Category: Resources and Reviews

Great Adventure Catholic Bible Review

Great Adventure Catholic Bible Review

I frequently review resources, mostly Bibles, to help the faithful to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and today I am reviewing the Great Adventure Catholic Bible from Ascension Press. (Note: Ascension Press sent me this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.) Full disclosure, I am not catholic but I did grow up in a household with a catholic parent.

I am impressed at the number of resources that are available for Roman Catholics today. Growing up with one parent who was catholic and, one who was protestant, I cannot recall having ever seen the catholic parent read the Bible or even recall the encouragement to read a Bible. I am glad to see that this has changed and Catholics are being encouraged to own and read their Bible.

 

The Translation Offered

The Great Adventure Catholic Bible is offered in the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition (RSV2CE). Of the two major English translations of the Bible used by Catholics, RSV2CE and the New American Bible Revised Edition, I much prefer the RSV. It is an essentially literal translation of the Bible that is still very readable and accurate to the original languages making it ideal for personal study or devotional reading.

 

The Cover, Ribbons, and Binding

This is an alpha cowhide cover, which, to the best of my knowledge is a synthetic leather similar to the Trutone from Crossway. The binding is sewn for a lifetime of use. Ascension provides two ribbons for you to mark your progress in reading through the Bible. My personal preference is three ribbons, one for Old Testament, one for Psalms and Proverbs, and one for New Testament. That being said, any quantity larger than one will be most helpful.

 

The Helps

The array of helps is impressive and there are some that I would actually like to see in protestant Bibles.

Cross References

The cross references are located near the bottom of the text and they are separated by bold lines to mark them off from the text.

Color-coded Learning System

This is one of the features that I would love to see in more Bibles. The color coded learning system follows the Great Adventure Bible Timeline. Each color corresponds to a period in Redemptive History. I absolutely love this; you can easily follow the stream of Redemptive History and watch the grace of God unfold!

 

70-Key Event Callouts

If you have ever wondered what comprises the most important events in Redemptive History, look here. Each callout is only a couple sentences but the call your attention to the major events that you need to be familiar with as you mature in your Christian Walk.

19 Charts

These charts are linked to the major sections in the timeline learning system. They cover such things as the Covenants in the Bible, key events, major characters, etc. They are designed to help the Bible come together as a cohesive unit.

Red Letter Edition

This one caught me off guard but I am delighted by it. I do not think that I have ever seen a red-letter edition in a “Catholic Bible.” It is a true statement that I do not want a red letter edition in a Bible I will preach from because I make my marginal notes in red ink and they bleed together on me. However, for a Bible that will be primarily for devotional reading, I love the red-letter editions. My goal as a pastor is to help my lambs to focus on the life and teachings of Jesus and a red-letter edition helps to emphasize those words.

16 Full Color Maps

The maps, as in any Bible, will help you to visualize the lands of the Bible.

Notes Pages

At the end of the Biblical Text, you will find some blank pages labeled notes. I am delighted to see this because they are not in most study Bibles. I highly recommend that every reader take notes of what the Holy Spirit teaches you as you study Scripture so, again, I am delighted that notes pages are offered.

What took me by surprise

I had expected to find commentary in this Bible because it is classified as a study Bible; to my surprise there is not any commentary provided. I had envisioned something akin to the Didache Bible from Ignatius Press and the Midwest Theological Forum with commentary based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church but it’s not there. This Bible is designed, almost entirely, for reading, which, of course, is the foundation of our growth as Christians.

 

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I am pleased with the Great Adventure Catholic Bible. I am glad to see that there are resources being made available for Catholics who want to better understand the Scripture.

 

 

A Bible Fit for Spurgeon (Review of the ESV Preaching Bible)

A Bible Fit for Spurgeon (Review of the ESV Preaching Bible)

 

Permit me a bit of whimsy in this review, which takes the form of a letter to Spurgeon. (Disclaimer: Crossway sent me this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review.)

