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Tag: Bible Study

Proverbs Introduction Part One: 20 Topics Addressed in Proverbs

Proverbs Introduction Part One: 20 Topics Addressed in Proverbs

Proverbs is one of the most useful and helpful books in the whole of the Scripture. It is in Proverbs that we are given the clearest revelation of the Mind of Christ so in our efforts to think, act, and be like Jesus, we turn to the Proverbs for His wisdom in  how to live a life which  pleases God the Father.

We find that approximately 20 foundational topics are addressed by King Solomon and his fellow authors. They are outlined below…

 

  1. Anger: 14:17,29; 15:18; 16:32; 19:11

  2. Benevolence: 3:9,10; 11:24–26; 14:21; 19:17; 22:9

  3. Children, correction of: 13:24; 19:18; 22:6,15; 23:13,14

  4. Enticers: 4:14; 9:13; 16:29

  5. Fear of God: 1:7; 3:7; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26,27; 15:16,33; 16:6; 19:23; 23:17; 24:21

  6. Fools, slanderous, 10:18; short-lived, 10:21; mischief-makers, 10:23; self-righteous, 12:15; irritable, 12:16; mock at sin, 14:9; talk nonsense, 15:2; insensible, 17:10; dangerous, 17:12; visionary, 17:24; meddlesome, 20:3; despise wisdom, 23:9; stupid, 27:22; self-confident, 14:16; 28:26; garrulous, 29:11.

  7. Friendship: 17:17; 18:24; 19:4; 27:10,17.

  8. Knowledge, Divine: 15:11; 21:2; 24:12.

  9. Laziness: 6:6–11; 10:4,5; 12:27; 13:4; 15:19; 18:9; 19:15,24; 20:4,13; 22:13; 24:30–34; 26:13–16.

  10. Oppression: 14:31; 22:22; 28:16.

  11. Pride: 6:17; 11:2; 13:10; 15:25; 16:18,19; 18:12; 21:4, 24; 29:23; 30:13.

  12. Prudence: 12:23; 13:16; 14:8,15,18; 15:5; 16:21; 18:15; 27:12.

  13. Scorners: 3:34; 9:7; 14:6; 19:25; 24:9.

  14. Strife: 3:30; 10:12; 15:18; 16:28; 17:1, 14, 19; 18:6, 19; 20:3; 22:10; 25:8; 30:33.

  15. Temperance: 20:1; 21:17, 23:1–3, 20; 23:29–35; 25:16; 31:4–7.

  16. The Tongue: 4:24; 10:11–32; 12:6, 18, 22; 13:3; 14:3; 15:1–7, 23; 16:13, 23, 27; 17:4; 18:7, 21; 19:1; 20:19; 21:23; 26:28; 30:32.

  17. Unjust Gain: 10:2; 13:11; 21:6; 28:8.

  18. Wealth: 10:2,15; 11:4,28; 13:7,11; 15:6; 16:8; 18:11; 19:4; 27:24; 28:6,22.

  19. Women, evil: 2:16–19; 5:3–14, 20,23; 6:24–35; 7:5–27; 9:13–18.

  20. Women, good: 5:18,19; 31:10–31.

Legacy Standard Bible Large Print Wide Margin

Legacy Standard Bible Large Print Wide Margin

LSB Wide Margin Photos

For years, I have been searching for “The One.” I have been yearning for that one Bible that would be everything that I wanted in a Bible to carry into the pulpit but would not have unnecessary accoutrements.  Now after much searching, pining, yes even longing, a group of men, most of whom are pastors, have created exactly that. Steadfast Bibles and John MacArthur have given me the perfect Bible, “the One” in the form of the Large Print Wide Margin Legacy Standard Bible.

Note: This Bible was acquired at my own expense and this review is of my own choosing. Neither Steadfast Bibles nor 316 Publishing were, in any way, involved in this review choice.

When first I held his Bible, Colossians 3:23 came to mind and indeed they have done as if they were ministering to the Lord.

 

The Translation 

Let me repeat myself, briefly, and then add some additional thoughts…The Legacy Standard Bible is the crowning glory in the lineage of the KJV. That lineage looks something like this: KJV>ASV>NASB>NASBU (1995 Update)>Legacy Standard Bible. Legacy Standard Bible keeps the promise of the Lockman Foundation, The Most Literal English Translation. My friend, Dr. Gary Coombs, the President of Southern California Seminary had previously told me that, in his expert opinion (more than 50 years of teaching Greek) the NASB was the most accurate English Translation available. I had to put that into the past tense because of the Legacy Standard Bible.

There is incredible technical precision in this translation but that is to be expected. You cannot have John MacArthur chair your translation committee and get anything less than the most precise translation possible.

 

LSB is a form based (word-for-word) translation. Its predecessor, NASB has been accused of being stilted, almost woodenly academic but that problem is not to be found here. LSB is quite readable despite being the most literal English translation presently available.

Many translations claim to be the most accurate but make changes to the language to accommodate certain translation traditions or people groups. Conversely, LSB does not make those changes ,thus making LSB both the most literal and the most accurate translation available.

Unique Feature: the Covenant Name, Yahweh

The Legacy standard Bible retains Yahweh, instead of LORD, where God’s Covenant name appears in Scripture. Previously, the Holman Christian Standard Bible attempted this but fell short of rendering the Covenant Name all 6800 times it occurs. Personally, this is my favorite feature; God is a title not a name and it is rather impersonal to use that when addressing our Lord. We have been given the privilege to call God by His Name and we ought to use it.

