Get them while they’re hot. This is an affiliate link on one big image. Same price to you.
Get them while they’re hot. This is an affiliate link on one big image. Same price to you.
In case you haven’t noticed. I’m also not a teacher and really don’t have any authority. This quote would apply to me also:
I’m a guy who reads too much on a narrow range of subjects that I scarcely understand who spouts whatever no doubt incorrect opinion occurs to him. No academics here, I promise you!
–Rick Sumner, The Dilettante Exegete – he’s half joking, and there’s a big inside joke regarding that term
I know a thing or two about chronic suffering and how not to treat people who are, plus I have a whole lot of pet peeves to write about. Otherwise, I just write about things I’m learning, and point out resources I’ve found that I think are interesting, so of course you should be interested in them too. Notice I didn’t use the word ‘share’–one of my pet peeves. I thought I’d point that out to any readers who might be new. I really appreciate the people who read this blog, whether you read it regularly, just what catches your eye on Twitter, Facebook, E-mail or your RSS feed, or have arrived from some sort of search or link. I still struggle with why I write it and whether it’s worth the time spent.
Just so this post isn’t totally devoid of value, I’ll leave you with one of the random quotes I like to collect:
There is not a single verse or passage in Scripture, whether in a narrative account or in prescriptive or descriptive texts, regarding the use of a “Sinner’s Prayer” in evangelism. Not one.
The big change is I made is the title, or subject line of each post bigger and with more space above and below it. In Internet Explorer (does anyone still use that?), the text looks huge. But it probably did before too. On Chrome the title didn’t look different in size than the other text, on my system anyway–it was just bold and squeezed in. The CSS code was puzzling to me, but I finally figured it out.
I dread the day, which may have already come, when the theme looks outdated. I hope, at least, it’s very readable and well organized. I spent too much time on it to want to change it, even though that was initially about seven years ago.
I’m still on somewhat of a blogging hiatus or slump. I’ve been having some difficulties and low motivation along with it, but I’m confident it will come back again at some point. I’m wondering about another August Experiment, but I have no idea if the mojo will be back by then. I had just gotten started on the Christian Sayings series before the hiatus/slump. I plan on getting that going again.
For those who know him, I heard a tiny whisper that Esteban, who helped me with learning the reconstructed historical Koine Greek pronunciation, as opposed to the barbaric Erasmian phonetic pronunciation rules, which nobody who spoke or speaks Greek ever sounded like in any way (don’t get me started), might be looking at his pen. Esteban keeps teasing us once every six months on Twitter and I really don’t like it. At all. Maybe, just maybe, it will really happen this time, but I’m not going to expect it and get my hopes smashed (worse than dashed) yet again.
And for you grammar geeks, if you haven’t seen it yet, I give you this video, which was presented to me by Stan.
Do not be preoccupied with evildoers.
Do not envy those who do wicked things.
This includes living vicariously through criminal characters in certain video games.
Live in the land, and practice being faithful.
Do not be preoccupied with an evildoer
who succeeds in his way when he carries out his schemes.
Psalm 37:3b, 7b
Why practice being wicked by getting farther in a game?
The way of wicked people is disgusting to the LORD,
but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
This post is for Christians. A few years ago my eyes were opened up to how many play these types of games. I mostly want to let Scripture speak for itself.
A ramble without much coherency:
On the TV show Bones, they portrayed Dutch Reformed as a strict religious “” — this the show that lately seems to have a moral message to teach us in most episodes. We like the show because in addition to liking the crime solving genre, the violence is usually not shown because they only find the bones afterwards, there is not an inordinate amount of immoral stuff, and the characters generally really love and care about each other. Lately, they usually have some sort of PC message they want to teach us, because those in Hollywood are such good teachers of morality, I suppose.
In this episode, they showed a “Dutch Reformed” woman who burned someone’s house down because the house’s owner was an apostate heretic, if I remember correctly. The person was actually Dutch and wasn’t a US citizen. Similar to most African Americans having recently stepped off the plane from Africa.
If I was anything specific, it might be Dutch Reformed or Puritan, which is why it kind of got my dander up. (I don’t know what dander is, but it must have been up.) Rather offensive, but not surprising. I think they should have used Puritan. They’re already one of the most misunderstood groups of people anyway.
