Author: Matt Sherro

Exploring the Truth and Abounding Grace Baptist Church…Better together

Exploring the Truth and Abounding Grace Baptist Church…Better together

As we are preparing for the planting of Abounding Grace Baptist Church, It is important to know that Exploring the Truth will remain the Bible teaching ministry of Pastor Matt Sherro. Beginning in January, the guided study notes will reflect what is being taught in the pulpit.

Here is our lesson plan for 7 January 2018 until 4 March 2018 (Should the Lord delay His return). All lessons are from Matthew Chapter 5. The verses to be covered are in parentheses:

Beatitudes: A life hidden in Christ (3-12)
Salt and Light: The effects of a robust faith (13-16)
Christ and the Law (17-20)
Anger, where murder begins (21-26)
Adultery: Sex isn’t the problem (27-30)
Divorce: What is really allowed? (31-32)
I swear: Christ teaches about vows (33-37)
Getting Even: What God wants you to know (38-40)
Loving those who hate you: what grace demands (43-48)

 

Grace to you. We look forward to ministering to you in the future.

ESV Systematic Theology Bible Review

ESV Systematic Theology Bible Review

It’s not the Bible I expected…I had visions of a juggernaut along the lines of Crossway’s ESV Study Bible, a massive tome that I could literally use to beat the heathen out of someone. Instead what I got when I opened the box was more like a mini me for the ESV Study Bible. The ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible is unlike what I envisioned, but Crossway likes to surprise me and in this case, the Bible they sent is no exception.

 

Disclaimer: Crossway sent me the hardcover of the Systematic Theology Study Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review; so let’s do that.

 

First, some particulars:

About the ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible (from Crossway)

Theology should, first and foremost, be rooted in God’s Word. The goal of the ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible is to demonstrate how all Christian doctrine arises from the pages of the Bible. Created to help readers understand how Scripture forms the basis for our understanding of God, humanity, sin, salvation, and eternity, this study Bible features over 400 short in-text doctrinal summaries connecting Christian beliefs to specific Bible passages, 25 longer articles explaining important theological topics in greater depth, and introductions to each book of the Bible that highlight the unique ways each book contributes to the whole of Christian theology. Created by an outstanding team of editors and 26 contributors, this resource has been created to help Christians better connect what they believe about God with the very words of Scripture.

Features:

  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • Footnotes
  • Book intros
  • Topical index of sidebars
  • Cross-references
  • 400+ doctrinal summaries explaining core doctrines and connecting them to specific Bible passages
  • 25+ longer articles on key theological topics
  • Lifetime guarantee on leather and TruTone editions
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: J-Card (Hardcover); Box (Genuine Leather and TruTone)

Contributors:

  • Gregg Allison
  • Bruce Ashford
  • Gerald Bray
  • Bryan Chapell
  • Graham Cole
  • David Dockery
  • John Frame
  • Michael Horton
  • Kelly Kapic
  • Michael Kruger
  • Robert Letham
  • Donald Macleod
  • Chris Morgan
  • Stephen Nichols
  • J. I. Packer
  • Michael Reeves
  • Fred Sanders
  • Sam Storms
  • Scott Swain
  • Stephen Wellum
  • David Wells

 

 

I admit to not knowing some of the names on the contributors list but others (JI Packer, Stephen Nichols, John Frame, Michael Horton, and Greg Allison) read like a who’s who of theologians. Actually, there are two names, major players in the arena of theology, that are glaringly absent and I’m stunned that those names are not on the list of contributors, Drs. Sinclair Ferguson and R.C. Sproul. I suspect that is because of the role they play in the Reformation Study Bible.

 

The Fly in the Oatmeal

The ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible does not include any Dispensational Theologians which means, necessarily, that I will have disagreements with the Eschatology and any Israelology that you may find. However, this does not mean that I would discard it off hand. In fact, I would say that I am in agreement with probably 95% of the supplemental material that you will find here.

 

An Important Point

“Theology should, first and foremost, be rooted in God’s Word” –the back-cover.

 

Crossway could not have stated it better; the font of our understanding of who God is stems from His revelation of Himself in the Bible. I understand that, for many, Theology is difficult to handle and, at times, can seem rather dry and boring. Thankfully, that problem does not exist within the ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible.

