The Not Your Average Bible Study series combines a deep understanding of the biblical text with real-world application that is relevant to our lives today.
Drawn from Bible Study Magazine, each volume in this series guides you step-by-step through Scripture, helping you discover powerful insights as you move through the text, digging into the Bible on a whole new level. With discussion and reflection questions, specific prayer suggestions, and ideas for further study, you’ll see how easy it is to apply these lessons to your everyday life. This is not your average Bible study.
Ruth was an outcast in Israelite society. As a widow and a Moabite, she was considered the least of God’s people. Yet God drew her from the fringe of society and incorporated her into both the community of Israel and his plan of salvation. In Ruth, we find a story of love, loyalty, and compassion. And we see how God works through ordinary people to achieve his great purposes.
Who do you turn to in good times and bad? In the Psalms, we find an ancient people worshiping God in all types of situations—praise, anger, thankfulness, frustration, and sadness. Their cries and praises abandon facades. The Psalms reflect genuine worship and encourage us to turn to God in any situation.
Jonah was a rebel prophet. When God wanted him to preach a message of hope to the city of Nineveh, Jonah fled in the opposite direction. His story of failure shows us the depths of God’s mercy—both to the prophet and to an undeserving people—and challenges us to be ambassadors of that mercy.
So often we affirm God’s love until things go wrong. In anger, anxiety, or pain, we doubt his goodness or involvement in our lives. Like the Israelites of Malachi’s day, we cry out, “How have you loved us?” The words of the prophet Malachi both comfort us with God’s love and challenge us to reciprocate that love—even in dark times. Malachi shows us that we need a Savior.
Greed, power, selfish gain. We can easily get caught up in the values that guide our world. But on a mountainside in Galilee, Jesus spoke about the way of a different kingdom. He spoke about loving enemies, giving generously, and living without hypocrisy. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shows us what it means to truly live.
Although Jesus’ parables may seem simple on the surface, they convey deep and complex truths about God’s Kingdom. The parables Jesus uses in his teaching aren’t merely illustrations or moral tales. They are intricate stories that reveal the mysteries central to the kingdom of God.
More than any other book in the New Testament, Romans has captured the minds of Christians for centuries. What is it about Romans that has inspired such conviction, faith and deep study? It is Paul’s most complete exposition on Christian doctrine.
Does your life reflect the work of Christ? Do your relationships with others display his love? In Ephesians, Paul calls us to a life transformed by Christ’s work. He pushes us to put on the new self—one “created in Christ Jesus for good work.” Then, he shows us what new life in Christ looks like in our individual lives and our relationships with others.
How do we live a life worthy of gospel of Christ? When the Apostle Paul first shared the gospel on Philippi he was beaten and imprisoned. Years later, imprisoned again, he writes the Philippians with a message of joy and encouragement. He wants them to share in this joy, even in the face of suffering.
At some point, everyone experiences real suffering—pain, disappointment, sickness, abuse. Paul’s message to the Colossian church—and to us—is that suffering isn’t senseless or worthless. Chained in a Roman prison, Paul tells us how suffering can be an opportunity for Christ to show his power and glory in us.
Hebrews was written for people like us—struggling Christians seeking to know God better. The ancient communities who received this letter faced temptation, suffering, and doubt. Understanding God’s message for them helps us embrace what God is saying to his church today.
It’s easy to get tangled up in the cares of this world and forget what’s important in life. When we lose sight of the big picture, James reminds us what truly matters: simply the gospel. He challenges us to be “doers of the Word, and not hearers only.” The gospel should define how we think, feel, and act.
Peter shows us that we are refugees. His letter, written to persecuted Christians, is one of hope. Although we may face trials and experience pain and confusion in our life journeys, our inheritance is “kept in heaven.” Like early Christians, we are en route to a far greater kingdom. And we are not alone in our journey—Jesus shows us the way. He bears our burdens and teaches us how to live.
What does active faith look like in the midst of struggle? When false teachers threatened the spiritual health of the early church, Jude and Peter urgently called early Christians to faithful lives that demonstrated mercy, love, and wisdom. These books show us what it means to grow in faith and respond to the love that Christ has for us.
What does it mean to love “in deed and truth?” For John, following Jesus means fearlessly loving all those whom Jesus served. In three short letters, John challenges the church to reach out to those in the margins and embody radical hospitality—just like Jesus.
John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus' Economy, a non-profit dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. He also serves as a missionary with Resurrect Church Movement, the domestic division of Jesus' Economy dedicated to equipping U.S. churches to alleviate poverty and plant churches. John is the general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary. He has authored or edited over 30 books, including The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, Cutting Ties with Darkness, and the daily devotional Connect the Testaments. John formerly served as founding publisher of Lexham Press and is the former editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. John speaks internationally on engaging the Bible, poverty, and spreading the gospel.
Miles Custis is the author of The End of the Matter: Understanding the Epilogue of Ecclesiastes. He is a Faithlife Study Bible contributing editor, the coauthor of Lexham Bible Guides: Genesis Collection, and the coauthor of the Studies in Faithful Living volumes. In addition, he is a regular Bible Study Magazine and Lexham Bible Dictionary contributor. He holds a Master of Arts in biblical studies from Trinity Western University.
Carrie Sinclair Wolcott was a contributing editor for Logos Bible Software and Lexham Press. She has worked extensively on Lexham Bible Dictionary. She holds a Master of Arts in theological studies from Regent College.
Jeffrey E. Miller is pursuing a doctorate at Duke Divinity School. He serves as senior pastor of Trinity Bible Church in the Dallas area, where he lives with his wife, Jenny, and their two daughters.
Joel E. Kim is president of Westminster Seminary California. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America.