Craig Groeschel, Christianity in Hong Kong, and a Prophet on the Run

SubscribeNow270x350If you tithe, will God “open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need”? While Malachi 3:10 is often used to encourage tithing among parishioners, the passage is not primarily about giving—or getting. In the latest issue of Bible Study Magazine, Douglas Mangum addresses the historical and literary context of Malachi’s message.

Subscribe now to get the Mar–Apr ’14 issue, and you’ll receive these articles on the Minor Prophets:

  • A Family Picture: Obadiah contains some of the Bible’s most scathing remarks regarding the nation of Edom. Understand how this snapshot of a national dispute fits into the greater biblical narrative.
  • A Prophet on the Run: Catch the final installment of Not Your Average Bible Study on the rebel prophet, Jonah.
  • God of War or Peace? The prophets’ depictions of God can seem confusing. Is he a powerful warrior (Mal. 4:1)? Or is he a God of peace, who looks forward to a day when “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isa. 2:2–4)?
  • Wrestling with God: When God reveals his plan to Habakkuk, it’s far from what the prophet expected. What lessons does this text have for us today?

You’ll also receive a cover story on Craig Groeschel, a feature story on Christianity in Hong Kong, and four book reviews. Subscribe to Bible Study Magazine today to get the Mar–Apr ’14 issue!

Get 23% Off 30+ Years of Old Testament Research

old-testament-profiles-cover

The 14-volume Old Testament Profiles & Commentaries of Cyril J. Barber collection, currently on Pre-Pub for 23% off, gives you more than three decades worth of Old Testament research. You’ll get valuable cultural insight, information drawn from an array of important commentaries, and modern application.

The series is gaining a lot of momentum on Pre-Pub, so don’t wait around until it hits full price: pre-order it today for 23% off!

Old Testament Profiles & Commentaries of Cyril J. Barber

Regularly $299.95get it for $229.95

This highly accessible series helps you connect biblical characters and ancient texts to the modern world. It includes 14 volumes on Exodus, Joshua–Kings, Ezra, and Esther, along with profiles of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Each volume pores over the historical events surrounding key events and people, connecting them to contemporary culture.

You’ll also get a devotional exposition of Joshua, an examination of the narrative of God’s power in Judges, and exhaustive profiles of the patriarchs in the Old Testament.

These volumes become even more powerful when coupled with the power of Logos 5. You can study these concise, engaging commentaries side by side with the biblical books they examine, search all 14 volumes in seconds, and go deeper in your study by connecting key terms to dictionaries and encyclopedias in your massive, interconnected library.

Get the best price on this powerful commentary series: pre-order the Old Testament Profiles & Commentaries of Cyril J. Barber for 23% off today! 

The Grand Story of God’s Work: An Interview with Michael Lawrence (Part 2)

Michael-LawrenceDr. Michael Lawrence is the author of Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry, which you can get for free through the end of the month. Lawrence holds an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a PhD from Cambridge University; he has served as associate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and more recently as pastor of Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, OR. This is the second part of a two-part interview—if you missed part one, catch up here.

The title of your book invites the question, what does biblical theology have to do with the life of the church?

Everything. If biblical theology is essentially a reading strategy—a way of reading the Bible as a single book telling a single story—then the answer to that question is the same as the answer to “What does the Bible have to do with the life of the church?”

Of course, these days, too many evangelicals assume that the Bible has very little to do with the life of the church. We turn instead to methodology, best practices, media, structures, cultural exegesis, and music, to name just a few. We assume that if we master these things, the church will grow. There’s no question you can grow a crowd through all sorts of methods. But the church is not merely a crowd; it’s the bride of Jesus Christ. And Jesus nurtures and cleanses his bride through the Word.

As I’ve heard David Helm say many times, “God does his work through his Word, in a world gone awry.” I think that’s exactly right. And it’s because I believe passionately in the sufficiency of the Word for the life and growth and health of the church that I think biblical theology is at the heart of what we do as church leaders.

Does systematic theology play into the life of the church as well? How do biblical and systematic theology relate?

