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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3 Tips for Delivering Solid Sermon Illustrations

sermon illustration tips
A few years ago, a good friend of mine spent months studying the way Jesus used the physical world around him to illuminate Scripture. Salt, light, roads, flowers, birds, and bread are all examples of concrete, vivid illustrations Jesus pulled from everyday life. He told stories with tax collectors, Samaritans, Roman centurions, and farmers because those were the people around him.

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Why Christians Miss The Point of One of Their Favorite Bible Verses

isaiah 40 31

You’ve seen it plastered on tee shirts, coffee mugs, bookmarks and Bible covers; it’s cross-stitched on throw pillows and wall art. Its words have comforted thousands of Christians in their darkest moments.

But do you really understand the significance of Isaiah 40:31?

They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles;
They shall run and not grow weary;
They shall walk and not faint.

Plenty of Christian merchandise is guilty of bad exegesis. It’s not that Isaiah 40:31, when taken out of context, is any more open to misinterpretation than other verses.

But with this verse, perhaps the stakes are higher. John 3:16, another beloved verse, manages to maintain its punch, even when read on its own. But when Isaiah 40:31 is taken out of context, it is robbed of of its true power.

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How to Empower Your Church for Serious Bible Study

serious bible study

This is a guest post by Peter Krol.

A reader of my blog recently emailed to say, “I was never intentionally taught how to lead a Bible study, and, when the time came for me to teach others how to do it, I had no idea even where to begin.” Do you know this guy? Does your church have such people, eager but directionless? They might never go to seminary, but I assure you they can become terrific Bible students and teachers.

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How to Avoid Plagiarism in Your Sermons and Papers

plagiarism

I was absolutely shocked.

At the top of my NT Introduction paper on Jewish Institutions of New Testament Times was a “B+”—but that wasn’t the shocker. I was only just starting seminary, and I didn’t have the hang of things yet. What shocked me was that the B+ was scribbled out and a big red “F” was written next to it, along with a message: “Come see me.”

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Bible Translations in the “Mere Christian” Hallway

mere christianity bible translations

For several weeks I’ve been trying to End Bible Translation Tribalism. I’m urging Christians not to make our good Bible translations into rallying points or battle flags for internecine warfare. Instead, we members of Christ’s body should recognize our (good) Bible translations for what they are: useful and complementary tools for listening to Christ, our head.

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