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Summarizing Scripture’s Narrative: The Story of the Bible in 5 Minutes

The Bible Project (@JoinBibleProj) makes animated videos that walk through the structure of every book of the Bible and videos that explain biblical themes that weave through the entire narrative of Scripture.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Bible Project: An Interview with Tim Mackie and Jon Collins]

This 5-minute Bible Project video displays how the Bible is one unified story that leads to Jesus and his salvation for the modern world:

[Read Bible Gateway Blog posts that introduce you to the Bible]

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Bible News Roundup – Week of July 23, 2017

[Return daily during the coming week for updates]

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Central Australia’s Arrernte People Can Now Read the Bible in Their Own Language
The Catholic Leader

Ancient Egyptian Records Indicate Philistines Weren’t Aegean Pirates After All
Read about the Philistines in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
Read about Shiloh in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
See the Biblical Archaeology section in the Bible Gateway Store

Biblical Zoo’s Aquarium Raises Habitat Preservation Awareness
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The NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible: An Interview with Sara Bierling

Sara BierlingThe NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible (Zonderkidz, 2017), for ages 8–12, brings the Bible to life in four-color illustrated splendor. This study Bible includes a spectacular full-color interior featuring over 700 illustrations, photos, infographics, and maps on every page that visually represent key Bible information. Each page also features important facts located near the relevant verse. Intriguing facts; colorful, engaging maps; photographs; and illustrations make this a Bible they’ll want to explore.

Bible Gateway interviewed Sara Bierling, general editor of the NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible (@Zonderkidz).

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What makes this kids’ Bible different from other Bibles?

Sara Bierling: This Bible has more visuals than any other full-text Bible that our company has ever published. It combines photographs, four-color illustrations, maps, and infographics (text presented in a visually appealing, graphic way) to illuminate the Bible text.

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Why is it titled the Kids’ Visual Study Bible?

Sara Bierling: We wanted to create a study Bible that appealed to visual learners. So, while there are written notes, we also wanted to provide content that visually stood out on the page and made learning about the Bible seem inviting and easy.

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What will the notes teach children?

Sara Bierling: The notes in this study Bible are general, but they cover important theological take-aways as well as historical details that will help children understand the world of the Bible. The infographics allow children to quickly see the most important takeaways from individual books of the Bible, to understand family relationships, and to make conclusions about the importance and impact of certain Bible stories.

Buy your copy of NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Why should parents buy this Bible?

Sara Bierling: This Bible will be great for children who are reluctant readers or are struggling to find motivation to pick up their Bible. It will also be interesting for children interested in the historicity of the Bible.

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How are biblical passages of violence and mature content handled in this study Bible for kids?

Sara Bierling: We don’t shy away from discussing violence in the Bible. However, we try not to dwell on it or give graphic details. As far as any sexual content, we always strive to speak about it in non-specific terms with language that isn’t too explicit, so that parents can choose what to explain to their children and what to table until they are mature enough. That said, we don’t censor the text of the NIV translation, so some guidance from parents may be necessary as children read the Bible.

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How should this study Bible best be used to get the most out of it?

Sara Bierling: This Bible doesn’t need to be read chronologically, so I would suggest children can use it as an every-day Bible, with the notes and visuals enhancing the Bible text they are already reading. They might choose to flip through the Bible to look at the images and therefore delve into a portion of scripture they hadn’t yet discovered. There is also a handy topical index for both the infographics and the maps that children may find useful if they are studying a specific theme of the Bible.

Bio: Sara Bierling is an Acquisitions Editor working primarily on Bibles for all ages as well as YA titles for Zondervan Teen and Blink YA. Prior to working for Zonderkidz, Sara was an editor in the Zondervan Bibles department, a freelance editor and writer, and an editor for School Specialty Publishing (formerly McGraw-Hill Children’s Publishing), where she developed elementary grades educational products. She holds a BA in English and Writing from Hope College.

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“I Had to Be the Voice for Those Who Could No Longer Speak for Themselves”

Dr. Bennet OmaluBy Dr. Bennet Omalu

Early in the fifth century, an ascetic monk from the east felt compelled to travel to Rome, a city he had never visited before. He arrived to find huge crowds all moving in one direction. Since he did not know why the Spirit had led him to the city, he decided to follow the crowd. He quickly became caught up in the festive mood that permeated the crowds. His sense of expectation rose as the push of the crowds led him to the coliseum, where he sat down with the rest of the people and waited to see what might happen next. He did not have to wait long. Two gladiators came out into the arena and began fighting with swords and shields. Telemachus had never seen such a sight. Horrified by the sight, he stood on his seat and shouted, “In the name of Christ, stop!” No one paid any attention to him. The rest of the crowd cheered at the top of their lungs as the two gladiators began to draw blood from each other.

As the crowd cheered, Telemachus ran down from his seat and jumped into the arena. He went straight to the two gladiators, shouting, “In the name of Christ, stop!” The fighting men ignored him until he put himself between them. When the crowd saw him interfering with their entertainment, they began to boo and shout for him to get out of the way and let the show continue. Telemachus would not budge. “In the name of Christ, stop!” he shouted again. The crowd went from annoyed to enraged. A gladiator pushed Telemachus to the ground. As he lay in the dirt, the angry mob surged toward him. One man threw a stone at him, striking him in the chest. Another stone came flying in—and then another and another.