I/we need to realize that as Christians, we are now targets. Gone are the days of being a Christian nation, being a law abiding citizen is something of an honor, God fearing being something to aspire to (and know what it means). I know this sounds negative, but I don’t mean it that way. I’m just saying that we need to accept this reality. We need to be ready to be blasted when we say that Jesus is the only way to heaven (the Father), or that sex outside of a heterosexual marriage is wrong, or a host of other things that reside in the law of Scripture. We can always just say that Jesus loves everybody, but that isn’t the whole truth. It’s certainly safer, but it takes sin out of the picture. Isn’t that the reason we need Jesus’ love?
I suppose we love others with the love of Jesus, and if they are offended, they are offended by Jesus, and if they are attracted, they have been drawn by God.
Don’t ask, “Why were things better in the old days than they are now?” It isn’t wisdom that leads you to ask this!
Ecclesiastes 7:10 GW
“And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
Matthew 11:6 NASB
Some voices aren’t being heard very well. I’d like to point out the ones that should be. There is a very dangerous trend–or maybe it has been the norm and isn’t surfacing until now–going on in evangelicalism where things like plagiarism has become common, for one reason or another. Then there is the issue of ghost writing. Some think they are above the law or it’s OK because it’s the norm in the industry, which is a problem. Many times the larger entity will threaten the criticizer.
There is something similar going on in the supplement industry, mainly supplements for strength athletes. Bloggers and Youtoubers who are writing and speaking critically of supplements and the industry itself are being strongarmed by supplement companies. There are even allegations where a supplement company will send a supplement to a Youtuber for a review, and if it’s negative, they will threaten them in some way or another. Fortunately this isn’t happening in the Christian publishing industry, and I can’t imagine it ever happening at any point. (What would us bloggers do without our free books?) It’s a long story, but the vast majority of supplements marketed to help with weight training do absolutely nothing. When they are called on it, some get very upset.
Here are some of the relevant links. Although this blog isn’t a “discernment blog” where I look for others to criticize, this is very dangerous and dark, and shouldn’t be allowed to happen. It needs to be brought into the light, and there needs to be enough awareness and backlash so that eventually it will be seen as the sin that it is.
Finished is in scare quotes because I don’t think I’ll ever really know the material well. But it only took me about four years. That’s how long it takes normal people, right? I did have a couple of breaks for surgeries, many weeks where I just wasn’t right, many restarts, and other bumps along the way. I started with Croy’s grammar, which is excellent, and got Mounce as a secondary source. Then I requested a review copy of David Black’s book, and they also gave me the workbook. I had to beg them for the document with the answers. I liked it and switched to it. I think I’ve gone through it about 2 1/2 times because I would go through several chapters and then feel like I wasn’t really learning it, and then start over.
At some point I wanted something really different, so I got Dobson’s book, which is what I needed. Then about 2/3rds of the way through I got kind of lost, as seems to happen with many grammars. I also took an online conversational Greek course where I wasn’t able to conversate much when I got done. Then I got really serious earlier this year and went back to Black and did everything in the workbook, which is a lot. I’m so glad they sent me that. I think it’s more expensive than the book, although it has so many mistakes, it’s hard to trust it. (It wasn’t put together by Prof. Black.) So, I know just enough Greek to be dangerous. I don’t have to worry about being arrogant about my knowledge of Greek or delve into it on this blog, unless it’s quoting a scholar who knows it.
So now what? For now I’m going to spend less time on Greek than I have been. I miss memorizing Scripture, and I want more time to read. Not to harp on it, but with chronic fatigue, I only have so much mental in addition to physical energy. I’d love to study for hours a day. As far as Greek, I get to freelance. I’m going to keep up the vocabulary, but not work on it everyday. I’ll read some passages in the Greek NT that I have memorized in English. I may go back to the Dobson book and just casually go through it, and maybe Mounce later on. There is an online community where they communicate in Greek. I may lurk there.
I’m very eager to start studying Colossians. This is something I’ve been looking forward to for years. I don’t know when the idea first came up, but I did my Three Year Plan where I read a commentary on each book of the NT, which lasted four years. Then I did my Year of the Old Testament, which lasted two years. Then I did my Year of the Psalms, which lasted less than a year (as planned), along with reading most of the OT again and finally reading a great commentary on Job. It may have been before all of that when I got the idea, so it’s been a long time coming. (I don’t have any grand future plans at this time other than various books I want to read.)
