Skip to content

Most Recent Blog Posts

Leading a Bible Study? Bible Gateway Plus Makes Your Job Easier

Are you the leader of a regular Bible study or church small group? If so, you probably spend a fair amount of time getting ready to lead weekly or monthly discussions about Bible topics and passages.

That preparation is hard but rewarding work. And unless you happen to be a pastor, you probably prepare for those study discussions with a relatively limited arsenal of Bible study tools at your disposal. Most of us have a study Bible or two on our bookshelves, but certainly not the depth of Bible help represented by an expensive library of commentaries and reference works.

Does that describe you? If so, Bible Gateway Plus was made for you. It’s designed to give you easy and inexpensive access to a library of Bible study helps that would be prohibitively expensive to own in print. If you haven’t tried it yet, take it for a spin for 30 days free and see how it makes your Bible study easier and more Here’s what your 30-day free trial of Bible Gateway Plus provides:

1. Access to over 40 digital study Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, and other references.

You’ll get access to dozens of top-quality Bible reference books—with each entry displayed right alongside the Scripture being discussed! These aren’t just ebooks that you’ll need to laboriously search through; these are keyed to individual Bible verses and are displayed right next to them on Bible Gateway. When you look up John 3:16, Bible Gateway Plus collects every note about John 3:16 from its library and makes them available to you.

What’s more, those 40+ books represent a wide swath of theological perspective. And they aren’t niche titles; they’re prominent reference works that are used by pastors, scholars, and Bible students around the world. They range from the popular NIV Study Bible to the comprehensive Expositor’s Bible Commentary to the accessible How to Read the Bible Book by Book. Click here to see a full list of titles in the Bible Gateway Plus library.

2. An ad-free Bible Gateway experience.

Banner ads help pay our bills and keep Bible Gateway available, but we understand that they can be distracting. Bible Gateway Plus membership removes banner ads from Scripture pages on Bible Gateway, so you can read and study without distraction.

3. For February only, we’ve added the much-loved NIV Application Commentary on Genesis to the Bible Gateway Plus library.

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is one of the best and most accessible resources on Genesis available. If you’re involved in a Bible study that’s reading through or regularly referring to Genesis, this is the perfect time to start your free 30-day trial and get access to this useful reference.

We meant what we said above—Bible Gateway Plus was made to help you. There’s no risk involved in starting a 30-day free trial—you’ll get full access to Bible Gateway Plus during the trial period and can cancel anytime. So if you haven’t yet tried it out, start your trial today and see why thousands of Bible Gateway visitors have upgraded their experience with a Bible Gateway Plus membership!

Make your Bible study easier and more rewarding. Click here to sign up for your free 30-day trial!

Helping Kids Love the Bible: An Interview with Sheila Walsh

Sheila WalshTeaching children to love God’s Word is an important part of parenting. Kids need to see for themselves how God worked in people’s lives through the stories of the Bible and how Jesus infuses all of Scripture.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, 5 Minutes with Jesus]

In the following question-and-answer, Sheila Walsh (@SheilaWalsh) talks about her books, Where Do I Find Jesus? (B&H Kids, 2016) and The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook (B&H Kids, 2016).

[Browse books by Sheila Walsh in the Bible Gateway Store]

What inspired you to write The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook series for children?

Buy your copy of The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Sheila Walsh: I want children to understand how amazing the Bible is. It’s the best adventure book and the greatest love story ever written. Even greater than that, we’re invited into this adventure with God and the love story is all about how much we’re loved.

This series is intended for children ages 4-10. How do you hope children will grow by reading the newest books in the series, The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook and Where Do I Find Jesus?

Buy your copy of Where Do I Find Jesus? in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Sheila Walsh: Our culture is flooded with people and places giving all sorts of messages to our children. Our little girls are being told they’re not pretty enough or not thin enough. Television provides poor role models for little boys as to what it means to be brave; to be a true hero. My prayer is that as children discover how loved and valued they are by God, through reading The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook, they’ll grow strong in him.

I can’t think of anything in life being more important than knowing that your child has a relationship with Jesus. I’m praying that many children will come to a place of understanding that having a real relationship with Jesus is not just for moms and dads but for them too.

Buy your copy of The Bible Is My Best Friend Family Devotional in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

How does The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook correspond to The Bible Is My Best Friend Family Devotional and how can families use them together?

Sheila Walsh: My heart in writing The Bible Is My Best Friend Family Devotional was to make it fun for families to come together at the end of the day, spend some quality time together laughing and learning about God and each other. With The Bible Is My Best Friend Storybook there’s now an opportunity to dive in deeper to some of the Bible stories and grow in faith.

Enlarge this page sample from The Bible Is My Best Friend Bible Storybook

How do the unique illustrations bring the stories to life?

Sheila Walsh: Sarah Horne is such an amazing illustrator. Her love for God and her out-of-the-box creativity have taken stories we thought we knew and given them fresh life. Who knew that it was so much fun getting onto Noah’s ark?

How can parents use the resources in The Bible Is My Best Friend brand—specifically these two new releases—to help children understand the role of God’s Word in their lives?

Sheila Walsh: The Word of God is the foundation stone for life. When children begin to understand that every question they have is addressed in the Bible, then they know where to turn when life is hard. We all—children and parents alike—need to be reminded of the grace and mercy of God, of the power of forgiveness, and of our future and our hope. With the new Bible Storybook, families can read together about the love of God that started way back in the very beginning. Parents can help their children understand that even when we let God down, he never lets us down. He’s a faithful, loving Father.

