August 4, 2011

The 10 Best Online Study Resources

by Nathan Busenitz

When it comes to Bible software, I use Logos more than anything else (though I know BibleWorks and Accordance are excellent too).

But what about free online resources? Thankfully, the web has made it possible for almost anyone with a computer to access hundreds of valuable study tools. For people who don’t have immediate access to a sizeable library, that’s great news.

If you’re an avid online Bible student, you are probably already familiar with the ten resources I’ve listed below. But these are the ones that I find most helpful in my own personal study.

Having said that, I’m always looking for new sites, to add even more richness to my online study time. So, if you think of one I’ve missed, be sure to add a comment and mention it.

My Top-Ten Favorite Online Study Resources

1. The John MacArthur Sermon Archive – I grew up at Grace Community Church. So I’m admittedly a little biased when I say this, but it is nonetheless true: When it comes to clearly and accurately explaining the Word of God, there is no pastor I trust more than John MacArthur. The fact that he has preached through every verse of the New Testament, and that all of those sermons are available for free online (both in audio and transcript form), means that this resource is as exhaustive as it is valuable. The topical Q&A section is also an expansive resource, giving practical and biblical instruction on a wide variety of issues.

2. BibleStudyTools.com – This website came in handy even when I was a seminary student. I especially appreciated the interlinear Bible which worked great with the corresponding BST Greek and Hebrew fonts. While it is no substitute for Logos, this website provides a number of helpful study tools for free—including commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and lexicons. Similar sites include www.studylight.org, www.e-sword.net, and www.blueletterbible.org.

3. Online Commentaries – There are probably two dozen classic commentary sets available online. One of the most expansive lists of online commentaries (organized by book of the Bible) is found here. Though the majority of these commentaries are older (which is why they are now in the public domain), they still represent a wealth of insightful information about the biblical text.

4. BibleGateway.com – I appreciate two things about Bible Gateway. First, it is one of the easiest-to-use Bible searching websites. Finding passages of Scripture in multiple versions is quick and painless. Second, it is home to the online-edition of the IVP commentaries . This is one of the few modern commentaries available for free on the web.

5. Google Books– Of course, if I want to peruse modern commentaries (or other books) without going to the library, I use Google Books. I am a huge fan of Google Books; and if you’ve never used it before, you really should try it out. It is incredible. Admittedly, most of the modern books are limited to only a “preview.” But, you can still search the entire book; which makes it an extremely useful database.  And, sometimes you find a gem, like the full version of John Broadus on Matthew or Martin Luther on The Sermon on the Mount.

Another nice feature (especially for seminary students) is that, if you cite a source from Google Books, you can cite the actual page in your footnotes, and not some long, messy URL.

On a side note, if a page is not viewable in Google books (because of the “preview” limitations), you can often find it at Amazon.com, using the “Look Inside” feature. Partnering the Google Books database with the Amazon.com database results in more information online and fewer trips to the library.

6. Google Scholar – This is not quite as helpful as Google Books, and it’s still in a Beta Version. But in essence, what Google Books is to books, Google Scholar is to journals. So, it can still turn up helpful information, especially if you’re looking for journal articles on a given topic. (Of course, a number of schools make their journals available on their websites. For example, if you’re looking to search TMSJ, you can just click here.)

7. iTunes U – So, technically, this resource utilizes iTunes and not your normal web browser … but it is an incredible resource nonetheless. A significant number of theological institutions (as well as other universities and colleges) have made lectures available for free download through iTunes. Now you can get a free seminary-level education while you commute to work or run on the treadmill.

I’ve personally benefited greatly from some of the Church History lectures that are available from various evangelical seminaries. And it’s fun to know I can “sit in” on a class at MIT or Harvard anytime I want–even if I don’t get official credit for it. (For theological students, another website that is similar to this is, though on a smaller scale, is www.biblicaltraining.org.)

8. Christian Classics Ethereal Library – Speaking of Church History, an area near-and-dear to my heart, the Christian Classics Ethereal Library is undoubtedly the largest collection of historic Christian resources on the web. If I’m looking for something from the church fathers, or Augustine, or Aquinas, or Calvin, or the Puritans, CCEL is usually the first place I look.