Systematic theology is incredibly important to the life of the church. I spend an entire chapter talking about that, and then another chapter thinking through how systematic and biblical theology relate to each other. If biblical theology tells us how God said what he said, then systematic theology summarizes what God said and applies it in our lives. If we don’t understand how God said it, we’ll get our summary wrong. But if we never summarize and apply, what’s the point? I’m a pastor, not an academic with boundaries to draw and defend, so maybe it’s easier for me to call a ceasefire between the two disciplines and think about how they work together in ministry.

Who are some of the authors who have most influenced how you do theology?

The five men I dedicated my book to all had a profound impact on me in seminary: Meredith Kline, David Wells, Rick Lints, Scott Hafemann, and Gordon Hugenberger. In some ways, this book is an attempt to give to others what they first gave to me. Since then, I’ve read quite a bit more. I’ve been hugely influenced by Geerhardus Vos. I’m constantly edified by the work of Graeme Goldsworthy, Richard Gaffin, and Edmund Clowney. I think Ligon Duncan is one of the finest practitioners of biblical theological preaching alive today. And the work Vaughn Roberts has done to make biblical theology accessible to lay audiences is superb. But I still come back again and again to the combination of self-critical cultural exegesis and careful biblical theology that my Gordon-Conwell professors taught me. I was privileged to sit under them.

Can you tell us a bit about 9Marks?

9Marks is a parachurch ministry that grew out of Mark Dever’s passion to encourage pastors and local churches in healthy gospel growth driven by a profound conviction of the sufficiency of the Scriptures. It has since grown into a chorus of like-minded pastors and writers, each of whom, in their own distinctive setting and voice, seeks to remind and encourage us that Christ loves his church and that he’s given us, in his Word, the resources we need to feed and lead and grow it.

9Marks hosts a number of conferences and workshops each year, both in DC and in various other locations around the world. There’s a small paid staff in DC. There’s a fantastic, resource-rich website. And of course there are books. But really it’s a band of brothers scattered far and wide, who together are committed to not only building biblically healthy churches, but also encouraging other pastors to do the same.

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Get Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church free through the end of February! And don’t miss your chance to win the entire 9Marks Series.

Examine Biblical Themes with the Lexham Bible Guides

lexham-bible-guides-genesis-collectionIf you began your yearly Bible reading plan in Genesis last month, you’re likely almost done with the book—and you undoubtedly have some questions. This year, take your annual reading plan to a new level—a deeper level that answers those questions.

The Lexham Bible Guides: Genesis Collection is the ideal resource to help you grow in your understanding of Genesis and the Bible as a whole. Genesis is the foundation for the rest of Scripture. Almost any biblical theme you can think of—from the Old Testament or the New—has a parallel in Genesis.

The Genesis Collection helps you examine those themes. It guides you through your own exploration of some of the Bible’s most difficult and significant passages. You’ll gain new insights into verses you’ve read countless times—and you won’t need to invest countless hours reading commentaries. We’ve done the research for you.

The Lexham Bible Guides: Genesis Collection

  • Provides comprehensive, easy-to-use coverage
  • Unpacks difficult passages and makes them accessible for further study
  • Explains top scholars’ various opinions, and links you directly to those resources in your Logos library for further reading

The Studies in Faithful Living: Patriarchs Collection

To extend your knowledge even further, order the three-volume Studies in Faithful Living: Patriarchs Collection. Walk through the narratives of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and their families in eight-week studies that are perfect for sharing with small groups or your entire congregation.

The Patriarchs Collection:

  • Explores God’s unique relationships with imperfect people who grew to become champions of faith
  • Provides a rich learning experience for individuals, small groups, or entire congregations
  • Prompts reflection on how the lives of these early leaders hold lessons for us today

It’s not too late to make a new commitment to Bible study this year. Order the Lexham Bible Guides: Genesis Collection and the Studies in Faithful Living: Patriarchs Collection today.

