Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Reformation Day really is

For anyone wanting more information on Reformation day, there's an interesting article here:

Reformation Day!!!!!!

Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door this very day 490 years ago! Well we don't know that for sure, but it sounds good!

As well as the obvious benefits, this also means that some Christian book shops are running reformation deals today.

I was therefore going to tell you about the deal to get a Reformation Study Bible Hardback copy for only $15 from Ligonier, but when i got home from work and went to order one for my wife, I saw that they had sold out!!!! I couldn't believe it, I thought with the 5 hour jump on the East Coast I would be okay.

Check out the link here:

If anyone else was disappointed, you can still get a leather copy, or the next best deal I could find is to go to Monergism books,

They still have a free shipping deal going until midnight (US time).
The details of their offer is here:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Koine Greek lessons in London starting January 2008

It has been a desire of mine for a while to see more Christians in London equipped to do exegesis from the Greek Text of the New Testament.

As a result of this I've decided to start teaching 1st year Greek in January 2008 in London for anyone who's interested.

The course will be based on Mounce's Greek Grammar.

Student's will be expected to spend around half an hour a day (5 days a week) reading through a chapter of Mounce in a week, watching his videos and doing the workbook exercises.

I aim to teach a 2 hour lesson once a week.

At this rate, everyone should be able to complete 1st year Greek within 36 weeks, and then we can start having fun reading though a book of the New Testament in Greek, and learning Greek exegesis as we go.

If anyone is interested, then please email me as soon as possible.


Monday, October 29, 2007

My Monday hiding place

Monday is my day off.
It's a day to be with my family, but it's also a day in which I can spend time with God, talking about things that I may not have talked to him about in the week due to general busyness.
On Monday's I often expect God to show me something that I should pray about, or to show me something about himself that I have not considered before, or need to meditate over.
This morning I was thinking about God being my hiding place:

ESV Psalm 119:114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.

I love on Monday's being able to spend a larger chunk of time than usual hiding in God. There are so many worries in this life, and it is wonderful to be able to spend time seeking God, and trusting in Him to sort all of the worries out.

When I spend time doing this, I am then able to face any bad news that might come in the week:

Psalm 112:7 7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Orthodoxy affects Orthopathy which affects Orthopraxy

Following on from the last post,
The good news is that right doctrine can affect our feelings in a positive way, which can help us to do right actions.
After many chapters of doctrine, the apostle Paul writes:

ESV Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I don't think that I have a complete grasp of what's going on in this verse, but I find Douglas Moo's comments quite helpful:
"The renewing of your mind" is the means by which this transformation takes place. "Mind" translates a word that Paul uses especially to connote a person's "practical reason," or "moral consciousness." Christians are to adjust their way of thinking about everything in accordance with the "new-ness" of their life in the Spirit (cf. 7:6). This "re-programming" of the mind does not take place overnight but is a lifelong process by which our way of thinking is to resemble more and more the way God wants us to think. In Rom. 1:28 Paul has pointed out that people's rejection of God has resulted in God's giving them over to a "worthless" mind: one that is "unqualified" (adokimos) in assessing the truth about God and the world he has made. Now, Paul assers, the purpose of our being transformed by renewing of the mind is that this state might be reversed; that we might be able to "approve" (dokimazo) the will of God. "Approving" the will of God means to understand and agree with what God wants of us with a view to putting it into practice."

Moo. Epistle to the Romans. p. 756-757, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Orthopathy affects Orthodoxy

I've just been looking at the relationship between Orthodoxy (good doctrine), and Orthopraxy (good actions), and Orthopathy (good emotions), and thought I'd write down a few comments:

If I have bad emotions, then my doctrine can be affected. I could misinterpret a text because my feelings lead me to see a text meaning something that it doesn't really mean.

For example, if I have very strong feelings about war, then I will be tempted to interpret scripture in a way that supports my views of war.
If I have strong feelings about the social welfare of people in council estates, then I will have a tendency to interpret certain verses in the Bible in a way that supports my emotions.

I think that knowing this can be very helpful to us in exegesis, because we will realise that we are bringing some baggage with us to the text. This means that we can then pray that God will renew our minds, and help us to see his word clearly by the power of His Holy Spirit.

