Tag: Bible Study

NET Abide Bible and Journal Review

NET Abide Bible and Journal Review

The Abide Bible and Journals are a very interesting offering from Thomas Nelson. They are not a study Bible system and neither are they a devotional system. Rather, I would describe them as a personal worship system. The Abide Bible is offered in both New King James Version (NKJV) and New English Translation (NET) and the Abide Bible Journals are offered with the NET. In this article we will review the Abide Bible in the NET alongside the 1st and 2nd Peter journal. (Both Bible and journal were provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. As I was not required to give a positive review, my opinions are my own.)

 

 

Click Me for Photos of Abide Bible and Journal

 

Abide Bible_Thomas Nelson Official Page

Abide Bible-Taylor University

From Thomas Nelson on the Abide Bible Journal

The Abide Bible Journals are designed to help you experience the presence of God and grow in your relationship with Him as you read and interact in Scripture. Each volume contains a book or section of Scripture in a clean, single-column format along with powerful passage-specific journaling prompts. And most important, right within the Word, lightly lined pages invite you to respond to what you’ve read and abide with God in active prayer and reflective response through the act of putting pen to paper.

The prompts within the text are based on four ways of engaging deeply with the Bible:

Praying Scripture: Pattern your prayers after biblical texts

Picture It: Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant

Journal: Focus and reflect on Scripture and its meaning for your life

Contemplate: Follow the simple 4-step practice of feasting in God’s Word

 

The Concept:

The concept for the Abide Bible comes from John 15:4,

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

As I understand from Thomas Nelson, the Abide Bible is designed to take you beyond simple reading of the Bible and to move you into the arena of actually living the Bible; having a vital, active relationship with Holy Scripture and more importantly, its author.

 

The Translation

I am reviewing the New English Translation. I have commented on this translation before, if you will recall, I rather like it. NET is a meaning based (dynamic equivalent/thought-for-thought) translation completed by the students and faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary. They Full Notes Edition carries with it all 68,000 translators’ notes, a fact which makes in the most heavily annotated English Bible available.

 

Many of my colleagues will say that a meaning based translation is not suitable for study but in the case of the Full Notes Edition, I could not disagree more. It is designed for study.

 

In the case of the Abide Bible, the footnotes are not provided, not that such a deprivation would negatively impact your experience with the Bible. While I love the NKJV, I think that the NET is a better choice for the Abide Bible. Given its intended use, I want a translation that does not require me to reach for a lexicon but instead, I want a translation that feels like I am with friend, which you definitely will get from the NET. I am also quite glad that the journals are in the NET Translation for the same reason, I want something that is easy to use.

 

Cover and Binding

The journal is softcover with an adhesive binding. I would have preferred to see a hardcover option but I understand that it would be enormously impractical given the groupings of the books.

 

The Abbie Bible that I was sent is the brown leathersoft. Thomas Nelson has really stepped up their game with their imitation leathers. Having handled many leathers over the years, I could tell from the touch that it is not real leather but I am not sure most people would pick up on that-it is very convincing. The binding appears to be sewn. I am glad to see sewn bindings return to the Thomas Nelson Lineup. Sewn bindings wil, literally, last you a lifetime of use.

 

Paper Layout and Font in the Journal.

The paper is a crisp white but not so bright as to cause glare. It performs very well in most light settings, including the Arizona sun, which is quite unforgiving.

On the left page we have the text of Scripture in a single column. On the right page we have the Abide Journaling Prompts and a lined column for journaling. Following the last page of journaling prompts we have an additional 15 lined pages for additional thoughts.

The font in the journal is quite a bit larger for the Scripture portion than what is found in the Abide Bible. I would gauge it at 9-point font while the journaling prompts come in at 8-point. Both, though, are quite readable.

 

Paper, Layout, and Font in the Bible

I am told that the paper is 36 gsm. You can see that it is quite opaque so it should work rather well for marking, highlighting, or journaling. There is a little bit of a newspaper texture to the paper which makes it rather easy to turn the pages.

Unlike the NKJV edition, this is a black letter Bible. The text is laid out in single column paragraph format, which is ideal for the intended use of the Abide Bible.

The Abide Prompts are in the outer column. Many of the pages, I would guess about half, include ample space for journaling.

Helps and Prompts

Introductions

 Each Introduction includes the usual material  including historical and literary context. It also adds a section called Prepare which is designed to help you to engage with Scripture.

Journaling Through Scripture

This section is not for a personal journal or even prayer requests. Instead, guided prompts help you to interact with scripture and to record/catalogue insights that you gather. Journaling is a critical component of Inductive Study which is the essential method to understand and internalize the Scripture.

Engage Through Artwork

“Consider a classic piece of art—photograph, sculpture, painting—and let it deepen your meditations on scriptural truths.” The Bible, itself, is art; it is God’s masterpiece and has inspired countless artistic works over the years. The artwork provided does not simply help us to visualize what we see in scripture, it spurs us on to worship by bringing the text to life.

 

Praying the Scripture

“Pattern your prayers after biblical texts, personalizing the prayer and gaining language for the thoughts and emotions you want to express.” This is a similar concept to the Prayer Book used by some denominations. Many of us do not really know how to pray but the Abide Bible helps to guide us through the process.

Picture It

“Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant in important events.” The Bible IS literature, among other things, and the best literature invites us into the story. We identify with the characters and, on varying levels, the story speaks to us.

Contemplate

We are given a  4-step practice of reading, meditating on, praying, and contemplating a passage of Scripture.

Assorted Articles

There are some articles explaining how to engage with Scripture, studying vs engaging, and why we read the Bible. These are more of background material rather than what will take you through the process.

 

Final Thoughts

The Abide Bible and Journal  is an excellent resource when used as a complete system. Could you use each one separately? Yes but they are better together.

My preference is for the NKJV for study and teaching though the NET will do quite well for understanding and internalizing the Scripture.

It is important to remember that this will take time and discipline, but this is to be expected; nothing worth having comes easily. I think you, dear reader, will enjoy the Abide Bible and Journal and they will help you with your growth.

Tony Evans Bible Commentary Review

Tony Evans Bible Commentary Review

 

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I had, previously, written on the Tony Evans Study Bible and now we are reviewing the other component of the Tony Evans Study Set, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary. Note: Unlike the Tony Evans Study Bible, this was NOT provided by Holman for the purposes of a review; I sourced it at my own expense.

Notable fact: The Tony Evans Bible Commentary has a unique place in history as the 1st Bible commentary to be compiled and edited by an African American, Dr. Tony Evans.

Prefatory Remark:

I have certain theological disagreements with Dr. Evans (I am a Calvinist where he, clearly is not.) BUT I value the experiences that Dr. Evans brings to the table both as a person of color and as a pastor focused on the needs of the urban church. Dr. Evans’ emphasis on living the Kingdom Life really resonates with me. As Dispensationalists we are often accused of not being focused on current realities of the Divine Kingdom and Dr. Evans really blows that claim right out of the water as he teaches us to be aware of both the coming physical and political reign of Christ and the realities of living as Christ’s Kingdom Emissaries in the world.

Translation Used

Unlike most commentaries, the Tony Evans Bible Commentary is based on the Christian Standard Bible. I am quite glad to see this as several other translations offer a broad array of commentaries.

CSB as you will remember, is a mediating translation, which is to say that falls in the middle of being fastidiously literal and meaning based.

