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How to Boost Your Bible Study with The Reformation Study Bible for Free on Bible Gateway

Next year will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation—specifically, of Martin Luther’s famous act of defiance against what he perceived to be unbiblical trends and practices within the church. Luther wasn’t the first or only “reformer,” but his actions catalyzed what we call the Protestant Reformation. The spirit of the Reformation is alive and well today, and Christians from all traditions can learn much from the Reformation’s emphasis on the authority and transforming power of the Bible.

bible-setMuch Reformation-inspired study material has been published over the years, but if you’re looking to incorporate the spirit of the Reformation into your Bible reading and study, one of the best modern resources at your disposal is The Reformation Study Bible, which collects thousands of Bible study notes and insights from more than 50 distinguished Bible scholars.

And did you know that The Reformation Study Bible is available completely free online at Bible Gateway?

All of the study notes from The Reformation Study Bible are available to freely read right alongside Scripture at Bible Gateway. It’s an amazing way to get answers to difficult questions, or insight into difficult-to-understand Bible verses. And did we mention it’s free? Here’s how to access The Reformation Study Bible!

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

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

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

Click or tap on the Study Bibles tab:

Study Bibles section

You’ll see a big list of all the study Bibles available on Bible Gateway. One of these is the Reformation Study Bible; scroll down until you see it:

Reformation Study Bible

The number in the red box next to the title is the number of study Bible notes available for the Bible passage you’re currently reading. For John 3, we see that there The Reformation Study Bible has 22 study notes available!

Once you’ve located The Reformation Study Bible in the list, simply click or tap on its name.

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

Once you’ve selected The Reformation Study Bible, 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. Depending on the verse, the study note may be very brief or very long, or somewhere in between. This is what it looks like to have The Reformation Study Bible study notes open alongside John 3:2 (click to enlarge):


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.

That’s it! 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 the generosity of Ligonier Ministries. For more information about Ligonier and The Reformation Study Bible, 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.

Exploring the Jewish High Holy Days

When most Christians think of the “holiday season,” they think of the Christmas season—the stretch of time beginning around Thanksgiving and ending with the New Year. But for Jews, “holiday season” comes a bit earlier in the year: the High Holy Days, a period of repentence and reflection that includes the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This year, the High Holy Days take place in October. These Jewish holidays aren’t usually observed by Christians, but rooted as they are in the text of Scripture, they’re nonetheless rewarding for Christians to study and understand.

This year, we’re running a special two-week devotional during the High Holy Days: Holy Land Moments, which explores the Jewish understanding of the holiday period and the Scripture passages on which they’re built. Do you know the Bible stories on which these holidays are based? Let’s take a moment to briefly look at the the High Holy Days and the Bible verses that instituted them.

Rosh Hashanah

alphonselevy_shofarRosh Hashanah—the holiday that opens the High Holy Days—is a celebration of the Jewish New Year. It calls people to consider God’s judgement, and is associated with the shofar horn. There’s no single verse in the Old Testament that institutes this holiday as it’s practiced today, but it evolved from the holy day mentioned in verses like Leviticus 23:24-25:

Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the Lord.

You can find a similar command in Numbers 29:1-2.

Over the centuries, Jewish tradition has connected Rosh Hashanah with many different themes and ideas, from the creation of Adam to God’s judgment of good and evil people. Because the holiday isn’t described in any detail in the Bible, we don’t know for certain what its theological meaning was to its earliest observers. But its call to remember God’s work in the past, and to reflect on our own behavior in light of God’s laws, is one that any Christian can answer.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the culmination of the “High Holy Days” that begin at Rosh Hashanah, and has a more direct link to Scripture. It’s described in Leviticus 16, where it’s instituted by God as a day of sacrifice and atonement for sin. It’s one of the most significant days of the year for Jews, and Christians believe it to be a clear foreshadowing of the saving work of Jesus Christ. Here’s what the Reformation Study Bible (one of the free study Bibles available in the Study This sidebar on Bible Gateway) has to say about Yom Kippur:

For the high priest, the most important aspects of the ceremony were his entry into the Most Holy Place with the blood of the sin offerings and the dispatch of the scapegoat into the wilderness. These actions atoned for the sins of repentant Israelites….

