As you plan to abide this year, the most important thing to read is, of course, straight from your Bible. Along with that, it can be helpful to read through Bible studies and topical studies with a trusted author and even with a small group for discussion.
Bible Studies and Topical/Devotional Studies
One big difference to distinguish: Bible studies versus Topical/Devotional studies. Bible studies focus on studying the verses themselves with induction study, reflection, Bible journaling, etc.
Topical/devotional studies usually have accompanying devotions, chapters in a nonfiction book, etc. but are founded on and include discussion of verses.
Both of these kinds of studies are beneficial and both have a place in our spiritual growth. Regardless of what kind of study you choose, three things that may help offer a well-rounded study include:
- founded in Scripture,
- opportunities for prayer, journaling, and reflection,
- well-researched and inclusive.
Most devotional books or Bible studies could be completed individually or with a small group, but some are specifically written to be used as one or the other. Below are some favorite recommendations.
5 Bible Studies to Read Individually
- HelloMornings offers both a Scripture memorization community and Bible study community as you plan to work in Bible study time to your everyday life. They do new plans every couple months that focus on book of the Bible or even one chapter.
- She Reads Truth has some gorgeously formatted Bible study plans that encourage journaling and reflection. When you buy the books, you get solely the Bible reading and reflection/study questions. But, you can also follow along in the app or on the website for free and read daily devotions to accompany the Scripture reading.
- We offer Bible studies here at Do Not Depart, too! You can look through our archives to find many month-long studies, 8-week studies, and more. One of my recent favorites was our Philippians 2 study.
- Once-A-Day studies offer a way to read through the entire Bible in one year. This brand of reading plans often give you an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and a Psalm or Proverb within each day’s reading. These books divide up the Bible into 15-minute reading portions to help you dive into God’s Word daily. I reviewed the Once-A-Day Women’s Bible here and highlighted some of my favorite features, as well as mention several other types.
- Do Not Depart founder, Katie Orr, has three Focused15 books to lead readers through one way to do inductive Bible study.
5+ Studies to Complete with a Small Group
- Jennie Allen offers some very thoughtful and reflective Bible studies well-suited for small groups. I reviewed her study Restless here and her study Chase here, and I recommend both of them.
- Priscilla Shirer is another trusted Bible study resource. I’ve completed Discerning the Voice of God with a small group and find it particularly useful in the small-group setting. She has several other books and studies, as well.
- I think Jen Hatmaker’s books are perfect to discuss with a friend or in a small group. With a book like Interrupted, processing some of these big thoughts with a spouse, friend, or small group can help you reflect on application in your life. She also recently released For the Love.
- Emily Freeman offers thoughtful books on living a faithful, creative life as God created us to do. Her newest is Simply Tuesday, and it’s absolutely lovely. (You can read my full review here.)
These are just a few great studies and books out there! What are some of your favorite Bible studies or devotional books/studies?