Life In The Spirit Study Bible (book review)

I love to read, averaging about 30 books per year. In addition to books, I have a lot of news feeds that I check daily. But hands down, everything else comes in a distant second place to my number-one read: the Bible. 

I read the Bible for myself. I read the Bible to prepare my Sunday messages. I read the Bible to teach classes. I read the Bible to confirm or refute what I am reading in other books and news feeds. And with all that Bible reading, I have also gravitated toward my favorite study Bible—The Life In The Spirit Study Bible. 

At one time people referred to this Bible as “the fire Bible” because of the graphic on the front cover depicting the fire that fell on praying Christians at the Pentecost celebration immediately following Christ’s ascension into heaven. That fire still falls in my heart every time I read God’s Word!

The study notes in this Bible are fantastic! But don’t be deceived by the name: these are not study notes that focus on the Holy Spirit out of proportion; rather, the role of the Spirit is merely noted where others have ignored it. Far too many people don’t ponder very much about the Holy Spirit’s involvement, except for perhaps the Book of Acts and maybe Paul’s instruction on the operational gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians. The Life In The Spirit Study Bible simply seeks to make us aware of the Spirit’s involvement. 

In addition to the short commentary notes at the bottom of each page, there are several insightful and scholarly articles throughout this whole book that will make the Scripture come alive in new ways. 

This is my “preaching Bible” that I take with me for every sermon I deliver, which means it is the Bible I am diving deep into each day as I study. I cannot recommend this Bible to you highly enough. 

11 Quotes From “Interpretation Of The Scriptures”

In my review of A.W. Pink’s book Interpretation Of The Scriptures, I noted that any student of the Bible will benefit from reading this exceptional book. The quotes I want to share today are for that universal audience, but I will also be sharing some additional quotes soon that are specifically aimed at those who are Bible teachers or pastors.

“God does not ask for blind credence from us, but an intelligent faith, and for that three things are indispensable: that His Word should be read (or heard), understood, and personally appropriated.”

“Moreover, the obscurity is not in them [the Scripture], but in the depravity of our nature which resists the holy requirements of God, and the pride of our hearts which disdains seeking enlightenment from Him.”

“It has pleased God to furnish His people with gifted instructors, and instead of haughtily ignoring them we ought (while testing their teaching—Acts 17:11) to accept thankfully whatever help they can afford us.”

“Methods of Bible study are only of relative importance; but the spirit in which it is studied is all-important. It calls for no argument to prove that a spiritual book calls for a spiritually minded reader. … Only where there is honesty of soul and spirituality of heart will there be clearness of vision to perceive the Truth; only then will the mind be capable of discerning the full import of what is read. … None but the Spirit of Truth can write God’s Law on my heart. Here, then, is the first and most essential qualification for understanding and interpreting the Scriptures, namely a mind illumined by the Holy Spirit.”

“That which conflicts with what is taught, plainly and uniformly, in the Scriptures as a whole, and which whole is set before us as the alone rule of our faith and obedience. This requires from the expositor not only a knowledge of the general sense of the Bible, but also that he takes the trouble to collect and compare all the passages which treat of or have a definite bearing upon the immediate point before him, so that he may obtain the full mind of the Spirit thereon. Having done that, any passage which is still obscure or doubtful to him must be interpreted by those which are clear. No doctrine is to be founded on a single passage.”

“By divorcing a verse from its setting or singling out a single clause, one may ‘prove’ not only absurdities but real falsities by the very words of Scripture.”

“The word for ‘search the Scriptures’ (John 5:39) signifies diligently to track out, as the hunter does the spoor of animals. The interpreter’s job is to bring out the sense and not merely the sound of the Word.”

“To a very large extent, and far more so than any uninspired book, the Bible is a self-explaining volume: not only because it records the performance of its promises and the fulfillment of its prophecies, not only because its types and antitypes mutually unfold each other, but because all its fundamental truths may be discovered by means of its own contents, without reference to anything extra or outside itself.”

“Assuredly God has not subordinated His Word to our reason for us to accept only what commends itself to our judgment. Nevertheless, He has furnished His people with this faculty, and though insufficient of itself it is a valuable aid in the understanding of Truth. While reason is not to be made the measurer of our belief, yet it is to be used as the handmaid of faith, by comparing passage with passage, deducing inferences and drawing consequences according to the legitimate laws of logic.”

“The concordance will stand [the Bible reader] in far better stead than the best dictionary.”

“There is a middle ground between hastily condemning or accepting, namely to weigh carefully and prayerfully what is presented, testing it by other passages and by our own experience.”