The scapegoat ceremony was also unique to this day. By placing his hands on the goat’s head and confessing the nation’s sins, the high priest transferred those sins to the goat. The goat then symbolically carried the people’s sins away into the wilderness. Christians have long regarded the scapegoat as a type of Christ. The New Testament makes many comparisons between the Day of Atonement and the death of Christ (Heb. 9:6–28; 13:11–13). That Christ was delivered to the Gentiles and killed outside the walls of Jerusalem indicated that He was sent “outside the camp” like the scapegoat of old.—from the Reformation Study Bible commentary on Leviticus 16

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are not the only things that Jews will be commemorating over the next month. But they are two of the most culturally important—and they also have strong connections to a Christian understanding of Scripture. If you’re interested in further exploring the points of connection between Jewish and Christian approaches to Scripture, we encourage you to sign up for Holy Land Moments, which begins today and continues for two weeks into October. And of course, whether or not you sign up for the devotional, this Jewish holiday period is a great excuse to read through the Bible passages noted above and gain a better understanding of the holy days of the Old Testament!

The Bible is the Invisible Bestseller: An Interview with Kenneth Briggs

Kenneth A. BriggsHow can a book—one that’s found in courthouses, libraries, and millions of households across the land—be everywhere and nowhere at the same time? Why has the Bible disappeared from public life and discourse?

Bible Gateway interviewed Kenneth A. Briggs (email address) about his book, The Invisible Bestseller: Searching for the Bible in America (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016).

What does the title of your book mean?

Buy your copy of The Invisible Bestseller in the Bible Gateway Store

Kenneth A. Briggs: The title is intended to reflect the general perception that the Bible exists within a paradox: while it still moves in large quantities from producers to recipients across the country, fewer and fewer people are ever seen reading it.

What are some of the statistics that comprise your book’s premise?

Kenneth A. Briggs: Reliable numbers, as compared with widespread impressions, are hard to come by. But piecing together information from Bible publishers and distributors indicates that around 25 million new versions find their way into the public every year. Over half of those appear to be gifts; many others are purchased in bulk by agencies which give them away. On the other side, the American Bible Society’s annual State of the Bible shows a sharp decline in reading. Nearly 40% in surveys now say they never read it and the level of daily readers has dropped to 16%.

In the course of writing The Invisible Bestseller, where were you surprised to find an emphasis on the Bible that you weren’t expecting; and where were you surprised to find an absence of the Bible where you were expecting to see it?

Kenneth A. Briggs: Though I found a few individuals who’d discovered the Bible on their own and avidly explored it, they were the exceptions. What surprised me was that a reduction of Bible reading and study was reported so often by conservative churches which are widely assumed to be most devoted to it.

What effect did the Bible have on the inmates you visited in a federal prison in upstate New York?

Kenneth A. Briggs: So far as I could determine, the prison inmates gained assurance of a spiritual bounty both within the walls and in their imagined futures in the outside world. It was a foundation of hope and a means of connecting with a faith community that spawned friendship and sources of counsel that had its own life and habits for sustaining a distinct lifestyle.

What role has the Bible historically played in America; what is it today; and what do you observe as the reasons for the change?

Kenneth A. Briggs: As many of us learned in history class, the Bible was close to being a blueprint for the founding of America. Its visions mirroring a society of faith, abundance, and freedom, characterized by “godliness,” was built into the fabric of the people who gave the country its stated ideals and purposes. Some of it was explicit, built into the founding documents, and much of it implicit in the norms of behavior that were considered consistent with those aspirations. It was, by any measure, the unofficial, supporting charter for the new republic.

That held true into the 20th century, in part because of relative uniformity of the governing, Christian classes, but has largely lost that prominence. It was challenged by growing pluralism, the impact of science as a rival to religion as a source of truth, and the upsurge of materialism as a central pursuit under the sway of robust capitalism.

The emerging perspective of what was important to one’s existence became much more this-worldly even among religious people. The Bible has become more remote from the concerns of modern life and its transcendent outlook less credible. All this reorientation has taken place in the midst of cultural shifts that have drastically lessened the taste for reading in general; the Bible has correspondingly been deeply affected by that trend.

The crisis, as I see it, is that the foundational source of what was once a common theological, philosophical, and ethical set of beliefs and values is being neglected, and little except secular values like success, status, and money are filling the gap. Many people simply don’t any longer think they need the Bible to fulfill their ambitions.