How will these resources help parents in leading their child to Christ?

Sheila Walsh: Where Do I Find Jesus? is a wonderful place to start if your child has questions about having a faith of their own. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to explain what it means to know Jesus, so I pray that this book will help.

What are you most excited about with the release of these two new books?

Sheila Walsh: I’m excited about children getting excited about God! I long to see hundreds and thousands of children begin the great adventure of life with a personal relationship with Jesus and his love-letter, the Bible, in their hearts and hands.


Bio: Sheila Walsh is a powerful Bible teacher and bestselling author from Scotland with over 5 million books sold, including 5 Minutes with Jesus: A Fresh Infusion of Joy and The Longing in Me. Her international ministry has reached more than 5.5 million women by combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with the transforming power of God’s Word. Calling Texas home, Sheila lives in Frisco with her husband, Barry, her son, Christian, and three little dogs. You can reach her at braveheartsisterhood.com.

Thousands already have! Try your 30-Day free trial today!
Remove banner ads and expand your Bible reading experience using our valuable library of more than 40 top resources by becoming a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Try it free for 30 days!

Thinking About Marriage? New Devotions for Singles and Dating Couples

Are you dating and wondering if your relationship is ready for marriage? Or are you single but wondering if marriage is part of God’s plan for you?

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got two short new devotions dedicated to helping you (and your significant other, if you have one) think through the exciting (and maybe intimidating) topic of marriage! Visit our Devotions to Prepare You for Marriage page to sign up for one or both of them:

  • Getting Ready for Marriage: Finances, in-laws, communication, forgiveness, sexual expectations: no topic is off-limits as you and your fiancé get ready to step from engagement into a life-long covenant to each other. Drawn from Getting Ready for Marriage by Jim Burns and Doug Fields. (Read a sample: “Communication, the fastest route to connection”)
  • Pursuing Marriage with a Purpose—The Dating Manifesto: Still single, even though you’d rather be married? So is Lisa Anderson, author of The Dating Manifesto. In her humor-filled style, she offers biblical insight and encouragement for singles. (Read a sample: “When should I start thinking about marriage?”)

Both devotionals consist of a short daily reading and run for seven days, so they won’t cut into your busy schedule. They’re perfect for reading on your own, but you can use them as the basis for discussion with a significant other. It’s never too early or too late in a relationship to think about where it’s heading, and how you can cultivate a relationship that honors God!

Visit our Devotions to Prepare You for Marriage page to sign up today!

“Which Bible Translation is Best?” — Part 2: Word-for-word Bibles on Bible Gateway

Recently, we offered a few thoughts in response to the common question “Which Bible translation is the best?” Today, we’ll continue the discussion with a look at one type of Bible translation that you can find here at Bible Gateway: word-for-word Bible translations.

A word-to-word Bible translation is a Bible that aims to hew as closely as possible to the wording and grammatical structure of the original text. (The more technical term for “word-to-word” is formal equivalence.) Whenever possible, a word-for-word translation tries to translate each word, phrase, and concept in the original text with an exactly matching word, phrase, and concept in the target language. People sometimes call this kind of Bible a “literal” translation.

What’s Important to Know About Word-for-word Bible Translations?

1. They aim to reduce the “human interpretation” factor in Bible translation. By sticking as closely as possible to the original words and structure, these translations reduce the number of major interpretative decisions that a translator has to make—and thus, reduce the chance that fallible translators will make the wrong translation choice and distort the meaning of the original.

2. “Word-for-word” is a goal to be aimed at, not completely achieved. Because no two languages are exact 1:1 matches to each other, it’s not possible to create a 100% word-for-word translation (certainly not one that is comprehensible). While translators may try to be as “literal” as possible, they must inevitably make many interpretive decisions, sometimes choosing the best of several unsatisfactory options. And it’s not possible to completely remove fallible human interpretation from the mix—even the decision to translate a Bible word-to-word is an interpretive act! Nonetheless, a word-for-word translation tries to keep translation compromises to a minimum.

3. Their language is unique and memorable. Because they’re translating a vocabulary and sentence structure that are quite far removed from modern spoken language, word-for-word Bibles have a unique voice that truly stands out from modern writing and literature. You might use words like majestic, soaring, or inspiring to describe them—perhaps even “old-fashioned,” but in a positive sense. If this style of language appeals to you, you’ll want to be sure to listen to them as well as read them—so visit our library of audio Bibles to get the full effect.

4. They work especially well when paired with a Bible commentary or other study tool. Because these Bibles’ language and phrasing can differ from modern English, you’ll benefit from keeping a commentary or study Bible handy while reading, to help you sort out unusual or confusing terms and phrases. Bible Gateway’s digital commentaries and study Bibles are very useful for this purpose. (Bible Gateway’s study library includes several good free resources; if you upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus membership, you’ll get access to additional study materials, some of them specific to word-for-word Bible translations—like the King James Study Bible and the NKJV Study Bible.)

Who Will Most Appreciate a Word-for-word Bible?

Consider a word-for-word Bible if you:

  • Want a Bible experience that is closer to the vocabulary and phrasing that its original audiences read and heard.
  • Love majestic language and phrasing.
  • Have access to a good study Bible, dictionary, or other tool to help you when you run across unfamiliar terms.