Cover and Binding

This is a jacketed hard cover with what appears to be an adhesive binding. Normally I prefer a sewn binding but that is frequently not done with commentaries.

Paper, Layout, and Font

The paper in the commentary is quite a bit thicker than in the Study Bible. It is a muted white and very opaque. While I don’t yet know if I will mark in it, you should have no issue with liquid highlighter, gel highlighter, colored pencil, or ball point pen.

The text is laid out in a double column paragraph format. It has a black letter text in around a 9.5-font. The text is broken up by the Outline as section headings, which are in a red letter font.

Supplemental Content

QR Codes

This is the first commentary that I have seen where QR codes are included. Each QR Code is linked to a video introduction provided by Dr. Evans and B&H Publishing. The videos are concise but fairly informative. The QR Codes are, actually, my favorite feature as they make the commentary more interactive, more personal, and less dry. I would like to see this feature carried on to other commentaries.

Introductions

Each book comes with a concise introduction, approximately 1-2 pages. They are nowhere near as detailed as in most other commentaries but they do cover the essentials: Author, Historical Background, Message and Purpose, and a brief outline. In this particular commentary, the concise introduction fits the overall intent of the commentary.

The format of the introductions is well suited for the person who is new to the study of the Bible.

Overview of Theology

Here, again, is a feature that is not often seen in a commentary but which is most useful to have. Virtually every commentator has a theological position from which he writes, in this case Dispensationalism. The inclusion of the Overview of Theology provides the reader an introduction to the commentators perspective as well as a lens through which to view the comments.

The late Dr. R.C. Sproul pointed out that everyone is a theologian at some level and it is clear that Dr. Evans agrees. We all have some form of theology and, in this case, the Overview of Theology helps the reader to lay out an orderly and systematic approach to that theology.

The Overview of Theology is very similar to the one Dr. MacArthur provides in his one volume commentary and his study Bible. In both cases, I am very glad to see it included. Helping our congregation to have a proper view of God is our foundational task as pastors.

Outlines on the Godhead

The entire purpose of the Scripture, and its study, is the understanding and glorification of the Godhead. Dr. Evans provides a basic outline of each Person of the Trinity to help us understand the Person, His role in Redemptive History, and how best to give Him glory.

This is a very important section to be included in any commentary. The most mysterious and inscrutable doctrine in the entire Bible is the doctrine of the Trinity. We cannot grasp this doctrine in its entirety and Dr. Evans does not try to get us to understand it. Rather, he provides clear and easily understandable teaching as to each person in the Trinity so that we understand the role of each and we are able to relate to them.

Topical Index

There is a brief Topical Index included. While a systematic study  of a book of the Bible is best, a topical study can provide an break in the intensity of your study. Also, the Topical Index helps with understanding how the Bible speaks to the issues of life.

Glossary of Doctrinal Terms

Many times in a commentary, we find unfamiliar terms. The inclusion of a glossary to define those terms is quite helpful.

Overall Thoughts

The Tony Evans Bible Commentary is not an academic commentary by any stretch of the imagination though that’s not a bad thing. It takes a fairly pastoral approach to the Scripture. The commentary notes are much more in-depth than the Study Bible but all of the notes from the Study Bible can be found in the commentary.

When pastoring a church as large as the one Dr. Evans pastors, it is very difficult to have one on one ministry with everyone which is where this commentary comes into play. The tone of the commentary is very personal. It comes across as though you and Dr. Evans were in his study and he was mentoring you through the Scripture.

I am very new to Dr. Evans and his teachings so I do not have many comments on his study material. I am pleased with the volume. I think it fills a need, one which we were, perhaps, not aware existed. Most commentaries are multi-volume and filled with theological language; even many single volume commentaries have this issue. The Tony Evans Bible Commentary, taking a much more pastoral approach, sits alongside the MacArthur Bible Commentary (single volume) as one of the most understandable and readable commentaries currently available.

Who should buy this volume?

The Tony Evans Bible Commentary would be fairly well suited to most Christians, but it is most suited to the new Bible student. Generally, commentaries are geared toward pastors and seminary students. However, in this case the commentary is more pastoral than academic so I repeat myself  in saying just about any Christian will benefit from it.

 

 

Exodus Essentials Lesson Notes

Exodus Essentials Lesson Notes

Exodus- Story of Redemption

 

The message

Trust, obey and worship the redeeming, covenant-making God who is with us.

 

Storyline

In Exodus the Lord saved His people in a manner that foreshadowed the ministry of Jesus. First, He came to them while they were in bondage and freed them. He did so not on the basis of their good works, but by grace; withholding judgment when He saw the blood of a spotless lamb covering the doorposts of their homes (see Exodus 11–12). Then, after he saved them, God gave His people laws to govern them—on His terms, for their benefit—and called them to faithful obedience. Following that pattern, Jesus Christ died for His people while they were yet in bondage to sin (Romans 5:8) and freed all who will believe in Him through His death and resurrection. Then He made them new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17) and taught them obedience (John 5:14–15). Given the similarities between the exodus and God’s plan to bring about the redemption of all who will believe in Him through Christ, it is no wonder Jesus told the Jews in Jerusalem, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me” (John 5:46). 

Key Words in Exodus

Delivered: Hebrew natsal —3:8; 5:18; 21:13; 22:7,10,26; 23:31—this verb may mean either “to strip, to plunder” or “to snatch away, to deliver.” The word is often used to describe God’s work in delivering (3:8), or rescuing (6:6), the Israelites from slavery. Sometimes it signifies deliverance of God’s people from sin and guilt (Psalm 51:14). In 18:8–10, however, the word is a statement of God’s supremacy over the Egyptian pantheon of deities.

Consecrate: Hebrew qadash —28:3,41; 29:9,33,35; 30:30; 32:29—this verb means “to make holy,” “to declare distinct,” or “to set apart.” The word describes dedicating an object or person to God. By delivering the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, God made the nation of Israel distinct. Through His mighty acts of deliverance, God demonstrated that the Israelites were His people, and He was their God (6:7). By having the people wash themselves at Mount Sinai, the Lord made it clear that He was claiming a special relationship with them (19:10).

Washing: Hebrew rachats —2:5; 19:10; 29:4,17; 30:18,21; 40:12,30— washing or bathing. The term was used in both religious and cultural settings. The ancient custom of washing a guest’s feet was a part of hospitality still practiced in the New Testament period (Genesis 18:4; John 13:5). Ritual washing was an important step in the purification of the priests for service in the Tabernacle (40:12). Washing with water symbolized spiritual cleansing, the preparation necessary for entering God’s presence (Psalm 26:6; 73:13). The Old Testament prophets used this imagery of repentance (Isaiah 1:16; Ezekiel 16:4). In the New Testament, Paul describes redemption in Christ as “the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5).

Key Verses: Exodus 6:6; 19:5, 6—“Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments’” (6:6).

“‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’” (19:5, 6).

Key Chapters: Exodus 12–14—The climax of the entire Old Testament is recorded in chapters 12–14: the salvation of Israel through blood (the Passover) and through power (the Red Sea). The Exodus is the central event of the Old Testament as the Cross is of the New Testament.