 

Introductions

This time around, the introductions bring more to the table with regard to theology including specific points on theology for each book of the Bible. The introductions also cover the author, the original audience, and provide an abbreviated outline for each book of the Bible. I say abbreviated because they are not as detailed as in other study Bibles.

 

Notes and Articles

In a change from traditional study Bibles, you won’t find verse by verse commentary at the bottom of the page. What you will find are 400 doctrinal footnotes and I, personally find these to be more useful. This is very important because of what Systematic Theology is, the discipline of formulating an orderly, coherent, and rational account of the doctrines of the Christian Faith.

 

The articles are expanded with larger articles in the back of the Bible. There are 28 articles and they are titled as follows:

 

  1. What is Doctrine and Why is it Important?
  2. How to do Theology: Worldview and Process
  3. A Brief History of Doctrine
  4. Theological Traditions Within Christendom
  5. The Origin and Authority of the Biblical Canon
  6. Doctrine in the Creed and Catechisms of the Church
  7. Apologetics
  8. Orthodoxy and Heresy
  9. Doctrine and Preaching
  10. Reading the Bible Theologically
  11. Revelation
  12. Scripture
  13. God
  14. Creation
  15. Providence
  16. Humanity
  17. Sin
  18. The Christian Life
  19. The Person of Christ
  20. The Work of Christ
  21. The Holy Spirit
  22. Ordinances and Sacraments
  23. Grace
  24. Election
  25. The Gospel
  26. Salvation
  27. The Church
  28. Eschatology

Honestly, the only article I have any kind of problem with is number 28, eschatology. I am a futurist and a dispensationalist so my point of view on this doctrine will be markedly different from the contributors.

Thoughts on the Book

I am impressed. On the other hand, I would really like to see people stop treating Dispensationalists like the fair haired step child. That being said, I think that the Systematic Theology Study Bible will be a benefit to anyone who is not a theologian by trade. There is a real lack of adherence to any form of theology in western evangelicalism and it is my hope that the Systematic Theology Study Bible will help to address that gap.

 

The paper that has been provided is crisp white and the font is a deep rich black. As is typical from Crossway, we have a sewn binding so that you will get a lifetime of use out of the Bible.

If there were ever a Bible that screamed for a wide margin, this is it. The paper is thick enough that you should not have any bleed through with your pen and so a wide margin would be perfect here.

Would I buy it? Should you buy it?

I would buy it, most likely for gift giving purposes. I have a number of Systematic Theologies on hand including the volumes by John MacArthur, Charles Hodge, John Calvin, Luis Berkhoff, Stanley Horton, and Wayne Grudem so I am well versed in theology. I emphatically recommend this Bible because of the glaring need for coherent theology in the church today.

 

 

Progressive Dispensationalism: Our Theological Lens

Progressive Dispensationalism: Our Theological Lens

As I am preparing for church planting in January, I want to clarify a theological position. I affirm Progressive Dispensationalism.

Tenets of Progressive Dispensationalism include:

Tenents of Progressive Dispensationalism

  1. Is not Replacement Theology; Progressive Dispensationalists assert that God will keep His promises made to “Israel according to the flesh,” the genetic descendents of Jacob.
  2. Acknowledges a future 7-year Tribulation followed by a 1,000 Millennium with Christ personally present and reigning from Jerusalem.
  3. Affirms that the nation of Israel (in the Millennium) will be exalted as a nation with a rebuilt Temple and sacrificial offerings (that the Messianic Age is compatible with Temple worship is demonstrated in Acts 21:17-26).
  4. Is similar to (the Messianic Jewish scholar) David Stern’s “Olive Branch Theology” espoused in Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel.
  5. Does see the church fulfilling many Old Testament prophecies (and thus differs from Traditional Dispensationalism on this point), but in a less literal sense or incomplete sense; Progressives break rank with Traditionals by concluding that the church was anticipated in the Old Testament (but not clearly). The term “mystery,” when used in reference to the church, is not defined as “something previously unrevealed,” (as in Traditional Dispensationalism) but “previously revealed unclearly.”
  6. Views the church as being blessed through Israel; Progressives avow that God has never stopped working with Israel (some Jews now believe, and He is provoking others to jealousy); the Jews will rebuild the Tribulation Temple largely in unbelief; although the 144,000 will be saved during the earlier part of the Tribulation, most Jews will not believe until the Battle of Armageddon, as interpreted from Zechariah 12.
  7. Essentially recognizes the more literal fulfillment of prophecy (which is Traditional Dispensationalism’s strong suit) but accepts how the New Testament authors quote and apply the Old Testament to the church (Traditional Dispensationalism’s most vulnerable point).
  8. Is a “now, but not yet” viewpoint (as argued by C. Marvin Pate in The End of the Age Has Come); the Kingdom Age is breaking forth now, but will have a complete fulfillment during the Millennium.

