Monday, December 31, 2007

The Best book on Exegesis I read in 2007

"Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period" 2nd ed. by Richard Longenecker.

This book looks at the exegetical techniques of Jesus, and the Apostles, and other biblical writers.

It explains Jewish exegetical techniques in the 1st century, ranging from Pharisaic to Essene techniques. Longenecker then argues how these techniques were used by the Biblical writers, and how the writers were justified in using the techniques they used.

I found this book very helpful for understanding how the Old Testament is used in the New Testament. Although I didn't agree with all the points made.

Longenecker has an interesting take on Paul's allegory of Hagar. I won't tell you what it is, because that would spoil the fun of reading it for yourself.

One tip, before reading this book, it uses Greek and Hebrew (and some bits of German), so if you can at the very least familiarize yourself with the Greek and Hebrew alphabet, you will be able to follow this book better.

Peace, and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Best Greek New Testament I read in 2007

At Christmas I got the new UBS Readers Greek New Testament.
That was only a few days ago, but I like it so much, it has to go on record as my favourite of 2007.

It is much bigger than the New Testaments I already possess.
This might mean that it doesn't look so sleek, but it also means that the print is bigger and the pages are thicker (in other words, no bleed).
This makes this the easiest GNT I have to read.
In fact the text is probably big enough to preach from (I haven't tried that though).
I've used it the last few days for my devotionals, and I've found the font so easy to read, that I've seen things in the text, that I think I would have missed with my Zondervan Readers Edition.

The UBS Readers GNT also has the following features:

-vocab lists at the bottom of each page for words that occur fewer than 30 times in the NT.

- a lexicon at the back

- parsing notes at the bottom of the page for difficult forms (that's what they say, but some of the ones they give are very easy)

- maps

I know that some people have complained that these features mean people will cheat and not learn the language, but I think that readers will find it more enjoyable to not look to the bottom of the page to try to find the parsing, and so it will be easy for most readers to motivate themselves to try and work out a form, rather than look it up.
On the plus side, I think that most people who do 1st year Greek, never read Greek again after that, and so a tool like this will be a really good way of getting Greek students to actually use their Greek, and start having devotionals with the Greek text.

For those of you who are starting the Greek course in a few days, this is the text that I recommend you get, but I don't think you will need it for a long time, so save your money for now - but plan to be having your devotionals with this baby, next September!

The best devotional book I read in 2007

Don Carson's "For the Love of God" vol. 1,
has got to be the best devotional book I have ever read.

It follows the Robert McCheyne reading plan, which means reading 4 chapters a day, so that in a year you read through the Whole Bible once, and the Psalms and New Testament twice.

Each day, Carson writes something on one of the readings, and will often tie it into God's plan of redemption.

What makes this devotional book so different to most, is that the comments are not on verses taken out of context.
Furthermore, you are getting comments by probably a first rate scholar, so its a lot more reliable than your average devotional.

I'd thoroughly recommend it, if anyone is looking for a new reading plan, or devotional for 2008.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 10

Q27: What do you understand by the providence of God?

A27: The almighty, everywhere-present power of God,[1] whereby, as it were by His hand, He still upholds heaven and earth with all creatures,[2] and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink,[3] health and sickness,[4] riches and poverty,[5] indeed, all things come not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.

1. Acts 17:25-26 2. Heb 1:3 3. Jer 5:24; Acts 14:17 4. John 9:3 5. Pro 22:2; Psa 103:19; Rom 5:3-5

Q28: What does it profit us to know that God created and by His providence upholds all things?

A28: That we may be patient in adversity,[1] thankful in prosperity,[2] and for what is future have good confidence in our faithful God and Father, that no creature shall separate us from His love,[3] since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.[4]

1. Rom 5:3; James 1:3; Job 1:21 2. Deu 8:10; 1Th 5:18 3. Rom 8:35, Rom 8:38-39 4. Job 1:12; Acts 17:25-28; Pro 21:1; Psa 71:7; 2Co 1:10

DF questions:

a) Read Acts 17:25-26, Heb 1:3, Col 1:17, Eph 1:11. Make a list of things God is in control of.

b) Read Jer 5:24. Is God in control of the weather?

c) Read Deu 28:1-2, 4. What sort of human actions affect the environment?

d) What therefore, is the greatest need of any nation (even if its starving)?

e) Read Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28, 35. Using terms straight from the text, explain how Christians should view hardships.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Billy Graham's statement about judgment and hell

It is so sad to watch this video clip.

Billy Graham has devoted so much of his life to preaching the gospel, but there are 3 major problems with what he says here.

1) He refuses to say that people will go to Hell if they do not believe in Jesus.
Jesus said however,
John 14:6 "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

2) Rather than giving doctrinal reasons for not preaching about judgment, Billy claims it is not his 'calling'.
This seems in contradistinction to Jesus' calling (he preached Hell and Judgment on numerous occasions), and to Paul's calling who said,
Acts 20:26-27 'Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.'
- It is very sad to see that Billy is shrinking back from telling the whole counsel of God. He has chosen to present one aspect of Biblical truth, whilst ignoring another aspect.

3) Billy describes himself as having mellowed.
In response to this, I would want to encourage Billy with Paul's words,
2 Timothy 4:5-8 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Let's pray that Billy would be convicted of his error, and that he might end his race well for the glory of God.

Friday, December 21, 2007

UBS Greek New Testament Readers Edition review

The UBS Greek New Testament Readers Edition is now out.

Check out this view comparing the UBS with the Zondervan Readers Edition.

