How Social Media is Shrinking the Bible

The following short article from a “Christian” source recognizes and addresses a modern day problem associated with Bible engagement and technology.

Though technology has played a major role in the availability of the Word of God in ways unimaginable just a generation back, today an estimated 50% of Americans read their Bible digitally on computers, phones, and Bible apps. In addition, computer programs quickly and efficiently present the Bible in multiple translations, readily available for reading, copying, and saving with the click of a mouse; while essential tools which Bible students depend upon such as concordances, lexicons, commentaries, etc. are equally available on line.
Yet… what impact has technology had on Bible engagement in this digital age?

Studies conducted by the Barna Group and The American Bible Society show that there is a growing Bible literacy problem despite the technological advantages, concluding,

“today’s technology is doing as much, if not more, harm than good to overall Bible literacy.”

Scriptural sound bites and snippets necessarily reduce not only content, but also meaning and impact. There is simply no replacement for Bible study. When one repeatedly reads the Bible with the sincere desire to understand and embrace it, one becomes familiar with its themes, its teachings, and its contexts.
We are admonished to

“study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

– Editor of the Christadelphian Advocate

°°°

Harper-Collins-Bible-best-Bible-apps-for-Android – the Word of Promise telling: The NKJV Study Bible, Second Edition, is the most comprehensive study Bible available!

It turns out that electronic Bible providers are employing “a data-centric model” which regularly regurgitates those verses which are already the most tweeted or shared by their user communities. The result is basically a repeating loop of “verse of the day” Bible balm. This means those who get their Bible online will receive plenty of I can do all things through Christ… (Philippians 4:13), and, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace…(Jeremiah 29:11), but not so much of the rest of the Bible. Apparently no one is intentionally choosing a wide selection of verses to more adequately convey the wider range of biblical teaching… The prognosis is not good… the less-than-hopeful question:

“Does this mean that we lose out on doctrinal or propositional input into our Bible reading online”?

And if we do put more than therapeutic Bible verses out there, will they all merely land on “deaf ears, blind eyes, and dead screens”?
The concern is appropriate.

Constantly engaging Bible verses that make me feel good is perilously close to turning the Bible into a prophet that tells me only what I want to hear. This is the kind of prophet the real prophets warned us about. But is simply adding more verses – propositional ones – to the playlist really the solution? Isn’t there a deeper problem here?

Exposure to a wider variety of Bible verses might offer me more than therapy, but the entire approach is still based on providing would-be Bible readers little more than a morsel. The bigger issue is that we can’t rely on tweets, Facebook posts or “verse of the day” deliveries to our inbox to fulfill the promise of Bible engagement.
The social media channel as a communication medium has built-in limitations. The Bible itself is so much more than a collection of verses, so much richer than a sourcebook of one-liners… The Holy Scriptures are a gathering of complete literary works, meant to be read as a whole. These books come together to tell a story that can only be taken in, understood, and lived if it is fully encompassed, apprehended at length, and deeply embraced. Sound bites can’t do this. A constant diet of atomized fragments is a disservice to the Scriptures that God gave us.

Let us rather respect and read the Bible holistically.
Let us honor the Word of God by giving it our time and full attention.
We don’t need a shrinking Bible delivered to us with a diminished set of expectations. May we rather welcome back a full-sized Bible – the stories, wisdom, instruction, and visions overflowing with all that God has for us and all He expects of us.
Words to encourage and inspire us, yes: but also to instruct, correct, and welcome us wholly into this long and winding narrative that in the end leads us where we need to go. Only the complete Bible can do this. So read big.

This article originally appeared on Institute For Bible Reading organisation under the title “Verse of the Day‘Therapy’ is Shrinking the Bible,” October 10, 2018.

Turned backs on serious study

“Many in the church have turned their back on serious study, and have embraced an anti-intellectualism which refuses to learn anything from scholarship at all lest it corrupt their pure faith. It is time to end this stand-off, and to re-establish a hermeneutic of trust (itself a sign of the gospel!) in place of the hermeneutic of suspicion which the church has so disastrously borrowed from the postmodern world around”

Wright, N. T. (2005). Scripture and the Authority of God (p. 99). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

Is reading the Bible necessary?

Many who call themselves Christian do like to follow Augustine, even more than Christ. they do agree with him that reading the Bible is no longer necessary once God had fully cultivated faith, hope, and love in us (On Christian Doctrine, 1.39). In other words, according to them, once we are mature in Christ, the Bible is no longer necessary.  In this way, the difficulties in this ancient text are not first off problems to be solved, but opportunities to grow.

People may not forget that God has given the world His Word for a very good reason. It should be seen as our best guide and way to the future.

God is like a wise parent who wants us to grow in maturity and gain the skills necessary for life.  God wants us to come to know Him, but also wants us to know ourselevs and to put ourselves in the light to others, and placing ourself in the universe.

