jtrhart

Posts Tagged ‘the bible’

Luke 12:22-34; Part I

In bible on May 4, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Here is Luke 12:22-34:

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

This passage is similar to the one found in Matthew 6:19-34. There are a few differences though.

  • Luke includes v26, If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?, in speaking about worrying adding one hour to your life. This seemed somewhat humorous to me. Basically Jesus says the ability to add an hour to our lifespan is just a small matter.
  • Luke says in v30 that all the nations of the world seek after these things, whereas Matthew says Gentiles seek after these things. Not a huge difference but it’s interesting to note that there isn’t anyone exempt from the statement “all nations”.
  • The biggest difference is in the endings. Matthew ends with a command to be anxious about nothing but Luke adds a bit more, saying that we should be without fear for God delights to give us the kingdom. Then Luke concludes in the same way that Matthew began in vv.19-24, telling us not to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven and that we cannot serve two masters; we either serve God or money.
  • Oh and one last thing, in v33 Luke’s account includes a command for us to sell our possessions and give to the needy

possessions

I’m going to post another part to this and talk more about this command but I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. I’ve never met a believer that had sold all of their possessions so either we’re all disobeying this command or there is another way this is meant to be interpreted. What do you think?

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ESV Bible Text Size On The Kindle

In technology on April 20, 2008 at 9:11 pm

I received an email today asking for a screenshot of the ESV on the Kindle, I figured it has been a while since I’ve posted on my beloved Kindle so here it is.

Text Size

I’ve taken screenshots of the ESV at different text sizes. It’s interesting to note that only the book’s text size changes when you increase/decrease the font size; the navigation menus do not. This is something to consider if you are planning on using the Kindle for its ability to increase the font size, you will have to keep in mind that the menus will stay the same size no matter what you do to the font size. Click on the thumbnails for a larger view:

Text size 1

Kindle Screenshot text 1

Text size 2

Kindle Screenshot text 2

Text size 3

Kindle Screenshot text 3

Text size 4

Kindle Screenshot text 4

Text size 5

Kindle Screenshot text 5

Text size 6

Kindle Screenshot text 6

Text size 6 with navigation menu open

Kindle Screenshot with navigation

You’ll also notice that as you increase the text size, you increase the line height spacing which really cuts down on the number of verses you can display on one page.

Contrast

The contrast in these screenshots is not representative of the actual Kindle. The Kindle’s screen looks more like a newspaper with a light gray background and black text. I’ve used the Kindle for hours at a time in typical room lighting and never had any issues with eye strain though.

Awkward Navigation

After using this thing for a few months I’m still not able to look up passages as fast as I can with a paper Bible. It is fine for jumping around during a sermon or class but if you are studying something in depth, you’ll probably end up using ol’ faithful. For me the benefits are still the same:

  • full text search
  • having lots of books on one device
  • plenty of good content available
  • ability to take notes with a keyboard
  • free internet access!

How To Memorize Scripture

In links on April 19, 2008 at 8:11 pm

I found a site with a good description and a tool to help aid in the memorization of long texts. Basically, you write out the text once and then plug the text into a converter that will give you the first letter of every word. Reading over the first letters seems to be a good way to help in your memorization though I can’t say this has worked for me yet (I just found it today!).

Why Do We Love Expository Preaching?

In reference on April 18, 2008 at 10:36 pm

A definition first from the 9Marks website:

Expositional Preaching – a sermon which takes the point of the text as the point of the sermon

Kind of short but it gets the point across if you have never heard of expositional preaching. I would think most people are familiar with topical preaching, where the preacher picks a topic, loving your neighbor for example, and then finds supporting verses in the Bible that back up his argument. Expository preaching differs in that the preacher picks a text and then opens up the meaning of that text for the duration of the sermon. We have an early example of this in Nehemiah 8 when Ezra read through the Law from early morning until midday and gave sense to the reading so that the people could understand (verse 8). So topical preaching would answer the question what does God’s word have to say about xyz and expository preaching would answer the question what does God’s word say?

