Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible (book review)

If you’ve ever looked at the list of books I’ve read and reviewed at the end of each year, you will quickly discover how much I enjoy reading! I read science, biographies, theological works, philosophy, financial resources, relationship helpers, and on and on. But hands-down, not-even-close to second place, I read the Bible more than anything else. Not only do I read the Bible extensively every day, I then read all of my other books through the lens of Scripture. 

So whenever I come across a resource that helps with Bible reading and study, I’m absolutely thrilled to share it with you. One such resource I’ve been so excited about is the Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible. 

I originally purchased this study Bible because of the “illustrated” part. I glanced through it and found several things that make the biblical accounts more understandable. Things like: 

  • timelines 
  • genealogical records
  • “blueprints” of notable buildings and structures
  • infographics 
  • maps and tables 

Then I was excited to discover the wealth of articles embedded in the notes section next to the biblical texts. 

But the happiest discovery I made was the ability to combine the written text with so much additional online content. Using the Faithlife Study Bible app on my iPhone, I can access all of the content in the print version in addition to more resources that have become available since this study Bible was published. My favorite way to do this is via the “reference scanner” in the app. I use my iPhone camera to take a picture of the part of the Bible I’m studying and then the app pulls up all of the resources associated with nearly everything on that page. Amazing! 

If you already love studying the Bible, this book/app combination will take you to a whole new level. Even if you’re just getting started in a Bible study, you will love how much fullness these resources quickly bring to your fingertips. 

Saturday In The Proverbs—How Does That Taste? (Proverbs 12)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid (Proverbs 12:1).

What comes from our lips is either a healthy feast or it is nauseating junk food. But what comes from our lips is based on what we put in—garbage in, garbage out.

The only way to fix this is by gaining godly knowledge and listening to godly correction.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of healthy food and junk food that Solomon lists for us in Proverbs 12:

(click on the image to see a larger view or click here to download a PDF → Proverbs 12 – how does that taste)

10 Quotes + 1 Infographic From “Cold-Case Christianity”

Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace is educational in a number of ways. Not only will you learn more about police investigations and courtroom deliberations, but Christians and skeptics alike will learn about the reliability of the biblical account concerning Jesus. You can check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“The Christian tradition is actually intellectually robust and satisfying, even if we believers are occasionally unable to respond to your challenges. The answers are available; you don’t have to turn off your brain to be a believer. Yes, it is possible to become a Christian because of the evidence rather than in spite of the evidence.” 

“Faith is actually the opposite of unbelief, not reason. … The biblical definition of faith is a well-placed and reasonable inference based on evidence.” 

“What about cases that have no direct evidence connecting the suspect to the crime scene? Can the truth be proved beyond a reasonable doubt when all the evidence we have is circumstantial? Absolutely. 

“Jurors are instructed to make no qualitative distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence in a case. Judges tell jurors, ‘Both direct and circumstantial evidence are acceptable types of evidence to prove or disprove the elements of a charge, including intent and mental state and acts necessary to a conviction, and neither is necessarily more reliable than the other. Neither is entitled to any greater weight than the other.’” 

“William Dembski (the well-known mathematician, statistician, theologian, and intelligent-design advocate) has argued that specified complexity (and, therefore, the intervention of an intelligent agent) can be identified by using an ‘explanatory filter.’ If an object or event (1) cannot be explained by some natural law that necessitates its appearance, (2) exists in spite of the high improbability that it could occur as the result of chance, and (3) conforms to an independently existing and recognizable pattern, the most reasonable inference is that it is the product of an intelligent designer.” 

“The early church fathers and leaders recognized that the Gospels were the eyewitness testimony of the apostles, and they set the Gospels apart for this reason. The ancient Christian author Tertullian wrote in AD 212: ‘The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage—I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew—whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was’ (Against Marcion). 

“Skeptics cannot reject the reasonable inferences from the evidence we do have, simply because there may possibly be some evidence we don’t have; skeptics also need to defend their doubt evidentially.” 