God is like a wise parent who gives freedom and responsibility so that we can learn to handle life like “mature, well-functioning adults”. His wise words and the history of mankind, as presented in the Book of books, the Bible, can help us to grow and to mature. > Therefore we have all the more reason to regularly read the Bible and to continually think about the Word of God.

Theology as Discipleship

We should not so much focus on theological works, but concentrate on the Word of God, studying the bible itself, because that is the Word What tells everything a man should know.

There is a certain Catholic subculture among theologians today, especially those who teach at colleges and universities. This culture treats every question as if it were open to theological speculation. The terms heresy and heretic are not politically correct, regardless of how clearly a fellow theologian is rejecting Church dogma. They have excised from the Gospel message and from the example of Jesus every harsh rebuke of grave sin and sins against faith. They have reduced the number of dogmas to as few as possible. They ignore the anathemas of Ecumenical Councils. They have taken away all the sharp edges of the Gospel. {Who is qualified to write theology?}

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To remember

  • Theology is irrelevant to our life as Christians. = what many evangelicals tend to believe
  • focusing on practical things
  • theology = dangerous <= divisive + potential to confuse people about God
  • Keith Johnson in Theology as Discipleship argues that neither of these are the case. In fact, theology is vitally relevant to our lives as Christians and it actually has the ability to help us grow in Christ. Or as he himself puts it:
  • traditional goal of Christian theology = to develop a better understanding of God => can think + speak rightly about God within context of a life governed by our faith in Christ + our discipleship to him in community with other Christians.
  • theology went “wrong” (i.e. anti-intellectualized & over-academia-ized)
  • Part of theology’s purpose = to help us to know Christ + grow in our understanding of our union with Him

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Preceding articles:

Mental Enslavement and Sins Syndrome (MESS)

Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio

The Pastor Theologian

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CWoznicki Think Out Loud

Theology is irrelevant to our life as Christians.

At least that’s what many evangelicals tend to believe. There is this thought that runs through much of evangelicalism that theology is either irrelevant because we should be focusing on practical things. There is also another line of thought that seems to believe that theology is dangerous because it is divisive, and has the potential to confuse people about God. Keith Johnson in Theology as Discipleship argues that neither of these are the case. In fact, theology is vitally relevant to our lives as Christians and it actually has the ability to help us grow in Christ. Or as he himself puts it:

The traditional goal of Christian theology is to develop a better understanding of God so that we can think and speak rightly about God within the context of a life governed by our faith in Christ and our discipleship…

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Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio

Augustine of Hippo (354–430), Latin theologian. His writing on free will and original sin remains influential in Western Christendom.

The world has created so called scientists in the knowledge of God. Lots of people do put all their trust in such scholars who received a degree in theology at a university.
The majority of those theologians are as most of them would consider a theologian is,

“one who is dedicated to life in Christ and the contemplation of the Holy Trinity.” {What Does It Mean To Be a Theologian; by David Russell Mosley}

For many who studied the godsThe Philokalia“, a collection of texts written between the 4th and 15th centuries by spiritual masters”, was their primary guide for what it meant to be a theologian.

We always should know that to come to know God and to worship God we do not have to be people who have a university degree in theology, but we should be people who take time to study the bible. Lots of theologians have spend more time in studying writings of other human beings instead of looking more closely at the Word of God, the Bible. When you look at the theology courses, you will notice much more time is spend at those human writings, philosophy and human doctrines than at Biblical doctrines. No wonder that there have been much more books written by trinitarian scholars than by non-trinitarian Christians, because for the latter it is evident what is written in the Bible is the truth and as such in the non-trinitarian denominations of Christianity there are not so many divisions or matters of dispute as in the trinitarian denominations of Christendom.

We should remember that each of us has to be a theologian, a person who wants to know and worships the Only One True God of gods. A knowledge of the other gods may help in this, but the main focus should be on the real True Divine Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jakob and of Jeshua, who is mostly known as Jesus Christ by English speaking countries.

Each person who claims to be a Christian should be a follower of Christ and should worship the same God Christ worshipped, namely his heavenly Father. Like Jesus prayed to his heavenly Father we also should pray to that God of Jesus, Jehovah the Most Almighty God. That Oratio (prayer) should be grounded in the Word of God.

God cannot tempted, but Jesus was and we also shall be tempted more than once. This Tentatio (affliction) is not something God uses to drive us a way from self, but is our own selfish will because we are so much busy with ourselves. In case we would be more busy with the Will of God we would not be so much and so often suffering from our wrongdoing. Then we would also be more forthcoming to God His Will and would be more able, like Christ did not his own will, not to do our own will but being happy to do God’s Will.

To avoid going astray we do need the Meditatio (meditation) which should be the continual study of the Holy Scriptures and not so much the study of the many theological works by human beings.

We should trust more the Call and the Voice of God instead the voices of so many people who call themselves theologian, whatever they may mean by that word.