Four Word-for-word Bibles to Start With

Bible Gateway has many Bibles that lean toward word-for-word translation. Here are a few prominent ones that would make a fine starting point for anyone looking for this kind of Bible reading experience.

1. The Authorized (King James) Version: Easily the most famous word-for-word Bible translation, the King James Bible has had a lasting impact not only on Christianity but on the English language itself. Its majestic language and memorable turns of phrase have cemented it in our cultural consciousness. Many popularly-known and oft-memorized Bible verses use the language of the King James Version; if your early encounters with the Bible were with the King James Version, you probably have a nostalgic connection to its language as well! Although it draws on other English translations, it remains a reasonably literal translation.

The King James Version is still widely used today across the English-speaking world. Here’s a sample Bible passage from the Authorized (King James) Version:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. — Hebrews 6:1-6 (AKJV)

2. Young’s Literal Translation: A very literal translation of the Bible by Robert Young in 1862. This translation vividly highlights both the advantages and drawbacks of the word-for-word approach: it sticks quite close in many places to the structure of the original biblical languages, but as you can see from this sample passage, it’s not always easy going for modern readers. But like many such translations, even its difficult-to-read sections have an appealing poetic quality to them.

Here’s a sample Bible passage from Young’s Literal Translation:

Wherefore, having left the word of the beginning of the Christ, unto the perfection we may advance, not again a foundation laying of reformation from dead works, and of faith on God,

of the teaching of baptisms, of laying on also of hands, of rising again also of the dead, and of judgment age-during,

and this we will do, if God may permit,

for [it is] impossible for those once enlightened, having tasted also of the heavenly gift, and partakers having became of the Holy Spirit,

and did taste the good saying of God, the powers also of the coming age,

and having fallen away, again to renew [them] to reformation, having crucified again to themselves the Son of God, and exposed to public shame. — Hebrews 6:1-6 (YLT)

3. English Standard Version: One thing you may have noticed about a lot of word-for-word translations is that they’re old—although they may have been revised and updated through the years, many of them (like the previous two on this list) have their roots in Bible translations that are often centuries old. This can lead to some added reading difficulty, as you combine the quirks of word-for-word translation with archaic English vocabulary. But that doesn’t need to be the case! The English Standard Version is a very popular word-for-word Bible that uses modern English while still employing a formal equivalence translation philosophy.

Here’s a sample passage from the English Standard Version:

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. — Hebrews 6:1-6 (ESV)

4. The Amplified Bible: One of the most unique Bibles in our library, the Amplified Bible aims for a word-for-word translation… with some interesting tweaks to help convey the original text’s meaning. The Amplified Bible uses “amplifications” in the text to help readers understand concepts that might not be clear in the text. These amplifications include:

  • Explanatory notes in [brackets] that clarify concepts which the English translation doesn’t convey
  • (Parentheses) to provide alternate translation possibilities for certain terms
  • Italics to indicate words which aren’t in the original texts—often used for words like and or or, which the English language requires for readability

This Bible is a fascinating way to really dig into the nuances of translation and the original languages, and is probably best suited for Bible study (as opposed to casual reading or memorization). Here’s a sample Bible passage from the Amplified Bible:

Therefore let us get past the elementary stage in the teachings about the Christ, advancing on to maturity and perfection and spiritual completeness, [doing this] without laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of teaching about washings (ritual purifications), the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. [These are all important matters in which you should have been proficient long ago.] And we will do this [that is, proceed to maturity], if God permits. For [it is impossible to restore to repentance] those who have once been enlightened [spiritually] and who have tasted and consciously experienced the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted and consciously experienced the good word of God and the powers of the age (world) to come, and then have fallen away—it is impossible to bring them back again to repentance, since they again nail the Son of God on the cross [for as far as they are concerned, they are treating the death of Christ as if they were not saved by it], and are holding Him up again to public disgrace. — Hebrews 6:1-6 (AMP)

More Word-for-word Bibles at Bible Gateway

The four Bibles above are just the beginning! We encourage you to explore the many more word-for-word translations available at Bible Gateway, including:

There are yet more for you to peruse in our Bible library. While exploring these Bibles, we also highly recommend using the side-by-side Bible view on Bible Gateway to compare how two or more Bibles translate the same passage.

Hopefully, this has helped you to understand and appreciate the word-for-word Bible translation approach, and given you some good places to start reading these Bibles for yourself! In the next post in this series, we’ll introduce you to Bibles which take a different approach: the thought-for-thought or dynamic equivalence philosophy. Until then, have fun digging into these Bibles—and let’s be continually grateful that God has preserved His Word through the centuries for us to read today.

The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: An Interview with Kyle Strobel

Jamin GogginThe Bible teaches a seemingly contradictory way to power: weakness. Are Christian leaders increasingly succumbing to the temptations of power and forgetting Jesus’ words to first give it up? What can be learned from the insights of J. I. Packer, Dallas Willard, Marva Dawn, Eugene Peterson, and other spiritual giants?

Bible Gateway interviewed Kyle Strobel (@KyleStrobel), who, with Jamin Goggin (@JaminGoggin), authored the book, The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church That Has Abandoned It (Thomas Nelson, 2017) (book website).

Kyle Strobel

What does the Bible say is Jesus’ path of power?

