiring and gives you a fresh perspective on life and all of its hardships. Missionaries and other Christian heroes faced huge challenges, crippling weaknesses, and impossible situations. Yet, they were still used by God as powerful tools for His kingdom. My family has, throughout most of my childhood, made it a regular habit to read these kinds of stories after supper. Janet & Geoff Benge’s series Christian Heroes: Then & Now is an excellent resource if you’re looking for missionary books that are powerful, as well as easy to read and engaging. And yes, any of these books work great as read alouds!
This series covers a wide range of Christian soldiers, everyone from Amy Carmichael, Jim Eliot, C.S. Lewis, and Hudson Taylor, to George Muller, Nate Saint, David Livingstone, and Adoniram Judson. And if you don’t know who any of these people are, all the more reason to check out this wonderful set of books! These may not be Bible studies themselves, but stories of other heroes of the faith can be just as powerful in our walk with God. There is immense encouragement and conviction that can come when we hear about what God has done in the lives of others who share our faith, even if they lived a hundred years ago.
Chronic Illness: Walking by Faith
This 31-day devotional by Esther Smith contains short, powerful messages for every day of the month. Each daily reading is immensely practical and mind-blowingly relatable to those who struggle with chronic illness. I haven’t gotten very far into this devotional yet, but what I have read has both touched the heart of what it is to be someone with chronic illness, as well as turned my eyes to God– which is exactly where they need to be. Esther Smith is someone who truly understands what it is to fight chronic illness. After all, she’s experienced it herself. Not only is each section of this book immensely practical, but the daily readings are condensed and short– perfect for when you are having days when you are too exhausted to get off the couch. Here’s a little quote from Day 1 to give you a peek:
Maybe you can’t feel God’s presence or see what he is doing, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t there. He sees you– even when you can’t see him. He knows when no one else knows. His love is steadfast and faithful, and he will never tire of sticking with you, no matter how long your illness lasts.p. 16
Courage – Fighting Fear with Fear
Wayne A. Mack and Joshua Mack knew exactly what I needed to hear when I picked up this book– and it wasn’t exactly an easy revelation. I needed to know that I wasn’t a slave to my fear, and that, as they said in the book, I can be courageous. I also needed to know that my fear was sinful. I needed hope, but I also needed to be convicted, and this book gave me just that and more. Endorsed by Jerry Bridges, this book is a must read for any Christian of any age because it deals with something we all struggle with.
If you are a teenager reading this, you might notice right off the bat that this is a book written by adults for adults. The chapters are long, and the questions at the end are hard and probing and, full disclosure, there’s a lot of them! But I don’t want that to be the reason you are scared away from reading this. Sure, you are a teenager, but you are a Christian too and you are not too young to read challenging Bible studies. If you only stick with the easy studies, you are not going to grow in your walk with God as much as you could because you are not going to be pushing yourself. Not only that, but you’ll miss out on piles of wisdom. In fact, this is why I like this study so much. Because it’s written with an adult audience in mind, it doesn’t simplify things, or try to dress itself up to make it relevant or “cool.” It’s God’s truth, plain and simple, conveyed by two very wise gentlemen. The questions may be hard, sure, but they force you to get down to the nitty gritty of how the chapter you just read applies to your life.
The ESV Study Bible
And yes, one of the Bible study resources I am recommending is the Bible itself! Woah, I bet I just blew your mind. But seriously, this Bible is amazing! Before every book of the Bible, it has pages on background, dates, authorship, main themes, and in most cases gives you an outline clearly separating the major sections of the book.
Not only that, but the actual books of the Bible themselves have detailed notes at the bottom of every page. The best part about these notes, however, is that they are clear and easy to understand. There aren’t any big fancy words or language that leaves you scratching your head. The notes include things like helpful explanations, cross references, maps, and occasionally little charts to help break down the information or alert you to important timeline details.
All in all, the ESV Study Bible is an invaluable resource for any teen (or human for that matter!), and I have found it to be extremely helpful as I walk through my own studies.
Inductive Bible Studies by Keri Folmar
If you don’t know what an inductive Bible study is, or you do know but are looking for a really good one to go through, Keri Folmar’s options provide you with an excellent choice! There are four in particular that I would recommend (though I’m sure all of them are great):
- Joy, A Bible Study on Philippians for Women
- Grace, A Bible Study on Ephesians for Women
- Faith, A Bible Study on James for Women
- Zeal, A Bible Study on Titus for Women
All four of these studies follow the same format, and take you deep into their respective book. Following the method of inductive Bible study, these books give you probing observation, interpretation, and application questions to answer all on your own. The focus of these books isn’t instruction from the author, but getting you to dig into scripture all by yourself. I myself have only completed the studies on Philippians and Ephesians, but I have the ones for James and Titus sitting on my desk and ready the next time I have the chance to go through them. I would highly, highly recommend these books for any teen who is looking to dive deeper into scripture and hone their study skills.
And yes, it does say they’re written for women, but guys and girl teens alike can benefit from these books. My own brother actually went through the one on Philippians. All it requires is a few occasional tweaks for the application questions (for instance, questions that involve spouses and children may not be that relevant, but you can always change them to parents and siblings).
This Changes Everything – How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years
One of the best things about these next two books is that they are both written by teenagers! That’s right! Though the author of this book, Jaquelle Crowe (now Jaquelle Ferris) may no longer be a teenager, this book was written and published while she was still a young person. And because it’s written by a young person, it’s incredibly relatable. Even more, Jaquelle’s passion for God and His ways provides an inspiring backdrop for this study as she takes you through how the Gospel and our faith in our Lord should impact every area of our life. This book is convicting, and serves as a powerful reminder of how we, as Christian teenagers, should be living out our faith. So whether you are new to Bible studies, or you have a stack of them you’ve already gone through, this book is a must read for every teenager who loves God and His Word.
Transformed by Truth – Why and How to Study the Bible for Yourself as a Teen
Katherine Forster is another teenager who loves God and His Word and wants you to love Him too. Even better, this book, after laying a strong foundation for why you should study the Bible, teaches you how to study the Bible inductively. In her own words on the back of the book:
“If you’re a teen who’s tired of low expectations and weightless platitudes, this book will help you dig into the Bible and make the time you spend reading count for eternity.”
Katherine walks you through the steps of inductive bible study: observation, interpretation, and application, and follows each chapter up with a small list of questions to help you get started applying what you’ve just learned. I’m only two chapters into the book myself, and I’m already loving it (and shout out to my Bible study leader for recommending this to me!). I can’t wait to finish it when I get the chance. Once again, this book is great for any teen who wants to lay a strong foundation for studying the Bible on their own.
Well, there you have it folks! That’s seven great resources for your personal Bible study. Drop a comment and share your own recommendations, or let me know if you were able to use any of mine. I’ll see you next time!
March on Christian Soldier!