To do this though I think we need to ask ourselves, "What are emotive issues to me? Have I carried out good exegesis on these issues? Have I listened to the other side's interpretation?"

ESV Psalm 119:29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!

Example of chiasmus in Matthew's Gospel:

Following on from the last post, for an example of chiasmus, fast forward this video to 29mins 43 secs:

New Testament Exegesis Step 6: Rhetorical Devices, part B

We've just looked at step 6a) Repeated and synonymous words, now we're going to look at part b:

6b) Chiasmus:

This is a parallel pattern in the words such as the following:
1 John 1:1-3 ESV
That which was from the beginning,
A) which we have heard,
__B) which we have seen with our eyes,
which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life
____c) -- 2 the life was made manifest,
__B) and we have seen it,
and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father
____c) and was made manifest to us--
__B) 3 that which we have seen
A) and heard

The words "heard" "seen" "made manifest" are all repeated in pattern.
That pattern can be written as:

This chiasmus draws attention to the C which is the word for "made manifest".

=> From seeing this pattern in the text, we can tell that John is wanting to emphasis that Christ was made manifest.

A further point that can be noted here is by looking at the two different C's.
The first says, "was made manifest"
the second says, "was made manifest to us"
=> This shows us that John was making the point that not only was Jesus, and his whole life and ministry made manifest, but it was made manifest in particular to John and the disciples, who are therefore witnesses of Jesus. This plays an important part in John fighting the heresies that were attacking the church.

Another example of a chiasmus is found in Matthew 13:13-17.
I will post a video of this next, so that you can see how I used this in a sermon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Testament Exegesis Step 6: Rhetorical Devices

So far in this series we've looked at
1) Spiritual preparation.
2) General introduction.
3) Literary context.
4) Provisional translation
5) Grammatical Analysis.

Now we're at step 6:

6) Rhetorical Devices:

This involves looking for repeated words, transition devices, and parallelisms.
Right now, we're going to look at repeated words:

6a) Repeated and synonymous words:
At this stage in Exegesis it is good to look for repeated words, and then mark them in some way. I like to colour code repeated words.
For example when I was studying John 6, I noticed the Greek word pisteuo (to believe, trust) come up a number of times, so I colour coded it green. Then I colour coded the word erchomai (to come) in blue, the word didomi (to give) in yellow, anistemi (to rise) in grey, and dunami (able) in pink, I also colour coded the word to see, but to save time and space I have not put it down here):

ESV John 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

ESV John 6:36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

ESV John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

ESV John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

ESV John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

ESV John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

ESV John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me--

ESV John 6:47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

ESV John 6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)

ESV John 6:65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

=> Having these words coloured makes it much easier to see the point Jesus is making. It also makes it easier to scan through many verses and quickly see where certain words are repeated.

Having coloured these words we can also see clear themes in the text, in this case we see the following:

Being Given,
Being raised up.

By looking at the first two 'coming' and 'believing' more closely we can see that both have the same meaning in this text (see John 6:35).

By looking at the similarities between v.44 and v.65 we can see that word 'given' (v.65) is used synonymously with the word 'drawn' (v.44). Therefore I have colour coded the word 'drawn' in orange as it is close to yellow.

This leaves us with the final word 'raised', and if we look for every grey instance of this word, we see that this is not talking about a general resurrection of both the wicked and the righteous, but is talking about only those the Father has given to Jesus (v.39).

There is more than can be mined here, but hopefully there is enough here to demonstrate the usefulness of looking for repeated words.

Heidelberg Catechism 04

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 4:

Q9: Does not God, then, do injustice to man by requiring of him in His law that which he cannot perform?

A9: No, for God so made man that he could perform it; but man, through the instigation of the devil, by wilful disobedience deprived himself and all his descendants of this power.

DF question a) What do the following verses tell us about why we were originally created?

Colossians 3:10

Eph 4:24

2 Cor 3:18

DF question b) Use the following verses to write out a chronology of Man's creation, fall and subsequent life. How does this explain HC answer 9?

