Archives For Study

This past week, I was thinking about my personal study habits and how much trial and error I have gone through to get a good Bible study system that I like.

It seems that there are several programs out there that claim they are the best but no system really fit what I wanted for the outcome that I desired, fitting into the time I have available, and working with a seminary student’s budget. (With seminary and 2 jobs, time is very limited and funds are sometimes scarse.)

In my search, I was looking for a method that would allow me to quickly work through the text, get something out of the text, record what was gained, & do all this in a clear way for future reference.

With that being said, this is the materials and method of study that I use everyday. I hope that you gain something from this and that it encourages you to study more in this new year.

 

I am going to approach this with a break down of the tools I use with notes on the way that I use them. This way, we can systematically work through what you need and how to use these.

A Good Bible Or Two Or Three Or Ten

The first thing you need for Bible study is a good Bible. I am not talking about the family Bible that is 50lbs. and has never been removed from Grandma’s bookshelf. I am talking about a Bible that you have chosen in a translation that makes since to you and feels good to you.

  • When you are shopping for a Bible, check for quality.

A Bible is somethings you should have for a few years. It will be a close friend, spend a little money on it.

On the high end of price range, I like the Cambridge Bibles. They are real leather, have very thick pages, they look very nice, and they are super durable. I have had one of these for 3 years of constant use and it looks brand new. Sometimes, you can find these on sale for great deals.

In the lower price range, I prefer Bibles made by Crossway or Zondervan. They are usually a leather substitute and have slightly thinner pages. These usually last me a year to two years and they show a lot of wear.

  • When you are shopping for a Bible, check for readability.

A Bible is a book you should understand, so purchase a translation that you can read and understand.

Without going into original languages and translator intent for each translation, I would recommend three different translations rated by preference and readability.

1st preference ESV (English Standard Version) – This is a smooth conservative translation but uses some words that may be unknown to unchurched eyes.

2nd preference HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) – This is a smooth translation as well and the word formatting is very cool.

3rd preference NASB (New American Standard Version) – This is a very literal translation and some words may be foreign to today’s readers. However this is a great translation for those desiring to have a very literal translation.

4th preference NIV (New International Version) – This is a decent version with easy readability. However there have been many revisions over the years. I would recommend a 1984 edition.

  •  When shopping for a Bible, check for usability.

Look for things that will cater to what you desire in a Bible. Does the Bible have enough margin for notes? Does the Bible have cross references? Is the Bible red letter (words of Christ in red)? Is it a single column?

Now before we get overwhelmed with all the options, just remember, there is no right answer here. It is simply personal preference.

In my case, I like a single column for easy reading, a wide margin for notes and reflections, and red letter so I can skip to the words of Christ easily. I write in my Bible a lot and prefer a Bible that is easy to work with.

What do you look for when shopping for a new Bible?

Expositional preaching is preaching in service to the Word. It presumes a belief in the authority of Scripture—that the Bible is actually God’s Word; but it is something much more than that. A commit ment to expositional preaching is a commitment to hear God’s Word—not just to affirm that it is God’s Word but to actually submit yourself to it.

– Mark Dever, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church

Expositional Preaching @9MarksOnline @MarkDever

If you have an iPad, you know that it is a great tool that is extremely flexible for all sorts of purposes. However, it’s downfall in my opinion comes with the on screen keyboard for taking extensive notes or typing papers. So what is the fix? Add a blue tooth keyboard.

Here the problem is compounded because if you have done any research on iPad keyboard cases, you will know that there is a myriad of them out there from the cheap ebay brand to the ones that cost as much as the iPad itself. And to be frank, there is not one that is good. They are either too flimsy, too hard to pair with the iPad, or so secure that you cannot remove your iPad from it once you get it in there.

I do not know about you but I use my iPad for all sorts of things. It is my mini computer on the go as well as my e-reader for research and recreational books before bed. So flexibility and quality are huge for me.

