Tag: Family Worship

TBS Large Print Windsor/Family Bible Review

TBS Large Print Windsor/Family Bible Review

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Known for bringing very high quality KJV Bibles to market at incredible prices, Trinitarian Bible Society has done it again. The have refreshed their Large Print Family Presentation Bible with an upgrage to one of their most popular Bibles, now bringing  the  Windsor text into a large print edition.

(TBS provided this Bible 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.)

 Cover & Binding

My review copy has the black ironed calfskin cover, a change from the very textured cover on the Large Print Family Presentation Bible. It is Meriva Calfskin. To the best of my knowledge, this is the same ironed calfskin that can be found on the unrivalled perfection that is the Westminster Reference Bible. The paste down liner was rather a surprise. I had expected it to make the cover a little more stiff such as with the Large Print Family Presentation Bible. While it does make the cover more sturdy, it is still more limp and supple than other Bibles I own with a paste down liner.

The text block is smythe sewn as is the case will all TBS Bibles. As I have said in almost every review I have ever written, a sewn text block is an essential feature in a quality Bible; it is this feature that helps the Bible to last across generations.

Paper, Layout, and Font

The paper is crisp white but rather thin allowing modest show through (also called ghosting). The paper does have a minor issue, there is some page curl. The page curl is not severe enough to be challenging but I do find it mildly irritating.

We are given a plain text Bible, laid out in a double column verse by verse format. The 11-point font is crisp and very deep ebony. I do not know of TBS making a red-letter edition of the  Bible and this is no exception, a black letter text all the way through. The font is more of a semi-bold as opposed to the blackface/bold font style of the former Family Bible.

For Preaching/Teaching

This is an excellent Bible for preaching and teaching. The verse by verse format makes it very easy to locate the passage of Scripture you wish to use. Truth be told, I prefer the previous version of the Large Print Family Bible series. Please do not take that to mean that I have any dislike for the Large Print Windsor.

I very much enjoy the Windsor for daily reading but I find the older edition easier on the eyes with its very bold black format.

The Large Print Windsor will lay open on a pulpit or other type of lectern quite easily. It is also light enough to be used with one hand, which is especially handy if one is peripatetic.

For daily use

At less than an inch thick and weighing in at a little over a pound, the Large Print Windsor  is very practical for daily carry.

I am not sure that I would recommend writing in this Bible, unless it was done in pencil.

Should you buy

As I said  earlier this is an excellent Bible. You cannot go wrong  owning it.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this Bible is representative of everything I have come to expect from Trinitarian Bible Society. If TBS ever makes a wide margin Bible this would be the perfect choice. If they don’t, this is still a solid choice of KJV to own.

NLT Helpfinder Bible

NLT Helpfinder Bible

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Currently offered by both Tyndale House and Guideposts, the Helpfinder Bible is one of the most practical Bibles you can invest in. (Tyndale House sent me a copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, simply an honest one; my opinions are my own.)

 

The HelpFinder Bible updates the NLT Touchpoints Bible, which paired a very helpful topical index with an incredibly easy to understand text of Scripture. Here is some information from Guideposts about the Helpfinder Bible:

 

Let God’s Word help erase your fears and comfort and encourage you during difficult times.

The HelpFinder Bible brings you God’s Word at your point of need so you can easily find the exact Scripture that speaks to your heart. When we’re faced with life’s challenges, our own stress sometimes makes it hard to find the right Scripture to bring us peace. But now, you can find the comfort and help you need instantly with the HelpFinder Bible. This beautiful Guideposts edition will help you build your faith with the Promises of God. You’ll always be able to find just the right Scripture to calm your fears, erase your worries, and increase your Biblical knowledge. You’ll turn to the HelpFinder Bible again and again to:

  • Get instant access to thousands of notes and verses on more than 100 “life-needs” with a comprehensive index.
  • Discover the healing wisdom of God’s Word on key topics from betrayal and burnout to debt, discouragement, and divorce…to emptiness and frustration to grief, guilt, and healing…to loneliness to regrets, stress, and so much more.
  • Learn how the truths you read in God’s Word apply to your personal situation.
  • Soothe your soul and work through your emotions as you read the Psalms.
  • Find introductions to each book of the Bible that include: an overview emphasizing its core messages, key themes, and verses, plus an at-a-glance outline.

 

Cover Options

Guideposts offers the NLT Helpfinder Bible in paperback but in a larger format with a 9-point font for easy reading. The Tyndale House Edition is available in paperback, e-book, hardback, and imitation leather. I am reviewing the black imitation leather edition from Tyndale House publishers. Surprisingly, the Helpfinder Bible comes with a sewn binding for enhanced durability.

Paper and Font

The paper is soft white, which is helpful in reducing glare and makes for easier reading. My colleagues tell me that the gsm for the paper is somewhere in the mid 30s. It is also fairly opaque.

