Is It Ever OK to Take Shortcuts in Bible Study?

bible-study-shortcuts

I’m not opposed to using the scenic route down the coast from work to home; I’ve taken it multiple times. But never on a workday, always on a Saturday.

I’m not opposed to using the scenic route in Bible study, either. I’ve taken it multiple times. But not usually when I have to prepare a Sunday school lesson or sermon during my “free” time in a long workweek.

So when I run into an interpretive question I need to answer, I unashamedly bring all the shortcutting power of Logos Bible Software to the task. I try to shorten the distance between the Point A of ignorance and the Point B of knowledge.

[Read more…]

What’s the Best Evangelism Strategy? Some Wisdom from John Piper

john-piper

Image: DesiringGod.org

Christians and non-Christians argue about the truth of the Bible all the time. (Because Internet . . .)

Christians even argue with other Christians about how to argue about the truth of the Bible: what’s the wisest strategy?

[Read more…]

3 Reasons You Should Read the Whole Bible in 2017

read bible in a year 2017

I’ve come to realize that in order to know the Bible there is no replacement for reading the entire thing.

I’m going to give three reasons why you need to aim to read even the portions of the Bible you somehow rarely get around to—and why I myself continue to reread the Bible even though I’ve already marked it “read” on Goodreads.

Give poor Obadiah and Nahum some love. Actually try to divine some intent behind genealogies rather than skipping them (hint: it’s there).

[Read more…]

My Favorite Example of Engaging the Head & Heart in Preaching

head-and-heart-preaching

The screen printer standing in my living room was trying to sell me on a new four-color process for the kids Bible club shirts my church needed. One problem: he came to the door asking for “Mike,” not “Mark” because I kind of forgot to tell him the truth… (I used to use a pseudonymous email address out of overblown security concerns.)

We still joke about that. He’s now one of my best friends. But back then I had no idea of the wonderful story of God’s grace in his life. He and his wife were brand new to the area, and my wife and I invited them over and started a friendship. We found out that this clean-cut young man had, not too many years back, been a drug addict. As a last resort his non-Christian family had sent him to a Christian program in a rural area. Most guys go there to get clean, and they’re willing to use the God stuff temporarily if it will help them get their lives back from drugs and alcohol.

[Read more…]

What If People Really Studied Their Bibles in 2017?

jonah30day-announce
We all know the most respectable New Year’s resolution a Christian can make is “Read the Bible every day.” What if this year we didn’t just resolve to do it, but we actually did it?

Logos Bible Software is here to help you turn your resolution into reality. The Logos Pro team has put together a brand new, free 30-day course in which we’ll show you how to study Jonah 1:1–16 using the powerful tools in Logos. Thirty free videos, three simple steps: Observe, Interpret, Apply.

[Read more…]

What Pop Music Can Teach Us about Interpreting Scripture

frozen let it go bible

“Let It Go” from Disney’s animated movie Frozen (2014) was and is a megahit. The melody is both powerful and catchy, and Idina Menzel can sing icicles off reindeers. The piece won the Oscar for best original song, reached the top five in the Billboard 100, and sold 10.9 million copies. It has now also achieved the status of Christmas song in Spotify playlists, as was written long ago by a prophet on Reddit.

But like some Oedipal monster, the pop song has eaten up the movie that gave it life. Because the Frozen story as a whole stands firmly against Elsa’s choice in that song. And this raises interesting questions about authorial intent in interpretation—both of pop music and of Scripture.

[Read more…]

10 Practical Tips for Family Devotions This Christmas

christmas-family-worshipIf I thought I was a pretty scintillating Bible teacher, the kind that makes people sit on the edge of their seats, the kind that is also able to put the cookies on the lower shelf and interest even kids, that thought was shattered when my own kids got old enough for family devotions (age 2). You have never seen such bored kids, kids achieving new and powerful levels of bored. I confess that this caused no small level of frustration for me. Nothing tests my sanctification more than trying to promote theirs.

But what good is all the stuff I learn about the Bible in my extensive Logos Bible Software library if I can’t teach any of it to the three little people in the world whom I love most? And at Christmas, I feel extra pressure: candy canes, presents, and Rudolph are fun, but how do I stoke wonder and even excitement about what we’re actually celebrating, one of the most precious Christian truths, the incarnation?

After some trial and error, and error, and error, and error, and a few times basically giving up, I’ve been having “Bible time” with the kids with reasonable consistency for a good while now. Here’s all I know.

[Read more…]

Why Do So Many Christians Disagree over the Bible?

bible difficulties
Does widespread human disagreement over Bible interpretation reveal some flaw or weakness in God or his word—or some flaw or weakness in us? Or neither, or both?

This is the third of three articles on the clarity of Scripture. I’ve clarified the doctrine to show what it’s actually claiming, I’ve shown some of the benefits of interpretive difficulties in the Bible, and now I want to go a bit beyond what Protestants have historically agreed on and give a pastoral response to the sometimes very emotional question: why do so many Christians disagree over the Bible?

[Read more…]

Why Difficulties in the Bible Are a Good Thing

bible difficulties

Jen Hatmaker recently launched a kerfuffle in the evangelical blogosphere (meteorologists have started to assign these kerfuffles their own names, like hurricanes) by reconsidering her stance on a hotly contested biblical doctrine. I won’t get into that particular issue herE (though I do not think it is trivial). It’s part of her reasoning for changing her position that interests me in this post:

Thousands of churches and millions of Christ-followers faithfully read the Scriptures and with thoughtful and academic work come to different conclusions…. Godly, respectable leaders have exegeted the Bible and there is absolutely not unanimity on its interpretation. There never has been.

Empirically, she’s got a point. Lots of them, actually. Logos sells the Counterpoints series, after all. Christians of all sorts disagree about all sorts of Bible statements. Combine this fact with our culture’s viewpoint that what one sees has everything to do with where one is standing—and what do you get?

[Read more…]

If the Bible Is Clear, Why Are There So Many Opinions?

bible

Leaders of the Protestant Reformation, particularly Luther but also Calvin, affirmed the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture. Basically, the doctrine (as it has developed) teaches that all Christians can and should read the Bible with spiritual profit, no magisterium necessary.

And yet one of the biggest arguments against this view is the sheer size of the Logos Bible Software products list: if the Bible is so clear, why do we have so many commentaries and journals and books and dictionaries, all of which by no means agree and some of which exist for the major purpose of disagreeing with all who have gone before?

In a series of three articles, I want to clarify the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture, show the value of Bible difficulties, and suggest a way forward in a world full of conflict over the Bible.

[Read more…]