The Grand Story of God’s Work: An Interview with Michael Lawrence (Part 1)

Michael-LawrenceDr. Michael Lawrence is the author of Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry, which you can get free through the end of February! Lawrence holds an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell and a PhD from Cambridge University. He has served as associate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and more recently as pastor of Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, OR.

Can you tell us a bit of your story?

I was born in Texas, grew up in South Carolina, and went to school in North Carolina, Boston, and Cambridge. My wife, Adrienne, and I met at Duke, we’ve been married almost 24 years, and we have five children ages 5 to 17. I went to school to be a medical doctor, but while I was in college, God got ahold of my life and propelled me into ministry, much to my family’s initial disappointment. (They’ve since gotten over it!) Three and a half years ago, we moved from Washington, DC, to Portland, OR, when I became lead pastor at Hinson Baptist Church.

From the brief bio above, you can see that, before the move to Portland, I’d lived my entire life (after Texas) within an easy drive of—if not within sight of—the Atlantic Ocean (or the North Sea). Neither my wife nor I have family west of the Appalachian mountains! So we certainly weren’t looking to move west. But Tom Schreiner, who’s from Oregon, encouraged me to take a look at Hinson. And with the blessing of the elders at Capitol Hill Baptist, where I’d served since 2002, we made the move in 2010. Honestly, it felt like moving back to the UK, in terms of both weather and culture. We went through culture shock all over again. But we’re so glad the Lord has brought us here.

Who did you have in mind when you wrote Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church?

I grew up in a typical Southern Baptist church in the deep south. As a result, I grew up knowing all the Bible stories almost by heart. But no one ever told me how to put all those individual stories together into one grand narrative of God’s work of redemption in the world. That didn’t happen until I got to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. So when I wrote this book, not only did I want to encourage seminary-trained pastors like myself to put biblical theology to work; I wanted interested lay leaders of all kinds—Sunday school teachers, lay elders, small group leaders, women’s ministry leaders, etc.—to benefit from it. The book is really for anyone who finds themselves teaching or applying the Bible to others in the church.

Why is it important that Christians know how to do biblical theology?

Whether they realize it or not, Christians are doing biblical theology all the time. They’re relating the OT to the NT, Israel to Jesus and the church, the Law to the gospel. That’s the work of biblical theology. So if you’re going to be doing something anyway, if it’s inescapable every time you pick up your Bible and read it, then I think you should know what you’re doing. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then it’s not that you won’t do biblical theology—it’s simply that you’ll do it badly, or even incorrectly. The Scriptures are the power of God for salvation. Therefore, we don’t want to misapply the Scriptures. We don’t want to misinterpret the Scriptures. Biblical theology is essential.

What drove you to write this book?

Can I say Jonathan Leeman? There’s nothing like an editor who believes in your project to drive you along! In fact, ever since I sat through Meredith Kline’s course on OT hermeneutics, I’ve had a passion for biblical theology. And after years of practical ministry, both in parachurch and local-church settings, I was convinced that this way of reading the Bible was crucial to faithful, fruitful ministry. Too many times I’d misapplied Scripture, or watched others do so, for no other reason than that I’d never been taught how to put the Bible together as a single story.

Too many times I’d taught moralistic lessons, or watched others do the same, because I had never been taught how the OT points forward to Christ and finds its fulfillment in him. So, I suppose, once I was introduced, I had the zeal of a new convert. I really want people to know how to read their Bibles, and this is the way to do it.

For the past three years, I’ve been preaching from a biblical-theological perspective in a church filled with older members who had always been taught that the OT was a book for and about the Jews, past and future, with little more for them as NT Christians than moral examples and a few messianic prophecies. I can’t tell you how encouraged I am as a pastor to have elders tell me how they feel like I’ve given them back the other half of their Bible, and how excited they are to find Jesus there!

There are a lot of books on biblical theology that examine various arcs of the Bible’s storyline, from scholars like Tom Schreiner, Desmond Alexander, G. K. Beale, and others. How does your book differ?