He shielded himself with his arms, but the flurry of stones was too strong. Telemachus tried to get up from the ground but was knocked back down as a rock struck him in the head. A stream of blood spurted out. The blood only seemed to stir up the anger of the mob even more. “In the name of Christ, stop!” he said one last time. The stones continued to rain down, even after the small monk stopped moving. When it was clear he was dead, the anger of the crowd turned to revulsion over what they had done. Those who had cheered for blood felt very different when it covered their own hands. Saint Telemachus could not stop the gladiator combat show in the Roman Coliseum that day, but his death ultimately moved Emperor Honorius to ban the fights forever.

I did not set out to be a modern-day Telemachus when I started writing my first Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) paper. I had not taken up the cause of telling the world, or at least America, the inherent dangers of football. At the time, the paper was nothing more than the final step to fulfill the promise I had made to the late Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster, not a crusade.

As I wrote in the last chapter, the hardest part of writing the paper was getting started. Until I came up with a name, words refused to come. Once I settled on CTE, the words seemed to fly out. I completed the first draft of the paper in a little over a month. While I made multiple revisions based on editorial input from my coauthors and the editors at the journal that published it, the bulk of the paper is the same as that original draft. I truly believe my writing was guided by God Himself. Right around the time the movie Concussion was released, I went back and reread the CTE paper for the first time since its publication. To be honest, I nearly fell over when I read it. This came out of me? I thought in amazement. This paper is too good to have been written by me! I was floored by its audacious scientific originality, creativity, and innovation.

The Bennet Omalu of today could not write such a beautiful piece. At that time, I was still filled with youthful idealism and hope. When I wrote that paper, I believed it would truly make a difference, that it would spark a genuine dialogue within the football community that would result in a game that protects its players. I boldly spoke my mind and made the type of strong assertions Dr. Wecht had taught me to make whenever I spoke as an expert in a court case. My boldness was based on truth. I had no reason to be anything but forthright. I did not take a side in the paper. Truth does not have a side. Truth is truth. It is up to us to conform to truth; truth does not conform to us.

The paper focused on one case—that of Mike Webster. Many more former football players probably suffer from CTE. However, because there had not yet been a concerted effort to look for the presence of CTE in the brains of former football players, we have no way to know how widespread this disease might be. I assumed many of those connected with football would be anxious to know more, since I also assumed they surely had the players’ best interests at heart. Yes, I was young and very naive.

After completing the first draft, I set the paper aside for a short time and then went back and made revisions. I sent copies to Drs. DeKosky and Hamilton, along with Dr. Wecht. I also sent a copy to Ryan Minster and Ilyas Kamboh, both of whom were in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. These men were my coauthors on the paper. Each of them suggested changes. Some I accepted, while some I did not. I sent the final draft back to them all. We went back and forth until we had a manuscript we were all proud of.

Now the question was where to submit the finished paper for publication. I believed there was only one logical choice: Neurosurgery, the same publication in which the NFL concussion committee presented its research. The journal’s editor at the time, Michael Apuzzo, was a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Southern California. Under his direction, the journal had added a sports section that featured articles on sports and the brain. Since Neurosurgery had already published NFL papers focusing on football and concussions, it seemed the logical place to submit my paper.

From what I observed in the review process, I believe my paper went through many reviewers—possibly up to eighteen—not two or three. Why so many? I do not know. All of them sent comments to me. While many were positive and asked legitimate scientific questions that I needed to clarify, others had a decidedly negative tone. Many of them did not want to see my paper published, but the reasons they gave were not scientifically valid. Some of the negative comments questioned my credentials. They insinuated that I was a no-name and a quack. Who is Omalu? they essentially asked, and why should we take seriously the research conducted by nothing more than a government employee doing autopsies in Pittsburgh?

The attitude expressed by these reviewers speaks to one of the fallacies of accepted scientific research. Today, the scientific community yields to established, experienced professors in university settings to guide research, review research papers, and determine whose research is funded. The result is a complete lack of innovative approaches to old problems. Instead, we are stuck with conformational intelligence, where the same approach is used over and over.

The seemingly endless process of back-and-forth with the many reviewers left me very frustrated. I suspected that none to several of those reviewing my paper were trauma neuropathologists. Many of their comments made it clear they may not have been adequately educated on the pathology of neurotrauma. The process of answering their questions and objections took three to four times the amount of time it took to write the paper itself. My responses were more than five times the length of the paper. Yet no matter how much I wrote, more questions came.

My patience began to wear thin. Gradually, without my knowing it, a simmering anger arose within me. I could not believe this was happening in America. In all fairness, some of the reviewers were good to me and commended me for my work. A minority remained vehement that the paper should never be published and that Omalu should not be trusted because his assertions are dangerous.

However, to the credit of Dr. Apuzzo, Neurosurgery ultimately decided to publish my paper. They included some of the comments from reviewers, but most of those included were positive. One in particular stood out. Dr. Donald Marion, a neurosurgeon from Boston, gave some very constructive comments. Given what happened next, he was an angel from God to me, encouraging me when I could have easily drowned in a sea of doubt.

