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Bible News Roundup – Week of October 15, 2017

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Young Bible Readers More Likely to be Faithful Adults, Study Finds
LifeWay Research
See Bibles for children in the Bible Gateway Store
See Bibles for teenagers in the Bible Gateway Store

Ten Commandments Monument Case Declined by Supreme Court of the United States
Baptist Press
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Ten Commandments Past and Present: An Interview with David L. Baker
See resources about the Ten Commandments in the Bible Gateway Store

Breeches Bible to be Read in Aylsham on 500th Anniversary
Eastern Daily Press
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, What Was the Reformation and Why Does it Matter Today?
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Read These Five Verses on Reformation Day
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Authority Of Scripture: An Interview with Matthew Barrett
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Was the Reformation a Mistake?: An Interview With Dr. Matthew Levering
See the Reformation Studies section in the Bible Gateway Store

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Waltrip Family Look Back on Decades of Bible Verses on Raceday
FOX Sports

New Bible Museum Previews Exhibits and Ethical Standards
CBN News

How This Pristine 15th-Century Hebrew Bible Survived the Inquisition
JTA

Archaeologists Uncover ‘Enormous Find’ with Roman-Era Theater-Like Building Beneath Jerusalem’s Western Wall
CBN News
See the Biblical Archaeology section in the Bible Gateway Store

Church of England Reaches More on Social Media Than in Services
The Telegraph

Kids Under 9 Spend More Than 2 Hours a Day on Screens, Report Shows
CNN
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Dangers of Social Media on Self Worth: An Interview with Kari Kampakis
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Connecting with Disconnected Tech-Savvy Teens: An Interview with Dr. Kathy Koch
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Wired Soul: An Interview with Tricia McCary Rhodes
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, How to Avoid Email Anxiety: An Interview with Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

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Aging Starts in Your Mind: An Interview with Notker Wolf

Notker WolfThe human body is inexorably aging, but is the soul? How does the soul measure itself by a different standard than the body? If we focus on the state of our soul—which is resolutely vibrant, cheerful, and full of zest for life—we wouldn’t resist aging but, instead, speak of growing fulfillment and joy.

Bible Gateway interviewed Notker Wolf about his book, Aging Starts in Your Mind: You’re Only As Old As You Feel (Paraclete Press, 2017).

Buy your copy of Aging Starts in Your Mind in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

You’re 77 years old. Explain what you mean: “the soul doesn’t age; it measures itself by a different standard than the body.”

Notker Wolf: The soul is the ongoing identity in our life and is expressed in our body. The body may age, but the whole personality has to grow; become more mature. Our soul has to be flexible and adapt to the different situations during our lifetime. The qualities of our body may be strength, beauty, but we may also fall sick and our soul has to cope with it. The changes of our body may be a challenge, but our personality can look at them in a different perspective of values such as love or sincerity. You have to live in your body and in the same time to remain in a constant distance or reflection. The unity of both is a mystery.

How is aging better accomplished when a person focuses on the state of his or her soul?

Notker Wolf: People who accept their aging process are not striving to uplifting continuously their faces and other parts of their body or implanting hairs into their head. In the end they are no longer themselves; they are looking like wearing masks. You’ll find the real beauty of a person when you can see his or her history from his or her face; when life has marked their faces and you can read their history from their faces. Those people have more time to live reconciled with themselves. They are serene.

Notker Wolf enjoying his hobby

What do you mean “freedom is a beautiful gift of old age”?

Notker Wolf: The older you get the more you can let go, in a material sense—you can give away many things you were once clinging to; the less you need the freer you will be. And in a spiritual sense, many things and opinions become less important.

How do the psalms show you new examples of how firmly you’re anchored in your faith, and how do they give you energy at the start of the day?

Notker Wolf: The psalms are expressions of our daily life, with its sorrow, needs, oppressions and depressions, but also with its joys, and all in front of God. The psalmist sees his life in front of God; a loving, merciful God who takes care of us, but also challenges us. Psalms are songs and this gives a special taste to my life. They create confidence in God and my life.

Why is the Apostle Paul one of your heroes and how should his words in Philippians 3:13-14 be an encouragement in the aging process?

Notker Wolf: The older I get, the more I’m looking forward, not to great projects but to the end of my life and the fulfillment of my hope to see Jesus face to face and to live in his glory together with the others who have gone before me.

How should the principle of “seek first the kingdom” be central in the aging process?

Notker Wolf: I’m sure we would become more realistic—and more human—if we would give up our money mindedness and our power greed. What will remain in the end? It’s sufficient watching some of those rich and powerful people. Are they really happy? In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus tells us that God will take care of us. Trust in God is more rewarding than trusting in ourselves and our actions. And nobody will dominate us except God; nor shall we dominate others.

What insights do you share in the book about aged biblical patriarchs like Methuselah and Noah?