It started when I listened to a sermon by John Piper on Colossians 1:9-20. He said, “Memorize this!” and I did. Since then I’ve had a special affection for the book. I’ve been reading it numerous times the last week, and have started reading it in different translations. Then I’ll read all of the introductions I can find, like the NLT and ESV Study Bibles, An Introduction to the New Testament, and other various sources. Then I’ll use various exegesis helps like Fee’s NT Exegesis, a new book I got called A Handbook of New Testament Exegesis by Craig L. Blomberg et. all, and Bibleworks. I have Moo’s commentary and Colossians and Philemon (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament) which I can hopefully understand and use. Also some great stuff at Epistle to the Colossians Resources Online » All Things Expounded. I plan on this being a years-long thing. I’d like to write a Bible study on it eventually.
There is a professor out there who has concentrated on Colossians for many years. I read about him once a long time ago and can’t find him. Let me know if you know who that is or if you have any other resources.
I will also have a couple of book reviews coming up. One on Thinking Rightly About Christ and another on What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About. Possibly at least one book giveaway and hopefully other things.
This is a most unusual post for this blog. Since the vast majority who read this blog agree with me, I don’t know if it makes sense to post it, so feel free to skip it.
The word transparent may not mean what some might have first thought. I am pro-life, and if you disagree with that, I’m not forcing you to read this. I’m just ruminating about something I was thinking about today.
I was thinking today about something where somehow my mind went to the question of: What if people’s bodies were transparent and you could see through to a baby/fetus inside of a woman? I wonder if that would sway anyone who is undecided on the issue. If some who insist on having an abortion were had a mirror above the table (extremely cruelly I admit), would that make them less likely to have one? Again, I realize that’s an awful thought, but I believe that abortion is an awful, horrific thing, to be transparent myself. I realize that some women feel, at the time, that they need to have an abortion and seeing it performed would make it even more traumatic.
I know I’m not the first person to think of this, but I hadn’t seen it mentioned before. I only found one item when searching for it online.
In this age when people don’t want to put animals in cages to grow them and use them for food, want organic food, insist on fair trade that isn’t usually fair, won’t eat any animal products for moral reasons, etc., it’s amazing how the majority opinion on aborting a human fetus hasn’t really changed very much. There are various freedoms that are out of whack too. People can kill a baby in a womb, but can’t buy raw milk in the U.S., or not very easily. (I’m not saying I think it’s fine to put animals in tiny cages all their lives.)
Remember, if you disagree with me, nobody forced you to read this post. I’m not shoving my opinion down anyone’s throat, I’m just writing about something I thought of today. I’m wondering if the status of a fetus will be raised to that of many animals at some point in my lifetime. I will present Scripture, which I’m confident is inspired by God, but you don’t have to read it.
Least of all, I am in no way commenting on those who have had abortions and feel remorse. That’s past. Many women just don’t realize what’s really going on at that time. If people believe Jesus came to die to forgive our wrongdoings and just plain depraved nature, and rose again to make us innocent, God will actually live with us and help us to get to know him, which is an amazing thing. For those who don’t believe that, it’s your choice, and it’s not my job to condemn anyone. I hope people can be tolerant and respectful of my opinions.
The most amazing verse in the Bible to me lately is John 17:3:
This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
A righteous person cares even about the life of his animals,
but the compassion of wicked people is nothing but cruelty.
Defend weak people and orphans.
It was brought to my attention that those who are behind a proxy server couldn’t comment. For those interested, there is a WordPress plugin called WP-SpamFree that helps cut down the spam more than Askimet and it has a checkbox like this:
__Allow users behind proxy servers to comment?
Most users should leave this unchecked. Many human spammers hide behind proxies.
But I’ve occasionally had people who couldn’t comment, and now I know why. So I’m going to see how it goes. A while ago I was getting a ton of spam and this plugin helped cut it down to nothing.
If you’ve had problems and would like to test it, please do.