Finally, I received a copy of the volume 57, number 1, July 2005, issue of Neurosurgery. I opened to page 128 and just stared at the article. I did not reread it. I had read it enough times during the editorial process. Instead my thoughts turned to Mike Webster and his family. You’ve been vindicated, Mike, I thought. After reading this, people will know you did not want the life into which you descended. Football did that to you. I hope this gives you rest.

And then I closed the journal and set it on a shelf. I never could have imagined that this was going to be deemed one of the most influential case reports in sports medicine. When I closed the cover of Neurosurgery, I did not imagine that paper would come to define so much of my life and my life’s work. In my mind, it was very much like the other papers I wrote both before and after Mike. I had discovered something in the brain of Mike Webster and now I had reported it. That afternoon I went back to work and completed another autopsy then filed my reports on it, just as I did every day. The Mike Webster paper was just another day at the office, not a life-defining moment.

Then the NFL stepped in.

One morning several weeks after the publication of “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in a National Football League Player,” my phone rang. Dr. Wecht’s secretary was on the phone. She only called when there was a problem or when Dr. Wecht needed me. As expected, she said, “Cyril needs to reach you. May he call you at this number?” she asked.

“Of course,” I said.

A few minutes later, the phone rang again. “Bennet,” Dr. Wecht said in an anxious tone of voice. He was usually very loquacious, but not this morning. “I just got off the phone with an editor from Neurosurgery.”

“Is everything alright?” I asked.

“No. The NFL sent them a letter demanding that your paper be retracted. They want you to say you made the whole thing up.”

I sat there stunned for a moment. “What did the editor say to them?” I asked.

“Dr. Apuzzo has set up a review committee to address their concerns and determine if it should be retracted.”

I wondered if this had been the original plan all along—if they had only agreed to publish my paper to embarrass me. Now it made sense. By holding me up to professional ridicule, they would send a message to other doctors across the world that you don’t mess with the National Football League. If my paper was retracted and all my science debunked, then my career was as good as done. No one would ever touch me or the question of CTE ever again. Panic started to set in—panic and anger. But then I remembered the words of Saint Paul:

We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose… If God is for us, who can be against us?… What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?… No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:28,31,35,37-9 (NIV)

Once I calmed down, I realized I had the least to lose from this battle. My coauthors were far more established than me. I was only three months out of my training as a neuropathologist when I conducted the Mike Webster autopsy. I was a neophyte. But Drs. Wecht, DeKosky, Hamilton, and Kamboh had their names and reputations on the line. I wondered if they regretted becoming associated with this no-name Nigerian doctor.

“So what should we do, Cyril?” I asked.

Dr. Wecht laughed. “Don’t worry about these idiots,” he said. He actually used a much more colorful term, which is Dr. Wecht for you. “Don’t let them intimidate you or silence you. Dr. Marion is going to call you later. Listen to him, and do whatever he asks you to do.”

“I will,” I said. I hung up the phone and whispered to myself, What have I done? Tears rolled down my face. I knew I had done nothing wrong against anyone. Everything I had done that led up to this moment, from ordering the fixing of Mike Webster’s brain to the extensive study of the slides of his brain to all of my research into brain disease and ultimately in publishing this paper—all of it was driven by my desire to have justice for Mike and restore his humanity. And now I was under attack. My career and the careers of those who had stood with me were all at stake. I knew what I had to do. I had to stand firm on the truth. Truth will not be moved or intimidated by those who seek to silence it.

I had never set out to become a modern-day Telemachus. My goal was never to be the voice of an outsider who points out what no one else was able to see because their eyes were clouded by conformational intelligence. If the NFL had simply ignored my first paper, I may never have become the one running out into the football arena and crying out, “In the name of Christ, stop!” But once they demanded a retraction, that was exactly who I became. I had no choice. I had to be the voice for those who could no longer speak for themselves.


Truth Doesn't Have a SideAdapted from Truth Doesn’t Have a Side by Dr. Bennet Omalu. Click here to learn more about this title.

Truth Doesn’t Have a Side follows the journey of neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who uncovered the truth about brain damage in American football players, and his battle against those who would silence him. Read this incredible story that is changing the course of high-impact sports and could change the course of sports culture forever.

One day in 2002 the fifty-year old body of former Pittsburgh Steeler and hall of famer Mike Webster was laid on a cold table in front of pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu. Webster’s body looked to Omalu like the body of a much older man, and the circumstances of his behavior prior to his death were clouded in mystery. But when Omalu cut into Webster’s brain, it appeared to be normal. Something didn’t add up.

It was at this moment, Omalu studying slides of Webster’s brain tissue under a microscope, that the world of contact sports would never be the same: the discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE can result in an array of devastating consequences including deterioration in attention, memory loss, social instability, depression, and even suicide. And Omalu’s discovery of CTE in the brain of an American football player has become the catalyst of a blazing controversy across all contact sports.

At the center of that controversy stands the unlikely Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-born American citizen, a mild-mannered, gentle man of faith. It is fascinating that it would take someone on the outside of American culture to make this amazing discovery, and refuse to let it be kept hidden. Dr. Omalu began his life in strife, growing up in war-torn Nigeria. But his medical studies in forensic pathology proved to be a lifeline. It fed his natural curiosity and awakened within a deeper desire to always search for the truth. Who would have thought that such an unexpected character would play such a role in bringing to life this world-changing data?

In Truth Doesn’t Have a Side, discover the truth about CTE: Its causes and symptoms, how we might keep our children safe and guide professional athletes when CTE sets in. The problem of CTE is coming to light with each new story about an athlete’s concussion problem, and we are likely facing dramatic changes to professional sports. You’ll be inspired by Dr. Bennet Omalu a man driven by his love and concern for the welfare of all people, and his professional vow to speak the truth.

Dr. Bennet Omalu is the Nigerian-American neuropathologist who discovered and named chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players, other athletes, and military veterans. He is the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, California, and a clinical professor at the University of California, Davis. The Hollywood film Concussion, staring Will Smith, highlights his amazing story. Dr. Omalu’s new book Truth Doesn’t Have a Side provides intimate details of his life and the battle that followed his discovery of CTE. Bennet and his wife have two children and reside in Sacramento, California.

40 Days Through the Prayers of Jesus: An Interview with Tim Cameron

Tim CameronWhy did Jesus spend time praying? What are the lessons that Jesus’ prayer life teaches us? How should we pray in order to know God intimately?

Bible Gateway interviewed Tim Cameron (@timcameron8245) about his book, 40 Days Through the Prayers of Jesus: A Journey to Pray More Like Christ (Charisma House, 2017).

What’s the purpose of prayer?

Tim Cameron: I believe prayer has two great purposes. The first purpose is to change us. Prayer changes your outlook on life. It changes your desires, your loves, your compulsions, and your addictions. It changes you internally and externally (Hebrews 7:25). Through prayer we can come to God daily, and we can engage our God intimately. The closer we come to God, the more God reveals to us our need to change, and the more we’re changed by simply beholding him.

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Prayer changes us so that we change things. And that’s the second purpose of prayer: to empower us to change things. It’s the very nature of prayer to deposit in us the desire to intercede for others, whether it’s praying for someone’s salvation or their needs. Every Christian is called to this wonderful ministry: the work of reconciliation—that by our words and deeds we might bring others into harmony with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Why and how do we think wrongly about prayer?

Tim Cameron: We think wrongly about prayer for a lot of reasons. Prayer is simply not a part of our natural life. “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV).

We think prayer is a way to get things. We come to the Lord with our lists, our needs, and our wants, and of course there are the catastrophic events that cast us upon him. Don’t get me wrong; I bring my lists to God daily. But few people I know come before the Lord every day, throughout the day, petitioning him to hear requests that will build his kingdom. It seems so few Christians experience the real purpose of prayer: first, intimacy with Christ, and then the power to call down the blessings of the kingdom of God into the lives of people.

Why have you formatted this book to be read in 40 days?

Tim Cameron: The number 40 is significant in the Scriptures, particularly with the life of Jesus. The number 40 is associated with new beginnings, testing, and victory in battles you would usually lose.

It rained 40 days and 40 nights during the Flood, and Noah and his family remained in the ark another 40 days while the water receded. When they were finally able to leave the ark, the world was different—new—and they were on the precipice of a new beginning.

The giant Goliath taunted the army of Israel for 40 days, morning and evening. After his legendary defeat of Goliath, David was no longer viewed as merely a shepherd; he had become a mighty warrior and man of valor, and he eventually became king of Israel.

More importantly Jesus fasted for 40 days (Luke 4:2) following the first time he prayed in public at his baptism. While lifting his hands and blessing the disciples, he ascended to heaven 40 days after his resurrection (Luke 24:50; Acts 1:3). Forty days in the prayers of Jesus can change your life.

How did Jesus view prayer?

Tim Cameron: Jesus was completely a man, but he was also completely God. As a man he had the same needs that we have: he needed divine support, strength, and blessing. The mystery here is that there was no more contradiction in his praying than there was in his drinking or eating. Both are consistent with who he was while here on this earth.

Jesus was divine, yet he was tempted just like us. He was perfect, yet he was a man. He needed to pray all night on occasions. His humanity compelled him to pray. He sought the Father’s wisdom, setting a profound example for us.

What did Jesus pray for? How did he view prayer? I believe he prayed for the Father’s will to be done in his life. I believe he viewed prayer as an absolute necessity for his life. Jesus gained such a place of intimacy with the Father through prayer that he discerned the very words the Father would have him speak and the acts the Father would have him do.

What do you mean when you say “begin all things in prayer”?

Tim Cameron: It didn’t matter if the issue at hand was profound or an everyday incident—Jesus began all things with prayer. Before setting out to preach and cast out demons throughout Galilee, he rose a great while before sunrise to pray (Mark 1:35-39). When they rolled the stone away from Lazarus’s tomb, Jesus prayed for all to hear before raising him from the dead (John 11:40-44). And as he sat at a table for dinner with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, he simply prayed (Luke 24:30-31).

Beginning all things in prayer is a foundational discipline of the Christian life. The times of praying in stillness and solitude are when God reaches into our minds, emotions, and wills; the deepest places of our souls. In the quietness of prayer we free ourselves from the constant distractions of the world and the nagging whispers of our past, dysfunctions, and sins. Beginning all things in prayer during the day and having close and continual fellowship in prayer with God will leave its mark on us.

How can that be accomplished, practically speaking?

Tim Cameron: As we discover and experience the secret place of prayer, we’ll be changed. We’ll experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit will guide, strengthen, and correct us. He’ll intercede for us to gain a spirit of prayer in our lives. All things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26).

What’s “the secret place” of prayer?

Tim Cameron: Where do you pray? Is where you pray really that important? Evidently it is; Jesus specifically mentioned where we should and shouldn’t pray.

Where not to pray: in a location chosen so others can see you. “When you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward” (Matthew 6:5).

Where to pray: in private in your room. “But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (v. 6).

There’s a great secret to prayer: pray in secret. Prayer is meant for the Father; we don’t pray to be heard by men. This is the secret place of prayer.

What does it mean to “be still”?

Tim Cameron: It means to turn off the technology and smartphone—get away from the clamor of the world—and still yourself before the Lord. Finding stillness may be one of the greatest challenges in our relationship with Christ and our prayer lives. There are two great hindrances we face every day in our search for stillness: our busy lifestyles and the constant noise of our culture. From the incessant barrage of information to the insidious advertising, our toxic culture leaves us no rest. Are you busy? Where are you on the Facebook Addiction Scale? Enough said.

As simple as it may seem, we find stillness by making a choice; deciding to sit down away from all the demands of our life and technology. God bestowed on us free will; it’s not an illusion. We’re not victims of our culture. We have control over the way we respond to everything that comes our way. It’s in stillness that we come to know our God, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Ps. 46:10).

Unpack how the Lord’s Prayer of Matthew 6:9-13 teaches how to pray.

Tim Cameron: I love the simplicity of this prayer Christ gave to the disciples. It begins and ends with worship to our God. Sandwiched between worship, Christ instructs us to pray that His kingdom come and His will be done. This is His purpose.

Then He instructs us to pray for provision, pardon, and protection. These three things sound so simple, but they reach so deeply into our lives. Can we be satisfied with our provision for today and not compare ourselves to others? Can we really forgive others? What about that person who gossiped about you? And He ends with a great crescendo; through prayer we can be saved from temptation and delivered from evil. Wow, we need to pray this prayer!

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Tim Cameron: Isaiah 50:4, “The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I may know how to sustain him who is weary with a word; He awakens me morning by morning; He awakens my ear to listen as the learned.” I love this verse. It is one of the many “snapshots” of Jesus we find in Isaiah. The verse speaks at so many levels to our hope in the Lord, His plans for us, and how those purposes are accomplished.

Our God does for us the things we cannot do. He wraps us in garments of salvation and righteousness (Is. 61:10). God’s plan for us is to boldly deliver the good news to those who do not know this great salvation through Jesus. It is sobering and enthralling at the same time to speak a “word” from God’s heart to a person.
It is the greatest delight of my soul to meet the Lord each morning in the secret place and learn from Him. This is where He awakens my spirit to drink deeply of the Spirit. This is where He teaches me walk after the Spirit.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Tim Cameron: What a marvelous resource. Honestly, I never thought I would make the transition from my two-and-a-half-inch thick Bible to a smartphone Bible app. However, when the pastor says turn to…I pull out my phone and open the Bible Gateway App. I’m an inveterate user. I love the voice function for road trips.

Bio: Tim Cameron is a passionate follower of Jesus. He’s a graduate of Oral Roberts University (ORU), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education and was a Division 1 basketball player. After Cameron earned a master’s degree in teaching arts from the University of Tulsa, he served ORU as a director of admissions and financial aid. He later worked as a senior high principal in public schools, then became headmaster at Metro Christian Academy, one of the largest private schools in Oklahoma. Today he gives himself to the Word and intercession. A speaker and the author of The Forty-Day Word Fast: A Spiritual Journey to Eliminate Toxic Words From Your Life, he serves in prayer ministry and as an elder at Believers Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Updated: Chart of Israel’s and Judah’s Kings and Prophets

Blogger Grid member Craig T. Owens (@craigtowens) created a while ago the helpful chart below delineating the Old Testament prophets and kings of Israel and Judah and has now updated it:

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Click the image to enlarge this chart of the prophets and kings of Israel and Judah

Owens says:

One challenging point in history is the divided kingdoms of Israel (the 10 northern tribes) and Judah (the 2 southern tribes). What makes it challenging when reading straight through the Bible [in chronological order] is that the history is covered in 1 and 2 Kings and then again in 1 and 2 Chronicles. In the midst of these kingdoms, several prophets are sent by God. Some of these prophets only have their words recorded in Kings or Chronicles, while others have their words recorded elsewhere in the Bible (usually the book name is the prophet’s name).

In trying to keep all of these people and messages clear in my mind, I have put together a list of all the kings and prophets during the period of the divided kingdom (roughly 931-586 BC).

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Bible News Roundup – Week of July 16, 2017

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Mom Gives Bible to Daughter’s Killer in Court

Jimmy Carter Signed Bible Gifted to Huntsville Habitat for Humanity Families

Sioux County Joins Iowa Bible Reading Marathon
N’West Iowa REVIEW
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Scripture Says Reading the Bible in Public is Important

Instructions for Reading Aloud in the Gutenberg Bible
Harry Ransom Center

Biblica Completes Accessible Edition of New Testament
Mission Network News

American Bible Society Announces Launch of Faith & Liberty Discovery Center
Global Philadelphia Association
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, History of the American Bible Society: An Interview with John Fea

Bibles for 98% of the World is in Sight
Read the Bible on Bible Gateway

Interview With Mike Perreau, Director General of United Bible Societies
Sight Magazine
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Bible Translation Organizations

With Bibles and Shovels, a Search for the Biblical Tabernacle Gathers Pace at Shiloh
The Times of Israel
Read Exodus 25 on Bible Gateway
Read about the tabernacle in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
Read about Shiloh in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
See the Biblical Archaeology section in the Bible Gateway Store

Biblical Account of Gezer’s Destruction Gains Ground with Torched Skeleton Finds
The Times of Israel
Read the article about Gezer in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
Read 1 Kings 9:15-17 on Bible Gateway

How the World Reads the Bible
La Croix International

Nigerian Sign Language Gains Scripture
Mission Network News

A Bible in Cree Syllabics Among Historical Treasures at First Nations University
CBC News

Berlin Exhibition Guide on Bible Translations Also Focuses on Armenia

The Rise of the Nons: Protestants Keep Ditching Denominations

9 Out of 10 Ordinary British Christians Feel Marginalized

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Why Belief in the Bible is Rational: An Interview with K. Scott Oliphint

K. Scott OliphintFaith is the foundation upon which the Christian life depends. But what are the good reasons for that faith? And how does the Bible factor in to the basis of that faith?

Bible Gateway interviewed K. Scott Oliphint (@ScottOliphint) about his book, Know Why You Believe (Zondervan, 2017).

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog, Why Creeds are Still a Big Deal: An Interview with Justin Holcomb]

What is “knowledgeable faith”?

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K. Scott Oliphint: Many people consider the notion of “faith” to be the polar opposite of knowledge. This has never been the Christian view of faith. For Christianity, faith is typically understood as including three inextricably linked categories: assent, trust, and knowledge. “Knowledgeable faith” is trusting the One—Jesus Christ—to whom we have assented and whom we know. Christ himself says eternal life consists of knowing the Father, and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent (John 17:3). Christ ties our eternal existence to knowing him. There can be no true faith without true knowledge.

What do you mean, “Christianity is a way of seeing”?

K. Scott Oliphint: The apostle Paul reminds us that in our conversion to Christ we’re renewed “unto knowledge” (Col. 3:10). This means that, upon our conversion, we begin to see ourselves and the world in its proper light (Matt. 13:15; Mk. 8:18).

Christianity is not something we add to an otherwise complete and useful life. The Christian life is a new life, a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Because, when we’re converted, we’re renewed unto knowledge; we see everything through the spectacles of Scripture. We begin, by grace, to “think God’s thoughts (as those thoughts are given to us in his revelation) after him.”

Why is the Bible trustworthy?

K. Scott Oliphint: The short answer to this question is that it is the Word of God.

Scripture purports to be the Word of God from the beginning (Gen. 1:28-30). It’s the history of God first creating and then redeeming a people. Its history is not confined to one person getting a “special” revelation at some limited point in time, but its history spans centuries in which the Lord himself speaks through his chosen representatives.

The Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 1, section 5 lists a number of reasons why we should believe that the Bible is God’s own Word. These include the “heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof…” All of these, says the Confession, “are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God.”

The wonderful point made by the Confession is that one has to actually read and consider what Scripture says in order to recognize it to be God’s very Word. No other book provides such a wealth of evidence for its own character.

The “negative” answer to the question is to consider what happens if we refuse to trust that the Bible is God’s Word. The implications of this go all the way back to Genesis 3. Once we question the Word of God, we’re set squarely on a path toward inevitable death. That path begins in this life—in which we try to make sense of God’s world as God’s creatures, but without God—and it continues into eternity.

Is the fact that the Bible was written over a period of 16 centuries a strength or weakness?

K. Scott Oliphint: This fact is actually a strength of Christianity. As I said earlier, when one considers the vast amount of time and people involved in God’s covenant with his people, throughout the Old Testament and the New (Heb. 1:1-4), one would think there would be vast areas of inconsistency and incoherence in what’s written in Scripture. However, when Scripture is read, it’s nothing short of miraculous that its message is uniform throughout history (John 10:35), that it moves inexorably toward a distinct purpose and plan (Rom. 11:36), that its focus, from the beginning to the end and into eternity, is God’s presence with his creation and his people (Rev. 21:1-4).

This is no book produced in secret. It’s not a book given to one man who alone “founds” a religion. This is God’s book, given by him to a number of his select representatives, and written down for his people, that they might know him and know what it is he requires of them (2 Tim. 3:16). No other religious book can claim such a pedigree. No other book so far transcends its limits that it moves its readers toward heaven itself.

What do you mean, “Believing that the Bible is true is more like being in a marriage relationship than like a scientific experiment”?

K. Scott Oliphint: It’s not enough simply to know what Scripture says. Satan knows as much. As in a marriage, we do not simply know our spouses. We commit ourselves to them. We pledge our allegiance to them. So it is with Scripture.

After delineating the “arguments” for Scripture’s evidence that it’s God’s Word, the last section of the Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 1, section 5, says this: “…our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts (1 John 2:20; John 16:13-14; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; Isa. 59:21).

This truth helps us to see that if biblical faith includes trust and assent, such trust and assent has to come to us by way of a supernatural intervention from God the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-7). In order to trust and assent to what Scripture says, we need heart surgery that only the Holy Spirit can perform. Our hearts of stone need to be changed to hearts of flesh (Ez. 11:19, 36:26). We cannot do this ourselves; only God can do this. When he does, he moves us from a mere knowledge of him, to an unwavering commitment to him and his glory, through his Son, Jesus Christ.

Beyond the Bible, Know Why You Believe explores reasons to believe in nine other Christian tenets, including God, Jesus, miracles, and Jesus’ resurrection. Briefly explain your chapter on “believing in God despite the evil in the world.”

K. Scott Oliphint: The problem of evil is both a pastoral and philosophical problem. Pastorally, everyone is a victim of evil and sin in the world. Sin enslaves the human heart (Rom. 6:17-22); the world fights against the truth of God (John 15:18-19, 17:9); the devil and his legion fight to oppose God and all he has made (Lk. 8:12; John 8:44; 2 Tim. 2:25).

The problem with the problem is that, for those who believe in and trust the Triune God of Scripture, it’s difficult for us to reconcile the sheer amount of evil in the world with the infinite goodness of the God who made everything. How could things go so wrong when God made them so good?

We will not be able to provide a comprehensive answer to this question. God keeps some things to himself (Deut. 29:29; Rom. 11:33-34).

We do, however, know this much: the problem of evil has its genesis in us. It’s because man sinned that the world began its ruinous revolt against God. The problem of evil is so insidious, extensive, and prevalent because it’s a violation of the One who himself is infinite in his holiness. In other words, the magnitude of sin and evil in the world show forth the magnitude of God’s character, and what a violation of that character by us entails.

The wonder of it all is that the Triune God planned, from eternity past, to solve the problem that we committed by committing the Son of God to the suffering that we ourselves brought on God’s creation, and that we alone deserve (Eph. 1:3-14). One of the most glorious and mysterious passages in Scripture is this: “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer…” (Is. 53:10). This passage speaks of that “Suffering Servant,” the Lord Jesus Christ.

The most mysterious aspect to the problem of evil is not why the Triune God included it in his sovereign plan. It is, rather, why he determined himself to suffer so that our problem would be his, and so that those who trust him would not have to suffer the penalty they deserve.

Why is a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible the most productive way of defending the Christian faith?

K. Scott Oliphint: Because Scripture has, at root, one author, it’s important for Christians to understand what that author teaches the church, from Genesis to Revelation. We’ll never be able to plumb the depths of Scripture entirely, but we should be as clear as we can be on the doctrines that Scripture teaches us. When we see Scripture’s unity, we’re better able to explain to people why we believe what we do, and why it’s incumbent on all people to bow the knee to Christ.

Bio: K. Scott Oliphint (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and is the author of numerous articles and books, including Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith, The Majesty of Mystery: Celebrating the Glory of an Incomprehensible God, and The Battle Belongs to the Lord: The Power of Scripture for Defending Our Faith. He’s also coeditor of the two-volume Christian Apologetics Past and Present and a contributor to Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy.

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Quiz: How Well Do You Know the 5 Covenants of the Bible?

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The word covenant means “an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.”

In the Bible, according to Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary, the Hebrew word berith means primarily “a cutting,” with reference to the custom of cutting or dividing animals in two and passing between the parts in ratifying a covenant (Genesis 15; Jeremiah 34:18-19). In the New Testament the corresponding word is diathece, which is frequently translated testament.

According to an article in the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, “covenant is one of the most important theological ideas in biblical theology. It is reflected in the traditional labels Old and New Testaments, i.e., covenants. The concept exists at significant points in the Bible’s storyline and is the theological glue that binds promise to fulfillment. So the biblical history of salvation and the unfolding of God’s covenants are almost synonymous.”

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post: The NIV Zondervan Study Bible: An Interview with Dr. D.A. Carson]

How well do you know the five covenants mentioned in the Bible? Take this quiz and find out:

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Jesus Shows What Humanity is Supposed to Look Like: An Interview with Brian Hardin

Brian HardinThe Bible says Jesus was fully human and fully divine. If sin caused humanity to become less than God originally created it to be, how does Jesus’ life demonstrate what normal humanity is supposed to look like?

Bible Gateway interviewed Brian Hardin (@realbrianhardin) about his book, Sneezing Jesus: The Infectious Allure of the Human God (NavPress, 2017).

[Learn more about—and sign up to receive—Brian Hardin’s free email reading plan on Bible Gateway: The Daily Audio Bible]

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Explain the meaning of your book’s title.

