eBook Sale: NIV Study Bibles and Tools
Over 20 Bibles and Bible study tools have been discounted up to 84% off – this week only!
Dive into the scripture with these new and perennial resources including:
A study Bible with notes like no other! Built from the ground up to reflect the most current 21st century scholarship Dr. Carson, along with a team of over 60 contributors, crafted all-new study notes, book and section introductions, a library of articles, and other study tools that specifically focus on biblical theology, or…
Proverbs’ Purpose Phrases – An Excerpt from Devotions on the Hebrew Bible
Many of you have put countless hours into studying Biblical languages. We are excited to offer a resource that encourages professors, students, and pastors to continue to use their Hebrew Bibles beyond their seminary years. Devotions on the Hebrew Bible can be used as weekly devotional or as a supplemental resource throughout a semester. The main point each devotion offers comes from a careful reading of the passage in the Hebrew Bible, not from the English Bible, and closes with a practical application.
In today’s excerpt, Tremper Longman opens Proverbs to explore its purpose. Join us as we discover why God gave us this book of wisdom.
The Read more
Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields — Do Not Kill or Do Not Murder (Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17)?
Murder, defined as unlawful and premeditated killing of another person, is commonly deemed to be wrong. There are some, however, who believe all killing is unlawful and therefore wrong, and some Bible-believing people base this on the KJV translation of Exod 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.” This creates a tension within the OT, however, since the Israelites are commanded to kill, whether it be enemy nations or perpetrators of certain crimes. Other Modern translations render the command, “You shall not murder” (NIV, NASB, ESV, NRSV, etc.). This alleviates the tension, but might it lead to other confusion instead?
The commandment in Exod 20:13 is only two Hebrew words: לֹא תִּרְצָח (lōʾ tirṣāḥ). The negative particle לֹא is the general negative making the prohibition permanent (see the March 2015 column, No “Yes,” But Two Nos: Zechariah 1:4). The question…
Mounce Archive 22 – Using Biblical Languages
Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.
In today’s post, Mounce explains how to use the Biblical languages well, since knowing the original languages is useful in study and preparation. Yet, he argues, mentioning Greek or Hebrew in sermons should be done carefully, for the sake of the listener.
You can read the whole post here.
In response to last week’s post, several people have asked this question. I find it interesting that I never thought of it; it is easy to criticize others, but harder to build up. A general principle of life. So how do you use Greek (and Hebrew) properly?
A Sudden Scholar – An Excerpt from I (Still) Believe
Can serious academic study of the Bible become threatening to one’s faith? I (Still) Believe answers this question with a resounding “Far from it!” Faith enhances study of the Bible and, reciprocally, such study enriches a person’s faith. With this in mind, this book asks prominent Bible teachers and scholars to tell their story reflecting on their own experiences at the intersection of faith and serious academic study of the Bible.
Engage in this excerpt below as Ellen F. Davis (Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, The Divinity School, Duke University) shares her faith journey.
I am not an accidental biblical scholar, but I am a sudden one, or so it seems to…
Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields — Keeping Sabbath Holy: Purpose or Means (Exod 20:8; Deut 5:12)?
In this post we will compare NASB and NIV as we did in the last, but this time it will cover the phrase modifying the command to remember (Exod 20:8; or “keep” in Deut 5:12) the Sabbath.
Figure 1 below gives Exod 20:8 in the Hebrew (MT = Masoretic Text), followed by the NASB95 and the NIV. The differences between the English versions are bolded.
The questions are: What would NASB “to keep” mean, and why does NIV translate differently?
Figure 1: Exod 20:8 in MT, NASB95, and NIV
The last phrase in English is one word in Hebrew, לְקַדְּשׁוֹ (leqaddešô). Breaking down the word grammatically…
The God We Don’t Understand: An Idea for a Small Group Study
It’s no secret that people struggle to understand God.
Some are confounded by the problem of evil, wondering if God is so good, why is life so bad? Others can’t reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New. Then there’s the end of the world, and the possibility that some will be eternally lost.
Where can people turn to find some answers—ones that take seriously their questions and doubts?
Enter Christopher Wrights’s thoughtful book The God I Don’t Understand.
In his own words, it’s a book that “tries to bring biblical teaching, personal faith, pressing questions, and life experience together” (14) so that those who are troubled by their tough questions can still sustain their faith.
The best part is, we’ve made it easy to launch a small group study using the book:
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Engaging Fall Small Group Studies for $3.99 + Free Reader Guides
In many ways fall is a series of restarts: school restarts after summer-break; normal work hours restart after shortened summer hours; and church small groups restart after a summer hiatus.