“The reasonable inference from the circumstantial evidence is that the Gospels were written very early in history, at a time when the original eyewitnesses and gospel writers were still alive and could testify to what they had seen.” 

“Some have argued that the Gospels are late because none of the authors specifically identifies himself in the accounts. … BUT … The Gospels are not the only ancient documents that fail to identify the author within the text of the manuscripts. Tacitus (the Roman senator and historian who lived from AD 56 to AD 117) wrote a history of the Roman Empire from the reign of Augustus Caesar to Nero entitled Annals. Tacitus was, in fact, present during much of this period of time, but failed to include himself in any of his descriptions or identify himself as the author.” 

“While it is possible that the Gospels were not written by the traditional first-century authors and were given these attributions only much later in history, it is not evidentially reasonable. If skeptics were willing to give the Gospels the same ‘benefit of the doubt’ they are willing to give other ancient documents, the Gospels would easily pass the test of authorship.” 

“The most reasonable inference is that the gospel writers were present, corroborated, accurate, and unbiased. If this is the case, we can conclude with confidence that their testimony is reliable.” 

Saturday In The Proverbs—But… (Proverbs 10)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

But… (24 times in Proverbs 10).

These proverbs of Solomon make clear the distinctions between God’s way and man’s way. Doing things God’s way brings all sorts of blessings, but trying to do things man’s ways is a dead-end road. 

Check out the contrasts—

 

(click on the image to see a larger view or click here to download a PDF → Proverbs 10 – but)

7 Quotes + 1 Infographic From “Marching Off The Map”

Once again, Tim Elmore has given us invaluable insight into the emerging youth culture. If you have kids or work with kids, you must read Marching Off The Map. You can check out my full book review by clicking here. Below is the first set of quotes I want to share with you, but there will be plenty more coming in the future, so stay tuned!

“Thanks to technology, information streams into their lives 24/7 and often has no filter on it, even for young children. When we determined not to censor content in the media, we had no idea (understandably) how it would affect our kids. We’re removing the opportunity for them to experience innocence and wonder. However, because they’re still maturing emotionally, socially, cognitively and biologically in their first 25 years, we have now begun to witness a strange paradox in our young: the extinction of childlikeness and the extension of childishness. …

“Since they are exposed to so much adult information, so early in their lives, they can prematurely lose (1) their sense of innocence, (2) their sense of wonder and (3) their sense of trust …

“Biologically, the graduate is an adult. Emotionally, the graduate may be unprepared for the adult world.” 

“If you think our kids are pitifully impulsive on social media—just look at the adult population. … If you think teens are addicted to Facebook, just study the hours their mothers spend on it. If you think young athletes on the Little League baseball field act childish, just look at their dads. The behavior of adults and children has become more and more similar. Society has baptized ‘youthfulness.’ We want to look young, feel young, dress young, talk young and act young. We argue with our children’s teachers. We push our kid’s coaches to get them special treatment. We are not good at delaying gratification, and we frequently don’t keep commitments we make … very much like children. The result? Adulthood has lost much of its aura and authority.”

“As you stand in front of your classroom or your own children—you are, in a sense, Galileo. You are Magellan. You are Christopher Columbus. You are Lewis and Clark. You are Neil Armstrong. Ready or not, they need you to play this role.

“Our world is both expanding and shrinking. Our past maps and methods are antiquated. Like it or not, we’re moving into unfamiliar territory and many think it’s too difficult to explore. We have fallen in love with our old maps. … 

“For educators, our role must change as we teach a generation of students who don’t need adults to get information.

“For parents, our role must change as we raise kids in a time of terrorism, economic recession, racial unrest, underemployment and ubiquitous technology.

“For coaches, our role must change as we train young athletes who have eight-second attention spans, and may arrive at practice with little resilience or grit.

“For youth workers, our role must change as we mentor students who have few life skills or values because adults either over-functioned or were absent.

“For employers, our role must change as we onboard young employees who may have never had a real job before, and may ask when ‘spring break’ will be.”

