Every church has been given this command by Jesus, our King: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
This instruction seems so easy, and Jesus made the work seem simple. But the reality, for sinful human beings, is very different.
All kinds of questions emerge from Jesus’ instructions. What are disciples? What is a “nation” in the biblical sense? Who teaches, and what do they teach? When should we stop trying to convince someone that Christ is the only way to God?
There is much to ask, and many resources are needed by pastors, leaders, and congregants in order to figure it all out biblically. The following will explore 10 resources for pastors and their congregations.
Some are related to specific topics; others are more general, but they are trustworthy sites where one is certain to find sound biblical guidance.
1. The Gospel Coalition
This website comprises many articles, reviews, prayers, and blog entries written by pastors and lay people who believe in and teach the gospel of Christ. There are even TGC sites rooted in Canada, Australia, and other nations.
The Gospel Coalition is an excellent source of information related to a host of topics and sub-topics. Do you want to look up a theme such as God’s peace? Perhaps you are interested in church history?
What about book reviews or works by specific authors? Get what you are looking for, in a style that is formal, semi-formal, or personal. There are resources suitable for sermons or for personal reflection and study.
The Gospel Coalition provides a short bio for each contributing author. If you are unsure as to whether the writer is qualified to weigh in on a subject, you can do your due diligence and explore his or her resume.
Another positive feature of this website is that there are multiple points of view on subjects that are not core tenets.
Examples include the Rapture, whether or not to use liturgy in a service, and more. And where there is a multi-layered subject, one will discover short articles delving into those many layers.
Explore numerous themes from the Prodigal Son or the Woman at the Well. TGC offers free Bible studies and further references for personal study.
2. Ligonier Ministries
This online resource, much like TGC, offers a multitude of avenues for study. Ligonier was founded by Dr. R.C. Sproul whose goal was to help “people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness.
Throughout his ministry, Dr. Sproul made theology accessible by applying the deep truths of the Christian faith to everyday life.” Ligonier publishes Bibles, books, and other print materials while also offering podcasts.
A sample of the articles one might find on their website includes “5 Things You Should Know About Justification” by William C. Godfrey, “What is Transfiguration” by Hywel Jones, and “Is God In Control of Everything?” by William Boekestein.
This is another resource one can rely on to provide a godly perspective derived directly from what the Lord has to say about a given subject, and the writing style is accessible to lay people. This is a free resource: all you need is access to the internet.
3. Bible Hub
For word lovers, Bible Hub provides excellent etymological tools related directly to Scripture. If you would like to dig more deeply into words like “nations” and “disciples,” type them into the search bar and ask for “Hebrew” or “Greek.”
Consider the context of a given word which influences interpretations by linguists; several commentaries are there to help.
Another great tool on Bible Hub is that you can view Scripture interlineally, which means you search for a verse and see it in English and in Greek or Hebrew. Bible Hub offers the ability to compare and contrast Bible verses in multiple versions.
For example, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray continually” (NIV), “pray without ceasing” (KJV), or “never stop praying” (CEV). We can see that multiple translators arrived at the same interpretation, only their wording changes.
4. The Bible Project
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). We need to arrive at God’s Word humble and ready to learn, and The Bible Project aims to teach.
One way they do this is to animate scenes from the Bible. After all, animation brings out the child in many of us.
Animations and sketches featured on The Bible Project are sometimes entertaining, but they can also be dark because the Bible itself is not a tale of whimsy.
If one is reluctant to hear about Christ, at the very least he cannot fail to be impressed by the talented sketch artist whose work is sped up for the purpose of sharing a portion of Scripture while a narrator explains what is going on, typically using language that even a non-Christian can understand.
Pastors and Bible Study leaders might want to suggest their audience watch videos related to a subject of study just to get an overview.
One of this site’s strengths is summarizing long and difficult passages of the Bible, in more than one video if necessary. They are short enough that even the most restless viewer can manage to sit still to the end.
The title of this website reflects its contributors’ purpose: “emphasizing the good news that salvation is God’s free gift for guilty sinners, not a reward for the righteous.” The word “monergism” means “salvation is of the Lord alone, not a cooperation of man and God.”
With this theme in mind, Monergism features articles from some of the best-known theologians across the generations. They include R.C. Sproul, John Calvin, Timothy Keller, and Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson. Explore articles by subject, author, or Scripture.
If you come from a Reformed background, this website is especially appropriate because the writings here typically reflect a Reformed perspective.
Reformed Theology “stresses the way the objective, written Word together with the inner, supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit work together.”
This is not an eye-catching website featuring sketches, videos, or even bright colors. One will, however, encounter serious and intelligent discussions on a range of topics.