Notker Wolf: Long life in the old times was seen as a special blessing of God. The aged biblical patriarchs are reported as being close to God and manifest the eternity of God. Being close to God, living in unity with him is our aim whatever age we reach. Jesus reached only 33 years. He lived in complete union with his heavenly Father and gave his life for humankind. If you really love God and the others, age does not matter.

How should people honor their father and mother as they get older?

Notker Wolf: By taking care of their fragility. Love them as the roots of your existence in body and mind. Reward them with your love. And when you feel that they have done something wrong in your childhood or later, forgive them; live reconciled with your parents.

How do you hope your book will challenge your readers?

Notker Wolf: My hope is that the readers get aware of the real values of life and get inspired to reflect upon their own behavior when they’re getting older. They’ll see that our life does not end with death but that we’re people of hope. In the end, God is waiting for us.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, CNN: A Catholic Reads the Bible]

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Notker Wolf: “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) We don’t see the inside of other people. Judging entails so much anger, hatred, and, in the end, war. And who are we that we are allowed to judge other people? God alone is the judge.

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

Notker Wolf: The websites are excellent; exemplary.


Bio: Notker Wolf, OSB, PhD, Abbot Primate emeritus, born 1940 in Southern Bavaria, joined the Archabbey of St. Ottilien in 1961, was ordained priest in 1968. Studies of Philosophy in S. Anselmo in Rome, Theology and Natural Sciences at Munich University. 1971-77 Professor of Philosophy of Nature and Theory of Science in Rome, 1977 elected Archabbot of St. Ottilien, 2000-2016 Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation. Honourable doctor degrees from Saint Anselm College, NH, and Saint Vincent College, PA. Several political and economic awards. Hobbies: Flute, Electric Guitar; languages.

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Getting Ready for “How to Live The Bible”

howtostudythebible

This is the introduction in Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.


Next week, I’m going to begin a brand new weekly series on the Bible Gateway Blog called “How to Live the Bible.” I’m really looking forward to these lessons for many reasons.

No doubt we all are struck by Jesus’ words that: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24). I want my life to be built on a solid foundation, not shifting sand, and I’m sure you do too.

I believe more than ever that we need the depths of the truth of the word of God. But it goes deeper than just reading the Bible, and deeper than studying it. We need to live it.

The believers I rely on most have a whole outlook on life that’s shaped by God’s truth. They’ve absorbed it. It forms the spiritual muscle tissue of their lives. They “live” the Bible.

So that’s our goal over 30 weeks. Each weekly Blog post (available to receive by email) will offer another step in this journey. We’ll look at the right ways to apply the truth of Scripture, how to avoid mistakes in misinterpreting Scripture, how to understand the promises and commands of Scripture, and how to deal with doubt, disappointment, skepticism, and uncertainty. The book of James says that “the implanted word” of God will “rescue us” (James 1:21).

For today, may I suggest you think about friends or family members who’d be interested in reading this series of lessons on the Bible Gateway Blog and signing up to receive them by email? Signing up at Bible Gateway is as easy as it can be. Anyone can unsubscribe at any time.

Maybe you’re in a group or you pastor a congregation: please notify your friends and followers about this series. Just point people to this page at Bible Gateway.

But don’t delay. The first lesson is Wednesday, October 18.

Blessings to you.


Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, including How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.

How to Freely Access the Reformation Study Bible

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

One of the best ways to commemorate the anniversary of the Reformation this year is to read the Reformation Study Bible. You can access it free on Bible Gateway. The Reformation Study Bible, which collects thousands of Bible study notes and insights from more than 50 distinguished Bible scholars, epitomizes the reformative movement’s insistence that Scripture should be easily accessible and readily shared.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, What Was the Reformation and Why Does it Matter Today?]

It’s not every day that you can celebrate the 500th anniversary of anything (no, your grandparents are not that old). So, what better way to get into the spirit of the Reformation than to read the translation which was named after it?

All of the study notes from The Reformation Study Bible are available to read right alongside Scripture at Bible Gateway. The following is a step-by-step guide on how to do that:

1. Look up a Bible passage.

Look up any Bible passage on Bible Gateway that you want to read and study. For example, John 3.

2. Open the “Study This” panel.

To the right of the Scripture text, look for the Study This panel. It looks like this when open:

Bible study panel, open

If it’s not open (and you don’t see that list of Study Bibles, Commentaries, etc.), just click or tap the blue Study This button to open it:

Study This button

You’ll see a lot of resources listed in that panel. Many of them are part of our Bible Gateway Plus membership service, and they require that you have a Bible Gateway Plus subscription to use. However, The Reformation Study Bible is free and can be used by anyone.

3. Locate The Reformation Study Bible in the Study Bibles section.

In the Study Bible section, you’ll see a list of all the study Bibles available on Bible Gateway. Scroll down until you see the translation you’re looking for (it’s probably the last one):

Reformation Study Bible

The number in the red box next to the title is the number of Bible notes available for the Bible passage you’re currently reading. So, for John 3, the The Reformation Study Bible has 22 study notes available. To open it, simply click or tap on its name.