Key People in Exodus

Moses —author of the Pentateuch and deliverer of Israel from Egyptian slavery (2–40)

Miriam —prophetess and older sister of Moses (2:7; 15:20–21)

Pharaoh’s daughter —the princess who rescued baby Moses from the water and adopted him (2:5–10)

Jethro —Midian shepherd who became Moses’ father-in-law (3:1; 4:18; 18:1–12)

Aaron —brother of Moses and first high priest of Israel (4:14–40:31)

Pharaoh —unnamed Egyptian leader at the time of the Exodus (5:1–14:31)

Joshua —assistant to Moses and military leader who led Israel into the Promised Land (17:9–14; 24:13; 32:17; 33:11) 

Key Doctrines in Exodus

Covenant promises —God’s promise to Abraham to preserve his heritage forever (12:1–3,7,31–42; Genesis 17:19; Leviticus 26:45; Judges 2:20; Psalm 105:38; Acts 3:25)

The nature of God —human beings cannot understand God completely but can come to know Him personally (3:7; 8:19; 34:6–7; 2 Samuel 22:31; Job 36:26; Matthew 5:48; Luke 1:49–50)

The Ten Commandments —the basic truths of God (20:1–17; 23:12; Leviticus 19:4,12; Deuteronomy 6:14; 7:8–9; Nehemiah 13:16–19; Isaiah 44:15; Matthew 5:27; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 13:14; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 5:3,5)

God’s Character in Exodus

God is accessible —24:2; 34:4–7

God is glorious —15:1,6,11; 33:18–23; 34:5–7

God is good —34:6

God is gracious —34:6

God is holy —15:11

God is long-suffering —34:6

God is merciful —34:6,7

God is all-powerful —6:3; 8:19; 9:3,16; 15:6,11–12

God is provident —15:9–19

God is true —34:6

God is unequaled —9:14

God is wise —3:7

God is wrathful —7:20; 8:6,16,24; 9:3,9,23; 10:13,22; 12:29; 14:24,27; 32:11,35

Points to consider/Teaching Points

Exodus demonstrates that rescue from bondage is accomplished only by God. The Israelites could not save themselves from oppression, nor from plagues, nor from the pursuing Egyptians, nor from their own folly; but God could.

The plagues overcame aspects of nature that the Egyptians thought their gods controlled. Through the plagues, including the ultimate plague of death, God showed his power over Egypt’s non-existent “gods” (12:12).

Exodus emphasizes the need of a covenant relationship with God. (No rules? No relationship!) God desires to shape us in his image, requiring obedience to him as evidence of faith in him (Jas 2:14-18).

The presence of God is another major theme: God wants us to enjoy him, his blessings and his life. But his presence does not tolerate sin, so God often reveals himself protectively, via a symbol behind a barrier. The tabernacle and its curtain (veil) provided a barrier, such that the Israelites were required to believe in an ark (his symbol) that they never actually saw. Inside the ark were two copies of the Ten Commandments: God’s and Israel’s, the words of the covenant showing how people could connect to God and his favor.

 

Personal Application

Exodus contains three powerful principles:

God blesses those who remain in a covenant relationship with Him. He is our God and we become His holy people. Because God knows that our lives are fruitful when we follow His ways, He clearly explains what is acceptable to Him. God delivers those who are in bondage. Deliverance may not come instantaneously, but it will come to those who wait and prepare for it by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our deliverance is based on obedience to God’s expressed will and on moving when He says to move. Before the children of Israel could be delivered, they had to wait until after the Passover meal was completed. They also had to wait until the angel of death had passed over those households under protection of the lamb’s blood; after that, God gave the command to go. As we seek to live by God’s Spirit, we need to wait at times, but be ready to move as He leads.

Foreshadowing Christ

Moses is a type of Christ, for Christ delivers from bondage. Aaron serves as a type of Jesus as the High Priest (28:1) making intercession at the altar of incense (30:1). The Passover indicates that Jesus is the Lamb of God who was slain for our redemption (12:1–22).

The “I am” passages in John’s Gospel find their primary source in Exodus. For example, John states that Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48); Moses speaks of the bread of God in two ways, the manna (Ex. 16:35) and the showbread (25:30). John tells us that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12; 9:5); in the tabernacle, the lampstand serves as a never-failing light (Ex. 25:31–40).

 The Holy Spirit at Work

Oil in the Book of Exodus represents the Holy Spirit (27:20). For example, the anointing oil, used to prepare worshipers and priests for godly service (30:31), is a type of the Holy Spirit.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22, 23 parallels God’s attributes described in Exodus 34:6, 7: He is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, good, truthful, and forgiving.

The most direct references to the Holy Spirit can be found in 31:3–11 and 35:30—36:1, when individuals were empowered by the Holy Spirit to become great artisans. Through the Spirit’s enabling work, our natural abilities are enhanced and expanded to perform needed tasks with excellence and precision.

 

Teaching Structure

  1. Liberation from slavery in Egypt
  • Moses preserved and prepared to lead (1:1-4:26)
  • Israelite suffering and confrontation with Pharaoh (4:27-7:25)
  • Plagues show Egyptian gods’ impotence (chs. 8-11)
  • Passover, Israel’s exodus reminder festival (12:1-30)
  • Escape from Egypt, crossing the Red Sea (12:31-15:21)
  • God’s provision for his traveling people (15:22-17:16)
  • Israel gets a legal system (ch. 18)
  • Preparation for the covenant at Mount Sinai (ch. 19)

 

  1. God grants his people a covenant relationship
  • The Ten Commandments: basic rules for righteousness (20:1-17)
  • Prophecy and proper altar worship (20:18-26)
  • Basic provisions: holy living required (chs. 21-23)
  • Acceptance and ratification of the covenant (ch. 24)

 

  1. Design and building of the tabernacle
  • Interior, including the ark of the covenant (ch. 25)
  • Exterior and standards for priests (chs. 26-29)
  • Worship materials and times (chs. 30-31)
  • Idolatry and resulting suffering (32:1-33:6)
  • Final plans and materials (33:7-36:7)
  • Constructing and equipping the tabernacle as designed (36:8-39:43)
  • The tabernacle erected and filled with God’s glory (ch. 40)

 

 

Introducing the Bible Essentials Series

Introducing the Bible Essentials Series

Introducing the Bible Essentials Series

As we transition into 2021 and the Bible Essentials Series, I want to provide some background as well as structural/organizational materials for you to better understand the Bible.

Let’s begin with some introductory material adapted from What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta Mears, Halley’s Bible Handbook, Wilmington’s Bible Handbook, the NKJV Open Bible, the Essential Bible Companion, athe the Bible Reader’s Companion.

 

The Old Testament is an account of a nation (the Jewish nation). The New Testament is an account of a man (the Son of man). The nation was founded and nurtured of God in order to bring the man into the world (see Genesis 12:1–3).

God Himself became a man so that we might know what to think of when we think of God (see John 1:14; 14:9). His appearance on the earth is the central event of all history. The Old Testament sets the stage for it. The New Testament describes it.

As a man, Christ lived the most perfect life ever known. He was kind, tender, gentle, patient and sympathetic. He loved people. He worked marvelous miracles to feed the hungry. Multitudes—weary, pain ridden and heartsick—came to Him, and He gave them rest (see Matthew 11:28–30). It is said that if all the deeds of kindness that He did “should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25).

Then He died—to take away the sin of the world and to become the Savior of men.

Then He rose from the dead. He is alive today. He is not merely a historical character but a living person—this is the most important fact of history and the most vital force in the world today. And He promises eternal life to all who come to Him.

The whole Bible is built around the story of Christ and His promise of life everlasting to all. It was written only that we might believe and understand, know and love, and follow Him.

