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Reading the Bible Through

Early one January an adult Sunday school class had just begun its session. The Bible teacher got up and asked a simple question. He had asked this question in other classes and venues, and knew what the answer would be. “How many of you have read the Bible all the way through”? He asked for a show of hands. Many in the class looked at each other and seemed a little ill-at-ease with the question. One lady in the back of the room raised her hand. In classes of 25 to 30 students, this was normal: one or two believers had actually read the Bible through. The rest were embarrassed; inevitably tried to justify their response with mumbled replies.

We now face the beginning of a new year. There are many who will be trying to design improvements to their physical situation or emotional wellbeing. A few will be concerned about their spiritual growth and behaviour and will resolve to read the Scriptures on a regular basis.

Reading the Bible through is one of the most basic and helpful ways to provide growth and maturity in the Christian heart and life.

Some people like to try to read the Bible through in a year. This is a noble task. For many, however, it creates some problems.

open BibleIn our current day and age, many people—especially younger people—have difficulty reading complete books. Some have difficulty with well-written paragraphs. Still others can only comprehend short cropped phrases. For many people reading and writing is confined to 140 characters or less. Some have difficulty following an argument from paragraph to paragraph. All these things affect their understanding of what is formally written, leaving them unable to comprehend what’s on one page of the Bible, much less what’s on the rest of the pages.

A second difficulty with reading the Bible through can be lack of interest—spiritual, doctrinal or subject matter. It is difficult to read the Bible for some because they just aren’t interested in what is in the Bible. It is important that each time you begin your Bible reading you take time to pray and ask the Lord to help you with your interest, diligence and understanding. Ask God to teach you by his Spirit through his Word.

A third problem involved with reading the Bible through is time. There are so many pulls on our time each and every day that we don’t have any moments to spare to come aside and read the Bible. We make good progress at taking ten or fifteen minutes to spend time with the Lord in his Word, but then one thing or another manages to steal that time away.

Thus, it takes quite a commitment to begin daily Bible reading, and particular diligence to read it consistently and all the way through.

The most important thing in deciding to read the Bible on a daily basis is to remember that you are meeting God through reading his Word. You are doing this for your relationship with him and your spiritual growth. It is to know God better.

There are several practical ways of reading the Scriptures and of reading all the way through. First is the need to set aside time to do so; second is determining how you’re going to do it. Would morning or evening be best? Third is should you endeavour to read through the Bible in one year, or two, or five? Will you read straight from Genesis to Revelation or use some other system?

There are many tools which are available for the believer. There are numerous translations in English—some are good, while others are a detriment to spiritual growth. There are devotional Bibles which have the text divided into 365 day increments for convenience. Many Bibles have a Bible reading plan located in the back of the Bible, and there are many Bible reading plans available on the Internet. The wonderful Christian blogger Tim Challies has a recent article on this.

Some people like to read the Old Testament text in the morning and the New Testament text in the evening. Thus they start and finish the day in God’s Word. They will often start in Genesis and Matthew, and just plough through.

There are many who will try to read the Bible through during the calendar year 2017, and while this is a noble endeavour, it can be rather difficult, particularly if you set a specific amount to read daily. There may be certain days that will interrupt the reading schedule because you are ill or traveling or for some other valid reason, and you will struggle to catch up. If you do not have time to go back and catch up on your reading, it is perfectly acceptable to pick up again on the next day and continue on. You may miss some of the details or context, but you will be able to continue without the burden of having to make up readings which slow you down and eventually cause you to stop altogether. Being able to brag that you have read every single verse of the Bible is not why you have committed to reading the Scriptures. It is important to read the Bible completely even if you miss several small sections.

Dr Allen Fleece recommended that you could spend thirty days in a book of the Bible. He recommended starting with Romans. You read as much as you can each day, and when you reach the end you start over. You do this for thirty days. Then you continue in 1 Corinthians for thirty days. Some people like to add “Spiritual Vitamins” by reading a chapter of the book of Proverbs each day of the month.

Some people read the Bible all the way through, not concerned with when they finish. They average a chapter or two a day, and take time to slow down if necessary to ensure they understand what they’ve read. They take their time day-by-day in God’s Word.

It is my hope and prayer that you will make a decision and a commitment to read God’s Word consistently in the coming year, that you will understand what you read and that you will be able to have a much closer relationship to God through his Word. God is as willing as he is able to assist, help and bless you in this.

As Dr Fleece used to put it, “When you open your Bible God opens his mouth; when you close your Bible God closes his mouth”. Make your commitment today.

