Dying to Bear Fruit: A Life of Sacrificial Love

04-16_John_12Could this be the Messiah? After so many years, had God finally sent his Anointed One to deliver his people? Would the rightful King now take his throne?

Indeed, the Messiah had come—Jesus was here! His disciples believed in him. They publicly confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). They knew that he had come for their deliverance.

Yet even his disciples did not really understand what Jesus had come to do. They expected the Messiah to be a warrior king. They wanted him to reinstate the kingdom of Israel, to start a revolution, to overthrow their oppressors by force, to deliver them from Rome. But Jesus had a different deliverance in mind.

Deliverance through his love

“The reason the Son of God appeared,” we read in 1 John 3:8, “was to destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus came to save his people not from Rome or from any other earthly oppression, but from their sins (Matt. 1:21). And his people include far more than Israel—Jesus came to deliver the whole world from sin.

His methods weren’t what the disciples expected, either. They expected Jesus to pick up a sword and fight, but he said that “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52). He instructed his followers to “love your enemies . . . and you will be sons of the Most High” (Luke 6:35).

Jesus knew that evil cannot be overthrown by force. Deliverance can only come through sacrificial love. His own glorification could only be achieved by laying down his life.

And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:23–24)

Jesus, God in flesh, willingly gave himself up. He took our sin and allowed the powers of darkness to do their worst to him. And in so doing, he broke their power.

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Pet. 2:23–24)

Fruit for his kingdom

Through Jesus’ sacrificial death, we have deliverance. But we too must die if we are to bear fruit. We must die to our sins, and we must die to ourselves. Just as Jesus gave up his rights and died on the cross, we must give up the rights we think are ours. We must give up whatever it is we’re clinging to and live a life of sacrificial love.

But of course Jesus did not stay dead—God raised him back to life and vindicated his suffering. And so our sacrifice for Christ will not be in vain, either. From our death to self, God will raise up much fruit for his kingdom.

But are we willing to die?

* * *

Looking for resources for study or meditation this Easter season? Check out our specials for Holy Week.

Your Very Last Day to Get Logos March Madness Discounts!

LMM_75_Percent_Off_Blog

Today is your last day to take advantage of Logos March Madness deals! If you haven’t picked up your favorites already, now’s the time. We started with 64 authors; as the winning authors rose to the top, so did the deals. Now you can get huge discounts on hundreds of your favorite products!

This year’s best deals

Want to make sure you’re getting the best of the best? Here are a few of this year’s bestselling authors:

Don’t miss your chance!

With hundreds of discounted titles, there’s something for everyone. Pick up your favorites before midnight tonight—otherwise you could end up paying two, three, or even four times as much. You may never see these deals again, so don’t wait!

These deals disappear at midnight tonight—get your favorite Logos March Madness products right now!

Knox Doctor of Ministry: A Degree for Ministers

give your ministry momentum knox

As a minister of the Word, you have a high calling. The work of biblical ministry requires the minister to be able to draw from the entirety of Scripture to benefit and enrich the church body:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”
—2 Timothy 3:16

That’s why Knox Theological Seminary is committed to equipping pastors in biblical preaching and teaching. With a Knox DMin, you’ll learn the exegetical and homiletical skills you need to preach Christ from all of Scripture.

A DMin from Knox is affordable and flexible. You’ll do much of your course work wherever you are, so you can keep your job and continue your ministry where God has you. You can complete up to three DMin courses online; in addition, a couple of times each year, you’ll fly in for Knox’s one-week intensives, where you’ll study with world-class professors like Bryan Chapell, Gerald Bray, Michael Allen, Jim Belcher, and others.

“I just returned home from two very fruitful weeks at Knox in the DMin program. I am eager to get back into the classroom. This is an excellent program and the Logos connection makes it very affordable. Thank you Knox and Logos.”
—Jim, a Knox DMin student

This May and June, you can take some incredible classes, including:

  • DM872: The Epistle to the Hebrews: Exegesis and Theology (online), with Dr. Michael Allen
  • DM836: The Art of Exegetical Theology in Preaching, with Dr. Warren Gage
  • DM856: Mission and Tradition: Seeking Balance in Ministry, with Dr. Jim Belcher
  • DM916: Scripture and Doctrine, with Dr. Jonathan Linebaugh

Now’s a great time to start earning your doctorate—request more information about a Knox DMin, and start futhering your ministry today!

Learn more about Knox’s DMin program.