4. Enjoy reading The Reformation Study Bible notes alongside Bible text.

Once selected, the panel displays the individual study notes available for the Bible passage you’re reading (in our example, John 3). Each note is listed by the verse(s) it corresponds to. For example, a listing of John 3:2 means that there is a study note available that talks about John 3:2.

To see The Reformation Study Bible note for a particular verse, click or tap the verse reference in the Study This panel. Doing so displays the study note for you to read. The study notes with vary in length, depending on the verse. This is what it looks like to have The Reformation Study Bible study notes open alongside John 3:2 (click to enlarge):

john32expanded-small

The words and phrases in bold are the specific parts of the verse that are being discussed. You can use the back-arrow above and to the left of the note to go back to the full list of study notes. The two left and right arrows below the study note will navigate to the previous and next study notes, respectively.

It’s that easy! With just a few extra clicks, you can add an incredible study resource to your Bible reading. The Reformation Study Bible is usable alongside any Bible translation on Bible Gateway. The next time you find yourself stumped by a Bible passage or confused about what it means, open The Reformation Study Bible and let it shed some light onto what you’re reading.

The Reformation Study Bible is made freely available on Bible Gateway by Ligonier Ministries. For more information, see our interview with its editor R.C. Sproul. While The Reformation Study Bible is available free online at Bible Gateway, you can also buy a print copy in the Bible Gateway Store.

 

Get to know your Bible better by becoming a member of Bible Gateway Plus.

Two Things Daniel Teaches Me about How to Thrive in a Hostile Culture

Jess ConnollyBy Jess Connolly

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”
Daniel 1:8-13 (NIV)

Daniel was just a kid. Scholars estimate that he and his friends were in their early teenage years. Daniel was a healthy, strong kid who didn’t do anything to land himself in hot water, except maybe be born a little wiser and taller than other kids. But he was born into a remarkable cultural battle—a time when God’s people were in the midst of a fight between their worldly identities and their kingdom identities, much like the world many of us found ourselves born into—like we’re seeing our kids born into as well.

Daniel and his pals were up against an interesting dilemma: How did they live under the rule of the king of their country while still honoring the King of their hearts? We could dig into Daniel for chapters upon chapters, but there are just a few things I want us to grab from this short passage.

What we see was that Daniel embodied the clichéd but helpful, “Be in the world but not of the world.” He said yes to going where he was taken. He said yes to the government, yes to learning. He said yes to being among people who were nothing like him. He didn’t reject the people who did things that didn’t honor God—he simply rejected the godless practices that would defile him. Daniel said yes to being in the world.

If I’m being honest, this is where the wheels get shaky for the women (and men) of God. It seems simple on paper, but it’s much tougher to live out. We seem to be okay with one or the other: being completely in the world and just like it or being completely outside of it and only interested in judging it. God’s way for us seems a lot simpler: be in the world, not judging it, but don’t become like it either. It’s a simple idea, but I believe we should keep saying simple things until we actually do them. It’s harder to say yes to being in the world while saying no to being defiled by it at the same time.

What does it look like to do this in your life? Maybe it means being in the playgroup of moms who don’t know Jesus but not laughing at the unkind jokes or leading the pack demeaning other women and men. Maybe it means seeing our lost coworkers like real humans, for whom we want good things, so we’re not only treating them decently but we’re also pointing them to the truth and the hope that we have. For some of us, it might mean evaluating our rhythms and our hours to see if we’re spending time in the wider world. Or are we surrounded only by other believers in a safety bubble?

It might mean holding off on the ranting Facebook posts, even when we’re right, simply because they’d alienate and hurt the people God sent us to love and share the light with. Saying yes to the world and no to compromising ourselves might mean saying yes to the extended family dinner and no to the temptation to enter into the family conflict that ultimately isn’t going to glorify God. It might mean saying yes to being in the book club and no to silently nodding when less-than-true things are being shared at club meetings. It might mean watching our modern-day celebrities and praying for them instead of bashing them, judging them, and only using their lives as entertainment—delighting in their downfalls or puffing ourselves up with pride as if we’re better than they are.

I believe it’s time for the women (and men) of God to return to the simple yes and no—yes to being with the world, no to joining in its sin. Not everything is clear-cut and easy to discern all the time—some decisions are gray, and some relationships are murky. But our God is not a God of confusion, and He’s given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to continually increase our capacity to discern what it looks like to live in the world without being exactly like it. As we look at Daniel’s story and our own lives, however, it seems clear that there is an open invitation to dance, stand, and run by saying yes to being with people and saying no to compromising ourselves in the midst of it all.

________

Dance, Stand, RunAdapted from Dance, Stand, Run: The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground by Jess Connolly. Click here to learn more about this title.

Grace is always good news. But it’s not cheap—true grace compels us to change. That’s where holiness comes in.