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Preceding articles

Mental Enslavement and Sins Syndrome (MESS)

Some one or something to fear #7 Not afraid for Gods Name

Pascal’s Possibility

Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings

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Additional reading

  1. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  2. No other god besides Jehovah who gives all explanation
  3. God’s forgotten Word 3 Lost Lawbook 2 Modern scepticism
  4. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  5. Necessity of a revelation of creation 9 Searching the Scriptures
  6. Necessity of a revelation of creation 11 Believing and obeying the gospel of the Kingdom of God
  7. Necessity of a revelation of creation 14 Searching the scriptures
  8. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  9. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  10. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  11. To find ways of Godly understanding
  12. Position of the Bible researcher
  13. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  14. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  15. Being Missional
  16. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  17. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  18. Our life depending on faith
  19. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  20. Reasons why you may not miss the opportunity to go to a Small Church
  21. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  22. The meek one riding on an ass
  23. Does there have to be a Holy Trinity Mystery
  24. Altered to fit a Trinity
  25. the Trinity – the Truth

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Further related writings

  1. What Hath the Church to do with the Library?
  2. Theology of Experience
  3. … 506 years ago
  4. The Calvinist ‘God’ and God
  5. Jealous God | Jealous for God
  6. So, Here Goes…
  7. The Angelic Doctor
  8. Good Morning January 25
  9. What Makes a Theologian
  10. The Pastor Theologian
  11. A Quote from St. Augustine on “The State”
  12. Theology as Discipleship
  13. 43rd of 2015.
  14. What Does It Mean To Be a Theologian
  15. What is Distinctive about Christian Analytic Theology?
  16. Pulpit Supply: Sunday School: Four Key Concepts to be a better Theologian
  17. Theologian Spotlight: Kathryn Tanner
  18. Saint Augustine
  19. Puritan John Owen – Doctrine of the Spirit and Mortification of Sin (Christian audio book)
  20. C.S. Lewis Died on This Date
  21. Albert Schweitzer
  22. Jean Guitton
  23. Biblical Christian Theology: Definition by DR. Donald E. Battle
  24. DR. Donald E. Batle: Theologian And Christology Scholar
  25. Who is qualified to write theology?
  26. What is the Recipe to Survive in the Storms of Life?
  27. Crossing Divides: Can an Atheist be a Chaplain?
  28. So Now I’m a Christian. Now What? Part 4:The Loving, Triune God
  29. Thought on the Trinity, Its Being Less than Mysterious, and the Biblical Support of an Analogy to It
  30. The Incarnation a Contradiction?
  31. 1 Corinthians 10:15 (Don’t Take My Word For It)
  32. Christ Strengthens You

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Gospel & Gratitude

In John Doberstein’s The Minister’s Prayerbook, he discusses Martin Luther’s understanding of the development of a theologian. Luther believed that the “right way to study theology” is anchored in the three rules set forth in Psalm 119: Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio. For Luther “Everything centers around the practice of meditation, for prayer prepares for it and its results are confirmed in the experience of conflict. For Luther, meditation is the key to the study of theology. No one can become a true theologian unless he learns theology through it” (Kleinig, “The Kindred Heart”, 142). The discussion that follows is taken directly from Doberstein and explores each of the three dimensions.

  • Oratio (prayer) is grounded in the Word of the Lord. Prayer is the voice of faith. That is to say, that prayer grows out of the Word of the Lord. “The richness of the Word of God ought to determine our prayer, not…

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Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight

A few years ago I found that I had to share with more people my belief in the one true God that I behold my steep Rock and fortress, source of insight. My life had to endure a lot of storms and I certainly was not spared a few times to be beaten against the breakwater.

Through trial and error we have to learn things. I sometimes had more than once tried to get something from the ground, something successful, others less, and still another with failure.

I wanted to bring together people, interested in the Bible. My attempt to create an association of Bible students or for those interested in Bible and history, now also appears nothing. Therefore I stop with that company to focus my energy more on the preaching work itself. For in this time and age it has even become more important that we can find people preaching the Gospel of the Good News. On the Association of Bible Scholars there are a few texts which I find interesting and worthwhile to get more views. These texts are an important part of our preaching, and it may be worth that some texts  of the Bijbelvorsers Webs website get preserved and are relocated to other websites, like this one and to the site of the Belgian Bible Students, the WordPress site of Bijbelvorsers (Biblescholars) and to the sites of the Brethren of Christ  and the Free Belgian Christadelphians ecclesia.

Location of xy province/ region/ community (se...

Location of province Vlaams-Brabant, Flemish Brabant) in Belgium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For readers of another tongue then Dutch or Flemish we apologized that most of our pages were in Dutch, because the association was founded in the Flemish part of Belgium (Vlaams-Brabant) and was intended to be an association for people in the region of the Low Countries. But we did hope the visitors (from other countries) could also be able to find some interesting English texts as well.

We also said that as Bible-researchers we know that it can take a lot of effort to remain on the narrow way!  (Matthew 7:13, 14) Only together we can be strong and shall we be able to support each other so that we, together, will be able to persevere.  Therefore it is important to follow suit, to go there forwards and to connect with serious Biblestudents.