Mines in the mail.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A. W. Pink's thoughts on "practical" preaching

'The substitution of so-called "practical" preaching for the doctrinal exposition which it has supplanted is the root cause of many of the evil maladies which now afflict the Church of God. The reason why there is so little depth, so little intelligence, so little grasp of the fundamental verities of Christianity is because so few believers have been established in the faith through hearing expounded and through their own personal study of the doctrines of grace. While their soul is unestablished in the doctrine of the Divine Inspiration of the Scripture, their full and verbal inspiration, there can be no firm foundation for faith to rest upon. While the soul is ignorant of the doctrine of Justification there can be no real and intelligent assurance of its acceptance in the Beloved. While the soul is unacquainted with the teaching of the Word upon Sanctification it is open to receive all the crudities and errors of the Perfectionists or "Holiness" people. While the soul knows not what Scripture has to say upon the doctrine of the New Birth there can be no proper grasp of the two natures in the believer, and ignorance here inevitably results in the loss of peace and joy. And so we might go on right through the list of Christian doctrine. It is ignorance of doctrine that has rendered the professing church helpless to cope with the rising tide of infidelity. It is ignorance of doctrine which is mainly responsible for thousands of professing Christians being captivated by the numerous false isms of the day. It is because the time has now arrived when the bulk of our churches "will not endure sound doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:3) that they so readily receive false doctrines. Of course it is true that doctrine, like anything else in Scripture, may be studied from a merely cold intellectual viewpoint, and thus approached, doctrinal teaching and doctrinal study will leave the heart untouched, and will naturally be "dry" and profitless. But, doctrine properly received, doctrine studied with an exercised heart, will ever lead into a deeper knowledge of God and of the unsearchable riches of Christ.'

Pink, A. W. The Sovereignty Of God, chapter 12.

Do you want to read the whole Greek NT in 5 years?

There is an excellent resource on-line to help people read through the whole Greek New Testament in 5 years. It's split into daily reading plans, and contains vocab and grammatical helps, plus excerpts from commentaries throughout.
The site is

It is probably the most amazing webs-site I have seen in 2007!

If you do not know Greek, why not get Mounce and spend 2008 learning Greek, and then you can start on misselbrook in September?

For those of you who are about to start the 2008 Greek course with me, why not have a look at misselbrook and get an idea of what you are going to be able to read in September?


Monday, December 17, 2007

Greek students: Buy Mounce now!

Calling all Greek students for the 2008 Greek course.
If you have not ordered Mounce's 'Basics of Biblical Greek' textbook and workbook, then you need to order them as soon as possible.
If you find that its too late to get them in time for January, then I would suggest going somewhere like Wesley Owen, and asking them to get it in. Usually they can get books in the shop within a couple of days.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 9

Q26: What do you believe when you say: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth"?

A26: That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who of nothing made heaven and earth with all that in them is,[1] who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence,[2] is for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father,[3] in whom I so trust as to have no doubt that He will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul;[4] and further, that whatever evil He sends upon me in this troubled life, He will turn to my good;[5] for He is able to do it, being Almighty God,[6] and willing also, being a faithful Father.[7]

1. Gen 1:31; Psa 33:6; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3

2. Psa 104:2-5; Psa 115:3; Mat 10:30; Heb 1:3; Acts 17:24-25

3. John 1:12; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:5-7; Eph 1:5; 3:14-16; Mat 6:8

4. Psa 55:22; Psa 90:1-2; Mat 6:25-26; Luke 12:22-24

5. Rom 8:28; Acts 17:27-28

6. Rom 10:12 7. Mat 7:9-11; Num 23:19

DF questions:

a) Some people say that because the world appears to be very old, it must have evolved over millions of years. Read John 2:6-10; Matthew 14:19-21. How do these miracles show us that God can make things as if they had aged? If a mountain appears to be 30 million years old, does it actually have to be 30 million years old?

b) Some people say that man has evolved from monkeys. How does Genesis 2:7 refute this?

c) How does Genesis 3:19 show us that Genesis 2:7 is not talking about an evolutionary process?

d) How does 1 Tim 2:13 disprove evolution?

e) How does Romans 5:12-19 support the belief that Adam was a real man, and was the first man? Why is this important?

f) Read HC answer 26 again. What practical applications come from the doctrine of creation?

How do we make our videos?

A frequent question I get asked is "How do you make your videos?"

Now seems like a good time to answer that because the software we use is now available for free download!

We record our powerpoint with Camstasia studio. This records both the powerpoint, and my microphone.
It can be downloaded for free here:

We then use Sony Vegas to match up the powerpoint with the camcorder video footage. In Vegas we render it as a PAL mpeg-2 and then we make it into a DVD with DVD architect.

I think that Vegas is much more intuitive and easier to use than Adobe Premier, so it is always my first choice for video editing.
As for DVD architect, I have never used any other software, so I don't really know how this compares with others.

Hope this helps,

Hope that helps,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christ’s obedience

I was reading the other day about Jesus' obedience to his Father, and thought I should share it:
‘...Christ’s obedience always came from his heart as a willing, joyous yielding up of himself to his Father’s will and law; never was it merely artificial and outward, executed mechanically and perfunctorily. His entire like was one of delight in doing his Father’s will.’
Reymond, Robert L. A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith. 2nd ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998. p.630

If only our lives were like this too! Instead we don't delight in God as we should (even though we would be happier if we did) and God says to us,

"O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me!" Micah 6:3