 

My Dear Brother Charles:

In the search for a Bible worthy of the pulpit, I commend to you that most excellent Preaching Bible from the good people at Crossway. It has attained the pinnacle of Crossway’s offerings and if you will permit, I will provide a point by point case for this being the Bible worthy of your most excellent pulpit.

The Cover

Charles, it is the most exquisite leather that my hands have ever touched. Perfectly aged and flawlessly grained, I have no Bible which feels better in my hand. The front is unencumbered by the profanity of stamping, simply a plain black cover. The spine, though stamped, is not profaned by that lettering. The lettering is a muted gold, stately and regal, not ostentatious in the slightest. I could easily expect to find this in the library at Oxford or Cambridge.

The Layout

My dear Charles, the layout is everything that you could want in a Bible. Crossway has laid out this Bible in a single column, paragraphed, format. The font is just over 10-point and it is in Lexicon typeface, perhaps the most readable font I have seen in a Bible. Crossway has paid the utmost attention to every detail the Expositor could need and added a 1.25 inch outer margin. This margin demands to be written in and is perfectly suited to adding your own annotations to the text. The soft paper is a delight to handle, thick enough to make the pages easy to write on but still thin enough to make the Bible easily portable.

What isn’t there?

There are no references or other helps beyond translator’s footnotes. I do have mixed emotions about the lack of any helps. At my desk, I want helps for sermon prep but I do not want them in the pulpit, you understand.

The Experience

There is something different, almost mystical about this Bible. Even holding it commands reverence. In the ESV Preaching Bible, you do not simply open the book and teach, you commune with the Scripture. You are one, a single unified tool in the Master’s hand. As the words flow off the page and out of you, the two come together in a way not experienced with other Bibles. The preacher and the Bible, together as God’s instrument of grace. In this single volume I fell in love with the Bible all over again and rekindled the fire of passion for God’s word.

Having used it in mine own pulpit, I can attest to the joy of preaching from this Bible.  It is everything I needed in a Bible and had not realized I want until I held it.

 

Charles, let me conclude with a word about the ESV herself. It is true that as Baptists we have a special affinity for the King James Bible but the ESV is a most worthy successor. Like the KJV, it is essentially literal in its translation and it is also very melodic in its language. The language is not flowery but it does flow ever so smoothly off the tongue.

I give you, and all of our fellow servants, my highest recommendation. There is only one other Bible worthy of consideration for the pulpit, the Preaching Bible from Thomas Nelson. In truth, though, I cannot pick; I must use both as they are so appealing.

A perfect 10 is the only fitting score for this Bible.

 

Ever your faithful fellow servant,

Matthew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESV Journaling New Testament, Inductive Edition

ESV Journaling New Testament, Inductive Edition

 

Half of my ideal Bible exists and I tip my hat to Crossway for bringing this to market. I took longer to write this review because I have diligently been waiting for the other half, the Old Testament, to come to market but alas, I have not seen it.

 

My first thought when I saw this New Testament was “Wow, someone finally listened to me.” I will explain my enthusiasm in a moment. First the usual disclosure: Crossway provided this Bible in exchange for an honest review. My Opinions are my own and no positive feedback was solicited.

 

ESV Journaling New Testament, Inductive Edition

TruTone®, Brown/Cordovan, Portfolio Design

A new addition to the family of ESV Journaling Bibles, the ESV Journaling New Testament, Inductive Edition features extra space for notes in between each line of Bible text, offering a fresh and distinctive way to engage with God’s Word. This single-column Bible is designed to make it easy to interact with every individual verse, making it a great option for pastors, students, and anyone who loves going in-depth with Scripture.

