Here is where you’ll find links to trusted resources and lists of some recommended books. You’ll also find study guides for selected episodes of the podcast.
Season 3 Episode 1 Study Guide
- Print out a copy of Philippians. Copy and paste from a website like Bible Gateway. Make sure to edit out chapter headings as those are not part of the inspired text. We want to just interact with the text without distractions. Use either ESV, NIV or NASB translations.
- Pray before you read. Ask God to incline your heart to him and his word and illumine your understanding.
- Read slowly through the whole book, using your printed copy of the text, in one sitting. Don’t make any notes yet. Do this for several days.
- Make notes on your printed copy of the text of things that stick out to you. Focus more broadly on themes and repeated words.
- As prep for episode 2, keep doing the above work of reading and rereading. We want to immerse ourselves in the text as much as we can. Repetitive reading is an underrated study still! And keep praying before, during and after your study as the Spirit leads.
- Read Acts 16 to get background on how the church in Philippi was founded.
- Using a study Bible or the Internet, read more about the background of the book of Philippians.
- As you continue to read the book, take time at the end of the chapter and try to summarize Paul’s main points.
- Now step back, take some time, pray, and ask yourself what the major themes are in the book. Can you distill Paul’s message to the Philippians in a couple short sentences?
Season 2 Episode 1 Discussion Questions
- Why do you think the Psalms is such a popular book?
- What is your favorite Psalm? Why?
- Are there some psalms you are uncomfortable with? Why?
- What do you hope to learn through this study of the Psalms?
Season 2 Episode 2 Resources and Discussion Questions
My recommended study Bibles are the ESV Study Bible and the Zondervan NIV Study Bible. Try to find a study Bible that is edited by a team of scholars.
The two commentaries I am using in studying the Psalms are this one by Tremper Longman and this one by Derek Kidner. The one by Derek Kidner comes in two volumes.
Here’s an article by Albert Mohler on theological triage which I talked about on this episode.
Here is a list of recommended commentaries from Tim Challies. His blog has become a very trusted resource for me. I know you’ll enjoy reading him.
Here is a good and concise online introduction to the book of Psalms. This is another one from Crossway.
Knowable Word is a very good resource for regular students of the Bible like you and me! This is a fantastic introduction to the book of Psalms. Like I said in the episode, there are a lot of great resources out there. Check out everything the folks at Knowable Word have provided.
The Bible Project is a great resource, especially for families seeking to disciple their kids. Check out this video introduction to the Psalms.
Discussion questions for episode 2
- Have you ever thought you could study a book of the Bible yourself? Why or why not?
- What next steps can you take in building a list of trusted resources? Who can you partner with in studying together?
- Scan through the book of Psalms and compare the beginning to the end. Get used to looking at the book as a whole.
- What is the meaning of the title of the book? Do you know of anyone who still sings the psalms?
- Who are the different authors of the book? Does it matter if we don’t know the author? Will that hinder our understanding? Why or why not?
- When were the psalms written?
- Pick some of your favorite psalms and look for any parallelism or imagery. What did you find? How might that deepen your understanding of the psalm?
- Why did God give us poetry?
- Scan through the whole book of Psalms and try to find one example of each of the four themes of the metanarrative – creation, fall, redemption and restoration.
Season 2 Episode 3 Study Questions and Resources
- Do you sometimes forget to pray before engaging with the Word? Why do you think we do this?
- I didn’t have time to dig into what the first word of Psalm 1 means. On your own time, look up the word blessed in a dictionary. What does it mean? Using cross references or a concordance, dig a little deeper to find out how the Bible uses this word. How does Jesus use it in Matthew 5?
- What title would you give Psalm 1? Why?
- Make a chart with the headings righteous and wicked. List underneath the headings what you learn from Psalm 1 about these two kinds of people.
- Draw a picture of the tree described in Psalm 1.
- Take time to meditate on the tree imagery presented here. Make note of what the Lord reveals to you.
- Follow this link to find a video of the threshing and winnowing process. Pay attention especially at the 3:00 mark. Does the contrasting image of chaff have any impact on you?
- I mentioned in the episode that Psalm 1 presents only two kinds of people – the righteous and the wicked. How important is it that we stick to the language the Bible uses about humanity’s condition?
Resources used in this episode include Psalms by Tremper Longman III (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries) and Psalms by Derek Kidner.
Season 2 Episode 4 Study Questions
- One of the themes we see in Psalm 2 is the kingdom of man coming against the kingdom of God. Take some time to trace that theme throughout the whole Bible. Where does it begin? Where does it climax? Where and how does it end?
- Compare the imagery in verses 1-3 with verses 4-6. How is God’s posture different than the rulers of the earth? Think about this in terms of present day conflicts. How much greater is God than any other ruler of the earth? How should that encourage us?
- I talked about being careful not to soften the language the Bible uses in reference to verse 9. Do you find yourself tempted to soften the Bible’s language anywhere else? Why do you think we’re tempted to do this?
- Summarizing, or paraphrasing, is a good skill to practice in learning how to interpret the Bible. How would you summarize God’s invitation to the rulers of the earth in verses 10-12?
- How does Psalm 2 directly point to Christ?
- How has Psalm 2 given you comfort? How has it challenged you?
Season 2 Episode 5 Study Questions
- Commit to memorizing Psalm 23. It’s not hard if you’re really familiar with it. And then call it to mind when you go to sleep or when you first wake up.
- If you had to choose a title for Psalm 23, and you couldn’t choose The Lord is My Shepherd, what would you choose?
- Do you think of yourself as a sheep; dumb, defenseless and need? Is it hard for you to admit that you need help?
- Meditate on all that the first 3 verses are saying about how the Shepherd provides for us.
- Verses 4-5 speak of how God provides during times of darkness. How has God done that for you? How has his presence made a difference?
- I made a point in the episode to say that God is not a stingy God. Do you secretly believe God is holding out on you? Go read Psalm 103 and make note of all the ways God goes above and beyond in providing for his people.
- Take time to think about the end of your life and what you are looking forward to. Where is your true home?
- Read and compare Ezekiel 34 to John 10.
- What other familiar passages could you attempt to study on your own? What tools could you use from this episode to help you?
Season 2 Episode 6 Study and Discussion Questions
- How is your prayer life? Do your prayers go beyond asking for things to processing your questions and your struggles honestly with God?
- Mark Vroegop defines lament as a pathway to praise when life gets hard. He sees four stages of lament: Turn, Complain, Ask, Trust. Identify in Psalms 42 and 43 where the psalmist is doing each of those things.
- Most of us focus more on one stage of lament than others. Which stage do you focus on? Which stage do you need to practice more?
- The repeated refrain in 42:5, 11 and 43:5 is an example of what I called ‘preaching to yourself’. Are you in the habit of doing that? What do you usually do instead?
- Where is the psalmist’s focus at the end of Psalm 43? What does he most desire?
- How could practicing lament in your own life transform or reframe how you see your struggles and suffering?
- Who could you share these truths with? How could practicing lament help those you know, especially your children?