Now that I’ve been a Christian for 29 years as well as a pastor for 21 years, I have seen a lot of trends in American Christianity over the past few decades. One of the more disappointing trends has been the amount of hype surrounding certain books, movies, conferences, movements, Bible studies, and, even, “revivals.” I cannot recall how many times a of these various mediums were going to possibly usher in a revival which would transform our nation.
Let me mention a few examples. From each of these examples, God has certainly done a whole lot. People have been saved. Lives have been changed. I do not want to minimize that fact. Praise the Lord for how He used these tools to reach people!
In each of these cases I can recall Christian people enthusiastically suggesting, or hoping, that this particular “thing” would be the catalyst for national revival or spiritual awakening.
(1) 1990… A Bible Study… “Experiencing God” featured the teaching of Henry Blackaby, and consisted of a VHS video series matched with a workbook. The premise of the study is to find out where God is at work and to join Him there. Excellent counsel! But national revival from the study itself? Twenty-five years and counting… not yet.
Continue reading What Will Bring Revival? It’s Really Quite Simple…
My friend Mark Bertrand has penned a column about a new niche of Bibles designed specifically for reading sessions. Perhaps you have given this subject little thought in the past. If you are serious about engaging with God’s Word I highly recommend you take the time to read, and think through, his points.
For those of you who are not sure what a “Reference Bible” is, I’ll explain. A reference Bible is one that has other Bible verses listed on the page so that you can easily “cross reference” other Scriptures which are related in subject matter to the verses you are reading. For example, here is a photograph taken of the TBS Westminster Reference Bible (can be purchased HERE):
As you can see in the picture above, to the left and right of the Bible text itself, there are lists of other Bible verses that relate to the subjects presented in what you are reading. Many Bible readers love to pause and search out these other references to see what else the Bible says on this subject. It is an excellent tool for deeper Bible study.
However, aesthetically, when it comes to design layout, a reference Bible seems to have more in common with a dictionary or encyclopedia than a traditional book that you would read cover-to-cover. Hence, the recent trend toward producing “reading Bibles.”
Compare the image above with the new ESV Reader’s Bible from Crossway (available for purchase HERE):
It makes for a dramatic difference in your reading experience. I encourage you to read Mark’s take on the impact of the design of the Bible you choose to read.
We are living in an era when, as English speakers, we have a multitude of choices when it comes to translations of the Bible. Throughout the history of my Christian journey, I have used many translations for my daily reading, including the New International Version (NIV), New American Standard (NASB), and English Standard Version (ESV). However, the older I get and the longer I’ve studied the Bible, the more I have grown to prefer the King James Version (KJV) and New King James Version (NKJV). Here’s why…
I have come to believe that they are based upon the best collection of ancient manuscripts, known as the Byzantine family of texts. I acknowledge that this is the minority position among conservative Bible scholars today. Yet the fact remains that the Byzantine family is that which has been preserved and cherished by most Christians for the entire history of the Christian church.
Hear me clearly: If you are using a Bible based upon the Alexandrian family of manuscripts (like the NIV, NASB, ESV or NLT), you have a Bible that presents the Gospel clearly and has all the major doctrines of the Christian faith. I am not KJVO (King James Version only).
That said, I like having a Bible in my hand that does not omit certain verses or phrases or question the legitimacy entire sections of the Scripture.
Continue reading Why I Have Come to Prefer the KJV and NKJV
I met Lee Corning several years ago when he lived in Jacksonville Beach for a while. A native of suburban Chicago, Lee now lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife Chelsy. Lee, 28, works in technology and trading. In January Lee decided to embark on a challenge: to read the entire Bible within 7 days. Having been raised in a devout Christian home (his mother is the author of Entrusted With a Child’s Heart
and his father was chair of the elder board at Harvest Bible Chapel of Rolling Meadows, IL for twenty-three years), Lee grew up surrounded by a deep love and respect for God’s Word. Here at pastorbrett.com we post fairly frequently on the importance of Bible reading. I asked Lee if he would be willing to answer some questions about his experience of reading the Bible intensely over a short period of time. He graciously agreed.