Explore the Language of the Early Church

HarpersLatinDictionaryWe pay a lot of attention to the Bible’s original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, but many of the early church’s most important texts were written in another language: Latin. Luckily, Logos offers some outstanding Latin reference works and primary sources that can bring you closer to the ancient world.

Let’s start exploring:

Get the best Latin dictionary

Choosing scholarly resources can come down to preference—we all have our favorite authors, our favorite exegetical methods, our favorite reference works. But sometimes there’s no room for debate: sometimes one resource is clearly the standard in its field.

Lewis and Short’s Latin Dictionary is that resource. For those of us who’re fascinated by the ancient world, it’s simply the finest Latin dictionary available.

Scholars choose Lewis and Short because of its breadth. It gives you 2,019 pages’ worth of lexical data, spanning classical times through the early modern era; that makes it an important aid whether you’re working through Irenaeus or through Aquinas. If you’re studying Christian history, you’ll be working with Latin. If you’re working with Latin, you’ll want this dictionary.

Moreover, it’s in the Logos edition that Lewis and Short really shines. Those 2,019 pages can be hard to navigate in print, to say nothing of the legwork involved in cross-referencing them against the patristic hard copies (if you can even access any). With Logos,* everything is indexed for precise searches, and you can jump right from an entry to a primary source and vice versa. It’s that mixture of scholarly rigor and right-now usefulness that’s earned Lewis and Short such glowing reviews: other Logos users write that “[t]his is THE Latin dictionary,” that it’s “easily the best Latin dictionary ever made,” that it’s “stellar,” that “no hard copy can even begin to compete with what we can do with a Logos dictionary.”

Navigate the early church’s culture with the finest Latin dictionary available: pick up Lewis and Short right now.

* For now, Lewis and Short is only available for desktop, not mobile.

Then choose from these important primary sources:

early-church-fathers-protestant-edition1. Early Church Fathers

Augustine, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Eusebius, Origen—this massive collection sets you up with English translations of the postapostolic era’s most important works. It’s a window into the origins of a great deal of Christian doctrine, which makes it a fascinating way to revisit the foundations of your faith. Pick up the Early Church Fathers collection and explore the early church’s world.

2. The Works of Prudentius

The poems of Prudentius, who was educated in religion, literature, and rhetoric, are shot through with biblical influence. His most important work is the Psychomachia, which is considered the first major Christian allegory; that means it paved the way for classics like the Divine Comedy and The Pilgrim’s Progress. You’re already studying the early church’s theologians. Now, while the four-volume Works of Prudentius is on Community Pricing, you can study its poetry for 73% off.

works-of-ovid-and-horace3. Works of Ovid and Horace

Latin literature’s three canonical poets are Virgil, Ovid, and Horace. Though they weren’t Christian writers, it’s important to know their work, which was hugely influential in the ancient world. You can get Virgil’s Aeneid in the famous Harvard Classics Collection; Ovid and Horace you can get in the incredibly rich Works of Ovid and Horace. (The standout volume is Ovid’s Metamorphoses, one of the most influential poems in literary history.) Get in on the best price—bid on Ovid’s and Horace’s collected works for 83% off!

4. Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things

In Acts 17:18, Paul addresses Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. If you’re curious about Paul’s context, you’ll want to look into Epicureanism, one of the most popular worldviews in early Christian times; the best way to do so is through the writings of Lucretius. (Epicurus’ magnum opus, On Nature, was destroyed, but Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things builds on Epicurus’ thought.) Right now, On the Nature of Things is 72% off on Community Pricing—place your bid before the price goes up.

Pick up Lewis and Short today, and then choose the primary sources that fit your study!

Why Scriptural Metacomments Matter

lexham-discourse-hebrew-bible-bundleHave you ever noticed that when we talk, instead of just saying what we want to say, we’ll often say something about what we’re saying? We use expressions like:

  • “I want you to know that . . .”
  • “It’s very important that you understand that . . .”
  • “Don’t you know that . . .”

Expressions like these are called metacomments.  They interrupt the speech by commenting on what’s about to be said, or what’s just been said. We could just as easily leave them out and say what we wanted to say—so why do we use them?

The interruption caused by the metacomment slows down the flow of the discourse, producing a special highlighting effect. Just think about when we use the English expressions listed above. They signal that what we are about to say is important information. Think of them as road flares or speed bumps, telling you to pay attention to what is just ahead.

Believe it or not, metacomments are also used in Scripture. The Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and the English High Definition Old Testament use symbols to mark each metacomment.