For additional study:

http://www.theopedia.com/progressive-dispensationalism

https://www.gotquestions.org/progressive-dispensationalism.html

Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

Genesis 28 (NLT)

28 So Isaac called for Jacob, blessed him, and said, “You must not marry any of these Canaanite women. Instead, go at once to Paddan-aram, to the house of your grandfather Bethuel, and marry one of your uncle Laban’s daughters. May God Almighty[a] bless you and give you many children. And may your descendants multiply and become many nations! May God pass on to you and your descendants[b] the blessings he promised to Abraham. May you own this land where you are now living as a foreigner, for God gave this land to Abraham.”

So Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to stay with his uncle Laban, his mother’s brother, the son of Bethuel the Aramean.

Esau knew that his father, Isaac, had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to find a wife, and that he had warned Jacob, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.” He also knew that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan-aram. It was now very clear to Esau that his father did not like the local Canaanite women. So Esau visited his uncle Ishmael’s family and married one of Ishmael’s daughters, in addition to the wives he already had. His new wife’s name was Mahalath. She was the sister of Nebaioth and the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son.

Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

10 Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. 11 At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. 12 As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.

13 At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. 15 What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”

16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” 17 But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!”

18 The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. 19 He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz.

20 Then Jacob made this vow: “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, 21 and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the Lord will certainly be my God. 22 And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.”

Footnotes:

  1. 28:3 Hebrew El-Shaddai.
  2. 28:4 Hebrew seed; also in 28:13, 14.
A Woman Rides the Beast Part I: The Great Whore of False Religion

A Woman Rides the Beast Part I: The Great Whore of False Religion

In Revelation 17 we see one of the great mysteries of the ages laid bare. Finally, the Agent used by Satan to deceive millions will be stripped of all her splendor and her filthiness will be exposed to all the world. John looks and sees that a woman (false religion) rides the beast (a false church.)

One of the best explanations of this, that I have found is from the late Dave Hunt at the Berean Call. You will find the lesson by clicking on the blue link below.

In part 2 we will look at the false church that will one day dominate the world; indeed she already has and will once more.

 

A Woman Rides the Beast with Dave Hunt

Jacob and Esau

Jacob and Esau

Genesis 27 (NLT)

Jacob Steals Esau’s Blessing

27 One day when Isaac was old and turning blind, he called for Esau, his older son, and said, “My son.”

“Yes, Father?” Esau replied.

“I am an old man now,” Isaac said, “and I don’t know when I may die. Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare my favorite dish, and bring it here for me to eat. Then I will pronounce the blessing that belongs to you, my firstborn son, before I die.”

But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. 10 Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.”

11 “But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12 What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.”

13 But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!”

14 So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and prepared a delicious meal, just the way Isaac liked it. 15 Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there in the house, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. 16 She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats. 17 Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread.

18 So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said.

“Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?”

19 Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.”

20 Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”

“The Lord your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied.

21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” 22 So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. 23 But he did not recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy just like Esau’s. So Isaac prepared to bless Jacob. 24 “But are you really my son Esau?” he asked.

“Yes, I am,” Jacob replied.

25 Then Isaac said, “Now, my son, bring me the wild game. Let me eat it, and then I will give you my blessing.” So Jacob took the food to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. 26 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son.”

27 So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son. He said, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the Lord has blessed!

28 “From the dew of heaven
    and the richness of the earth,
may God always give you abundant harvests of grain
    and bountiful new wine.
29 May many nations become your servants,
    and may they bow down to you.
May you be the master over your brothers,
    and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
All who curse you will be cursed,
    and all who bless you will be blessed.”

30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and almost before Jacob had left his father, Esau returned from his hunt. 31 Esau prepared a delicious meal and brought it to his father. Then he said, “Sit up, my father, and eat my wild game so you can give me your blessing.”

32 But Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”

Esau replied, “It’s your son, your firstborn son, Esau.”

33 Isaac began to tremble uncontrollably and said, “Then who just served me wild game? I have already eaten it, and I blessed him just before you came. And yes, that blessing must stand!”

