The best thing about a study Bible is that enables a person to have ready access to help understanding the Bible. Most study Bibles try to address the major questions people have when reading Scripture. Historically one of the greatest ways to study the Bible is to purchase individual commentaries for whatever book of the Bible you are currently studying (provided you choose a reputable and trustworthy scholar). Obviously this can become very expensive, not to mention inconvenient in terms of storage and mobility. A good study Bible provides you with excellent commentary in a convenient, mobile, and handy package: one bound book.
At one point or another, your average American Christian becomes fascinated with owning a “Study Bible.” Interesting name for it, in light of the fact that a regular, plain old, run-of-the-mill Bible can be studied. In other words, you do not have to own a study Bible to study the Bible! But if you are wanting help understanding what you are reading, a study Bible might be a good purchase for you. In the next five days I am going to lay out some basic thoughts about study Bibles. Today I will summarize the basics.
If you are looking for a Bible with extensive study notes included, the International Inductive Study Bible (now called the New Inductive Study Bible) is the last Bible you should purchase. There is practically no explanatory notes or commentary in this Bible. But if you are looking for a Bible that will help you personally apply the principles of Bible study, then you should give this Bible serious consideration.
I love Bibles. As a family, we probably own fifty of them. I have never taken the time to actually count how many Bibles we have. Bibles come in all shapes and sizes and colors and versions. From the little Gideon’s pocket New Testament to the critically acclaimed ESV Study Bible that weighs in at over 4 lbs., you don’t have to search far in my office or at our house to find a copy of God’s Word.
According to Joel Rosenburg’s blog, ancient Babylon is in the process of being built, which helps fulfill a prophetic key for Christ’s return. Another sign that we are living in the very last days? Maybe.
In my message this morning, I spoke about how a lot of people just cannot embrace the idea that God would actually send people to Hell. This afternoon I came across these two quotes from Charles Spurgeon (via Phil Johnson):
Unrenewed persons find fault with God’s justice. Eternal punishment they cavil at; hell is such a bugbear to them, that, just as every culprit will, of course, find fault with the prison and the gallows, so they rail at the wrath to come, though that wrath is just as sure, notwithstanding all their objections to it.
But when the heart is really touched by divine grace, then it has no more to say for itself, but pleads guilty at the bar of God\’s great assize; and if the Judge should put on the black cap, and condemn it to be taken instantly to the place of execution, that soul could only say, \”Thou art righteous, O Lord, for I have sinned.\”
I despair of ever finding a word of comfort for any man or woman among you, if you have not been brought to feel that you deserve the wrath of God. Come with the ropes about your necks, ready for execution, and you will find a God ready to forgive.
. . . . .
Every sinner who has really come to Christ has been made to feel that however angry God may he with sin, He is not one whit too angry.
Until we know the power of divine grace, we read in the Bible concerning eternal punishment, and we think it is too heavy and too hard, and we are apt to kick against it, and find out some heretic or other who teaches us another doctrine; but when the soul is really quickened by divine grace, and made to feel the weight of sin, it thinks the bottomless pit none too deep, and the punishment of hell none too severe for sin such as it has committed.
This is not the emotion of a mind rendered morbid by sickness, but these are the genuine workings of God the Holy Ghost in the soul, bringing the man to stand guilty before the Lord, with his mouth closed, not able to say a word against the sentence of divine justice.
I spotted this on a couple of different blogs and was encouraged by it so I pass it along to you.
Step 1. Eat dinner with your entire family regularly.
Step 2. Mom and Dad sit next to one another to lead the family discussion.
Step 3. Open the meal by asking if there is anyone or anything to pray for.
Step 4. Someone opens in prayer and covers any requests. This task should be rotated among family members so that different people take turns learning to pray aloud.
Step 5. Start eating and discuss how everyone’s day went.
Step 6. Have a Bible in front of the parents in a translation that is age-appropriate for the kids’ reading level. Have someone (parent or child) open the Bible, and assign a portion to read aloud while everyone is eating and listening.
Step 7. Parents should note key words and themes in the passage and explain them to the kids on an age-appropriate level.
Step 8. Ask questions about the passage. You may want to begin with having your children summarize what was read—retelling the story or passage outline. Then, ask the following questions: What does this passage teach us about God? What does it say about us or about how God sees us? What does it teach us about our relationships with others?
Step 9. Let the conversation happen naturally, listen carefully to the kids, let them answer the questions, and fill in whatever they miss or lovingly and gently correct whatever they get wrong so as to help them.
Step 10. If the Scriptures convict you of sin, repent as you need to your family, and share appropriately honest parts of your life story so the kids can see Jesus’ work in your life and your need for him too. This demonstrates gospel humility to them.
Step 11. At the end of dinner, ask the kids if they have any questions for you.
Step 12. If you miss a night, or if conversation gets off track, or if your family occasionally just wants to talk about something else, don’t stress—it’s inevitable.
This is adapted from Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter, a study guide. (Mars Hill Church, 2009), pages 68-69. (http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/misc/trial-8-witnesses_document01.pdf)