Apart from any theory of inspiration or any theory of how the Bible books came to their present form or how much the text may have suffered in passing through the hands of editors and copyists or what is historical and what may be poetical—assume that the Bible is just what it appears to be. Accept the books as we have them in our Bible; study them to know their contents. You will find a unity of thought that indicates that one mind inspired the writing of the whole series of books, that it bears on its face the stamp of its author, and that it is in every sense the Word of God.

 

Old Testament—Principal Places

There are 12 principal places around which the history of the Old Testament is written:

  1. Eden (Genesis 1–3)
  2. Ararat (Genesis 8:4)
  3. Babel (Genesis 11:1–11)
  4. Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 11:28–12:3)
  5. Canaan (with Abraham) (Genesis 12:4–7)
  6. Egypt (with Joseph) (Genesis 37–45, especially 41:41)
  7. Sinai (Exodus 19:16–20:21)
  8. Wilderness (Numbers 14:26–35)
  9. Canaan (with Joshua) (Joshua 1:1–9)
  10. Assyria (captivity of Israel) (2 Kings 18:9–12)
  11. Babylon (captivity of Judah) (2 Kings 24:11–16)
  12. Canaan (the land of Israel—return of the exiles) (Ezra 1:1–2:70)

As you build the story of the Bible around these places, you see the whole history in chronological order.

Old Testament—Principal Facts

Still another way to think through the Bible is by following the great facts in order:

  1. Creation (Genesis 1:1–2:3)
  2. Fall of man (Genesis 3)
  3. Flood (Genesis 6–9)
  4. Babel (Genesis 11:1–9)
  5. Call of Abraham (Genesis 11:10–12:3)
  6. Descent into Egypt (Genesis 46–47)
  7. Exodus (Exodus 7–12)
  8. Passover (Exodus 12)
  9. Giving of the Law (Exodus 19–24)
  10. Wilderness wanderings (Numbers 13–14)
  11. Conquest of the Promised Land (Joshua 11)
  12. Dark ages of the Chosen People (Judges)
  13. Anointing of Saul as king (1 Samuel 9:27–10:1)
  14. Golden age of Israelites under David and Solomon—united kingdom (2 Samuel 5:4–5; 1 Kings 10:6–8)
  15. The divided kingdom—Israel and Judah (1 Kings 12:26–33)
  16. The captivity in Assyria and Babylon (2 Kings 17; 25)
  17. The return from exile (Ezra)

New Testament—Principal Facts

  1. Early life of Christ (Matthew 1:18–2:23; Luke 1–2)
  2. Ministry of Christ (Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
  3. Church in Jerusalem (Acts 1–2)
  4. Church extending to the Gentiles (Acts 10–11; 13–20)
  5. Church in all the world (Romans 10–11, 15; Ephesians 1:22–23)

Principal Biblical Periods

  1. Period of the patriarchs to Moses (Genesis)
  2. The godly line—leading events
  3. Creation
  4. Fall
  5. Flood
  6. Dispersion
  7. The chosen family—leading events
  8. Call of Abraham
  9. Descent into Egypt; bondage
  10. Period of great leaders: Moses to Saul (Exodus to Samuel)
  11. Exodus from Egypt
  12. Wandering in wilderness
  13. Conquest of Canaan
  14. Rule of judges

III.  Period of the kings: Saul to the captivities (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, the prophetical books)

  1. The united kingdom
  2. Saul
  3. David
  4. Solomon
  5. The divided kingdom
  6. Judah
  7. Israel
  8. Period of foreign rulers: captivities to Christ (Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel)
  9. Captivity of Israel
  10. Captivity of Judah
  11. Christ (Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
  12. The Church (Acts and the Epistles)
  13. In Jerusalem
  14. To the Gentiles
  15. In all the world

 

Principles and Helps for Bible Study

Accept the Bible just as it is, for exactly what it claims to be. Pin your faith to the Bible. It is God’s Word. It will never let you down. For us human beings, it is the rock of ages. Trust its teachings, and be happy forever.

 

Read your Bible with an open mind. ­Don’t try to straitjacket all its passages into the mold of a few pet doctrines. And ­don’t read into its passages ideas that are not there. But try to search out fairly and honestly the main teachings and lessons of each passage.  Ultimately, the text says what the text says. We need to look at the cultural context, genre, word choices, etc. Our search is to understand the Bible in similar fashion to how the original readers would have understood it.

 

Keep a pencil at hand. It is a good thing, as we read, to mark passages. Mark texts that resonate with you and passages that challenge you to grow in your faith.  Reread passages you have marked. In time a well-marked Bible will become very dear to us, as the day draws near for us to meet the Author.

 

Habitual, systematic reading of the Bible is what counts. Occasional or spasmodic reading does not mean much. Unless we have some sort of system to follow, and hold to it with resolute determination, the chances are that we will not read the Bible very much at all. Our inner life, like our body, needs its daily food.

 

Try to set a certain time each day for whatever reading plan you are following. Otherwise it is  likely that one would neglect or forget to read the Bible.

 

The particular time of day does not greatly matter. The important thing is that we choose a time that best fits in with our daily round of work, and that we try to stick with it and not be discouraged if now and then our routine is broken by things beyond our control.

Memorize favorite verses. Thoroughly memorize them and repeat them often to yourself — sometimes when you are alone, or in the night to help put yourself to sleep on the everlasting arms. These are the verses that we live on.

 

Suggested Reading Plans

The Learning Supplement for each book will include options for reading each book.

 

On Marking and Journaling

Start with a wide margin Bible in your favorite translation. I find Prismacolor Pencils to be ideal for marking. You could underline specific words or entire verses. Some people draw symbols or pictures. Others put detailed nots into the margins. Whatever you choose to put in the margins, these notes and symbols  are what makes the Bible truly yours.

CSB Holy Land Illustrated Bible Review

CSB Holy Land Illustrated Bible Review

 

The newcomer into the field of Archaeological/historical study Bibles comes from the fastest growing English translation on the market, the Christian Standard Bible. Holman Bible Publishers sent me a copy of the CSB Holy Land Illustrated Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, simply an honest one and my opinions are my own.

 

Photos of the Holy Land Illustrated Bible

 

The Concept

The Holy Land Study Bible takes a look at the land of the Bible, both current and past. Many of us wonder what it would be like to walk where Jesus walked or to sojourn through the wilderness where the Children of Israel walked but will not get that chance until after the Lord returns. This is where Bibles in this category come into play- helping you to visualize and internalize the land of the Bible.

The Translation

As mentioned in its name, this Bible is offered in the Christian Standard Bible. Since the 2017 release/update, the CSB has pretty well taken the market by storm as that juggernaut that is the oldest Bible publisher in America, Holman Bibles, has flexed its muscles and given us amazing Bibles.

CSB is a mediating translation at approximately 7th grade reading level. It is very well suited to study, devotional reading, and public reading.

Paper, Layout, and Font

The paper has a somewhat newsprint feel. It will most likely have no issue with writing. It seems to be a muted white, almost gray,

The CSB text is laid out in a double column paragraph format. We have an approximately 9-point font in a black that is very well done, a deep onyx that is very easy on the eyes. Translator’s Footnotes can be found at the bottom right of the page. In a little bit of an “easter egg,” chapter numbers are cranberry which provides a nice break-up of the reading experience.

1,100 images, maps, and illustrations with descriptive captions Few Bibles offer more to delight visual learners than the CSB Holy land illustrated Bible. There are photographs of places and artifacts to make the world of the Bible to come alive. Maps are included but that is rather painting the peacock. I confess that, to my surprise, I found these photos to be more engaging than in other similar Bibles. If you were to pair this with the ESV Archaeology Bible, you would have such an immersive experience as to make you feel like you were walking the land of the Bible and dialoguing with the experts.

