Tag Archive for 'Study'

‘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.

100 Awesome Open Courses for Bibliophiles

Book lovers and collectors don’t have to stop learning after they graduate college. There are loads of free courses to take online that will supply you with reading lists, information about the history of books and manuscripts, linguistics, foreign literature, ancient texts and more. Here are 100 awesome open courses for bibliophiles.

100 Awesome Open Courses for Bibliophiles
Scroll down to Ancient Texts for the most relevant ones.

Review: Bible Study Magazine

Bible Study Magazine Cover Ryan Burns from Logos Bible Software graciously sent me a review copy of Bible Study Magazine.

If you go to their Preview page you will find some sample pages of the first issue and a video with a rundown of all the articles in the magazine by John Barry, Associate Manager and Project Editor. I’ll try not to repeat what’s already covered there in this review. I also will not be critiquing the content of each article.

This issue is 49 pages long. There aren’t an inordinate amount of ads. The multi-page articles are continuous and not broken up by full page ads or continuation later in the magazine which is nice.

Their statement of faith is the Apostles’ Creed. The magazine doesn’t seem to have a theological bent as far as I can tell at this point.

It’s interesting to see what Josh McDowell is up to these days. The article mentions how he became a Christian, how he got into apologetics and how it’s useful in different situations, how he prepares for speaking engagements and how he uses Logos Bible Software. This article is a generous five pages.

Daniel Wallace writes an article on Bible translations. This is a very short primer for those who may have used only one translation and are curious about what else it out there. Wallace briefly explains the difficulty of translating a language, basic translation philosophies and why translations are different. He seems to prefer formal equivalence over functional equivalence.

A paragraph each is written for the N/KJV, N/RSV, ASV/NASB, NEB/REB, T/NIV, NLT, HCSB, ESV, NET and he pulls no punches on the New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witnesses). He seems to prefer the ESV and NET.

The magazine is sprinkled with links to areas on the Logos web site, like Resources on the Book of Hebrews and outside resources like DeadSeaScrolls.org.

A few of the questions that are answered in this issue are:

  • What is the Great Isaiah Scroll?
  • What is the Areogapus?
  • How do I find out more about the Greek word used for power (dunamis) as it’s used in Luke?
  • Who is Cyril of Alexandria?
  • Why is John 5:4 absent in many Bible translations?

As you can see, some of these things can be found on the Web. For those who like to read in print, these articles can be good starting points and provide new ideas for subjects to look into further. Other material will tend to be more exclusive, like the interviews, which tend to be the more extensive articles—and multi-issue articles.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m gushing, but I can’t remember the last time I read a magazine where I was interested in nearly every article and read the magazine from cover to cover (although the latter is partly because I’m doing this review).

In these times it’s extremely difficult to launch a magazine and keep it going. I hope this magazine will be helpful in getting people interested in Logos software and be profitable enough for it to be sustained for the long term.

Bible Study Magazine Web Site

Free Greek Resources

1. Suzanne
2. Esteban
3. Bible Geek Gone Wild

Any others?

See the comments for more.

Brief NLT Study Bible Observations

I won this from commenting on the NLT blog. I was very surprised to get mine this early. Thank you very much to Tyndale.

The dust cover has been removed for these photos. I think they could have done without it. Having the design on the hardcover looks very nice and is similar to what the BECNT and NIVAC commentaries do for example.


The pages are very thin and there is quite a bit of bleed through compared to what I’m used to. I wouldn’t mind if the Bible was 15% thicker with heavier paper but I’m sure even more people would then complain about how the Bible is too heavy and thick. Since it’s a study Bible I think this is just fine and it’s not bad enough to reduce readability. I would trust the publisher knows what people want and struck the right balance. The photo below shows the NIV Thompson Chain Reference Bible and a typical pew Bible so you can see that it’s relatively compact.


I have two other very minor gripes.

The red letter text isn’t quite consistent in color saturation level from page to page. When it’s darker and more saturated it’s easier to read. Maybe in subsequent printings this will be taken care of. Most people probably won’t even notice this. (Sorry I pointed it out.) Of course this could be easily fixed by not having red letters! But we won’t belabor that point.

In the Hebrew and Greek Word Studies, transliterations of the Hebrew and Greek are used without the actual Hebrew and Greek words being shown. I’ve learned the Greek alphabet and would like to see the actual Greek words in addition to the phonetic English transliteration of the underlying word. I look forward to using this feature in any case.


One of my favorite features at first perusal are the Theme Notes. I call them little surprises. They pop up here and there and they’re like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re going to get. For example, in the middle of Ezekiel you’ll find God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility. These are usually a few paragraphs at the most and include Scripture references to the left of the text. This can be seen on page 5 of the NLT Study Bible Features Guide (PDF file) in the lower left.

For a list of reviews please see the NLT Study Bible Reviews Roundup page.

Bible Commentaries

Some people say that the Bible is our owner’s manual. I think it’s much more than that and thinking of it in that way devalues what the Bible is. However I think of commentaries as owners’ manuals for the Bible. Not that they are a necessity. After all, many Christians in the past and in some cultures now don’t even have a Bible in written form. And the Holy Spirit teaches us as we read God’s Word.

But commentaries can give us insight that we normally wouldn’t find and informs us of ancillary information pertaining to history, culture, society, politics, literary style etc. which help us to better understand why something was written the way it was. They can also teach us how to read and interpret the Bible by following their model of using Scripture to interpret Scripture, looking at context etc.

Here is a two part blog post I came across that I want to pass along.

Using commentaries in Bible study
Tips on using commentaries to study the Bible

HT: Using Commentaries in Bible Study

There are a couple of past entries on this blog related to commentaries:
Spurgeon In Defense of Commentaries
Bible commentary reviews

Why Read and Study the Bible?

Why Study The Bible?


Understand the priority the Bible gives to the Bible – especially reading it. The Kings of Israel were required to read the Law closely enough to make their own hand-written copy (Deut 17:18-20). This makes sense, after all how can one lead a people by something he has never read? Paul also writes to Timothy and tells him to think over what he writes (2 Tim 2:7). This implies he has read Paul’s words and should do so over and over again. If the Bible is God’s Word, then we should we make our life’s goal to know it inside and out. We should knows its every nook and cranny, the famous passages and the obscure ones. For to know well God’s Word is to know well the Author of the Word.

From: Are Christians Still a People of the Book?

1 Timothy 4:13
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.