Kyle Strobel: Scripture is clear that Jesus could have employed what we normally think of as “power” any time he wanted. He tells Peter that if he wanted he could appeal to the Father and receive more than 12 legions of angels at his disposal (Matt. 26:53). The structure of the Gospel of Mark, for instance, is a journey from his calling in ministry as the Messiah (what we normally think of as a position of power), to the true task of the Messiah—walking the way of the cross. The whole of Mark turns on the key question in Mark 8, “Who do people say that I am?” (Mark 8:27) Most people wanted Jesus to offer power, and Jesus instead points to the cross. Jesus presents us with a different sort of power.

Buy your copy of The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

In the way of Jesus, the way Philippians 2 claims is a descent down the ladder of power into service, is, paradoxically, where we come to know true kingdom power. But kingdom power is built on a different foundation than worldly power and it functions according to a different system than the flesh. Kingdom power is power found in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Kingdom power is trusting that without Christ you can do nothing (John 15:5). Kingdom power is believing that if you try to save your life you’ll lose it, but if you lose it for Christ you’ll find it (Matt. 16:25). The question we’re faced with is: Will we trust in this way for real kingdom power?

How and why has the church abandoned it?

Kyle Strobel: When Jamin and I started this project we were inundated with stories of churches employing worldly power, but it was often not done with wicked intent. In other words, the churches had good goals in mind, but they failed to seek them in distinctively Christian ways.

Everything we do in life has a goal and a means by which we attain that goal. Our temptation is to believe that having the right goal is enough, but then turn to the wrong means to attain that goal. As Paul says in Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

The temptation the church continually faces, and has given into in many places, has been to try and sow the Christian life in the flesh and yet still believe they’ll reap in the Spirit. This is warping our churches from within. We must accept both Jesus and his way, and not simply accept Jesus and try to follow him according to the power system of the world.

What we have to be confronted with, in our Christian lives and in our ministries, is that Scripture is incredibly clear on this point: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). But do we really believe that Christ’s power is made perfect in weakness? That’s the question that should plague modern churches that have become incredibly savvy. We need to ask ourselves—really discern in our hearts—whether or not we’re interested in Christ’s strength in our weakness, or if we’re just interested in strength.

What happens when Christians embody a worldly approach to power and try to use that to advance Christ’s kingdom?

Kyle Strobel: When Christians embody a worldly approach to power they’re not trusting in the way of Christ. As James puts it, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4) This comes right after James compares two different ways of living—the way from above and the way from below—and it’s not irrelevant that he goes on to say, “Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10).

This is the way of Jesus; it’s the way of entering into weakness to rest fully on the power of God. Ultimately, when we employ worldly power, we’ll be able to construct impressive edifices, but it won’t be the building Jesus is constructing. Like the disciples who proclaimed, “Look Rabbi, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” (Mark 13:1), as they gazed upon Herod’s temple complex, we, too, are often easily impressed with feats of human strength. But the kingdom of Christ is built on an entirely different economy. In the economy of the kingdom, the people of God are known not for feats of power, but for the power of love (John 13:35).

Even now I find that, like the disciples, I’m often really impressed with the kind of power people wield in their own strength, and less impressed with the kingdom power wrought in weakness. I, too, need eyes to see and ears to hear the kind of work that Christ is interested in.

How does love factor into the proper use of power?

Kyle Strobel: Scripture advances two ways of power: the way of the world and the way of Christ, and each of these two ways has unique economies of power.

In the way of the world, we find power in strength for control (and possibly domination). In the kingdom we find power in weakness for the sake of love and humility. In the kingdom, love is power, but this kind of love can only be discovered through our weakness, dependence, and abiding in Christ alone. To bear fruit (Gal. 5:22-23) for the kingdom is to trust and abide in both Christ and the way of Christ. This fruit is oriented ultimately by love, and by Christ, which is why we have to abide in his love to thrive in his kingdom (John 15:9).

One sign that we’ve given ourselves to the way of the world is when we can no longer understand love as true power in the way of Christ. For many of us, myself included, we tend to assume that “power” is always worldly power. When worldly power is our assumption, the Christian life, and especially the church, will fail to make any sense to us. We’ll inevitably seek to use worldly means to enact kingdom ends, and, once again, we’ll reap what we’ve sown.

What’s the most powerful resistance to the way of evil?

Kyle Strobel: Jesus has defeated the powers and principalities on the cross, and Scripture tells us that he’s triumphed over them and put them to open shame (Col. 2:15). That victory is already won by Christ. Therefore, our resistance to evil will entail our abiding in Christ and trusting in his way.

But this is counterintuitive. We don’t want to trust in his way. What we want, in our flesh, is to conquer evil ourselves. In our flesh we want to employ our strength in autonomy to dominate and win.

But Christ took evil upon himself and accepted death on the cross. He humbled himself before the Father and was raised in glory. That’s the only way Christian power works—through an abiding trust in Jesus. This is the only way evil will ever be vanquished in full. Our calling in faith is to trust that Christ has done this, and he has done this for me.

How do you want your book to change readers?

Kyle Strobel: We hope that this project will confront readers with the reality that every Christian already has a power system they trust in; and for most of us, it’s not a distinctively Christian sort of power. Maybe more than anything else, the world’s views have shaped how many Christians understand power, and so they’ve given themselves to a way of life that ultimately undermines the Christian life rather than fueling it. If we give ourselves to worldly power for the sake of the kingdom, as we believe many are, it’ll destroy us from within. Our hope is to cast a vision for a different sort of way: the way of Jesus.

How has this project impacted you?