Beloved writer, speaker, and bestselling coauthor of Wild and Free, Jess Connolly will be the first to admit that not long ago, like many women, she grasped grace but she had forgotten holiness. Dance, Stand, Run charts her discovery that holiness was never meant to be a shaming reminder of what we “should” be doing, but rather a profound privilege of becoming more like Christ. That’s when we start to change the world, rather than being changed by it.

Dance, Stand, Run is an invitation to the daughters of God to step into the movements of abundant life: dancing in grace, standing firm in holiness, and running on mission. Through story and study, Jess casts a fresh vision for how to live into your identity as a holy daughter of God, how to break free of cheap grace and empty rule-keeping, and finally, how to live out your holy influence with confidence before a watching world. Spoiler alert: it’s a beautiful thing.

For anyone longing to take their place in what God is doing in the world, Dance, Stand, Run will rally your strength, refresh your purpose, and energize your faith in a God who calls us to be like Him.

Jess Connolly is a gal who is in the thick of it herself. She is the co-owner of All Good Things Collective print shop and helped start both She Reads Truth and The Influence Network. She and her husband planted Gospel Community Church in Charleston, South Carolina where they live with their four children. She blogs at JessConnolly.com.

Not Every Teenager Embraces Rebellion: An Interview with Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach

Rebecca Gregoire LindenbachTeen rebellion is seen as a cultural norm, but is it really? Or is it more that youthful rebellion is not properly understood, especially within the Christian environment?

Bible Gateway interviewed Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach (@LifeAsADare) about her book, Why I Didn’t Rebel: A Twenty-Two-Year-Old Explains Why She Stayed on the Straight and Narrow–and How Your Kids Can Too (Thomas Nelson, 2017).

Why is teenage rebellion against parents accepted to be normal?

Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach: Teenage rebellion is scary. You can make huge decisions in your teenage years that affect you for the rest of your life—and teens are often really dumb. Even the smart ones. They don’t always make the best decisions.

Buy your copy of Why I Didn't Rebel in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

On top of that, many parents rebelled themselves when they were teenagers. And they see themselves in their kids.

Parents love their kids so much, and when it comes to the teenage years they have two choices: faith or fear. And fear is a whole lot easier; it’s our natural response. Faith takes work. Faith takes prayer, trust, and surrender (Romans 12:1; Galatians 2:20-21; Matthew 16:24-25).

So when we think of teenage rebellion, we immediately jump to the fear response, which says, “It’s inevitable! Every teen rebels! There’s nothing you can do!”

But what if that’s not true? What if that’s faulty logic that doesn’t consider Jesus’ redeeming power?
It’s time we stop allowing ourselves to be controlled by fear. It’s time we start accepting that there is hope, and that there are things parents can do to equip their kids with the tools they need to make good decisions in their teenage years. Because “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Give a few examples of what parents should NOT consider to be rebellion.

Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach: We tend to see a “good kid” as one who fits a certain personality description. The good kid is the one who’s friendly, always knows the right thing to say, is well-dressed, soft-spoken, and doesn’t rock the boat.

The problem? Most people don’t fit in that personality!

I certainly didn’t.

We need to stop seeing rebellion as anything that goes against that “nice kid” persona. Because there are a lot of things teens do that, although they aren’t rebellion, aren’t “nice.”

Teens are hormonal, moody, and often have different beliefs and values than their parents do. None of those things are inherently wrong. None of those things are rebelling. The only thing that’s rebellion is when we’re living against what God wants (Matthew 6:33).

Some kids are going to stir up trouble. Some kids are going to be called to turn over the money tables (John 2:14-16). We shouldn’t scold them for rebellion simply because they aren’t being “nice.”

Raising kids who don’t rebel doesn’t mean raising kids who fit in and don’t rock the boat. It means raising kids who’ll go to the ends of the earth for God’s kingdom (Colossians 3:17).

What do you mean “successful parents aren’t perfect; they’re authentic”?

Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach: So often parents have this vision of “the perfect dad,” or “the perfect mom,” and they feel so much pressure to match that ideal they have in their mind.

They put their identity into what they can give their kids, what they can provide, whether their kids are the best they can be. And they take any slight failure, any slight inability to meet every unrealistic “should” that they’ve put upon themselves, as a sign that they aren’t good enough.

From my research, a huge difference between parents who had kids who rebelled and those who didn’t was that kids who didn’t rebel had parents who were comfortable being imperfect. They talked about their struggles, apologized when they had wronged their child, and admitted to their child that they didn’t have all the answers—but that it was OK.

Many parents who had kids who did rebel, though, were so tightly holding on to this image of being the “perfect” parent that they couldn’t share their heart with their kids. They didn’t share their fears, their failures, their uncertainties with their kids for fear that it would shatter that illusion of perfection.

The problem? Kids are way more perceptive than we give them credit for.