6. Biblical Archaeology
God’s story is full of excitement, and the life of a follower can be filled with joy and enthusiasm for the Word. Sometimes, however, we hit a dull patch and just need something to catch our attention.
In fact, archaeology is not only a morale booster for the weary Christian — it is a place where people of differing worldviews can meet over coffee and discuss artifacts, the physical nature of which cannot be disputed.
“The Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) was founded in 1974 as a nonprofit, non-denominational, educational organization dedicated to the dissemination of information about archaeology in the Bible lands.”
As you can see, evangelism is not the central purview of BAS. There is no doubt that “Bible lands” existed and still exist today, simply with different names, and often beneath the modern layer.
Archaeology is intriguing and exciting, and this site offers reliable information from experts in the field.
Whether you need an illustration for a sermon, or you are trying to convince a friend that there is physical evidence to support the claims of the Bible, Bible Archaeology has something to offer.
7. My Utmost for His Highest
After he died, Oswald Chambers’ wife collected her notes from his sermons and published a book of devotionals entitled My Utmost for His Highest.
A website now bears the same name, offering daily devotionals from Chambers. Subscribers and visitors can enjoy his encouragement and insight online or in print: My Utmost for His Highest is still widely available in book form.
These are not sermon-level offerings digging deeply into exegesis, but bite-sized explorations of Scripture and of the experience of living as a Christian in this world. Use the website to explore devotions by topic such as “joy” or “service” and see what Oswald had to say.
His devotionals offer quotable soundbites for pastors and study leaders: “No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.”
His writing does not pull punches and yet is full of joy in the Lord. For those who want to read truthful encouragement from God’s Word, this is a place to start.
8. Bible Study Tools
Not sure how to start reading the Bible, except to open at page one and read to the end? Sometimes this is not a helpful plan given the size, scope, and complexity of the Bible. It helps to have a plan, and Bible Study Tools offers several.
Use their website to create a plan which covers biblical events chronologically, or with daily Old and New Testament suggested readings. Go into more detail with the Psalms or search for words of wisdom every day. You can set up a daily reading plan and read the whole book in one year.
Other resources on this website include older commentaries by Matthew Henry and others, topical articles, and a verse of the day. One way to use this website is to subscribe and have a verse delivered to your inbox daily.
Bible Study Tools does offer some etymological resources and helpful early commentaries, but its greatest strength is the Bible reading plan which can be personalized for the unique needs of the individual.
9. The Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation
The CCEF publishes online and print articles for lay and professional counselors, and also for those suffering from emotional concerns whether circumstantial or clinical. “The aim of CCEF is to consider how caring for people’s souls can be increasingly wise and helpful.”
Clinicians such as Ed Welch, Alasdair Groves, Darby Strickland, and Mike Emlet provide wise and tender-hearted support from a biblical perspective, whether you are trying to counsel a person experiencing grief or abuse, concerns about gender identity, or parenting.
A beautiful feature of this resource is that it does not flinch from discussing anything, no matter how controversial.
And, while the experts always tell the truth biblically, they do so in a manner that always reminds the reader that there is hope, forgiveness, and grace available.
Do not expect CCEF resources to merely say “just pray about it” or “have more faith and things will get better.”
Faith and prayer are critical in addressing mental health, but the counselors and writers at CCEF acknowledge that your pain is real, and a more complex response is needed. Their articles are thoughtful and well-researched, written by highly trained counselors.
10. Redeemer Reader
Do you ever wonder whether your child’s reading material talks about Jesus, speaks against Christianity, or invites your child to engage with dangerous ideologies that will tempt him or her into sin?
Redeemer Reader reviews books from across several generations, from recent releases to the classics. Reviews shine a light on the works of well-known writers such as Kate DiCamillo, R.J. Anderson, and Suzanne Collins.
Contributors review fiction and non-fiction, reference, and weigh in on subjects such as how to read and engage classic literature, leading book discussions, and sharing poetry with your children.
The reality is that our kids will be exposed to secular reading material or material that purports to be Christian yet distorts the gospel.
Everything in our world can be seen through a redemptive lens, however: “As Christians, we are called not to retreat from the world, but to be salt and light in the world, and raise up our children to be the same.”
We cannot retreat from our culture entirely, not if we are to fulfill our commission: to make disciples (Matthew 28). “This means […] walking with Jesus along the library shelves, into the schools, over the Internet. His common grace shines in every true work, even if it’s by an unbelieving author or artist.”
Use this resource and others to discover conversation-starting materials. Use all of the resources above to help you talk to unbelieving friends, and children who are starting to question the Bible, and even to strengthen your own understanding of who God is and who you are in light of gospel truth.
For further reading:
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Liubomyr Vorona
Candice Lucey is a freelance writer from British Columbia, Canada, where she lives with her family. Find out more about her here.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
You can read Rhonda’s full article here.
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