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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.

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.

 

 

CSB Life Connections Bible Review

CSB Life Connections Bible Review

 

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The very popular Serendipity Bible for Personal and Small Group Study has made a comeback with the Christian Standard Bible in the Life Connections Study Bible. (Holman Bible Publishers 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.)

I am admittedly new to the Serendipity Bible so we will begin with a little from the publisher:

The CSB Life Connections Study Bible is are a revised and updated version of the best-selling and renowned Serendipity Study Bible. The original Serendipity Study Bible was the culmination of 40 years of community building by Serendipity House Publishers, which revolutionized small groups and personal study through thousands of accessible questions and study helps throughout the Bible.

The CSB Life Connections Study Bible includes thousands of questions and study helps for all 1,189 chapters of the Bible – all updated for today’s readers. This Bible includes short chapter-by-chapter comments about key people, places, and events along with guidance for small group Bible study and personal reflection through the “Open-Consider-Apply” method:

  • Open” questions initiate discussion and/or reflection
  • Consider” questions focus on the details of the passage
  • Apply” questions encourage application to daily life
  • Also included are select “For Groups,” “For Worship,” and “Dig Deeper” questions for further study, reflection, discussion, and application.

 

Translation

The Life Connections Study Bible uses the Christian Standard Bible, a natural choice since Lifeway acquired Serendipity House Publishers. CSB is a mediating translation- it is literal when it needs to be but still very readable.  I am currently using the Christian Standard Bible for preaching and teaching.

Cover and Binding

I am reviewing the brown leathersoft edition. It is a very convincing imitation leather. Naturally, there is a paste down liner. Most CSB Bibles include a sewn binding and this one is no exception. The sewn binding provides two very nice features: it lays flat very easily and it also makes it fairly floppy and easy to use one handed.

Paper, Layout, and Font

The paper is very interesting; it has a different tactile feel than other CSB Bibles that I have felt. It has a little bit of a newsprint feel. The paper is nicely opaque and should provide no issue with annotating. As is most often the case, I recommend ball-point pen, colored pencil, or mechanical pencil.

The text of Scripture is laid out in a single column paragraph format. Verse numbers are fairly opaque which makes verse finding fairly easy, especially so if you are teaching in a small group. The notes are a little smallish and are laid out in four columns at the bottom of the page. They are separated from the text by a single bold line. A chapter summary is provided for each chapter of the Bible, set off in a green box. Bible study content is in the outer margin on each page.

The font is a black letter text. It is approximately 9.5-point font for the Bible text. Bible study content and commentary notes are about a 7-point font. Perhaps 8-point.

Content

Study Questions

This study Bible includes ready-made discussion and study questions for every chapter of the Bible. Some chapters include more than one study and set of questions. There’s an opening question (or ice breaker), some Scripture-driven questions for consideration, and some application questions, all based on the chapter in which the questions are found. Where appropriate, there are also questions for worship, group activities, and digging deeper in Bible study. May of my colleagues are not fans of the “Discussion Model,” and I understand that but there are benefits to this model. The discussion and study questions are designed to help your small group study to think through the process of understanding the text.

Study Guides

There are 16 topical study courses, 60 life needs courses, and 200 Bible stories available for study. The beautiful feature about these additional studies is that they simply point to selected chapter studies in the Bible. Understanding sacred Scripture is the driving force behind every lesson and every study. While that may seem like an obvious statement you would be amazed at just exactly how much “Christian content” not actually geared toward a true understanding and internalization of the Scripture. Next to each lesson is the Scripture from where the lesson draws Truth and the page number where the questions for that chapter are found. A life needs study on sexuality points to specific chapters from which to draw the Texts and questions. Bonus: all the 60 life needs studies have beginner and advanced options and all of them depend on the Scripture with margin questions from the chapters.

Introductions

Each book has a one page introduction covering Author, Date of Writing, Theme, and Historical Background of the Book. I would have liked to see a small outline of some kind.

Is anything missing?

An earlier edition from Serendipity House, the Interactive Study Bible, was in the same format but had Lectionary Readings. I would have liked to see Holman include lectionary readings for those denominations which follow them, such as our Anglican Brethren.

The earlier edition also included options for personal readings and group study readings. There was also a brief comment on the Modern Message of each book.  (How does the message apply to Christians today.)

Overall Impression

I am fairly impressed with the Life Connections Study Bible. There are a couple of features that I would have liked to see come forward into the new edition but all in all it looks to be as helpful as it is interesting. I will most likely write a use case study as I am able to put it through its paces in church.

