When you start your study of the Bible God can speak directly to YOU if you ask him. You can understand the basics of His word all by yourself. You do not need a priest, preacher, scholar or church denomination to grasp its fundamental teachings. Over time, our heavenly Father will lead you into studying the "meat" or more spiritually in-depth doctrines of his holy word.
In order for God to speak to you through studying His truth, however, you must be ready to put aside your preconceptions and cherished beliefs you may have learned. You must be willing to start your pursuit with a fresh mind and be willing to believe what you read.
Have you ever questioned the traditions various religions state come from God's word? Did they exclusively come from a study of Holy writ or from another place? If you are willing to approach the Scripture with an open mind and a willingness to believe what God teaches you, your efforts will open up vistas of truth that will amaze you.
Which one to buy
In regard to Biblical translations to purchase for your studies, you can never go wrong with obtaining a King James translations. Although some of its words are a bit dated, many reference tools such as Strong's Concordance are keyed to its verses. If you do not have the money to buy a KJV, you might try a Google search for organizations and outreaches that provide free Bibles to those who request one. You may also wish to try contacting a local church in your area.
Computer software is a great way to aid your studying of the Bible. Programs exist that can give you access to countless tools, reference books, maps, charts, timelines and a whole host of other aids all at your fingertips. They allow a person to view different translations at the same time (great for those just starting) and have access to definitions of the underlying Hebrew or Greek text. One free software package is E-Sword. You can also purchase a more robust study program from Logos.
People today, unlike any other time in human history, have access to a plethora of books dedicated to aiding study of Holy Writ. There is an every-growing collection of tools that includes dictionaries, commentaries, interlinears, word studies, lexicons, Biblical maps and still more. Although the selection of tools available to the average student is truly amazing, choosing an initial set of basic reference works can seem daunting.
Suggested reference works
We suggest the following study aids and tools for those who are starting to read Scripture. We suggest getting a copy of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, as well as the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, and Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament.
We also suggest dictionaries such as Unger's or Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. For word or topical studies, we recommend Nave's or the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. We also recommend basic commentaries such as Halley's, Barnes' Notes and the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary.
Finally, to commence your study of the Bible, you may wish to visit our sections dedicated to beginners. Feel free to also review answers to questions submitted by those, like yourself, who have started their own studies. The desire to comprehend the truth of God is a lifelong pursuit that is worth your time and effort.