Currently, the only solution that works for me is a targus leather case that swivels with an apple blue tooth keyboard. This is at best functioning and flexible, however because it is two pieces, it is not the most secure thing in the world and when the keyboard is not in use it is exposed.

This is where the Brydge Case comes in…

This case is awesome! It is the same material as the iPad, it has built in speakers, it makes the iPad look like a Macbook Air, & it connects and disconnects with ease. What else could you ask for?

Check Out the Brydge Case Here!

 

 

I was recently in a Bible study where the question below came up and I found that there is some confusion on the subject. So I decided to do a little research and found myself immersed in good stuff that I thought I would share.

“What is regeneration?”

With regeneration being a common theme in the Scripture and an essential element to the Christian faith, I thought I may be able to shed a little light on the subject for you.

The Greek word for Regeneration is paliggenesia (paliggenesia) and the meaning is to be renewed. It is important to note that it is a passive verb, meaning that we do not perform the action but the action is performed on us.

(Passive verbs describe an action that the subject of the sentence receives. For example, in the sentence “I was regenerated by God”, regenerated would be a passive verb because was done by God to me.)

Typically we see the Bible use the term in two different ways: In the life of a believer and in the Heavens and Earth.

In the life of the believer:

In the life of a believer, regeneration is played out at salvation. For example, picture Saul in Acts (chapter 7-8). We are introduced to him as he is persecuting the early Christian church and murdering Christians. Then Jesus confronts Saul on the Road to Damascus and Saul is changed (chapter 9). Saul changes his name to Paul and he starts preaching and teaching the Christian faith. Saul was regenerated to Paul. He was transformed through the Holy Spirit.

The Holman Bible Dictionary states Regeneration like this:

REGENERATION Special act of God in which the recipient is passive. God alone awakens the person spiritually through the power of His Holy Spirit. Both the OT and NT also speak of the renewing of the individual. In a technical sense the act of regeneration takes place at the moment of conversion as the individual is spiritually awakened.

So we can align regeneration with the renewing of our souls through salvation in Christ. This renewal is not something that we are able to accomplish for ourselves but something God does within us.

We see this in passages like Titus 3:5 (he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,) where Paul outlines for Titus the renewal that we receive through salvation, not because of works but through the saving power of the Holy Spirit.

In the Heavens and Earth:

The Bible also speaks of a renewal or regeneration of the Heavens and Earth at the end of times in passages like.

Matt 19:28-29 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Revelation 21:1-3 21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

So in conclusion, Regeneration is the renewal of God’s presence in our lives now through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit for the believer and the renewal of the heavens and the earth upon His return.

I hope this sheds a little light on the subject. If you have other questions, please let me know.

Anthony

 


Click to Find How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth on Amazon.com

Do you read the Bible sometimes and wonder what you were supposed to get out of it?

Do you know the differences between all the different Bible translations?
Do you know how the books of the Bible are different from one another and how to read them?

 

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!

 

In this book Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart will equip you to find the tools you need to interpret Scripture, to find the best Bible translation for your needs and go through the books of the Bible based on their context and history. Through this book Fee and Stuart have equipped the common person to handle the Scriptures in the way they need to be handled for a sound interpretation. I would encourage everyone who is a believer to read and understand the content of this book.

 

Here is a copy of the table  of Contents for you to get a grasp of all the subjects that are covered.

 

Ch. 1 – Introduction: The Need to Interpret
Ch.2 – The Basic Tool: A Good Translation
Ch. 3 – The Epistles: Learning to think Contextually
Ch. 4 – The Epistles: The Hermeneutical Questions
Ch. 5 – The Old Testament Narratives: Their Proper Use
Ch. 6 – Acts: The Question of Historical Precedent
Ch. 7 – The Gospels: One Story, Many Demensions
Ch. 8 – The Parables: Do you get the point?
Ch. 9 – The Law(s): Covenant Stipulations for Israel
Ch. 10 – The Prophets: Enforcing the Covenant in Israel
Ch. 11 – The Psalms: Israel’s Prayers and Ours
Ch. 12 – Wisdom: Then and Now
Ch. 13 – The Revelation: Images of Judgement and Hope

 

I am in no way affiliated with the publisher or writer of this book. But I endorse this because it impacted my life and I would like that same blessing for you. Click Here for Other Recommended Reading!If the Author or Publisher has an issue with this post, please let me know and I will remove it.