I’m not really trying to do biblical theology in my book, so much as give people the tools to do it themselves. In the middle section, I do tell the entire arc of the story from five different theological and thematic perspectives. But those are meant more as examples than as thorough treatments of a single biblical theological theme. Instead, my goal is to introduce people to the key concepts that biblical theology uses, relate those tools to two other sets of tools—exegetical theology and systematic theology—and then show what a difference biblical theology makes to our preaching, teaching, counseling, missions, and ethics. It’s a deeply interdisciplinary book, designed not to give you a biblical theology, but to encourage you to discover and use biblical theology for yourself.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the interview!

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Get Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church for free during the month of February! And don’t miss your chance to win the entire 9Marks Series.

The Online Experience with Knox Theological Seminary

Knox LogosToday, biblical education is more accessible than ever before. Knox Theological Seminary and Logos Bible Software have teamed up to offer several enriching degree programs in a distance-education format: you can earn your Doctor of Ministry or master’s degree from a well-respected, accredited institution, regardless of where you are.

But starting a new educational endeavor can be daunting; you might not be sure what to expect. Here’s a taste of what it’s like to take a master’s-level online class from Knox.

A carefully chosen curriculum

Knox offers an exemplary faculty, with world-class scholars in every area of study. These experienced educators will lead you through all sorts of material in a video-lecture format. Each week (or module) will have a handful of lecture videos, often 30 minutes in length. The videos are helpfully edited so that you don’t have to sit through irrelevant course announcements or other material—instead, you’ll get the meat of the content, taught by leading scholars in the field.

The readings are carefully chosen and thoroughly relevant to the lectures and assignments. Assigned textbooks are, more often than not, available from Logos; your online professor will make note of it when they are. For readings that are not yet in Logos, you’ll usually get a PDF or online article of the assigned portion, making it easy to complete your assignments.

Interactive coursework

Assignments tend to fall into three categories: forum posts and responses, quizzes, and papers. All three categories are simple to turn in—with the upload submission format, you don’t have to worry about your paper getting lost in a professor’s junk-mail folder!

The forum discussion posts are short, engaging pieces, designed to both interact with the material and facilitate discussion with your classmates. You’ll post a couple such articles per eight-week class, as well as several graded responses to your fellow students’ articles.

The quizzes and tests tend to be predominantly multiple-choice—though essay questions are common in midterms and final tests—and are simple to accomplish, review, and submit.

A unified community

In each online class, there’s a thriving community of students seeking to glorify God through their studies. The discussions are lively, and students tend to connect deeply with one another, sharing life and ministry stories, praying for each other, and going far above and beyond the assignments to engage the material together.

Find the degree that suits you

Knox has teamed up with Logos to offer the Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies (MABTS), the Master of Arts in  Classical and Christian Studies (MACCS), and a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program, with three tracks available. These degrees will strengthen your ministry as well as your spiritual life; plus, with Logos forming the backbone of the curriculum, your studies will be connected directly to the world of biblical scholarship.

Learn more about the MABTS, the MACCS, or the DMin, and start furthering your education and ministry today!

The Big Win: Missionary Exchanges Suitcase Full of Books for Logos 5

When traveling to a rugged, isolated region like the Appalachian Mountains, you only pack the essentials: good shoes, toothpaste, coats—you know, the typical can’t-leave-home-without-them items. But the suitcases of Bill Barker, a missionary with the North American Mission Board, SBC, were stuffed a little differently: one had the essentials, and the other was chock-full of his favorite theological resources.

If you can imagine how fun it is to carry around a giant bag of books (as in, not fun at all), then you know how meaningful a tool like Logos 5 would be for someone like Barker.

Bill Barker

Amazingly, out of more than 200,000 entries, Barker was the very worthy winner of our Christmas giveaway, which means he’s traded in his hefty suitcase for a one-of-a-kind MacBook Air, pre-loaded with Logos 5 Gold and a collection of Vyrso books.

