Something the Lord never says

20130708-110938.jpg
When reading 1 Corinthians 3:20 this morning, an implication rushed to my mind. Every so often, in the midst of a discussion, I have had to admit “I never thought of that.” But, according to this verse, The Lord has never had to say that: “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”

Amen!

Literal Bible translations are best

An esteemed NT scholar of our day, Dr Wayne Grudem, recently restated why he uses word-for-word (literal) Bible translations and not the “dynamic equivalence” (idea-for-idea, eg, NIV) translations. I whole-hearted concur with Dr Grudem on this!

“I cannot teach theology or ethics from a dynamic equivalent Bible. I tried the NIV for one semester, and I gave it up after a few weeks. Time and again I would try to use a verse to make a point and find that the specific detail I was looking for, a detail of wording that I knew was there in the original Hebrew or Greek, was missing from the verse in the NIV.

“Nor can I preach from a dynamic equivalent translation. I would end up explaining in verse after verse that the words on the page are not really what the Bible says, and the whole experience would be confusing and would lead people to distrust the Bible in English . . .

“Nor would I want to memorize passages from a dynamic equivalent translation. I would be fixing in my brain verses that were partly God’s words and partly some added ideas, and I would be leaving out of my brain some words that belonged to those verses as God inspired them but were simply missing from the dynamic equivalent translation.

“But I could readily use any essentially literal translation to teach, study, preach from, and memorize.”

~ Wayne Grudem
(General Editor of the ESV Study Bible, 2008)
[gleaned from Eric Kohlwater’s blog – thanks brother!]

Love the Word of God

I love God’s Word, and Psalm 119 helps me understand why. A friend has recently shared an arrangement of verses from Psalm 119 which direct our affections for — and approach to — the Bible. I hope this encourages you to sit and read the whole psalm this weekend. Enjoy! — pdb

Our Heart & Attitude when We Study the Bible – Texts from Psalm 119

God’s Word Is Greater than All Wealth and Sweeter than Honey
The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces (119:72).
Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold (119:127).
I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil (119:162).
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth (119:103)!

God’s Word Should Be Our Delight
I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word (119:16).
Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors (119:24).
Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it (119:35).
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction (119:92).
Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end (119:111-112).

We Should Long for God’s Word
My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times (119:20).
My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me (119:81-82)?
I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments (119:131).

God’s Word Helps Keep Us from Sin
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (119:9-11).
Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me (119:133).

God Revives Us through His Word
My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word (119:25).
My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word (119:28).
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life (119:93).
I am severely afflicted; give me life, O Lord, according to your word (119:107).

God’s Word Makes Us Wise and Guides Us
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts (119:98-100).
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (119:105).
The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple (119:130).

We Need God’s Help
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law (119:18).
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart (119:34).
Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain (119:36).
Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared (119:38).

Do it.

“Begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing is to do it, and the way to read the Bible is actually to read it. It is not meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it; that will not advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears, the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.”

~ J.C. Ryle
Practical Religion, “Bible Reading”, 131.

Win a premium calfskin ESV Bible

6a00e55043abd0883401116895025e970c-320wi1The Boomer in the Pew blog is welcoming New Visitors, and giving away a brand new calfskin version of the ESV Study Bible!

Please read on for the exciting details… HERE.

pdb

“The Bible’s Mt. Everest”

David Mathis (writing at the DG blog) says….

Mountain View, Wengen, Berner Oberland, Switzerland

The last 12 verses of Romans 8 (verses 28—39) are the biblical Himalayas, and Romans 8:32 is Mount Everest.

[God] did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Stand in awe of this verse. Step back and view the whole range, and then focus your gaze on the highest peak. And then reorient your thinking about life’s hardest times and deepest pains.

The reason why Romans 8:32 is so breathtakingly amazing is that it combines all the most massive promises of God for his people with the (seemingly) simple reality of the gospel. In Romans 8:32, the apostle Paul takes God’s most far-reaching, hope-giving, life-changing promises and supports them the central Christian message of the gospel.

At the center of God’s magnificent Himalayan promises is his pledge to work all things—especially life’s most difficult things—for the good of his people (verses 28—30; 35—39). These promises are so huge that they are hard to believe.

