Archive for the 'Other Blog' Category

‘Must Read’ Blog Post

I don’t know if I’ve ever written ‘must read’ other than I feel that the book Knowing God is a must read for every Christian, especially those somewhat new (advanced beginner?), as far as I’m concerned.

I found a blog post titled Bible Ignorance at Reformation21 Blog to be one of the best posts I’ve ever read. It’s aimed largely at ministers and students of theology. I’m not pointing it out for ministers; I think this applies to any student of theology, which is all of us.

You can just stop reading here and go there if you’d like.

A few years ago I made a commitment to make sure I read the Bible every single day.* What’s being said in this article makes that seem like nothing, not that I’m minimizing the importance of it. It’s nothing new; nothing we probably haven’t read before, but it really hit me this time. Matthew Henry says to pray using the language of the Bible. D.A. Carson urges us to imitate Paul in our praying. Comparing my worldly prayers to Paul’s really changed how and what I pray for. This can’t happen without knowing the Bible.

Scripture is so deep and multi-faceted, not just because of what’s written, but because the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to more and more of it the more we read and understand it (Ephesians 1:17, Hebrews 4:12). If we’re born again and the Holy Spirit resides in us, we should be glad to spend time in Scripture. If we don’t feel that way, we can pray for God to enable us, and he will do that for us–this being his will for us (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119:9-11), as we strive to spend more time (Matthew 21:22, Psalm 37:4, 1 John 5:14, Philippians 2:12b).

I often think about how much time I spend reading the Bible versus how much time I spend reading books and articles. It’s difficult to know how to balance it because the books all help to know God better through better understanding of Scripture.

*If I should forget a day for some strange reason, which I’ve done a few times in the past, God is in no way displeased with me and I don’t feel guilty–just a little silly to forget something so important. I don’t read twice as much the next day to make up for it, unless I’m on a reading plan. This doesn’t happen anymore. Just thought I’d point that out so that it doesn’t sound like a legalistic or works oriented thing.

Around the Web – Sep.22.2014

Serving Those With Mental Illness: Free eBook | HeadHeartHand Blog

It Was a ‘God Thing’ (Really?) « The Reformed Reader – Michael Horton’s book is on my wish list

Does the Bible Ever Get it Wrong? | Canon Fodder

Over 125 Free eBooks Listed Alphabetically by Author | Monergism

Why We Don't Allow Comments – Reformation21 Blog – If you read it, be sure to make it through to the part about retired people. I allow comments on my blog because almost all of them are helpful and edifying, and because of the fact that I hardly get any comments, I don’t really have to spend time moderating.

Around the Web – Sep.4.2014

A smaller list than usual:

Covenant by Michael Horton | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org – a short and very educational article

3 Tips from C.S. Lewis on Blogging and Tweeting | Nathan W. Bingham – I especially need to pay attention to #2

5 Things Jonathan Edwards Teaches Us about the Christian Life | Crossway – not what you might think

Koinonia: Michael Horton's Pilgrim Theology: 4 Coordinates of Key Doctrines, Part 1 [Infographic]
Koinonia: [Part 2] Infographic – Michael Horton's Pilgrim Theology: 4 Coordinates of Key Doctrines

Around the Web – Aug.19.14

Becoming Christ-like: The Goal of the Christian Life? | Daniel B. Wallace

Reading Tips: Read and Retain

Excellent resources on depression – Reformation21 Blog

Stopping Suicide an Info Graphic – a repeat

Heidelberg Catechism | Scripture Zealot blog – 119 through the end is a very brief primer of the Lord’s prayer and what it entails, for any of you that might be helped by it

How does God lead us? | WisdomForLife

Around the Web – Aug.5.14

The Selfie – Housewife Theologian

'Bibliotheca' Bible Project Blows Up On Kickstarter With Chapterless Bible – The Bible as Jesus read it

The Dangers and Duty of Confessing Sin to One Another – Feeding on Christ – Buzzwords–transparency and vulnerability

When We Misinterpret God | Parchment and Pen

7 Different Ways to Read a Book | Challies Dot Com – some of these could apply to Bible reading (and some definitely not!)