Here is a bonus quote:
There is no end of books, and yet we seem to need more every day. There was such a darkness brought in by the fall, as will not thoroughly be dispelled till we come to heaven; where the sun shineth without either cold or night. For the present, all should contribute their help according to the rate and measure of their abilities. Some hold up a candle, others a torch; but all are useful. The press is an excellent means to scatter knowledge, were it not so often abused.
All complain there is enough written, and think that now there should be a stop. Indeed, it were well if in this scribbling age there were some restraint. Useless pamphlets are grown almost as great a mischief as the erroneous and profane.
Yet tis not good to shut the door upon industry and diligence. There is yet room left to discover more, above all that hath been said, of the wisdom of God and the riches of his grace in the gospel; yea, more of the stratagems of Satan and the deceitfulness of man’s heart. Means need to be increased every day to weaken sin and strengthen trust, and quicken us to holiness.
Fundamentals are the same in all ages, but the constant necessities of the church and private Christians, will continually enforce a further explication. As the arts and slights [expertise] of besieging and battering increase, so doth skill in fortification. If we have no other benefit by the multitude of books that are written, we shall have this benefit: an opportunity to observe the various workings of the same Spirit about the same truths, and indeed the speculation is neither idle nor unfruitful.
–Cited from Thomas Manton’s letter to the reader in The Works of Richard Sibbes, 3:3.
HT: Joel Beeke
The more expensive 7″ HDX model has a full HD 1920 x 1200 pixel screen which gives it a very high pixel density. The more expensive HDX 8.9″ is slightly denser. There will be some new software features as an upgrade in November.
We have a 10″ Samsung that we use for a mobile TV that’s 1280 x 800 and that looks fantastic, but when I look at text up close, I can see just a bit of lack of sharpness in the text.
For reading, I use an old 4″ Nokia tablet that I got on eBay that was made in 2008 before tablets were popular. They were ahead of their time. It has a great screen. When that goes out on me, like the 2006 model I had, I’ll have to probably find a phone to use as a 5″ tablet which is my preferred size. Samsung and a few others made 4 and 5″ tablets, but it looks like those are a thing of the past already.
I got majorly flamed on Facebook regarding yesterday’s post on Bible translation. They thought I was starting another mini-translation war and… well it was so wild I can’t even remember it all. I also wish people would man up and post those things here on the blog. My Facebook world is even smaller than my micro space in the blogosphere.
That post wasn’t to denigrate anyone or any translation style. When I dish something out, I make sure I can take it. But I wasn’t dishing anything out, and I had to unexpectedly take something major that I wasn’t ready for by a friend on Facebook. So if any of you misunderstood what I was trying to say, it was basically that I don’t believe that translations that are on the literal (formal equivalent) end are necessarily ‘better’ than other less literal translations, but I wasn’t denigrating them either, if you read the post with an open mind. (I used to be in the ‘literal is better’ camp myself.) I can’t say that I have an English degree, know the original languages and went to seminary (as many are more than willing to point out), but translation philosophy is a big interest of mine, and I have opinions. I ain’t got nothin’ I’m gonna brag about. I was expressing thankfulness for the fact that there are so many translations. I was thankful that I found one that’s different and that I enjoy so much. The subject line was also for shock value. It’s what many of us bloggers like to do to bring a reader in.
This is the third time this has happened and I get really upset when people misunderstand me, especially if it’s my fault and I wasn’t clear. Sometimes I just write things in my own little head and don’t think about how others may be viewing it. I’m not apologizing for my opinions or even if I offended anyone, only if I was misunderstood and could have written things more clearly.
Here is a quote by David Black:
Someone once asked me why I blog. I told him that my blog is nothing more than a personal interpretation of my world.
That’s partly what I was doing in that post. Writing about how I view Bible translation and where I have arrived for now, or hopefully a long time. This could change again in a few years, just like it did a few years ago.
David Black asks: “Why do you blog?”
I started out mainly to write about what I’ve been learning and to learn from others. Unfortunately I don’t get many commenters. Early on I spent more time on what I was learning from what I was reading. I’m not spending as much time doing that, but still do. I also like to pass on things that interest me and hopefully like-minded readers. I often end up searching my own blog for a resource.