Who should buy this Bible?

The Life Connections Bible is ideally suited to the small group leader or, perhaps, the Sunday School Teacher. Even if one does not utilize the “Discussion Model” for teaching, the discussion questions will be most helpful.

 

 

Vines Expository Study Bible Review

Vines Expository Study Bible Review

Let me start by saying, “It’s not what I expected and everything I want in a study Bible.” Years ago, there was Vines Expository Reference Bible and, at first, I thought that this was a re-release of that Bible; it is not. On some levels it is so much better and on other levels it is equal to the old Vines Expository Reference, both of which were published by Thomas Nelson.

Disclosure: Thomas Nelson provided a hardcover edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

From the Publisher…

Product Description

The Vines Expository Bibleoffers scriptural truth alongside guided explanations of key passages from influential preacher Dr. Jerry Vines. With biblical exposition and practical teaching culled from years of faithful ministry, Dr. Vines presents helpful insights from God’s Word are presented in a warm, pastoral manner.

Features Include:

  • Paragraph-style text with in-text subject headings
  • 200 “Presenting the Message” detailed outlines from Jerry Vines’ sermon archive
  • 100 “Living the Message” articles with illustrations for living the Christian life
  • 200 “Applying the Message” notes that help you see the relevance of Scriptures for your walk with Christ
  • 300 “Discerning the Meaning” word studies that illuminate the meaning of key words in Scripture
  • Book Introductions
  • Topical Index
  • Concordance
  • 9.5-point print size

 

Content

200 “Presenting the Message Outlines”

These are sermon outlines that were taught by Dr. Jerry Vines in the pulpit of his church. They serve a couple of helpful functions: explaining the point of the passage to the reader and guiding a teacher through explaining the passage. One could, in theory, consider this to be four years of material to get your church an overview of the Bible. I always recommend doing your own work but if you had absolutely no experience with lesson prep, these outlines would be very helpful.

100 “Living the Message” Articles

These are practical application articles demonstrating “real life” applications of the text.

300 “Discerning the Meaning” Word Studies

Even though W.E. Vines and Jerry Vines are two different pastors, one could hardly have a Vines Resource without word studies. These articles cover key words that are essential to understanding the Bible.

200 “Applying the Message Notes”

The Applying the Message Notes, much like the Living the Message Articles are designed to help you apply the text of the Bible to your every day life. They are designed to answer the question, “I understand this passage, now what do I do about it.”

Topical Index

The Topical Index breaks down the major subjects of the Bible for study. While I recommend book-by-book study, I realize that topical study is the most common method of lesson preparation and the topical index, here, will give you several years worth of material for study/teaching.

The Physical Book

Paper

The paper is a touch thin. This is not necessarily bad as you need thin paper in order to pack a lot of content into a study Bible. If you were going to mark in this Bible, you definitely do not want a liquid highlighter. A ball-point pen or a hi-glider from Luscombe would be your best choice here.

There is some shadowing (see through of the other side of the paper) but not enough to be overly bothersome.

 

Font

We have Nelson’s new Comfort Print font in 10-point. It is much easier to read than some other font families on the market. As its name indicates, the Comfort Print Font prevents eye strain so you can study for long periods without developing tired eyes or a headache. 

Cover and Binding

The edition I am reviewing is the jacketed hardcover. The cover is red cloth over a book-board. It is fairly sturdy and will hold up to normal wear and tear fairly nicely. For a Bible that will remain on your desk or go into your backpack, hardcover is your best choice.

The binding is sewn to ensure a lifetime of use.

Ribbons

Nelson provides us with 2 red silk ribbons, 3/8″ in width. I generally use the ribbons to mark OT and NT daily readings. I also use them to mark passages relevant to ministry texts based on the upcoming ministry activity such as a hospital visit or discipleship.

Who is this Bible for?

The Vines Expository Study Bible is designed for the new teacher/student. If I were to recommend this Bible to a particular group of people, it would be to pastors in Asia and Africa who may not have access to the resources needed to prepare expository lessons on the Bible.

Overall Thoughts

I am a Bible teacher, so I am a little biased here but I really like the Vines Expository Study Bible. Some may consider this to be entry level and, to a degree, it is. That being said, for its intended audience, it is an excellent tool.

I would rate it 4.5/5. The shadowing is what caused me to withhold a perfect score. Nelson should be able to get us better paper. They are, after all, part of the Harper Collins Group, the largest publisher in the US.