Infographic: 6 Counterproductive Approaches to “Studying the Bible” | Crossway

Was Jonathan Edwards a Puritan? – Reformation21 Blog – this is also educational on who the Puritans were

Do inner promptings reveal God’s will? | WisdomForLife

22 Facts About Sleep That Will Surprise You (Infographic) — Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic – not exactly on topic, and this one has made the rounds, but I know that me and at least one other reader are interested in this – I’ve read about #12 a few times now

Around the Web – July.7.14

Intimate Friendships Among Christians-Housewife Theologian – a counter to the “When Harry Met Sally” syndrome

Gordon Fee: How Should We Read the Bible? | Grace Communion International – One of my favorite videos by any Christian

Systematic Theology (240-Page excerpt) by Dr. John Frame | Monergism

Free D.A. Carson PDF books | The Lighthearted Calvinist

Top Book Recommendations by some really smart guys

The History of Madness – “John Locke notes that there is a degree of madness in almost everyone. Madness is the inability to let reason sort out mad ideas.” I’ve always believed somewhat similarly. Jesus was the only perfectly sane person. He dealt with things during the last few days before the cross in a perfectly sane way.

This post is so good, I almost put it on its own page. I was going to write some things about it, but my own frustrations might creep in. I’ll just let you read it if you’re interested.
Modern Reformation – Faith and Mental Illness by Michael S. Horton

Around the Web – May.26.14

Offer Advice Very Carefully | CCEF

The Story of the Puritans | Monergism – eBook

6 Motives to Study The Least Popular Book In The Bible | HeadHeartHand Blog – If you meander through the Bible like I often do, and are deciding what to read, give the least popular book of the Bible a try, with these helps to give you perspective.

Touchstone Archives: The Gospel Truth of Jesus
HT: A New Twist on the Quadrilemma: Lord, Liar, Lunatic, or Legend? | Daniel B. Wallace

All The Prayers Of The Bible (PDF File)

What is an evangelical? – “Until very recently…”

The State of the Bible: 6 Trends for 2014 – Barna Group “More than half of Americans (56%) are ‘pro-Bible’—meaning they believe the Bible is the actual or inspired word of God with no errors.” — Ironically, many Christians believe there are errors. I’m pleasantly surprised by the 56%.

Top 10 Books on Depression | HeadHeartHand Blog

Free yellow flower photo:

Eranthus Flower
Click for a larger one

Photo © Jeff at Scripture Zealot

Around the Web – April.9.14

This is a long one, so I’ll make it even longer. Many people post these lists every or every-other day. I used to read a lot more blogs and tried to post some noteworthy things before anyone else did. Nowadays, I collect them as I go, and when I have enough, I’ll put up a post. Some of them aren’t anything recent, but just something I came across that I like and think would be helpful and within the subject matter that I usually write about. The J. C. Ryle link would be an example of that, although many of these are a day or two old.

I have more of my own commentary on some of these today. Please only read the ones you’re interested in and don’t spend too much time reading everything.

Baker Book House Church Connection | Coming Soon – “Ordinary” by Michael Horton
A response to “radical” and “crazy” stuff, if you know what I mean. I want to get his current book on Calvin too.

Let's Stop Forgiving Those Who Don't Want Forgiveness | HeadHeartHand Blog
I once read John Stott say that we should only forgive those who ask for forgiveness, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. At first I was kind of taken aback, because the Bible so often talks about how we are to forgive others. But it made more sense over time. I’m not beyond the point of being open to other opinions, but I think this article explains that position very well. Like the writer of the article, I’m also rather annoyed when a group of people publicly forgives a mass murderer soon after they did something horrible, when they don’t have anything to do with what happened, and there was no forgiveness asked for.

Ten Lessons from a Hospital Bed | Desiring God
This is unique and not full of unrealistically positive ideals. I had an experience in the hospital that was the worst time in my life and I can relate to things that are said.

9 Lessons God Teaches Us Concerning Sickness by J. C. Ryle | Monergism
As for #3, I can assure you he’s not referring to reincarnation.

What about Life Insurance? – Eternal Perspective Ministries

2014 National Conference — Questions and Answers | Ligonier Ministries Blog
I love question and answer sessions by a panel (paneling?). Reformed Alert

Words for the Anxious Soul | Mere Orthodoxy
One of the best shorter treatments of this subject that I’ve seen.

Around the Web – March.25.14

It’s been a week since I blogged. Sometimes I’m full of it and sometimes I’m empty. I have a trio of productivity links today.

Memorizing God’s Word: Colossians – I’m contemplating this. I’ve never memorized more than a half of a chapter in the NT, so this would be quite a challenge at this point. Since I plan on studying Colossians for some time, it might be beneficial.

