As you likely know from previous posts, I think it’s important for Christians to know how to study the Bible for themselves. I did a series on how to study the Bible using the inductive study method. You can find those posts here.
Confession time: while I like knowing how to study the Bible, I find that it’s hard for me to sit down and work through it on my own. I find that using a study guide helps me to stay on task and have a structure to the Bible study. I don’t want to rely on others for understanding what the Bible says, but it does help me to process better by using a study guide. However, there is so much fluff and unbiblical stuff out there that I would be very cautious about what guides to actually use. While I have found in the past that I like the Kay Arthur study guides, they sometimes get me bogged down in marking words and phrases and end up being more of a distraction than a help. A study guide that I’ve done in the past that was similar to the inductive method is the NavPress LifeChange series study guides (the original ones, not the new Double-Edged Th1nk ones). Those ask questions and help to move me along in the passage. Probably the best study guide I’ve found are the ones written by Keri Folmar and published by Cruciform Press. There are only 3 at this point: Philippians, James, and now Ephesians. They use the inductive method and are fantastic!
Some study guides that I haven’t used yet but have heard great things about are the “Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament” series by Nancy Guthrie, and the study guides written by Kathleen Nielson. I have the first 2 of the Guthrie series and the John and Isaiah guides by Nielson. Perhaps I can dive into some of those in the coming year. So while I encourage Christians to know how to study the Bible and to not rely on study guides, I also find that they can be a useful tool and a supplement to help keep me on track with my study. Also by knowing how to study the Bible, when using a guide, it’s easier to see if the author is getting off track and taking things out of context.