34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he let out a loud and bitter cry. “Oh my father, what about me? Bless me, too!” he begged.

35 But Isaac said, “Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has taken away your blessing.”

36 Esau exclaimed, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice.[a] First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?”

37 Isaac said to Esau, “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?”

38 Esau pleaded, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept.

39 Finally, his father, Isaac, said to him,

“You will live away from the richness of the earth,
    and away from the dew of the heaven above.
40 You will live by your sword,
    and you will serve your brother.
But when you decide to break free,
    you will shake his yoke from your neck.”

Jacob Flees to Paddan-Aram

41 From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.”

42 But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. 43 So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. 44 Stay there with him until your brother cools off. 45 When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m sick and tired of these local Hittite women! I would rather die than see Jacob marry one of them.”

Footnotes:

  1. 27:36 Jacob sounds like the Hebrew words for “heel” and “deceiver.”
paralambanō/take to oneself

paralambanō/take to oneself

paralambanō 

 

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon:

1) to take to, to take with one’ s self, to join to one’ s self

1a) an associate, a companion

1b) metaphorically

1b1) to accept or acknowledge one to be such as he professes to be

1b2) not to reject, not to withhold obedience

2) to receive something transmitted

2a) an office to be discharged

2b) to receive with the mind

2b1) by oral transmission: of the authors from whom the tradition proceeds

2b2) by the narrating to others, by instruction of teachers (used of disciples)

Part of Speech: verb

Relation: from G3844 and G2983

Citing in TDNT: 4:11, 495

Usage:

This word is used 51 times:

< Previous 1 2 Next >

Matthew 1:20: “of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for”
Matthew 1:24: “had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:”
Matthew 2:13: “a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his”
Matthew 2:14: “When he arose, he took the young child and his”
Matthew 2:20: “Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother,”
Matthew 2:21: “And he arose, and took the young child and his”
Matthew 4:5: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy”
Matthew 4:8: “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high”
Matthew 12:45: “Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other”
Matthew 17:1: “six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and”
Matthew 18:16: “if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or”
Matthew 20:17: “going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart”
Matthew 24:40: “field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
Matthew 24:41: “the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
Matthew 26:37: “And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,”
Matthew 27:27: “soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall,”
Mark 4:36: “when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in”
Mark 5:40: “they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father”
Mark 7:4: “other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and”
Mark 9:2: “six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and”
Mark 10:32: “and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve,”
Mark 14:33: “And he taketh with him Peter and James and”
Luke 9:10: “all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately”
Luke 9:28: “these sayings, he took Peter and John and”
Luke 11:26: “Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked”
Luke 17:34: “bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.”
Luke 17:35: “together; the one shall be taken, and the other”
Luke 17:36: “field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
Luke 18:31: “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold,”
John 1:11: “his own, and his own received him not.”
John 14:3: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that”
John 19:16: “unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.”
Acts 15:39: “departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas”
Acts 15:39: “departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas”
Acts 16:33: “And he took them the same hour of the night,”
Acts 21:24: “Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with”
Acts 21:26: “Then Paul took the men, and the next day”
Acts 21:32: “Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto”
Acts 23:18: “So he took him, and brought him to the”
1 Corinthians 11:23: “For I have received of the Lord that which also”
1 Corinthians 15:1: “unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;”
1 Corinthians 15:3: “first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died”
Galatians 1:9: “unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
Galatians 1:12: “For I neither received it of man, neither”
Philippians 4:9: “ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen”
Colossians 2:6: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk”
Colossians 4:17: “to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill”
1 Thessalonians 2:13: “we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard”
1 Thessalonians 4:1: “the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye”
2 Thessalonians 3:6: “the tradition which he received of us.”

Hebrews 12:28: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby”

 

7 Bowls of Wrath

7 Bowls of Wrath

7 Bowls of the Final Judgment

Revelation 15:1 (NLT)
1  Then I saw in heaven another marvelous event of great significance. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues, which would bring God’s wrath to completion…

The terrible time has now come; in the full fury of His indignation, the Holy God will pour out the final measure of His wrath. Revelation 14 well spoke of the Winepress of God’s Wrath; the cup is now full and the obstinately wicked will drink the full measure of judgment. For ages, man has said, “any god but YHWH,” and now, at last the Righteous One can no longer have His hand stayed. There is no more mercy, no more intercession. God, having finally had enough of wickedness and rebellion turns back His hand of mercy and will, essentially say, “have it your way.”