As I’ve grown to learn more about suffering, I like to write about that subject a fair amount. It’s one of the things I can write about that I have some experience with and knowledge to write about. I have to be careful not to look like I’m trying to get attention or act like I’m special.
Someone I respect (Dr. G) once called my blog a ministry. This really was kind of a shock. I never thought of it that way. It makes me take it more seriously. At the same time, I’m trying to be more myself and let a sense of humor come out. But in doing that and expressing myself more, I can get misunderstood, which makes me want to just stop blogging altogether. I lately have been wondering if it is worth the time. I don’t enjoy writing, but often feel it’s worth it. I feel like I’m at a crossroads right now. Why do I blog now?
I’m gearing up for the posts on Christian sayings. (I even wrote the first post, so I’m not just endlessly writing about it anymore.) That will be dishing some stuff out. I’ll see how that goes. I think it will be beneficial for some, offensive to others, and cathartic for me. If everything goes snap, then who knows, maybe I’ll spend more time reading.
Thank you for visiting and thanks to David Black for the mention. If I didn’t have such “abysmal Alexa ratings” I may not have been mentioned. That’s OK, it’s always been that way as far as I know.
That’s a statement, not a question.
I hate talking/writing about myself, but I like reading what’s going on with others, and others like reading that type of stuff, so I’ll try it again here. I did that once on Facebook and people said it was good and that they knew how to pray for me. I was taken aback by that, in a good way.
As written before, blogging has been sparse lately, as planned. It’s been longer than expected because lately, pain, fatigue, depression and anxiety have all gotten worse at times. They are all chronic, but they all flare up. Depression has been a little better for quite a while, but it got pretty bad over the weekend. Why, I don’t know, other than some very bad pain after changing some meds around in the lumbar pain pump. I had that adjusted today, and if you would like to pray about that, and about handling all of these conditions, that would be great.
A couple of months ago I finally tried going gluten free. I always resisted the fad. I hate it when someone is gluten intolerant or has full blown Celiac disease and then thinks half the population is just like them and should go gluten free. But with my symptoms, it would be silly not to try it. I think it’s a step or two life upgrade. Although this last week has me wondering. In any case, it has caused me to eat better than I ever have. Soon, I will eat food with gluten and see what happens. That will be the real test. Sometimes I wonder why God lets things go on so long, or doesn’t ‘let us know’ about something. Like I just discovered that if I put a much thicker pillow between my knees for the part of the night that I lie on my side(s), my morning pain isn’t quite as bad. I also wonder why God didn’t get me reading the Bible and saving me until I was 19 years old. Just imagine if I was catechized in the Reformed tradition as a kid? I could boast about all the knowledge I had. Which could be one reason why. Not that we can figure Him out.
I really got enthusiastic about Greek earlier this year. Like I wanted to conquer it. Beggining level anyway. I’ve been using the workbook counterpart to Black’s grammar because just going through the book and its exercises wasn’t enough. I committed to learning beginning Greek, and even though it’s been 3 1/2 years, I think I will have gotten through it well enough to say I’ve really gotten through it. I’m on chapter 20 now and should be ‘done’ by November. Now I really miss memorizing Scripture and having more time to read. But I don’t want to stop Greek altogether. So I don’t know what I’ll do. After finishing the workbook (and I’ve gone through Black’s book three times, 2/3 of Dobson’s, part of Croy’s, an online ‘conversational’ course, and a smattering of Mounce) I’d like to just read the Greek using Mounces’ Interlinear and maybe look into some online communities. Then I’ll either keep reading Greek, or just use it for study. I’m very conflicted right now. Because of chronic fatigue, I have to sleep so much that I don’t have as much time to read as I would like. Lately I’ve been falling asleep an hour earlier than normal too, which is part of the time I read.
I really want to blog more, but I’ve been wasting/spending time looking into health and exercise stuff, even though I can’t do much of the latter, and it seems like I’m always researching stuff. We ‘cut the cable’ (Dish actually), and there was a lot of research that went into that, going with TiVo, and a tablet to use as portable TV in three other rooms. It’s been working better than expected and will save about $800 a year, not including the startup costs.
I’m still planning on doing a big series on Christian sayings/cliches/platitudes. I won’t just be listing them and making fun of them–in addition to that I’ll be trying to be positive and write about alternatives, why many of those are used, and whatever else I come up with. I have a large notebook in Evernote that is ever-increasing in information on that. It’s a humorous but also very sad situation.