Genesis 1:27

Genesis 1:31,

Romans 5:12,

Eph 2:1-3

Q10: Will God allow such disobedience and apostasy to go unpunished?

A10: Certainly not, but He is terribly displeased with our inborn as well as our actual sins, and will punish them in just judgment in time and eternity, as he has declared: Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.

DF question c) Read Gal 3:10,

Based on this verse, how many people in history of the world should God punish?

Q11: But is not God also merciful?

A11: God is indeed merciful, but He is likewise just; His justice therefore requires that sin, which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting punishment both of body and soul.

DF question d) Read Psalm 5:5-6, Leviticus 20:7, 2 Tim 2:13,

Imagine if you were God, would you let some of your friends into heaven, even thought they had done bad things? Explain why this would be impossible for God to do (without Jesus’ sacrifice).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The difference between Regeneration and Adoption

Someone recently asked me what the difference is between being born again, and being adopted.
Wayne Grudem handles this in his Systematic Theology:

B. Adoption Follows Conversion and Is an Outcome of Saving Faith
We might initially think that we would become God’s children by regeneration, since the imagery of being “born again” in regeneration makes us think of children being born into a human family. But the New Testament never connects adoption with regeneration: indeed, the idea of adoption is opposite to the idea of being born into a family!
Rather, the New Testament connects adoption with saving faith, and says that in response to our trusting in Christ, God has adopted us into his family. Paul says, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Gal. 3:23–26). And John writes, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12). These two verses make it clear that adoption follows conversion and is God’s response to our faith.
One objection to this might be brought from Paul’s statement, “Because you are sons God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”’ (Gal. 4:6). Someone might understand this verse to mean that first God adopted us as sons and second he gave us the Holy Spirit to bring regeneration to our hearts. But a few verses earlier Paul had said that we have become sons of God “through faith” (Gal. 3:26). Therefore Paul’s statement in Galatians 4:6 is best understood not to refer to the giving of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, but rather to an additional activity of the Holy Spirit in which he begins to bear witness with our spirit and to assure us that we are members of God’s family. This work of the Holy Spirit gives us assurance of our adoption, and it is in this sense that Paul says that, after we have become sons, God causes his Holy Spirit within our hearts to cry, “Abba! Father!” (cf. Rom 8:15–16).

Grudem, W. A. (1994). Systematic theology : An introduction to biblical doctrine (738). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dayper at Carnival August 2007

Heidelberg Catechism 03:

Q6: Did God create man thus, wicked and perverse?

A7: No,[1] but God created man good and after His own image,[2] that is, in righteousness and true holiness; that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love Him, and live with Him in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him.[3]

1. Gen 1:31

2. Gen 1:26-27

3. 2Co 3:18; Col 3:10; Eph 4:24

Q7: From where, then, does this depraved nature of man come?

A7: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise,[1] whereby our nature became so corrupt that we are all conceived and born in sin.[2]

1. Gen ch. 3; Rom 5:12, Rom 5:18-19

2. Psa 14:2-3; Psa 51:5

Q8: But are we so depraved that we are completely incapable of any good and prone to all evil?

A8: Yes,[1] unless we are born again by the Spirit of God.[2]

1. John 3:6; Gen 6:5; Job 14:4; Isa 53:6

2. John 3:5; Gen 8:21; 2Co 3:5; Rom 7:18; Jer 17:9

DF questions:

Read Genesis 1:31; Genesis 1:26-27

a) Explain what humans were like when God first created them.

Read Genesis chp 3; Genesis 5:3; Romans 5:12; Psalm 51:5

b) Explain why humans are bad today.

Read Psalm 14:2-3; Gen 6:5; Job 14:4; Jer 17:9

c) Explain why humans are not able to make themselves good.

Read John 3:5; Colossians 3:10

d) How does God fix the problem of the fall?

Bonus question: Read Genesis 3:4-6

e) Do you think Eve obeyed the serpant’s lie because it was logical, or because it was desirable?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

BIbleworks is killing my Greek!

I love using Bibleworks for sermon prep, but lately I've suspected that it's been killing my Greek skills.
When I come to a form that I don't recognise, I only have to hover above it in Bibleworks to be told the parsing of the word. This means that I don't spend time trying to work it out, and so I don't get to improve my parsing.

