In this episode of TGC Q&A, Jackie Hill Perry and Colleen McFadden address the question, “How do I choose solid study resources?” They address:
- Discerning the right options (0:29)
- Not listening to just anyone’s recommendations (1:19)
- Time in the Scripture shapes your understanding of good resources (2:30)
- Your ultimate resource (2:44)
- Trusted people and organizations (3:19)
- Not neglecting prayer (3:45)
- Good online resources (4:21)
- Not letting online resources replace the church (5:04)
- Learning from wise believers around you (5:39)
Explore more from TGC on pre-written Bible study resources here.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Colleen McFadden: There is a lot that we can see online, on the internet, that we have today, that it can be kind of overwhelming to measure the different resources that we have available to us. I think it’s an important question to think about how do we know what is a good resource and what is not a good resource. I think, really, the onus lies on us, first and foremost, our own ability to discern if a resource is going to be something that is based on the word of God, is something that’s going to point us to Christ, something that’s going to glorify God, something that will promote holiness in the believer. I think as our own discernment grows, we will be better able to know what resources I find randomly online would be helpful or not.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I agree. I think when I became a believer, I became a believer at 19. I think when you’re a new Christian, you listen to anyone who’s labeled Christian or creates what they would call Christian content. That’s what it was for me. I listened to any and everybody because my assumption is that they know what they’re talking about. Everything that they’re saying is true until I started to, one, be discipled by a woman who taught me how to read scripture. I think, out of her discipleship, I began to listen to people who were teaching the scripture as well, which helped me to start reading the scripture as well. What started to happen was my mind started to be able to discern rightly, when I was listening to people teach the text, where I would know if what they were saying was right or wrong.
It’s not to say that I knew everything. But it is to say that knowing how to read the scriptures and knowing what Paul means or what Jesus means, and how that goes back to the gospel, and how that connects to the Old Testament, and having some type of frame of reference helped me to go into churches, and go into conversations, and interact with resources, and be able to discern what’s true and what’s false. I think that that principle is huge is: your time in the scriptures, even your time in the scriptures in community, where people can challenge your assumptions or your interpretations, will really help you to know what resources you should and should not engage with.
Colleen McFadden: I think you’re hitting on an important point because it’s easy to rely on an online resource. It’s something that is easy, quick, free, even. I can access it from anywhere at any time, but nothing beats just opening your Bible and sitting with it. If that feels intimidating, if you do that every day for a year, I guarantee you, it won’t be nearly as intimidating as it was on day one-
Jackie Hill Perry: Because that’s your ultimate resource.
Colleen McFadden: Yes.
Jackie Hill Perry: If that’s not what you depend on for your information. Then, you’ll probably depend on somethings that you shouldn’t.
Colleen McFadden: Right. Even if it’s by a trusted organization or a trusted person that you know is solid, whatever they’re putting forth is still their interpretation of the original document of the Bible. So if we can go to it ourselves, then we can know. We will have better discernment to be able to venture into the Wild West of the internet that we have in front of us.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I would not even neglect prayer in this. God lead me to listen to what is true, especially if you’re a new believer, or a person just beginning to study the scriptures and learn the scriptures, or are you just were introduced to a particular podcast, a particular person, and you don’t know what you should and should not do. God, please lead me into your light. Your word is a lamp unto my feet. Please be that lamp. Spending time in the word, I think God is good and sovereign enough that he would lead us to truth if we ask him to do so with a humble heart.
Colleen McFadden: What would be some good online resources you would go to that you would point people to?
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I think [inaudible] Three is a great resource. TDC is a great resource. Bible Hub is a great resource for me, personally, Precept Austin. Publishers, we have Moody. We have Lifeway. We have Crossway. We have BNH, who create content that is gospel-centered and very clear to exalt Jesus in his word rightly. What about you?
Colleen McFadden: Yeah, I would agree with all of those. I would also say I think Desiring God has really great resources, too. 9Marks has great resources. These are online resources. I would also say, “Don’t let online resources be your only resources.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Because that’s what the church is there for.
Colleen McFadden: Yeah. Yeah. There’s all those publishers you just mentioned, even a publisher, like Matthias Media, just putting out resources in people’s hands to help them serve the local church based on biblical principles and putting doctrine in the hands of anybody and everybody. Just really finding those few key respected organizations, you will have no problem. There was no end of resources there.
Jackie Hill Perry: And to disclose, I guess, is, are there women around you who live godly lives and love the word? Ask them. I think you can trust their wisdom to lead you in the right direction.