The Word of God given to man

For those who are not sure how the world came to be and why they are here the Creator of all things has given His Words to give us knowledge and to guide us . Him we should trust and make Him to our rock, our fortress, our buckler and our deliverer. People should not fear as much the human beings but should fear that heavenly Creator. In Him should we trust and find our shield, the horn of our salvation.

The association of Bible Scholars wanted to make people aware of the importance of the Bible. Even for those who do not believe in a Creator God they wanted to show the value of those old books in which there can be found many wise words. The association also wanted to be a haven where Bible lovers could find each other to study the Word of God and to look at the historical and scientific facts. It also wanted to show it members that they could find a high tower, and refuge, and give them the assurance there was a saviour who was willing of save them from violence.

Together they wanted to call on the Most High, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah Who is worthy to be praised: so they’ll be saved from their enemies. Working together around the Holy Scriptures the association wanted to have like minded people finding each other to help each other our about text-material and questions. They hoped to have their people not put to confusion, but deliver them in God’s righteousness, Him inclining His ear unto them, and saving them.

It was in God they wanted to see their strong habitation, where-unto they could continually resort, in the knowledge that the One and Only One God has given commandment to save us.

We wanted to get more people dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, proclaiming to others that their God Jehovah is their refuge and their fortress and that they will trust in Him.

The association was also set up to give those people who felt called by God, to give them several utilities or help for the preaching work. The association wanted to be there for when for the time we ought to be teachers. We have need that one looks at each other and teach each other, helping to reach the goal, continuing stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The association also wanted to gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and the strangers that would come within our gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Most High Lord of heaven and earth, our God, and observe to do all the words of His Law, training up children in the way they should go, so that when they are old, will not depart from it.

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Below, the second article in the series, a translated overview of what formed the opening speech (our first reprint) at the publication of Bible scholars on Webs.
Het openingswoord van de Webs site van Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie, in juni 2010 - The opening speech of the Webs site of Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie or Bible scholars , Association for Bible study, in June 2010

Het openingswoord van de Webs site van Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie, in juni 2010 – The opening speech of the Webs site of Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie or Bible scholars , Association for Bible study, in June 2010

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Jehovah steep rock and fortress,
source of insight

Quotes from Gods Word


*

He said:

“Jehovah is my crag and my stronghold+ and the One who rescues me.+

 My God is my rock,+ in whom I take refuge,

My shield+ and my horn* of salvation,* my secure refuge*+

And my place to flee,+ my savior;+ you who save me from violence.

 I call on Jehovah, who is worthy of praise,

And I will be saved from my enemies.

(2 Samuel 22:2-4)

 Jehovah is my crag and my stronghold and the One who rescues me.+

My God is my rock,+ in whom I take refuge,

My shield and my horn* of salvation,* my secure refuge.*+

 I call on Jehovah, who is worthy of praise,

And I will be saved from my enemies.+

(Psalm 18:2-3)

1 In you, O Jehovah, I have taken refuge.

May I never be put to shame.+

 In your righteousness save me and rescue me.

Incline your ear* to me and save me.+

 Become for me a rock fortress

Where I can always enter.

Give the command to save me,

For you are my crag and my stronghold.+

(Psalm 71:1-3)

Anyone dwelling in the secret place of the Most High+

Will lodge under the shadow of the Almighty.+

 I will say to Jehovah: “You are my refuge and my stronghold,+

My God in whom I trust.”+

(Psalm 91:1-2)

11 We have much to say about him, and it is difficult to explain, because you have become dull in your hearing. 12 For although by now* you should be teachers, you again need someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things+ of the sacred pronouncements of God, and you have gone back to needing milk, not solid food.

(Hebrews 5:11-12)

38 Peter said to them: “Repent,+ and let each one of you be baptized+ in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins,+ and you will receive the free gift of the holy spirit. 39 For the promise+ is to you and your children, and to all those who are far away, to all those whom Jehovah* our God may call to himself.”+ 40 And with many other words he gave a thorough witness and kept exhorting them, saying: “Get saved from this crooked generation.”+ 41 So those who gladly accepted his word were baptized,+ and on that day about 3,000 people* were added.+ 42 And they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to associating together,* to the taking of meals,+ and to prayers.+

(Acts of the Apostles 2:38-42)

“Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.+ You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul*+ and all your strength.*+ These words that I am commanding you today must be on your heart, and you must inculcate them in* your sons+ and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.+ Tie them as a reminder on your hand, and they must be like a headband on your forehead.*+ Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

(Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

12 Gather the people together,+ the men, the women, the children,* and your foreign resident who is within your cities,* in order that they may listen and learn about and fear Jehovah your God and take care to carry out all the words of this Law.