  • 3/8-inch space in between each line of Bible text
  • Cream-colored paper
  • Ribbon marker
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: Slipcase

 

 

Specifications:

Format: TruTone
Page Count: 800
ISBN-10: 1-4335-6364-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-6364-5
Trim Size: 6.5 in x 9.0 in
Weight: 34.29 ounces
Published: August 31, 2018
Type Size: 9.5
Page Layout: Single Column
Additional Features: Sewn Binding
Ribbon
Words of Christ Black

This Bible is a pastor’s dream come true:

 

Margins and Spacing

My readers know I love a wide margin and this one tops the charts at 1.25 to 1.5” in the margins, perfect for the notes that make this Bible uniquely yours. That was not enough for Crossway, though, as they have added 3/8” line space between each verse of Scripture. Why, you may ask, is this important? Inductive Study does not just encompass marginal notes and word studies, there are frequently symbols used in the use of inductive study and this spacing leaves plenty of room for those symbols.

 

A number of my colleagues like to cram as many thoughts onto a page as possible where, again, a 3/8” spacing will prove most useful.

 

An interesting thought: if you were so inclined, you could probably make your own interlinear with this NT.

 

Font Color and Suggestions for Note Making

Crossway always offers a deep, rich ebony in the black inks that they offer and this Bible is no exception. Any good journaling Bible will only be a black letter edition; this choice is made so that you can notate with different colored inks or pencils. I am fond of Prang colored pencils for underlining, circling, or other symbol marking. For marginal notes, I like a Pilot brand retractable ball point pen.

 

Personally, I make my notes in red ink as I think that it offers a solid contrast to the black ink.

 

Paper and Paper Color

The paper is cream colored and thick, probably about 30gsm. It is heavy for a New Testament and it needs to be. The most popular archival pens, Pigma Micron, should not bleed here but the would almost certainly bleed through if the paper were any thinner or lighter.

 

The color of the paper did not pose any real issues in white light (Incandescent or LED) but it was challenging in the slightly yellow light that we have in the teaching area. Outdoors in the bright Arizona sun, the paper performed really well.  There is almost no show through and what little of it exists will be entirely dependent upon your lighting.

 

Cover and Binding

Crossway’s TrueTone is the most convincing imitation leather I have ever seen, it should easily last 20 years or more before re-covering is needed. Naturally, Crossway uses a sewn biding to hold up to the demands of today’s pastor.

 

Actual Use and a Hypothetical

This Bible has been on my desk every day since its arrival. It is an ideal choice for personal study and I recommend it for every pastor. I have been tinkering with the idea of making an interleaved study bible that is either ring bound or spiral bound but I have not yet been able to decide on which Bible I would do that with. This NT would most certainly be a prime candidate for such a project.

 

Final Thoughts

Nothing is more personal for a Christian than the Bible that carries the record of our walk with God and there is no better choice for Inductive Study than this Bible.

Nelson Preaching Bible…Nearly Perfect

Nelson Preaching Bible…Nearly Perfect

 

The Preaching Bible from Thomas Nelson is nearly perfect, nearly. There is only one negative in this Bible and I will address is right away so we can move on to what I like about the Bible. It’s missing wide margins. I will deal with that more later.

Disclaimer: Thomas Nelson provided 2 copies, one in NKJV and one in KJV in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review- my opinions are my own.

First, some details from Thomas Nelson

Book Summary

Every detail of the Thomas Nelson Preaching Bible is tailor-made with preaching in mind. With features crowdsourced from actual pastors, the verse-by-verse format, large type, and an edge-lined calfskin binding makes the Preaching Bible ideal for both sermon preparation and pulpit use.

About the Book

Every detail of the Thomas Nelson Preaching Bible is tailor-made with preaching in mind. With features crowdsourced from actual pastors, a flexible calfskin cover, durable sewn binding, and elegant layout, the Thomas Nelson Preaching Bible is the ideal choice for those who have been called to the sacred task of preaching the Word.

Features include:

  • Verse-by-verse layout for easy navigation
  • Thomas Nelson’s exclusive Comfort Print® fonts
  • Premium high-contrast Bible paper
  • Ultra-flexible calfskin binding and durable edge-lined construction
  • 3 satin ribbon markers
  • 11.5-point print size

Translation Choices

The preaching Bible is available in both KJV and NKJV, the most conservative and faithful English translations available. I preached from both enjoyed both. Truthfully, I am very hard pressed to prefer one to the other.