275 full-length articles There are times when I am reading a passage and think to myself, “I would like to dig a little deeper on this.” As it happens, the Holy Land Illustrated Bible hits almost every one of those areas with a full-length study article. It is very nice to not need to pick up a second tool to dig a little deeper into a passage.

 40+ “Digging Deeper” call-outs These are bite sized articles containing cultural and historical notes to help whet your appetite for further study.

66 “Non-traditional” Book Introductions  These introductions cover the Circumstance of Writing, Contribution to the Bible and the Structure. These are far more circumspect than in other Study Bibles. However, they lack nothing that would be essential to grasping the Bible.

The Study Bible That Isn’t

Normally, when you think of a study Bible, you think of commentary notes, word studies, charts and graphs, exegetical aids etc. Here, though, Holman has made a study Bible that does not feel coldly academic. It is visually arresting- no matter where you turn, there is something to catch your eye and help you to internalize the Bible.

 

The Experience

Every Bible in this class offers its take on the ultimate Bible reading experience. Many times, I have heard, “I just can’t picture it, or I really don’t understand the significance of this idea.” There is no way to experience that with the Holy Land Illustrated Bible. You need not worry about being able to picture something, it’s right there in front of you and the historical significance is presented in the call out articles.

Final Thoughts

It isn’t what I expected. While I do enjoy other Bibles in this category, they can be a touch dry and academic. I am very pleased to not have that be the experience with the Holy Land Illustrated Bible. I love all things Bible so it should be no surprise that I enjoy this.

Five Point Calvinism?? An Answer and an Apologetic (Guest Post)

Five Point Calvinism?? An Answer and an Apologetic (Guest Post)

That which is referred to as Calvinism, generally, and “5-point Calvinism,” specifically, is much misunderstood and maligned even moreso by those who mean well but lack a proper understanding of what we believe. To help us with that we are, once again, blessed to have received instruction from that dear friend and eminent theologian, James Quiggle. What folllows is his instrucion…

Every now and then I am asked if I am a “5-point Calvinist,” or a “4-point Calvinist,” or “Just what kind of Calvinist are you?!?”

Those questions reflect a misapprehension about Calvinism, even among Calvinists. The misapprehension is that Calvinism is a neither more nor less than a system of soteriology (doctrine of salvation). That, of course, is not true.

Calvinism was a revival of Augustinianism (Augustine of Hippo, d. AD 430). You are affirming the Calvinistic system of doctrine if you believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures, saved by grace through faith, the sovereignty of God, the three offices of the Christ (prophet, priest, king), the deity of Jesus Christ, and the deity, personality, and ministries of the Holy Spirit (conviction, salvation, teacher, administrator of the NT church, etc.). Calvin is, in fact, the person who defined for the NT church the person and work of the Holy Spirit as we understand that doctrine today.

But I digress.

Unfortunately, the entire Calvinistic system of theology has become defined by an acronym, the TULIP (explained below), developed from the Cannons of the Synod of Dort to express a Calvinistic view of soteriology. The Synod of Dort was a year-long examination of the soteriology of Jacobus Arminius. Both Arminius (1560–1609) and Calvin (1509–1564) were dead by the time of the Synod (1618–1619), so the theological conflict was debated by the followers of both systems of theology using the Bible and their respective writings. The decision of the Synod was published in a document known as the Canons of the Synod of Dort (available at many web sites). The Arminian view of soteriology was declared false, the biblical arguments of Calvinism were declared the true understanding of biblical soteriology.

But the TULIP does not accurately reflect Calvinistic soteriology as defined by the Canons of the Synod of Dort. Let us first examine the TULIP, albeit briefly. These may not be the definitions you have heard or read.

T — Total Depravity. This means every aspect of human nature—physical, moral, spiritual—is negatively affected by the sin attribute in human nature, with the result an unsaved human being is always in rebellion against God. The effect of the sin attribute on the spiritual aspect of human nature is to make the soul’s faculty of spiritual perception grossly dulled, to the extent the sinner is unable to comprehend spiritual matters, but instead rejects them, and as a result is unable to initiate saving faith.

U — Unconditional Election. This means God chose (election, Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2), for reasons not stated and therefore unknown, to give some human beings his gift of grace-faith-salvation (Ephesians 2:8), in order to redeem them from their sinful state of existence. And it means God chose to take no action, positive or negative, toward human beings he had not elected. God’s choices were not based on any intrinsic or foreseen merit in those whom he chose to elect to salvation, for when the decree of election was given, God saw all human beings as sinners, all completely undeserving of redemption.

L — I will explain this below.

I — Irresistible Grace. This means the grace God gives to an individual sinner through his gift of grace-faith-salvation (Ephesians 2:8) will enliven the sinner’s faculty of spiritual perception, so that the sinner who has received God’s gift will comprehend the spiritual issues of sin, the Savior, and salvation, with the result the sinner willingly chooses to exercise saving faith in God’s testimony as to the way/means of salvation. God’s gift of grace and faith always results in salvation.

P — Perseverance of the Saved. This means the saved person will continue in the faith by faith all the way through life and death, when (after death) he/she will receive the grace of indefectibility. Perseverance is often mischaracterized by another acronym, OSAS, Once Saved Always Saved, resulting in silly hypothetical questions from skeptics. Perseverance is not OSAS. Perseverance is both the continuance of faith and the continued practice of the faith. God gives the grace of perseverance to the believer, and the believer uses the grace of perseverance to mold his/her life of faith to continue in the faith by means of faith all the way through life and death.

Looking now to the 5-point/4-point issue. The “L” in the TULIP represents “Limited Atonement.” This is where the TULIP strays from the Canons of Dort. Limited atonement refers to Christ’s act of propitiation on the cross and his subsequent resurrection. It will be helpful to define Christ’s atonement-propitiation.

Propitiation. The satisfaction Christ made to God for sin by dying on the cross as the sin-bearer, 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10, for the crime of sin committed by human beings, suffering in their place and on their behalf. Christ’s propitiation fully satisfied God’s holiness and justice for the crime of sin. Christ’s propitiation was of infinite merit, because his Person is of infinite worth. Christ accomplished the propitiation of God for sin by enduring spiritual and physical death on the cross. Christ endured spiritual death when he was separated from fellowship with God (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”), and physical death when he separated his soul from his body (“[B]owing his head, he gave up his spirit.”)

But in the TULIP acronym, Christ’s propitiation, the “L,” has different meaning: Christ’s death on the cross to redeem the elect. This is often stated in the question, “For whom, did Christ die?” The TULIP answer is, only for the elect. But that is a significant departure from the Canons of Dort on which the TULIP is based.

The divines of the Synod of Dort were of two camps on the issue of Christ’s propitiation. Some believed in limited efficacy (only the elect are redeemed) and some believed in unlimited sufficiency (all the sins of the whole word are paid for). The Synod resolved this issue, as they did with all the issues, biblically. Both sides recognized the Scripture teaches both views. The Synod therefore taught both the universal sufficiency of the propitiation (atonement) and the limited effectiveness of the propitiation to save only the elect.