This, if you did not know, is part of where the “legacy” comes into play. All editions of New American Standard Bible are, of course, successors to the American Standard Version of 1901 which was, previously, the most literal translation available, but the Legacy Standard Bible, in my view, is the pure successor to the ASV. Why do I say this?  Much like the ASV’s use of Jehovah for the Diving Name, Legacy Standard Bible uses the more accurate, Yahweb, for the Divine Name.

Unique Feature Number 2: Translating doulos as slave as opposed to servant. 

Thayer, Strong, and Vine’s all indicate that, while servant is an accurate translation, slave is to be preferred. In its most common context, servant is better left to translating diakonos instead of doulos.

I do not want to get into the politics of things, but slave has a rather negative connotation in the United States, often causing turmoil and, as such, causes most, if not all, translations to render doulos as servant. Understand our relationship to Christ properly entails that we understand that He is Master and we are slave, albeit willing slaves. Retaining slave as a translation was a bold move on the part of the translation team, one that I applaud. The Bible MUST always challenge us to conform to it and can never be compelled to conform to us.

 

Cover and Binding

While there are many choices available, I have opted for the Cowhide edition with paste down lining. I am rather peripatetic and frequently hold the Bible one handed and in the past I have had the unfortunate mishap of dropping the Sacred Book so I opted for a volume that is slightly less floppy, a paste down liner being somewhat more stiff.

This black cowhide is marshmallow soft. I have not encountered a more touchable Bible, which is helpful because the more you delight in touching your Bible the more often you will find it in your hands and open.

You would not expect to find anything less than a sewn binding and that is exactly what you get in this Bible. The lay flat feature of Smythe sewing is nice but more importantly, the sewn binding adds to the durability of the book.

Paper, Layout, and Font

40 GSM!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Outside of the monstrous NASB Preacher’s Bible, this is the opaquest paper on the market. There is absolutely no ghosting.

Much like Dr. MacArthur, I prefer a single column verse-by-verse format, which is presented here. There is a neat little feature that I rather enjoy. Like the NIV Preacher’s Bible, the verse numbers are somewhat offset to make it easier to find the verse that you are seeking.

A red-letter text was somewhat unexpected, but it is very well done. The color is consistent throughout the text. You do not find any of the fading pink that frequently plagues many other red-letter Bibles.

Other Features

We are given notes pages at the end of the Bible. There is no concordance nor are there any cross-references. Indeed, there is nothing to distract from the text. This is as it should be. When standing in the pulpit to be the spokesperson for the Lord God there should be nothing to distract from the pure words of Scripture.

I chose the thumb-indexed edition. Thumb-indexing is very helpful for quick navigation when preaching.

For the Global Church

I would rate this at an early High School or late Middle School level for reading and understanding. For those who have English as a first or second language, Legacy Standard Bible should be easy to adopt and understand. A tertiary English speaker may need some time to acclimate but will not miss any of the benefits which are so richly available in the Scripture.

Final Thoughts

The Bible is of such consequence as to require the utmost in care both in selection of the Bible to use and the translation. It must be as close to the original autographs as possible while still being intelligible. The text you read must draw you to the heights of adoration and worship; I am convinced that the Legacy Standard Bible offers the best scholarship available while still being readable. It is fastidiously literal, suitable for the classroom, but still readable and well suited to the preaching.  It is not just the Bible to build a legacy upon, it is the Bible with which to glorify Christ. Could any Bible have higher praise than to draw you closer to His Throne. Choose Legacy Standard Bible and may Christ be glorified in the reading thereof.

 

 

Regeneration and the New Birth

Regeneration and the New Birth

In Jn 3:1-8, Jesus discusses one of the foundational doctrines (i.e., teachings, foundational principles, basis of belief) of the Christian faith: regeneration (Tit 3:5), or spiritual birth. Without being “born again” in a spiritual sense, a person cannot become part of God’s kingdom. This means that a person’s life must be spiritually renewed in order to be spiritually saved and to receive God’s gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. The following are important facts about spiritual birth and renewal.

  1. Regeneration, or spiritual birth, is an inward re-creating of a person spiritually–a life transformation (total change or remaking of the person’s attitude, thinking, and actions) that occurs from the inside out (Ro 12:2; Eph 4:23-24). It is a work of the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:6; Tit 3:5; and through this work of transformation, God passes on his gift of eternal life. It marks the beginning of a new and personal relationship with God for those who yield their lives to Christ (Jn 3:16; 2Pe 1:4; 1Jn 5:11). Spiritual birth is the way a person becomes a child of God (Jn 1:12; Ro 8:16-17; Gal 3:26) and a “new creation” (2Co 5:17; Col 3:9-10). A person who is born again spiritually will no longer conform or live according to the character and influence of the ungodly beliefs, behaviors, and lifestyles of the world (Ro 12:2). Instead, he or she is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24;

  2. Spiritual birth is necessary because all people, apart from Christ, are sinful by nature (i.e., separated from and in opposition to God) from birth. On our own, we are not capable of having a close personal relationship with God. Without the life-transforming power of his Holy Spirit, we could not continue to obey and please God (Ps 51:5; Jer 17:9; Ro 8:7-8; 1Co 2:14; Eph 2:3.