(Deuteronomy 31:12)

 Train a boy* in the way he should go;+

Even when he grows old he will not depart from it.+

(Proverbs 22:6)

 *

 

The way of Jehovah is a stronghold for the flawless, but the downfall is for practitioners of what is harmful. (Proverbs 10:29) Therefore, it is important that people know what it is to follow the right path. Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah has shown us the way. God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, His Word to the people, put on the record of the Holy Scriptures, by holy men. To us it is to look at these 66 books that make up the Bible, wanting to take them in our hands to immerse ourselves in God’s Word. In the Holy Scriptures counsel is given not to be lazy with respect to the study of God’s purposes and to acquire a deeper understanding of it, and not with respect not to loosen interest to participation in the Christian ministry. Jesus followers took their tutor his words to heart and continued after his death, the study of the Torah and met regularly to do this in community together to break bread and drink the wine to commemorate the death of the Lord.

When Pentecost 33 G. T. 3000 people were baptised, they were added.

“They continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and share it with each other,”
Luke explains (Acts of the Apostles 2:41, 42).
In the New Testament, we noted in several places the study that the believers had to do with the Holy Scriptures. Yes, the early Christians gathered for Bible study and fellowship and were thus added to the Christian congregation. Early Christians attended regular meetings for spiritual education (Hebrews 10:25).
The apostle Paul admonished some Hebrew Christians who made no claims, saying to them:
because although you really had to be teachers in view of the time, you have again need someone who can learn from the beginning the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements of God; and you become wide as those of milk, not solid food, need. “(Hebrews 5:11, 12)
He also gave the admonition now having different gifts, according to the favour which was given to us , to use them accordingly:
if prophecy, according to the proportion of belief;  (7)  if serving, in the serving; or he who is teaching, in the teaching;  (8)  or he who encourages, in the encouragement; or he who is sharing, in sincerity; he who is leading, in diligence; he who shows compassion, joyously.  (9)  Let love be without hypocrisy. Shrink from what is wicked, cling to what is good.  (10)  In brotherly love, tenderly loving towards one another, in appreciation, giving preference to each other;  (11)  not idle in duty, ardent in spirit, serving the Master;  (12)  rejoicing in the expectancy, enduring under pressure, continuing steadfastly in prayer;  (13)  imparting to the needs of the set-apart ones, pursuing kindness towards strangers. (Romans 12:6-13)

Realizing that The Way of Jehovah is a stronghold for the impeccable, (Proverbs 10:29) Bible scholars on the attempt to unite and to explore together the Word, honouring God, together want to say to Jehovah:

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of Shaddai.  (2)  I will say of Jehovah, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”  (3)  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the deadly pestilence.  (4)  He will cover you with his feathers. Under his wings you will take refuge. His faithfulness is your shield and rampart.  (5)  You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day;
(Psalm 91:1-5 NHEBJE)

A steep rock to build on

A steep rock to build on

For the sake of God’s name the Supreme will lead and guide us, for He is willing to be our steep rock and our fortress.

We must do our utmost to strengthen the truths of God in our minds and in those of others through Bible study and by regularly attending Christian meetings with other believers. (Deuteronomy 6: 5-9; 31:12; Proverbs 22: 6).

Of any kind of denomination you are, the bottom line is that you have to make your own choices and choose to study the Word of God or to leave it as something you do not want to be interested in. God is the one who can call you for this and can lead and provide insight. People like us can only be a tool in the hand of God. In this modern world of materialism, there may not be many people who are still interested in the Word of God, but over all the earth there are many who choose to go on the narrow road that leads to life now but even more interesting to a much better life later. They try to follow right road and to terminate the race successfully in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

We as Bible scholars know that it can cost some effort but that it is really worth to stay on the narrow road! (Matthew 7:13, 14) Together we can be strong and support each other so that we will endure together. Therefore it is important to dare to follow suit, to go for it and join serious Bible students.In the fight that we can perform better, together, the apostle Paul showed in his heartfelt exhortation:

“Fight the fine fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life firmly to which you were called.”

We have to fight this battle to “grasp firmly the real life” (1 Timothy 6:12, 19).

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.  (7)  For we brought nothing into the world, so neither can we carry anything out.  (8)  But having food and clothing, we will be content with that.  (9)  But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction.  (10)  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  (11)  But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  (12)  Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you confessed the good confession in the sight of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:6-12 NHEBJE )
That life is not the present life of pain and sorrow and suffering brought upon us by Adam’s sin. No, it’s the life in God’s new world, the paradise, which soon will become a reality when, after the removal of this system of things, Christ’s ransom sacrifice is used for the benefit of all who love Jehovah God and his Son. We all must choose life – “the real life” everlasting life in God’s glorious new world.
That we all dare proclaim together that there is only One True God to Whom we in close friendship as brothers and sisters in Christ we have taken refuge. Together united we should not have to be ashamed because we have chosen to incline our ear to the One Who saves us, because He too was willing to hear us and to be with us.
“In you, Jehovah, I take refuge. Never let me be disappointed.  (2)  Deliver me in your righteousness, and rescue me. Turn your ear to me, and save me.  (3)  Be to me a rock of refuge to which I may always go. Give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” (Psalm 71:1-3 NHEBJE )
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A version on the same subject in Dutch / Een gelijkaardig artikel in het Nederlands: Jehovah steile rots en vesting, bron van inzicht
Articles by the closing down of the Biblescholars association:
In Dutch you also my find:

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Additional reading:

  1. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  2. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  3. Creator and Blogger God 5 Things to tell
  4. It is not try but trust
  5. Look for your Refuge by God
  6. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust
  7. God my fence, my hope for the future
  8. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  9. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  10. Courage for every day living
  11. Fear and protection
  12. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  13. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  14. No good thing will he withhold
  15. Keep your heart on the right path
  16. Running the battle

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How to Choose a Bible for Preaching

Today’s guest post is by Randy Brown, creator of BibleBuyingGuide.com. Randy reviews Bibles in all price ranges to help people make the best choice for their budget. His mission is to promote Bible reading and study, and to share quality publishing.

Shot of a bible with a very small depth of fie...

Shot of a bible with a very small depth of field. Not quite focusing on the extremely fine Bible paper used, but it should help get the point across. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve never been one to just pick a Bible at random. A Bible has to suit a specific purpose. It has to meet certain needs.

You don’t just pick any bowling ball, bat, glove, club, bow, shoe, tire, car wax, gasoline, car, house, suit, television, DVD player, or computer when you have a specific job to do. You choose them for your specific need or purpose.

A Bible is no different. Sure, you can preach from any Bible you can get your hands on. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better choice for your purpose—one that will make you a more effective preacher.

Answering practical questions can help you determine what kind of Bible to use:

Do you need something you can read from while it lays on the pulpit?

Do you want to hold it and walk around?

Do you need to hold it in one hand while you hold a microphone in the other?

Do you need room for notes?

Do you need a modern translation?

Do you need clear section headings?

Do you need alternate translations?

Do you need a verse-by-verse format?

Do you need your sermons outlined beside the text?

Do you need large print?

Every preacher I know will answer those questions differently—because we all have different needs. The best Bible for me won’t necessarily be the best Bible for you. With the amazing number of choices we have today, how do we decide?

What you don’t need

While preachers do need tools for study and sermon prep, they don’t necessarily need those tools in the Bible they preach from. Some of these features get in the way of the text. They can make the text small and the Bible large. You have enough to worry about when you’re preaching. Don’t add to that worry with a Bible that’s awkwardly large or text that’s awkwardly small.

Just because a Bible has amazing features doesn’t mean it’s a good Bible to preach from.

english-standard-version

 

Why you need multiple Bibles

Not every Bible does everything equally well. It’s why you own more than one pair of shoes. The shoes you wear to funerals aren’t the same shoes you wear for running and hiking.

I recommend having different Bibles for different purposes. It’s possible to use just one Bible for everything, but you’ve heard the saying: “Jack of all trades and master of none.”

What you want inside

You have to decide how much and what kind of information you need in your Bible.

Do you want complete sermon outlines?

Do you want chain references?

Do you just want the text?

Do you want someone else’s commentary?

Do you need book introductions?

Regardless of what tools a Bible contains, the most important thing is the text. You will have to decide what else you need. Remember—this is a Bible for preaching, not for biblical scholarship.

Where you put it

Consider how and where the Bible will be used. Do you preach in more than one location?

Pulpit

English: A Bible next to the pulpit of Orchard...

A Bible next to the pulpit of Orchard Road Presbyterian Church in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pulpits come in all sizes and angles. Some will have room for a large Bible and a notebook and others only have enough room for a small Bible. Some churches use music stands for pulpits. Laying the Bible on the pulpit keeps your hands free. This is more important if you’re holding a microphone.

Larger print makes it easier to see from a distance. Some like to use larger print so they can see it from a few feet away.

A disadvantage to not carrying it around with you as you move around the room is you have to go back to the pulpit to read.

Hand

Holding your Bible when reading has the advantage of moving around without having to go back to the pulpit to read. A disadvantage is that you have to go back to the pulpit to read your notes if they’re not in your Bible.

To preach with a Bible in hand, the Bible needs to be easy to handle.

How you preach

How do you prefer to organize your notes? Do you tuck them in your Bible, a notebook, or a separate page?

If you’re preaching without a notebook or separate outline, you’ll want room for notes. If you use a notebook, you should consider how you’ll handle it during your sermon. If you preach from a page, the page can lay next to your Bible or even be a loose sheet that you move from page to page.

Getting the right size

The ideal Bible is compact enough to handle and large enough to read. It might even have some room to write notes. In my experience, most people prefer ultrathin large print or personal size large print.

Larger Bibles either have more information in them or larger print. If the Bible is only used on a large pulpit, then you won’t have to worry about the size of the Bible. However, large pages can be awkward to turn.

