Greek Devotions

Bible Study, ministry No Comments

Recently, I uploaded a new book review on the book review page of my blog.  The book reviewed is Devotions on the Greek New Testament by J. Scott Duvall & Verlyn D. Verbrugge, editors.  The book contains 52 essays on various passages in the New Testament.  The main idea behind the book is to demonstrate how the knowledge of the Greek language is beneficial to New Testament exegesis.  There are insights that can be gained by knowing Greek grammar and syntax that cannot be known by reading the text in English.  Also, Greek word studies help identify links between passages of Scripture that aid in ascertaining the meaning of words and the variety of meaning of words in the New Testament.  Over 30 New Testament Greek scholars contributed to the essays in the book.  The reader should know that a knowledge of New Testament Greek is helpful for gleaning the most out of the book.  This book is written primarily for those ministers who took New Testament Greek and then abandoned it in their studies because they felt it was not productive or too much work.
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Problems With Bible Classes/Sunday School

apologetics, Bible Study, inspiration of scriptures No Comments

     As a follow-up to the previous blog, I wanted to give you some information from the book Already Gone written by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer.  A survey of 1,000 20-somethings who regularly attended church as children and teens, were asked, “Did you often attend Sunday School?”  In reply, 61 percent said yes; and 39 percent said no.  The survey found that “Sunday school is actually more likely to be detrimental to the spiritual and moral health of our children” (p. 38).  Children who regularly attend Sunday School are actually:
     1.  More likely NOT to believe that all the accounts/stories in the Bible are true/accurate.
     2.  More likely to doubt the Bible because it was written by men.
     3.  More likely to doubt the Bible because it was not translated correctly.
    4.  More likely to defend premarital sex.
     5.  More likely to defend that abortion should continue to be legal.
     6.  More likely to accept that gay marriage should be legal.
     7.  More likely to believe that God used evolution to change one kind of animal into another.
     8.  More likely NOT to believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old.
     9.  More likely to question the Bible because they believe the earth is not less than 10,000 years old.
    10.  More likely to doubt the Bible because of secular dates of billions of years for the age of the earth.
    11.  More likely to have heard a minister/Sunday school teacher teach Christians could believe in millions/billions of years.
    12.  More likely to question the earth is young and the days of creation are 24 hours each.
    13.  More likely to believe that dinosaurs died out before people were on the planet.
    14.  More likely to view the Church as hypocritical.
    15.  More likely to have become anti-church through the years.
    16.  More likely to believe that good people don’t need to go to church.    (see p. 39 of Already Gone)
     Belief in the Bible as the Word of God is diminshing among many young people, even those who have attended Bible classes or Sunday School.  These young people are rejecting the historical accuracy of the Bible.  They are rejecting the inspiration and authority of the Word of God.  Why?  Secular humanism (denial of God and His Word) and postmodernism (rejection of an objective standard of truth) have taken their toll on the faith of many children.  What they are taught in the classrooms of our schools is slowly winning out over what they are taught in Bible classes. 
     What can we do about this situation?  Spiritual leaders must continue to teach and to defend the Word of God.  We must be able to prove the case for the inspiration and authority of God’s Word.  Bible classes must not only teach the content of Scripture, but must also provide evidence for the veracity of Scripture.  Bible classes must not be “play time” and “chat times.”  They need to be rooted and grounded in Scripture with an emphasis on the evidences that show Scripture to be valid and believable.

The Bible On Trial

Bible Study, faith, Higher Criticism No Comments

     The Bible on Trial is a new book by Wayne Jackson.  I have written a brief review of this book and posted it on this site under book reviews.  Some of the excerpts below will give you an idea of the value of this book.
     Consider the integrity of the text of the Old Testament.  “Let us compare Isaiah 53 in the Masoretic Text with that of the Dead Sea Scrolls–and remember, the two are separated by a thousand years of time.  Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only seventeen letters in question.  Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense.  Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions.  The remaining three letters comprise the word “light,” which is added in verse eleven, and does not affect the meaning greatly.  Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission, and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage (Geisler and Nix 1986, 263–quoted by Jackson, p. 260-261).
     The marvelous accuracy of the New Testament.  “In Acts, Luke mentions thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine Mediterranean islands.  He also mentions ninety-five persons, sixty-two of which are not named elsewhere in the New Testament.  And his references, where checkable, are always correct” (Jackson, p. 27).
     The wonderful unity of the Bible.  “The sacred Scriptures were written by some forty different persons, over a span of some 1,600 years.   These authors, from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds, writing in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), produced a volume of sixty-six books that is characterized by such an amazing unity and beautiful continuity as to be inexplicable on the basis of mere human origin” (Jackson, p. 26).  The unity of the Bible is seen in its theme, plan, doctrine and factual harmony.
     These exerpts contain a sample of insights into the sacred Scriptures that will thrill any Bible student.  This 294 page, paper-back book, is worth reading and studying.  I highly recommend it to you.

Thoughts On Bible Study

Bible Study No Comments

Alexander Campbell’s Study-Bethany, WV
     Could anyone estimate the number of hours Alexander Campbell spent in his study at Bethany, WV?  He would arise about 4 a.m. and go to the study to begin work.  He wrote more than 60 volumes.  He edited two papers: The Christian Baptist and the Millennial Harbinger.  In this study, he prepared for his five major debates.   
     The original study was hexagonal by design.  The only windows were located in the cupola in the center of the study where light would flood in from above.  In 1836, Campbell added a rectangular extension to the study so a fireplace could be added.  Shelves lined the interior of the study and were filled with books.  Many of these books have been catalogued and are on display in the Campbell room of the library at Bethany. 
     The diligent study of God’s Word was an important discipline in the life of Campbell.  Every Christian should heed the instruction of the apostle Paul, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15).   Consider these three steps for Bible study.
      -The first step is to study.  Reading is not study.  Reading devotionally is good and essential.  However, one can read a lifetime devotionally and never acquire an in-depth knowledge of the sacred Scriptures.  Study regularly at least 15 minutes a day at the same hour in the same location.
       -Study under controlled conditions.  Our minds are so constituted that they operate at top efficiency only when they are allowed to do so under conditioned and orderly circumstances.  Every person should have a quiet nook, a study table, and study tools arranged in an orderly fashion. 
       -Study with the proper tools.  Select a good study Bible that is an accurate and trustworthy translation.  I would recommend the King James Version.  It has stood the test of time and criticism.  You will need a collegiate dictionary, a good Bible Dictionary (Smith’s Bible Dictionary or J. D. Douglas’ Bible dictionary called The New Bible Dictionary), a concordance (Strong’s has a numbering system that connects it with other tools for Bible study), and a large loose-leaf notebook for taking notes on your study.
       How do you begin?  Study systematically.  Take a book of the Bible that is of interest to you and begin reading and outlining each chapter.  Ask yourself these questions:  who is speaking?, to whom is he speaking?, who is the author?, what is the topic?, where is this taking place? why is this being written?, when do these events take place?, and how does this text relate to me today?  Let me suggest the books of Luke and Acts.  Bible study that is regular, personal, deliberate, and diligent will pay big dividends in spiritual growth.  The New Year has just begun.  Why not get started with your study of the sacred Scriptures today?