We have a red letter edition, here, and the redi is nicely done. It is not as dark as I would prefer but it is fairly consistent. It does not devolve into pink like what happens with many other red letter editions.

The font is a little smallish for my taste, approximately 8-point in the Tyndale Edition and 9-point in the Guideposts Edition.

 

Helpfinder Index

The Helpfinder Index bills itself as bringing God’s word to your point of need and it does this very well. The Helpfinder Index  is a topical study guide which runs to 368 pages. Each topic comes with an introductory paragraph, several questions related to the topic as well as answers from Scripture. It is very similar, in concept, to the NASB or Amplified Topical Reference Bibles. To be clear, the Helpfinder Index is not as in-depth as either Nave’s or MacArthur’s Topical Bibles but I do not want you to think  of that as a drawback; Unlike those resources, the Helpfinder Bible is not primarily geared toward pastors. Instead it is geared toward the average person in the pew who wants to let God’s Word minister at a point of need.

While I do advocate doing your own study, you could actually follow the Helpfinder Index and ready-made lessons for Sunday School or the Sunday Sermon.

 

Application Notes

There are 500 application notes provided to help you apply the truths of Scripture to your life. They appear to be very abbreviated versions of what you find in the Life Application Study Bible.

The Application Notes are found in a grey and red box at the bottom of the page. Each note is a simple paragraph; I would recommend pairing with the either the Life Application Stud Bible or the NLT Study Bible to go deeper with the notes and topical guides.

 

Promises from God

Promises from God are in red letters (but they are marked out with “Promises from God in black letters). Each one contains a promise from God, Psalm 23:4 for example.

Book Introductions

The Book Introductions are a couple paragraphs related to application points in the text of Scripture.

What You Will Be Reading About

This section is essentially an outline of the book. They are not super detailed but they do bring out the major points of each book.

Key Verses

This section highlights the verses from each book of the Bible which are helpful to memorize.

 

Overall Thoughts

This will be a very practical tool for someone who is new to the study of Scripture. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of topical study but there is a place for it. Life offers us tough questions and the Bible is completely sufficient for answering those questions, especially when you have the help of the Helpfinder Index.

 

Do I recommend it? Yes. If you are looking for helpful ways to apply the Bible to your life, this is a great stepping stone Bible. If you are looking for a solid topical reference Bible, you have found an ideal choice.

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.)

 

 

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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)

 

 

NIV Giant Print Thin-line Bible in Brown Buffalo Hide

NIV Giant Print Thin-line Bible in Brown Buffalo Hide

 

When I reviewed the NIV Giant Print Thin-line Reference Bible, I commented that I wished the Bible came in a higher-grade leather. Zondervan heard and answered my request, in a manner of speaking. Before we go too far into the review, I need to disclose that Zondervan sent me this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions, however, are my own- they did not ask for a favorable review just an honest one.

Click here for photos

 

Spoiler- this has replaced the Giant Print Thin-line as my preaching NIV.  Let’s find out why…

Cover and Binding

This is a brown buffalo leather and the leather was quite a surprise. I have two other Buffalo hide Bibles and they are rather stiff but this leather is quite supple and flexible. It is an ironed hide in a rich milk chocolate brown leather. My copy had a scent to it that reminded me of visiting relatives in Pennsylvania’s farm county- it was quite delightful.

I have reviewed several goatskin Bibles and I do love them but this leather I like better. Even though it is very flexible, this leather feels sturdier, like it will hold up better.

This Bible does have a sewn Binding. I have chosen to use this as a preaching Bible and, for that purpose, a sewn binding was absolutely essential, otherwise it would be useless within about 36 months.

Paper, Layout, Font

The paper is fairly crisp white. There is mild reflection in bright light but nothing that would irritating. I would say that the paper is sufficiently opaque for marking and, as I tend to do, I recommend the use of ball point pen for marking.

In some of the pictures, it looks like there is some show through (ghosting) but in person, there is not really much ghosting at all. It is really quite readable.

The text is laid out in double column paragraph format. Limited translators’ footnotes are at the bottom right corner of the page. The verse numbers are both large enough and dark enough to find with relative ease.

The Comfort Print font is extremely well done in this edition, perhaps better than its reference-based cousin. The black letter portion is a deeper richer ebony than you find in many of Zondervan’s other Bibles. The red letters really impress me, especially at this Bible’s price point. In far too many cases, red-letter Bibles turn pink but not so here. The red is very well done, consistent, deep, rich and most importantly, easily readable in the pulpit. In this instance the red letters are darker than in other Zondervan Bibles, a very deep red almost to the point of being dark cherry in color.

The layout is nearly identical to that of the Giant Print Thin-line Reference Bible but at half a point smaller on the font size, it does have slightly different pagination.