Nobody has it all together—but when you frantically pretend you do when you really don’t, it teaches kids that being honest about flaws and imperfections is unacceptable. Opening up, on the other hand, and sharing your heart with your kids, creates a family that is centered on truth. And where truth can flourish, Jesus can work freely (John 8:36; Luke 8:17; Romans 3:10; Ephesians 2:8-10).

How do you explain Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” in light of rebellious children raised in a Christian home?

Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach: I think the first thing we need to understand is that Proverbs is a book of principles—general trends of how the world works. But it’s not law. Take Proverbs 10:4 (NIV), for example: “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” In general, yes, that’s true—but we all know very lazy people who have a lot of money until the day they die and very diligent people who struggle to get by. Or Proverbs 10:2, “Ill-gotten gains do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.” There are a ton of people who’ve made their millions by cheating their way to the top, and there are many righteous people all over the world who are killed or tortured for their faith.

So when we look at Proverbs 22:6, we need to see it as a general principle—if you train your children to follow God’s law and instill the love of God in his heart, you’re making it much more likely that later he’ll continue to follow God’s desire for his life. But it doesn’t guarantee.

An important part of this principle, though, is the word “train.” Studying the interviews I did for my book, I noticed that families with kids who rebelled didn’t “train” their children—they dictated their children’s behaviours. They had strict rules, harsh discipline, and tried to have complete power over their children’s behaviours. They used parenting lines such as “because I said so,” or “as long as you live in this house you’ll obey me.” There wasn’t discussion around the rules—what mom and dad said was law.

Kids who didn’t rebel, though, had a very different home environment. Instead of being told what to do, we were taught how to make decisions for ourselves. One girl I interviewed (let’s call her Rachel) explained that instead of having a curfew her parents would ask, “What time do you think you should be home tonight?” Instead of dictating when Rachel had to be home by, this forced her to think through her decision and make an informed choice. She hated it at the time, but looking back now is so grateful that they trained her in good decision-making. I think we so often think that imposing more rules and discipline is the same as training, but according to my interviews it’s not.

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach: One of my all-time favourite verses I find myself turning back to time and time again is Matthew 6:33, which reads, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

It’s my “I-need-a-kick-in-the-pants” Bible verse. I’m a perfectionist and get really caught up in chasing goals, and it’s so easy to forget that simple phrase: seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness. I so often need to be reminded that I shouldn’t seek first to have the perfect house, or seek first to hit that work milestone, but seek first to bring God’s kingdom here on earth and to chase after his righteousness.

We make life much more complicated than it needs to be by focusing on the wrong things. Life isn’t about being the best parent, the best student, the best spouse—it’s about seeking God’s kingdom and his righteousness. Then everything else comes second to that.


Bio: Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach is an author, blogger, and psychology graduate from Ottawa, Canada. The daughter of blogger and author Sheila Wray Gregoire, Lindenbach is an online entrepreneur passionate about challenging pat answers and daring people to live beyond the status quo. She just celebrated her second anniversary this July.

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How to Select from the Variety of Bibles With Comfort Print Typeface

Do you feel overwhelmed and confused when attempting to choose a print edition Bible from the hundreds that are available?

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, KJV, NKJV, and NIV Bibles Get Typeface Makeover]

The Bible Gateway Store now makes selecting a Bible with Comfort Print® typeface in the New International Version (NIV) Bible translation manageable by filtering your search with five categories: price, cover material, cover color, print size, and gender/age. Click to begin selecting your next Bible.

Select your next Bible with Comfort Print typeface in the Bible Gateway Store

Bible News Roundup – Week of October 8, 2017

Read this week’s Bible Gateway Weekly Brief newsletter
Bible Gateway Weekly Brief
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Support Bible Gateway—Browse the Bible Gateway Store
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Thousands of Students Rally for Jesus in ‘Fields of Faith’
CBN News

Debate Over Bible Verse on Memorial Bench Continues
WSET

Grundy County Iowa to Take Part in Annual Bible Reading Marathon
The Grundy Register

Wycliffe Associates Launching Hundreds of Bible Translations in Next Few Months
Mission Network News
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Wycliffe Associates—Helping to Translate the Bible Where Persecution of Christians Is Severe: An Interview with Bruce Smith

St. Paul’s Cathedral to Display “The Most Dangerous Book in Tudor England”
ACNS

Bible Society of Namibia Completes Khoekhoegowab Bible
Namibian Broadcasting Corporation

Operation Bible Smuggling: How Christian Texts Infiltrate North Korea
FOX News

InterVarsity to Host Urbana18 Conference
Mission Network News
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Focuses Students on Bible Study

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

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The 1599 Geneva Bible: History’s First Study Bible

The Geneva Bible is unique among all other Bibles. Translated by the best Protestant scholars of the day, it’s a version born directly out of the religious conflict of the Reformation. And, though sadly little-known today, The Geneva Bible became one of the most popular translations of its time.

The Geneva Bible

Why?