The Synod stated, Second Head of Doctrine, Article III, “The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.” Thus, the gospel is offered “to all persons promiscuously [indiscriminately] and without distinction” (Article V). That many die unsaved is not due to “any defect or insufficiency in the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross, but is wholly to be imputed to themselves.” Thus, an Unlimited Atonement/Propitiation.

The Synod then stated, Second Head of Doctrine, Article VIII, “For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation: that is, it was the will of God, that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby He confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to Him by the Father; that He should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, He purchased for them by His death; should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing; and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in His own presence forever.” Thus, a Limited Redemption, sometimes known as Particular Redemption.

The “L” in the TULIP should have been “Limited Redemption,” not “Limited Atonement. Why did those who created the TULIP (not the divines of Dort) distort the teachings of the Synod? Because of a peculiar habit of the Puritans, perpetuated by Reformed Theology.

The Puritans had a bad habit of replacing the cause with the effect. The difference between election and predestination gives an example. The Puritans, and Reformed theology, always name election as predestination. But these are different decrees of God with different effects. Definitions.

Election. The choice of a sovereign God (Ephesians 1:4), 1) to give the gift of grace-faith-salvation to effect the salvation of some sinners (Ephesians 2:8), and 2) to take no action, positive or negative, to either effect or deny salvation to other sinners (Romans 10:13; Revelation 22:17). The decree of election includes all means necessary to effectuate salvation in those elected.

Predestination. God’s decree to conform the believer to be like Christ according to certain aspects of Christ’s spiritual character and physical form (Romans 8:29–30; 1 John 3:2), and to place the believer in the legal position of God’s son and heir (Ephesians 1:5, 11), so that the believer has an inheritance from God and is God’s heritage.

More simply, election is a decree concerning sinners, predestination is a decree concerning the saved. Election is the cause, predestination the effect. Election-salvation is the cause of the effect predestination: to be like Christ. But the Reformed theology goes straight to the effect and names election as predestination.

So too Christ’s propitiation and the sinner’s redemption. Christ’s propitiation completely satisfied God’s justice for the crime of human sin. Then, God’s justice having been satisfied, the infinite merit of the propitiation is applied by God according to his decree of election via his gift of grace-faith-salvation. Propitiation is the cause, redemption the effect. But the Reformed theology goes straight to the effect and names Christ’s propitiation/atonement as redemption. Thus the confusion caused by the TULIP, and Reformed soteriology.

When the Canons of Dort are faithfully expressed, then one’s soteriology must acknowledge unlimited atonement/propitiation and limited redemption. But because Reformed theology distorts the atonement/propitiation to be redemption, they reject unlimited atonement, calling it universal salvation.

Unlimited Atonement (propitiation), is not universal salvation, because the direct purpose of the atonement was not redemption but judicial satisfaction toward God for the crime of sin.

For an atonement (propitiation) to be redemptive it must be applied by faith to the sinner’s demerit (his or her sin). That is clear from every Old Testament sacrifice for sin. On the first Passover in Egypt, the merit of the lamb’s blood was sufficient for every household, but must be applied to each household to be effective for that particular household, Exodus 12:13. The blood of the sin offering, collected at the moment the animal was killed, was sufficient to atone for sin, but must be applied, Leviticus 5:5–7, to be efficient for forgiveness. The blood on the day of atonement was sufficient for all, but must be applied to the Ark of the Covenant to be efficient to forgive sins.

The direct purpose of Christ’s atonement-propitiation was toward God. The merit of Christ’s propitiation of God for the sins of the whole world, 1 John 2:2, is sufficient for all, so that the call of the gospel and the duty to believe may be legitimately offered to all and required of all.

The effect or result of the propitiation is the application of its merit toward sinners. That merit is specifically applied via God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation (the salvation principle, “saved by grace through faith”) as determined by God’s decree of election, in order to effect the redemption (salvation) of those whom God has chosen to salvation. Without application there is no redemption.

The unlimited merit of Christ’s propitiation could be applied save any non-elect person: “whoever believes,” as the Scripture states. God takes no action, pro or con, toward the non-elect, but leaves them in their sinful state. The non-elect are unable to initiate saving faith because unable without God’s gift to overcome the rebellion and disobedience engendered by the sin attribute in human nature. If they could believe, God would act savingly toward them, but they always choose to disbelieve, because that is the nature of the sinner.

Unlimited Atonement (Propitiation), Synod of Dort, Canon 2, Article 3, does not teach universal salvation: the merit of the propitiation must be individually applied through faith. Canon 2, Article 8, Limited Redemption, does not teach Christ died only for a particular group, but that the merit of his propitiation is applied only to the elect.

Thus: Unlimited Atonement/Propitiation, Limited (Particular) Redemption.

Returning now to the original question, “What is a 5-point Calvinist?” To be a five point Calvinist one must affirm all five points of the T, U, L, I, P. A four point Calvinist is someone who does not agree with Limited Atonement/Propitiation. A 4-pointer affirms T, U, I, P.

But, and it is a BIG objection, the 5-pointer, as discussed above, rejects the statement of the Canons of Dort concerning the unlimited sufficiency of the atonement, focusing only on the redemptive effect of the propitiation, not the limitless merit of the propitiation. This is, in part, due to Reformed theology’s definition of the purpose of God in the world: to redeem sinners. If God’s purpose in the world is redemption, then one must devise a theology that accounts for so many sinners not being redeemed. The Reformed theology solution is to limit the sufficiency of Christ’s propitiation to the redemption of the elect alone.

The 5-point Calvinist is a distortion of Scripture, and the 4-point Calvinist is a straw-man designed to support the untenable 5-point position. The dual perspective of Christ’s propitiation as “sufficient for all, efficient for the elect” is the true Calvinist soteriology. This is the perspective of the Scripture. The dual perspective accounts for the universal call to believe, Romans 10:13, “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved,” and “Revelation 22:17, “Whoever desires let him take of the water of life freely.” The dual perspective accounts for the limited redemption effected by God’s choice. Ephesians 1:4, “God chose us in Christ before the creation of the universe,” and 2 Thessalonians 2:13, “God from the beginning chose you for salvation,” and 1 Peter 1:2, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”

The “L” in the TULIP is too entrenched by centuries of false teaching to be changed. But if I could change it, that “L” would represent “Limited Redemption,” in agreement with the Canons of the Synod of Dort.

Doctrine of Adoption

Doctrine of Adoption

Adoption is the admission of a believer into the family of God, positionally, as sons and daughters. In the Ordo Salutis (“order of salvation”), adoption is the step immediately subsequent to justification. The following outline, with Scritpure References, is offered to help you to begin your study on the Doctrine of Adoption

 

I. We obtain sonshp through the Holy Spirit placing us into the family of God (Romans 8:14-15)

II.  Adoption is through faith in Christ (John 1:12, Galatians 3:26, Ephesians 1:5)

III. We become joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)

IV. The Holy Spirit testifies to our adoption (Romans 8:16, Galatians 4:5-6)

V. Our Inheritance is incorruptible (1 Peter 1:4)

VI. Gentiles are also adopted through the Gospel (Ephesians 3:6)

NIV Study Bible 2020 Revision

NIV Study Bible 2020 Revision

 

 

NIV Study Bible Photos (Click Me)

 

 

 

For nearly 40 years, the NIV Study Bible has been Zondervan’s flagship study resource for those using the New International Version of the Bible. In 2020, it has been revised and updated with 100 new articles and over 1,000 new study notes. Zondervan sent me a copy, in black bonded leather, free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

 

Translation:

New International Version, NIV for short, is the dominant English translation of the Bible for Anglophone Christians. The NIV is available in two types, Anglicised (published by Hodder and Stouhgton) and American Standard English edition published by Zondervan. These two families cover both sides of the English speaking world.

