John Markum

Ministry Resources: Bible Study Tools

Every pastor, preacher, or student of Scripture needs reliable resources to study the Bible. There are literally hundreds or thousands of resources out there, but I wanted to share some of my favorite Bible study tools. Most of these are free, and the the ones that cost a bit are totally worth it…

    Bible Hub looks like a website built in the early 1990’s, with lackluster user interface and a very monochromatic design. Despite this, it is heavily packed and hyperlinked between Strong’s Concordance reference numbers, original languages, commentaries, and other translations for easy comparison between translator word choices and reasoning. Great for verse-by-verse, and word-by-word study. Totally free…
    I don’t know why I still use this site! But for whatever reason, it is still my default place to look up passages and copy/paste them into my sermon notes. It is super simple to use and has access to nearly every Bible version/translation ever published. It also contains original translation notes hyperlinked within the passages. This is only useful for me on desktop, for mobile I go with The Bible App, completely! I love their reading plans, and community connections. You can follow my church in the app here. Also, totally free, but with an occasionally annoying ad bar at the sides.
    This has all the tools as Bible Hub, but with better data searching. It is not as user friendly as Bible Hub however, so I usually only get into BLB when I’m absolutely lost in the hunt to understand specific words and their usage. Seminary professors actually got me into using this tool. This site is also free, but requests for donations to support their server costs.
  4. Logos Bible software.
    This one cost something, and it is not necessarily cheap. But you do get what you pay for with this. With literal thousands of searchable cross-referenced Bible study and theology tools, it is the apex Bible study resource, perfect for anyone writing and preaching sermons on a consistent basis. It would make a great year-end/Christmas gift for a senior pastor! This price does range, depending on what features and tools you want access to, but you can also scan the ISBN code of physical books you already own, and add them straight into your Logos library! There’s also hundreds of maps, graphs, diagrams, and more to use, such that you’ll likely never use all that Logos has to offer. You can even build sermons directly in Logos where you’re doing your studying, making this a true “All-in-One” Bible Study resource.

If you’re a regular Bible student, preacher, etc. what other tools do you recommend? Comment below. ALSO! If you sign up for my email list here, I’ll send you a free Yearly Sermon Planning spreadsheet. Throughout the year I’ll also send out other free resources, like sermon series ideas I’ve used, new posts to the blog, and materials I make like the Markum Bible Study series I’ve written so far.

Pastor John

Four Seasons of Parenting

It’s hard to look at my kids now compared to where they were when we first relocated to Silicon Valley 10 years ago. My 8-year-old, second-grade Emilee is turning 18 in less than a month and will graduate high school in May. My once 6-year-old Kali has already started taking college courses and is learning to drive. My pre-K Josiah is now a 14-year-old athlete, who can already bench his weight. And then there’s my “Meatball” Elijah, who wasn’t even 2 years old when we landed in San Jose. At least he’s still a kid (kinda). But even as I type this, he’s at the kitchen stove cooking fried rice from scratch… and yes, I asked him to bring me some.

I sat with a dear pastoral friend, Scott Ridout, who once served as the President of Converge Worldwide about raising a family in ministry. The insight he gave me was great for more than just pastoral families, and I wanted to pass on what he shared with me. He described parenting as being in four seasons…

The Caregiver Season

When your child is first born, you parent as their caregiver for the first few years. You do everything for them: feed them, burp them, bathe them. It’s not ‘easy” necessarily, but is generally quite simple. They need our snuggles and compassion, our playtime and interaction. Their eyes follow our every move and it’s adorable… for maybe 2 years.

The Cop Season

You spent the first 2 years teaching them to walk and talk… now they don’t seem to want to be still or quiet! For the next several years, your kids want to test the boundaries of everything. It seems like all you do some days is tell them, “Don’t do that!” It can be exhausting. While the Caregiver stage is defined by compassion, the Cop stage is defined by consistency. Yes, this means discipline, and there are many theories and firm convictions on how to discipline. But the one thing they all have in common is that they require consistency.

The Coach Season

As our children approach 10-12 years old, they require less discipline and more guidance. Like a sports coach, your kids are the “players” and they are the ones now entering this game called “life”. The hardest part of this for many parents is the transition from doing things for them and teaching them to do things for themselves. In this season more than any other, our kids need room to rise and permission to fail. Rather than “punishing” our kids directly, they begin to suffer the consequences of their choices more directly. The Coach stage requires our cooperation for their training and success in life. But like a coach of a team, you still have some leverage. Coaches can bench players, make them stay longer for practice, etc. Likewise, parenting in the Coach stage still exercises a degree of authority over our children.

The Counselor Season

Eventually, if all things go well, we eventually surrender whatever leverage or control we have over our kids as they enter adulthood and the independence that comes with it. If we’ve done the previous three seasons well, we should be able to enjoy our “kids” as peers now… and hopefully, friends. Some disaster withholding, our Counseling years represent the longest season of parenthood. At this point, our kids do not owe us obedience, but will hopefully express honor to us for raising them, and the experience and wisdom we still have to offer them.

My wife, Tiffany has always excelled and thrived as a Caregiver and Cop. The Cop years were exhausting to me! But I’ve found myself loving the season of Coaching our kids. If you’re a parent, what is/was your favorite season of parenting, and why? Share in the comments!

Pastor John

The phrase no pain, no gain has been a mantra for athletes and fitness junkies for years. And what they understand about physical pain needs to be broadened to a much more general use in all of our lives. Pain hurts. That's the whole problem. No one enjoys it, and if someone does, we rightfully

The Premium of Pain