Blessings,

GW Anderson
Spoudason Services

 

George W. Anderson taught at Columbia International University before becoming the Editorial Manager as well as an Editorial Consultant of the Trinitarian Bible Society in London. Mr. Anderson offers his knowledge and expertise at Spoudason Services, a research & teaching consultancy in Bible, NT Greek, hermeneutics & theology for Bible students, SS teachers, pastors & missionaries.

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When “errors” are not errors.

Amazon’s email to OSNOVA:

 

Hello,

We’re writing to let you know that at least one of your readers has reported some problems within your book [the KJV Bible], and we have confirmed the issue. … There are some words in your book that our spell check dictionary could not identify. … Here are the words and their locations

For example “cieling of wood; ” should be “ceiling of wood; “(loc:48522),”burglers” should be “burglars” (loc:48385),”sodering” should be “soldering”(loc:27757),

 

OSNOVA’s Email to Amazon:

Dear Amazon,
As always, we have carefully reviewed your report.  Given that we are dealing with the text of the KJV translation of the Bible, we have to faithfully reproduce all the spellings of its authoritative editions.  Neither you nor I are qualified to update the spelling of the KJV Bible to the modern standards or decide that the original text contained errors or misspellings.

In this particular instance, all of the reported “errors” cannot and should not be corrected even though they look strange to the modern eye because the original text had “cieling of wood,” “burglers” and “sodering.”  Please see the attached reproductions of the text of the KJV that served as the basis for our electronic edition.

I would appreciate if you would pass this information to the customer who reported these “errors.”

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Beware Kindle Touch Firmware Update

The two-three most recent firmware updates for Kindle Touch (5.1.0, 5.1.1, 5.1.2) have brought new features but also much havoc.

One of the new “features” is the “Enhanced Table of Contents.”  What it means is that Amazon removed from the “Go to” menu the link to the (carefully crafted by us) Table of Contents in the book itself and replaced it with the entire contents of an internal toc.ncx file.  For those who know, Amazon basically followed the epub toc custom but, unlike epub, listed all levels of toc by default. In practice, it means that you will see the list of all!!! chapters of the Bible one by one, and if you happen to be reading in the middle of the Bible you will be lost – there is no way you can scroll up through the entire list.  The cumbersome workaround around this mess is to press “Beginning”, then open the “Go to” menu again and select the OT toc or NT toc.

The other blunder is that you will not be able to search reliably any of the books that you had on the Kindle prior to the update (their index file on your Kindle is messed up by the update).  The only solution so far is to delete the book and reinstall (redownload it from Amazon) it again so that Kindle Touch can create a new index file for the book.  This issue also means that DVJ-1 will work only after you delete/reinstall.

The only good news (we have to treat anything that is not broken by Amazon’s update as good news) is that DVJ-2 (see this post) did not receive any harmful attention from Amazon. It still works… but for how long?

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Should God answer all our prayers?..

Growing up in a Christian background, I remember thinking that as soon as I prayed and said the *magic* phrase “in Your name”, the deal was done – whatever I asked for would come true! Has it ever happened to you that you expected God to necessarily answer your prayer “just the way you asked”? Many people do believe that God absolutely has to positively react to the prayers of His saints.

Here is an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s commentary on the Psalm 130, in which he addressed the question of (un-)answered prayers:

“Lord, hear my voice.” (Psalm 130:2) It is all we ask; but nothing less will content us. If the Lord will but hear us we will leave it to his superior wisdom to decide whether he will answer us or no. It is better for our prayer to be heard than answered. If the Lord were to make an absolute promise to answer all our requests it might be rather a curse than a blessing, for it would be casting the responsibility of our lives upon ourselves, and we should be placed in a very anxious position: but now the Lord hears our desires, and that is enough; we only wish him to grant them if his infinite wisdom sees that it would be for our good and for his glory.

(from “Treasury of David: Expositions of the Psalms” by Charles Spurgeon)

 

How many times in my life I was actually grateful to my God for not answering my prayers in the way I expected! Trusting the Lord to hear us – both our prayers and wants – and to give us what is truly best for us is a great Christian virtue!..

 

 

Own a copy of “Treasury of David” on your Kindle?
Remember to leave a review for it on Amazon!

 

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Marriages That Glorify God

We asked Todd Wright, the author of ‘Marriages That Glorify God’ and the founder of Wright Ministries, to write a guest post for our blog.

Todd holds a Master of Science Degree in Counseling and Guidance and has been a Licensed Professional Counselor for 18 years. Todd’s wife Fonny (who is also a Licensed Professional Counselor holding a Master of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, and a Master of Arts Degree in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is an active part of Wright Ministries, whose mission is to bring glory to God through the building up of believers through marital counseling.