 

NIV is one of the two most recognizable mediating translations available. A mediating translation strives to strike a balance between Formal Equivalence (literal) and Dynamic Equivalence (thought for thought). NIV’s most similar competitor, Christian Standard Bible, leans more toward the literal side of the spectrum while NIV leans more toward the easy to read thought for thought end of the spectrum.

 

NIV as A Preaching Bible

NIV is an excellent choice for preaching. The translation rates around 6th-7th grade on the Flesch-Kincaide scale. The language is sufficiently technical and sophisticated so as to appeal to the more academically inclined disciple but it is also sufficiently easy to read so as to appeal to those disciples who have English as a second or third language. When bringing an expository sermon, NIV requires fewer restatements and definitions than other English texts.

 

NIV for Study

Some of my colleagues do not consider NIV to be good for study but I cannot agree with them. I find that NIV eliminates some steps when approaching study. Just as in preach ing, when studying a text, the NIV requires less restatement and fewer definitions. Additionally there are a host of commentaries, hand-books, study Bibles, and dictionaries based on the NIV including the powerhouse NIV Application Commentary, the New American Commentary, Holman’s Old Testament and New Testament Commentary and the premier single volume resource on understanding the Bible, Halley’s Bible Handbook.

 

Why choose a study Bible?

The choice to use a study Bible is one of practicality. Most Bible teachers are limited in the number of resources that are available for use, often having only one Bible and few, if any, study aids, which makes the acquisition of a study Bible a very helpful choice.

 

Why the NIV Study Bible?

The NIV Study Bible feature set makes it an excellent choice for a study Bible

 

Cross-References

The most important feature for Bible Study is a good cross referencing system, since the fundamental rule of hermeneutics is that the Scripture interprets the Scripture. In the NIV Study Bible, Zondervan provides around 68,000 references.

 

Translator’s Footnotes

       NIV Study Bible includes the full complement of Translator’s Notes. These include textual variants,  alternate translations, etc. I would say that the footnotes are a large portion of what makes the NIV so Easy to use.

 

Exegetical Study Notes

       Where many study Bibles contain what amounts to commentary, the NIV Study Bible has somewhere in the neughborhood of 25,000 exegetical study notes. The notes include explanations of the text, some cultural and historical background, alternate interpretations of the text , all of which is geared toward drawing out the meaning of the Scripture.

 

Introductions and Outlines

       The Introductions and Outlines in the NIV Study Bible are a little more in depth than in other study Bibles. Each introduction contains a detailed outline of the content of the book. Author, date of writing, purposes & emphases, and a timeline are all included. There is a small box containing “A Quick Look” at the book which highlights the theme, original audience, author, and approximate date of writing

 

Full color Maps and Charts

       Recognizing the needs of visual learners, Zondervan has included around 350 maps, charts, and photographs designed to make the world of the Bible come alive to your mind so you can behold the wondrous things in the Word of God.

 

Kholenberger’s Full Concordance

The complete NIV Concordance, created by John R. Kholenberger III is included. This topical study resource includes 4500-5000 entries with explanations and references.

 

       Index to Study Notes

There is a separate index to the study notes. This index is a topical breakdown of concepts addressed in the study notes, essays and articles to aid in understanding what the Bible has to say on a particular topic.

 

Expository Essays

There are over 100 expository essays included with the NIV Study Bible. These essays provide a more in-depth look at certain important concepts in our study of the Scripture.

 

Paper, Layout, Font and Binding

The paper is a crisp white which makes the red lettering very easy to see. Zondervan gives us a 9-point comfort print font. I, personally find the font a touch small BUT given the amount of content, a larger font would make this volume qite unwieldy.

 

Both the text and study notes are laid out in a double column paragraph format. The columns of Scripture Text are separated byt the center column references and the notes are separated from the Scripture by a bold black line.

 

The binding is sewn to ensure that it can stand up to the rigors of daily use.

 

How do I use the NIV Study Bible?

I am often asked if I regularly use the Bibles that I review and the answer to that is yes. I actually have a particular order in which I use resources, for a very specific reason, and the NIV Study Bible is used twice in lesson prep-it is my third and last resource. I start with the Teacher’s Study Bible and Halley’s Bible Handbook because I want to make sure that I have gotten a good handle on the minimum needed to understand the text. I turn to the NIV Study Bible, next, so that I can look for specific concepts that need a deep dive. Following this are commentaries and lexicons. Lastly I turn to my Study Bibles to compare what I have learned from the text to what other scholas have found with regard to the meaning and explanation of the text.

 

Who should buy the NIV Study Bible?

It is true that NIV Study Bible is for everyone but there is a particular group that I feel would benefit from the NIV Study Bible more so than others, Sunday School Teachers/Small Group Leaders. These wonderful saints serve Christ’s church faithfully, often without the benefit of Bible College and/or Seminary training. For them, a feature enriched study Bible is going to be very helpful.

 

Final Thoughts

I got my first NIV Study Bible in 1996 as a gift celebrating my baptism. In 1996, I began teaching Sunday School and  the NIV Study Bible informed my lessons. In 2005, I upgraded to the 10thanniversary edition. Later I upgraded to the full color edition. Currently, I use the digital version on OliveTree Bible Software. NIV Study Bible has proven a faithful and reliable companion.

 

NIV Study Bible gives you a full library of study materials. You can trust that, when you choose NIV Study Bible, you are choosing a resource that will help you to understand the Scriptures. This is a Bible worth your investment.

 

 

Martus (Word Wealth)

Martus (Word Wealth)

Revelation 1:5  brings us our first Word Wealth for the Boook of Revelation…

Martus (witness); Strong’s #3144: Compare “martyr” and “martyrdom.” One who testifies to the truth he has experienced, a witness, one who has knowledge of a fact and can give information concerning it. The word in itself does not imply death, but many of the first-century witnesses did give their lives, with the result that the word came to denote a martyr, one who witnesses for Christ by his death (Acts 22:20; Rev. 2:13; 17:6).

Heaven’s Worship Service Part 1: God’s Regal Priets

Heaven’s Worship Service Part 1: God’s Regal Priets

Revelation 4:4-11

From this passage forward, worship is one of the imost prominent concepts in the Revelation, occurring 23 times so I want to opent with a word study…

Proskuneo

  1. to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence
  2. among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence
  3. in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication
    1. used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank
      1. to the Jewish high priests
      2. to God
      3. to Christ
      4. to heavenly beings
      5. to demons
  • Revelation 4:10: “him that sat on the throne, andworship him that liveth forever and ever,”
  • Revelation 5:14: “fourand twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth forever and ever.”
  • Revelation 7:11: “their faces, andworshiped God,”
  • Revelation 9:20: “of their hands, that they should notworship devils, and idols”
  • Revelation 11:1: “the altar, andthem that worship “
  • Revelation 11:16: “fell upon their faces, andworshiped God,”
  • Revelation 13:4: “Andthey worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the”
  • Revelation 13:4: “unto the beast: andthey worshiped the beast, saying, Who”
  • Revelation 13:8: “upon the earthshall worship him, whose names are not”
  • Revelation 13:12: “them which dwell therein toworship the first beast,”
  • Revelation 13:15: “and cause that as many as would notworship the image”
  • Revelation 14:7: “judgment is come: andworship him that made heaven, and earth,”