John Owen is now my BFF–I love reading him, and God is using that in a great way–along with contemporaries (in time, not association) Carl Trueman (that’s me looking in your living room window–nice bunny slippers BTW) and Michael Horton. Since some have trouble with Owen, I’d like to post some quotes soon.
I may also start an off-topic day, which would obliquely be on-topic, and I want to do a post on spending less time on the Internet, since it’s something I’ve been working on so much myself. Don’t worry about me telling you that spending time online is ruining your brain though. No commitments on those though, only the Christian sayings stuff.
I also want to stress that I’m not a teacher. I don’t have any authority, even if there are a couple of subjects I feel I can write about on my own. I’m mainly posting what I’m learning and using quotes and material from those who do have some authority, and pointing out things I’ve come across that may help others. I obviously have zeal for knowing God through Scripture and want to express that. I try to combine quotes, Scripture, personal opinion and experience all together to hopefully edify others. Someone once asked what “Scripture Zealot’s stance” is on something. I tried to tell them that my name is Jeff, and I was just posting a couple of opposing quotes along with Scripture for your information. I knew I made it when I got my own troll. Carl Trueman has mentioned that some have blogs and try to be an authority when they’re not. Or shoot others down when they don’t know details of a situation. I hope to avoid that.
Thanks for reading all of this. I hope it didn’t cause you to spend less time reading something more important.
This item starts shipping on September 30, 2013
I’ve been considering this while saving gift certificates, waiting for the next generation for more even light, but I still can’t decide if I want this or a tablet. My super old Nokia tablet, made before tablets were popular, is aging.
As I’m taking a bit of a respite from blogging, I remembered that I can do what other slackers do and just repost stuff I’ve written before. How easy is that?
This one is serious though. I feel it’s the most important thing God has shown me and that I’ve posted in a long time.
When we’re convicted of sin, or spoken to by God, or our eyes are opened to something in Scripture, we can’t expect it to have the same impact on others as it has had on us. It’s very frustrating to read authors who feel that everybody has the same weaknesses. People are on different timetables and have different strengths and weaknesses. But aside from that, the sin of murmuring, as Thomas Watson puts it, is something I see a lot of that goes largely unnoticed, including myself of course, until recently. I mean noticed, not taken care of. That will come. But I’ve made progress already. The post is recent, from July 2.
This is a sin I haven’t really been aware of much lately. It isn’t talked about often. Thomas Watson writes about this in The Art of Divine Contentment. I’ve been making an effort to think more positively, or less negatively, but when he uses the word murmur and explains it like he does, it’s very convicting. I can see how this is subtly insidious, and the devil would love to see a lot of it, without our ever really realizing it as long as it stays under the radar, so to speak. I can also see how profitable this would be if it could be reduced by working on it with God’s grace.
Thou that art a murmurer art in the account of God as a witch, a sorcerer, as one that deals with the devil: this is a sin of the first magnitude. Murmuring oft ends in cursing: Micah’s mother fell to cursing when the talents of silver were taken away, (Judges 17:2) so doth the murmurer when a part of his estate is taken away. Our murmuring is the devil’s music; this is that sin which God cannot bear: “how long shall I bear with this evil congregation which murmur against me?” (Num. 14:27) It is a sin which whets the sword against a people: it is a land-destroying sin; “neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” (1 Cor. 10:10) It is a ripening sin this; without mercy it will hasten England’s funerals. O then how excellent is , which prevents this sin! To be contented, and yet murmur is a : a contented Christian doth acquiesce in his present condition, and doth not murmur, but admire. Herein appears the excellency of contentation; it is a spiritual antidote against sin.
I think that letting this happen is one way that nice young people can become cranky old people. Not cranky like Carl Trueman, but truly mean and destructively negative people. But remember not to murmur about them. Some are in a lot of pain in one way or another, have systems in their brain or hormones that are out of whack, or who knows what. And some people have a heart of gold under that protective veneer.
Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
Philippians 2:14 NIV
Also see (because people murmur a lot about politics and whatnot):
The Contemporary Calvinist: Christians Have a Choice to Make: God or Country?