Metacomments in action

Let’s take a closer look at a metacomment:

In 1 Kings 2:36–38, King Solomon, adhering to his father David’s final instructions (vv. 2–9), commands that Shimei the Benjaminite be confined to Jerusalem in order to prevent him from marshaling support against the Davidic dynasty. In v. 37, Solomon threatens Shimei with what will happen to him if he attempts to cross the Wadi Kidron and leave Jerusalem:

metacomments

Click image to enlarge

Notice that the writer could have just said: “. . . on the day you go out and cross over the Wadi Kidron, you will surely die. Your blood will be on your head.”  But instead, the author inserts the metacomment: “know for certain that . . .” just before he states the consequence. This has the effect of slowing down the discourse and simultaneously highlighting the severity of the consequences Shimei will face if he tries to flee Jerusalem.

Another example of a metacomment involves the Hebrew phrase yn:∞doa} µ~aun “declares the Lord.” This formula is frequently used in the Prophets to break what might have been one long speech into smaller parts since the original manuscripts lacked chapter and verse divisions. Breaking it into smaller chunks makes it easier for the reader to process. But sometimes we find metacomments like “declares the Lord” used in unexpected places, like the middle of a clause or speech rather than the beginning or end. Placing the metacomment in the middle of the clause interrupts the flow of speech and highlights what comes next. Take a look at the use of yn:∞doa} µ~aun “declares the Lord” in Amos 8.

Amos 8 depicts the Lord’s impending judgment upon Israel. In v. 9, we read:

“And on that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.”

The metacomment “declares the Lord” is unnecessary, since we already know from v. 7 that Yahweh is the one speaking. Inserting this phrase in the middle of the clause interrupts the flow of speech, slowing down the discourse and signaling us to pay special attention to the imagery of divine judgment that follows.

Annotate each metacomment with the LDHB and LHDOT

The Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and the Lexham High Definition Old Testament help you dig deeper in your Bible study by annotating each metacomment, as well as 29 other important discourse devices. These resources also include an introduction and glossary to help you understand the function of each device.

Last year we released Genesis–Jeremiah, and now we’re excited to announce the release of Ezekiel–Malachi. When you purchase the LDHB or the LHDOT, you’ll receive Genesis–Malachi; the remaining books will be automatically downloaded to your Logos library as they’re released in the coming months.

If you own either of these resources, you should have already received your update automatically. If you haven’t received your update yet, simply restart your software.

If you don’t already own the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and the Lexham High Definition Old Testament, pick them up today!

Journey through Holy Week with Logos

He is Risen Holy WeekYesterday, Palm Sunday, marked the beginning of Holy Week. Now we walk through a season of sorrow, hope, and great joy.

Holy Week is a time to remember Jesus’ amazing victory over death. It’s a distinct and important time for Christians to reflect on and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus: a reminder of the greatest sacrifice and the most amazing redemption.

To help you reflect during this important time, we’ve discounted a number of valuable resources focusing on the Cross and the Resurrection.

This week, use coupon code EASTER2014 to save on powerful books:

Then tune in to LogosTalk all week long to enjoy devotional posts focused on this important season.

Torrey, UBS, and Biblical Apologetics—Newly Updated!

UBSHandbookSeries-OldTestament&Apocrypha-01We’re constantly improving Logos.com to make it easier to find your favorite authors and series. We just expanded three important Logos collections—are your editions up to date? Find out: visit the product page, log in to your account, and check out your custom price!

1. UBS Handbook New and Old Testament Series (55 vols.)

The UBS Handbook Series is a highly respected scholarly series that gives pastors, students, and Bible-lovers of all kinds a valuable exegetical, historical, and cultural look at the Old and New Testaments and the OT Apocrypha. Now updated to include 1 & 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, and several deuterocanonical books, the UBS Handbook Series equips you for exegesis.

2. Works of R.A. Torrey Collection (26 vols.)

Explore more of R.A. Torrey than you ever knew. This expanded collection includes his sermons, his important four-volume Fundamentals, his works on the Christian life, the Holy Spirit, and prayer, and his highly recommended apologetic works. Already own some of these books? Visit the product page to see your personalized price—the volumes you own have already been accounted for.

Use coupon code TORREY15 to save 15% when you complete the set! Act soon—this coupon code expires next Friday!

the-journal-of-biblical-apologetics3. Journal of Biblical Apologetics (11 vols.)

The Journal of Biblical Apologetics series provides accessible approaches to apologetics from an evangelical perspective, tying theological ideas back to their biblical roots and weighing nonbiblical ideas against biblical truth. Explore Islam, natural theology, Catholicism, and more in this engaging and recently compiled collection.