What do you mean when you write that the Bible is extolled and sanctified in Christian bookstores, “but more like a grandparent with whom family members seldom actually interact but who exists as a symbol of vaguely familiar wisdom and truth”?

Kenneth A. Briggs: Despite paying less attention to what the Bible says and means, people still seem to me attached to it as a cherished vestige of an America that still holds great sentiment and nostalgia. In my travels, I talked to many people who revered it and knew practically nothing about it.

What was your major take-away from your encounter with the Society of Biblical Literature and what is the “gulf between professor and pew”?

Kenneth A. Briggs: An intense struggle has been going on within the Society over the issue of whether personal faith plays a legitimate part in biblical research. The group’s history has long favored separation of the two and that standard has accompanied a period of outstanding scholarly achievement under the umbrella of historical/critical criteria. In recent years, that concept of separation has been challenged mostly by evangelical researchers who believe it’s impossible and undesirable to completely divide the two.

It seems to me the debate and surrounding friction are important and necessary to chances of finding a resolution to this exceeding and lingering problem. Meanwhile, in my estimation, the prestige and sophistication of the scholars point to an understanding of the Bible which is generally worlds-removed from the assumptions held by most churchgoers. The two interest groups are, for the most part, differently motivated and out of touch with each other. My impression is that closer ties could offer mutual enrichment to the benefit of both.

What is the “fragility of teaching and learning Scripture” you write about?

Kenneth A. Briggs: Given the Bible’s distant origins, unfamiliar terminology, and arcane historical references, among other things, it’s a major challenge for teachers to make its messages clear and true to the circumstances of its origins. Likewise, students confront a biblical worldview that requires delicate and thorough unraveling to be understandable by a 21st century mentality.

If the teacher’s goal is to present the material without bias and even subtle imposition of his or her own interpretation, then the task is even more formidable. Bible study in its truest sense isn’t easy or for the faint hearted. I’m not sure it would have been even two millennia ago when there were fewer intervening screens, either, though contemporary people sometimes reject the challenge on grounds that it’s too hard. Mark Twain once said he wasn’t bothered so much by what he didn’t grasp in the Bible but by what he DID.

Share some of the stories you recount of “intriguing results” by “people who have befriended the Bible.”

Kenneth A. Briggs: Two capsule accounts of how Bible involvement influenced people. A woman who was a doctor’s daughter and an endocrinologist had, by her own description, wandered aimlessly for many years. A friend took her to church one Sunday; she heard the preacher explain a Bible passage and she found herself asking to study with him. Her delving deeply into it resulted in her quitting her job and starting a foundation to help tiny churches with strong spirits to survive.

Second, a feisty insurance agent who belonged to a Baptist church and attended a men’s Bible group because he felt he had to. One Sunday he remembered when the message of forgiveness from the parable of the Prodigal Son hit him like a ton of bricks. The gift conferred on the Prodigal applied to him. He began the process of unloading years of guilt for deceptions in his marriage and in his business. He testified to a new life of freedom. For the first time in years, he felt engaged with his wife.

Describe your assessment of the emergence of “Bible-less Christianity.”

Kenneth A. Briggs: Since church people are reading the Bible less, ministers have found ways of expecting less biblical knowledge from their congregations. It’s a cycle of diminishing returns. Bible study is disappearing or greatly diminished in many churches. Meanwhile, a bewildering crop of Bible substitutes are becoming available—videos, recordings, films, tapes, Bible-lite digests and abridgements or rewrites had filled in—to help the medicine go down. They resemble media entertainment productions that church members are accustomed to outside of church. It is something of a hyperbole to say that churches are headed for a “Bible-less” state, but the signs of something like that seem very strong. The actual Bible fades into the background.

As a journalist, have you come to conclusions about the way forward for the Bible in public life?

Kenneth A. Briggs: I’m reluctant to risk sounding breezy or trite about something I regard as this serious, but in general a couple of points. The main one is that those who are tossing out the practices of biblical evangelism that have been followed in the past are on the right track. The cultural patterns that made the Bible attractive both in religious and educational terms obviously don’t work any longer. There are smart people, alert to the crisis, who are working on the problem. The means of bringing the Bible’s riches to the common lot these days remain largely a mystery but it needs to be pursued. The context has broadened. Once the Bible was virtually the only game in town, speaking religiously. That’s no longer the case. How is the new pluralism accommodated?