Brian Hardin: The title, Sneezing Jesus, is a play on words that contains a dual meaning. A sneeze is a ubiquitous human activity. We all do it—and so did Jesus. I wanted to invoke Jesus humanity in the title because the book is a very human look at a very human God (Heb 2:14, Acts 2:22, Rom 5:15, Heb 4:15).

Although completely normal and human, a sneeze is also one of the ways we spread sickness and disease to our fellow human beings. I began to wonder what it might be like if we became so contagious with the pure and true Jesus within us that every thought, word, and deed left a trail of infectious love that spread like a virus throughout the Earth and became an epidemic. Jesus sneezed as a human being and we should be sneezing Jesus everywhere. Rather than making our species sick, it would heal it.

Why did you write the book?

Brian Hardin: I wrote Sneezing Jesus because, like most believers, I’ve longed to spend time with Jesus in the flesh. In John’s Gospel, we’re told that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) and I wanted to attempt to make the flesh become word in this book. It began as a love story and an intimate portrait of Jesus’ human life, but the deeper I went, the more I began to realize that Jesus’ ministry has profound implications for the human species that we simply cannot ignore if we want to become Christ-like.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Reframe Your Perception of God: An Interview with Brian Hardin]

Why do you say “human” is the word that describes your understanding of, and relationship with, Jesus?

Brian Hardin: Jesus is the tangible manifestation of who God really is. And this is profound because, in Jesus, we see God’s unwillingness to be left out of the human story. Jesus is proof that God has not, and will not, abandon us. He’s proof that God understands what we face as human beings because in Jesus, God endured every aspect of humanity. We focus almost wholly on Jesus’ divinity, and when we do see him as human it’s largely tied to the last few hours of his life.

There’s so much more to the story though. Jesus didn’t need a full human life to atone for the sins of the world. He didn’t need a ministry to do that either. Jesus spent most of his time calling humanity back to what it was created to be. And those last few hours—the time of suffering—made it all possible again.

You write that Jesus “came to show us what humanity is supposed to look like.” What do you mean?

Brian Hardin: As believers, we’d all agree that we’re to be Christ-like. But why? Why would we pursue this objective if it were not what humanity was supposed to look like?

But it goes deeper than that. At creation, God crafted humanity in his own image (Gen 1:27). All was as it was supposed to be, and in those first chapters of the Bible we get a brief glimpse of humanity as it was intended.

When Jesus came to earth, he was the first person without sin to walk upon this planet since Adam. In other words, he was the first person to be a human being as it was created to be since Adam. In Jesus, we see less of an anomaly and more of what we were always supposed to be in the first place.

The heart of the gospel tells us that Christ’s sacrifice did away with sin and it’s claims over our lives restoring the breach between our species and God. To be Christ-like, then, is to be as we were always intended to be.

You suggest that the world is “inside out” but that Jesus came to reverse that. Unpack that.

Brian Hardin: If you listen to the words of Jesus given in the Gospels you become aware that he’s describing a kingdom and worldview that’s different than the systems and cultures we’re now living in. So different in fact that it’s almost the opposite of the way we live and react—we’re inside-out and backwards. This not only tells us much about God’s kingdom, it also gives us a clear contrast with what we’ve made of things here on Earth.

How does this book teach about the kingdom of Heaven in the lives of Christians?

Brian Hardin: If we’re honest, we find ourselves looking for almost exactly the same thing the Hebrew people Jesus ministered to were looking for. They wanted a Messiah who could inspire God’s people to rise and overthrow Roman oppression and restore the land to God so that he’d rebuild the ancient kingdom of Israel. When Jesus came with news of the kingdom of Heaven, it ignited their hearts. It was precisely this talk that had people wondering if he were the Messiah.

We now know who Jesus is but we find ourselves waiting for the same thing—a hero who’ll return to overthrow injustice and establish the kingdom of God. The problem is that Jesus was describing something entirely different:
“The kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the kingdom of God is already among you” (Luke 17:20-21).

The word ‘among’ from the original Greek manuscripts is entos which translates ‘within’ and ‘among.’ In other words, the kingdom Jesus described is something that’s already happening now and we’re a part of its advance or retreat on this planet right this minute. Although the fullness of the kingdom is not complete, we’re a part of that story. If we’re waiting—as the Hebrew people were in Jesus’ time—for someone to come and beat up the bad guys, then we’ll be missing what’s already happening and what we’re supposed to be participating in.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Brian Hardin: Nothing but love. Bible Gateway is an indispensable resource in my life. Our strategic partnership between Daily Audio Bible and Bible Gateway allows thousands of people to take the adventure through the entire Bible in a year in community. I literally use it almost every day of my life.

Bio: Brian Hardin is a speaker, photographer, record producer and an ordained minister. In 2006, he created the Daily Audio Bible, an online podcast that now delivers 1.5 million downloads a month. He’s the author of Sneezing Jesus, Reframe: From the God We’ve Made to God with Us, and Passages: How Reading the Bible in a Year Will Change Everything for You. He has produced over 150 albums and works with artists and the arts extensively. He’s married to Christian musician Jill Parr.

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