 

The sadness of judgment is that the wicked choose it and this, also, is the sadness of eternal Hell. Those who are there are there because they refuse to have God and instead will only have their sin in its momentary pleasure and then will be destroyed forever in Hell. Were there anything that should bring a tear to the eye, it is this. These last seven judgments are the most severe that man has ever seen.

 

The First Bowl: Malignant Sores

This would seem to be similar to the sores that affected the Egyptians (Exodus 9:9-11) and that afflicted Job (Job 2:27). Note that in Job’s case they were a test and in the Egyptians’ case, it was a judgment. In the case of the final boils it will be both, a test that proves men will not have God and the resultant judgment for that choice.

 

The 2nd Bowl: Death in the Seas

Hearkening back to the 2nd Trumpet Judgment, the 2nd bowl plagues the waters of the ocean. However, this time every living thing in the oceans will die. The waters will become thick as blood (probably mixed with the blood of the decaying former sea life.) The stench this causes will be almost unimaginable.

 

The 3rd Bowl: Death in the Rivers and the Lakes

If life for the wicked was not miserable enough, the 3rd bowl takes the 3rd trumpet to its total conclusion and now, just like what happened to the oceans, every living thing in the lakes and rivers dies.

 

Bowls 2 and 3 are commented upon in Revelation 16:6; the wicked have spilled the blood of the saints for centuries and now God gives them blood to drink. What is scary about this is the fact that there are still 4 bowls remaining and they get progressively more terrible. By the time the Kingdom comes, there will not be much left standing…

 

The 4th Bowl: The Sun and God’s fury

The sun, which was needful to sustain life on earth is now weaponized. That which was a source of comfort (heat, light, etc.) literally has its heat turned up and scorches the earth and the obstinately wicked who refuse God’s grace.

The 5th Bowl: Darkness and pain

This is much more than a solar eclipse. God, who is Himself the Light, has taken away the light of the sun. Many is no longer cursed because of living in the darkness but is now cursed to live in the darkness.

 

The gnawing at the tongue is doubtless to relieve, or rather attempt to relive, the relentless pain caused by the severe heat, drought, and, most probably, dying of thirst.

 

A human can live, without God depriving them of death, for between 3 and 8 days without water. Thus we are left to conclude that that 7 Bowls are either, incredibly rapid and span a time of no more than 8 days or that God continues to deprive the wicked of finding relief through death. Since I do not believe God to be cruel, I tend to presume the former.

 

The 6th Bowl: Euphrates Dries Up & the World takes sides for battle

God providentially dries up the river Euphrates as a confederation comes from the east. “the kings from the east. God providentially draws these kings and their armies in order to destroy them in the battle of Armageddon (v. 14). Their reason for coming may be to rebel against Antichrist, whose failure to alleviate the world’s suffering will no doubt erode his popularity. Or, this may be a final act of rabid anti-Semitism intent on destroying Israel, perhaps in retaliation for the plagues sent by her God. Since the sun may have melted the ice caps on Ararat, flooding the valley of the Euphrates as the river overflows its banks and bridges, the land will be swamped. God will have to dry it up miraculously for the eastern army to get to Armageddon.”
The MacArthur Study Bible.

 

Tetelestai: The Final Bowl and the Great Earthquake

This is the final shaking, literally, before Christ comes. All the world is gathered against God at Har-Megiddo for the final battle before Christ inaugurates the Kingdom. The worst earthquake the world has ever seen hits the planet as God, personally, declares it is done.

 

Harpazo/Catch Away

Harpazo/Catch Away

harpazō 

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

1) to seize, carry off by force

2) to seize on, claim for one’ s self eagerly

3) to snatch out or away

Part of Speech: verb

Usage:

This word is used 13 times:

Matthew 11:12: “suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
Matthew 13:19: “the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.”
John 6:15: “they would come and take him by force, to make him”
John 10:12: “and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the”
John 10:28: “they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them”
John 10:29: “and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
Acts 8:39: “water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch”
Acts 23:10: “the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them,”
2 Corinthians 12:2: “I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third”
2 Corinthians 12:4: “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words,”
1 Thessalonians 4:17: “we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in”
Jude 1:23: “save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating”
Revelation 12:5: “and her child was caught up unto God, and to his”

Swindoll Study Bible Review Part One: The Actual Bible

Swindoll Study Bible Review Part One: The Actual Bible

In 1996, Chuck Swindoll and Zondervan released the Living Insights Study Bible; 21 years later is it back (sort of) as part of the NLT Family in Tyndale’s Swindoll Study Bible. I say it is sort of back because it would appear that Tyndale not only updated the translation but they also updated the content. I will be reviewing the hardcover, iPhone, and iPad editions in one simultaneous review. (All 3 were provided by Tyndale House free of charge in exchange for an honest review.)

