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The Bible is a source of inspiration for millions upon millions of people all over the world, yet many people do not understand this fascinating and intricate book. Having the right Bible study tools is useful whether you are interested in the Bible for religious inspiration, as a source text for understanding Western literature, or as an interesting historical document.
The problem is that there are so many different tools to study the Bible out there. Some Bible study tools have a decidedly sectarian bias. For example, there are Baptist Bible study tools meant for people coming from a fairly rigorous Calvinist background. Similarly, there are Catholic Bible tools which incorporate papal doctrine in the interpretation along with the more traditional books of the Bible. There are also tools to study the Bible from a historical perspective that give you notes on what was happening at the time. These are useful for people who don't have religious interest in the Bible, or who want to compliment it with a good solid understanding of the period.
If you do not know what you are doing, the best thing to do is to take a Bible study course. Many different churches, universities, and other organizations have Bible study classes. One nice thing about taking a course is that they will give you the tools you need to further your Bible study. They will point you in the right directions, give you a good background on the Bible, and put you in touch with experts in the area.
Then again, your typical public library should have a wealth of Bible study tools. If you are new to studying the Bible, be careful what you get. Sources that are too academic can bog you down with discussions of the meaning of various Greek words. On the other hand, some Bible study tools actually come out of a particular religious tradition and don't really provide you with a very objective source of information. Both of these are pitfalls that are easy to fall into when you're new to studying the Bible. The best thing to do is find a source written by a historian who is somewhat sympathetic to the Bible. They don't have to be a believer, but they should be someone who finds it to be an interesting and useful work for study. Neither devout atheists nor religious fanatics are likely to really give you a good working introduction to the bible.

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