Category Archives: Bible

If You’re Looking for a Study Bible…

And you’re serious- this is the edition that will do you the most good.

Ancient Wisdom with Modern Relevance

Scripture for the Day

May their own table prove a trap for them, and their abundance a snare; may their eyes grow so dim that they cannot see, all their muscles lose their strength.  Vent your fury on them, let your burning anger overtake them. Reduce their encampment to ruin, and leave their tents untenanted, for hounding someone you had already stricken, for redoubling the pain of one you had wounded. Charge them with crime after crime, exclude them from your saving justice, erase them from the book of life, do not enrol them among the upright. (Ps. 69:22-28 NJB)

Let the reader understand.

Obadiah, Jonah and Micah: An Introduction and Commentary

Obadiah’s oracle against Edom. Jonah’s mission to the city of Nineveh. Micah’s message to Samaria and Jerusalem. These books are short yet surprisingly rich in theological and practical terms. In this Tyndale commentary on these minor but important prophets, Daniel Timmer considers each book’s historical setting, genre, structure, and unity. He explores their key themes with an eye to their fulfilment in the New Testament and their significance for today.

The Tyndale Commentaries are designed to help the reader of the Bible understand what the text says and what it means. The Introduction to each book gives a concise but thorough treatment of its authorship, date, original setting, and purpose. Following a structural Analysis, the Commentary takes the book section by section, drawing out its main themes, and also comments on individual verses and problems of interpretation. Additional Notes provide fuller discussion of particular difficulties.

In the new Old Testament volumes, the commentary on each section of the text is structured under three headings: ContextComment, and Meaning. The goal is to explain the true meaning of the Bible and make its message plain.

A review copy arrived today.  I’ll let you know what I think.

Hezekiah Was a Selfish Jerk: Don’t Be A Selfish Jerk Like Hezekiah- Especially Now

At that time the king of Babylon, Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he had heard of his illness and his recovery. Hezekiah was delighted at this and showed the ambassadors his entire treasury, the silver, gold, spices, precious oil, his armoury too, and everything to be seen in his storehouses. There was nothing in his palace or in his whole domain that Hezekiah did not show them.

The prophet Isaiah then came to King Hezekiah and asked him, ‘What have these men said, and where have they come from?’ Hezekiah answered, ‘They have come from a distant country, from Babylon.’ Isaiah said, ‘What have they seen in your palace?’ ‘They have seen everything in my palace,’ Hezekiah answered. ‘There is nothing in my storehouses that I have not shown them.’ Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Listen to the word of Yahweh, “The days are coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have amassed until now, will be carried off to Babylon. Not a thing will be left,” Yahweh says. “Sons sprung from you, sons fathered by you, will be abducted to be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” ‘

Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘This word of Yahweh that you announce is reassuring,’ for he was thinking, ‘And why not? So long as there is peace and security during my lifetime.’ (2 Ki. 20:12-19)

Hezekiah was a selfish jerk. Don’t be like Hezekiah, only caring about yourself and not thinking of the well being of anyone else.  Especially now.

NRSV Pew Bible with Apocrypha

Hendrickson sent a copy of this pew bible for review today.  I’ll share my thoughts on it in due course.

For churches who prefer the beauty and accuracy of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, inexpensive but high-quality editions have been difficult to find. Until now. Hendrickson’s new NRSV Pew Bible combines thoughtfully designed features with a surprisingly affordable price. Boasting better-grade paper, clear and readable type, three pages of updated color maps, and a presentation page, this is a beautifully crafted Bible as well as the most affordable one on the market.

When Fear Strikes: Some Very Helpful Thoughts from Calvin

True believers, although they dwell safely under the protection of God, are, notwithstanding, exposed to many dangers, or rather they are liable to all the afflictions which befall mankind in common, that they may the better feel how much they need the protection of God.

David, therefore, here expressly declares, that if any adversity should befall him, he would lean upon the providence of God. Thus he does not promise himself continual pleasures; but he fortifies himself by the help of God courageously to endure the various calamities with which he might be visited.