Kyle Strobel: The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb was the hardest book I’ve ever written. I was constantly confronted with places in my heart that wanted to seek out my own power rather than Christ’s, or to employ worldly means of power rather than the way of the kingdom. It was a humbling project. But over and over again, as we sat at the feet of the sages we interviewed, we kept being pointed back to Christ. We don’t lose hope because our hope is not in ourselves, but in Christ. This book led us into our weakness, but it was there that we discovered Christ’s strength anew.

Bio: Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel have co-authored several books, including Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics: A Guide for Evangelicals, Beloved Dust: Drawing Close to God by Discovering the Truth About Yourself, and The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb.

Jamin Goggin serves as a pastor at Mission Hills Church. He has been in pastoral ministry for eleven years, including several years as the Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Saddleback Church. Jamin speaks and writes in the areas of spiritual formation, ministry and theology. He holds two Masters degrees and is currently earning a PhD in systematic theology. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Kristin, and their three children.

Kyle Strobel is a professor of spiritual theology and formation at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University and is an emerging voice among evangelicals on spiritual formation, discipleship, and theology. Kyle speaks regularly and has written for Pastors.com, Relevant magazine (and RelevantMagazine.com), ChurchLeader.com, and DeeperStory.com. Kyle lives in Southern California with his wife, Kelli, and their two children.

Thousands already have! Try your 30-Day free trial today!
Remove banner ads and expand your Bible reading experience using our valuable library of more than 40 top resources by becoming a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Try it free for 30 days!

Bible News Roundup – Week of February 5, 2017

Read this week’s Bible Gateway Weekly Brief newsletter
Bible Gateway Weekly Brief
Newsletter signup

Support Bible Gateway—Browse the Bible Gateway Store
BibleGatewayStore.com

Sophisticated Defense System Discovered at Biblical-Era Mining Camp
Live Science
Read about King David in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
Read about King Solomon in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
See the Biblical Archaeology section in the Bible Gateway Store

Documentary Answers: Are the Biblical Events of Genesis Real-Life History?
CBN News
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, A Visual Walk Through Genesis: An Interview with Stephen M. Miller
Read the book of Genesis on Bible Gateway

Bible to be Translated into Russian Sign Language Beginning with Gospel of Mark
Orthodox Christianity
Read the many Bible translations available on Bible Gateway
Read the Gospel of Mark on Bible Gateway

Warm Reception for Uganda’s Lumasaaba Bible
United Bible Societies
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Bible Translation Organizations

Wycliffe Associates Anticipating Record Number of New Bible Translation Starts for 2017
News Release
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Wycliffe Associates—Helping to Translate the Bible Where Persecution of Christians Is Severe: An Interview with Bruce Smith
Read the many Bible translations available on Bible Gateway

Lost City of Atlantis Tied to Biblical City of Tarshish
Breaking Israel News
Read about the city of Tarshish in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
Read Psalms 48:5-8, Psalms 72:10, Jonah 1:3, and Ezekiel 27:12 on Bible Gateway
See the Biblical Archaeology section in the Bible Gateway Store

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is Now Available for Bible Gateway Plus Members (February Only)

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is now available on Bible Gateway PlusWe’re excited to announce that throughout the month of February, the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is available as part of the Bible Gateway Plus digital library!

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is as deep as it is accessible: you can confidently use it for everything from personal Bible study to sermon preparation. If you’re a Bible Gateway Plus member, you can log in and access it right now! If you aren’t yet a Bible Gateway Plus member, click here to try it free for 30 days (and get access to the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis along with dozens of other titles).

The book of Genesis contains many of the Bible’s most famous and important stories, yet a casual reading of those stories often raises as many questions as it answers. That’s where the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis can help, equipping you to explore questions like:

  • What does a modern Bible reader need to know about the literary genres and styles used in Genesis?
  • Should we understand the Creation account, the Flood, and other important stories in Genesis as literal history?
  • How should we approach difficult stories like Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac?

The Tower of Babel--explore it in the NIV Application Commentary on GenesisOne of the the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis’ most important features is its relentless focus on the text of the Bible. Rather than trying to fit particular answers or a specific theological perspective onto Genesis, it instead sticks to what the text itself reveals to us. That means thoroughly examining the original language and cultural background to help you explore and answer questions yourself. Despite this depth, you don’t need an advanced degree to use and understand it—it’s written to be accessible to anyone, whether it’s your first time reading Genesis or your 50th.

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is one of the best reference works on Genesis available, and we’re thrilled that it’s part of the Bible Gateway Plus library. But remember, it’s only available throughout February, so don’t hesitate! If you’re a Bible Gateway Plus member, log in to start exploring Genesis today. (If you need a refresher on how to access your digital library, follow this short tutorial.) If you’re not yet a member, start your free 30-day trial today so you don’t miss out.

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis now on Bible Gateway Plus

The Worship Pastor: An Interview with Zac Hicks

Zac HicksLeading worship is more than a performance; it’s about shaping souls and making disciples. How does the Bible offer a clear guide to leading worship?

Bible Gateway interviewed Zac Hicks (@zachicks) about his book, The Worship Pastor: A Call to Ministry for Worship Leaders and Teams (Zondervan, 2016) (book website).

Why do you emphasize that worship leaders are pastors?