Second, I believe the screen between churchgoers and biblical scholars needs to be lowered. If believers can open their minds to an expanded view of the scholars’ learning—and scholars can accept the vitality of lived faith—a revitalization of the Bible in the church may be in the offing. It’s an unproven notion but one I came away with.

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

Kenneth A. Briggs: I’m very appreciative of Bible Gateway for the freshness and vitality of your productions. In these remarks, I haven’t specifically addressed the value of Bible apps but in my view they have the potential to be a powerful means of changing the way we think about Bible reading and study. I like your app very much. It’s clean, attractive, and appealing. The questions pertinent to the app’s ability to generate a turnaound hadn’t been pursued very rigorously during my book research but perhaps they are now. To me was the matter of how those who download them actually use them. Also, how prevalent is snippet-reading taking place without context or group participation—and does it matter? Many who are concerned with biblical illiteracy point to apps as a great asset while repeating old doubts about whether they will nurture more depth learning and wisdom or will perpetuate the distribution-without-engagement that has brought us to this juncture. I don’t know, but am thankful you’re making this wonderful resource available.

Bio: Kenneth A. Briggs is a journalist and commentator who worked for many years as religion writer for Newsday and as religion editor for The New York Times. He’s taught journalism and religion at Columbia University, Lafayette College, and Lehigh University. His previous books include Double Crossed: Uncovering the Catholic Church’s Betrayal of American Nuns and The Power of Forgiveness.

Students Pray at See You At The Pole

Buy your copy of Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God in the Bible Gateway Store

Students across America and around the world gathered before school hours this morning to publicly pray in the annual See You at the Pole™ (@SeeYouAtThePole) event (#wecryout, #syatp2016, #syatp and #seeyouatthepole).

[See resources about Prayer in the Bible Gateway Store]

The prayer initiative began as a grassroots movement in 1990 when a small group of teenagers in Burleson, Texas, came together to seek God. It has since grown into an international phenomenon, giving young people the opportunity to express their Christian faith. Now each year, more than 3 million students from all the world participate. Students in more than 60 countries take part, including Canada, Korea, Japan, Turkey, Ivory Coast, and USA.

[See the Bible Gateway Blog post—Youth Ministry Web Resources]

This year’s theme is “We Cry Out: A Generation Seeking Him,” focusing on the Bible passage Psalm 24:3-6

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.

[See Bible Gateway free email devotionals for families]

Buy your copy of Too Busy Not to Pray in the Bible Gateway Store Buy your copy of Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer in the Bible Gateway Store Buy your copy of Moving Mountains in the Bible Gateway Store Buy your copy of Praying the Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

66 Ways God Loves You: An Interview with Jennifer Rothschild

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Jennifer RothschildYou know the Bible to be instructive, historical, poetic. Have you also considered it to be an incredible love letter? That every book of the Bible reflects God’s love for its readers?

Bible Gateway interviewed Jennifer Rothschild (@jennrothschild) about her book, 66 Ways God Loves You: Experiencing God’s Love for You in Every Book of the Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2016).

[See the Table of Contents for 66 Ways God Loves You]

Buy your copy of 66 Ways God Loves You in the Bible Gateway Store

In the book’s introduction you share how you lost your sight at the age of 15 to a retinal disease and were no longer able to read from your own Bible. How did you feel God’s love during such a difficult time?

Jennifer Rothschild: I think I felt God’s love the deepest when I experienced my deepest loss. Amazing how God does that! Blindness brought with it a million adjustments and losses and emotions. But, there really was this unshakeable sense, deep within me, that God had already prepared me for the darkness. And he did it through his Word. I had memorized Scripture as a child and teen. I knew 1 John 1:5 that told me “…God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” And, I had memorized Psalm 119:130, “The entrance of your words gives light.”

But, wow—those truths jumped from my head straight to my heart once my eyes could no longer see light. Honestly, it was his Word that kept me from losing it completely. It was Scripture that I had hidden in my heart that quickly came to mind when my frustration felt stronger than my faith. The peace, comfort, and hope God gave me made me feel like I really was walking in his light; those spiritual blessings were constant reminders that God really did love me. He loved me enough to tuck his Word in my heart so I’d have it when my eyes could no longer read it.