The Gentle Temeraire – Reformation21 Blog – J.I. Packer still has it

2014 National Conference — Audio and Video Now Available | Ligonier Ministries Blog

Stopping Suicide

8 Ways to Get More Done This Week | Challies Dot Com

7 Time Management Strategies From Some Brilliant Teenage Prodigies | Fast Company

Use These Daily Routines of 7 Famous Entrepreneurs To Create Your Own Routine

Around the Web – March.14.14

Baker Book House Church Connection | Don’t Be Afraid to Pray Like Paul – A Note on Ephesians 1:17 – A long time ago I compared my prayers to Paul’s and noticed quite a difference. For some, this can completely transform their praying. Also see Complete List of Paul's Prayers on this here blog.

Evangelical Housekeeping – Reformation21 Blog – What a mess and a struggle.

Free eBook The Scarlet Thread Through The Bible by W.A. Criswell – The Gospel Project

Reformation21 » Why Read Owen

Academic theology runs the risk of becoming a detached intellectual exercise, while pastoral ministry may lapse into an endless list of tasks without the needed times of reflection which are necessary to rightly frame one’s ministry. But the best pastors and theologians throughout the history of the Church have consistently rejected pitting these two against one another, instead seeing that theology and life are inseparable. To put it another way, if we detach our theology from our ethics, our dogmatics become lifeless and our ethics become groundless. Owen serves as a wonderful example of someone who always pushes us to avoid such a false dichotomy.

The road to joy – Reformation21 Blog

Our sense of the blessings of God is grounded not just in what we have been saved to but also in what we have been saved from. So our appreciation of the blessings in Christ are in large measure proportionate to our sense of the curse from which he has delivered us. The joy of sins forgiven will be commensurate with our grief at sins committed. Our delight in peace with God will hinge in large part on our sense that we have been at enmity with him. We will most appreciate being called sons of God when we recognise that we were by nature children of wrath. It is because our flesh and heart fail that there is sweetest relief in an unfailing God as the rock of our hearts and our portion forever.

500px / Creation – I searched for Creation at 500px and it brought up some very interesting photos and illustrations

Around the Web – Feb.28.14

Download a free excerpt of God in the Whirlwind

Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages – new to me – sort of like having e-Sword online

Stand to Reason | Never Read a Bible Verse – Gordon Fee said the worst thing to happen to the Bible is adding verse numbers

How To Write Well: 10 Essential Self-Editing Tips | Write to Done – one of the best posts I’ve seen on writing

Christians Get Depressed Too Films | HeadHeartHand Blog – her story shows how people often feel about depression until they experience it themselves

Clearance and Ultra Clearance books at Westminster Bookstore

The Importance of Theology

Both of these videos are very short.

My friend Louis posted Michael Bird on the Importance of Studying Theology on the Baker Book House Church Connection blog. I really like the video. I was annoyed that he inappropriately used the word schizophrenic at the end, but that’s of little consequence and bordering on being too PC. If you aren’t familiar with Michael Bird, he’s a very funny, and more importantly very intelligent theologian.

I found one I like even better by Timothy Keller:

What he talks about is one of the reasons I started this blog and my quest to understand right theology, which the About page kind of explains. I think that being a heretic, as Keller says, is much worse than being “schizophrenic”. He says, “Everything we do is theological; everything is based in implicit or explicit theology.” And later, “Theology and doctrine are absolutely crucial.”

I’ve seen evangelicals turn up their noses at ‘theology’. Theology isn’t ivory tower scholars making up new terms we can’t understand. It just means knowledge of God. So as many have said, we’re all theologians to one degree or another, whether it’s as a mere Christian or a theologian (or maybe scholar) who writes books on whether or not transubstantiation is legitimate. When we know and experience theology, we know and experience God, become more like him, love him more and enjoy him more. Who wouldn’t want that?

Two problems I see are:

  1. Biblical illiteracy
  2. Lack of teaching, or lack of reading on the part of the Christian

Both are easily remedied. And along with the teachers that God has gifted to help us learn more about Scripture, we also have the best teacher–the Holy Spirit, living within us.

I haven’t been reading as much lately as I’d like to. I’m always the worse for it.

Around the Web – Jan.28.13

A Biblical Understanding of Depression and Anxiety | Gospel Obsessed

John MacArthur: The Infographic | Challies Dot Com

Keeping it Real – Reformation21 Blog – at the risk of sounding arrogant–I’ve never fallen for swearing and willfully expressing sinful anger as ‘just being real’, though I like to be myself all the time and not put on a face; I know God can handle it, but He also calls us to be holy

"I'm thinking of going to the doctor for depression meds" | HeadHeartHand Blog – I think this is good advice from my own experience

Hearing the God of Job | First Thoughts – two quotes below if you don’t have time to read the post

Worship is to be a reality check which re-calibrates our minds so that we might live as aliens in a foreign land. Too often, however, it merely apes the tastes of the world outside.