  1. Spiritual birth happens to those who repent of sin (i.e., admit their sin and turn from their own way), turn to God (Mt 3:2) and yield control of their lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord–the Forgiver of their sins and Leader of their lives (see Jn 1:12, note). The beginning of this experience of spiritual salvation involves “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Tit 3:5). Though spiritual birth is an immediate experience that takes place as soon as a person truly repents and accepts God’s forgiveness, God continually renews and transforms a Christian’s mind (Ro 12:2) and inner being (Eph 4:23). This spiritual renewal is an ongoing, “day-by-day” process (2Co 4:16;)

  1. Spiritual birth involves a transition, or complete change, from an old life of sin (i.e., going our own way, which is a path of rebellion against God) to a new life of obedience to Jesus Christ (2Co 5:17; Gal 6:15; Eph 4:23-24; Col 3:10). This means that there should be noticeable changes in a Christian’s attitude and lifestyle (see 1Pe 4:1-2). Those who are truly born again are set free from slavery to sin so they can fulfill God’s purpose for their lives (see Jn 8:36, note; Ro 6:14-23). They receive a renewed attitude and desire to obey God and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:13-14). By depending on him, they do what is right by God’s standards (1Jn 2:29), they love others in words and actions (1Jn 4:7), they avoid things that defy and displease God (1Jn 3:9; 5:18) and they do not set their affections on temporary, worldly things (1Jn 2:15-16).

  2. Those who are born again spiritually cannot continue to sin (i.e., go their own way, ignore, or defy God’s commands and standards; see 1Jn 3:9, note). They cannot remain in a right personal relationship with God unless they earnestly pursue God’s purposes and carefully avoid evil (1Jn 1:5-7). This is possible only by relying on God’s grace (i.e., his undeserved favor, mercy, and empowerment; see 1Jn 2:3-11, 15-17, 24-29; 3:6-24; 4:7-8, 20; 5:1), by maintaining a strong and growing relationship with Christ (see Jn 15:4, note) and by depending on the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:2-14). For further comments on the character traits that should be evident in a spiritually born-again person.

 NATURE AND THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.

  1. It does not matter how spiritual a person may talk, seem or claim to be, if he or she lives by principles that are immoral and follows the ways of the world, the person’s conduct shows that there is no spiritual life within and that he or she is instead living like a child of the devil (1Jn 3:6-10).

  2. Just as a person can be “born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8) by trusting God and receiving his gifts of forgiveness and eternal life, he or she can also forfeit, or lose, that life by making foolish, selfish and ungodly choices and by refusing to trust God. As a result, he or she will miss out on the life God offers and will die spiritually. God’s Word warns, “if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die” (Ro 8:13). Even as believers, if we continue the path of sin and refuse to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance (which he gives mainly through God’s Word and our conscience), we can put out the light of God’s life in our soul and lose our place in God’s kingdom (cf. Mt 12:31-32; 1Co 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Heb 6:4-6; 1Jn 5:16.

  3. The new birth that comes only through God’s Spirit cannot be compared equally with physical birth because God’s relationship with his followers is a spiritual matter rather than an act of the flesh or human effort (Jn 3:6). This also means that while the physical tie of a father and child can never be completely reversed or lost, the Father/child relationship that God desires with us is voluntary; and we can choose to walk away or deny it during our time on earth (see Ro 8:13, note). Our relationship with God and eternal life with him are conditional and depend on our ongoing faith in Christ that is shown by lives of obedience and genuine love for him (Ro 8:12-14; 2Ti 2:12).

     In summary, spiritual birth, or regeneration, brings: spiritual cleansing (Jn 3:5; Tit 3:5); the indwelling of God’s Spirit (Ro 8:9; 2Co 1:22); transformation into a “new creation” in Christ (2Co 5:17); adoption as God’s spiritual child (Jn 1:12-13; Ro 8:16; Gal 3:26; 4:4-6); the Holy Spirit’s guidance and understanding of spiritual things (Jn 16:13-15; 1Co 2:9-16; 1Jn 2:27); the ability to live right by God’s standards and to develop his character traits (Gal 5:16-23; 1Jn 2:29; 5:1-2); victory over sin (1Jn 3:9; 5:4, 18); and an eternal inheritance with Christ (Ro 8:17; Gal 4:7; 1Pe 1:3-4).

 

Excerpted from the Life in the Spirit Study Bible c. 2008 by Life Publishers International in association with Zondervan

What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel?

The Gospel

 

God created the world and made us to be in loving relationship with him. Though created good, human nature became fatally flawed, and we are now all out of step with God. In Bible language, we are sinners, guilty before God and separated from him.

The good news of the Gospel is that God took loving action in Jesus Christ to save us from this dire situation. The key facts of this divine remedy are these: God the Father sent his eternal Son into this world to reconcile us to himself, to free us to love and serve him, and to prepare us to share his glory in the life to come. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit, lived a perfect life, died for our sins, and rose bodily from the dead to restore us to God. Given authority by his Father, Jesus now rules in heaven as King over all things, advancing God’s kingdom throughout the world. In the fullness of time, Jesus will return to establish his kingdom in its glory on earth, and all things will be renewed.

Reigning in heaven over all things, Jesus Christ continues to draw sinners to himself. He enables us by his Holy Spirit to turn wholeheartedly from our sinful and self-centered ways (repentance), and to entrust ourselves to him to live in union and communion with him (faith). In spiritual terms, sin is the way of death, and fellowship with Christ is the way of life.

Turning to Christ

Turning to Christ brings us into fellowship with God. Baptism, which is the rite of entry into the Church’s fellowship, marks the beginning of this new life in Christ. The apostle Peter, proclaiming the Gospel, said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Through faith, repentance, and Baptism we are spiritually united to Jesus and become children of God the Father. Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” ( John 14:6). As we come to the Father through Jesus Christ, God the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds and hearts to know him, and we are born again spiritu- ally to new life. To continue to live faithfully as Christians, we must rely upon the power and gifts which the Holy Spirit gives to God’s people.

