Monday, August 25, 2014

B-Grade Bible

How could a Bible ever deserve less than a 5-star rating?  When too many of man's words are mixed in with it.  Zondervan's NIV Essentials Study Bible is not a bad Bible -- there is much to commend about it and certainly you could find worse Bibles.  However, there are so many other better study Bibles available (even from Zondervan!) that I cannot recommend this one.

As its title suggests, Zondervan designed this one as a starter study Bible, combining (what they thought were) the best elements from 6 of their other study Bibles.  Their aim was to help newbies quickly get up to speed on the fundamentals of the faith. 

Great idea, bad execution.  The notes from the 6 study Bibles were not all of equal quality.  In particular the devotions from the Great Rescue Bible are not even as good as what you'd find, say, in Our Daily Bread.  Some of the rather lengthy notes pulled from the Archaelogical Study Bible are anything but essential to the faith.  (A full page about the shroud of Turin?)  A whole page in Jude showing a map of where the cities of Sodom were located?  The notes doubt that the Genesis 1 days were 24 hours, and aren't sure that Noah's flood covered the entire earth or that Paul actually meant to prohibit women pastors. And it is lacking the most essential feature of any study Bible: marginal cross references.  

On the other hand, there are lots of helpful maps, character profiles, in-depth sidebar Q&A's, and a number of solidly helpful notes from the NIV Study Bible.  Ironically, I think the original NIV Study Bible did a better job covering the "essentials" than the NIV Essentials Study Bible.  I would recommend it or the ESV Study Bible or MacArthur Study Bible over this one.

I received a copy of this Bible for free from Zondervan in exchange for writing an unbiased review.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How I Marked My Ballot

If you'll be voting in an Arizona GOP Primary this year, this message might be of help to you.

Picking candidates was harder for me this time than in any previous election.  Many of the candidates seem to be accused of major scandals.

Nevertheless, here are the people for whom I cast my vote.

Congress (CD1): Adam Kwasman
Governor: Andrew Thomas
Secretary of State: Wil Cardon
Attorney General: Tom Horne
Treasurer: Randy Pullen
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Diane Douglas
Corporation Commission: Tom Forese and Doug Little

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Greater Enemy than ISIS

Today my heart was captured by a two minute CNN video of Yezidis being rescued off Mount Sinjar.  Then I remembered that these dear people face an even greater enemy than ISIS: God.

The Yezidis believe in a false god, a god who tested his angels by commanding them to do something that violated a previous command.  One angel somehow figured out that he should obey the first command and disobey the second command, and was rewarded with rulership over the earth.  The Yezidis now worship this angel.

The Bible calls this (and worship of any other false god) idolatry.  And ironically, ISIS also calls it idolatry and has determined to exterminate as many Yezidis as they can.  The Bible would call that murder!

But if the Yezidis continue to reject the true God who made them and who made a way for them to be forgiven by the death of an innocent Substitute, they will face an fate far worse than ISIS.  There are no rescue helicopters from hell.

If journalists can risk their lives to get photos, why can't Christians risk their lives to preach Jesus to the Yezidis?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Simple Plan to Evangelize Your Neighborhood

Last fall I tried to start a weekly Bible study in my neighborhood.  I went door to door distributing invitations.  It pretty much flopped after one week.  But then a friend pestered me for a couple months to try again.  I did, with a change.  Instead of using professional curriculum, I decided to just start at the beginning of Mark and work our way through the text of his gospel in order.  The Lord has blessed our weekly Saturday night gatherings.  We are small, but it seems like people are growing.  And of course it makes me grow!

Some Christians are good at evangelism. Some love to pray.  Some are good at hospitality. And some are good at teaching the Bible.  (And of course, some people are multi-talented.)  If these people could be found and linked in each neighborhood, they could work together to form and fill small home Bible studies. I would love to see the little work we are doing multiply in neighborhoods everywhere. Pray about that, OK? And if you live in the Verde Valley and would like to see a Bible study started in your neighborhood, contact me!