Evangelicalism as a business does not place a very high premium on the kind of things for which David [book author] longs and which he believes are possible if we are intentional in pursuing them: Finely-tooled theology rooted in historic confessions; sober-minded worship; thoughtful pastoral care; and deep commitment to the church as church. How could it? These things are a minority interest and could never attract the capital necessary to sustain the big Evangelical industry over even a short period of time.

About that little voice in your heart… – Reformation21 Blog – this book that he’s quoting from is a book I read and will be drawing upon for my upcoming posts on Things Christians Say, or whatever I decide to call it

13 Things Your Greek Teachers Won’t Tell You

I like this part of a post by David Black at Dave Black Online. I think some of this information is good for everyone to know, even though most aren’t in a position to learn Greek. Although if you’d like to, there is some encouragement here. #5 is especially instructive, and shows us why words can’t just be matched up “literally”. Used with permission:

The Reader’s Digest once published an article entitled “13 Things Used Car Salesmen Won’t Tell You.” Well here are “13 Things Your Greek Teachers Won’t Tell You”:

1. Greek is not the only tool you need to interpret your New Testament. In fact, it’s only one component in a panoply of tools. Get Greek, but don’t stop there.

2. Greek is not the Open Sesame of biblical interpretation. All it does is limit your options. It tells you what’s possible, then the context and other factors kick in to disambiguate the text.

3. Greek is not superior to other languages in the world. Don’t believe it when you are told that Greek is more logical than, say, Hebrew. Not true.

4. Greek did not have to be the language in which God inscripturated New Testament truth because of its complicated syntax. Truth be told, there’s only one reason why the New Testament was written in Greek and not in another language (say, Latin), and that is a man named Alexander the Great, whose vision was to conquer the inhabited world and then unite it through a process known as Hellenization. To a large degree he succeeded, and therefore the use of Greek as the common lingua franca throughout the Mediterranean world in the first century AD should come as no surprise to us today.

5. Greek words do not have one meaning. Yet how many times do we hear in a sermon, “The word in the Greek means…”? Most Greek words are polysemous, that is, they have many possible meanings, only one of which is its semantic contribution to any passage in which it occurs.

6. Greek is not difficult to learn. I’ll say it again: Greek is not difficult to learn. I like to tell my students, “Greek is an easy language; it’s us Greek teachers who get in the way.” The point is that anyone can learn Greek, even a poorly-educated surfer from Hawaii. If I can master Greek, anyone can!

7. Greek can be acquired through any number of means, including most beginning textbooks. Yes, I prefer to use my own Learn to Read New Testament Greek in my classes, but mine is not the only good textbook out there.

8. Greek students think they can get away with falling behind in their studies. Folks, you can’t. I tell my students that it’s almost impossible to catch up if you get behind even one chapter in our textbook. Language study requires discipline and time management skills perhaps more than any other course of study in school.

9. Greek is fun! At least when it’s taught in a fun way.

10. Greek is good for more than word studies. In fact, in the past few years I’ve embarked on a crusade to get my students to move away from word-bound exegesis. Greek enables us to see how a text is structured, how it includes rhetorical devices, how syntactical constructions are often hermeneutical keys, etc.

11. Greek can cause you to lose your faith. When the text of Scripture becomes nothing more than “another analyzable datum of linguistic interpretation,” it loses its power as the Word of God.

12. Greek can be learned in an informal setting. The truth is that you do not need to take a formal class in this subject or in any subject for that matter. I know gobs of homeschoolers who are using my grammar in self-study, many of whom are also using my Greek DVDs in the process.

13. Greek is not Greek. In other words, Modern Greek and Koine Greek are two quite different languages. So don’t expect to be able to order a burrito in Athens just because you’ve had me for first year Greek. On the other hand, once you have mastered Koine Greek it is fairly easy to work backwards (and learn Classical Greek) and forwards (and learn Modern Greek).

Okay, I’m done. And yes, I’m exaggerating. Many Greek teachers do in fact tell their students these things!

Around the Web – Jan.17.14

5 Ways Physical Training Helps With Spiritual Training – I am a retired exercise evangelist. I could add a lot to this, but I’m still retired.

Death and Resurrection: The Key to the Old Testament | The Christward Collective

Nine Reasons Why I Am Thankful To Be A Calvinist | Alastair's Adversaria
HT: Thomas Provost

The shocking secret to finding God’s will | Blogging Theologically – (Vipre anti-virus users may get a false positive)

An All-Consuming Passion for Jesus (Free eBook) | Desiring God