When the disciple Thomas encountered the risen Jesus, he acknowledged him by saying, “My Lord and my God!” ( John 20:28). To be a Christian you must, like Thomas, wholeheartedly submit to the living Christ as your Lord and God. Knowing the Lord Jesus means personally believing in him, surrendering your life to him through repentance and Baptism, and living as one of his joyful followers.

A clear way to make this commitment of faith and repentance is to offer to God a prayer in which you

  • confess your sins to God, being as specific as possible, and repent by turning from them;
  • thank God for his mercy and forgiveness given to you in Jesus Christ;
  • promise to follow and obey Jesus as your Lord;
  • ask the Holy Spirit to help you be faithful to Jesus as yo grow into spiritual maturity.
    One example of such a prayer is the following:Almighty Father, I confess that I have sinned against you in my thoughts, words, and actions (especially __________). I am truly sorry and humbly repent. Thank you for forgiving my sins through the death of your Son, Jesus. I turn to you and give you my life. Fill and strengthen me with your Holy Spirit to love you, to follow Jesus as my Lord in the fellowship of his Church, and to become more like him each day. Amen. 
  •  
Excerpted from “To Be A Christian: An Anglican Catechism”
Copyright © 2020 by The Anglican Church in North America
Published by Crossway
Is Arminianism Heretical? (An analysis and guest post from James Quiggle)

Is Arminianism Heretical? (An analysis and guest post from James Quiggle)

Many Calvinsts are quick to damn those who hold to Arminianism as heretics, but are they really? In this fascinating essay, Visiting Professor James Quiggle, a frequent and beloved guest, here, endevors to answer this question with technical precision and Christian charity.

Is Arminianism Heretical?

I understand Calvinism and Arminian soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). I am qualified to render an opinion on Arminianism as to heretical or not. If the details of theology are not your thing, keep reading anyway. We also need to look at some history.

Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) developed his soteriological views in opposition to the supralapsarianism order of God’s decrees (respecting salvation) which were developed by John Calvin (1509–1564) and others, of what today is known as high Calvinism.

In the supralapsarian order of God’s decrees (respecting salvation) an election to both salvation and to reprobation is the first decree. The supra- order is: decree to elect to salvation and reprobation (damnation); decree to create; decree to permit the fall; decree to send Christ to redeem those elected to salvation; decree to send the Holy Spirit to effect salvation.

Here is the significance: in the supralapsarian order no human being was seen by God as a sinner when God elected some to be saved and some to be damned. The supralapsarian order is based solely on God’s sovereignty, at a time in the order of God’s decrees when no human being was seen by God as a sinner. The Arminian view of soteriology was developed to oppose the supralapsarian view that non-sinners were elected to reprobation (eternal damnation).

The “Five points of Arminianism” were developed a few years after Arminius’ death by his followers, as a means to systematically express their disagreement with the, at that time, prevailing supralapsarian view. The Synod of Dort and its Canons (doctrines) were a direct response to the Arminian five points. Is it important? The Synod thought so, they took seven months (Nov 1618 – May 1619), and 154 open-to-the-public sessions (and many side conferences), to discuss the issues.

The “Five Points of Calvinism” were developed *after* the Synod, based on their Canons. The ideas were in the Canons, but not stated in five points. Those five points *do not* express supralapsarianism, but express an order of God’s decrees that came to be known as infralapsarianism. (Both the Arminian five points and the Canons of the Synod of Dort are available online.) (BTW, the earliest known, documented use of the acronym TULIP was 1905.)

The word “lapsarian” means “after the lapse.” The “lapse” is the fall of humankind into sin. The word “supra” means “above, before.” “Supralapsarian” means “before the lapse, i.e., God elected some to salvation and others to damnation before the fall into sin. The word “infra” means “below, after.” Infralapsarian means “after the lapse,” i.e., God elected some to salvation after the fall into sin. There is no election to reprobation in infralapsarianism.

The infralapsarian order of God’s decrees is this: decree to create; decree to permit the fall; decree to elect some to salvation (no election to reprobation); decree to provide a redeemer for the elect; decree to send the Holy Spirit to effect salvation.

There is third order in Calvinistic soteriology, the sublapsarian order: decree to create; decree to permit the fall; decree to provide a redeemer; decree to elect some to salvation; decree to send the Holy Spirit to effect salvation.

Supra- sees no person as a sinner when God decreed his election. The significance of infra- and sub- is God saw all persons as sinners before he elected some to salvation, and left others are they were, as non-elect sinners. The difference between infra- and sub-, is when God decreed to provide a redeemer in relation to the decree of election. In infra- the redeemer is provided after election. In sub- the redeemer is provided before election.

Many Calvinists’ opposed the supra- election to reprobation, is why the infra- and sublapsarian views were developed. Is the difference between sub- and infra- important? Yes, in infra- the benefits of Christ’s propitiation of God for sin are directed only toward the elect. In sub- the benefits extend to all humankind: mercy and common grace to all human beings; salvation to the elect. As the Synod of Dort stated: Christ’s propitiation was sufficient for all, efficient to salvation for the elect.

Calvinistic ”Unconditional Election” is sometimes described as “God elected on the basis of his free grace.” No, “free grace,” aka, sovereign grace, is the consequence of election, not the basis of election. Here is genuinely biblical Unconditional Election: God chose some to salvation for no reason explained in the Scripture—we don’t know why.