God-Breathed (book review)

God-BreathedI have always been a fan of Josh McDowell’s work as a premiere Christian apologist. Christians hold closely to the Bible, so if that work can be proven to be faulty, all of the Christian’s arguments will fall flat. Josh McDowell, in his newest book God-Breathed, presents all of the evidence to show the undeniable reliability of the Bible.

Josh writes, “If used properly, words can effectively connect us relationally. Words are important, and the God-breathed words of Scripture are the most important of all. But we must listen to how words are being used in order to understand their true meaning. … How can we be sure that we have a Bible that accurately represents what God inspired people to write on His behalf? Since we have none of the original manuscripts, how can we know that the copies in our possession are reliable and accurate? … That is what this book is about: knowing with certainty that we can experience the power of God’s Word as revealed in the Bible, because it’s reliable.”

Josh systematically shares the evidence that leads to the conclusion that the Bible is indeed God’s inspired Word. You will learn about the care scribes took in copying the Scripture through generations; the literary evidences that can be used to verify the biblical message; the historical and archeological findings that corroborate the messages in Scripture; and so much more.

This is a fascinating book to study!

Put this on your bookshelf, and refer back to it often, and you will gain a greater appreciation for the amazing collection of books that we refer to as the Holy Bible.

I am a Shiloh Run Press book reviewer.

Poetry Saturday—While Others Are

William Arthur WardBelieve while others are doubting.
Plan while others are playing.
Study while others are sleeping.
Decide while others are delaying.
Prepare while others are daydreaming.
Begin while others are procrastinating.
Work while others are wishing.
Save while others are wasting.
Listen while others are talking.
Smile while others are frowning.
Commend while others are criticizing.
Persist while others are quitting. William Arthur Ward

Links & Quotes

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10 facts on the great commissionJeffrey Kranz from The Overview Bible Project has a nice post called 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About The Great Commission.

“The purpose of the salt in the steak is to do its work so quietly that it changes the nature of what it invades without calling attention to itself. … Salt must get into something in order to have effect, where it indelibly stamps its own character upon what it invades.” —George O. Wood

Good counsel for my fellow pastors: “One great and general rule is, ask advice of Heaven by prayer about every part of your preparatory studies; seek the direction and assistance of the Spirit of God, for inclining your thoughts to proper subjects, for guiding you to proper Scriptures, and framing your whole sermon both as to the matter and manner, that it may attain the divine and sacred ends proposed.” —Isaac Watts

Culture’s Big Lie About Marriage addresses head-on the way culture wants to bend and redefine marriage.

February 27 is the day to shine a light on slavery and sex trafficking around the world. Check out the END IT movement and mark your red “X.”

“I hope the doctrine that Christians ought to be gloomy will soon be driven out of the universe. There are no people in the world who have such a right to be happy, nor have such cause to be joyful as the saints of the living God.” —Charles Spurgeon

Links & Quotes

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“Let us thirst to know Him of Whom even His enemies said, ‘Never man spake like this Man,’ and His unrighteous judge said, ‘I find no fault in Him.’ Above all, let us long to know Christ in His Person. This year endeavor to make a better acquaintance with the Crucified One. … This year seek to penetrate into His very heart, and to search those deep far-reaching caverns of His unknown love, that love which can never find a rival, and can never know a parallel.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Beware of insulting God by being a pious prude instead of a pure person.” —Oswald Chambers

“To pray well is the better half of study.” ―Martin Luther

“Of all marvelous things, perhaps there is nothing that angels behold with such supreme astonishment as a proud man.” —Charles Caleb Colton

[Video] John Maxwell on humility—

The Quick-Start Guide To The Whole Bible (book review)

Quick-Start GuideZig Ziglar once quipped, “Every day I read the newspaper and I read my Bible. That way I know what both sides are up to!” I couldn’t agree more. Everything I read gets filtered through the Bible, but the Bible is a huge volume and one could lose sight of the big picture while trying to read through it. This is where The Quick-Start Guide To The Whole Bible by Drs. William Marty and Boyd Seevers become a valuable resource.

The book is laid out in the same order as the 66 books of the Bible, and each chapter follows the same sequence. For each book you will learn (1) the setting, (2) the summary, and (3) the significance. With each chapter only being a few pages long, it’s a great introduction before reading a book of the Bible.

In the setting you will be reminded of the events occurring in history at the time of the book, which helps give perspective to what you will be reading in the Bible. In the summary you will notice the overarching themes to look for while you read. And in the significance you will discover how this book of the Bible fits into the overall big picture of the whole of Scripture.

Keep this book close to your Bible, and read the corresponding chapter before you begin reading a new book in your Bible. I think you will get so much more out of your Bible reading time by doing this.

I am a Bethany House book reviewer.

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