For Preaching

I have a few NIV, including the Premier Collection Large Print Thin-line (11-point font) which is a phenomenal choice for preaching. However, middle age and diabetes wear on my eyes, leading me to reach for the 13-point font size in the Giant Print.

This is a very versatile Bible. I tend to be peripatetic and this edition is very well balanced for one handed use. The Giant Print edition also works out well on the pulpit in that it does not add to eye strain when laid on the pulpit for reading.

 Compared to the NIV Preacher’s Bible

The NIV Preacher’s Bible is a great Bible for many and being keyed to the Pew and Worship Bible is nice BUT the NIV Giant Print Bible is, in my estimation, the superior Bible, simply by dint of the larger font. Both are offered in premium leather options and both are text only for utility in the pulpit so, for many people, either choice would be acceptable. That being said, I much prefer a larger font in the Bible I take to the pulpit.

Compared to the Large Print Thin-line

The layout in the Large Print Thin-line and the Giant Print Thin-line is virtually identical. The Giant print has about 300 more pages. The font sizes are 11-point in the large print vs 13-point for the Giant print. Either choice would be quite suitable for preaching.

Helps are not provided. Some of my colleagues will dislike this. I do not mind it. In the pulpit a text only Bible is preferable.

Final Thoughts

I am quite pleased with this Bible. For the price point, you get a very good value for the money. I wanted another high-grade leather option in the NIV, and I got it.

Zondervan called this the perfect every day carry Bible in giant print, a perfect exercise in understatement. This is the perfect Bible for preachers.

A special note to my pastor brethren: In the pulpit, one should have the largest font possible without forfeiting practicality. If you are preaching from NIV, this is an excellent choice.

 

Valley of Vision and Family Worship

Valley of Vision and Family Worship

 

One of the best devotionals available is the collection of Puritan Prayers, Poems and Psalms known as The Valley of Vision.  Previous to a server failure I had reviewed  it (trying to recover that review). This time around, I want to spend a few minutes on incorporating Valley of Vision into your church family, either on Sunday Mornings or during  your weekly family worship time.

Oder from Christian Book Distributors (affiliate link)

To use Valley of Vision on a Sunday morning, the best use would be either to use it as a guide for your corporate prayer time or perhaps as a responsorial reading with your congregation. I have also palyed with the idea of using it as a teaching aid by offering it to candidates for membership.

A black leather version is aviailble (see link above) and it would make a great gift for confirmation (if your faith tradition practices that) or as a gift in celebratiob of Believer’s Baptism.

The most common use that I have gotten from the Valley of Vision is as an aid in family worship. If you are not the type that is inclined to sing hymns, acapella, at home, you will find Valley of Vision to be a most welcome substitue. Depending on the frequesncy of family worship in your home, you will probably get through it a couple times a year.

I, personnaly, use it mostly on Saturdays. I find that it helps me to focus myself and to prepare mentally and spiritually for the Lord’s Day, especially becuase I am in the pulpit and need as much spiritual reinforcement as possible. The selections elevate the mind and heart as they intensify your focous on the Lord. If it were possible to attain to the heights of Heaven, here on Earth, this would be the vehicle that takes you there. The Puritan is one focused on holiness and God’s glory and I can find no book, other than the Bible, that so richly equips the reader for time with Jesus.

It is actually our intent to re-release our Family Worship Guides and we wll be adding a reading guide for the Valley of Vision as part of those worship guides. 

How Old Must a Person Be to Receive Communion?

How Old Must a Person Be to Receive Communion?

I was asked, again, today how old a person must be to come to the Lord’s Table. The Scripture does not prescribe a specific age so neither shall I. I will give this counsel though…

Romans 10:9 teaches us to confess that Jesus is Lord and to believe that He was raised from the dead for our salvation from sin. A person who can explain why he needs a savior and also confess that he has yielded his life to Christ should in no wise be refused the Elements.

Upon our salvation, we are commanded to step in to tbe Waters of Baptism to show, symbolically, that the filthiness of our sin is washed away and we arise to the New Life. Immediately (and I mean while the convert is still wet) the Elements may be offered whereby we seal the new believer in fellowship with Christ and in brotherhood with the saints of all the ages.

The Lord’s Table is a sacred privilege enjoyed by ALL Believers. Let none say they are too young. ANY who will confess Christ may eat of the Bread of Life and drink from the Cup of the New Covenant.

New Disciples Day 30: Promise for Eternity

New Disciples Day 30: Promise for Eternity

Revelation 21:1-4  (NLT)

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.[a] He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

Footnotes:

  1. 21:3 Some manuscripts read God himself will be with them, their God.

 

Revelation 22:1-5 (NLT)

22 Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit,[a] with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

Footnotes:

  1. 22:2 Or twelve kinds of fruit.
Knowing Jesus Day 26: Jesus is Arrested

Knowing Jesus Day 26: Jesus is Arrested

Matthew 26:36-75 (NLT)

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus before the Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Denies Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Footnotes:

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