The unconditional election of some to salvation but not others was not based on any merit or lack of merit in the person, thus not based on foresight of who would or who would not believe. God chose for reasons known only to God that suited his purpose in creating. The choice was neither arbitrary nor unjust: God viewed all persons as sinners before electing some to salvation, choosing to leave others as they were. Election does not prejudice God against the non-elect; they could be saved if they would come to God with faith in God and his testimony as to the way of salvation. They are not saved because they desire their sin more than a relationship with God.

The Arminian “Conditional Election” was not specifically written to oppose sovereign grace, but to oppose the supralapsarian election to reprobation. The Arminian view of election is known as “foresight election”: God foreknew who would believe and then elected those people to salvation. The Arminianism “Conditional Election,” naturally opposes supralapsarian election to salvation and election to reprobation. But Arminian “Conditional Election” also opposes the infralapsarian, sublapsarian, and biblical views of unconditional election.

Arminian soteriology does believe salvation is by God’s grace, but they differ from Calvinism in how that grace is applied. In Calvinistic salvation God’s prevenient grace (Ephesians 2:8) is applied to specific individuals whom God elected to receive that grace. That prevenient grace is efficacious to save: every sinner receiving God’s efficacious grace will infallibly believe.

In Arminian salvation, God’s prevenient grace (Ephesians 2:8) is applied indiscriminately to everyone. That prevenient grace makes it possible for anyone to choose to believe. In Calvinistic soteriology, prevenient grace is necessary because sin makes the sinner unable to believe to salvation. In Arminian soteriology, prevenient grace makes salvation possible for all, sin does not make the sinner unable to believe, so anyone can believe, or not believe, as he or she chooses.

With that historical and theological background, I can now accurately state the thing in common between any system of Calvinistic soteriology (supra-, infra-, sub-) and Arminian soteriology. In both Calvinism and Arminian views of salvation, Christ propitiated God for sin, God elected, and God must give prevenient grace (Ephesians 2:8) for a sinner to be saved. Thus both soteriologies agree sinners are able to be saved. But both differ significantly in the details of how a person is saved.

If, **which it is not**, the differences between Calvinism and Arminian soteriology were the only defining quality between heretical and not heretical, then the Arminian soteriology is not the biblical soteriology. But, and this is important, neither is the high Calvinism supralapsarianism. Both are wrong for different reasons. In Calvinistic supralapsarianism God is a monster who arbitrarily elects to damnation people who have not sinned. In Arminian soteriology God is not the sovereign God who initiates salvation but the helpless God who responds to the choices of his creature.

What is biblical soteriology?

Unsaved sinners have Total Inability to initiate their salvation, because the sin attribute dominates every aspect of human nature;

God, for reasons not stated in the Scripture, chose to give some sinners his gift of Prevenient Grace, Ephesians 2:8, thereby effecting the means to their salvation; there is no corresponding election to reprobation;

God’s gift of prevenient grace is Efficacious Grace: it infallibly accomplishes the end for which it was given, which is the salvation of the chosen sinner;

Christ’s all-sufficient Propitiation of God (aka: atonement) for all human sin has benefits to all humankind (mercy, common grace), but is efficient to salvation only toward those whom God chose to receive its merit by his Efficacious Grace, through the person’s faith in God and God’s testimony; this is known as Limited Redemption;

All those whom God has saved will Persevere in the faith by faith to the end of life and beyond, because each is and will be endlessly maintained by the merit of Christ’s propitiation through God’s Efficacious Grace.

Or: Free Will Dominated by Sin; Christ’s All-sufficient Propitiation; Limited Redemption by Election; Enlivened by Efficacious Grace; Faith that Receives Salvation; Perseverance in the Faith by the Faith to the End.

Is the Arminian view of salvation heretical? No, but just barely. Arminian soteriology teaches God elected some to salvation, that salvation occurs because Christ propitiated God for sin, and God gives prevenient grace to salvation. The Scripture opposes other aspects of Arminian soteriology. But any soteriology that teaches salvation of the sinner through the forgiveness of sins based on the propitiation of Christ, which Arminianism does, cannot be judged wholly heretical.

NASB Classic Reference Bible-Buffalo Hide

NASB Classic Reference Bible-Buffalo Hide

Photos of the Cassie Reference Bible

Zondervan has taken one of my favorite NASB editions and kicked it up a notch. The NASB Ckassic Reference Bible, now in brown Buffalo Hide.

Note: Zondervan provided a copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one and my opinions are my own. 

The most important feature of this edition is its portability: It clearly falls into the hand size/compact category, actual measurements are 8.5 x 5.5 inches. This is quite useful when dealing with limited space in a brief case.  To the best of my knowledge. This is the most popular of the Zondervan editions.

There are a number of features offered for such a portable Bible:

Buffalo HIde

This is the stand out feature of this Bible.  Unlike most genuine leathers, which are a stiff pigskin, this is very soft and supple. Buffalo Hide, it seems, is about as supple as a regular cowhide though not quite as delightful as a calfskin.

Center Column References

This is laid out in what I think of as a traditional reference format with the references in between the two text columns. All 95,000 of the available NASB cross-references are provided including the alternate translations offered by the Lockman Foundation.  This is a very important feature, perhaps the most important other than the text. NASB, as one of the top two academic texts, is very heavily cross referenced and annotated. I would venture to say that any person who mastered the references would be well equipped to teach the Bible to others no matter the level of formal education that they possess. 