Ezra

The pastor at my family’s church is difficult to categorize but he is typically textual (he begins with a text but that text is not always his main point). A few weeks back his Easter sermon (audio/video) was an exposition of Luke 24 (The road to Emmaus). I have heard so many people say how great a sermon it was over the past few weeks. It was a great sermon no doubt, but I suspect the reason for all the buzz is that we really love expository preaching and here’s why I think that:

  1. Not from man, but God – Nehemiah 8:8 said they read from the Law of God. When a preacher opens up a text his hearers know that they are hearing from God’s word and not just a topic. They know that for the next 30-60 minutes they will be hearing what God has to say.
  2. Digging down, not across – usually in a topical sermon, the preacher needs multiple references to make his point. You’ll typically bounce from place to place in the Bible without really dwelling on any one particular text. Expository preaching parks you on one text for the majority of the sermon, it says in Neh. 8:3 that they read from morning until midday, that’s a long time to be in the word. When the sermon is finished, you have spent all that time in one spot, pondering what God is saying and digging deeper into one text rather than skimming the surface of a few.
  3. Fellowship in the word – next time you’re listening to a sermon, listen for a phrase like “and then it says in verse 3…” and watch the congregation. You’ll see a wave of heads drop down in unison to look down at their Bibles and see what the next verse says. It’s a great sight. But the best part is knowing that you’re all reading the same text, struggling through it, questioning its meaning and application for your lives. Neh. 8:1 tells us that the people gathered as one man in the square to hear the reading of the word of God. They were unified in their desire to hear the word and later on (verse 17) they were unified in their application of it.
  4. Great worship results – after hearing the word, the people went away to eat, to drink, to celebrate a great festival because they understood the words which had been made known to them (verse 12). The word convicts, it pierces, it breaks down pride, it divides but it in the end it always brings about worship. The people mourned first (verse 9) but were soon brought to a place of thankfulness and joy in God. We thank God for His word and the wisdom and truth found in it.
  5. Application is given – in verse 14 it says they found written in the Law what they should do. When we spend time searching through a passage, the application of it to our lives is easily found. There is no question as to the application when it comes directly from the text and no outside source.

Topical and textual preaching are necessary for the growth of the body and have their place on Sunday mornings. Expository preaching has such an impact and lasting effect because of the length and breadth spent directly in God’s word, searching for its meaning and application for our lives.

I’d like to hear from you, do you prefer one type of preaching over another? Is it important one way or another? Would you add to my list of 5 reasons? Thanks!

John MacArthur‘s personal claim is that he is committed to expository preaching and is one of the finest expositors of God’s word today if you would like to hear more.

How Do You Ask For God's Autograph?

In theology on April 7, 2008 at 8:49 pm

autographThe ESV blog linked to an interesting post today on a man’s encounter with J.I. Packer. Packer was signing various books for folks when a man asked Packer to sign a copy of his bible. Packer responded, “Son, this is God’s book. If you want it signed you will need to ask him.”

So, I’ll ask the obvious question. How would you go about asking God this? What kind of answer would you expect?

When you ask an author to sign their book, you are showing them how much you appreciate their work. Obviously the author has already poured himself into the book. He didn’t give you half his work, he gave you his full work, so you are not asking him to add anything more to it by autographing it, you are not looking for additional information on the subject. Asking for a signature also shows your recognition of the author’s authority on the subject he wrote about. You realize that the author is more knowledgeable in a particular subject and has more experience with it than you do, if not, you would have wrote the book in the first place. Asking for an autograph is a great complement to an author, it’s something you go out of your way to do.

How then would we ask for God’s autograph? How would we should him how much we appreciate his work?

  1. ‘You have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel’ Col 1:5 – this may seem obvious but God wants you to believe his word as truth. The author didn’t mix truth with lies, his whole book is true, not just parts of it.
  2. ‘But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves’ James 1:22 – any teacher would say they greatest complement they get on their teaching is seeing it have its effect in their students’ lives. You ask God for his autograph when you show him that you are living out his word.
  3. ‘Be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love just as Christ also loved you’ Eph 5:1-2 – how else can we imitate God unless we know what it is we are to imitate? This knowledge is found by Spirit-led study of his word, which brings up the next point…
  4. ‘These words…you shall teach them to your sons and shall talk of them and write the on your doorposts’ Deut 6:6-9 – an author’s delight is to know people are talking about their book and putting it on their “coffee table” for others to read through.
  5. ‘I have hidden your word in my heart’ Ps 119:11 – but an author’s joy is to know that his book has been memorized and taken to heart. That it is meditated on day and night and touches every area of life.