So yesterday I decided to prepare this week's sermon the old fashioned way with a Greek New Testament and Zerwicks' Grammatical Analsys of the Greek New Testament. Not only did I feel it sharpen up my Greek, but it was also more fun than staring at a computer screen.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Heidelberg Catechism 02

Q3: From where do you know your misery?

A3: From the Law of God.

Q4: What does the Law of God require of us?

A4: Christ teaches us in sum, Matthew 22: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Q5: Can you keep all this perfectly?

A5: No, for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbor.

DF's Group questions:

a) Read Rom 7:7 and give a modern day example of how reading the law in the Bible could make a person aware of their sin. e.g. In the morning Peter shouts at his mum, later he reads the Bible and …..

b) Read Rom 2:14-15

Is it possible to be aware of your sin without hearing the Law?

c)What therefore is the benefit of telling people the 10 commandments?

d) Read Deut 5:6-21 and Mat 22:37-40

Explain why the 10 commandments can be summed up into just 2?

e) Read Mat 5:48 What is God's standard for your life?

f) Read Jer 17:9 Why is it not possible for humans to live up to this standard?

g) Read Mark 10:17-27 What do we learn about salvation in this passage?

Friday, October 19, 2007

How to get the latest New Life videos

You may have noticed that for the last 2 weeks we have been uploading a lot of videos.
If you want to be informed as to when videos are updated, then you can use this RSS feed.

This feed gives you the videos as and when they are uploaded. This means however that the videos are not all in order of how they were taught, but it does at least mean you will know when a new video has been posted.

My favourite way of using RSS feeds is with igoogle homepage. I find that by using this homepage I save a lot of time by not aimlessly surfing the net.


A precursor to persecution in the UK?

I recognise that muslims (and some other religions) who convert to Christianity in the UK are persecuted, but on the whole there is not much persecution of Christians in the UK.
I think though that we are seeing precursors to future persecution in the UK.

Today I was at a Child Protection Training session that the college I work at put on.
During the intro the teacher said that child abuse has gone one throughout history and then claimed that in the Bible King David was given a little girl to sleep with.
At this point I interrupted and said something along these lines:

"That is not true. You are referring to the beginning of Kings where it says that David was old and cold, and they gave him a young woman to keep him warm, and it specifically says that he did NOT have sexual relations with her. And given the Jewish culture of the day, they certainly would not have given him a young girl to have sex with.
I think that you need to give Bible references if you are going to make such claims against the Jewish Faith and the Christian Faith, because I find what you just said highly offensive."

To this the teacher apologised, which I accepted, and I talked with him further about it later explaining how it was a common practice in those days in the East, and how the Bible condemns child abuse especially the pagan practice of burning child to foreign gods.

The teacher was civil and apologetic, but it betray where our culture is at right now. No one would dare at a lecture on child abuse to refer to Mohammed's marriage to a young girl, yet it seems fair game to refer to King David.
Paedophiles are probably the most hated people in the UK, and now government paid child protection lecturers are implying a link between Christianity and paedophilia.
Although I would certainly not call this persecution as Christians experience in Pakistan, it does appear to be a sign of where society is heading. The UK has gone from having a strong Christian influence to rejecting Christianity, and now even seeming to hate it.

Thank God that he always has his remnant!
Romans 11:3 "Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life." 4 But what is God's reply to him? "I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.

Finally gonna meet Don Carson!

In November I'm going to a preaching conference that Don Carson is speaking at.
For the main sessions he's going to be teaching on Preaching from the Gospels.
He's also going to be teaching worships on preaching from Thessalonians.

Today I got sent my homework. I have to prepare a 5 minute presentation to give the class on Thessalonians.

I was very excited to meet Don Carson at last, but now I'm nervous too!


How the Exodus points to our salvation:

A few days ago I wrote that the NT uses the Exodus to point to our salvation.
I thought it might be worth me qualifying that statement with the following video we did about a year ago.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Heidelbery Catechism 01

Heidelberg Catechism 01:

Intro to the HC:

"This catechism was written by Zacharias Ursinus (1534- 1583) and Caspar Olevianus (1536-1584) in Heidelberg, Germany and published in 1563 in German. It was endorsed by the Synod of Dordt and embraced by Reformed Churches in many different countries. It is the custom of many churches that use it to explain it from the pulpit every Sunday afternoon, so it is divided into fifty-two sections."