Introductions and Brief Outlines

Zondervan obviously intends for this Bible to be used as a study aid when including this feature and I am so glad that they did. I frequently encounter believers who are not going through any discipleship process or systematic study of the Bible and this is where I start. The Introductions offered, here, are in depth enough to get you started on your study but still brief enough to be read in a short time. The outlines are no where near as detailed as the NASB Study Bible and that is ok; you don’t always want a theology library in your pocket but you do want to have sufficient resources to guide a younger believer through their study.

I would rank the introductions and outlines at the middle school level. They are easy enough to master for just about any Christian. 

In Text Maps and Charts

There really is not a lot that needs said about the maps and charts other than to say that they are a very useful tool for visualizing the lands you are reading about or important concepts that need a second look.

Font, Layout, and Paper

We are presented with a very readable 8-point font size for the main text and it looks as though the references are 6-6.5-point font. The font works really well in this particular Bible. It is a red-letter edition and the red is done well enough that I did not have much trouble with it when out in the sun or in low light settings.  With this smaller font size, Zondervan’s Comfort Print Font really shines. It is far easier to read than the previous edition. 

As I mentioned before, this is a double column format, which I prefer primarily because that is what I am most familiar with. It is one of the few Bibles that you can get from Zondervan that are still sewn; it does have a paste down liner as opposed to being leather/edge lined but that isn’t really anything to complain about.

As A Carry Bible

The NASB Classic Reference from Zondervan is, easily, the most portable NASB that I have. It is quite lightweight and fits easily into most of my briefcases. I have even, on one or two occasions, forgot that I had it with me and then put my Scofield KJV in the bag.

Final Thoughts

This is a great choice in a “bring it with me Bible.” Since it is so easy to carry while not straining the eyes when reading you should be quite pleased with it.

In the interest of full disclosure, now that I have bifocals, I endeavor to use a font size no smaller than 10-point. That is not to imply that this Bible is in any way inadequate for most readers; it just happens that is poses a challenge for me.

Forgiven

Forgiven

One of the most important concepts to the Christian Faith is that we are forgiven in Christ and by Christ. It is our privilege, as the redeemed, to feel secure in our salvation and have peace in, with, and from the Lord Jesus,  Let us look at some points  from the Scripture

  1. Joseph, who foreshadows Christ, forgives his brothers without condition, (Genesis50:1-21)

  2. In the Old Covenant, sacrifices were integral to forgiveness (Leviticus 5:1-19)

  3. God forgives His rebellious peoplen(Jeremiah 50:1-20)

  4. God forgives spiritual unfaithfulness (Hosea 14:1-9)

  5. The Son of Man forgives sins and heals from the consequences of our sin (Matthew 9:1-8)

  6. The Lord Jesus show s compassion to sinners (Luke 7:36-50)

 

Keep the words of the old hymn in your mind daily: “Jesus sinners doth receive.” Forgiveness is available to all the believing (John 3:16) Simply confess that Jesus is Lord, that God raised Him from the dead and you will be forgiven (Romans 10:9-10). Afterall, if we will confess our sin, the Lord Jesus, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from the filthiness of our sin.

 

Until next time, Grace to you.

Word Nuggets in Colossians 1

Word Nuggets in Colossians 1

As we are studying the Book of Colossians, we will come across some very important terms with which you should be familiar. In chapter one they are:

 

Jesus Christ

(Gk. Iesous Christos) (1:1; Matt. 1:1, 18; Mark 1:1; John 1:17; 17:3; 1 Cor. 1:2–10) Strong’s #2424; 5547: “Jesus Christ” is not the first and last names of Jesus, as people are commonly named today. Jesus is His human name, whose meaning relates to His mission to save us (see Matt. 1:18). Christ is a description of His office: He is “the Anointed One,” anointed by God to be our King, Prophet, and High Priest. The combination of name and title is rare in the Gospels (occurring only five times) because Jesus was still in the process of revealing Himself as the Christ. Once this was recognized by His followers, the combination was used prolifically throughout the Book of Acts and the Epistles to express the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah. Paul uses the combined form at the start of Colossians to indicate the theme of his letter, the supremacy of Jesus Christ.

1:4 faith

(Gr. pistis) (Acts 17:31; 1 Cor. 13:13; Gal. 5:6; 2 Tim. 4:7) G4102: In the New Testament, this term is always used with reference to religious matters. Basically, faith is trusting in the God whom one is convinced is trustworthy. The Bible declares, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). True faith is the means of obtaining a right relationship with God (Rom. 1:17; Eph. 2:8; James 2:14). On several occasions, this term can mean “faithfulness, trustworthiness”—especially when used in connection with other virtues (Matt. 23:23; Rom. 3:3; Gal. 5:22). The expression “the faith” may be used to denote Christianity (Gal. 1:23; 1 Tim. 4:1; Jude 3).

1:11 strengthen

(Gr. dynamoō) G1412: This verb is one of many terms in the New Testament that falls within the broad domain of power language. It can be translated “to strengthen, enable, endow.” This word is in the passive voice with God as the agent strengthening His people. It is paired with other power words (might and power). In the Septuagint, the man who strengthens himself and does not make God his strength is the object of laughter (Ps. 52:6, 7). Two passages of the Septuagint employ this verb to denote the strengthening of things—one time by God (Ps. 68:28; Dan. 9:27).