First, a little history: Mary I was Queen of England and Ireland from 1553 until her death in 1558, and her executions of Protestants caused her opponents to give her the nickname “Bloody Mary.” It was her persecution that caused the Marian Exile which drove 800 English scholars to exile in the European continent, where a number of them gathered in Geneva, Switzerland. There, a team of scholars led by William Whittingham, and assisted by Miles Coverdale, Christopher Goodman, Anthony Gilby, John Knox, and Thomas Sampson, produced The Geneva Bible, based on Greek and Hebrew manuscripts and a revision of William Tyndale’s New Testament, which first appeared in 1526. The Geneva Bible New Testament was published in 1557, with the complete Bible appearing in 1560, and an updated and restored version appearing in 1599.

The Geneva Bible—written with clear readability and comprehension in mind—was not only the first Bible to use chapters and numbered verses, but it was also filled with extensive marginal notes. These notes, written by Reformation leaders including John Calvin, were intended to help explain and interpret the Scriptures for the average reader.

With its variety of scriptural study guides and aids—which included cross-reference verse citations, introductions to each book of the Bible, maps, tables, woodcut illustrations, indexes, and other features—The Geneva Bible is regarded as history’s first study Bible. It also became the Bible of choice for many of the greatest writers and thinkers of that time. Men such as William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, and John Milton looked to The Geneva Bible to provide Scripture in their own writings.

If you’re looking to get in to the spirit of the Reformation this year, there’s no better way to bridge the 500-year gap in history than to dig into the 1599 Geneva Bible—available as one of the many Bible translations on BibleGateway.com. It may have been especially influential throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, but it deserves to be remembered as a translation that has directly impacted the study Bibles of today.

If you’re curious, here’s John 3:16 in the 1599 Geneva Bible; you can also read more about its significance. When reading this Bible on Bible Gateway, be sure to have footnotes toggled on, so you can enjoy the accompanying study notes.

 

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How the Bible’s Obscure “Coincidences” Demonstrate Its Reliability: An Interview with Lydia McGrew

Lydia McGrewHow do seemingly unrelated details in different books of the Bible come together to form undesigned coincidences that strongly support the eyewitness nature of these books and the overall accuracy of the Bible?

Bible Gateway interviewed Lydia McGrew about her book, Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts (DeWard Publishing, 2017).

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What do you mean by “undesigned coincidences”?

Lydia McGrew: An undesigned coincidence is an incidental interlocking between reports that points to truth.

Give two or three examples of undesigned coincidences.

Lydia McGrew: It’s often easiest to see what an undesigned coincidence is from examples. In Matthew 14:2 Herod is musing about who Jesus can be, and he says that maybe Jesus is John the Baptist risen from the dead. Only Matthew mentions that Herod made this guess to his servants. This might make us wonder how Matthew knew what Herod was saying to his servants. Was this detail something Matthew made up? But in Luke 8:3 we find a list of women who were Jesus’ followers and contributed to his ministry, and among these is Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward! This is a very plausible route by which Jesus’ followers might have learned about what was going on behind the scenes in Herod’s household. But Luke isn’t talking about Herod or about John the Baptist. It’s a completely different context. And Matthew doesn’t give any explanation of how he knows what Herod is saying to his servants.

Here’s another: In Acts 18:5 Paul is in Corinth preaching, and at first he’s working as a tentmaker much of the time and preaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. But verse 5 says that, when Timothy and Silas came down from Macedonia, Paul became completely devoted to the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. Of course, Paul was always completely devoted to the word, so what difference did the arrival of Silas and Timothy make? Acts doesn’t explain. But over in 2 Corinthians 11:8-9, Paul is pointing out how careful he was not to take money from the Corinthians. He reminds them that he was never a burden to them while he was there and that, when he needed money, the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied it. This means that, while Paul was ministering in Corinth, some men came and brought money to him from Macedonia. This fits beautifully with Acts 18:5. This type of connection indicates that the author of Acts knew Paul’s ministry model at particular times. When Timothy and Silas arrived, Paul could preach every day. He didn’t have to work at his tentmaking during the week, because they brought financial support for him. But we have to infer that from 2 Corinthians. Acts doesn’t mention that they brought a contribution.

Here’s one from the Old Testament: 2 Samuel 15 and following shows Ahitophel as the counselor who cooperated with Absalom in his revolt against David. But Ahitophel had previously been one of David’s own counselors. Why did he turn against him? 2 Samuel 11:3 mentions the small fact that Bathsheba, whom David seduced and dishonored, and whose husband Uriah he killed, was the daughter of Eliam. Then way over in 2 Samuel 23:34-39, we learn from a list of David’s mighty men that Eliam was the son of Ahitophel! So Bathsheba was Ahitophel’s granddaughter, which could well explain why Ahitophel had a grudge and led a rebellion against David eventually. (This coincidence is not in my book, because I’m writing there only about the Gospels and Acts.)