Barker is thrilled to have won:

“The Logos edition of the MacBook Air has arrived, and I am looking forward to using it in the years ahead for my Bible study and my daily quiet time. As a missionary with the North American Mission Board, SBC, I spend a lot of time away from home working within the Appalachian Mountains. Over the years, when I left home to travel throughout Appalachia, I had two suitcases: one for clothing and one for my books.  With the MacBook Air from Logos, life has gotten simpler—now I simply pick up the Mac and head out the door. The Bible study tools I need are all neatly packed inside. I want to thank Logos for this wonderful gift.”

Barker plays a major role in reaching people in the Appalachians—organizing food drives, church plants, literacy missions, home repairs, and more. We couldn’t be more excited that he’s using his gift to spread the gospel to one of the poorest, most unchurched regions in America. His story is just one of the many testimonies we’ve heard over the years from people who’ve revolutionized their Bible study with Logos.

Take a massive, interconnected library wherever you go: explore Logos 5, the world’s most advanced Bible software, today.

3-Day Sale: Get 30% Off Commentaries on Romans!

3-day sale header

Here’s the deal: you have three days to get 30% off our most popular commentaries on Romans! This sale is exclusive to Romans commentaries, so it’s likely you’ll find your favorites among the nearly 60 products.

Don’t wait—you have until Monday at 11:59 p.m. (PST) to take advantage of this offer!

Here are four of the most popular commentaries on sale:

baker-exegetical-commentary-on-the-new-testament-romans1. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Romans

Get to know Romans with this clear, comprehensive resource by Thomas Schreiner, which wrestles with the book’s theological issues. You’ll also get a four-part exegetical guide to simplify your study.

2. The NIV Application Commentary: Romans

Join Douglas Moo in examining Romans paragraph by paragraph. You’ll look at how Paul’s first-century concerns relate to contemporary issues.

the-new-american-commentary-romans3. The New American Commentary: Romans

A fundamental tool for teachers and expositors seeking to interpret Romans, this commentary illuminates the book’s historical and contemporary significance.

4. Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 38a: Romans 1–8

The WBC stands out for its thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. This widely acclaimed volume is an exceptional resource for theologians, instructors, students, ministers, and anyone else interested in building a thorough understanding of Romans.

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Martin Luther considered Romans to be as much a theological essay as a letter to a church. Because of the book’s rich theological insight, Luther even asserted that it would be beneficial for every Christian to memorize the letter.

This three-day sale’s selection of nearly 60 commentaries gives scholars, pastors, and laypeople the tools they need for a thorough study of this important epistle. You don’t want to miss your chance to get resources on Romans at a great price.

The sale ends Monday at 11:59 p.m. (PST)—get your favorite commentary on Romans right now! 

Behind the Scenes: Updates to the Word Biblical Commentary

word-biblical-commentaryOne of the biggest benefits of owning Logos resources is that you’re constantly getting free updates and improvements.

Have you ever wondered about what goes into updates like these? We thought we’d give you a behind-the-scenes look at the recent update to the Word Biblical Commentary.

Hundreds of thousands of links

Logos books are tightly linked to all the other books in your library. We’re always looking for ways to make these connections even tighter by updating, improving, and adding links.

Here are a few examples of the kinds of things we link—not just in the WBC, but in all your books:

  • When you click a Scripture reference, you’re taken to your preferred Bible translation, or the Greek or Hebrew text.
  • When you click a bibliographic citation, you can instantly open the cited work to get the full context. (If you’ve ever seen something quoted out of context, you know why this is valuable.)
  • When you click a Greek or Hebrew word, you can get the definition, and then go to your preferred lexicon for more.
  • When you view the table of contents, you can click chapter and section headings to navigate to those destinations in the book.
  • When hover over an abbreviation, the full title appears. For example, when N. T. Wright refers to NTPG, you’ll instantly see that it stands for New Testament and the People of God. With print books or other ebook formats, you would have to flip to the front of the book to see what the abbreviation stood for.
  • When the author of the book refers to what they said in the previous chapter, you can click the reference—say, “previous chapter”—to be taken there. Your Logos books have context-sensitive linking: only a human who is familiar with the work would know what “previous chapter” is referring to and know where to link it.
  • When the text refers to a footnote somewhere else in the book, or something said on another page, you can click the link to be taken there.