 

1:15 image

eikōn; Strong’s #1504: Likeness, appearance, form. That which is depicted or shaped to look like its subject, as in the head of a king on a coin or in a marble sculpture; something that accurately represents and shows its subject in its form, such as man of God (1 Cor. 7:7) or man of Adam (1 Cor. 15:49). Paul emphasizes our destiny is to show the likeness of the “heavenly Man” in our lives (1 Cor. 15:49). Jesus is the representative form or appearance of God (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15).

1:15 creation

(Gr. ktisis) (Col. 1:23; Heb. 9:11; Rev. 3:14) G2937: In biblical Greek, this term primarily refers to the divine act of creation or to the thing(s) created (Rom. 1:20, 25; 8:19–22, 39; Heb. 4:13). Creation marks the beginning of this present age—a fact acknowledged even by the last-days scoffers of the Second Coming (Mark 10:6; 13:19; 2 Pet. 3:4). Twice, the Pauline epistles employ this term in the rabbinical sense of someone being designated a “new creation” upon coming to God (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15). In an unusual biblical use of the term (but in keeping with secular usage), Peter refers to a humanly produced governing authority (1 Pet. 2:13).

1:29 working

(Gr. energeia) (Eph. 4:16; Phil. 3:21; 2 Thess. 2:9) G1753: This word, related to the English word “energy,” is translated “working, operation, action, activity.” It occurs only in the Pauline epistles where it is used only of superhuman beings and is always accompanied by other “power terms.” The working of God includes His empowering Paul for ministry and His raising Christ from the dead (Eph. 1:19; 3:7; Col. 1:29; 2:12). Moreover, by His own working, Christ is able to subdue all things to Himself (Phil. 3:21). This term can also be used for the “working of Satan” in his deluding those who perish by using power, signs, and lying wonders (2 Thess. 2:9, 11).

Source Material:

Thes source materials for this lesson are: The NKJV Study Bible, The NKJV Study Bible, and the Spirit Filled Life Bible. All 3 are copyrighted by Thomas Nelson and used by permission.

A Look at the Ordo Salutis (Guest Post)

A Look at the Ordo Salutis (Guest Post)

Our favorite visiting professor, James Quiggle, has once again brought us a very thought-provoking and interesting lesson. Below he takes us on a look at the ordo salutis…

The phrase “Ordo Salutis” is Latin for “order of salvation.” The Ordo Salutis is a theological construct attempting to place the works of God in salvation into a rational sequence of events.

The Ordo Salutis as generally accepted has two variations.

Election — Calling — Regeneration — Salvation — Justification — Adoption — Sanctification — Perseverance — Glorification.

Election — Calling – Salvation — Regeneration — Justification — Adoption — Sanctification — Perseverance — Glorification.

The difference in the variation is just this: does regeneration precede salvation, or does salvation precede regeneration.

Salvation is the result of the exercise of faith. Regeneration is typically viewed as the changes in human nature caused by the Holy Spirit as a result of salvation. The regeneration of human nature might be defined as the attributes of human nature, which were jumbled and wrongly prioritized by the sin attribute, are normalized, which is to say, godliness is restored to human nature through the godly attributes of holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, etc. The believer is given new wants and new desires. His/her human nature is re-prioritized toward God.

The difference in the two Ordo Salutis above is an effort to answer the question, “What is the origin of saving faith?” Now, without question, the ultimate origin of saving faith is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8. But some believe saving faith is the result of regeneration, while others believe regeneration is the result of saving faith.

Let me set aside the finer details (the ongoing debate) of those two points of view, and say there is some truth in each. There is an undeniable, and unalterable, and therefore inevitable principle that both views acknowledge, but neither view specifically answers. That principle is expressed in several locations in the New Testament, but stated clearly at 1 Corinthians 2:14. The principle is: the unsaved person cannot understand spiritual things.

That being the case, how does the unsaved person come to a necessary understanding of sin, the Savior, and salvation? The gospel in its simplest form is, “I am a sinner, the risen Jesus Christ is my Savior”: my sin, Jesus the Savior, my salvation from sin. But those spiritual concepts are “foolishness” to the unsaved person. He/she is incapable of understanding. Yes, the Holy Spirit brings conviction of those three necessary concepts, but he does not work in a spiritual vacuum. The sinner is unable to understand. The thing needed is the ability to perceive spiritual things.

In the here and now of the mortal unsaved life, the penalty of unforgiven sin is separation from the spiritual life of God, which is to say, spiritually “dead.” Spiritually dead means the ability to perceive spiritual things is in the unsaved person grossly dulled, “dead” in trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1. Of course, the unsaved soul is not spiritually unresponsive; that is not what spiritually dead means. To be spiritually dead is 1) to lack the ability to understand spiritual things, and therefore 2) unremitting rejection of spiritual things as foolishness. In the context of salvation, the unsaved person is unable to discern the things the Holy Spirit teaches as necessary to believe for salvation.

How may that understanding be gained? Through the ability to perceive (understand) spiritual things. I believe spiritual perception is a faculty of human nature, an ability designed into the human soul by God. Sin renders that faculty grossly dulled, unable to comprehend spiritual things; hence 1 Corinthians 2:14. In the unsaved sinner the soul’s faculty of spiritual perception is “dead.”

What, then, must take place so the sinner is able to understand? My answer is the soul’s faculty of spiritual perception must be made alive for there to be understanding of spiritual things. How is this done? We return to the Ordo Sautis.

I think the regeneration that precedes salvation is partial (not a particularly good word, but the best I can do). I believe the gift of God (Eph 2:8) enlivens the soul’s faculty of spiritual perception so the spiritual issues of sin, the Savior, and salvation may be understood, and saving faith exercised. Then after the exercise of saving faith, the entire human nature is regenerated.