We like that last one the best because it’s the perfect time to dive into a new series.
To help you restart and relaunch your own small groups well this fall we’ve hand-picked 10 ebooks that are great, engaging reads and will help you grow as a follower of Christ.
Better yet, we put them on sale for $3.99 apiece and provided free small group leader and reader guides to help you get the most out of these books.
Click here to browse our curated selection and then select which one you’ll use to restart your own small group this fall.
PS—Act fast, because this deal ends August 24, 2014.
Want to Read the Bible Well? Then Read It This Way, Which Leviticus Illustrates
True confession: I was once a professional Bible quizzer.
As a teenager I memorized John 1, 3, 5 and 8; 2 Corinthians 1-10; and all of Ephesians and 1-3 John. Then I memorized the questions that accompanied those verses so I could buzz in early, leaving my competitors in the dust. That’s what true Bible quizzing professionals did, after all.
Looking back I’m thankful for that experience, because it gave me a solid grounding in God’s Word. But I also see how it skewed my view of the Bible. I saw it as a thing to chop up and dissect for knowledge sake. And what verses I did memorize were totally disconnected from the Bible’s larger narrative.
Bible quizzing taught me to memorize verses, it didn’t teach me to read the Bible.
In their book How to Read the Bible Book by Book, Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart expose a similar problem of their generation:
our generation had learned a kind of devotional reading of the Bible that emphasized reading it only in parts and pieces, looking for a “word of the day.” (14)
Like my own reading of Scripture, the downside to this “daily breadcrumb” style of reading is that it teaches people “to read the texts in a way that disconnected them from the grand story of the Bible.” (14)
Twelve years ago their book sought to rectify this problem by showing how the various books of the Bible fit into God’s story.
Because after all, that’s what the Bible is, a story—God’s story. And in order to read the Bible well, this is how it should be read.
Here are 3 reasons why and an example to illustrate:
Is Acts Descriptive or Prescriptive? Here’s How to Read It For All Its Worth
People come to the book of Acts for a variety of reasons. Some come for history. Others for apologetics. Many, though, come seeking a model for Christian devotion and practice.
But is this latter reason even appropriate?
Does Acts describe or prescribe such diverse practices as baptism, church polity, frequency of observing the Lord’s Supper, method of choosing deacons, and selling and sharing possessions?
This is the primary question Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart address in their chapter on Acts in How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, the newly revised fourth edition of this standard-bearer of evangelical biblical interpretation.
Here’s Fee and Stuart's concern:
How do the individual narratives in Acts…function as precedents for the later church, or do they? Or put another way, does the book of Acts provide information that not only describes the primitive church but speaks as a norm to the church at all times?
What they ultimately determine is “Unless Scripture explicitly tells us we must do something, what is only narratives or described does not function in a normative way.” (124)
The authors provide six hermeneutical principles for historical narratives generally and outline Luke’s intent to help us read Acts for all it's worth.
Exegesis and Hermeneutics: The Bible Interpreter’s Two Most Important Tasks
“The test of good interpretations is that it makes good sense of what is written.” (22)
For 33 years that guiding principle has sat at the heart of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, an evangelical standard-bearer for biblical interpretation. Since 1981 Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart have helped interested Christians do what St. Augustine said he heard: “Take up and read!” This new fourth edition seeks the same goal of helping us read God’s Word better with worship and obedience.
And yet, Fee and Stuart encourage not just any reading.
They encourage good reading through good interpretation, the aim of which is not uniqueness but plainness—a so-called “plain reading of Scripture.”
“[U]niqueness is not the aim of our task,” they write. “The aim of good interpretation is simple: to get at the ‘plain meaning of the text,’ the author’s intended meaning.” (22)
Easier said than done!
Fee and Stuart say such an endeavor is possible, but requires much from the reader at two separate levels: We must first understand what was said to original audience back then and there; we must learn to hear the same word in the hear and now.
In other words, the two most important tasks for biblical interpreters is exegesis and hermeneutics. Without them the reader is lost.
And so is the interpretation.
Wednesday Giveaway – How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth
This week’s giveaway is a classic book on biblical interpretation from Gordon Fee and Douglas Stewart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth.
Over the years more than half a million people have turned to How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth to inform their reading of the biblical text. That so many have relied on this resource is a testimony to Fee and Stewart’s insistence that understanding the Bible isn’t just for the few, the gifted, and the scholarly.
Instead, the Bible is meant to be read and comprehended by everyone…