There are lots of other things we link. Many are obscure, and most you don’t notice. But they’re all important.

Here’s how many links are in the updated version of the Word Biblical Commentary:

  • 131,893 links to external resources, including 3,212 new links. Many of these links point to other books.
  • 739,341 data-type references—links to special data. For example, if the author refers to Genesis 1:1, the link is a data-type reference, not a normal link. This is because, when you click it, the software takes into consideration things like your preferred Bible translation. The short story is that a data-type reference is like a normal link, except with lots of things going on under the hood.
  • 357,373 links within resources: indexes, footnotes, links to abbreviations, links to table of contents, and so on.
  • 50,711 milestone links, which help you navigate your resources more quickly and help provide more accurate data when you right-click.

What about typos?

There are 22,165,650 words in the Word Biblical Commentary. Since we last updated WBC, we’ve received 11,243 typo reports. Of 11,243 typos reported, we fixed 9,939. In other words, the WBC went from a 99.955% accuracy rate to nearly 100%. (We’re hesitant to say we hit 100%, because with 22,165,650 words, it’s possible we still missed one.)

(If you’re doing the math, it sounds like we left 1,304 reported typos. Here’s why.)

The best part for you? All the updates are free!

There’s nothing extra you need to do to get these updates. If you already own the WBC, they’ve already been delivered to you. It’s automatic, and it doesn’t cost a dime.

The WBC is only one of thousands of products we’ve updated in the past year. We have an entire team in one of our departments working exclusively on improving existing resources.

The result of these constant improvements is that, over time, your library is getting smarter, better, and faster. It’s becoming a more effective tool for the work you do every day.

We’re constantly improving Logos resources

When you buy a resource in Logos, you’re not just getting a digital text that somebody built and forgot about.

You’re getting a product from a company that’s investing in improvement every day.

Why? Because we know that the extra updates might make all the difference when you’re working on your next sermon or preparing your next lesson—and that makes a very real difference in peoples’ lives.

Get the WBC today!

If you don’t yet own the Word Biblical Commentary, what are you waiting for?

Get the set today for $63.33 per month with a 12-month interest-free payment plan. This is ideal if you have a book budget, because it allows you to spread your payments out over a few months without having to worry about accumulating interest.

You’ll get the most up-to-date version—and you’ll always have the latest and greatest version for as long as you own it.

Don’t wait—get the WBC now!

Place Your Bid on Moffatt’s New Testament Commentary Series

moffatt-new-testament-commentary-seriesRight now, you can get the best price on the Moffatt New Testament Commentary Series. It’s on Community Pricing, and the current bid is only $30—that’s 83% off!

Rigorous yet readable, these commentaries examine the entire New Testament. James Moffatt, who lectured on Greek and New Testament at Oxford, went on to teach church history at the United Free Church College, where he worked on his greatest ambition: providing an easily readable Bible translation. From there, Moffatt edited this entire series, which is based on his NT translation.

Practical insight into difficult passages

The series’ notes and commentary are rich with solid biblical exegesis and analysis. Moffatt writes,

“My idea was and is to have [the series] written by scholars who were in close touch with the actual life of Christian people, not from an outlook through college windows.”

True to his aim, the commentary gives you practical insight, helping you:

  • Bring out the meaning and message of the Gospel of Mark
  • Familiarize yourself with Luke’s character
  • Apply Paul’s lessons on contentment and rejoicing to your life
  • Understand the context of Revelation
  • And much more

Moffatt’s contributions to New Testament studies were immense. His interest in NT history and the theology of Jesus helped guide and direct the twentieth century’s conversations on theology. Moffatt contributed to other top collections, like the International Critical Commentary, and rounded out the Moffatt New Testament Commentary Series with contributions from 12 of his favorite scholars and authors.

Expand your New Testament knowledge—place your bid on the Moffatt New Testament Commentary Series today!

Then check out the rest of Moffatt’s works.