How To Understand and Apply the New Testament

Whenever I begin to read a new book, I immediately look to the opening pages for a clear statement of purpose. Why did the author write this work? What sets it apart from others? When it comes to Andy Naselli’s How to Understand and Apply the New Testament, he wastes no time. Here are his opening sentences: “I love God, and I love studying his Word and his world. I wrote this book to help you study the New Testament, …

My Favorite Bible-Reading Plan for 2017

In general, there are two approaches to daily Bible-reading: intimacy and familiarity. Intimacy with the Bible comes through slow, meditative reading that focuses on small portions—deep study of key books, chapters, and verses. Familiarity with the Bible comes through faster reading of much larger portions—the entire sweep of the biblical narrative. Both are wonderful approaches to the Bible and Christians thrive on a healthy mixture of the two. There is great benefit in knowing the Bible as a whole (familiarity) …

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It’s Time To Take Your Medicine

The gospel has a kind of logic to it. According to Sinclair Ferguson, it always holds to one important rule: Divine indicatives (statements about what God has done, is doing, or will do) logically precede and ground divine imperatives (statements about what we are to do in response). Any actions God requires us to take are grounded in his own actions. Simple, right? The trouble is that we are prone to reverse this order into a formula that says “If I …

You, Me, and the ESV

You probably heard what happened recently with the ESV, the English Standard Version of the Bible. In August, Crossway, the ministry that publishes the ESV, announced that “the text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway.” In other words, the text had become permanent and would undergo no further changes for the rest of time. Controversy ensued and on September 28, Crossway reversed their decision. President and CEO Lane Dennis wrote, “We have …

Whatever Is False, Whatever Is Dishonorable, Whatever Is Unjust…

What makes holy people holy? What makes unholy people unholy? To a large degree it is what fills their minds and their hearts. This is why the battle for holiness is first a battle to flood your mind and heart with the right things, the best things, and why it’s equally a battle to avoid flooding your mind and heart with the wrong things, the worst things. So let me ask you, when it comes to what you see, what …

Simple Ways to Spark a Lukewarm Devotional Life

It happens to all of us at one time or another. There are times when we wake up eager to get into God’s Word, when our times in the Bible are an absolute joy and thrill. We hope, we wish, we pray that these times will never end. But they do. At times we wake up with no desire to open the Word. We find to our sorrow that the joy and thrill have given way to cold duty. I …

War, Women, and Wealth

Have you ever noticed that some of our sorest temptations arise around God’s greatest gifts? Food, money, sex, ministry, authority—all of these can be used for such good, yet we consistently find they are attended by such difficulties. That is life in this sinful world, a world in which we turn blessings into curses, gifts into temptations. God’s gifts so quickly threaten to displace the One who gives them. God does not appreciate competition. We find this all over the …

One Very Good Reason to Read Your Bible

There are some proverbs that practically beg for personal application. Proverbs 3:27 is one of them: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” That little maxim resonates in a hundred other passages including, of course, the Golden Rule and the second Great Commandment: “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” Taken together, they reinforce the …

The Temple and the Tabernacle

If you are a committed reader, you know what it’s like when you get swept away by a book—where hours pass in what feels like minutes. You know the sheer pleasure of being drawn into a book that is unexpectedly interesting and intriguing. This was the case for me this weekend when I began to read The Temple and the Tabernacle: A Study of God’s Dwelling Places from Genesis to Revelation. Hidden behind that title is a brilliant and fascinating …

No Bible, No Breakfast

No Bible, no breakfast. Have you ever heard this little phrase? Has anyone ever told you to obey it? It’s a mantra that I have bumped into a number of times in the past few weeks. In one recent case a popular Christian leader held it up as a necessary motto for the believer, a basic mark of Christian obedience. He seemed to imply that godly people don’t eat their breakfast until they’ve read the Bible. He told how he …