Tools I Use For Growth

Grow Strong-2

For my first post I thought it would be good to talk about some of the tools I use for my growth. Hopefully this will provide me with a little credibility but more importantly give you a place to start in your own study. In this post I’ll talk about my top 5 places for information.

  1. The Bible
    • This one may be the most obvious, but it is where I go first. In the past this was not the case. I would go to literature on the topic I was looking for. I was a pro on David Platt, Francis Chan and Kyle Idleman but knew next to nothing about Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. As a Christ follower we must go to Him where he has revealed himself, the Bible.
    • I also like to use different translations. My go to study text is the ESV (English Standard Version) but I like to compare against the CSB (Christian Standard Bible) and NIV (New International Version). Each translation is done in a different way and here is a great comparison of some of the most popular.
    • Bibles can be expensive but luckily there are sites like Bible Gateway and Bible.com along with many free apps that allow access to multiple translations at your fingertips.
  2. Commentary/Study Bible Notes
    • After going to scripture I usually need a little help understanding what I have read. I use a study Bible that has great notes and sometimes refer to pastor commentary on harder to understand passages.
    • There is a great Bible and commentary software called Logos. I recommend the basic package which is free unless you have a few thousand dollars to spend on a premium edition (in which was buy me a premium copy too.) The Basic includes a few commntaries and I prefer the Logos platform for taking and sorting my notes.
    • Before I go to other sources though, I try to pray over the text and ask God for wisdom. Again Bible first and if you need help going deeper then go to study bibles or commentary.
  3. Contemporary Blogs
    • I follow a few blogs regularly using a service called Feedly but I have also found following them on Facebook works almost as good and is a bit more convenient. Also reading these you can see what my hope for this blog will be, a great resource for believers.
      • Desiring God–This is the ministry of John Piper. He provides a lot of advice for reading scripture and growing closer to God.
      • Ligonier–Dr. R.C Sproul started Ligonier to teach everyday christians the tough theological matters in an easy to understand way. Also this site provides a lot of information on church history and why the church believes what they believe.
      • Crossway–As one of the major Christian publishers, Crossway offers a wealth of great articles. A lot of the articles point back to some of their books which provide even more information.
      • The Gospel Coalition–What happens when you have a lot if talented theologians contributing to one place online? You get The Gospel Coalition. Many viewpoints on a multitude of topics.
      • Challies— Tim Challies is a pastor and blogger. He provides articles on a variety of topics, a lot of which relate to the technological world we live in.
  4. Podcasts
    • There are a few podcasts that I listen to daily. My morning commute is about 20 minutes which is about the same length as most podcasts. The one I never miss is Renewing Your Mind which average around 20 minutes. This is one of the podcasts from Ligonier Ministries and the topics vary from week to week. I also listen to Ask Pastor John which are normally 5-10 minutes. This is a daily podcast in which people submit questions and John Piper takes the time to answer with scriptural support.
  5. Other Christians
    • I meet in a small group once a week. It is a way to live life with other believers. A small group is also a great opportunity to dig deep into discussion with those who may not believe the same as you. Disagreements will normally result in one of two outcomes: you convince them (over time) that you are correct or you are convinced (again over time) that you may need to reexamine your beliefs. Either way you will be incentivized to go to scripture for your evidences.
    • Living life with other Christians also provides something that none of the other steps mentioned can, accountability. I can want to read the Bible all day long but I’m the type of person that needs to be held accountable until it is part of who I am. A group provides a place where I feel comfortable asking others to hold me accountable.

My hope is that you can take away something from this that will help you to grow in your relationship with God or toward a potential relationship with him. A relationship with Christ isn’t you going on a whim. Just like math, science, or anything really, in order to know God you have to study him. These 5 things help me, try them out and maybe they will help you too.

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