Context: The Key to Unlocking the Gospels

imagesWhen it comes to Bible study, the most important rule to proper interpretation is, context, context, context. A verse can never mean what the context will not allow. I remember thinking, “We have three people here for Bible Study, therefore, the Lord is with us” (Matthew 18:20). However in context, this verse communicates church discipline. The Lord is always with believers – this is the priesthood of believers (Hebrews 10:19-25). Context acts as a fence or trail. It guides the meaning. When studying the Bible, we would do better to read large chunks over and over again rather than spend all our time on word studies.… Continue reading

That Forgotten Concept in Preaching: The Paragraph

I recall some time ago listening to a conversation between two great preachers, Haddon Robinson and Warren Wiersbe (when Robinson was president of Denver Seminary he had a very helpful audio series on preaching). They were both funny, provocative, and pointed in their discussion of preaching, particularly “expository preaching.” These are two men who have studied and taught about preaching as much as anyone in the last 50 years.

In the discussion Robinson was criticizing the atomistic tendencies in preaching; that is preachers who seemingly dedicate a whole sermon expositing a colon. Wiersbe quickly adding, “or after his operation, a semi-colon.” The point was humorous and well made.… Continue reading

Teach Us to Number Our Words

One of the great lines in the Psalms is spoken by Moses in Psalm 90:12: “So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

The idea of the verse is that God’s people need to consider carefully and often the brevity of life – to “number” their days – and to live in light of that calculation.

However, there is another type of numerical calculation that believers in Christ need to make: the number of our words.

Not, of course, to literally know how many words we speak per day (around 16,000 on average, according to one study).… Continue reading

Give Thanks–Paul’s Prayers of Thanksgiving

Thanks

Early in my Christian life I obtained Arthur W. Pink’s Gleanings from Paul: The Prayers of the Apostle (Moody 1967). That study of Paul’s prayers in Scripture kindled a spiritual fire in my heart and life. Paul’s example in prayer, especially in the thanks with which he begins most of his epistles, set a pattern for believers throughout the next two millennia and beyond. Paul’s admonition, “in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) certainly challenges each one of us. As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day 2016, let’s immerse ourselves in opportunities for thanksgiving that the apostle exemplifies through his epistles.… Continue reading

A Paying Customer’s Review of the ESV Reader’s Set

esv1I recently splurged. I shelled out the $300 dollars for Crossways new deluxe six volume leather-bound reader’s edition of the ESV. I actually pre-ordered it and while I was waiting for it, I read numerous rave reviews of it that really whet my appetite. And somewhere along the way it occurred to me that none of those reviews came from anyone who plunked down their own hard earned money for the set, and I thought it might be worthwhile to add something that is missing from the conversation, a paying customer’s review of the ESV Reader’s Edition Set.

Now before we get started, we need to say a little something about the “paying” part of paying customer. … Continue reading