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Archive for the ‘Bible Study’ Category

We are studying the Sermon on the Mount for our Wednesday Night program. John Stott reflecting on this part of Scripture says that “it is the least understood and applied” piece of text in the New Testament. This part of scripture is a good one to go back through every few months. I have always thought a good practice was to read it completely through in one setting. This does not take long and helps understand the complete unit as a whole. Mt. 6:8 says “Do not be like them!” This is a pivotal point that Jesus makes. What He is saying is not to be like those outside of the church. To put it a better way, we are not to be like the world. This sermon is a call to live counter – culturally which many Christians find difficult to do. I think what I am seeing in the church today are many who want to define their walk with God on their own terms. The Sermon on the Mount dispels any thoughts of going our own way. It is to the point and only 107 verses long. In the middle of this sermon we find how we are to connect with God. Chapter 6 is a pause of sorts that tells us how to live, pray, and fast. With all the complicated how- to books out there in the Evangelical world this portion of Scripture leaves us with a clear direction that we are to follow. Why do we make our life with God so difficult? He never intended for it to be that way.

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PaulPaul the Missionary by Eckhard J. Schnabel is one of the best treatments on the Apostle Paul to come out in recent years. This book is slow through the first 120 pages because it deals with background material. With that said I do think that most Christians wanting to go deeper and understand background material should give this book their time. After the background material Schnabel takes us into the message and methodology of the Apostle. In a day when the Church is filled with programming over the basics of method and message we need to learn to simplify our task of what ministry truly is. We do live in a much different world than the Apostle lived, but the message and how God works is still the same. We forget that aspect a lot of the time. If you want to be challenged on a different level and are tired of the basics this book is for you.

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esvLast year I attended the t4g (together 4 the Gospel conference) which is targeted for those who are Reformed (Calvinistic) in their theology. Out of the 3-5,500 people I would say that only a minority of us were using the NIV bible. The ESV (English Standard Version) which came out in 2001 seemed to be the translation of choice. At the conference I bought this version and began to look at it periodically and use it in my sermon study. With our Church going through the New Testament in 40 days I decided I would challenge myself for the entire year to preach, teach, and have bible study in this version alone. It has similarities to the NAS95 but it is more readable in style. Transitioning from the NIV is tough because I have been using it for everything for the past 7 years. The ESV I have found has a great literal delivery that holds to the original Greek better than any other New Testament translation that I have found. It took a few weeks to get use to a new translation, but I have found a greater appetite for the Word with the ESV. If you have been stuck reading the same version for several years give the ESV a year trial and see what you think. You may find yourself enjoying bible study in greater ways.

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