 

We were created to bring glory to God, and marriage is a primary means by which believers are able to bring glory to God.  Unfortunately, bringing “glory to God” is not the objective of every Christian marriage. The goal for many couples is happiness and joy, and this goal is unfortunately supported by much of the literature focused on the subject.  When we make personal happiness our number one goal, it conflicts with the reason we are here.  Therefore, it is necessary to re-visit why we are here and ensure the goals for our marriages are equal to God’s goals for our marriages.

“Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”  (Isaiah 43:7)

From Isaiah we learn each of us was created for His glory.  God did not create us for our own glory, we were created for His glory.

“The people whom I formed for Myself, Will declare My praise.”  (Isaiah 43:21)

As believers we are to “declare” praise for our Lord.  It is difficult, if not impossible to do so when all our energy is directed towards our own personal happiness.  Declare praise for our Lord and use the sounding board of your marriage to do it.

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

To God be the glory forever. You have a better chance at accomplishing this goal when it is an objective of your marriage. A secondary benefit for believers who bring glory to God is satisfaction and joy which come from bringing glory to God. When personal joy is the number one goal, we may find temporary satisfaction, but we have failed to bring glory to God.

Once we have made “bringing glory to God” the goal for our marriages, the next question is how to accomplish this mission.  For the most part, believers know to sing praises to God, attend church, fellowship with other believers, and spend time in prayer.  What is most often neglected is spiritual growth.  The Father is glorified when His children develop spiritually and spiritual growth comes by means of consistent intake of the Word of God.

We must ask ourselves, “how successful can we expect our marriages to be when we as believers neglect a daily study of the Word of God?”  Issues with Christian marriages are well documented. The books, magazine articles, and blogs which attempt to correct all that is wrong with this most sacred institute from God are just as plentiful. But how many of these works emphasize a systematic study of the Scriptures? How many emphasize the importance of  replacing our own faulty thinking with God’s perfect divine viewpoint on marriage?

“To whom would He teach knowledge?  And to whom would He interpret the message?  Those just weaned from milk?  Those just taken from the breast?  For He says, ‘Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.’”  Isaiah 28:9-10

This passage in Isaiah instructs believers on how to systematically study the Scriptures, “Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line”.  The doctrines taught in the Bible build on one another, and so as believers we mature as we build knowledge of the scriptures in our souls.  The result is spiritual maturity.  Isaiah 28 is one of the passages which speak of immature baby believers.  Why are they not as mature?  What do they need to mature spiritually?  They need to be taught the Word of God in a systematic way and they need to study the Word of God in a systematic way – order on order, line on line, a little here, a little there.  To make the point perfectly clear the message is repeated word for word just a few verses later. If God is going to repeat the message, we should assume it is important.

“So the word of the LORD to them will be, ‘Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there,’” Isaiah 28:13a

Married couples who bring glory to God are couples who mature spiritually by systematically studying the Bible.  An organized study of the Bible is not accomplished by simply reading the Bible.  There is nothing wrong with reading the Bible cover to cover and in fact I would encourage you to do this at least once.  But the doctrines of the Bible can be easily organized in such a way as to be studied as described in the scriptures.  There are a plethora of study aides available to guide believers through personal study of the Bible.  These study aides are more than inspirational works.  Once you learn to study the Bible in an organized fashion you will find all the inspiration you need.  For a list of recommended study guides, feel free to contact Wright Ministries at (817) 271-4495 or by email at Todd@wrightministries.com

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15

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Who is Jesus?

The Bible,
from cover to cover,
answers the question,
“Who is this Jesus?”

 

 

 

JESUS: FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION 

In the Old Testament:

– In Genesis, He is the Creator God.

– In Exodus, He is the Redeemer.

– In Leviticus, He is your sanctification.

– In Numbers, He is your guide.

– In Deuteronomy, He is your teacher.

– In Joshua, He is the mighty conqueror.

– In Judges, He gives victory over enemies.

– In Ruth, He is your kinsman, your lover, your redeemer.

– In I Samuel, He is the root of Jesse.

– In 2 Samuel, He is the Son of David.

– In 1 Kings and 2 Kings, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

– In 1st and 2nd Chronicles, He is your intercessor and High Priest.

– In Ezra, He is your temple, your house of worship.

– In Nehemiah, He is your mighty wall, protecting you from your enemies.

– In Esther, He stands in the gap to deliver you from your enemies.

– In Job, He is the arbitrator who not only understands your struggles, but has the power to do something about them.