I think this is how we show God we want his autograph, when we worship him. ‘May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth.’ Ps 138:4

Please add to this list, how else do we ask for God’s autograph? Or maybe answer the question: what kind of answer do we get from God when we ask for this?

Now That's What I Call Efficient

In technology on April 6, 2008 at 8:53 pm

I stumbled on a neat way to look-up Bible verses (for those of us who don’t have the whole Bible memorized). Have a look at OpenBible.info to see it in action.

Bible Book Browser

Also, there is a way to visually analyze the frequency of a word used in the Bible, for example, “love” is used a lot more in the epistles than in the gospels, but it looks like Psalm has them both beat. Yet another website that makes good use of the ESV’s online presence. Enjoy!

Diagramming Ephesians 1:3-14

In reference on March 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Ephesians diagramThe first section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians has always been confusing to me. This is classic Paul-authorship; lots of commas and run-on sentences that provide so much good stuff that your brain can’t stay with Paul’s train of thought. Here is the text from the ESV (I’m really thankful for the folks at Crossway for making the ESV so web-friendly and providing us with a great API):

Ephesians 1:3-14 – 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Try and read it very quickly and you’ll know what I mean about being confused. While I was studying this passage, it was helpful for me to break it up into smaller chunks so I could try and get a feel for what the flow of Paul’s thoughts were. I started doing this in PowerPoint by adding indentations to the breaks and italics where Paul’s mind seems to wander a bit and I realized that arrows and highlights were needed so I switched to Microsoft Visio to help me out with that. Here is what I came up with (click on the picture for a larger version):

Ephesians Diagramming Large

Ephesians Diagramming Small

Click here for a smaller version that might fit better on your screen so you don’t have to scroll all over the place to read it.

I found this helpful for myself to diagram what Paul was trying to say here. If you read from top to bottom, left to right, you’ll see how I broke the passage up into sections. I tried using highlighted blocks to denote similar passages, the blueish color denotes the blessings that Paul mentions we have in Christ in v3, the clouds represent tangents that Paul takes that, while theologically are topics all in themselves, makes it difficult to get a grasp of the whole passage when you get caught up praising God for what He’s done while you read them.

I would like to learn more about diagramming sentences (I will admit I did not pay close enough attention in grammar school to this). If anyone knows of any good resources, please post them in the comment sections. These don’t have to be “Christian” references either, I know there are a lot of fine English grammar books that deal with this topic that would be helpful to me. I found BibleArc to be a good place with a pretty good interface for “arcing” passages, does anyone have others? Thanks!

EDIT: I found this post from Challies blog. On it, there is what looks to be a good, free book from Desiring God Ministries and a few chapters of a book from Thomas R. Schreiner.

Updated News on the Recent New Testament Manuscript Find

In links on March 26, 2008 at 8:55 pm

Reclaiming the Mind has some updated news on the recent discovery. While you’re at it, have a look at The Center For The Study Of New Testament Manuscripts, they have some great resources on textual criticism there.

Amazon Kindle Review (With an Eye on Bible Study)

In books, reference, technology on March 8, 2008 at 4:23 pm

kindleSo, here it is. I’ve been using the Amazon Kindle just a few short weeks and it has certainly beat out any expectations I had. It’s not perfect, but we’ll get into that. There are plenty of other reviews of the Kindle out there, but this one is with a focus on using the Kindle as a Bible study tool.

What is a Kindle

I get asked this question a lot as people come across me using this “we only pretended to study the iPod while designing this thing” device. Its main function is to be an e-reader, to let you store multiple books on one device and provide you with a display that is not draining on the eyes after hours of reading. You buy a book (or find free a book) and download it to the Kindle, then you read through it just like you would any normal book, using the buttons on the side of the device to turn the pages forward and backward. Two things set the Kindle apart from other e-readers that have come out in the past: Amazon created it so you know the publishers will be following closely to keep up with their good friends in Seattle and it includes the ability to connect to Sprint’s cellular network and download the books from Amazon.com anywhere you can get a Sprint signal. These are great features, but personally, the thing that set the Kindle apart was the QWERTY keyboard that was included on the device, this allows you to take notes in the margins and highlight passages that interest you. I scribble a lot of notes while I read and now I can go back and read over them and even search through them since they are all electronic.