Is God really working all my worst circumstances for my good? Yes! That’s what Romans 8:32 is saying. And it’s doing so by reasoning from the gospel to God’s goodness in all things.

pdb
[I know, the photo is not Mt Everest, but you get the picture]

How’s your love life??

Questions are everywhere. Online surveys abound, not to mention all those questionnaires circulated by your friends to get to know you better. (Has one of them has recently asked you, “How’s your love life?”). Perhaps the greatest, the most important question asked, raises that very issue. It put to Jesus and recorded in the New Testament, in MATTHEW 22:37 — 

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

I call this the greatest question because of the answer Jesus gave — asserting that this one thing is the greatest duty laid upon human beings:

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.”

heart-sketch-web1The greatest commandment is to love God. Do you love Him? Do you see how Jesus was concerned that we love God with more than a passing affection — and with more than mere feelings? Every faculty of a person (heart, soul, mind) is summoned to love the Lord your God. And this is to be without reserve, without limit (all your heart, all your soul and with all your mind…”).

Examine your heart, my friend. This is no small thing to gloss over or ignore. It is the very reason you were created — to know and love the Lord your God (and then, love others in His name).

Get time with God — in His Word, the Bible, and on your knees in prayer. Gather with others who love Him dearly. I pray for you what Paul prayed (Eph. 3:17-19),

…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith — that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

pdb

Newsweek absurdly attacks Biblical view of Marriage

aanewsbibleThe folly of those who seek to promote the homosexual agenda in America has led to an anti-Christian cover-story (and editorial blurb) in Newsweek magazine. Thank God for the online response of Dr Al Mohler (“Turning the Bible on Its Head”) — who cites the article by Lisa Miller, and comes to these conclusions.

As always, the bottom line is biblical authority. Lisa Miller does not mince words. “Biblical literalists will disagree,” she allows, “but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history.” This argument means, of course, that we get to decide which truths are and are not binding on us as “we change through history.”

“A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism,” she asserts. “The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it’s impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours.”

All this comes together when Miller writes, “We cannot look to the Bible as a marriage manual, but we can read it for universal truths as we struggle toward a more just future.” At this point the authority of the Bible is reduced to whatever “universal truths” we can distill from its (supposed) horrifyingly backward and oppressive texts.

And this on the editor’s blurb…

Disappointingly, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham offers an editorial note that broadens Newsweek’s responsibility for this atrocity of an article and reveals even more of the agenda: “No matter what one thinks about gay rights—for, against or somewhere in between —this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism,” Meacham writes. “Given the history of the making of the Scriptures and the millennia of critical attention scholars and others have given to the stories and injunctions that come to us in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt—it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition.”

Well, that statement sets the issue clearly before us. He insists that “to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt.” No serious student of the Bible can deny the challenge of responsible biblical interpretation, but the purpose of legitimate biblical interpretation is to determine, as faithfully as possible, what the Bible actually teaches — and then to accept, teach, apply, and obey.

The national news media are collectively embarrassed by the passage of Proposition 8 in California. Gay rights activists are publicly calling on the mainstream media to offer support for gay marriage, arguing that the media let them down in November. It appears that Newsweek intends to do its part to press for same-sex marriage. Many observers believe that the main obstacle to this agenda is a resolute opposition grounded in Christian conviction. Newsweek clearly intends to reduce that opposition.

Pray for those who read this folly to see the truth in God’s Word,
pdb

Don’t forget to deal with present, spiritual dangers

1st Peter 2…bamboo-shadows
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

pdb

The Bible tells you everything…

I’ve decided to get down to reading a book which has long been waiting on the top of my pile: LOST IN THE MIDDLE, Midlife and the Grace of God, by the very wise and readable Paul David Tripp (Shepherd Press, 2004).

You are not even done with the introduction and you read really helpful things such as this:

The Bible is a narrative, and because it is a narrative, it tells us everything we need to know about midlife concerns. The Bible is the great story of redemption that encompasses the stories of every human life. It is THE overarching ‘everything’ story. it is comprehensive in scope without being exhaustive in content. It gives us wisdom for everything without directly discussing every particular thing.

Did you hear that? And it is true whatever topic of concern you have — midlife or otherwise. It should not surprise us; the Bible has provided help and answers for so many generations of seekers and believers, and continues to do so.

Why not spend less time online, and more time with sound Christian writing — and in the Word of God itself!

pdb