Buy your copy of The Worship Pastor in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Zac Hicks: At the heart of many of today’s “worship problems” (ongoing style wars, thoughtless appropriation of cultural practices, segregation of ages, lack of theological depth, etc.) is the loss of a pastoral vision for what worship leadership is. Whether or not worship leaders are formally ordained, have seminary degrees, or bear the title “pastor,” what they do, week in and week out, has a shaping effect on the people they lead. The acts of planning and leading worship are pastoral works. Song selection, prayers, service structure, and even one’s actions and mannerisms, give people a certain vision of who God is and how he’s to be approached and followed. There’s no way around the pastoral nature of the worship leader’s call.

How were Adam and Eve the first worship pastors?

Zac Hicks: The Bible describes Adam’s vocation as “working” and “taking care of” the garden (Gen 2:15). Scholars point out that these terms aren’t actually the standard words for gardening. Rather, they’re “cultic” terms (meaning, “related to worship”)—words and phrases that we find being used of priests, whose job it is to lead worship (for example, Num 3:7-8; 8:26; 18:5-6). Scholars also point out the many linguistic connections between the way the garden is described and the way the tabernacle and temple are depicted. Eden, as a microcosm of all of creation, was a “house of worship.” One could say that Adam and Eve’s mandate as stewards of the earth was to be “worship pastors” of creation—to cultivate creation’s giving glory to its Maker.

How is the worship pastor a “corporate mystic”?

Zac Hicks: Christian mystics believe that encountering the presence of God is part and parcel to our discipleship. Depending on one’s tradition, this “mystical” idea that God is actually present with us as we gather corporately in worship may be lost on us. Worshipers always run the risk of downgrading worship into mere ritual. Worship pastors who take their call as “corporate mystics” seriously recognize the corporate worship experience as nothing short of Divine encounter, and they long for their local body to embrace the fullness of all that it means that God is present among us as we sing, pray, preach, baptize, and receive the Lord’s Supper.

What is a philosophy of worship?

Zac Hicks: A philosophy of worship is, most simply, one’s answer to all the “why’s” of worship. Why do we sing for long chunks of time? (The answer to that articulates your philosophy.) Why do we take an offering? (The answer again is your philosophy.) Why do or don’t we allow non-Christians to lead music? Can the sermon be replaced by a dramatic performance? Why do we utilize lights and haze? Why do we employ choir and organ? All these questions are philosophical. The reality is that every worship leader has a philosophy of worship. But the big question is: Is your philosophy biblical and intentional?

How should worship serve as a disciple-making opportunity?

Zac Hicks: For too long, we’ve separated worship from discipleship. We think of discipleship as all those things that take place outside of worship—small groups, Bible studies, one on one relational ministry, etc. Against that idea, we should see worship as disciple-making territory. Worship has a shaping effect on the way people relate to God the other six days of the week. It informs people’s theology. It teaches them how to pray. Worship leaders have a pastoral opportunity to understand that the worship services they plan and lead provide the core practices and principles of our spiritual formation.

How should the worship pastor use the Bible when planning a worship service?

Zac Hicks: Simply put, a worship service without the Bible is not a Christian worship service. It might be inspiring. It might motivate you to be a better person. But unless the Scriptures are central, it cannot be truly Christian. The Bible is the revelation of Christ. Without it, we have no sure hope of how to be saved from sin and death.

And yet the Bible is a daunting, intimidating book. I’d encourage the worship pastor to start with studying, praying, and meditating on the Psalms. Martin Luther called the Psalms “the little Bible,” and John Calvin described it as “an anatomy of all the parts of the soul.” The Psalms train us how to pray the Bible—how to worship biblically. Open up your Bible (or Bible Gateway), and read a Psalm a day. As you hear the Psalms, begin to ask, “Does the language of our worship services match the language (the emotional spectrum, the theological content) of the Psalms?” Chances are, if you ask questions like that one, you’ll find your worship more and more coming into conformity with the vision of worship laid out in the Psalms. And if your worship is conforming to the Psalms, it’ll conform to the Bible.

Briefly explain your chapter, “The Worship Pastor as Mortician.”

Zac Hicks: I know, it sounds morbid. But hang with me. Just as a mortician’s job is to carefully prepare a body for burial, so too one of our tasks as worship pastors is to prepare the Body of Christ for her encounter with death. In my North American context, death isn’t popular to talk about. We’ve invented thousands of ways to deny it, sweep it under the rug, and push it from out of sight. For this reason, death might just be the “elephant in the sanctuary” each and every week. Christianity doesn’t run away from death. Christianity answers death. More precisely, Christ answered death once and for all by rising from the dead. This means that, in a way, every worship service is Easter Sunday. And Easter Sunday is an answer to death. Worship pastors function as good “morticians” when they allow death to be addressed honestly in worship—through lamentation, through hope, through the gospel, and through a vision of the enduring, eternal Kingdom of God.

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

Zac Hicks: It’s not a stretch to say that I use Bible Gateway on a nearly daily basis. As a worship planner and leader, if a certain passage comes to mind but I can’t quite remember its reference, a quick search in Bible Gateway finds it for me. I also work in a church where our people come from a variety of backgrounds and traditions, which inevitably means that they’re reading different English translations. It’s very helpful to “cross examine” biblical passages simply by clicking from one version to another.

If Bible Gateway ever went away, for me personally there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth, and I would probably despair over whether the internet has not altogether lost its meaning and value. 😉


Bio:
Zac Hicks is Canon for Worship and Liturgy at Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, AL. He’s the author of The Worship Pastor and he writes regularly at zachicks.com. He and his wife, Abby, have been married for over 15 years and have four children.

Thousands already have! Try your 30-Day free trial today!
Remove banner ads and expand your Bible reading experience using our valuable library of more than 40 top resources by becoming a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Try it free for 30 days!