A Side Story about the NKJV

I started teaching Sunday School in 1996 at the age of 14 and I have taught the Bible in various capacities for the last 22 years. Over the course of those years, the Bible that I have used most has been a Thomas Nelson product, model 334, the Giant Print Reference Bible. That Nelson 334 has been with me through 12 years and over 1000 lessons (an irony because I thought the NASB was my favorite) and so, it is the Bible against which all other Nelson Bibles are judged. Time and time again I have marked in that Bible, tossed it in a backpack, left it in the car in Arizona’s unforgiving heat, and it stubbornly holds on; no matter how much I use it, it does not wear out and I love that. I hope to get the same usage out of the Preaching Bible.

Cover

We start with a calfskin cover with edge-lined leather liner. The KJV that I received was brown while the NKJV was black. The leather is not quite ironed but the grain is not very pronounced either. It is very pleasing to the touch though.

The brown calfskin has a very natural look to the color, similar to the natural leather covers from Crossway. I grew up not too far from Amish country and this particular leather coloration is very familiar to me. It brings back fond memories even though I am very partial to the black calfskin.

Page Layout

Nelson really hit a couple of my favorites with this layout. We get a double column, verse by verse format with the references at the foot of the page. This layout is my ideal format for a Bible, especially one that I will take into the pulpit.

Paper, Font and Margins

This paper is absolutely outstanding, possibly the best that I have ever seen in a Thomas Nelson Bible. I would estimate it at a 36-gsm paper. It is very opaque and this is, perhaps, the most important feature in a Bible other than the font used to display the text. You should not have any issues with a highlighter or ball-point pen to mark in this Bible.

My friend and colleague Randy Brown (Bible Buying Guide) loves to rave about the paper and I heartily agree with him. The choice that Nelson made is just right and would be the ideal paper for a wide margin Bible.

The font is Nelson’s Comfort print and it is very easy on the eyes. The font is very crisp and dark. It works well for me in many lighting situations. Unlike most Bibles, I do not have to hold this one close to read from it when preaching, I can let it rest on the pulpit and still see with no issues.

As I mentioned earlier, this is not a wide margin edition and I cannot, for the life of me understand why it isn’t. So many pastors make annotations in their Bibles and with this paper, the Preaching Bible would be the perfect choice for note-making.

Pulpit Use

All of the Bibles that I review get real world usage before the review is written. I am very peripatetic while teaching and this Bible’s design makes it very easy walk around with it while teaching. I did notice an interesting, sort of niggling little detail while using both Bibles- the KJV lays flat with more ease than the NKJV. I have no clue as to why that is the case, it just is.

The only other Bible that has given me as much enjoyment to teach from is my beloved 334 from Nelson (it’s the thumb-indexed one in the photos).

For carry/Field Ministry

I carried both editions daily for ten days. For personal study and devotions, I turned to the KJV edition and for person to person ministry, the NKJV. It is very bright in Arizona and I expected to have some challenges reading in direct sunlight but I did not experience any issues.

Final Thoughts

The best compliment I can give the Preaching Bible is that it has retired my model 334 Giant Print Reference Bible which served for 12 years and 1000+ sermons

 

 

Knowing Jesus Day 26: Jesus is Arrested

Knowing Jesus Day 26: Jesus is Arrested

Matthew 26:36-75 (NLT)

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

42 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away[a] unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

44 So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

47 And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.

50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”

Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.

52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. 53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands[b] of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? 54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. 56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus before the Council

57 Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered.58 Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.

59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council[c] were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death. 60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward 61 who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand[d] and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[e]

65 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!”

67 Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, 68 jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”

Peter Denies Jesus

69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”

70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.[f]

72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.

73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”

74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.

75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.