If you’re on a budget, you don’t have to pay all at once—set up an interest-free payment plan and start enjoying these books today.

Update your collections right now!

God, Jesus, and Judaism: An Old Testament Bridge to Faith

Michael HeiserJudaism and Christianity disagree in a number of ways. The most fundamental impasse is obviously Jesus. Christians embrace Jesus as the God of Israel incarnate, the messiah who came to earth to offer himself as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of humanity. One can find a spectrum of opinions about Jesus within Judaism, but not that one. For a Jew serious about their faith, accepting Jesus as God feels polytheistic—like a violation of the creed of Judaism in the Shema: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4; JPS Tanakh). You can’t have more than one God in heaven.

It wasn’t always that way in Judaism.

The Jewish Godhead

Twenty-five years ago, rabbinical scholar Alan Segal produced what is still the major work on the idea of two powers in heaven in Jewish thought. Segal demonstrated that the two-powers idea was not deemed heretical in Jewish theology until the second century CE. He carefully traced the roots of the teaching back into the Second Temple (“Intertestamental”) era (ca. 200 BCE). Segal was able to establish that the idea’s antecedents were in the Hebrew Bible. Several passages became subjects of rabbinic discussion. For example, is there anything that strikes you as odd in Gen. 19:24?

“Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.”

If you noticed that the divine name (Yahweh)—translated “Lord”—occurs twice, creating the impression of two divine actors, you saw what many Jewish thinkers saw in ancient times. The Hebrew Bible contains similar passages, in which the Lord is speaking and then refers to God in the third person (e.g., Amos 4:11).

Other passages became core focus points in the idea of two powers in heaven. Exodus 15:3 describes Yahweh as a “man of war.” That phrase might take our minds back to the captain of Yahweh’s host whom Joshua encountered (Josh. 5:13–15). Jews were certainly aware of that passage, but rabbis instead tied it to Exod. 23:20–23. In that text, God sends an angel to lead the people into the Promised Land. This angel was unique among all others not only because he could forgive sins (or not), but because God’s “name” was in him. The “name” is a Hebrew expression used as a substitute reference for God himself—his very presence or essence (e.g., Isa. 30:27–28). Even today, conservative Jews who will not say the divine name use ha-Shem (“the name”) to refer to God.

The idea of God in human form made Dan. 7:9–13 crucially important. In this famous vision scene, the Ancient of Days (God) sees “a human one” (“son of man”) coming to him with the clouds. It is to this figure that God gives everlasting dominion. This is the passage Jesus quotes to Caiaphas when the high priest demands to know who he is. Caiaphas’ reaction tells us immediately that he knew Jesus was claiming to be the God of Israel in human form—the second power. Caiaphas tears his clothes and charges Jesus with blasphemy (Matt. 26:63–68).

Early Judaism understood this portrayal and its rationale. There was no sense of a violation of monotheism, since either figure was indeed Yahweh. There was no second distinct god running the affairs of the cosmos. During the Second Temple period, Jewish theologians and writers speculated on an identity for the second Yahweh. Guesses ranged from divinized humans from the stories of the Hebrew Bible to exalted angels. These speculations were not considered unorthodox. That acceptance changed when certain Jews, the early Christians, connected Jesus with this orthodox Jewish idea. This explains why these Jews, the first converts to following Jesus the Christ, could simultaneously worship the God of Israel and Jesus, and yet refuse to acknowledge any other god. Jesus was the incarnate second Yahweh, the second power in heaven.

logos-mobile-education-ot291-the-jewish-trinity-how-the-old-testament-reveals-the-christian-godheadLogos Mobile Ed: The Jewish Trinity

My Jewish Trinity course for Logos Mobile Education takes students through the Old Testament basis for the Godhead and Judaism’s two-powers idea. Once the verses and motifs for the second power become clear, I also introduce students to how the same ideas get applied to the Holy Spirit. The Trinitarian teaching of the New Testament was not new to the Jewish apostles who lived with Jesus and inherited his message. They, along with Paul, knew the Old Testament well. How they write about Jesus and the Spirit reveals deliberate connections to teachings familiar to Jews.

Jewish Trinity is therefore an ideal course for conversations with Jewish friends and Jewish evangelism. It’s also a powerful resource for learning to deal with the doctrinal error of denying the deity of Jesus, perpetuated by groups like Jehovah’s witnesses and even “oneness” movements within Christianity.

Pre-order the Jewish Trinity course today for 40% off!