James Moffatt on The New Testament

James MoffattIn the communities of the faithful, men had to impress upon themselves and upon others what Jesus said and did, for the more convinced they were that he was neither a Jewish pretender nor an unsubstantial deity like one of the deities of the cults, the more urgent it was for them to recall that his words were the rule of their life, and that his actions in history had created their position in the world; they had to think out their faith, to state it against outside criticism, and to teach it within their own circle, instead of being content with it as a mere emotion; they had also to refresh their courage by anticipating the future, which they believed was in the hands of their Lord….

Buy your copy of The Bible, James Moffatt Translation in the Bible Gateway Store where everything is always on sale

The common basis of their life was the conviction that they enjoyed a new relationship with God, for which they were indebted to Jesus. The technical term for this relationship was “covenant,” and “covenant” became eventually in their vocabulary “testament.” Hence the later name for these writings of the church, when gathered into a sacred collection, was “The New Testament”—New because the older relationship of God to his people, which had obtained under Judaism with its Old Testament, was superseded by the faith and fellowship which Jesus Christ his Son had inaugurated. It was the consciousness of this that inspired the early Christians to live, and to write about the origin and applications of this new life. They wrote for their own age, without a thought of posterity, and they did not write in unison but in harmony.

Excerpted from A New Translation of the Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments by James Moffatt (1870-1944), London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1935, New York: Harper, 1935, Introduction, p. xxii

Reading the Bible with America’s Founding Fathers: An Interview with Daniel Dreisbach

Daniel L. DreisbachNo book was more accessible or familiar to the American founders than the Bible, and no book was more frequently alluded to or quoted from in the political discourse of the age. How and for what purposes did the founding generation use the Bible? How did the Bible influence their political culture?

Bible Gateway interviewed Daniel L. Dreisbach (@d3bach) about his book, Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Buy your copy of Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

[See the Bible Gateway Blog post, American History’s Entwined Relationship with the Bible: An Interview with Angela Kamrath]

Who were the “American founders” you write about and how important was the Bible to them?

Daniel L. Dreisbach: I define the terms “founding fathers” and “founders” broadly to include an entire generation or two of Americans from many walks of life who, in the last half of the 18th century and early 19th century, articulated the rights of colonists, secured independence from Great Britain, and established new constitutional republics at both the national and state levels. This definition includes a cast of thousands who played their patriotic part at the local, state, and/or national levels. Among them were citizen soldiers, elected representatives, polemicists, and patriot preachers. I contend that no book figured more prominently than the Bible in the political thought of these patriots we call the founders.

Modern historians have traditionally minimized the role of the Bible in American political discourse during the 1700s (the age of Enlightenment), yet your book disputes that. Please explain.

Daniel L. Dreisbach: Although scholars have noted in passing that the founding generation was well acquainted with the Bible and frequently referenced it in their private expressions, few have examined closely the Bible’s influence on the political culture of the age, giving attention to the specific biblical texts and themes that appealed to the founders and may have informed their political pursuits. Indeed, as you point out, some historians contend that the era, sandwiched between two great religious awakenings, was an enlightened age when rationalism was in the ascendancy and the Bible was, if not rejected outright, relegated to the sidelines. Because so little scholarly attention has focused on the Bible in the founding era, at least compared to the extensive scholarship on Enlightenment influences, I thought this topic merited further inquiry.

Even though much of the scholarship gives little attention to the Bible’s influence on the founding, I believe it had a substantial impact on the founders and their pursuits. Legislative debates, pamphlets, and political sermons of the age were replete with quotations from and allusions to the Bible. Following an extensive survey of American political literature from 1760 to 1805, Donald S. Lutz reported that the Bible was cited more frequently than any European writer or even any European school of thought, such as Enlightenment liberalism or republicanism. Approximately one-third of all citations in the literature he surveyed was to the Bible. The book of Deuteronomy alone was the most frequently cited work, followed by Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws. In fact, Deuteronomy was referenced nearly twice as often as John Locke’s writings, and the Apostle Paul was mentioned about as frequently as Montesquieu.

How intrinsic was the Bible to the creating and success of the American constitutional government? Could the American political system exist without the Bible?

Daniel L. Dreisbach: The founders devised a constitutional system of republican self-government and liberty under law that emphasized limited, representative government and required the consent of the governed. I present evidence in Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers that the American founders, when framing their governments, looked to the Bible for insights into human nature, civic virtue, social order, political authority and other concepts essential to the establishment of a political society. They saw in Scripture political and legal models—such as republicanism, separation of powers, and due process of law—that they believed enjoyed divine favor and were worthy of emulation in their polities.

Their political discourse, for one example, included many appeals to the Hebrew “republic” as a model for their own political experiment. Most of what the founders knew about the Hebraic republic, it must be emphasized, they learned from the Bible. These Americans were well aware that ideas like republicanism found expression in traditions apart from the Hebrew experience, and, indeed, they studied these traditions both ancient and modern. The republican model described in the Hebrew Scriptures, however, reassured pious Americans that republicanism was a political system favored by God.

How did the American founders’ shared belief that people were fallen and shouldn’t be entrusted with unrestrained power spring from the Bible and influence the government’s structure of checks and balances?