(Of course, if I’m looking for stuff related to Charles Spurgeon, no site is better than Phil Johnson’s Spurgeon archive.)

9. Bible.org – This site houses an expansive array of articles, organized by both topic and by book of the Bible. Contributors include well-known scholars like Daniel Wallace, Kenneth Boa, Darrel Bock, Eugene Merrill, and John Walvoord. (The site’s connection to Dallas Theological Seminary is no secret.) Also, this site is the home of the NET Bible, which is notable because of the translation notes that accompany the text.

10. Monergism.com – This site is somewhat similar to www.bible.org, though from a more Reformed perspective. Also, it serves largely as a topic-based portal—directing visitors to helpful articles on a wide array of subjects. The site includes an excellent database of sermon manuscripts, making it especially helpful for Bible study.

Well, there you have my top ten picks.

There are OBVIOUSLY many more websites that I could have mentioned. You’ll notice I kept the “blog” category completely off of this list. (Perhaps that is due to the fact that blogs tend to distract me from studying, rather than help me study.)

Having said that, I’m always looking to expand this list to include other great websites.

If you think I missed something, please share it with us in the comments section below.

Nathan Busenitz

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Nathan serves on the pastoral staff of Grace Church and teaches theology at The Master's Seminary in Los Angeles.
  • http://twitter.com/jonmoffitt Jon Moffitt

    Learn something new…didn’t know you could refer to Amazon like google books. I’ll have to remember this for my last semester :) Thanks for the info!

  • Mary Elizabeth Tyler

    This is such a great idea for a blog post, and very useful.

    pbministries.org (heavy on Pink)

    biblebb.com (where you can find many of Phil Johnson’s sermons)

    monergism.com (excellent)

    edwards.yale.edu (excellent)

    apuritansmind.com (excellent)

    biblos.com (excellent)

    And three of your picks, The John MacArthur Sermon Archive, blueletterbible.org, Christian Classics Etheral Library (love this one).

    There are so many more, but these I like the most.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/fedorovich Edward Fedorovich

    wow – definitely some great new resources – thx. I listen on sermonindex.com a lot, also use several iphone apps, Grace To You and Ligonier are favs. O and don’t forget http://www.cbcnashville.org/media/ ;)

  • Anonymous

    Nate, thank you for sharing all this great study resource list!

  • http://www.ourpassionandpurpose.org Ben Weaver

    Good list. I absolutely love Bible Study Tools and Monergism.

  • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

    Preceptaustin.org is a helpful resource as well.

  • Andy

    Oooh… iTunes U is something I had no idea about. Just subscribed to a ton of history courses from Reformed Theological Seminary, including a 16-lecture set from J.I. Packer on the history of the Puritans.

    • threegirldad

      I’ll second the RTS stuff on iTunes U.

  • Anonymous

    Nate, can you recommend some Church History lectures on iTunes U? thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Nate, can you recommend some Church History lectures on iTunes U? thanks!

  • Steven

    Do you have any particular lecture recommendations on iTunes U?

  • Doc B

    One has to consider John Piper’s free sermon archive as well, over on desiringgod.org

    • Mary Elizabeth Tyler

      I love his sermons and we cannot forget Ligonier.org. I think someone did mention it, though.

  • Paula H. Ragar

    The Holman Christian Standard Bible has an online source: MyStudyBible.com

    Great resource!

  • Jimchappel71

    Thank you for the list! A couple of points:

    1 – Change your Monergism link to .com rather than .org :-)

    2 – Monergism is excellent except when you get into areas like covenant theology, eschatology, etc. For instance, they put dispensationalism (which kind, they don’t say) in their “Bad Theology” category next to arminianism, finneyism, open theism, etc. I’d recommend Dr. Vlach’s http://www.theologicalstudies.org/ as a good alternative on these issues.

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  • Anonymous

    This article sounds a lot like a conversation we had last month!

  • threegirldad
  • http://twitter.com/CrackedPot_40 Barbara

    Crossway’s ESV site – for study and audio (!)

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