9 Pre-Pub Deals You Don’t Want to Miss

Pre-Pub lets you take advantage of extra-low prices by pre-ordering books before they’re produced: the sooner you pre-order, the more you save. Once the book is produced, though, regular pricing kicks in. Right now, you can get your hands on a ton of Pre-Pub deals—don’t let these savings slip through your fingers!

Here are nine Pre-Pubs you don’t want to miss:

crossway-john-piper-collection-upgrade-21. Crossway John Piper Collection, Upgrade 2

Regularly $179.95
Pre-order it for $139.95—that’s 22% off (deal ends in three days!)

John Piper, chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary and founder of Desiring God Ministries, has written more than 50 books. Whether you’re trying to grasp timely and difficult theological questions, understand specific biblical passages, or live more faithfully, this profound collection has something for you.

2. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 14: Theological Education at Finkenwalde

Regularly $59.95
Pre-order it for $39.95—that’s 33% off (deal ends in three days!)

For two years, Dietrich Bonhoeffer directed a small, illegal seminary—Finkenwalde—in Nazi Germany. Despite fierce opposition, Bonhoeffer remained dedicated to preparing young seminarians for the turbulence of parish ministry. Bonhoeffer’s two years at Finkenwalde produced some of his most significant theological work, and now you can learn from it in Logos.

solid-foundation-sermon-starters3. Solid Foundation Sermon Starters

Regularly $49.95
Pre-order it for $39.95—that’s 20% off (deal ends in three days!)

Sermon prep is a lot of work. Solid Foundation Sermon Starters helps you do it faster by taking care of the groundwork for you. The collection offers 294 distinct sermon blueprints, which break up essential books, figures, and biblical themes into sermon-sized texts, fully stocked with a key message, main sermon points, and illustrations. Each sermon starter is flexible, so you can build your sermons around the needs of your congregation.

4. Baker Encountering the Bible Upgrade

Regularly $67.99
Pre-order it for $50.95—that’s 25% off (deal ends in five days!)

To help Bible students jump into modern biblical scholarship, the Baker Encountering the Bible collection provides clear objectives and detailed chapter-by-chapter outlines, study questions, and focus boxes to home in on key topics. Designed for classroom use, these three texts engage Genesis, Isaiah, and Hebrews with the expertise of renowned biblical scholars in down-to-earth presentations.

select-works-of-raymond-e-brown5. Select Works of Raymond E. Brown

Regularly $52.95
Pre-order it for $39.95 (deal ends in seven days!)

Controversial in some Catholic circles and celebrated in others, Raymond E. Brown remains an important figure in the Catholic Church and the landscape of twentieth-century biblical scholarship. He was among the first Roman Catholic scholars to analyze the Bible using the historical-critical methodology. In these four volumes, Brown expresses his perspective on biblical exegesis, important archaeological finds, and church doctrine, and reflects on the roles of priests and bishops.

6. Select Works of Simon J. Kistemaker47% off! (Deal ends in 10 days)
7. Classic Studies on Persecution in Early Christianity30% off! (Deal ends in 17 days)
8. J.N.D. Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines and Creeds33% off! (Deal ends in 20 days)
9. Select Studies in Martin Luther’s Life and Influence25% off! (Deal ends in May)

These aren’t all the deals that are ending soon. Browse them all, and then snag the best deals on the books you love. See what else is shipping soon!

I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible

I-Dare-You_Cover_200x300The Bible is filled with passages so baffling we tend to ignore them. Yet the passages that seem the weirdest might be some of the most important.

For the past six years, Michael S. Heiser has been unveiling these passages’ ancient context in his articles for Bible Study Magazine. Now you can read these articles in the newly available essay collection I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible.

Explore the meaning of passages like Zipporah’s circumcision of Moses, Jephthah’s tragic vow in the book of Judges, and the warring sea monsters in Psalm 74. Connect yourself to the time during which the biblical writers lived and wrote with articles on worldview, like “The Ancient’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

Get answers to the Bible’s most perplexing questions

You’ll get help on some of the Bible’s most interesting topics:

  • “What Walking on Water Really Means”
  • “Born Again . . . and Again and Again?”
  • “Dumbledore Meets Philip & Peter”
  • “Paul’s Lost Letters”
  • “The New Testament Misquotes the Old Testament?”
  • “666: What Theories Add Up?”
  • And many more

The book will help you study the Bible in a whole new way—and it’ll ensure that you never skip a Bible passage again.

Get this essay collection while it’s still discounted at $4.95: pre-order yours today!