“Adults must enable the students to leverage what is new, yet at the same time, hold on to what is ancient, yet valuable. We must be both timeless and timely. So, our job as we serve the next generation is two-fold:

  • To adopt or adapt. We must seize what is new and help kids leverage it well.
  • To explain and equip. We must relate to them the timeless ideals every generation needs.”

“I believe we must cultivate one significant skill set in ourselves: we must be able to either adapt to the new world that’s emerging, or we must explain why a timeless virtue or value is still relevant in our 21st century world.”

“A third of young Americans say they don’t belong to any religion. I’ve found, however, they’ve traded in one God for many gods. They want to ‘feel’ spiritual, so they’ve created a buffet—seeking something to satisfy their soul. I often hear students say, ‘I don’t believe in religion, but I want to be a spiritual person.’ Today—pluralism is expanding across the landscape. It’s easier to say ‘no’ to one and enjoy a mixture of many.”

“A third of young Americans say they don’t belong to any religion. I’ve found, however, they’ve traded in one God for many gods. They want to ‘feel’ spiritual, so they’ve created a buffet—seeking something to satisfy their soul. I often hear students say, ‘I don’t believe in religion, but I want to be a spiritual person.’ Today—pluralism is expanding across the landscape. It’s easier to say ‘no’ to one and enjoy a mixture of many.”

“The Latin root word for ‘educate’ is ‘ducere’ which means to ‘push out.’ … We should not put students in a passive mode as we teach. We must be inspirers of learning. We must help pull ambition out of them, not push information into them.”

I’ll be posting some more quotes from Marching Off The Map next week.

The Gospels Side-By-Side (book review)

Gospels Side By SideI love reading. But hands-down, without a doubt, my favorite book to read is the Bible. So I’m always intrigued by any resource that can help me get more out of my time in the Scriptures. In The Gospels Side-By-Side by Rose Publishing, I found a goldmine.

This short pamphlet is chockfull of graphics, charts, maps and historical background information  that helped me see the bigger picture of the story of Jesus that the Gospel writers were conveying to us. It begins with the unique perspective of each Gospel writer, and launches us deeper into the Bible from there.

In this book you will see things like:

  • The events of Christ’s life, and which Gospel tells particular events
  • The miracles of Jesus
  • The parables of Jesus
  • The chronological movements of Jesus
  • How Jesus celebrated Passovers during His public ministry
  • How these biblical biographies compare to other biographies of the era
  • Even the historical harmony of the Gospel message in the post-apostolic age

This should bring new life to any Bible student’s reading time! I highly recommend you check out not only this pamphlet, but many of the other resources available at Rose Publishing.

Here are a couple of screenshots from the book…

 

Screen Shot -Christ's movesScreenshot - gospel writers

5 Differences Between Wisdom And Folly

Parallels between law and wisdomIn Proverbs 9, Wisdom and Folly are both personified as women. And both of them call out the same thing to their would-be followers: “Let all who are simple come in here!” (vv. 4, 16). They both claim to have ‘the goods’ for those searching for truth, but here are five things that separate them.

  1. Wisdom has built her own house (v. 1); but Folly merely occupies someone else’s house (v. 14).
  2. Wisdom has like-minded “maids” who support her (v. 3); but Folly has no supporters.
  3. Wisdom serves what she has prepared herself (vv. 2, 5); but Folly steals from others because she has nothing original to offer (v. 17).
  4. Wisdom corrects, and that correction leads to deeper knowledge (vv. 8-10); but Folly lets people do whatever they wish, which only leads to deeper suffering (v. 13).
  5. Wisdom offers life (vv. 6, 11), insight (v. 9), the fear of God (v. 10), and rewards (v. 12); but Folly only offers suffering (v. 12) and death (v. 18).

How ironic that some people respond to Folly’s call, “Let all who are simple come in here,” and yet they act like they know it all already, not wanting to learn anything new.

Bottom line: If you are willing to learn, Wisdom has much to teach you. But if you know it all already, best to just hang out with Folly.

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