If you carry your Bible around to read from, then a large Bible will get heavy after a while. It might not feel heavy to you when you first pick it up—after all, it’s only four pounds. But after about 20 minutes of holding a four-pound Bible, your mind might not be on your message.

Small Bibles are great for carrying, but they usually have small text. The more extra content they have, the smaller the text.

Many preachers prefer a personal-sized Bible with large print for preaching. They’re easy to carry and have readable text.

If you’re holding a microphone and a Bible while you’re preaching, it’s essential to have a Bible that is easy to hold in one hand.

Many preachers like to use an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet folded in half for their notes. They want this folded sheet to fit perfectly within the Bible when it’s closed. This means the pages need to be larger than 8.5″ x 5.5″.

Many people I’ve worked with consider the optimum size to be around 9″ x 6″ x 1.5″ for laying on the pulpit and around 8″ x 5″ x 1.5″ for holding in the hand.

Finding your place

A thumb index is helpful for turning to a book quickly. Most thumb indexes have three books per tab. This gets you in the ballpark, but you still have to turn pages until you find the book. Some indexes, such as the one found in the Cambridge Concord, have one book per tab for the most popular books.

An alternative is adding your own tabs. The advantage of tabs is there is one tab per book so you can turn directly to the book you want. A disadvantage to tabs is they can tear the page with use.

Another alternative is marking the edges of the pages or using sticky notes.

Keeping it open

Laying flat is a must for a preaching Bible. It’s frustrating to open to your text just to have your Bible close on you when you move your hand away.

Sewn bindings allow the Bible to lay open and stay open. Some that are edge lined might take some breaking in but they will lay flat at Genesis 1:1.

A Bible that you have to hold open to preach from will work against you and not for you. This can be especially difficult if you’re holding a mic in one hand and the Bible in the other.

One alternative is to lay something across your pages to help hold it open while it lays on the pulpit. I don’t recommend this practice as you will constantly be moving and shifting things around in order to turn pages and this will interrupt your train of thought.

To really be useful it needs to lay flat on its own.

Holding the Bible

Some like to fold their Bible in half so they only have to deal with half the width. Others like to roll it up like a newspaper. This way they can hold it in one hand with relative ease. This is especially helpful when the wind is blowing. Sewn bindings are a must for holding up to this type of abuse.

Layout

The layout is how the text and information is presented on the page. There are two major choices for modern Bibles: paragraph and verse by verse.

Paragraph

Paragraph format sets the text in paragraphs, much like a novel. Poetry is usually set to verse format and sometimes Old Testament quotes are in an offset text. Paragraph format is easier for reading and is great for keeping things in context. However, verse numbers are usually superscript, which can make finding specific verses difficult during a sermon. Some paragraphs are also wider, which can make reading from them a little difficult for those with bifocals.

Verse by verse

With a verse-by-verse layout, each verse begins on a new line. This is easier for finding specific verses quickly. Many preachers prefer to preach from verse-by-verse format as verses in paragraphs might take extra time to find.

Column width

Français : Bible Chouraqui.

Bible Chouraqui. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Text that is presented in two columns usually have narrow columns that are narrower than text presented in a single column. This will affect readability—especially if you wear bifocals. You might have to move your head from side to side to read single-column layouts. Also, if the column is too wide it might be difficult to find which line to read next. This is especially true if you’re reading at an angle.

Section headings

Section headings are short descriptions of the passage that follows, usually covering a paragraph or two. They are great for scanning the pages quickly. They help break up the text into shorter, readable sections. I find this visually appealing as it gives the page more white space.

I’ve added to a sermon on the fly because a section heading caught my eye. I’ve also used them to find something that I kind of knew where it was but I needed a little help finding it as I was scanning the page.

One problem with section headings is that preachers tend to stop at the end of a section. Sometimes you will want to continue on. It’s up to your text and topic to decided, but don’t let section headings do the deciding for you. They can also be distracting and can include theological bias.

Chapter summaries

Rather than having section headings within the text, some Bibles, particularly KJVs, have chapter summaries at the beginning of every chapter. They are essentially the same as section headings, they’re just not placed within the text.

The advantage of chapter summaries over section headings is they don’t break up your text. This helps keep passages together and can help keep them in context. The disadvantage is they can be harder to use because they’re not placed on the page with the text they correlate to. They’re less distracting but can contain the same theological bias.

Running header

Many KJVs, such as the Concord, have page summaries at the top of the page. These can be used to scan the pages quickly. You can even mark them to find the pages and topics with less effort.

Choosing the print

The quality of the print makes a big difference on how easy the text is to see. Is it large or small, faint or bold? We all have different needs for font size and boldness and our needs might change with age.

Boldness

Lighting varies and you will need a font you can see easily. A font that isn’t bold enough will increase eye fatigue. Higher contrast reduces eye strain. Font size for preaching is usually larger than font size for study.

Font size

There are two numbers to be aware of for font size. The first is the size of the font itself and the second is the leading—the size of the font plus the space between the lines of text.