Footnotes:

  1. 26:42 Greek If this cannot pass.
  2. 26:53 Greek twelve legions.
  3. 26:59 Greek the Sanhedrin.
  4. 26:64a Greek seated at the right hand of the power. See Ps 110:1.
  5. 26:64b See Dan 7:13.
  6. 26:71 Or Jesus the Nazarene.
KJV Hallmark Reference Bible Review

KJV Hallmark Reference Bible Review

 

When it comes to KJV Bibles, Hendrickson has really hit it out of the park. The KJV Hallmark Reference Bible easily stacks up against the new Premier Collection KJV from Thomas Nelson or the Concord Reference Bible from Cambridge Publisher’s.

Note: Hendrickson-Rose Publishers sent this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Product Description from Hendrickson

Hendrickson Publishers is proud to introduce the Hendrickson Hallmark Reference Bible- Deluxe Hand-Bound Edition in Large Print in top-grain goatskin leather. Hand-bound with care, this premium quality Bible was crafted with excellence on a detailed level including spine hubs, beautiful foil stamping, gilded page edges, and three ribbon markers. This newest addition to the Hendrickson Bible line offers a new tier for customers looking for the very best.

Features:

  • Top-grain goatskin leather
  • Hand-bound lined-to-the-edge cover
  • Foil stamping
  • Spine hubs
  • Three ribbon markers
  • Gilded page edges
  • Presentation page
  • Full-color maps
  • 2-piece box
  • Verse references
  • Concordance
  • Red-letter text
  • 11.25-pt. font size

General Comments

I currently own a couple Hendrickson Bibles and I have always been satisfied with the quality of their products. They are a smaller publishing house, comparatively, but they have some of the most helpful resources available.

Layout:

This time we will start with the lay out. This is a double-column verse by verse reference Bible with end of verse references. Typically, I prefer center-column references, mostly out of habit but Hendrickson could easily convert me to the end of verse reference model.

The layout is very clean-the page is not busy at all. Regrettably there is not a lot of margin to work with but in a “hand size” Bible, there are some compromises that need to be made.

There is a school of thought that says single column format is the best; for reading they are quite correct. For preaching, I prefer a double column verse by verse and this fits in that category nicely.

Cover and Binding

I have handled several of Hendrickson’s leather Bibles, my favorite being the NIV Minister’s Bible Deluxe Edition in Morocco leather. The goatskin that Hendrickson chose is absolutely spectacular. It has what may be the most pronounced grain I have encountered on a leather Bible. I believe the technical term is pebble grain, especially considering that the grain feels like a softer version of the pebbles at the bottom of a fish tank. The liner seems to be synthetic but I can’t bring myself to complain about that. In this size Bible, I want the cover to be a little stiffer so a synthetic liner is the right choice, more flexible than paste-down but not as floppy as leather lined.

Naturally in a quality Bible we get a sewn binding. The text block lays flat virtually anywhere you open the book and I expect no less from a premium Bible.

Paper

I have not seen paper like this in any other Hendrickson Bible. Ordinarily my major complaint is that the paper they chose is too thin but not in this case. It is sufficiently thick that you will not experience much bleed through with a highlighter, if any at all.

A ball-point pen will not pose any issues at all for marking in this Bible.

The paper is a little on the heavier side so the Bible feels very substantial in your hand even though it is very lightweight over all. I commend Hendrickson on this paper choice; they clearly had the pastor in mind when designing this Bible.

Font and Ink Coloration

Normally red-letter editions are not a choice I make since the red ink tends to be wildly variant in quality and opacity. Sometimes you get something pinkish and sometimes you get something so faded that you can barely see it. However, the red letters are very well done with a consistent, deep red with rich color saturation throughout the text.

The black letters actually seem more rich and ebony than in other Bibles. This has to be a phenomenon of the paper. It reminds me, very much, of the black coloration that you get in a Cambridge Bible. It really is exquisite.

