How to Study a Psalm: Essential Steps for Starting Right

psalm

Many Christians are faithful Bible readers, but they feel stuck when it comes to Bible study. After you’ve read a Bible passage once, and then read it again, what do you do to study it? Um, read it again? And then what?

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What Is the Conscience according to the New Testament?

conscience

When interpreting Scripture, it’s all too easy to impose our own ideas onto the text, rather than drawing out what the biblical author and the Holy Spirit intended to convey. Sound biblical exegesis is all about getting back to the original author’s intent so we can faithfully apply the text to our lives, and the lives of those we serve.

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What Should You Leave Out When You Teach the Bible?

scissors

My most influential mentor always told his charges that Bible teachers come to the text with one of two questions: either 1) “What can I say about this?” Or 2) “What does this say?” He saw these questions as a continental divide, and he urged us to be guided by the latter question. I completely agree.

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J.I. Packer’s Timeless Bible Study Advice

J.I. Packer

Nutritionists everywhere tell us that a well-balanced diet fuels our bodies, yet many of us continue to ignore their advice. The same is true for our Bible study habits.

We know that nourishment for our souls lies in the pages of the Bible, but we are often lazy about maintaining our study routine. However, unlike nutrition, many of us don’t know the key to a well-balanced Bible study diet. Learning the key may be the cure to our problem. Dr. J.I. Packer offers us some pointers.

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How to Highlight a Book Like a Bible Nerd

highlight-like-nerdIn honor of National Read a Book Minute—which, sadly, is dwarfed in popularity by the annual celebration of International Watch TV Year—I want to teach you how to highlight a book.

I went through more years of formal education than is really proper, and no one ever suggested a highlighting method to me. So just in case you are as untutored as I was, I humbly offer my method to you. Hopefully it will help you become a better reader, as I think it’s done for me.

And maybe if we all band together and become better readers, we’ll make reading cool again and the powers that be will expand the reading festivities beyond a minute. Yeah right. That’ll be the hour.

Here are eight tips you could use to get more out of your reading.

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Should We Dumb Down the Bible? Yes. (Sort of.)

I love the Jesus Storybook Bible, because it thrills me to think that my kids might grasp the central storyline of Scripture long before the age at which I did. And the colors and textures are cool. And I like a little whimsy in text and illustration.

As the leader of an outreach ministry which targeted kids in historically underperforming public schools in the deep South, I chose the Jesus Storybook Bible as the curriculum for the primary kids class. The kids seemed to like it. And so did the teachers.

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John Webster (1955–2016): Surveying a Man and His Métier

john-webster

On May 25, 2016, Professor John Webster, one of the world’s great contemporary theologians, suddenly and unexpectedly entered glory. Within hours memorials began to appear. Following his training at the Bradford Grammar School and the University of Cambridge (MA, PhD), Webster took his first teaching post at St. John’s College at the University of Durham. After four years he moved to North America where he spent a decade teaching at the University of Toronto. He returned to England in 1996 with an appointment to the prestigious Lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity at the University of Oxford, which he left in 2003 for the open spaces of Bonnie Scotland. In Scotland he served at the Chair of Systematic Theology at the University of Aberdeen until 2013 when he took up an identical post at the University of St. Andrews.
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The Classic Theological Work That Was Almost Lost to History

vos

Deciphering handwritten passages in Greek and Hebrew is no one’s idea of a walk in the park. When the surrounding text is printed in Old Dutch, that task borders on impossible. But for Richard B. Gaffin Jr., translating Geerhardus Vos’ Dogmatiek was a labor of love. He and his eight-person team painstakingly translated 400,000 words into English, revealing an incredible work that had been lost to history. What we find is a rich and edifying treatment of systematic theology from one of the most important Reformed theologians.

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When and How to Use the Septuagint in Your Bible Study

Faithlife LXX

I’m bad at reading the Bible quickly or in big chunks. I’m always getting stopped by interesting little questions (and interesting big ones). Here’s a representative example:

Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” (1 Corinthians 10:7 ESV)

I’ve puzzled over that word “play.” It seems a little out of place. What’s so bad about eating, drinking, and, of all things, playing?

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Should We “Dumb Down” the Bible When People Don’t Get It?

wheat field

I was trying to turn Psalm 1 into a singable song for the Bible club boys (6th grade on up) from the neighborhoods around my church. These were not young men with extensive church backgrounds and full-ride scholarships to elite Sunday schools. Their mastery of rap lyrics was, let’s say, somewhat superior to their knowledge of Scripture. But they had a capacity—and sometimes, I could swear, a desire—to learn.

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