For example, a 10-point font with one point between the lines would have an 11-point leading. It would be described as 10/11. Sometimes only the size of the leading is given.

This is why two Bibles can have the same size font but one is called an 8-point and the other is called a 9-point. They are both 8/9.

Line matching

Text that lines up to the text on the other side of the page improves readability. Thinner paper that has line matching looks better than thicker paper that does not.

Italics

Some Bibles have italics for supplied words. Many preachers like to point out when a word was not in the original text.

faithlife-study-bible (1)

Lectern Bibles

Lectern Bibles have giant print and are large. They often span 24” when opened. This might not leave room for a notebook. They usually have great paper and print quality, but they are very expensive—often $300 or more.

Study Bibles

Study Bibles are big, and the notes can be distracting. It can also be annoying trying to find a verse when one page has 30 verses and the next has two. Another problem is having to flip through 10–20 pages of articles to get to the next verse in the chapter.

Find one that fits you

A preaching Bible is specialized. It doesn’t have to have everything you need for study and day-to-day ministry.

Look for the balance between the size of the Bible and the size of the text that works for you.

Your Bible doesn’t have to do everything. It just needs to do one thing and do it well.

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Additional reading:

  1. Obstacles to effective evangelism
  2. What English Bible do you use?
  3. Words to push and pull
  4. Appointed to be read
  5. Good or bad preacher
  6. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  7. Some one or something to fear #7 Not afraid for Gods Name
  8. Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches
  9. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  10. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  11. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  12. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  13. The Most Reliable English Bible
  14. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  15. The Divine name of the Creator
  16. Use of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  17. Hebrew, Aramaic and Bibletranslation
  18. Some Restored Name Versions
  19. Anchor Yale Bible
  20. The NIV and the Name of God
  21. New American Bible Revised Edition
  22. Bible translated into Jamaican Creole Patois
  23. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  24. Bibletranslation in Lingala
  25. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  26. Record breaking preaching in Mount Dora

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  • The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is (memoirandremains.wordpress.com)
    Jonathan Edwards is famous for many things, among them is his statement about the necessity of the heart being moved during the preaching of the word of God:

    The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is by impression made upon the mind in the time of it, and not by the effect that arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered….Preaching, in other words, must first of all touch the affections” (Jonathan Edwards, A Life, Marsden), p 282.

  • Florida preacher’s sermon breaks Guinness record at 53 hours, 18 minutes (fellowshiproom.org)
    Did I hear Richard Mansel say he was going to break this record next week during his regular sermon? 😉
  • Suppository preaching (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    Much preaching today does not attempt to relate the Old Testament to Jesus but to their narcissistic audience: Get rid of the frogs in your life, purge yourself of poverty, find your purpose, live your  dream, reach your po-tential. What they don’t do is expository preaching, that is, preach the Bible, verse by verse and connect it to Jesus.
  • Preaching should be awe-FULL (wheelsms.wordpress.com)
    When a pastor treats the Scriptures as one more academic subject, his sermons will sound dry and boring. When the Bible fails to grip his heart, it will seldom go beyond his listener’s ears, let alone grip their hearts. Such is the theme of pastor Erik Raymond’s insightful post, The Missing Ingredient in Many Sermons.” He compares preaching to cooking a good meal when he says,Like cooking, preaching can become bland. It can fail to have that freshness worthy of the gospel table. There are many reasons why. One could identify a lack of preparation, lack of understanding, poor delivery, and shallowness. We would not disagree that under-cooking the homiletical meal is a problem. But there is something else that can make preaching bland: the deadly reality of not being personally wowed by the subject.
  • What Should I Preach ? (faithinspires.wordpress.com)
    One of the most frequent questions I get especially from new minsters is how do they know what to preach. It can seem daunting at first. A new topic every week for the next several decades of their career. First of all nobody can handle a career’s worth of decisions all at once But I wanted to commit some ideas to paper for those who might find themselves stuck for a sermon topic.
  • Preaching Big Books (biblicalpreaching.net)
    Perhaps you shy away from preaching series from the bigger books in the Bible?  Maybe it would help to think differently about big book series.  There is more than one way to preach a series from a big book (like a major prophet or Acts):
  • Identifying with Bible Characters (biblicalpreaching.net)
    The Bible is full of stories.  Stories are very effective ways to communicate.  When a story begins, people tend to do two things – first, they identify with (or disassociate from) characters, and second, they feel the tension in the story, anticipating the resolution.  So when we preach Bible stories, let’s be sure to help listeners connect with what is going on.
  • Pastor preaches for 53 hours, claims world record (christiantoday.com)
    Pastor Zack Zehnder from The Cross church in Mount Dora preached for 53 hours and 18 minutes, smashing the previous record which was a mere 48 hours and 31 minutes.Zehnder, whose father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all ministers in the Lutheran Church, undertook the challenge to raise funds for an addiction recovery ministry run by the Hand in Hand charity.