Wrestling with the Verses

Bible Study MagazineExegetical preaching has always been my Achilles heel, not because it is so difficult, but because I wanted to present the Scriptures in a way that was the most advantageous for the people in my care. One of the issues that I always struggled with was how easy it was for people to read a couple verses or chapters a day in their Bibles and never understand how those verses and chapters fit into the context of the epistle, gospel, or narrative from whence they came.

In our Christian sub-culture sometimes we, unintentionally, present things in ways that are counter-intuitive to our desired goals. If our goal is Scriptural understanding and fidelity, we need to be wary of presenting the Scriptures as stand-alone aphorisms. While making us more familiar with some Scripture, presenting the Bible in little, isolated parcels can easily lead us away from the authors intended point.

Christopher R. Smith’s article Chapter & Verses: Who Needs Them? in a recent issue of Bible Study Magazine is a fabulous reminder of not only how God breathed and divinely prepared the Scriptures are, but also how useful breaking up the Scriptures into chapters and verses has been for us. It is nice to also be reminded that, as useful as this delineation of the Bible into chapter and verse may be, we may in fact be doing the Word a disservice by feeling beholden to it. Sometimes it may be more important to be mindful of the authors natural structure.

I have a subscribed to many Christian periodicals over the years, and obviously some have been better than others. But I have to say, I have yet to pick up an issue of Bible Study Magazine that I haven’t found encouraging and edifying.

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Product Guide on Luke’s Gospel

The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: LukeFor some reason, the Gospel of Luke really resonates with me. I so easily identify with the structure, language, and style of Luke’s Gospel above the others. In fact, when I look back on my years in the pastorate, my fondest memories come from the years that I preached exegetically through this Gospel.

Logos Bible Software played a huge part in developing that series for me but I wish I had access at the time to the Product Guide on Luke which compiles all the titles we currently sell on Luke’s Gospel.

Just to throw in my own $.02, one of my favorite resources for Luke was The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Luke, by Darrell L. Bock. Not an overly large commentary for the size of Luke’s Gospel, but a very good exposition from a commentator with a strong Luke/Acts background, and writes from a real pastoral center.

The wonderful thing about the Product Guide on Luke is that it lets you peruse the whole gamut of resources we have available on Luke. If there is something that you feel is missing that we definitely should have, drop us a line at suggest@logos.com and let us know.

Jaywalking through the Scriptures

Exploring the Old and New Testament CollectionIf you ever watched The Tonight Show with Jay Leno you will remember a segment called “Jaywalking.” It was a pretty simple concept: have a camera man follow Jay around and ask random people some, not so obscure, questions about history, geography, and important current events. Jay ends up with great exchanges like this one:

JAY: What is the opening line of the Bible?
PERSON: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

If you ignore the fact that this 5 minute segment is edited down from a couple of hours of footage, and that all the bystanders that answer these questions correctly are removed, it is pretty easy to find this segment simultaneously humorous and horrifying. Some of the topics that people have absolutely no idea about are so important to us as a republic that there is almost a fear that you are watching something important in our collective consciousness eroding away.

As we see spiritual trivialities replace important Scriptural knowledge and principles, I am deathly afraid sometimes that this same erosion it is happening in the Church as well. We need to be more intentional about cultivating our Biblical literacy. This is why I am excited about the Exploring the Old and New Testament Collection which is in Pre-Publication right now. Here are six fantastic volumes that, together, operate as a university level Old and New Testament survey. Or if you prefer, you can also purchase the two-volume Exploring the New Testament Collection or the four-volume survey Exploring the Old Testament Collection separately. Every volume is written by professors with backgrounds in teaching biblical truths to students. Moreover, they are written to be read for your personal edification or to be used as an aid to teach the material to your class or small group.

To be able to handle Scripture effectively and with any fidelity it needs to be understood on a macro level before you begin to dissect it. Biblical surveys are a fantastic way to help you get a firm handle on the panorama of Scripture. From that panoramic view you can then focus in more and more and really gain an understanding as to how smaller portions of Scripture illuminate the whole. It is the desire of most of us at Logos to be able to equip everyone with the tools needed to ensure that rightly dividing the Word of truth isn’t something that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…