Pursuing his metaphor, he compares the care which God takes in governing true believers to a shepherd’s staff and crook, declaring that he is satisfied with this as all-sufficient for the protection of his life. As a sheep, when it wanders up and down through a dark valley, is preserved safe from the attacks of wild beasts and from harm in other ways, by the presence of the shepherd alone, so David now declares that as often as he shall be exposed to any danger, he will have sufficient defence and protection in being under the pastoral care of God.

We thus see how, in his prosperity, he never forgot that he was a man, but even then seasonably meditated on the adversities which afterwards might come upon him. And certainly, the reason why we are so terrified, when it pleases God to exercise us with the cross, is, because every man, that he may sleep soundly and undisturbed, wraps himself up in carnal security.

But there is a great difference between this sleep of stupidity and the repose which faith produces. Since God tries faith by adversity, it follows that no one truly confides in God, but he who is armed with invincible constancy for resisting all the fears with which he may be assailed.

Yet David did not mean to say that he was devoid of all fear, but only that he would surmount it so as to go without fear wherever his shepherd should lead him. This appears more clearly from the context. He says, in the first place, I will fear no evil; but immediately adding the reason of this, he openly acknowledges that he seeks a remedy against his fear in contemplating, and having his eyes fixed on, the staff of his shepherd: For thy staff and thy crook comfort me.

What need would he have had of that consolation, if he had not been disquieted and agitated with fear? It ought, therefore, to be kept in mind, that when David reflected on the adversities which might befall him, he became victorious over fear and temptations, in no other way than by casting himself on the protection of God.

This he had also stated before, although a little more obscurely, in these words, For thou art with me. This implies that he had been afflicted with fear. Had not this been the case, for what purpose could he desire the presence of God? Besides, it is not against the common and ordinary calamities of life only that he opposes the protection of God, but against those which distract and confound the minds of men with the darkness of death. For the Jewish grammarians think that צלמות, which we have translated the shadow of death, is a compound word, as if one should say deadly shade.

David here makes an allusion to the dark recesses or dens of wild beasts, to which when an individual approaches he is suddenly seized at his first entrance with an apprehension and fear of death. Now, since God, in the person of his only begotten Son, has exhibited himself to us as our shepherd, much more clearly than he did in old time to the fathers who lived under the Law, we do not render sufficient honour to his protecting care, if we do not lift our eyes to behold it, and keeping them fixed upon it, tread all fears and terrors under our feet.*

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*Commentary on the Book of Psalms, vol. 1, 394–396.

The REB Is So Excellent, The German Bible Society Sells It

Visit their shop.  Get a copy.

The Deuteronomist Hated Solomon

If, having reached the country given by Yahweh your God and having taken possession of it and, while living there, you think, “I should like to appoint a king to rule me — like all the surrounding nations,” the king whom you appoint to rule you must be chosen by Yahweh your God; the appointment of a king must be made from your own brothers; on no account must you appoint as king some foreigner who is not a brother of yours. 

‘He must not, however, acquire more and more horses, or send the people back to Egypt with a view to increasing his cavalry, since Yahweh has told you, “You must never go back that way again.” Nor must he keep on acquiring more and more wives, for that could lead his heart astray. Nor must he acquire vast quantities of silver and gold.

Once seated on his royal throne, and for his own use, he must write a copy of this Law on a scroll, at the dictation of the levitical priests.  It must never leave him, and he must read it every day of his life and learn to fear Yahweh his God by keeping all the words of this Law and observing these rules, so that he will not think himself superior to his brothers, and not deviate from these commandments either to right or to left. So doing, long will he occupy his throne, he and his sons, in Israel.’ (Deut. 17:14-20)

The Christian’s Duty

Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thess. 5:22)

That includes supporting evil projects, evil plans, evil persons, evil politicians, and evil political programs.

Get Yourself a Commentary on the Entire Bible

Which one?  Well I’m glad you asked.  You can get the PDF edition of the entire series for a shockingly low  $75.  The books are all available by clicking my PayPal Link.  When you send your payment include your email address please and the books will be sent along quite quickly.  It’s a very good series if I do say so.  Aimed at layfolk and general readers, it is the only modern commentary on the entire Bible by a single author.