Fast forward to today. I’m 52 years old and blindness has been the single hardest thing I deal with every minute of every day. And, I still feel the same way about God’s Word as I did when I was 15 and lost my sight. Really, Psalm 119:92 says it best; “If your law had not been my delight I would have perished in my affliction.” It’s true. God’s Word really carries me every day.

Why do you consider the Bible to be God’s love letter?

Jennifer Rothschild: Lots of the time, we just think of the Bible as history or life lessons or poetry or—unfortunately—a collection of ‘thou shall’ and ‘thou shalt nots!’ All those elements are part of Scripture. God does give us the history of his people. God’s Word does provide life lessons to teach us how to live. And it gives us beautiful poetry that gives voice to our human experience. And, yes, it does give us clear boundaries of what we should and shouldn’t do so we can live our best lives.

I think God gives us all that in his Word because he’s a loving Father. Loving fathers give their children a sense of their history. Loving fathers give their children guidance on how to deal with all the hard things in life. Loving fathers give their children boundaries so they won’t get hurt and can live with peace and purpose. God is our loving Father who loves his children perfectly. So, every part of his Word is an expression of his love to us.

Because he loves us, he tells us where we came from and who we are. Because he loves us, he gives us lyrics to sing when our hearts can’t form words. Because he loves us, he gives us practical teaching and boundaries to protect our hearts. The whole thing is one big expression of a father’s love for his children. Even the parts that some think are rough and hard to swallow, are still expressions of a loving God Who has plans “…to prosper you and not to harm you” (Jeremiah 29:11). Because, ultimately, God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). It’s all about love!

How do you highlight God’s love in each book of the Bible? Especially in those books often viewed as historical, hostile, or even “boring”?

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, when I read the word boring, I must admit, I think of Leviticus! Yeah, how can you find the love of God in Leviticus or Judges or Revelation? The really beautiful thing about every book is that you can find God’s love through each chapter because God is the author and God is love.

So, for example, in Leviticus, God shows us he loves us by giving us access to himself. If you just read Leviticus on the surface, you may think it’s just a bunch of grumpy irrelevant rules; but, it’s actually the way God gave his people access to himself. Because he loves us, he lets us know exactly how to have access to him. And ultimately, God gave us Jesus who is “The Way” (John 14:6).

In Judges, God stays faithful to us in spite of our repeated failures. Judges isn’t just about people who blow it over and over. It’s a picture of God’s love that never fails even when we do. And, Revelation isn’t just end time’s prophecy, it’s God showing off his Son and his glory and honoring us, his treasured bride, with a seat at his table forever!

Don’t get me started! I get so excited I could practically relay the whole table of contents! [Editor’s note: See the Table of Contents for 66 Ways God Loves You] I love his Word and I hope when readers discover how God communicates his love for them through each book of the Bible, they’ll fall deeper in love with his Word too.

How has writing this book changed your life?

Jennifer Rothschild: I thought I loved Scripture before I wrote this book! But, as I reread each book of the Bible, I fell in love all over again—not just with God’s Word, but with God himself. Sometimes when I read Scripture, I’m trying to learn something or teach something or change something in my life. But, as I wrote this book, I looked at Scripture only through the lens of love.

It was totally humbling to be confronted over and over with the different ways God loves us—me—with an “everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3) I grappled with my unworthiness; I found myself just stopping—taking my fingers off my computer and bowing my head in gratefulness and praise.

Not only is it mind-blowing that God would consider me—us—worthy of his love, but it’s flat-out incomprehensible that God would give us his wisdom, compassion, guidance, and comfort by giving us his Word. It’s totally humbling and such an honor. Thank you Lord!

What’s your favorite book of the Bible and why?

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, is that kind of like choosing your favorite child? Ha! I guess if I have to choose, I choose Hosea. Oh, there’s no book of the Bible which more beautifully and more painfully demonstrates how very much God loves us.

I fell in love with Hosea as a little girl when my dad used to tell me the story of Hosea and Gomer. I always wanted a man to love me like he loved her. To think she didn’t deserve his love and he pursued her and sacrificed and called her his beloved bride? Well, that’s the kind of love any woman longs for.