 

As is our habit, let’s begin with some particulars from the publisher:

 

The Swindoll Study Bible offers the best of Chuck Swindoll’s wit, charm, pastoral insight, and wise biblical study directly to you as you study God’s Word. Chuck’s warm, personal style comes across on every page, and his informed, practical insights get straight to the heart of the Bible’s message for the world today. Reading each part of this study Bible is like hearing Chuck speak God’s Word directly to your heart. It will both encourage readers’ faith and draw them deeper into the study of God’s Word.

In Chuck’s own words:

“This study Bible was designed with you in mind. As you read the Scriptures, imagine me sitting beside you and sharing personal stories, important insights, and hard-earned lessons that will encourage you to walk more closely with Jesus Christ. You’ll discover the whowhatwherewhenwhy, and how of the Bible. Who wrote it and whenWhat does it mean, and where did its events occur? Why should I trust it? And most importantly, how can I apply it today?

“It’s that last question more than any other that has fed my passion to publish this Bible. My primary focus in ministry has been teaching biblical insight for living—for genuine life change. After all, that’s why God communicated His Word to us—that we may become like His Son, Jesus Christ, the central figure of this Book.”

 

Product Details

Published: October 17, 2017

Binding: Hardcover

Text Size: 9.0

Trim Size: 6.5 x 9.188 in.

Pages: 1984

ISBN: 978-1-4143-8725-3

 

Now on to the review…

 

Free App:

The first thing I want to point out is the free app that is bundled with the print editions of the Swindoll Study Bible. It is provided by Tecarta Bible Apps (https://tecartabible.com) and is available to use on you qualifying iOS and Android devices.

 

The app includes the NLT Bible (SRP $7.99) and the Swindoll Study Notes (SRP $14.99) giving you $22.98 of free content. The Swindoll Study Bible App will sync any content that you already have in your Tecarta account, but if you do not have one you will need to register first. There is a promo code that is under a scratch and reveal tag on the page following the maps and there are instructions for redeeming your code. It is very important that you use the same email to redeem your code that you used to sign up for Tecarta so that the premium content that Tyndale is including syncs into your account.

 

Currently, I have the app on both my iPhone and my iPad Pro; the iPad Pro app being the one used more often. When linking this app with your Tecarta account, you will find that there is a plethora of resources that the app developer makes available to you. Some of the content that is available is at a lower cost than other soft-ware but most of it is priced similarly to OliveTree and WORDSearch Bible, which are the two that I use most frequently, though I am also a long time user of e-Sword. If you have not invested in any software for your Bible Study, Tecarta is equally as good as the ones from the major publishers but the advantage is that it is built from the ground up entirely for mobile.

 

There is a lot more to say on the app and there will be a 2nd review article focusing on that.

 

The Translation Choice

The Swindoll Study Bible is offered in the New Living Translation (NLT). where the original, the Living Insights Study Bible from 1996 was in NIV. As Chuck Swindoll and I have both discovered, the NLT is, perhaps, the easiest Bible to read and understand without becoming a complete paraphrase. I have really grown to love the NLT, in part because it so easily captures Greek and Hebrew thought, but mostly I love the NLT because that is the Bible my wife was reading when came to Christ and yielded her life to Him. I commend the NLT to you for the same reasons, if you have never understood the Bible before, you will with NLT and you may even find that this is the Bible that Christ uses to draw you unto Himself.

 

Around a month ago, I switched to NLT as a primary translation for 1-to-1 discipleship, for the content here at Exploring the Truth, for daily devotional reading and for any public speaking that I will do. I always pair my NLT with a word for word translation (NAS, ESV, or KJV) and I recommend you do the same. I feel like reading the NLT is like listening to a wise old friend explaining the Scriptures.