Exodus 3: The Burning Bush

1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

 

That day was as normal as any other. Moses was just going through his normal routine of taking care of the flock.  But on that particular day, something out of the ordinary caught Moses’ attention.  And instead of just carrying on, or simply turning back to the flock – which certainly demanded some part of Moses’ immediate attention.  Moses turned aside to see what was really going on here.  After he turned aside, God spoke.  Did you catch that? After, not before.  God waited to speak to Moses until he had his undivided attention.  Then, God spoke such profound words that Moses’ life would never be the same again. Never ever.  God revealed His true character, and Moses was transformed.

 

Have you been longing to hear from God?

 You may not even be aware that there exists in your heart an unwillingness to turn your full, entire, complete, undivided attention to your Lord and Savior.  Maybe God has been trying to get your attention for quite sometime now.  If you’re anything like me, then there may be some crazy things going on in and around your life.  God will use our circumstances and people to get us to stop and think, “What in the world is going on here?!”  I have definitely found myself saying exactly that these past few weeks.

 

Are you ready to hear the voice of God?

 Turn your full attention to your God and Savior. Give Him your undivided attention, totally focused on who He is.  He will speak to you words so profound! Words of wisdom and truth – and He will speak them right into your very heart.  Right into the very core, the very midst of wherever you need Him most.  His words will sustain you, and stabilize you. He will fill you with understanding and give you insight into whatever you are facing.
I think that we can both agree that receiving all of that – ooh! Don’t we want that!! – is worth stopping, pausing, and turning to see…to take a closer look at the bush that has just caught fire.

 

Dig deep into the Word this week! That is where you will find Him!!


Click Me to Find Simple Church on Amazon!

I just finished Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger and if you are looking for a book on the structure of how a church should be, this is a great book.

 

Often times, churches and ministers get caught up in the day to day ministries and in the many events that are commonly labeled as ministry. This often times leaves our church staff tired, worn out and frustrated while at the same time exhausting the church budget and volunteers. The go, go, go “ministry” of the church then transfers down to those who are not even a part of the church. Which gives the new comers an uneasy feeling.

 

Rainer & Geiger challenge the traditional thought of this go, go, go church model by examining the processes of growing and vital churches in different environments across the country. (Including Andy Stanely‘s church North Point Community Church.)
After examining the key features of these churches  and their focus on keeping their churches simple, Rainer and Geiger give practical advise on how to implement a similar strategy in your own church.

 

I personally found this book to be a wealth of wisdom. I knew some of it from business training courses and marketing courses, so some of it was refresher. But over all the book was a great read and I would encourage anyone in church leadership to read it. (This is not for pastoral staff only. If you are a Sunday School teacher or small group leader, this is a great book for you as well.)

 

Here is the Table of Contents so that you can get a feel for what all the book covers.
Ch1- The Simple Revolution Has Begun in America
Ch2- The Simple Church in Action
Ch3- Simple Church: An Extreme Makeover
Ch4- Three Simple Stories
Ch5- Clarity: Starting with a Ministry Blueprint
Ch6- Movement: Removing Congestion
Ch7- Alignment: Maximizing the Energy of Everyone
Ch8- Focus: Saying No to Almost Everything
Ch9- Becoming Simple
I am in no way affiliated with the publisher or writer of this book. But I endorse this because it impacted my life and I would like that same blessing for you. Click Here for Other Recommended Reading!If the Author or Publisher has an issue with this post, please let me know and I will remove it.

Click Here to Visit in the App Store

I talk to people all the time that tell me they have the hardest time memorizing Scripture and to be honest everyone does. Memorizing Scripture is a Spiritual Discipline and therefore you must discipline yourself to do it.

