This summer I turned 45, which was a bit of a big deal. I had some accomplishments I desperately hoped to achieve in celebration of this milestone, one of which was publishing my first book. I’ve spent the better part of the last two years writing, editing, and honing my message, wrestling my stories down to the ground and looking for their transcendent meaning. That’s why I was a bit surprised by the publisher’s “note” at the top of my manuscript.
“Thanks for sharing your spiritual memoir with me.”
I had spent months agonizing over a concise yet sensational way to explain what my book was about. A spiritual memoir never made the list. But once she labeled it as such, I couldn’t deny there was an element of truth to her comment. I do share a brief history of my faith roots with the reader, and I must come clean and admit that the last several months have provided a profound walk down a spiritual memory lane for me. All of this, however, seemed to be just reminiscing.
Yet because this is so fresh for me, I couldn’t help but share some of what I’ve learned in my 20-plus years of being a Christian. Mainly, that when looking back, there is no replacement for reading your Bible regularly, and studying it, as the primary means to grow your faith. Doing both works as a miracle-grow. But these are insights I’ve gleaned from the wisdom of the rearview mirror, of course. When I was in my 20s, gazing down the road not yet traveled, this truth wasn’t so clear. And staying the course for two decades was full of fits and starts. Especially without the free, convenient—and gorgeous, might I add—resources available nowadays.
20 years ago, we had the paperback, VHS, and if we were lucky, pot-luck women’s ministry to lean on. I’m happy for my daughter, nearly a young adult herself, that she’s got all the digital content and aesthetics that would have pulled me in at her age. If you’re looking to revamp your own Bible study time or want a quick reference of what’s out there today, here’s a list of “go-to” Bible study guides to help you.
Of course, I’ll start with the app that started a revolution for men and women: the YouVersion Bible App. With hundreds of thousands of Bible reading plans, you could use this one app as your daily go-to. Study a book of the Bible, or a general topic. You can even search for plans related to your favorite books. You can study on your own, or create a community to read along together. Truly, there is something for everyone at every stage of spiritual growth.
Now let’s talk about the top of the charts for women. The top three choices all come with a FREE component and some variation of a guidebook for purchase.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Proverbs 31 Ministries takes the lead with two fantastic options. Let’s talk about First 5. First 5 includes a FREE app, daily readings that are devotional and teaching in nature, and the option of purchasing a beautifully designed companion study guide. You can create or join their First 5 groups (a message-board style community) or study on your own. And because Proverbs 31 Ministries is such a leader in the marketplace of women’s discipleship, they have a second option for you. They call it OBS, which is short for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study. If you’ve never jumped into an online Bible study before, it’s a great option. There is no app needed; instead, they use email and Facebook to create a virtual group experience, which is a great choice if you’re looking for a community. Sign up on their website, receive regular emails and access to their Facebook pages, and buy the companion book. Purchasing is always optional!
She Reads Truth
Another up and comer in the women’s Bible study space is She Reads Truth. My daughter recently purchased one of the She Reads Truth Bibles, which have a stunning design. Not to mention, their guidebooks are impressive. This is another resource with a dedicated app, consistent feeding of devotional emails, and the option to purchase a companion study guide. The visual appeal and solid foundation delivered in these resources are sure to appeal to younger audiences and women who are looking for a well-styled study guide.
Time-Tested Publishing Houses
Now, before we let these two icons steal the show, let’s not forget a few of the time-tested publishing houses that have served us for decades. Lifeway continues to put out video-based studies and Bible study guides from some of the best. Names like Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, Lysa TerKeurst, Jennifer Rothschild, Kelly Minter, Lisa Harper, Angie Smith, Jackie Hill Perry, Jennie Allen, Lauren Chandler, Lisa-Jo Baker, and Jen Wilkin are among their pantheon of teachers. I’ve personally been blessed through Bible studies from several of these gifted women over the years. Most of them offer studies on both books of the Bible and various topics. When I recently polled a large group of their target audience, a few specific studies from these teachers rose to the surface:
A favorite option for a full overview of the Bible went to Seamless by Angie Smith. From Genesis to Revelation, this is a solid study to lean on. Her latest title, Matchless, is sure to be an equal success. Matchless takes her Bible study formula and applies it to the life of Jesus. I would imagine both would be excellent for building a solid foundation in the Word. And as a mom of a rising young adult, I appreciate that these studies come complete with guides for teenage girls, too. Another favorite was Priscilla Shirer’s study Discerning the Voice of God.
Community Bible Study
Lastly, if you’re not looking to be taught, but led into a deeper understanding of God’s Word, and don’t need a fancy guidebook to do so, I recommend any of the Engage Bible Studies published by Community Bible Study (CBS). You can sort their studies by the length in the number of weeks or by the book of the Bible. I owe my faith roots to CBS and would recommend them to anyone.
*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost additional cost to you, The Grit and Grace Project will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
For more inspiration on your journey of faith, start here:
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A Modern Day Esther: Finding My Voice Through a Hero in the Bible
What Happened When I Finally Heard God Whisper
Building Faith: Growing in Your Relationship with God
How a Woman of Grit and Grace Wears Her Faith
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