Daniel L. Dreisbach: The Bible informed the founding generation’s views of anthropology. In 1776, most Americans of European descent were affiliated with the Reformed (specifically Calvinist) theological tradition. This perspective emphasizes original sin and mankind’s radically fallen state (Genesis 3). This view of human nature was a source of the founders’ reluctance to vest unchecked government power in the hands of fallen human actors. Their solution was to craft a constitutional system defined by the separation of powers and checks and balances that would restrain man’s sinful inclinations to seek government power for selfish ends and to abuse power.

How critical was Micah 6:8 in the American founding?

Daniel L. Dreisbach: I devote an entire chapter in my book to the use of Micah 6:8 in the political discourse of the founding era. The founders’ use of this verse captured my attention because it’s not a text I’d expect to see in this literature.

Micah 6:1-8 is a prophetic passage theologians call a covenant lawsuit text (see also Psalm 50). It tells of God’s grievance against his people for their unfaithfulness to him. Micah 6:8 is the climax of this passage because it lays out what the children of Israel must do to restore their relationship with God. I think the verse appealed to Americans because it reminded them that nations, as well as individuals, must be virtuous and righteous if they desire to be stable, prosperous, and tranquil—a nation blessed by Almighty God—and it sets forth God’s prescription for what a nation must do to enjoy divine favor.

Perhaps the most famous invocation of this verse in the founding literature is in George Washington’s 1783 letter to the state governors, written in anticipation of his retirement as commander in chief of the Continental Army. In his final, parting advice, Washington wrote that, if we hope to become a flourishing “happy Nation,” Americans must be disposed “to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion.”

Why were Americans in the founding era drawn to the Exodus narrative in the Bible?

Daniel L. Dreisbach: The Exodus narrative (Exodus 13-14) was a favorite biblical text for the founders. This passage has appealed to so many throughout history because it’s about liberation and liberty and God’s providential protection of his people.

There were many Americans in the Revolutionary era who believed that they, like the children of Israel, were oppressed by their colonial rulers, and they looked to God for deliverance from the tyranny of their pharaoh, George III. Just as the children of Israel were directed by God to depart from the land of their oppression with its tyrannical monarch, cross a great sea, and establish a new nation, so, too, the children of Great Britain were led by God to leave the land of their religious oppression, cross a great ocean, inhabit a promised land, and, eventually, resist a “tyrannical” George III and create a new nation in “God’s American Israel.”

Since the Bible (such as Romans 13) speaks of submitting to governing authorities, how did the colonists biblically justify their declaration of independence and revolt against England?

Daniel L. Dreisbach: Romans 13, by some accounts, was the most referenced biblical text in the political literature of the founding era.

Romans 13 instructs citizens to be subject to those in authority over them. This was a pertinent and challenging text for Americans contemplating resistance to what they regarded as oppressive, tyrannical British rule. This text was the subject of many treatises and political sermons; and, quite frankly, Americans were divided on whether Scripture would approve resistance to British colonial authority.

Many patriotic Americans adopted an interpretation of the text that held that God ordained and established civil government, but only to serve the common good. A civil government that oppresses its people and acts contrary to the people’s interests deposes itself, ceases to be a legitimate government, and, therefore, citizens are no longer obligated by Scripture to obey it. This interpretation led many Americans to conclude that they had not only a right but also a duty to resist the “tyrannical” rule of George III and Parliament.

Explain how Proverbs 14:34 guided political thought in the early days of America.

Daniel L. Dreisbach: Proverbs 14:34 was a favorite biblical text referenced frequently in public speeches, religious proclamations, political sermons, and the like by familiar founders, including John and Abigail Adams, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and George Washington.

This proverb, perhaps more succinctly and starkly than any other sacred text, expresses a biblical prescription for the success (or failure) of a nation and her people. The true greatness of a nation lies in its character, not in its economic or military power. The founders regarded this proverb as a reassuring promise and a warning that God elevates nations that behave in conformity with God’s standards but he withdraws his blessings from a people who disregard those standards.

How is the Bible associated with America’s Liberty Bell?

Daniel L. Dreisbach: The Pennsylvania provincial assembly commissioned the bell in 1751 to commemorate the 50th (Jubilee) anniversary of the 1701 Pennsylvania “Charter of Privileges,” which affirmed basic principles of the rule of law, “Civil Liberties,” and “Liberty of Conscience” in “Religious profession & Worship.” So the bell was truly a symbol of liberty. It’s called the “Liberty Bell” because it was cast with an inscription from Leviticus 25:10: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land to all the Inhabitants thereof.”

What do you hope readers will come away with when they finish your book?

Daniel L. Dreisbach: I hope readers gain an appreciation for the many contributions the Bible made to the American founding and, thus, conclude that one should study the Bible alongside other intellectual traditions—such as British constitutionalism, Enlightenment liberalism, and classical republicanism—in order to truly understand the American founding. I hope Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers helps American readers understand themselves as a people, their history, and the great American experiment in republican self-government.

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

Daniel L. Dreisbach: I’m grateful for the various platforms and services available from Bible Gateway. These have been invaluable to me not only in my personal Bible study but also in my research for this book.


Bio: Daniel L. Dreisbach is a professor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology at American University in Washington, DC. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia. He’s an academic advisor to the American Bible Society’s Faith & Liberty Discovery Center and he’s written extensively on the intersection of religion, politics, and law in the American founding, including Faith and the Founders of the American Republic.

Thousands already have! Try your 30-Day free trial today!
Remove banner ads and expand your Bible reading experience using our valuable library of more than 40 top resources by becoming a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Try it free for 30 days!