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Endorsement

TThis commentary set is written and designed exactly for the average person. The person who hasn’t spent years in book learning and writing papers. Rather, it’s for a person who feels a yearning to know a bit more so they can grow spiritually and intellectually in the faith. The average person might not know where to start on the journey. This set does it beautifully. – Doug Iverson

To All Who Would Demand Silence in the Face of Evil

The LORD sent Nathan to David. When Nathan arrived he said,

“There were two men in the same city, one rich, one poor. The rich man had a lot of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing– just one small ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised that lamb, and it grew up with him and his children. It would eat from his food and drink from his cup– even sleep in his arms! It was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to visit the rich man, but he wasn’t willing to take anything from his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had arrived. Instead, he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the visitor.”  David got very angry at the man, and he said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the one who did this is demonic!   He must restore the ewe lamb seven times over because he did this and because he had no compassion.”

“You are that man!” Nathan told David. (2 Sam. 12:1-7)

Quote of the Week

“I am coming to put you on trial and I shall be a ready witness against sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers, and against those who oppress the wage-earner, the widow and the orphan, and who rob the foreigner of his rights and do not respect me, says Yahweh Sabaoth. ‘No; I, Yahweh, do not change; and you have not ceased to be children of Jacob! Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have evaded my statutes and not observed them.

Return to me and I will return to you, says Yahweh Sabaoth. You ask, “How are we to return? Can a human being cheat God?” Yet you try to cheat me! You ask, “How do we try to cheat you?” Over tithes and contributions. A curse lies on you because you, this whole nation, try to cheat me. Bring the tithes in full to the treasury, so that there is food in my house; put me to the test now like this, says Yahweh Sabaoth, and see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out an abundant blessing for you.” (Mal. 3:5-10)

Quote of the Day

But if you do not [do Yahweh’s will], you will sin against Yahweh, and be sure your sin will find you out. — (Num. 32:23)

And Now…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.  (2 Tim. 4:7-8)

The Seven Things God Literally Hates

There are six things that Yahweh hates, seven that he abhors:

  1. a haughty look,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that weaves wicked plots,
  5. feet that hurry to do evil,
  6. a false witness who lies with every breath,
  7. and one who sows dissension among brothers. – (Prov. 6:16-19)

Die Briefe des Petrus und des Judas: Die Botschaft des Neuen Testaments

Kein anderer biblischer Text ist im Vergleich zu seiner Länge so häufig und ausführlich unter den offiziellen Predigttexten vertreten, wie der erste Petrusbrief. Trotzdem gehört der erste Petrusbrief eher zu den unbekannten Größen des Neuen Testamentes.

Kein anderer Text des NT blieb derart unverstanden wie der Judasbrief. Gleichzeitig sind nur wenige biblische Schriften auch nur annähernd so gehaltvoll, wie die wenigen Verse des Judasbriefes.

Wohl kein anderer Autor des NT wurde ähnlich verkannt, wie der des zweiten Petrusbriefes. Würde der zweite Petrusbrief unter den biblischen Texten fehlen, nur wenige würden ihn vermissen. Doch gerade der Autor des zweiten Petrusbriefes kann heute als Vorbild für einen aufgeklärten Umgang mit der Botschaft des NT fungieren.

Der neue Kommentar ist bestrebt, sowohl den drei Schriften in ihrer jeweiligen Eigenart als auch ihren Autoren Gerechtigkeit widerfahren zu lassen. Er möchte Verständnis erwecken und für die Beschäftigung mit ihnen begeistern.

The present commentary, like others in the series in which it appears (and which I have reviewed previously) is an incredibly helpful and useful resource for those who wish to ‘study to show themselves approved workers, rightly exegeting the word of truth’.  These two biblical texts, fairly unappreciated and certainly not studied in the same depth as the Gospels or Paul’s letters, here receive their due.

The author introduces the work thusly:

Drei Briefe von drei Autoren für drei Gemeinden aus unterschiedlichen Phasen der Entstehungszeit des Christentums. Miteinander verbunden sind die drei Briefe durch den zweiten Petrusbrief. Sein Autor stellt seinen Brief auf der einen Seite ausdrücklich in die Nachfolge des ersten Petrusbriefes (2Petr 3,1). Auf der anderen Seite bezieht er sich so offenkundig auf Motive des Judasbriefes, dass sich eine ausdrückliche Bezugnahme für ihn erübrigt.

