Welcome to the New Testament!
This year in our religious classes we will be studying the New Testament. Sometimes it can be difficult to read the Bible because of the words, confusing timeline, and parables.
At LDS.net we have compiled a list of 9 tools that can aid you in your quest for knowledge as you study the New Testament this year.
JST-Clarify Confusing Bible Passages
There are times when the Bible just doesn’t seem to make sense. Sometimes whole passages seem to be contrary to other scripture. There are a few different tools that can be used to clarify Bible Passages. One of those tools is the Joseph Smith Translation.
The uniqueness of the Joseph Smith Translation study tool is that it clarifies passages that have previously been unclear. Each book has at least one change that brings new insight to the passage. If you are reading in an LDS copy of the scriptures or on churchofjesuschrist.org there will be footnotes that link to the JST. Or you can pull up the entirety of it online.
Map it Out – Know Where you Are
Often so many things are going on in the Bible that sometimes we don’t know where we are in relation to all the different locations in the Bible. There are many different Maps of the Holy Land and surrounding area that can bring clarity to the things we are reading.
Comparing a map of the Holy Land in New Testament times with the current divisions of the Holy Land can bring lots of insight to the reading. These specific maps include markers for significant occurrences and have links to the scripture reference of that event.
It might be helpful to look at a map of Jerusalem at the time of Christ when studying Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This map lists where everything happened so you know exactly where you are when reading about Christ and His ministry.
There is a wide variety of maps that can give you a lot of directional help when studying the New Testament.
Word Play – Learn Word Roots and Meanings
One of the ways you can better understand specific words is by using a Bible dictionary. In one dictionary you get a definition and an explanation of the topic you are researching. These explanations of the text were created from the Bible, the Standard Works, and various Bible scholars. As new understanding is gained, the dictionary is updated to have complete and correct information.
The unique thing about this dictionary is that your search brings up a variety of sources from dictionaries, lexicons, and common questions about your target phrase or word. Simply plug in your word and find a myriad of resources to strengthen and edify your scripture study.
Broad Picture – Align the Four Gospels
When reading the Four Gospels it is easy to get confused about when each event occurred. Did this miracle occur before a different miracle? Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John cover much of the same things but they don’t always talk about them in the same order.
An effort has been made to line up the Four Gospels to provide a timeline of when each event in the Saviors ministry occurred. This tool is as chronological as is possible with the information each writer gave. The tool gives you the opportunity to follow the Saviors ministry as you read the four first books of the New Testament simultaneously.
Big Picture – Line up the Bible’s History with the World’s History
History is a tricky thing and does not always accurately include dates of events. Thus it is difficult to know when something occurred in the Bible. Often knowing what is going on in the world and in which order events fall enable conclusions and interpretations of the text.
The creators of this tool have done their best to find correct dates for each event.This study tool creates a chronological timeline of events in the Bible linked with scripture references and external events not included in the bible.
New Angle – Learn From an Alternative Perspective
It is often helpful to study the scriptures in a new way. Typically we study from cover to cover. But, it can be very helpful to study by topic instead. There are various ways this task could be accomplished.
In this resource the entire Bible has been arranged to collaborate with other parts of the Bible in 27 different topics. The farther into the analysis you go, the more you can learn. There is even a tool to read each verse in the original Greek and hear it spoken properly. Reading the Bible in this way shows how different passages of scripture connect together.
Follow the Trail – Timeline of the Apostle Paul
Fourteen of the books in the New Testament were written by Paul. A great way to understand his books is to align them with his timeline. This timeline organizes the scriptures to follow a chronology of Paul’s life and ministries and line his story up with major historical events. This tool is really helpful to understand why he wrote each book and to whom he wrote them to.
Original Meaning – Greek Lexicon
Sometimes the best way to truly understand a word or passage is to go back to its roots. The Bible was not originally written in English (or any other modern language) and some meaning has been lost in translation.
This Greek lexicon translates your search into Greek with all of its variations. This is a helpful tool in deduction as it will help you more fully understand the various ways that your word was used in the time it was originally written. Knowing the various meanings of words sheds greater light on the term you are studying.
Guided Study – New Testament Student Manual
It is always extremely beneficial to have a personal guide to lead you through your journey of the New Testament. Having extra tidbits and insights from religious leaders can enable you to learn something new.
This manual provides a full chapter dedicated to sections of the New Testament. As you read the New Testament this manual can provide valuable insight. Each chapter of the manual covers a few chapters of the New Testament. This comprehensive manual provides insight from religious leaders as well as contextual information and a myriad of other tools to clearly understand what you are reading.
What are some other tools that you like to use? Share with us in the comments below.