What Kind of Books Can You Put on the Kindle

From the Kindle you can browse the current selection of books offered at Amazon.com for the device. I will say at this point, the selection of “Christian” books is fairly slim although I don’t necessarily read the types of Christian books you would find in the Christian book store (see my library at LibraryThing). A nice feature to the Kindle is the ability to put your own books on it. There are lots of free books that you can download in html or pdf format that you can put on your Kindle simply by email them as attachments to yourdevicename@free.kindle.com. A few minutes later, you will get an email back from Amazon with a properly formatted azw file to download to your Kindle via USB. I’ve found quite a few books at ccel.org that I’ve been meaning to read through but haven’t because I didn’t want to read them on my desktop computer. Here’s a quick overview of the process:

  1. Download a book to your computer, try Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper.
  2. Compose an email to yourdevicename@free.kindle.com and add the PDF file as an attachment.
  3. Plug in your Kindle to your computer with the USB cable.
  4. After you get an email from Amazon with the azw file attached, download that attachment directly to the “documents” directory on your Kindle. That’s it!

List

Even though these books are free, people still had to spend some cash to get it up on the web, it might be a good idea to make a donation to the websites so that they can continue to offer these great services to us.

What Does the Kindle Mean For Bible Study

I have two versions of the Bible on my Kindle, the NASB and the ESV. Both of them have very awkward navigation methods. When you open the Bible, you start on whatever page you last left off on. This is difficult because if you are in the middle of a chapter, you will have no idea what chapter you are in or what book you are in. The book/chapter reference is not displayed anywhere on the screen except at the beginning of a chapter. The way around this is to change your habits a little and make full use of the search feature. When you want to read Ephesians 3, simply hit search then type in eph 3 and hit enter. You probably won’t be as fast jumping around the Bible on the Kindle as you would with a paper Bible but once you get the hang of it you won’t have any problem keeping up with sermons or Bible studies where the leaders jump from passage to passage. If you know you are going to be in three or four passages and want to flip back and forth between them, you can bookmark each one and jump between bookmarks easily.

ESV

I’ve touched on the cons of using the Kindle for Bible study, now for the pros. Search-ability. Can’t remember that verse you were reading earlier? Type in a word or two and you’re all set. This comes in handy when you’re away from a computer. You can also search any notes you’ve typed into the device, so if you are taking notes for a particular study, it might be good to tag your notes. For example, my Bible study group is going through Desiring God, so I’ll use the term “DG#” to indicate a particular note is for a chapter # in the Desiring God study. This is nothing new, you can do all this from any computer, but having it in a device that weighs almost nothing and has a battery that lasts close to a week is pretty cool. Searching will look through every book/note on your Kindle but the first result comes from the book you are currently reading.

A Few Tips

For any Kindle owners, here are a few things I’ve picked up during my use:

  • All of your notes are stored as txt files so you can download them to your desktop and read through them.
  • Don’t wait for the screen. The redrawing of the screen takes about 0.5 seconds but the Kindle will buffer any commands you give it during the redraw period. For example, if you know how many clicks of the scroll wheel it takes to get to the “Add Note” command you can click on that and begin typing your notes before the screen catches up with you. You can get really fast if you trust yourself and command the Kindle before waiting for the screen to catch up. Typing is similar. Don’t wait for your letters to appear, just type away and don’t wait for the screen to catch up.
  • You can press the Next Page and Prev Page buttons multiple times before the screen redraws. So, if you know you want to jump three pages away, press the Next Page button three times quickly and you will jump that many pages away without having to redraw each page along the way.
  • Make good use of the search function, it’s much faster than navigating.
  • If you create your own books, be mindful of the title you use, if you are creating a reference book, you may want to add a “ZZ” to the beginning of the title, that way all books that start with ZZ will be at the back of your list.
  • Keyboard shortcuts are very helpful. Learn em. A list is here.
  • You can take screenshots on the Kindle and make them your screensaver. I took a screenshot of a passage in 2 Peter that I’ve been memorizing and now it is my screensaver so I can memorize it.

Lost in Translation(s and packaging); part II

In personal on January 30, 2008 at 8:26 pm

About a month ago, I shared a story about a man I gave a copy of the Bible to. I didn’t expect to hear from him ever again given the fact that he lives on the other side of the country. But one month later, I am truly excited.

He is reading it.

He is sharing it with his family.

He is reading it to his kids and they are interested in what it says. The Word of God is in his house and it is going forth. Please join me in praying that Christ would open his heart.