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

How do these coincidences show that the Bible is reliable?

Lydia McGrew: When we start seeing again and again that the accounts fit together in these subtle ways, we’re reasonably confident that they’re reliable. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t expect to find this kind of jigsaw puzzle pattern. That’s what we do find in truthful witness testimony. Reality, of course, fits together, and when different witnesses tell about it, they notice different things and remember different things, and putting what they say together produces a more complete picture. If they were just making stuff up or relying on poor information, this would not happen.

What can we learn about the authors of the books from these coincidences?

Lydia McGrew: We learn first of all that they knew what they were talking about. These accounts aren’t made up of rumors and legends. In some cases, like the Gospels of John and Matthew, the authors may have been eyewitnesses themselves. I think undesigned coincidences support the conclusion that the author of Acts was a companion of Paul.

We also learn that they intended to be truthful in a normal sense of the word. Sometimes one reads that ancient people didn’t care very much about accuracy in reporting and that such a concern, applied to the books of the Bible, is anachronistic. I think that’s false, and undesigned coincidences show that it’s false. The authors of the Gospels and Acts were trying to get it right in the same sense that we might say someone is trying to get it right today.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Why Trust the Bible?: An Interview with Greg Gilbert]

Can you prove that the Bible is true from an undesigned coincidence?

Lydia McGrew: I wouldn’t say “prove,” because I would tend to reserve the idea of proof for something like a deductive or mathematical demonstration. What we can say is that even a single undesigned coincidence is evidence for the truth of the accounts involved.

What do you mean when you say that the argument from undesigned coincidences is cumulative?

Lydia McGrew: A cumulative case is a set of evidence that comes together to support a particular conclusion. Sometimes just one item in the set might not be enough by itself to make you highly confident in that conclusion, but each item makes its own contribution in some way, and the whole case put together can be very strong.

These are arguments we make unconsciously for all kinds of facts in daily life, bringing together many small indications to make a strong case all together. The undesigned coincidences are like that. Each coincidence brings together various accounts, and that provides some evidence for the truth of the events involved and also for the reliability of the Bible.

Then we also see all the different coincidences coming together as well to provide more and more evidence that these accounts are trustworthy. Even if one single undesigned coincidence doesn’t fully convince you, when they keep piling up, you should be convinced.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Why God Uses Metaphors to Describe Himself: Guest Post by Lauren Winner]

Could these coincidences actually not mean anything?

Lydia McGrew: There’s always the logical possibility of a pure coincidence, but often this is pretty improbable. It’s possible that it’s just a coincidence that Matthew mentions what Herod was saying to his servants and that Luke mentions Chuza, Herod’s steward, as the husband of Jesus’ follower Joanna. But that’s not the way to bet.

This is also related to the cumulative case aspect. How many times does one want to say that this is just a coincidence? It gets very implausible after a while.

Could these coincidences be faked by later authors reading earlier authors?

Lydia McGrew: As a bare possibility, that can’t be deductively ruled out, but all the evidence is against it. This is partly because they’re so subtle.

If John, for example, faked a coincidence with Luke, he sometimes had to write his own story in a puzzling way. In John 18:33, Pilate asks Jesus if he’s the king of the Jews, but John hasn’t recorded any accusation that Jesus said he was the king. Why does Pilate ask this question? We find out only in Luke, an earlier Gospel. Luke mentions that the Jewish leaders said that Jesus was putting himself forward as a king. So the earlier Gospel explains the later one. It would be very convoluted for John to put in Pilate’s unexplained question, “Are you the king of the Jews?” just in case a reader might notice that Luke tells why Pilate asked that.

So these are really too indirect to be of much use to someone trying to create a fake. In several cases it’s taken about 2,000 years for them even to be noticed! Those kinds of dovetailings happen naturally if the different accounts are true and reflect the incomplete memories or interests of those telling what happened.

What do you mean by “reclaiming the forward position”?

Lydia McGrew: In many apologetic circles it’s been common for some time to argue for Jesus’ resurrection by appealing only to things that are acknowledged by a majority of scholars of all stripes and ideologies. I think that limiting ourselves to “consensus facts” in our argument is far too constraining, because the field of biblical studies has some major problems, and we should just acknowledge that openly.

An example of limiting ourselves would be avoiding appealing to the book of Acts to talk about what the disciples said from the beginning. There’s a lot of gingerliness about just looking directly at Acts 2 and saying, “This is what Peter was testifying publicly within 50 days of Jesus’ death,” because there’s all this worry that maybe we can’t treat the sermons in Acts as accurate. So people will go instead to the first few verses of 1 Corinthians 15 as being the earliest statement of the truth of the resurrection. Well, it isn’t! Peter’s speech on Pentecost is a much earlier public proclamation. Peter’s sermon was probably not written down in the book of Acts before 1 Corinthians was written down, but I don’t think that should be the standard, since we have good reason to believe that Acts is an historically accurate record of the early church written by a companion of the Apostle Paul.

