Recommend resources to help me increase my familiarity with the Bible!
March 21, 2021 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend any apps, sites, or books that are excellent resources for increasing familiarity with the Bible (especially outside the Gospels and Torah), as a supplement for regular Bible reading and general study strategies?

I am very interested in becoming more familiar with the Bible. I have read the Bible, have read the Gospels many times and the Pentateuch several times, and have a daily Bible study practice. Unfortunately, just "read the Bible through and read it regularly" is not good enough to help me be deeply familiar with it—say, familiar enough to pass the PCUSA Bible Content Exam. When I have a Bible in front of me, I can easily flip through it and find the sections I want to think about, reread them and synthesize them into ideas. It's just that, without the crutch of that "open book," I have a hard time recalling (for example) all the proper names of all the places, or being able to easily identify themes across books. I understand that people who were raised in parts of Christianity that focus on Bible study naturally attain this familiarity over the course of many years, but unfortunately I can't travel back in time to my childhood and start then.

I am generally a good student and have a variety of general study strategies that I can apply to this problem. However, I hoped to find an app or site that was specifically focused on this type of study to supplement my own work. Unfortunately, most "Bible study" resources that I'm familiar with are focused on devotional or interpretive practice, not on memorizing the facts of what's in the book itself and increasing that kind of "Bible awareness."

So: Are you familiar with any sites, apps, etc. that would be useful in my journey? Note: I do not actually have to take the Bible Content Exam, so sites/apps don't need to specifically be relevant to the PCUSA. Also, I already know about the Bible Content Exam Learning Tool.
posted by branca to Religion & Philosophy (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Regarding “outside the Goepels and Torah’” my first recommendation would be the KJV Apocrypha. Beyond that, perhaps some historians of the era, like Josephus.
posted by sudogeek at 9:15 AM on March 21

Best answer: Hey there! I took a look at the quiz and most of the stuff that I know (which was a substantial amount) on there, I learned from reading kid’s Illustrated Bibles. And if you’re looking to learn names, places, and stories, I think resources aimed at kids could be really useful to you. Not so much with the theology obviously. There is a specific type of kid’s educational resource for Jewish kids that teaches the content of the Torah using the Parsha, which is the division of the Torah into weekly portions so that you cover the whole thing over the course of the year. Obviously that won’t get you Christian texts but it might be a friendly format. I did a quick check for ‘Parsha for Kids’ apps and saw several that you can check out. And my guess is that the publishers of those apps might have other resources covering the other parts of the Tanach. It’s a good set of search terms for you to use at least.
posted by bq at 11:19 AM on March 21

I remember finding Don't Know Much About the Bible informative.
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:43 PM on March 21

Isaac Azimov’s Guide to the Bible
“The book was written for the layperson, without expectation that the reader would have much knowledge about ancient history.“
posted by blob at 6:37 AM on March 22

I used to attend a church that offers a program called "Know Your Bible" in Kansas. They answer questions about the Bible and offer free Bible study courses. Perhaps you can find something useful there.
posted by tacodave at 6:19 PM on March 22

Best answer: There are several software programs that are designed to give historical and spiritual context to Bible readings that might prove useful for you to explore. Logos and Accordance have been around a long time. Kugel's How to Read the Bible has also been recommended by many.
posted by ajr at 8:17 AM on March 23

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