Personal Bible Study Tips

When anyone first begins to read the Bible it immediately becomes obvious that the Bible is different than any other book. It originates in God Himself, for these are the very words of God. It also comes from authors who wrote in ancient days (1400 BC through 70 AD), and it deals with the heaviest subjects of all time (God, creation, morality, life’s purpose, human depravity, gracious redemption, and humanity’s ultimate end). The Bible can be intimidating and confusing in some areas.

However, it is also true that the Bible is quite similar to other books. Read more…


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Mother’s Day

How is one to speak of motherhood? Should I say something funny about the incessant troubles of rearing unappreciative and naïve children? Should I mention a note of gratitude for all of the mothers who have sacrificed themselves through a life of tireless nurturing and care? Should I applaud those mothers who have raised exemplary children to adulthood, and maybe even celebrate the motherhood of the one who was once their little girl?

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Why I no longer use the NIV…

I began my Christian journey as I was reading through “The Student Bible” New International Version, which was published in 1996 by Zondervan. It was given to me at some point during my teen years, but I never had any time for the Bible until I was miraculously converted in my college dorm room. One afternoon I noticed that I was just sitting on my bunk bed, reading the Bible, and this had been a regular occurrence for several days. This was totally unusual for me, and so I began to notice other changes in my affections too. God saved me from my sin, from myself, and from His wrath.


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What does the Bible really teach about Homosexuality?

From beginning to end, DeYoung’s book “What does the Bible really teach about Homosexuality?” was engaging, accessible, and Gospel-focused. He rightly reminds readers that homosexuality, just like all other experiences that a human may have, is not removed from a larger story or narrative. DeYoung also helps Christians and non-Christians to understand the nature of what we are talking about as well as what is at stake in such a discussion. The book is great mix of scholarly research, logical reasoning, and pastoral candor. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Everyone can and should read this book.

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Is the Bible the Word of God?

It would not be an overstatement to say that God’s revealed word has been a source of controversy from nearly the beginning of time. The serpent of old asked Eve, “Did God actually say…” (Gen. 3:1), and that question has been an incessant refrain ever since. One of the central topics of the conversation, especially during the last 150 years, is inspiration. What do we mean when we say that God inspired the Bible? How has God inspired the texts we understand to have been written by various authors over the course of about 1,500 years? There are many more questions that arise in this kind of conversation, but it is helpful to begin by asking, “Is the Bible the Word of God?” Of course even this question will require some explanation, but here is a constructive starting point. Basil Manly has written a fantastic work on exactly this topic, and I found it to be extremely productive. Surprisingly, it was also food for my soul.

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An encouragement as we face death in Diana, TX

 

Coach Keith McKinley (a coach in the New Diana school district) died on Tuesday, April 7. The story in the Longview News Journal was very brief, and heart breaking.[1] A young man, seemingly in good health, simply dies without warning. Adding to the tragedy, Keith has left a wife and three children behind to grieve their loss.

In times like this, it is inevitable that we begin to ask questions like “How does something like this happen?” or “Why would God allow such a terrible thing?” These are serious questions that should not be passed by too quickly or answered too carelessly. When we face the most difficult pains of mortal life, it is always beneficial for us to consider what God has revealed in His word. We cannot know the answer to every question, but we can answer many of the tough questions of life because God has graciously told us what is true.

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Hell or no Hell in the Apostles’ Creed?

Anyone who has spent any amount of time thinking through the affirmations contained in the Apostles’ Creed has probably had some struggle over what to do with one peculiar phrase. The phrase, of course, is “he descended into hell.” This phrase is a statement about the work of Christ, and it is vexing to any biblical student. What does it mean? Why was it included? How many Christians have affirmed this belief? Is it biblical? Should I affirm such a thing?

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A Familiar Refrain and A Stark Reminder

On December 7, 2014 I preached a message entitled, “Do you really trust the Bible?”[1]  This message was part of a series of presentations, which I planned and delivered on the first Sunday of each month during my time as pastor of FBC Diana in 2014, that were designed to provide a Christian (and more particularly a biblical) response to some contemporary cultural issues.  While some might imagine that the Bible is hardly a contemporary cultural concern, a Newsweek article made it clear that there are at least some in our contemporary culture who still find it necessary to launch assaults upon the Holy Scriptures. Read more…


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Strength in Suffering

In his devotional “Mornings and Evenings,” Charles Spurgeon wrote his own commentary on the passing of Christians from security and strength to further stability and power. This progression is contrary to much of our natural experience, and Spurgeon acknowledges the same. A runner, for instance, begins with full energy and ends with none; and the wrestler finishes his long match with much less vigor than he had at the start. But Christians are anchored and empowered by someone who is unnatural, and their advancement from strength to strength is observable as well as biblical.

The Bible speaks of a God who is not merely a passive all-observing eye. No, the biblical God is the creator and sustainer of every aspect of His creation; He is the ever-active, sovereign king of the universe (Acts 17:24-25).

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The death of Death in Jesus Christ

While a young mother was changing her two-year-old daughter’s clothes, she heard Bella’s tiny voice.  Pointing to herself, Bella asked, “I cansoo?”  Leslie, Bella’s mother, was used to interpreting her daughter’s attempts at communication, but this word was new.  “Say it again,” Leslie said.  She needed to hear it again in order to make a good translation.  “I cansoo?”  Bella tried the question once more, but still the word was not clear.  Then Bella pointed to the scar on her tiny body that was left when her chemotherapy port had been removed, and said “Port.  Out.  I cansoo?”

Leslie was overcome with the stark reality of the whole situation, but she was able to maintain her composure for the moment.  Leslie said to her little girl, “Bella, are you saying cancer?”  Bella’s eyes widened and she responded, “YeahI cansoo?”  With a lump in her throat, Leslie said, “Yes baby, you have cancer.” Read more…


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