As a Preaching and Carry Bible

In the pulpit I use 2 translations simultaneously, KJV and NLT and I preached from this Bible three times in during my review period. It is so easy on the eyes and practical that it rivals the Premier Collection KJV from Nelson for the perfect preaching Bible.

The “hand size” format makes this Bible, essentially, the perfect every day carry Bible. The font is large enough for easy use and yet the Bible is small enough for your purse or laptop bag.

Compared to Zondervan

The Hallmark Reference Bible really holds its own against the other newcomer to the premium Bible market, the Premier Collection Giant Print KJV Reference Bible. In fact, if the KJV is your preferred translation, either one is near perfect. My experience has been this, Hallmark Reference for Carry and 1 to 1 ministry with the Premier Collection as my study text.

Final Thoughts

Hendrickson really knocked it out of the park. My only complaint is that I have nothing to complain about. There is nothing about this Bible that leaves one wanting. For the “hand size” Bible class, this is just about perfect.

Im surprised at what Hendrickson has been able to achieve in the Hallmark Reference Bible, not because I did not expect quality from Hendrickson but because of the price-point. You can get this Bible for below $175.00.

Knowing Jesus Day 13: Jesus feeds 5000 families

Knowing Jesus Day 13: Jesus feeds 5000 families

John 6:1-14 (NLT)

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money[a]to feed them!”

Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”

10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. 12 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.”13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

14 When the people saw him[b] do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”[c]

Footnotes:

  1. 6:7 Greek Two hundred denarii would not be enough. A denarius was equivalent to a laborer’s full day’s wage.
  2. 6:14a Some manuscripts read Jesus.
  3. 6:14b See Deut 18:15, 18; Mal 4:5-6.
New Disciples Day 13: the Eternal King Has Come

New Disciples Day 13: the Eternal King Has Come

Luke 2:1-20  (NLT)

The Birth of Jesus

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

New Disciples Day 12: the Promise of an Eternal King

New Disciples Day 12: the Promise of an Eternal King

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,[a] Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!

Footnotes:

  1. 9:6 Or Wonderful, Counselor.

 

Jeremiah 20:5-18  (NLT)

And I will let your enemies plunder Jerusalem. All the famed treasures of the city—the precious jewels and gold and silver of your kings—will be carried off to Babylon. As for you, Pashhur, you and all your household will go as captives to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied that everything would be all right.’”

Jeremiah’s Complaint

O Lord, you misled me,
and I allowed myself to be misled.
You are stronger than I am,
and you overpowered me.
Now I am mocked every day;
everyone laughs at me.
When I speak, the words burst out.
“Violence and destruction!” I shout.
So these messages from the Lord
have made me a household joke.
But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord
or speak in his name,
his word burns in my heart like a fire.
It’s like a fire in my bones!
I am worn out trying to hold it in!
I can’t do it!
10 I have heard the many rumors about me.
They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.”
They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.”
Even my old friends are watching me,
waiting for a fatal slip.
“He will trap himself,” they say,
“and then we will get our revenge on him.”

11 But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior.
Before him my persecutors will stumble.
They cannot defeat me.
They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated.
Their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
you test those who are righteous,
and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.
Let me see your vengeance against them,
for I have committed my cause to you.
13 Sing to the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
For though I was poor and needy,
he rescued me from my oppressors.

14 Yet I curse the day I was born!
May no one celebrate the day of my birth.
15 I curse the messenger who told my father,
“Good news—you have a son!”
16 Let him be destroyed like the cities of old
that the Lord overthrew without mercy.
Terrify him all day long with battle shouts,
17 because he did not kill me at birth.
Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb,
that her body had been my grave!
18 Why was I ever born?
My entire life has been filled
with trouble, sorrow, and shame.

 

Zechariah 9:9 (NLT)

Zion’s Coming King

Rejoice, O people of Zion![a]
    Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
    He is righteous and victorious,[b]
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—
    riding on a donkey’s colt.

Footnotes:

  1. 9:9a Hebrew O daughter of Zion!
  2. 9:9b Hebrew and is being vindicated.