Are You Justifying Your Own Sin? A Lesson on Forgiveness.

By Stephen Witmer

I lay awake, staring into darkness, mentally replaying a conversation from earlier that day. My friend had misunderstood me and then condemned me for it. I felt deeply wronged. I also felt a toxic mixture of anger, self-pity, and self-righteousness creeping through my veins. It is often much easier to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses” than, “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” [Read more…]

Free N. T. Wright Book This February

Whether Valentine’s Day makes you smile or groan, one thing is for sure: February’s a prime month to ponder relationships (and not just romantic ones). Focus on the most vital relationship of all with the free book of the month—along with three others for under $17 [Read more…]

Final 4 Days to Add Your Favorite Collections & Courses to Your Wishlist

Secrets to Using Logos for Class Notes, from a Seminary Grad

Anyone who’s taken upper-level classes has learned the importance of taking great notes. They can make or break a class—and be useful long after you’ve gotten your last grade. [Read more…]

Are Your Favorite Scholars . . . Anglican?

There’s nothing quite as awful as bad exposition, which makes good exposition really shine. The Logos 8 Anglican packages feature the latter type, as you’ll quickly discover from looking at the resources and authors included. [Read more…]

72-Hour Flash Sale: Top Technical Commentaries

How a British ‘Master Spy’ Saved Thousands of Jews in the Holocaust

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the Jewish liberation from Auschwitz. Despite the horrors that occurred at Auschwitz and other concentration camps, thousands of Jewish lives were spared because of the covert operations of unsung heroes. One such man was Francis “Frank” Foley. [Read more…]

A Simple Way to Study Biblical Greek—Whether or Not You Know Greek

By Steve Runge

Often when we’re studying [a book] of the Bible, we come to a place where the author digresses from the big idea to make a side comment. To understand the passage, we have to figure out how to distinguish the main point from the digressions. In some passages that’s fairly easy, but in others it can be frustratingly difficult. [Read more…]

Last Chance for 4 Powerhouse CSB Resources under $22

Through the end of January, get the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) and companion CSB Study Notes free. (Here are four reasons why.)

But you may not want to stop there since you can get a powerhouse collection of CSB resources for under $22.

Here’s how:

1. Save 75% on the CSB Audio Bible

For $4.99, add the CSB Audio Bible to your Logos library and listen to it during your commute, walking the dog, or doing the laundry. For about the cost of your average cappucino, you can hear God’s Word anywhere.

2. Get the CSB Apologetics Study Bible for just $6.99

With the CSB Apologetics Study Bible, you can learn how to converse with skeptics and strengthen your own faith. It features articles by Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler, Josh McDowell, and many other apologetic thinkers. Readers find clear and thoughtful responses to questions like these:

  • Isn’t Christianity intolerant?
  • Is psychology biblical?
  • Does the Bible demean women?

3. Pick up the CSB Spurgeon Study Bible Notes 

Bring the richness of the Prince of Preachers’ insights into your daily study of God’s Word through sermon notes and outlines in Spurgeon’s own handwriting, “Spurgeon Quotables,” and more. And in Logos, you can use these study Bible notes just like you’d use a paper study Bible—side-by-side scrolling lets you read God’s Word while following along with Spurgeon’s notes at the same time.

free csb study bible blog

Get the CSB and accompanying study notes, CSB Audio Bible, CSB Apologetics Study Bible Notes, and CSB Spurgeon Study Bible Notes—all for under $22—but only through the end of January.

free csb study bible blog

How Jesus’ Parables Warn Us—If We Can Hear Them

By Michelle Lee-Barnewall

Why did Jesus teach in parables?

We can find the answer in Matthew’s Gospel, where the disciples directly ask Jesus why he speaks in parables. Scripture tells us,

The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
     He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
     though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
     In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
     you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.’
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
     they hardly hear with their ears,
     and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
     hear with their ears,
     understand with their hearts
     and turn, and I would heal them.’” (Matt 13:10–15)

Although the parables teach about the kingdom of heaven, the true message is only received by those who have willing hearts. Those who are open will seek Jesus for more clarification of the message, like the disciples do. Jesus calls them “blessed” because they are able to see and hear spiritual truths.

However, those who are hardened will simply be confused or, even more, reject Jesus and his message. In this way, parables reveal God’s secrets to some but conceal them from others. Indeed, for those who are unresponsive, even what they have will be taken away, and they will become even more hardened. 

Parables expose something about our hearts 

The parables are teaching opportunities, but they also expose the nature of people’s hearts. Jesus’ use of Isaiah compares the crowds with Israel, who continually rejected God and his prophets. However, the disciples are blessed because they are able to grasp the nature of the kingdom of heaven.

In this way, the parables reveal to us a balance between a dependence on God’s divine revelation and human effort. We must ultimately rely on God to reveal his truths to us. But it is also our responsibility to cultivate hearts that are open to his truths, even when they are painful and not what we might wish to hear at the moment.

Parables reveal to us a balance between a dependence on God’s divine revelation and human effort.

The parables also serve as a warning. When presented with God’s truth, we should not turn away! It is interesting to note that Jesus does not begin teaching with extended story parables until the incident with the Pharisees in Matthew 12, when they accuse Jesus of healing the demon-oppressed man by Beelzebul rather than the Holy Spirit. When they could not accept Jesus’ more direct proclamations of truth, they found themselves even further from his life-giving message. 

Are we inclined to believe or be skeptical? Trust or turn away? Ultimately, are we open to God’s work in us however he chooses?

We must be people who are willing to submit to God’s truth, which means that the orientation of our hearts matters.

***

This post is adapted from Surprised by the Parables: Growing in Grace through the Stories of Jesus, released by Lexham Press on January 22. Advance praise includes recommendations like this:

The parables are some of the most important teachings we have from Jesus, but many modern readers of the Gospels find them puzzling. Why did Jesus teach like this? What was his message? Lee-Barnewall packs deep wisdom into this concise book, shedding light on context and unpacking how the parables are stories of divine grace.

— Nijay K. Gupta, associate professor of New Testament, Portland Seminary

Written with passion and candor, Michelle Lee-Barnewall investigates the parables’ historical setting and invites readers to ponder their teachings in light of their own circumstances. She explains the puzzles in the parables as she develops their lessons on discipleship. This beautifully written exploration of the parables draws the reader to the feet of Jesus.

— Lynn Cohick, provost and dean, professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

 

Get Surprised by the Parables: Growing in Grace through the Stories of Jesus today.

The headings and title of this post are the additions of the editor. The author’s views do not necessarily represent those of Faithlife.