With that understanding, I see the Ordo Salutis as:

— Election

— Calling (through the Gift of God which enlivens the soul’s faculty of spiritual perception)

— Salvation

— Positional Justification

— Positional Sanctification

— Regeneration (of the entire human nature)

— Adoption (as son and heir)

— Perseverance (Experiential Sanctification)

— Glorification.

I have put the elements of the Ordo Salutis in what I believe to be a more reasonable order. Regardless of the order of salvation, the believer is saved to be a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Expositor’s Bible Commentary 2-volume Set

Expositor’s Bible Commentary 2-volume Set

In this review, we are looking at a very helpful tool for both teachers and students of the Holy Scripture, the 2-Volume Expositor’s Bible Commentary Abridged Set from Zondervan Academic. Zondervan provided a copy of this set free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback, just honest feedback; my opinions are my own.

 

 

additional photos

From the publisher:

Based on the critically acclaimed, Gold Medallion-winning Expositor’s Bible Commentary used by pastors, students, and scholars across the world, this two-volume abridged edition offers you the full, penetrating, verse-by-verse commentary of the 12-volume series while leaving out needless technical details. Marshalling the knowledge of fifty-two top biblical scholars, it brings tremendous insight to your Bible studies.

Covering the Old and New Testaments in separate volumes, this commentary features:

  • Verse-by-verse exposition of the entire Bible
  • 250 in-text charts, maps, tables, and pictures
  • Goodrick/Kohlenberger numbers for cross-referencing the Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordanceand other G/K-numbered resources

 

Translation Used

Naturally, this commentary set is based on the New International Version. Zondervan is the primary publisher of the NIV in the United States so it is a logical choice for Zondervan Academic to base its resources on the NIV.

Goodrick & Kohlenberger’s Numbers

If you are familiar with Strong’s Numbers, which are most often paired with the KJV, you will immediately be familiar with these numbers. These serve as a gateway to study of the NIV text for expository purposes.

You will find these numbers in the NIV Exhaustive Concordance, NIV Concise Concordance and, my personal favorite tool, the NIV Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible, along wth many other study resources. I would rate this as my favorite feature of this commentary set primarly because they link excellent commentary with a broad spectrum of tools to give a very well rounded understanding of the text of Holy Scripture.

Book Introductions

The Introductions are fairly similar to those in the NIV Study Bible. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you had this set along with the NIV Study Bible, you might well be able to forego the full 12-volume set. While there is no outline provided, the introductions are not lacking in any way because of that fact.When perusing the Book Introductions, you will find both historical and theological background information. Rather than approaching the Theological Background information from a Systematic Theology Standpoint, we actually look at theology from a Biblical Theology (more of a global theology) perspective.

There is also a treatment of author, intended audience, date/place/time of the book’s composition including, as I mentioned earlier, historical background information.

Though not in the introduction proper, there is also a section called the Old Testament in the New which displays the NT use of OT Passages. It is available for each book of the Bible and I would rate it as the second most important feature of the commentary set. Why? We can sometimes see Scripture in a disjointed manner and this section helps to bring the Bible into view as a unified cohesive unit.

The Commentary Itself

As I was working with this set, I noticed a very interesting feature: Though there is no outline provided, the commentary is laid out in the format of a detailed expository outline. This layout is very similar to what Dr. Wiersbe did with his Expository Outlines of the Old and New Testaments but in more detail.

It is a hybrid of a verse by verse and paragraph exposition. Following section headings found in the NIV, the commentary takes a section at a time and provides exposition on the text.

This is, absolutely, a seminary grade commentary but at the same time it is very approachable. It is conservative without being afraid to treat alternative viewpoints. It is geared primarily toward the pastor-teacher but will serve any student of the Bible very well.

Ancillary Tools

Maps, charts, tables, and photos all add to the explanation of the text. It is clear that, with these tools, Zondervan Academic has considered that a huge portion of our learning occurs with visual aids.

The Physical Book

Both volumes are hard cover with what is commonly called book paper. It is not overly thick but it is sufficiently opaque for marking in the text.

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with NIV Tools

This commentary pairs very well with several NIV tools but I want to call out a few, here:

NIV Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible

I touched on this earlier, but the inclusion of the Goodrick/Kohlenberger Numbers, the HGK study Bible lends itself perfectly to exposition of the text

NIV Study Bible

Zondervan’s premier exegetical resource, the NIV Study Bible offers a gateway to expository commentaries. The materials in the two tools complement each other very well. There is information in the NIVSB that is not in the commentary and the commentary takes the expositional notes in the study Bible to a much deeper and, I think, more helpful level.

NIV Text or Reference Bible

This commentary set is sufficiently detailed that it can stand alone with a Bible that does not include exegetical study aids.

Final Thoghts

I am impressed with the amount of help that Zondervan included in this “abridged” commentary set. It does not feel abridged at all. In fact, had I never seen its 12 volume big sister, I would not find anything lacking in this set. Truth be told, I do not find anything lacking now. I would like a bit larger font and, perhaps, some lined notes pages with each book but those are matters of personal preference.

I would recommend this, first and foremost, for a Sunday School Teacher. Many churches do not realize the vital role that Sunday School plays in developing the members of the church and so Sunday School Teachers are, often, not very well equipped. In fact, this particular commentary is so helpful for teaching the Bible that I would recommend that each church have a copy in their library so that teachers with limited financial means are able to access the resources provided.