 

  • Revelation 14:9: “a loud voice, If any manworship the beast and his”
  • Revelation 14:11: “no rest day nor night,who worship the beast”
  • Revelation 15:4: “nations shall come andworship before thee”
  • Revelation 16:2: “of the beast, andupon them which worshiped his image.”
  • Revelation 19:4: “the four beasts fell down andworshiped God that sat”
  • Revelation 19:10: “at his feetto worship  And he said unto me,”
  • Revelation 19:10: “the testimony of Jesus:worship God: for the testimony”
  • Revelation 19:20: “of the beast, andthem that worshiped his image. These both were cast”
  • Revelation 20:4: “and which had notworshiped the beast, neither his”
  • Revelation 22:8: “and seen, I fell downto worship before the feet of the”
  • Revelation 22:9: “sayings of this book:worship “

 

 

Our attention now turns to the priests (Elders) surrounding the Throne. They have come to bring the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. The final blood sacrifice has been made (Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 10:12) and now forever and ever the sacrifices offered to God are praise and thanksgiving…

John MacArthur-

4:4 twenty-four elders. Their joint rule with Christ, their white garments (19:7, 8), and their golden crowns (2:10) all seem to indicate that these 24 represent the redeemed (vv. 9–11; 5:5–14; 7:11–17; 11:16–18; 14:3; 19:4). The question is which redeemed? Not Israel, since the nation is not yet saved, glorified, and coronated. That is still to come at this point in the events of the end. Their resurrection and glory will come at the end of the 7-year tribulation time (cf. Dan. 12:1–3). Tribulation saints aren’t yet saved (7:9, 10). Only one group will be complete and glorified at that point—the church. Here elders represent the church, which sings the song of redemption (5:8–10). They are the overcomers who have their crowns and live in the place prepared for them, where they have gone with Jesus (cf. John 14:1–4).

An alternate view: Elders represent the people of God, especially in the Old Testament. The 24 courses of the priesthood represented all the priests (1 Chronicles 24), and the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles represent all the faithful.

The alternate view is nice but the key is In Revelation 5:9-10, the twenty-four elders sang a song of praise to Jesus, and they cried out: For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. In that passage, the twenty-four elders clearly spoke as representatives of all God’s people, of the great company of the redeemed.

Clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads:

Although angels are often portrayed in white robes, they are not pictured with crowns. Paul gives us a clue in Romans 8:17and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

You would, realistically, expect to find all of the King’s children to be found with their own crowns as we see here.

The crowns are symbolic of rewards; the Bible speaking of 5 crowns as rewards for the believers.

 

Crown of Life

The Crown of Life is referred to in James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10; it is bestowed upon “those who persevere under trials.” Jesus references this crown when he tells the Church in Smyrna to “not be afraid of what you are about to suffer… Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”[7]

Incorruptible Crown

The Incorruptible Crown is also known as the Imperishable Crown, and is referenced in 1 Corinthians 9:25. This epistle, written by Paul of Tarsus, deems this crown “imperishable” in order “to contrast it with the temporal awards Paul’s contemporaries pursued”.[8] It is therefore given to those individuals who demonstrate “self-denial and perseverance.”

Crown of Righteousness

The Crown of Righteousness is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8, and is promised to “those who love and anticipate” the Second Coming of Christ. These Christians desire intimacy with God.

Crown of Glory

The Crown of Glory is discussed in 1 Peter 5:4 and is granted to Christian clergy, who “shepherd the flock in unselfish love being a good example to others” 1 Peter 5:2-4.

Crown of Rejoicing

The Crown of Rejoicing is also known as the Crown of Exultation, or Crown of Auxiliary. Delineated in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 and Philippians 4:1, it is given to people who engage in evangelism of those outside the Christian Church.[13] In the New Testament, Paul earns this crown after winning the Thessalonians to faith in Jesus.

Let’s develop this a little further…

The use of twenty-four elders most probably derived from 1 Chronicles 24:1-5 in which the priests were organized into twenty-four groups. This “kingdom of priests” represents the church that dwells in heaven with the Lord during the tribulation period. As was pointed out by Peter, the Church is a chosen people, a royal priest hood (See 1 Peter 2:9). It is almost as if Peter has spelled out exactly what his dear friend John was shown in Heaven. The 24 Elders, or Presbyters if you like (since both are synonymous translations of presbuteros) are a type and picture of the  Royal Priesthood of which Peter spoke and which comprises the church.

This would also help alleviate the concern of Israel being represented in heaven during the tribulation period when Israel had not yet believed in the Lord on a large scale. Further, it would remove the problem of these elders representing the apostles since John himself, an apostle, was the one having the vision (Would he have seen himself as one of the twenty-four elders and not mentioned it?).

Again, while not specifically explained, the information in Scripture most likely identifies these twenty-four elders as representatives of the church, those who will dwell with the Lord during the tribulation period while God’s judgments take place on the earth. Further, this fits the historic view of elders representing leadership of local churches (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9), offering a picture of God’s people worshiping God after escaping the tribulation as a result of the rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58).

Dr. Thomas Ice discusses the significance of the number 24 and I would like to quote him at length:

 

WHY THE NUMBER TWENTY-FOUR?

Some believe that the number 24 represents all the redeemed throughout history and not just the church. It is argued that in Revelation 21:12–14 the New Jerusalem in the Eternal State is made up of 12 gates with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel written on them (21:12). In verse 14, the wall around the city is made up of 12 foundation stones with the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb written on them. Thus, 12 plus 12 equals 24 and that would mean that the 24 elders must be composed of all the redeemed, both Israel and the church.

There are a number of problems with this view. First, Revelation 21 does not use the number 24. Instead, to come up with 24 one must add the two numbers together and that requires an assumption not stated in the text. Why did Revelation 21 not use the number 24? Instead, there are two different items to which the two sets of 12 refer. The 12 gates signify the sons of Israel while the church is represented by 12 foundation stones. To mix the gates and foundation stones would be a case of mixing apples and oranges, so to speak. The 24 elders are seen throughout Revelation as a single group, whoever they represent. Revelation 21 does not use the number 24 and is not a reference to the 24 elders.

The number 24 is used in the Old Testament in a similar way that we see its use in Revelation. “There were twenty-four officers of the sanctuary representing the twenty- four courses of the Levitical priests (1 Chron. 24:4–5, 7–18), as well as twenty-four divisions of singers in the temple (1 Chron. 25).”

In Chronicles 24 was God’s choice to represent the Levitical priests and the Levitical singers. Thus, 24 appears to be a representative number in Revelation 4 as the elders denote the church in heaven before God’s war council in preparation for the judgment of the world during the tribulation.

Only in one instance does an individual from the 24 elders act as an individual (Rev. 5:5). In this instance it is to speak as the interpreting person to tell John to stop bawling because no one was found to open the scroll. The elder says, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” Why is one of the 24 elders called upon to explain things to John? One of the 24 elders is called upon, instead of an angel that normally explains things in Revelation, because they are the only ones within God’s throne-room that has personally experienced salvation. Since John’s question relates to salvation, it was appropriate for a redeemed individual to note that the Lamb of God—Jesus—was the one qualified to open the scroll. That scroll is the title deed to planet earth and if no one was able to open it then the redemption of earth and mankind could not have been carried out. That is why John was weeping, because he knew that his destiny and that of all of humanity depended upon finding one qualified to open the scroll.”