Lord’s day 1:

Task1: Read out questions 1 & 2:

Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?

Answer 1: That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live unto Him.

Question 2: How many things are necessary for you to know, that in this comfort you may live and die happily?

Answer 2: Three things:

First, the greatness of my sin and misery.

Second, how I am redeemed from all my sins and misery.

Third, how I am to be thankful to God for such redemption.

(these are the 3 sections that the HC divides into)

Task2: Split into small groups:

- Read out loud the following questions without answering them.

- Work out as a group, how to skim read Gen chps. 1-11, and read it.

- Write out 1 sentence answers to the following:

Q.a. According to Gen chps. 1-11, what are our miseries, and where do they come from?

Q.b What therefore is man’s greatest need/comfort?

Q.c What does our present culture tell us is our greatest need/comfort?

Q.d In what ways to people often comfort themselves?

Q.e Why is it important to know your greatest need/comfort?

Q.f Summarise in 2 simple sentences answers to today’s HC questions.

Heidelberg Catechism notes online

On Thursday nights were have been going through the Heidelberg Catechism.
For anyone who has not been able to come, I'm going to start putting the handouts up on the blog.
I hope you are blessed by them,

A meditation on salvation

Continually seeking God's presence:

Yesterday I was reading Psalm 105 where it says,
Psalm 105:4 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! 5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
- I read this and thought about how I can seek the Lord's presence continually.

Remembering my salvation:

Then today I noticed it says in v.5 to remember God's wonderous works, and goes on to tell the exodus account.
Because the New Testament likens Jesus saving us to the Exodus of the Old Testament, it got me thinking how one of the ways I can continually seek God's presence is to think of God's work in saving me.

Dangers of not meditating on my salvation:

Today I was reading Psalm 106 which again talks about the Exodus and warns us that after the Exodus the people praised God but then forgot His works:
Psalm 106:12 Then they believed his words; they sang his praise. 13 But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.

- this got me thinking how it is important for me to not stop thinking about the wonderful salvation God has given me.

Recognising my Salvation is God's work, not mine:

Thew other day I was reading about Elijah's big showdown with the prophets of Baal. At one point Elijah prays and says to God,
ESV 1 Kings 18:37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back."
- Elijah desired not just that the people would know that God was God, but also that it was God who had turned their hearts back to Him.
This says to me that I need to not only know God, but also to understand that it is God who has turned my heart to him in the first place. If he had not turned my heart, then I would not know him.

This reminds me of Jesus' words:
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
The word for "can" is the Greek word dunami = to be able.
The word "come" is used metaphorically in this passage for "believe".
So it literally says, "No-one is able to believe in me unless the Father ... draws him."
I recognise that I would not have been able to believe in Jesus, unless the Father had drawn me. Furthermore, as a result of this, I will now be raised up on the last day!

Knowing this makes me so thankful to God for saving me.
Thankyou God!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Google video have put the video back!

I got a letter of apology today from Video, they said,

Thanks for your email. We appreciate your contacting us about your video.
We apologize if the disapproval was made in error. We reversed the
decision made on your video and it should now be live in our index.

Praise God!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Joel Osteen, the new face of Prosperity Gospel

Here is "60mins" interviewing Joel Osteen. Dr.Michael Horton is also interviewed, but not for long.

And here is a link to an article Horton wrote about Joel Osteen and the problem with his message:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Christian video banned from Google Video

I just got an email from 'google video' saying that one of our videos was reviewed by them and was rejected because it did not comply with their policies.
I have written back to ask what specifically was the problem.
In the mean time, if anyone was thinking that they would one day download any of the New Life videos, then i would suggest doing it sooner rather than later, just in case more of them got banned.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Latest New Life Videos

We've just put a lot more videos online, you can find them here.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Video on the Main differences between Christianity and Islam

Here is a link to a useful video on the main differences between Christianity and Islam: