Do you view the Bible as dated, obsolete, and irrelevant to your daily life? Or are you intimidated by the Bible and find it difficult to read? Or do you have difficulty seeing how different parts of the Bible fit together?
For someone who may not be familiar with it, please explain what the Bible is and why you like it so much.
Tim Challies: Quite simply, the Bible is God’s Word; his communication to the world. We believe it is inerrant (without error) and infallible (perfect in all it decrees and commands); the perfect revelation of this perfect God and his perfect works and ways.
Describe how your book is organized and designed.
Josh Byers: The book is organized around several questions:
What is the Bible?
Can I trust the Bible?
How do I study the Bible?
What is the Bible about?
We started by answering those questions as the basic outline of the book. We spend the first two main sections of the book answering the first three questions. In the last part of the book, we go through the entire Bible starting in Genesis and show the reader how it all fits together and that ultimately the entire Bible is the story of Jesus.
Renowned for its beautiful balance of scholarship and readability and vetted by Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, and Jewish scholars, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) faithfully serves the church in personal spiritual formation, in the liturgy, and in the academy.
We’re grateful to Dr. R. Patrick Smith, associate research professor of Theological Ethics and Bioethics, Duke Divinity School, for partnering with the Zondervan NRSV Comfort Print® Bible campaign in helping people better engage the Bible.
Many countries have a day when they remember people who paid the ultimate sacrifice—dying in war—for the benefit of others. In the United States it is called Memorial Day, and it happens every year at the end of May.
Sacrifice is part of life. Many small sacrifices, some large ones. Jesus set the model of sacrifice leading to life, and described it as the highest form of love.
We are made for relationships. A godly friendship can change everything. There is a peculiar math to friendship: shared joys are doubled, and shared sorrows are cut in half.
Friendship is a central theme of Jesus’ life and teaching. He tells us to encourage each other: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:12–13).
In fact, loving one another is the evidence of our identity as disciples: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35)
When the world beats you down, Jesus has a cure for that: godly friends. When Jesus came to the tomb of his friend, Lazarus, he was deeply moved. After he had the stone that sealed the tomb taken away, Jesus prayed. And after he prayed, “Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go” (John 11:43–44).
Why do you say that how a person interprets the first three chapters of Genesis “has massive implications” for understanding the rest of the Bible? What are those implications?
Dr. Vern Poythress: The record of creation and fall in Genesis sets the stage for understanding Christian redemption and the consummation. The redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ is central to the message of the Bible. But this redemption has a meaning tied to the nature of God, who is the holy creator, and the nature of man, who is created by God and now has fallen. If someone radically changes the framework of creation and fall, he changes or even dissolves the meaning of redemption. It no longer makes sense for Jesus to redeem us if there’s nothing to redeem us from, because there was no fall.
I look upon suffering as one of God’s ways of getting our attention. In fact, C. S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I’d like for us to think about some of the things that God needs to say to us, for which He needs to get our attention. First of all, it’s interesting to me, it’s of great significance, that as far as we know the oldest book in the Bible is the book of Job. Of all the books in the Bible, it is this one that deals most specifically and head-on with the subject of suffering. You may recall that Job was called a blameless man, a righteous man. God, himself, said that Job was a blameless man. This is significant because the common understanding of morality those days was that a good man would be blessed and an evil man would be punished . . . so, Job’s experience seemed to turn that completely upside-down.
Job lost everything. His ten children were killed in a storm. His vast number of animals were killed. His household was essentially destroyed. This man who had been esteemed, wealthy by all accounts, was without all that signified wealth and blessing. Yet the destruction did not stop there. His physical body suffered as well with painful boils and disfigurement so significant that he was unrecognizable to some of his closest friends. All of this happened and Job did not know why. You may remember that there was a drama that went on behind the scenes that, as far as we know, Job was never given a clue about, where Satan challenged God in Heaven. And he said, of course Job trusts You. But does he trust You for nothing? Try taking away all those blessings and then see where Job’s faith goes. And God accepted Satan’s challenge. And here we have a mystery that we cannot begin to explain. In fact, it was God who called Satan’s attention to that individual, Job. And he gave Satan permission to take things away from Job.
Sarah said yes to a lot of difficult things—when asked to leave home, accompany Abraham on a thousand-mile journey, and live like a nomad in the wilderness. Even when asked to say she was Abraham’s sister. But when it came to waiting on God’s solution to her childlessness, she didn’t. Perhaps the negative consequences from that impatient disobedience later reminded her to say, “Yes, Lord” no matter what, for she is commended in the New Testament for her submission and her faith (Heb. 11:11).
When I answered the phone, I was met with sniffles and sobs. It was the sort of call I dreaded. I’m not a professional counselor and had no experience talking someone down from an emotional precipice. So, I did the only thing I could. “Sir,” I said, “how can I pray for you?”
It was several years ago and I was on staff at a well-respected international ministry that maintained a 24-hour prayer line for people in need. On that divinely-appointed Wednesday morning, the call center’s switchboard was beyond capacity, so calls were routed to anyone in the office with a phone. As an early riser, the phone on my desk had sprung to life and I found myself talking to a man in crisis.
"I flatlined in the hospital and was technically dead for more than two-and-a-half minutes before I returned to life. I had always believed in the resurrection of Jesus. Although I suffered a massive stroke, apparently, he was not done with me yet." Read more of our interview with Randy Travis here: bit.ly/2Wnn2pG...
From a working-class background in North Carolina to being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Randy Travis has sold more than 25 million albums in both country and gospel music. This seemingly charmed life began a downward spiral in 2009: his marriage dissolved, he discovered that his fin...
VERSE OF THE DAY: I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. -1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV) bit.ly/2DvEsG3...