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The Amplified Bible Translation: Available for the First Time as a Full-Featured Study Edition

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Helps Readers Grasp the Full Meaning Behind the Original Hebrew and Greek Texts

The Amplified® Study Bible (Zondervan, 2017) (@Zondervan) is intended for both beginning and experienced students of the Scriptures who want a Bible that contains the key features of a study Bible combined with the impressive study tools already included in the Amplified® Bible translation.

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The Amplified Bible translation was created to deliver enhanced understanding of the rich nuances and shades of meaning of the original Bible languages. For this kind of study, no working knowledge of Greek or Hebrew is required—just a desire to know more about what God says in his Word.

Amplification is indicated within the English text by parentheses, brackets, and italicized conjunctions. For example, the Greek word pisteuo, which the vast majority of versions render as “believe,” also includes the ideas of “to adhere to, cleave to; to trust; to have faith in; to rely on, to depend on” as in John 11:25-26: Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in Me [as Savior] will never die. Do you believe this?”

Recently revised, the Amplified Bible translation is even easier to read and better than ever to study and understand. It includes more amplification in the Old Testament and refined amplification in the New Testament. The Bible text has been improved to read smoothly with or without amplifications, so that the text may be read either way.

The Amplified® Study Bible consists of the same study material that Amplified Bible readers love, with the addition of even clearer wording for deeper understanding.

Ecclesiastes 10:10 (AMP) If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength; but wisdom [to sharpen the axe] helps him succeed [with less effort].
THE AMPLIFIED STUDY BIBLE NOTE: The wise person will sharpen the axe. A person of limited training will have to work harder, as though with a dull axe, than someone wiser whose tools are maintained.

Colossians 2:9 (AMP) For in Him all the fullness of Deity (the Godhead) dwells in bodily form [completely expressing the divine essence of God].
THE AMPLIFIED STUDY BIBLE NOTE: In this verse Paul clearly proclaims the incarnation, the fact that God became a man bodily. This contradicts the Gnostic idea of the inherent evil of physical bodies and the claim that Jesus is merely a spirit.

First-of-its kind, The Amplified Study Bible features additional study tools combined with the insights included alongside the Amplified Bible text.

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Features include:

  • A unique system of punctuation, italics, references, and synonyms to unlock subtle shades of
    meaning as found in the original languages
  • More than 5,000 concise study notes provide helpful, practical, application-oriented comments on passages of Scripture and open the Word for readers to apply it to life
  • 330 practical theological notes draw attention to important doctrinal content in the Bible and
    explain how to apply it every dayBuy your copy of The Amplified® Study Bible Soft Leather-Look Brown in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day
  • Book introductions give background information about each of the Bible’s 66 books
  • Translators’ footnotes offer clarification and information about original-language texts
  • A concordance provides an alphabetical listing of important passages of key words
  • Full-color maps of Bible lands are included to enhance study

Zondervan
Zondervan is a world leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications. Zondervan, part
of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., delivers transformational Christian experiences through its
bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, academic resources and digital products. The Company’s products
are sold worldwide and translated into nearly 200 languages. Zondervan offices are located in Grand
Rapids, Mich. For additional information, please visit www.zondervan.com.

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Bible News Roundup – Week of March 26, 2017

[Return daily during the coming week for updates]

Support Bible Gateway—Browse the Bible Gateway Store
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Only 25% of Christians Think It’s Their Job to Share Their Faith
American Culture & Faith Institute
One News Now: Barna Finds Faith Still Hiding Under a Bushel
See Evangelism resources in the Bible Gateway Store
See Apologetics resources in the Bible Gateway Store

Oklahoma Woman in Fight with Texas Over Bibles that Went to the Moon
Tulsa World
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, First Liquid Poured on the Moon and the First Food Eaten There Were Communion Elements
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, God of the Big Bang: An Interview with Leslie Wickman, Rocket Scientist

Pastors, Parents Disagree Over Purpose of Youth Ministry
One News Now
See Bibles for teenagers in the Bible Gateway Store
See resources for Youth Ministry in the Bible Gateway Store

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Launches Center for Early Christian Studies
Baptist Press

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

Christian Standard Bible (CSB) Now Available on Bible Gateway

The Christian Standard Bible (CSB)—including audio—is now available on Bible Gateway! Click here to read and search the CSB online at Bible Gateway, or click here to listen to the audio CSB.

Developed by 100 scholars from 17 different denominations, the Christian Standard Bible is a revision of the Holman Christian Standard Bible. It’s particularly well-suited for sermon preparation and serious Bible study, although its careful balance of readability and literal accuracy make it useful for any Bible readers.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Is Revised; Becomes Christian Standard Bible (CSB)]

The CSB translation team followed a translation approach called optimal equivalence—a method which balances readability in modern English with faithfulness to the Bible’s original languages. The result is a Bible that adheres closely to the wording of the original languages except when doing so might obscure the text’s meaning for modern readers, in which cases the CSB employs a more dynamic translation.

To get a sense for the CSB‘s unique approach to translation, here’s how the CSB translates the account of one of Jesus’ most famous miracles—the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11:

As soon as Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and told him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died!”

When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked.

“Lord,” they told him, “come and see.”

Jesus wept.

So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Couldn’t he who opened the blind man’s eyes also have kept this man from dying?”

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. “Remove the stone,” Jesus said.

Martha, the dead man’s sister, told him, “Lord, there is already a stench because he has been dead four days.”

Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so that they may believe you sent me.” After he said this, he shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and let him go.” — John 11:29-44 (CSB)

The CSB is available to read and search using the search form at the top of any page on BibleGateway.com. You can click here to start reading the CSB at Genesis 1, or click here to read more about this translation. You can also listen to the CSB by visiting our library of audio Bibles.

We’re grateful to Holman Bible Publishers for making the CSB available on Bible Gateway! It’s an excellent and unique addition to our Bible library. If you’re familiar with its predecessor, the HCSB, you’ll find that it continues in the path set down by that Bible, incorporating the latest biblical scholarship and translation insight. If you’re new to this family of Bibles, you’ll find the CSB well worth exploring.

Why We Actually Crave the Wrath of God

by John Mark Comer

As followers of Jesus, when we read stories about Yahweh’s anger or wrath or judgment, we feel like we need to apologize to our friends or explain it away or hide this socially unacceptable part of God away in the back room, as if Yahweh needs a little PR help to survive in the modern world.

The imagery of an angry God is passé. We’ve moved on, evolved to a more progressive world. It’s time that we update Yahweh for the twenty-first century.

And with this move to recast God comes an even more disconcerting move to redefine love. For a lot of people, love has come to mean tolerance.

Think of the common slang in our culture:

“Hey, what’s good for you is good for you.”

“Who am I to judge?”

“Live and let live.”

I can’t help but think, Really? Would you say that about an ISIS bomber? A deranged killer sneaking into an elementary school with a machine gun? A pedophile?

I’m guessing no. So, clearly tolerance has a limit, even in our late-modern world. There’s a line; we just disagree on where to draw it.

Keep in mind that there are two versions of tolerance. Classic tolerance is the idea that we can agree to disagree rather than kill each other or go to war over some petty thing. This was a revolutionary leap forward in social evolution. I’m all for it.

But modern tolerance is the much newer idea that right and wrong are elastic. In this view, to call out somebody’s action as sin is to “judge” them. To disagree with somebody is to hate them. So, for example, if you disagree about sexuality, no matter how gracious and kind and intelligent you are, you immediately earn the label “bigot.” But we all know that’s ludicrous. To disagree with somebody is just to disagree. My wife and I disagree on a regular basis, but we love each other deeply.

My point is simply that love and tolerance are not the same thing.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” At some point, tolerance starts to slide dangerously close to apathy.

Love—at least the kind of love Jesus talked about—often leads to anger. We get angry about things we care deeply about. Things we’re passionate about.

This is the kind of anger we see in Yahweh. Anger that is patient, just, and unselfish—that comes out of a place of love. Anger that comes from a Father who cares about his kids.

In spite of all the current rebranding of God to fit the Western world, if we’re going to take the Scriptures seriously, then we have to take this part of God seriously.

Let’s step forward to Jesus. Often this move to recast God as a progressive and love as tolerance is supposedly based on Jesus’ teachings.

I recently heard a preacher say, “The message of Jesus was all-inclusive love.”

Really?

The writer Mark’s summary of Jesus’ message is this: “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Jesus’ central, overarching message was that what he called the kingdom of God—the long-awaited age of peace and justice and healing for humanity and the cosmos itself—was finally breaking in through his life. That Yahweh was about to become king over the world and lead humanity into a glorious new stage of development. So we need to repent, to come over to his side, so that we can enter and enjoy his new reality.

In fact, contrary to all the clichés about Jesus and love, Jesus says more about the coming judgment than any teacher in the New Testament. It was one of his major themes. He is constantly warning Israel, calling her to repentance in light of the coming day of Yahweh.

The caricature of Yahweh as the angry, violent “God of the Old Testament” and Jesus as Mr. Rogers with a beard just doesn’t hold up.

One story in particular does a profound job of capturing this reality. In it, Jesus goes to the temple in Jerusalem. For first-century Jews, the temple was the axis point between heaven and earth, a sacred space. But what Jesus finds there is beyond disturbing. The priests had become the aristocracy of the day and were in bed with Rome. The spiritual leaders of the nation had become corrupt. It’s a tragic story that we’ve seen play out hundreds of times.

Here’s what they did: you would come to the temple with say, a lamb, to sacrifice to Yahweh. Maybe you had to walk for two or three days just to get there from your village. You brought a good lamb, one of your best, because the Torah said the sacrifice had to be “without defect.” But the priest would inspect your lamb and say, “I’m sorry, but you’re lamb isn’t good enough. But . . . we just happen to have one for sale that’s already been preapproved.” And then he would sell it to you for a rip-off.

Or let’s say you came from Rome or Alexandria—a much longer journey. Instead of a lamb, you would bring money to buy a sacrifice on-site in Jerusalem. I mean, who wants to walk hundreds of miles with a goat? It’s not very fun. But when you got to the temple in Jerusalem, the money changers would say, “I’m sorry, but the priests don’t take Roman currency here. You need to pay with the temple coin.” And of course, they were the only bank in town, so they could charge an exorbitant exchange rate.

So what does Jesus do? He gets mad. Really mad. He makes a whip—true story—and starts chasing the money changers out of the temple, turning over tables, dumping money and animals on the ground, screaming at the religious establishment: “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

The writer John has a great ending line to the story: “His disciples remembered that it is written: ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ ”

Is this how you picture Jesus? Whip in hand, fire in his eyes, knocking over tables and screaming at the money changers as they duck for cover and bolt for the parking lot?

This is one of those stories we skip in Sunday school . . .

I grew up in the 80s. Uh-huh. Anybody remember the flannelgraph? This story never made it onto the flannelgraph. We had Jesus the Good Shepherd, and Jesus walking on water, and Jesus with the children—but we never had angry eyes Jesus with a weapon in his hand and spittle dripping off his chin.

Nope, never had that one.

But it makes sense. He’s facing nauseating injustice. And he is livid. How else is Jesus supposed to feel? Anger is the mature, emotionally healthy response to this kind of corruption and gross defamation of Yahweh’s name.

But here’s what you need to see: this story happens at the end of Jesus’ life, right before the cross. In fact, it’s one of the primary reasons that Jesus is put under arrest and then killed—you don’t upset the status quo of the religious hierarchy and live. But Jesus has been to the temple dozens, if not hundreds, of times. He’d been coming there since he was a boy. It’s not like he just walks in, sees the money changers’ racket, and goes postal. Nothing about this story is spur of the moment. No, this is a thought-out, deliberate, on-purpose kind of anger.

A judgment. A reckoning. A line in the sand.

After years of calling Israel to repentance, Jesus says, “ENOUGH!”

This may be a very different Jesus from what you’re used to. A Jesus who is loving, but still gets angry and isn’t afraid to mete out judgment.

We need to live in the tension between love and anger. Most of us think of love and anger as incompatible. How can you love somebody and be angry at them? That just shows how much we still have to learn about love.

In Jesus we see that Yahweh’s anger is born out of his love. The truth is, if you don’t get angry occasionally, then you don’t love. When you see somebody you love in pain, it should move you emotionally. And it should move you to action, to do something about it.

That’s why Yahweh’s love is an attribute, but his wrath isn’t. The Scriptures teach that “God is love,” but we never read “God is wrath.” Wrath, or anger, is Yahweh’s response to evil in the world.

The story about Jesus in the temple, clearing out the corrupt bureaucrats with a homemade whip, is a preview of what’s to come, a glimpse over the horizon. There is coming a day when Jesus puts evil six feet under the ground. When the world is finally free. And it’s because of Jesus’ love, and because of his wrath, his passionate antagonism against evil in all its forms, that we can look forward to this glorious future.

________

Taken from the new book God Has a Name by John Mark Comer. Click here to learn more about this title.

In God Has a Name pastor and writer, John Mark Comer, shares a fresh yet ancient way to understand God. Comer speaks to today’s seekers and believers trying to understand who God is and what He’s like by focusing on God’s own powerful statement about himself.

John Mark Comer is pastor for teaching and vision at Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon. He holds a Master’s degree in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary and is the author of two previous books: Loveology and Garden City. Comer is married to Tammy and they have two boys, Jude and Moses and a little girl, Sunday.

__________

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Proclaiming the Gospel from the Upper Room to the Cross: An Interview with Christopher J. H. Wright

Christopher J. H. WrightWhat are the lessons to be learned in Jesus’ journey from the Last Supper to the cross? How should that journey be seen through the lens of the Old Testament? How do the four Gospels recount Jesus’ final hours?

Bible Gateway interviewed Christopher J. H. Wright about his book, To the Cross: Proclaiming the Gospel from the Upper Room to Calvary (InterVarsity Press, 2017).

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[See books by Christopher J. H. Wright in the Bible Gateway Store]

Your book presents the gospel message of Jesus’ final hours from each of the Gospel writer’s point of view. Give an example of how they synchronize with one another and another example of how they diverge from one another.

Christopher J. H. Wright: All four Gospels record the story of Peter’s denial of Jesus. It was clearly a very important thing to be recorded (and remarkably so, given that the source must have been Peter himself). However, only John records the restoration of Peter after the resurrection, by the Sea of Galilee. I think that’s because John himself was present at the denial, according to his own account of it—as “the other disciple.”

All four Gospels agree that there were two others crucified at the same time. But only Luke records that one of them asked Jesus to remember him, along with Jesus’ remarkable promise in response.

All four Gospels record things Jesus said as they crucified him, but the “seven sayings from the cross” are distributed across the different Gospels.

Only John takes us into the inner thoughts of Jesus, in describing what he was thinking when he spoke the words, “I thirst,” and “It is finished.”

Why does each Gospel writer emphasize different aspects of the events from the Last Supper to Christ on the cross?

Christopher J. H. Wright: For the same reason that there are four accounts of the gospel itself! The momentous events of the conception, birth, life, teaching, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus of Nazareth are too vast to be adequately viewed from one angle alone. Just as we need several points of view to “see” a person’s face, so we need these varied emphases and angles to gain the full perspective of all God wants us to understand.

It’s important, though, that there are not “four gospels.” There is only one gospel: the good news of what God has done through Christ to save the world. But we read that one gospel in four complementary accounts: The gospel, according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John.

What does Jesus mean when he refers to himself as the Son of Man?

Christopher J. H. Wright: Sometimes it’s just an alternative form of speech to “I.” But in some significant passages, including at his trial, he clearly has in mind Daniel 7. There the Son of Man is a human figure, who represents the saints (that is, the people of God in their suffering and persecution), who’s presented before God “on the clouds of heaven,” and receives an everlasting kingdom. This is clearly a very exalted figure, sharing the very throne of God. It was when he claimed this text at his trial, that the High Priest cried out that he was committing blasphemy. [Editor’s note: Also see Hearing the Message of Daniel: Sustaining Faith in Today’s World by Christopher Wright in the Bible Gateway Store.)

What is the main lesson Jesus taught during the Last Supper?

Christopher J. H. Wright: The Last Supper was essentially a Passover meal (either on the day of Passover itself or the evening before, as John seems to imply). So the disciples knew what that was all about: the celebration of God’s redemption of Israel in the exodus out of Egypt, coupled with the hope and prayer that God would do it again and bring liberation to his people forever. What Jesus did was to transform that into a story that was now fulfilled in himself. He would give his body and blood; that is, he would die sacrificially, like the Passover lamb. He would accomplish the true and complete exodus redemption. And in doing so, as in the book of Exodus, he would make a new covenant for all those who trust in him.

So Jesus was building on the knowledge that his disciples already had from their Scriptures, making himself the key focus, and giving them an understanding of the meaning of his death the next day, and, in commanding them to eat bread and drink wine in memory of him, he gave them an ongoing sacrament that would keep taking them back to the cross as the center of their faith and hope.

Why is Peter’s denial of Jesus so significant that it’s one of only a few events recorded in all four Gospels?

Christopher J. H. Wright: I think, because it embodies in that single incident the essence of human failure and sin—for which Christ died. As Paul says, even though we as human beings know God, we refuse to acknowledge him. That’s what Peter did. He refused even to “know” Jesus! Peter’s failure reflects all our failure. It forces us to face the reality about ourselves.

But the point of the story is that Jesus foretold this—he knew it was coming. And Jesus forgave Peter, when, in the humbling questioning after breakfast in John 21, Peter confessed his love for Jesus. So the story illustrates both the horrible nature of sin, and the amazing reality of grace. That’s essential to the whole meaning of the gospel.

What should we learn from the way Jesus reacted to the insults he received during his final hours?

Christopher J. H. Wright: That’s an amazing part of the story of the cross. It’s easy to say, “we should follow his example”—but easier said than done! Nevertheless, that aspect of the story is certainly taken as a model for how Christians should respond to suffering in 1 Peter chapters 3-4. So it does stand as something we’re called to imitate in the way we handle opposition and suffering for the sake of Christ.

How does Mark use Jesus’ words in Mark 15:34 to “signal the dawning of the light of the gospel”?

Christopher J. H. Wright: Those words, “My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?” express the deepest depths of the darkness of Jesus’ suffering on the cross. Mark has told us that the sun had stopped shining, so there was physical darkness at the same time. But it’s precisely because Jesus bore the depths of the reality of what separation from God means, and did so on our behalf and in our place, that we can have forgiveness for the sin that otherwise would separate us from God eternally.

So after that terrible moment, the story moves on to Jesus’ final great cry—which John tells us was “It is finished”—that is, Christ had now accomplished what he came to do. And so Mark begins to take us into the light of our salvation, accomplished in the darkest moment of the cross. And he indicates that both by the tearing of the curtain in the temple— separating people from the holy presence of God (the way is now open)—and then by the confession of the centurion that Jesus was “the Son of God.” The light of the gospel reaches not only to the holiest place in Israel’s faith, but also to the Gentiles; including one who had just crucified Jesus!

What did Jesus mean when he said on the cross, “It is finished”?

Christopher J. H. Wright: It means that Jesus had accomplished all that God’s mission had sent him to do. It did not merely mean that his life was over (like, “I’m finished”). It was a statement of achievement of purpose—God’s purpose to deal with sin and guilt, to defeat all the powers of evil, to bring about the reconciliation of enemies, to defeat death itself, and to accomplish the reconciliation and liberation of the whole creation. All of these things are referred to in different passages in the New Testament, in relation to what God did in Christ at the cross, as I explain in one of the chapters in To the Cross.


Bio: Christopher J. H. Wright (PhD, Cambridge) is international ministries director of the Langham Partnership, providing literature, scholarships, and preaching training for pastors in Majority World churches and seminaries. He’s written many books including Hearing the Message of Daniel: Sustaining Faith in Today’s World and commentaries on Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel. An ordained priest in the Church of England, Chris spent five years teaching the Old Testament at Union Biblical Seminary in India, and 13 years as academic dean and then principal of All Nations Christian College, an international training center for cross-cultural mission in England. He was chair of the Lausanne Theology Working Group from 2005-2011 and the chief architect of The Cape Town Commitment from the Third Lausanne Congress, 2010.

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6 Steps to Take Your Bible Study from Dull to Incredible

John D. BarryThis guest Bible Gateway Blog post is by John D. Barry (@JohnDBarry), general editor of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (Zondervan, 2017) (@NIVBible).


[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, NIV Faithlife Study Bible Encourages Readers to Stay Curious about God’s Word]

Imagine a collection of books that allowed for you to everyday hear the very voice of God. Consider adding to that collection stories of righteous prophets, holy wars, acts of valor, and slaves being freed. And then, throw into that collection personal prison letters, a God who came to earth, and more. Then, envision the entire collection being ancient, from another time, but still incredibly relevant. You already know I’m talking about the Bible. Now, let’s go through six steps to take your Bible study from dull to incredible.

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

1. Change the subject of your study.

Bible study should be about knowing God as Creator, Jesus who came to earth, and Spirit present with believers. God is the subject of the Bible and should be the subject of our study. It’s not the Bible we worship, but the living God, who came to this very earth as a human, as Jesus, to die for all of our wrongdoings and rise again.

If our Bible study is focused on the Bible, we’re really missing the point. Boring study is introduced when we think of the Bible like any other historical work or like a textbook. Jesus himself makes this point to some Jews of his time, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39–40 NIV).

2. Picture it as a movie.

The Bible is full of epic battle scenes and intense drama (read 12 Samuel or Acts). In our overly saturated, visual culture, many of us have lost our imaginations. We rely on others to imagine for us, in the forms of movies and other mediums. I think this is tragic, because it’s in imagination that we find the will power to make the world a better place.

The patriarchs of Israel, the few great kings over God’s people, and the righteous prophets, were great visionaries of a better life. They studied God’s past actions (often through the oral tradition of the time) and then prayerfully sought the will of God for the present. Through times of prayer they were able to see what others could not—a life lived for God, full of spiritual (and often physical) plenty. This vision is carried forward with Jesus’ disciples, who have an opportunity to execute the vision of the living God on earth. And we too are meant to imagine the past, both as it was and as it could have been, so that we can envision a better future.

3. Decide which character you are.

Jesus told lots of stories—great parables that were meaningful (see Matthew 13). It’s easy to forget when reading these that the point of them is to identify with the characters: We either are meant to realize that we’re one of the characters or comprehend that we’re yet to live like the characters do. When we do so, Jesus’ words move from obscure to real. He’s telling us something we can do right now. When we hear Jesus, we’re meant to take action; we’re meant to do what he’s just asked. This takes the Bible from words on paper to words lived out.

4. Pray about the next steps.

Prayer is perhaps the most undervalued element in western Christianity (compare Philippians 4:2–6). Sure, we pray over meals and even pray for people publicly, but modern prayer is often treated like asking God to grant our wishes. In actuality, it’s a conversation—he talks and we talk, in a dialogue—and one that should be full of thanksgiving. It’s an opportunity to align ourselves with God so that we can do what he has in store for us. It’s where we learn who we are and what we’re meant to be. It’s where we take the words of the Bible to God and request that he change us, so that we may do what he’s already commanded for all people (compare Matthew 6:5–15; 6:25–7:12).

Without prayer, Bible study will continue to be like studying another book. Indeed, you may improve your life, but you will not be holistically changed. God has the ability to make you better than you could ever imagine being, which certainly will not be easy (it means changing), but will be well worth the journey.

5. Feed your curiosity.

When it comes to Bible study, we tend to set it on a timer. If it doesn’t fit in our devotional time, then we won’t pursue it. But Bible study should be a quest. Faith is an ongoing and epic journey that we live. When you have a question, follow it.

Jesus loved questions—he asked them often (e.g., Matthew 16:13; 21:24–25). When you reach a text, ask questions and keep going until you find answers. Specifically, I recommend reading a biblical book in whole and then going back to ask and answer questions.

In the process of searching for answers, I highly recommend examining multiple viewpoints. It’ll open your eyes to the depth of Scripture. By understanding the various viewpoints within the Christian tradition, you’ll better understand the God we serve. (Tip: A fair and balanced study Bible and a Bible dictionary are critical tools for answering questions.)

6. Live the Bible’s message, seriously.

We should be people who read the Bible and live its message. The Bible is meant to be a transformative text—we’re meant to enter its story and be part of it. When we directly engage issues of extreme poverty and spreading the gospel, we take on the message of the Bible (Matthew 28:16–20; James 1:27). We’re meant to be people who love the impoverished fully, with everything we have. We’re meant to be disciples of Jesus who make disciples of Jesus. It should be our aim to glorify God by living self-sacrificial lives for Christ—dedicated to spreading the message of Jesus, in word and deed.

Bible study should always lead us to action. And our actions should lead us back to the Bible—to understand what God is doing in our lives and world. When you live the story of the Bible, the Bible is never boring. It’s life transforming.

I hope that when you hear the words “Bible study” you’ll no longer think of boring schoolwork or dry lectures. Try turning off the negative reaction to “study” today by remembering that Bible study is about knowing a God who’s left you guidance in a book. He’s also a God who wants to give you personal guidance today. You know what you have to do—go make it happen.

This article is adapted in part from a previously published article by John D. Barry titled “4 Life Changing Ideas for Bible Study.”

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, 4 Ways Examining Multiple Views Will Transform Your Bible Study]


John D. Barry is general editor of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible and the CEO of Jesus’ Economy, an innovative non-profit creating jobs and churches in the developing world. At JesusEconomy.org, people create jobs for the impoverished by shopping fair trade. They can also give directly to a cause they’re passionate about, such as creating jobs, planting churches, or meeting basic needs. 100% goes to the developing world. Anyone can join the movement at JesusEconomy.org.

The NIV Faithlife Study Bible (Zondervan, 2017) is filled with innovative graphics, rich commentary, and insights from multiple points of view—all designed to inform readers’ faith and to engage their curiosity, no matter where they are on their faith journey. To learn more, visit www.NIVFaithlifeStudyBible.com.

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Father and Son Josh and Sean McDowell Team Up on New Edition of Evidence That Demands a Verdict

Josh McDowell and Sean McDowll

Modern Apologetics Classic Completely Updated and Expanded for a New Generation Facing New Challenges to the Christian Faith—On Sale Oct. 3, 2017

Bestselling author Josh McDowell (@josh_mcdowell) and his son Dr. Sean McDowell (@Sean_McDowell) are collaborating on a completely updated and expanded edition of the modern apologetics classic The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict (Thomas Nelson, 1999) that will be titled Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World (Thomas Nelson, 2017).

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[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post The Undeniable Reliability of Scripture: An Interview with Josh McDowell]

[Browse the Apologetics resources section in the Bible Gateway Store]

Evidence That Demands a Verdict was first published with Campus Crusade for Christ in 1972 to arm thoughtful Christ followers with knowledge to defend and proactively present the Christian faith,” says Daniel Marrs, associate publisher, Thomas Nelson Bible Group (@NelsonBibles). “Since that initial release, more than one million copies of this classic apologetics resource have been sold. The truth of the Bible doesn’t change—but its critics do. So we’re excited to present this fully updated and expanded edition that addresses the latest challenges to the Christian faith with brand new research from Josh and Sean. We here at Thomas Nelson are delighted for the opportunity to continue partnering with Josh, Sean, and Josh McDowell Ministry to steward this resource for the Kingdom in the coming years.”

Over 1 million copies of Evidence That Demands a Verdict are currently in print, making it one of the most widely used and trusted manuals on Christian apologetics. Since the last update in 1999, Josh and Sean have begun working together on some ministry fronts. In this new edition, significant new content has been developed by both authors. The new edition goes on sale October 3, 2017.

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“Over 40 years ago, I saw that Christian readers needed answers to defend their faith against the harshest critics and skeptics,” says Josh McDowell. “Sean and I invite readers to bring their doubts and to not shy away from the tough questions. This new, completely revised and updated edition of Evidence brings historical documentation and some of the best modern scholarship to bear on the trustworthiness of the Bible and its teachings.”

Evidence has been a trusted resource for believers young and old and has encouraged and strengthened the faith of millions,” says Sean McDowell. “I’m honored to have partnered with my dad on this new edition, and I’m eager to see how it will impact the faith and evangelism of a new generation.”

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About Josh and Sean McDowell
As a young man, Josh McDowell considered himself an agnostic. He truly believed that Christianity was worthless. However, when challenged to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, Josh discovered compelling and overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith. After trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, Josh’s life changed dramatically as he experienced the power of God’s love. After his conversion, Josh committed his life to telling a doubting world about the truth of Jesus Christ. After studying at Kellogg College, Josh completed his college degree at Wheaton College and then attended Talbot Theological Seminary, graduating magna cum laude with a Masters of Divinity. Working with Campus Crusade for Christ and founding the youth outreach, Josh McDowell Ministry, Josh has shared the gospel with more than 25 million people in 125 countries. He’s the author or co-author of 147 books. Learn more about Josh McDowell and Josh McDowell Ministry at www.josh.org.

Dr. Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for equipping the church, especially young people, to make the case for the Christian faith. He connects with audiences through humor and stories while imparting hard evidence and logical support of a biblical worldview. Sean is an assistant professor in Biola University’s Christian Apologetics program and the resident scholar for Summit California. A regular speaker for organizations like Focus on the Family, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and Youth Specialties, among others, Sean is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 18 books and is a frequent guest on radio shows like FamilyLife Today® and Point of View. Learn more about Sean McDowell at www.seanmcdowell.org.

About Thomas Nelson
Thomas Nelson is a world leading publisher and provider of Christian content and has been providing readers with quality inspirational product for more than 200 years. As part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the publishing group provides multiple formats of award-winning Bibles, books, gift books, cookbooks, curriculum and digital content, with distribution of its products in more than 100 countries. Thomas Nelson, is headquartered in Nashville, TN. For additional information visit www.thomasnelson.com.

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Which of The 7 Money Types Are You?: An Interview with Tommy Brown

Tommy BrownIs true financial well-being more than getting out of debt and accumulating wealth? How does the Bible offer holistic financial pathways that lead you to a place of increased awareness and confidence toward the way God wants you to handle money?

[Sign up for the Seven Money Types free 9-day email devotional and you’ll also receive the free 20-page sample of the book]

Bible Gateway interviewed Tommy Brown (@tommythebrown) about his book, The Seven Money Types: Discover How God Wired You To Handle Money (Zondervan, 2017).

[Discover your biblical money type]

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According to a recent survey, nearly 7 in 10 Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. And another survey says the average household with credit card debt has balances totaling more than $16,000. What does this say about how the average person handles money?

Tommy Brown: People struggle financially for many different reasons, and some are simply doing the very best they can while managing enormous expenses (for example, medical bills, caring for an aging parent, tuition for a child, healthcare insurance, etc.). My hope is that whether a person has very little in the bank or enormous material wealth, they can learn to live more intentionally financially, to align their desires with their actions; and this comes in part by embracing your God-designed money type. Many people have a very low awareness of why they do what they do with their money, and an understanding of your biblical money type helps with this.

You write that God has designed each person in one of seven ways to handle money. How did you arrive at the conclusion?

Tommy Brown: While ministering to families in the area of financial stewardship over the course of 14 years, I recognized the same seven types of money motivations and patterns arising over and again. We read in Genesis 1:26-30 that God created humans in his image, and gave them stewardship over creation and its resources. Based on this belief, my question became whether the way we’re designed in God’s image impacts the way we steward resources, including money. These patterns must come from somewhere, and I believe we find our best and deepest desires flowing from God. When I discovered in the Jewish tradition that seven aspects of what it means to be made in God’s image are represented by seven biblical characters, and that each of these biblical characters related to resources in one of the seven ways I was seeing playing out in the people around me, the dots began to connect.

What are the seven biblical money types?

Tommy Brown: The seven biblical money types are seven ways that people instinctively think, feel, and act financially. These seven types are represented in Scripture: Abraham (hospitality), Isaac (discipline/maximization), Jacob (beauty), Joseph (connection), Moses (endurance/order), Aaron (humility, and David (leadership). As you read their stories, it’s fascinating to view the ways they handle resources through this lens. When you see these same seven types at play today, you realize that we’re part of an ongoing story to bring God’s love into the world through our stewardship.

What is financial well-being?

Tommy Brown: Financial well-being, in my opinion, is the ability to handle resources in a way that’s true to our deepest sense of self while maintaining healthy financial thoughts, emotions, and attitudes. There are people who have very little money who are greedy, while others who are poor are very much at ease internally. Then, there are those who are wealthy who are deeply joyful in their relationship to money, and others who are rich who are anxious and greedy.

When we unearth, understand, and unleash how God designed us to handle money, financial well-being then goes deeper, and whether you have much or little, you recognize why you think the ways you do about money, which helps you relate to it, and spend it, in a way that is congruent with your deepest sense of delight. We will be able to say with Paul, “I have learned the secret of being content” (Phil. 4:12).

You focus on seven men of the Bible whose characters reveal one of the seven aspects of what it means to be made in God’s image. Select one of the seven and explain that for us here.

Tommy Brown: Abraham is well known as the man who represented what it means to be hospitable. It’s likely Abraham whom the book of Hebrews holds up as a model for this attribute (Heb. 13:2). We see in Abraham’s life this inclination to use resources in hospitable ways. Consider the time when the three visitors came to his tent and he promised them some water and a little something to eat (Gen. 18). By the time he was done, he and his wife delivered a full-course meal. Abraham types are those who view money as a way to make others feel special and noticed. Like Abraham, they under-promise and over-deliver. Their first thought with money is always other people, how they can show them love by the way money is used.

You write that each of the seven money types has a shadow side. What do you mean?

Tommy Brown: We all have areas where we can grow financially, and while each of the seven biblical money types are inherently good, each has a shadow side that can derail even the best of intentions. For example, the shadow side of an Abraham type is self-sufficiency. If you follow Abraham’s story, you’ll notice that it was very tough to give this man anything. Abraham types will go above and beyond with money for everyone else, but if you try to do something for them, they’ll do whatever they can to deflect your generosity. This shadow side can lead to self-neglect.

How much did Jesus talk about money and how would you summarize his themes on the subject?

Tommy Brown: Some scholars would say that Jesus talked about money as a topic more than any other. I don’t think that he did this because he was focused on money, but rather because he was focused on the heart, and understood that the ways people think, feel, and act financially show us something about what is going on in their hearts (Mt. 6:21). Look at how you handle money and you’re looking at some of the desires of your heart being expressed.

How do you hope your book will influence your readers?

Tommy Brown: My hope is that readers will realize that money doesn’t have to be a shameful or stressful topic. This book helps diffuse a lot of that tension because it’s one that anybody—rich or poor—can pick up and better understand their relationship to finances. It’s of particular importance for engaged and married couples because it positions them to understand not only their own money type, but also their loved one’s money type. When this happens, they’ll stand a far greater chance of being on the same page with money, and can grow together toward shared financial goals with a greater sense of unity. Money types can lead to money fights, or they can lead to a relationship with money that is deeply meaningful, one that allows you to chase God’s dreams.

What if you don’t like your money type (or your spouse’s money type)?

Tommy Brown: The only reason a person would not like their money types is if they’ve been taught that it was bad, which is saying that God does poor work. Regarding our spouse’s money type, we have to begin with the fundamental belief that all seven are good and that all seven teach us something about God. You’re going to experience friction with other types. The first step is seeking to understand what’s motivating that person, and from there to take steps his or her way, while inviting them to do the same.

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

Tommy Brown: Bible Gateway has been a constant companion for me over my years in ministry. In addition to the other resources it affords, I’m always able to find the passage I’m looking for, and in any translation I need. It’s my go-to resource for quick reference.

[Sign up for the Seven Money Types free 9-day email devotional and you’ll also receive the free 20-page sample of the book]

Bio: Tommy Brown is a writer and speaker, and develops strategies that support financial development. He and his wife Elizabeth live in Winston-Salem, NC, along with their children Seri and Seth. He served in leadership at two churches as an ordained minister from 2001-2014, leading congregations into financial wellbeing and a holistic approach to integrating faith and finances. Tommy has a BA in Pastoral Ministry and Masters degrees in Divinity and Management. His entrepreneurial endeavors over the years have extended into real estate development and church consulting on stewardship matters.

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Bible News Roundup – Week of March 19, 2017

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9 Archaeology Finds That Confirm the New Testament
Premier
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Biblical Archaeology Claim: Seal of Hezekiah Unearthed in Jerusalem
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Biblical Context for the Top Ten Biblical Archaeological Discoveries of 2015
See the Biblical Archaeology section in the Bible Gateway Store

Kevin Sorbo: From Hercules to the Voice of God
CBN
See the Breathe Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

Artwork Enhances Bible Study for Some
The Columbus Dispatch
See the Adult Coloring Books & Bibles section in the Bible Gateway Store

UBS Translators’ Handbook Helps with Bible Translation
United Bible Societies

Bible from 1881 Found in Trash, Returned to North Carolina Family
The News & Observer

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How to Methodically Interpret the Bible: An Interview with Craig Blomberg

Craig BlombergThe Bible is God’s Word, yet it exists through human means. God’s commands appear to be absolute, yet some passages seem ambiguous. How can we understand the Scriptures correctly? That’s where hermeneutics comes in: the theory and methodology of interpreting the Bible.

Bible Gateway interviewed Craig Blomberg about the book he co-authored with William W. Klein and Robert L. Hubbard Jr., Introduction to Biblical Interpretation: 3rd Edition (Zondervan, 2017).

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Why does the Bible need to be interpreted? Why can’t it simply be read at face-value?

Craig Blomberg: Some of it can be. But many things can mean very different things depending on the context, as is true of all acts of communication. My wife says, “Boy, it’s hot in here.” It sounds like it’s a statement but it’s actually a request for me to turn the heat down. Paul says, “Be angry but sin not,” but it’s not a command! It means “if you are angry, don’t sin.”

Poetry rarely can be read at face-value; it’s different from prose. Do you want to take “the trees of the field clap their hands” as literal? And what do we do with other literary forms or genres? Parables, proverbs, prophecy, psalms, and even things that don’t start with “p” are interpreted differently once we realize what they are.

What’s the challenge of “distance” when it comes to biblical interpretation?

Craig Blomberg: Distance involves both space and time. Our culture today is hardly the same as that in rural Kazakhstan. Now go not only half-way across the world but back in time by two millennia. If someone comes to you at midnight do you call out to your neighbor for three loaves of bread like in Jesus’ parable of the friend at midnight? If not, why did they back then? How do you tell what was culturally normal or what was unusual? Would it have been commonplace for people to be told, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her?” If not, this would have been striking for Christians to do it and stand out as particularly important and emphatic.

What does it mean to speak of the canon of Scripture?

Craig Blomberg: It means you’re going to have a blast—just kidding! That kind of cannon has two n’s in it.

A canon was a measuring rod or stick. The canon of Scripture refers to the collection of books deemed by a particular religious group as uniquely authoritative, inspired, and trustworthy. Protestants and Catholics have historically disagreed on the canon of the Old Testament but agreed on the canon of the New Testament. Christians throughout history have at times been imprisoned and even martyred for keeping books of the Bible or whole Bibles when told to surrender them to political authorities. It then becomes pretty important to decide if you’re willing to suffer and die for certain books. If so, which ones?

How and why were the 66 books considered to be the ones to make up the Protestant Bible?

Craig Blomberg: The 39 books of the Protestant canon match those of the Hebrew Bible. This would have been the Bible of Jesus, the Jew, and of the 12 apostles, all Jewish. Jews in turn believed all these books were uniquely prophetic in the broad sense of that term as proclaiming God’s word.

The 27 books of the New Testament were all written by an apostle or a close associate of an apostle; they were all understood as completing the story of the Hebrew Bible and telling a coherent, consistent message of that fulfillment; and they were all widely found to be uniquely useful throughout all major portions of the early church. In other words, they weren’t sectarian literature emerging out of, and valued only by, one small group of Christians. These are the criteria of apostolicity, consistency, and catholicity.

How is biblical interpretation both a science and an art?

Craig Blomberg: It’s a science in that there are rules to follow and principles to apply. Don’t assume a parable narrates something that actually happened. Recognize that apocalyptic is filled with symbols. Expect a lot of metaphors in poetry. Don’t treat a proverb as an exception-less absolute.

It’s an art because the rules can’t be applied mechanically or unthinkingly. Some texts seem only partly poetic. Some images in apocalyptic are literal. Prose also can contain figures of speech. Sometimes we just don’t know enough about the historical or cultural context of a book or passage to be sure we can grasp the mind of the original author. Was an original passage intended to be timeless in its application or situation-specific? We gain a feel for certain kinds of writing and a certain author’s style and we intuit answers as well as deduce them. Sometimes we might be wrong.

What are the literary genres in which the books of the Bible are written and why is it important to keep these in mind when interpreting the Bible?

Craig Blomberg: In the New Testament alone there are Gospels, acts, epistles, and an apocalypse. Gospels contain literary forms like miracles, parables, pronouncements, proverbs, farewell discourses, annunciations, and so on. Epistles (letters) can be apologetic, commendatory, friendship-oriented, exhortational, diatribes, and more.

With every literary genre or form come some conventional expectations that the biblical authors either follow or deviate from. The latter stand out as more striking and emphatic. In 21st century news headlines, “Holy Family Crushes Sacred Heart,” may lead an immigrant into thinking they’re reading about some bizarre religious ritual. Americans familiar with the names of Catholic High Schools seeing the headline under “Sports” will have a very different take on things!

You write that “the essential qualification for a full understanding of the Bible is to know God and to believe that he is speaking through it.” Please explain.

Craig Blomberg: The key here is how we understand “understanding.” A careful, even-handed scholar who’s an agnostic can learn the ancient languages, cultures, the principles of human communication, and the practices of interpreting literature and tell you very clearly what a biblical writer was claiming. That kind of understanding does not depend on any form of faith.

But the Bible itself claims that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. “Full” understanding as Scripture “understands” it (!) means acting on the truths one reads and interprets. By definition it therefore means that we believe in the God that the Bible discloses and we believe what the Bible discloses about itself—that it is “God-breathed.”

How should a Christian respond to someone who doesn’t believe objective truth exists and therefore refuses to accept the Bible’s message as ultimate truth?

Craig Blomberg: Ask them if it’s ok to murder them? They might think that was objectively wrong. Or maybe say, “If blue skies eat jabberwocky, won’t beer become snails?” When they look at you as if you’ve gone mad, ask them if that wasn’t an appropriate response to their claim that there is no objective truth. After all, you interpreted their words as meaning that “jabberwocky actually eats blue skies so that snails become beer,” and you needed to refute them. If there’s no objective interpretation of their words, then why couldn’t that be what they meant? In other words, no one actually lives as if there is no objective truth. We all want to be understood and think it possible to be understood.

Sports is another good example. We want instant replays that can slow things down to determine if a receiver’s toe scraped a millimeter of chalk on the sidelines or not because we believe in objective truth. Either someone caught the ball inbounds or not and, if they did, especially if the person was on our team, we want that to be accurately reflected by the referees’ decision!

Of course, it’s one thing to say objective truth exists and it’s something quite different to say I have the ability to determine it in all situations. I don’t. Then all I can hope for is a close approximation. If I can’t get a very close approximation, I have to admit it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t ever get close approximations or that I can’t get close approximations often enough to be able to understand oral or written communication.

The Bible may be more than an ordinary human book but it’s not less, and the same principles therefore apply in interpreting it as in interpreting what my wife wants me to do. Only the stakes are even higher!

What is the goal of biblical interpretation?

Craig Blomberg: To approximate as closely as possible the original meaning of a biblical author through the text that he wrote to an original audience, and then to apply it to myself in ways that fit that meaning but take into consideration my contemporary context.

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

Craig Blomberg: It’s probably the best online resource for consulting multiple Bible translations in multiple languages available in the world today, whether or not you ever read additional interviews like this one. If you do read them, then that’s just an added bonus.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Craig Blomberg: Never take biblical interpretation lightly. Never assume you’ve arrived or learned all that you can. Be a lifelong learner, but always apply what you’re learning to yourself in real-life situations. Accurate interpretation is meant to lead to obedience.


Bio: Craig L. Blomberg (PhD, Aberdeen) is distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary. He’s the author, co-author, or co-editor of numerous books, including Interpreting the Parables, Can We Still Believe the Bible?, and NIV Application Commentary: 1 Corinthians, and more than 130 articles in journals or multi-author works. A recurring topic of interest in his writings is the historical reliability of the Scriptures. Craig and his wife, Fran, have two daughters and reside in Centennial, Colorado.

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