Three texts stemming from the early Church which allow us to learn a great deal about the views, practices, and interpretive methodologies of that community.

Each book is introduced as to time and place and author and each exegeted according to the outline proper to each.  Excurses are provided where necessary.  And. perhaps most importantly, each concludes with a theological summary of the book’s contents.  The series title ‘the Message of the New Testament’ is also the title of the concluding segment; i.e., ‘the message of First Peter’, etc.  So, for example, regarding the message of 2 Peter, we find

I) Vorbemerkung
II) Die Autorität des Autors
III) Die Warnung vor den Extremen
IV) Warnung und Trost – Gericht und Rettung
V) Die Endzeit
VI) Das Leben vor dem Ende und zwischen den Extremen
VII) Resümee

Each pericope is translated, thoroughly explained and the volume ends with a decent bibliography, abbreviation list, and a subject index.

Finally, I think it appropriate to reproduce a snippet of the exegesis, so that potential readers have an idea of what the author is trying to do, and how he does it.  The segment is from the exposition of 1 Peter 3:1-4.  Following the text, and the commentary proper, we find this:

Die Unterordnung der Ehefrau bezeichnet der Autor als den wahren Schmuck der Frau (4). Ein solches Verhalten gilt als gottgewollt, ihm wird ewiger Bestand (4b) attestiert und es erscheint selbst als eine Art von Gottesdienst (4c). Die Anweisungen haben ihren Ort in der konkreten Situation einer im Aufbau befindlichen und angefeindeten christlichen Gemeinde. Jeder Anschein von Störung der Ordnung durch Nichtanpassung war zu vermeiden. Mit dem im ersten Petrusbrief vertretenen Ehe- und Familienbild sollten Vorurteile gegen die neue Gruppierung abgewehrt werden. Die hier propagierten Rollenbilder haben bis in die Gegenwart die Gesellschaft geprägt. Heutige christliche Leserinnen und Leser des ersten Petrusbriefes müssen sich mit den damals vertretenen und religiös aufgeladenen Idealen auseinandersetzen. Zu bedenken ist, dass die idealtypische Ehefrau zu Beginn des dritten Kapitels des ersten Petrusbriefes parallel zu dem typischen Haussklaven am Ende des zweiten Kapitels steht. Wer das eine in seiner Gottgewolltheit relativiert und nicht mehr als angemessen erachtet, wird auch das andere auf seine Zeitgemäßheit hin befragen.

I admit, that’s a rather long excerpt, but I think that when one is considering a commentary, having some idea of its contents is an extremely important bit of information to possess.

This volume, like the others in the series, is a welcome addition to the library of students, pastors, scholars, and interested lay folk who want to understand the Scriptures in as thorough and full a way as possible.  The author, Karl-Heinrich Ostmeyer, deserves our appreciation for his fantastic efforts and even more, he deserves for his work to be read.

Tolle, lege! 

If You’re Expecting a Pandemic to Result in A Revival or Awakening, It Won’t

There’s a fascinating passage in the Book of Revelation which clearly portrays the horrifying reality of human nature:

By these three plagues a third of humankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths.  For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they inflict harm.

The rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk.  And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their fornication or their thefts. (Rev. 9:18-21)

At this point in the Book, 2/3rds of humanity have been obliterated.  But that hasn’t convinced anyone of their need to repent.  In fact, they are more obdurate than ever.  If you think a little pandemic is going to move mankind to mass revival and spiritual awakening you’re just not paying attention.

Stop Tempting God

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: `He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, `In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'”  Jesus said to him, “It is written again, `You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'” (Matt. 4:5-7)

If you can be vaccinated against a disease and that vaccination is 100% effective in keeping you from dying and you refuse to be vaccinated, you are tempting the Lord.

If you fall ill and die, you have only yourself to blame.

I Think We Are All Learning How Important this Guidance Is

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. (Ps. 146:3)