 

Living Insights Notes

In this edition, the Living Insights Notes have been moved to the bottom of the page and now look and function more like a traditional study Bible’s notes. Each Living Insight is designed to illuminate a specific verse of Scripture. Unlike many study Bibles, the Swindoll Study Bible does not feature a study note for each verse of Scripture; instead the notes are structured to help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

 

I absolutely love the Living Insights Notes. They are perfect for on the go teaching.

 

Book Introductions:

Each book comes with an introduction that is focused on answering the following questions: Who wrote the book? Where are we? Why is this book important? What’s the big idea? How do I apply this? You will notice that the introductions in the Swindoll Study Bible fell much more pastoral than they do academic and if you are a Bible teacher in a church or small group, these insightful articles will prove most useful to laying a foundation for your teaching.

 

Application Articles

Application Articles are adapted from Chuck’s sermons and explain important passages with his winsome style including stories, illustrations, and usually three to five specific points of application. This is my favorite feature of the Swindoll Study Bible. Oftentimes we are left to ask the question, “What do I do about what I just read?” and these application articles tackle the most common passages that face this question.

 

People Profiles

Quite simply, people profiles highlight the lives of major players in the drama of Redemptive History and points out lessons, from their lives, that we could all benefit from learning.

 

Holy Land Tour

Learn more about geographic locations where biblical events occurred. These include a photo of the modern archaeological sites, many that can be viewed today, and a modern-day map of the location. You’ll be transported to the ancient sites with background information and devotional content, similar to being on a tour of the Holy Land with Chuck and his Insight for Living team.

 

Prayer Moments

Scattered throughout the text, prayer moments are similar to the prayers that Chuck Swindoll uses to close out his weekly sermons. Each prayer focuses on asking God to help us apply the truth of a particular passage of Scripture.

 

I do not ever recommend using someone else’s prayer in place of your own. On the other hand, you can easily use the prayer moments as a guide to help you get started with your prayer during personal worship.

 

Is Anything Missing?

This is probably a niggling little complaint, but I would have liked to see references; end of verse references would do just fine here without interrupting the layout. It is very important to understand that Scripture interprets Scripture and references go a long way toward that process, especially for a new believer.

 

I also think it would be nice to see and upgraded/deluxe edition in genuine leather.

 

How to Study the Bible (Searching the Scriptures Section)

This section showcases the genius of Chuck Swindoll. So many study Bibles have a section on how to use them but I think the Swindoll Study Bible is the only one that I have ever seen that includes a section on how to study the Bible. Many people that I encounter, especially new disciples, have trouble getting started with Bible study and the How to Study the Bible and practice section will remedy this problem easily.

 

Who would benefit from the Swindoll Study Bible?

In my estimation, the Swindoll Study Bible should have broad appeal. The app will most definitely appeal to Millennials and younger who are very tech savvy and want to do their study on electronic devices. On the other hand, the physical Bible will appeal to traditionalists who desire to study in an actual book; I happen to very much enjoy both.

 

You may find yourself saying that the content seems very simplistic. I would discourage you from dismissing this Bible simply because the notes are not overly complex. The Bible tells us we need to become like a child, in our faith, to see the Kingdom of Heaven and the Swindoll Study Bible endeavors to help us get there with its simple, down to earth, practical resources.

 

Usage Experience

After around two weeks of regular use, I could see this being my every day carrying Bible. The coloration of the pages is different enough that I don’t find much in the way of eye strain. The font is a crisp black and, despite being around an 8-point size, it is very easy to read.

 

The theological content is very solid. Dr. Swindoll takes a consistently literal approach to the Scripture, which I would expect from any dispensational theologian. The major takeaway that I have from the content is a better way to say the things that I teach; I have taught at various levels for 21 years so there is not a lot of new content for me. If you are a new disciple, or are looking for a gift for a new disciple, I encourage a purchase of the Swindoll Study Bible.

 

Overall Impression

I have a number of Study Bibles but I have to say that this one has moved into a favorite spot for me. I have told my wife that, when it comes to teaching, I endeavor to be as in depth as John MacArthur but as approachable and easy to understand as Chuck Swindoll. Tyndale publishes two other Study Bibles that I enjoy, the Life Application Study Bible and the NLT Study Bible. Of the three, my recommendation is that you buy the Swindoll Study Bible, especially given the fact that I usually find some gripe with the Bibles I review and cannot in this case.

 

Stay tuned for Part II where we will look at the Swindoll Study Bible on iPad…

 

 

 

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