PB: Thanks, Lee for being willing to do this interview. Where and when did you get the idea to try to the read the Bible in six days? Why six days?
LC: I generally wake up around 3 or 4 a.m. to watch overseas markets for a little before the work day starts and get a little reading done or something in the educational realm. I had been reading lots of business books and biographies of industrialists and technology innovators. I was about halfway through the Steve Jobs biography and thought to myself, this guy is really just an excellent manipulator… and kind of a charlatan. I put that book down and thought, people really put this guy on a pedestal and he’s not even a good guy. I don’t want to be like this guy at all, which raises the obvious question of, “Whose life do you want to imitate/learn from?”
Continue reading Lee Corning Interview: Reading the Whole Bible in Six Days
New Coke/Coke Classic
Most of you probably remember Coca-Cola’s brief foray into changing the formula of the popular soft drink. It was called “New Coke” and it was an attempt by Coca-Cola to gain market share among a key demographic, youth, an age group that was favoring Pepsi. It backfired. Although “New Coke” showed promise in many parts of the country, it was soundly rejected in the South, where Coca-Cola us based (Atlanta).
The strong Southern rejection spread. Comedians mocked Coke, fans at a Houston Astros baseball game booed a Coke advertisement. Within three months, Coca-Cola announced the return of the original formula, in a product called “Coke Classic.” Loyal Coke fans rejoiced. On the Senate floor, Arkansas Democrat David Pryor called the decision by Coca-Cola “a meaningful moment in U. S. history.” I’m not sure what that says about our country; perhaps it says more about the gentleman from Arkansas. Nonetheless, America as a whole must have agreed because the brief “New Coke” fiasco and it’s merciful conclusion thrust the Coca-Cola company into a period of renewed success as king of the soft drink world, a success that has been uninterrupted even to this day.
Biblica and the NIV Translation
Formerly known as the International Bible Society, Biblica is the worldwide publisher and copyright holder of the New International Version of the Bible. A self-governing group of Bible scholars, known as the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) is responsible for the content of the NIV. Originally published back in 1978, the NIV went through an update in 1984, which was followed by a couple of decades of remarkable popularity among English Bibles, even supplanting the venerable King James Version (KJV) as the best-selling English Bible. In 2009 Biblica announced that they would be releasing an update again in 2011, not coincidentally on the 400th anniversary of the KJV. The “new” NIV was indeed released in March of 2011.
“And what does this have to do with Coke?”
Glad you asked.
Continue reading Coke Classic and the Need for a NIV Classic
Here at pastorbrett.com you will find a lot of emphasis on reading the Bible. It’s sort of a pasion of mine. God gave us a book; seems like we should give it some attention, don’t you think? Dr. Gordon Fee is the co-author of How to Read the Bible For All its Worth, a book which has been in print for a couple of decades now and has sold over a million copies. It was required reading in my seminary, which is how I was introduced to Dr. Fee. I have a couple of his commentaries as well as a couple of other books by him on the Holy Spirit in the writings of Paul.
I grew up on the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Bible. The NIV was originally published when I was in grade school and soon thereafter my Mom got me a NIV Children’s Bible. Later on, in my teen years, I got a Ryrie Study Bible (NIV). The thing I appreciated about the NIV was it was very readable for a young person. One thing I started noticing was that in certain places, for example, John 7:53-8:11, there was a disclaimer of sorts inserted between the text: “The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11.”
Most modern versions of the Bible have some kind of disclaimer like this in John’s Gospel as well as the end of Mark’s Gospel (Mark 16.9-20). My English Standard Version (ESV) Reference Bible says “Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9-20” right before the end of Mark (I actually prefer the ESV’s language over the NIV’s because the ESV simply refers to earlier manuscripts rather than making a value judgment regarding their reliability). It’s also set apart in the ESV as different by use of double brackets, like this: “[[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week…worked with them and confirmed the messages by accompanying signs.]]”
So the question is, what does this mean?
Continue reading “The Earliest and Most Reliable Manuscripts…” – What Does This Mean?