There are other examples like that, especially the tentativeness with which too many apologists will treat the details of the resurrection accounts in the Gospels. They tend to avoid appealing, for example, to the claim that Jesus supposedly ate with the disciples, because the authenticity of those passages is questioned by some scholars who will say that we don’t know if that really came from the disciples or was a later accretion.

I think instead we should argue on historical grounds for the truthfulness of the Gospels and Acts as (at least) accurate records of what the disciples claimed they experienced and then ask the skeptic to explain those accounts. And I think the evidence will support that approach. In that way we don’t weaken our argument but strengthen it by including all the available evidence rather than treating good evidence as weak or tainted merely because it isn’t granted by the consensus of scholars in a very contentious field.

How many undesigned coincidences have you found, and how difficult was it to find them?

Lydia McGrew: I’m always a little hesitant to answer the “how many” question, because in several cases in my book there are multiple coincidences packed into a single numbered item. In my book I discuss 27 numbered items for the Gospels and 20 between Acts and Paul’s epistles. But some of these could be considered “twofers” or “threefers,” so there are more than that in my book, and there are more in other books out there that I didn’t include.

For many of these it was very easy for me to “find” them, because I didn’t find them all by myself. I wrote my own arguments for them and presented them in a fresh form to a 21st-century audience. Nearly all of the coincidences I discuss between Acts and the epistles were given by William Paley back in the 1700s and some by his editors. Most of those in the Gospels were found by J. J. Blunt in the 1800s. Some more were found by my husband, Timothy McGrew, in various commentaries or on his own. So I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. For a few in the book, I actually did find them for myself.

They can be quite difficult to notice consciously, though I think they add to the air of truthfulness in the books that we may be cueing to unconsciously. Those of us who know the Gospels very well often have trouble noticing undesigned coincidences because we know the whole story, harmonized from various Gospels. We forget that John, for example, doesn’t mention that Peter boasted that he would never deny Jesus even if the other disciples fled. That’s in Matthew and Mark, and it features in an undesigned coincidence that dovetails with John 21.

So you have to learn to see how different documents contain different puzzle pieces. Since my book has come out I’ve had readers send me some additional candidates for inclusion that they’ve noticed themselves, and some of these are very good.

What impact do you want your book to have on its readers?

Lydia McGrew: I’d like it to give them confidence when people suggest that we have no idea where the Gospels and Acts came from, or whether they’re just late and legendary. I’d like to think that after reading Hidden in Plain View, you’ll have something to say when you hear that accusation. For those who are inclined to think that these are shaky accounts, I’d like it to make them stop and think. I also hope that it will cause Christians to realize that they really can take that “forward position” on the reliability of these books.

This argument is so old, it’s new. It’s been largely forgotten for over a hundred years, and I hope to bring it back.

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Lydia McGrew: I’ll sneak two in here, though of course there are many. I love Hebrews 11:13-16 in the great faith chapter where it says that the heroes of the faith confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims and that they desire a heavenly country. It adds, “Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

And in Galatians 2:20 Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: Nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

I would relate those passages to each other and say that, if we’re crucified with Christ, if we hide ourselves behind the cross so that any of our accomplishments are Christ working in us, then we’ll confess that we’re strangers and pilgrims on this earth, and God will not be ashamed to be called our God.

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

Lydia McGrew: I use a PC for all my writing, and I use the Bible Gateway site all the time to locate passages and quote them in my research. I have a lot of Scripture in my head from my Baptist upbringing, but in research I want to quote word-for-word, get the reference precisely correct, and have the option of using a solid modern translation like the ESV. I used the ESV for virtually all the Bible quotations in Hidden in Plain View. I used Bible Gateway a lot while researching for the book, because it allows me to call up a passage quickly, compare translations, and copy and paste it into something I’m writing. It’s very useful. I also used Bible Hub a great deal, especially for looking up the Greek text of specific verses or looking at one verse laid out in many different translations.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Lydia McGrew: I want to emphasize that the argument from undesigned coincidences is highly accessible. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to understand it and appreciate it, though scholars can certainly profit from it. I strongly encourage people who are interested, no matter who they are, to get hold of a copy of Hidden in Plain View (Kindle ebook available) and dive right in.


Bio: Dr. Lydia McGrew is a widely published analytic philosopher who specializes in classical and formal epistemology, probability theory, and philosophy of religion. She is the co-author (with Timothy McGrew) of Internalism and Epistemology: The Architecture of Reason (Routledge, 2007) and of the article on the argument from miracles in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (2009). Her articles have appeared in such journals as Erkenntnis, Theoria, Acta Analytica, Philosophia Christi, and Philosophical Studies, and she is the author of the entry on historical inquiry and theism in The Routledge Companion to Theism (2012). She home schools, and in her spare time, she blogs about apologetics, Christianity, culture, and politics. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband and children.

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