– In Psalms, He is your song–and your reason to sing.

– In Proverbs, He is your wisdom, helping you make sense of life and live it successfully.

– In Ecclesiastes, He is your purpose, delivering you from vanity..

– In the Song of Solomon, He is your lover, your Rose of Sharon.

– In Isaiah, He is the mighty counselor, the prince of peace, the everlasting father, and more. He’s everything you need.

– In Jeremiah, He is your balm of Gilead, the soothing salve for your sin-sick soul.

– In Lamentations, He is the ever-faithful one upon whom you can depend.

– In Ezekiel, He is your wheel in the middle of a wheel–the one who assures that dry, dead bones will come alive again.

– In Daniel, He is the ancient of days, the ever- lasting God who never runs out of time.

– In Hosea, He is your faithful lover, always beckoning you to come back–even when you have abandoned Him.

– In Joel, He is your refuge, keeping you safe in times of trouble.

– In Amos, He is the husbandman, the one you can depend on to stay by your side.

– In Obadiah, He is Lord of the Kingdom.

– In Jonah, He is your salvation, bringing you back within His will.

– In Micah, He is judge of the nation.

– In Nahum, He is the jealous God.

– In Habakkuk, He is the Holy One.

– In Zephaniah, He is the witness.

– In Haggai, He overthrows the enemies.

– In Zechariah, He is Lord of Hosts.

– In Malachi, He is the messenger of the covenant.

In the New Testament:

– In Matthew, He is king of the Jews.

– In Mark, He is the servant.

– In Luke, He is the Son of Man, feeling what you feel.

– In John, He is the Son of God.

– In Acts, He is Savior of the world.

– In Romans, He is the righteousness of God.

– In I Corinthians, He is the rock that followed Israel.

– In II Corinthians, He the triumphant one, giving victory.

– In Galatians, He is your liberty; He sets you free.

– In Ephesians, He is head of the Church.

– In Philippians, He is your joy.

– In Colossians, He is your completeness.

– In I Thessalonians, He is your hope.

– In II Thessalonians, He is your glory.

– In I Timothy, He is your faith.

– In II Timothy, He is your stability.

– In Titus He is your reason for serving.

– In Philemon, He is your benefactor.

– In Hebrews, He is your perfection.

– In James, He is the power behind your faith.

– In I Peter, He is your example.

– In II Peter, He is your purity.

– In I John, He is your life.

– In II John, He is your pattern.

– In III John, He is your motivation.

– In Jude, He is the foundation of your faith.

– In Revelation, He is your coming King.

 (Post source: Bible Study Planet)

 

Have you discovered who Jesus is for you?
Pick up the Bible and spend some time with Jesus today! 

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Lamentations for the Kindle: Amazon, please innovate!

Much of Microsoft’s early success was based on the ability to incorporate and market innovations of others (PC DOS from Seattle Computer Products, a computer mouse from Xerox, a window-based GUI from Apple). In a similar vein, Amazon’s success with the Kindle platform is due not in small part to innovations of a French company, Mobipocket SA. Continue reading

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Spurgeon: Turn or burn

“Two hundred years ago the predominant strain of the pulpit was one of terror: it was like Mount Sinai, it thundered forth the dreadful wrath of God, and from the lips of a Baxter or a Bunyan, you heard most terrible sermons, full to the brim with warnings of judgment to come.

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We’ve been blogged.

Mobile Ministry Magazine, which we have been reading from time to time, has done a post about us and used such nice words as “Effective In-Bible Interfaces” (is it really about us?)  The full extent of the power of mobile Bibling (Bible-computing, my coinage) is still to be explored.  But even now it is clear that mobile Bibles penetrate through the tightest of fences.  The Soviet Union may not have survived as long if God’s Word was freely available electronically as it is now (see my earlier post about the treatment of God’s Word in the Soviet Union).

MMM* has reminded me about my ruminations about various approaches to Bibling: (a) a walled-garden, expensive, heavy weight one a la Logos; (b) apps way (for iOS, Android, etc.), (c) epub/mobi open ebook method (what I have been mostly doing); (d) simple Java Bible for each cell phone that has power to revolutionize missions in prosecuted countries.  I may refine them and put them to paper (screen) in the future.


*Apropos, there are a couple of associations for me with this abbreviation, 1 and 2

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Hyperlinks on Kindles

Another point of comparison among Kindle Keyboard, Kindle Fire, and Kindle Touch is the use of hyperlinks. Hyperlinks are especially important in Bibles and Bible Study materials for reading a footnote, a cross-reference in the Bible, a dictionary entry, etc. Continue reading

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