Often times I have people ask me how I do it. Well, this is one of my secrets.

Here are the reasons I like this app:

  • I can pick the version of the Bible I like to memorize from. (I prefer to read from the ESV but I memorize from the NKJV. Weird, I know.)

  • Flash Card Layout – I have found that flash cards and repetition are what help me learn and this works for me.

  • Quizzes – If I am not as familiar with a scripture, I will quiz myself until I can get the rhythm of it and memorize it fully.

  • Expand-ability – The app comes with a set number of great scriptures to memorize and these are a great place to start. But after a while, I want to be able to add others that I find and expand on this list.

  • Cost is only $2.99. So it is well worth it.

As I close this review, I leave you with a little Scripture for encouragement.

[12:1] I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. [2] Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

Two things from this verse.

1- Present your body as a sacrifice. – Scripture memory is not always easy. Just like life, it is not always easy. But memorizing scripture will take your relationship with God to a new level and it is worth it. Trust me.

2- Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – By memorizing the scriptures and being able to recall them as you go through your days is a way of renewing your mind in God. It will help you test and discern what is the will of God.

 


Click to Find on Amazon!

I am often asked about the books I read in seminary and although most are fascinating, I would not recommend them to most people because they can be kind of dry. However, this is a book that I believe should be essential for every Christian to read. (Along with the Bible, of course.)

In the book, Donald Whitney explains the Spiritual Disciplines in great detail. Giving you not only the Biblical reasoning but the effects of such practices and the practical know how to perform the disciplines.
Now, you maybe asking yourself “Why would I want to read anything like that? I have been a Christian for years and I have gotten along fine without it.” Well, to be honest, I would have told you the same thing before I read the book. But after I read the book, I can faithfully tell you that I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about the disciplines and that Whitney wrote in a way that made this book engaging and fun to read. So again I would encourage you to read this book for the betterment of your Christian walk.
Here is the Table of Contents so that you can get a feel for what all the book covers.
Ch 1- The Spiritual Disciplines…For the Purpose of Godliness
Ch 2- Bible Intake (Part 1)
Ch 3- Bible Intake (Part 2)
Ch 4- Prayer
Ch 5- Worship
Ch 6- Evangelism
Ch 7- Serving
Ch 8- Stewardship
Ch 9- Fasting
Ch 10- Silence and Solitude
Ch 11- Journaling
Ch 12- Learning
Ch 13- Perseverance in the Disciplines
I am in no way affiliated with the publisher or writer of this book. But I endorse this because it impacted my life and I would like that same blessing for you. Click Here for Other Recommended Reading!
If the Author or Publisher has an issue with this post, please let me know and I will remove it.

I while back I read a biography about D.L. Moody.

Click for Books By Moody

D.L. Moody was an evangelist and minister in the 1800’s who did many great things in his life and God used him in ways that cannot be explained in human terms. (I am not going to spoil all the stuff he did, you have to read the book.)

One of the things that really inspired me as I read through the book was Moody’s devotion to God. The man had an un yielding faith in the Lord’s provision and a firm passion to reach the lost for the Kingdom of God. Part of this determination stemmed from Moody’s moral convictions in his faith.

In the early portions of the book following Moody’s conversion, Moody prays for God’s movement in his life. The movement was not just for God to use him but that he would be set apart for God.


We can see that in his prayer, “Lord make me as holy as a sinner saved by grace can be.”

Click to Find on Amazon

Even though I read this book a few months ago, this prayer still sticks with me.

It convicts me to be a better person.

It inspires me to be set apart for God’s work.

It shows me that there is more to life than just my desires.

It makes me question how many of us are disqualified from God’s work because we are not as focused on Him.

It makes me wonder how much could be done if we did set our lives apart for God.

I encourage you to read the story of D.L. Moody.

I pray that it inspires you to live a life of faith in God and a life of love for the lost as Moody had.