And, the book of Hosea tells me that’s one of the ways God loves me. He pursues me, he sacrificed for me, and he calls me his beloved! And, not just me… all of us. God’s love is bigger than our failures and stronger than any chains that bind us. His love never quits or fails or walks away.

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

Jennifer Rothschild: Let me just say writing 66 Ways God Loves You would have been a whole lot harder without Bible Gateway! It’s my first go-to when it comes to finding a verse or looking at a commentary or doing a word search. Being blind, I rely on software that talks to me. Not every website is easy for screen-readers to read. But Bible Gateway is. So, not only am I super grateful for your commitment to God’s Word and the content you provide, I’m really thankful that even these blind eyes can access it so easily with my screen reader. Thanks guys!

Bio: Jennifer Rothschild has written 13 books and Bible studies, including the bestsellers, Lessons I Learned in the Dark, Self Talk, Soul Talk, Hosea: Unfailing Love Changes Everything, and Invisible for Young Women. She’s appeared on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Life Today, and a Billy Graham television special, and spoken for Women of Faith and Extraordinary Women. She’s the founder of the Fresh Grounded Faith conferences and Jennifer lost her sight at age 15 and regularly travels and speaks around the country, sharing her story and all God has done in her life. Jennifer lives with her family in Missouri.

66 Ways God Loves You: Book by Book

Buy your copy of 66 Ways God Loves You in the Bible Gateway Store

The following list is the Table of Contents from 66 Ways God Loves You: Experiencing God’s Love for You in Every Book of the Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2016) by Jennifer Rothschild (@jennrothschild).

[See the Bible Gateway Blog post, 66 Ways God Loves You: An Interview with Jennifer Rothschild]

In Genesis
      God Fashions Me with His Hands

In Exodus
      God Delivers Me from Slavery

In Leviticus
      God Grants Me Access to Him

In Numbers
      God Shelters Me in Cities of Refuge

In Deuteronomy
      God Keeps His Covenant of Love to Me and to a Thousand Generations

In Joshua
      God Gives Me Divine Purpose

In Judges
      God Shows Mercy in Spite of My Repeated Failures

In Ruth
      My Kinsman-Redeemer Grafts Me into His Family

In 1 Samuel
      God Anoints Me with His Spirit

In 2 Samuel
      God Builds a Home for Me

In 1 Kings
      God Remains Faithful to Me

In 2 Kings
      God Shows Me Loving Patience

In 1 Chronicles
      God Grants Me Success

In 2 Chronicles
      God Makes My Prayer Powerful

In Ezra
      God’s Persistent Love Restores Me

In Nehemiah
      God Gives Me Tools to Rebuild All That Is Broken

In Esther
      God Crowns Me with Worth and Makes Me Royalty

In Job
      God Sustains Me in Suffering

In Psalms
      My Good Shepherd Draws Me Close and Listens for My Voice

In Proverbs
      God Offers Me Wisdom More Precious Than Rubies

In Ecclesiastes
      God Gives Meaning to My Meaninglessness

In Song of Songs
      the Lover of My Soul Draws Me to Run After Him

In Isaiah
      God Reveals to Me the Savior

In Jeremiah
      God Sees My Tears and Gives Me Hope

In Lamentations
      God Grants Me New Mercy Every Morning

In Ezekiel
      God Brings Life to My Dead Bones

In Daniel
      God Joins Me in the Fire

In Hosea
      God Pursues Me to Buy Me Back

In Joel
      God Restores the Years the Locusts Have Eaten

In Amos
      God Protects Me When I Feel Powerless

In Obadiah
      God Stands Up For Me

In Jonah
      God Uses Imperfect Man to Fulfill His Perfect Plan

In Micah
      God Invites Me to Walk Humbly with Him

In Nahum
      God Gives Me Refuge in Times of Trouble

In Habakkuk
      God Places My Lowliness in High Places

In Zephaniah
      the Mighty God Sings over Me with Great Joy

In Haggai
      God Himself Dwells with Me and Gives Me Peace

In Zechariah
      God Assures Me of His Coming

In Malachi
      God Pours Out His Blessing on Me

In Matthew
      God Puts On Human Flesh Just to Seek and Save Me

In Mark
      God Stills the Storm in My Soul

In Luke
      the Good Samaritan Sees Me When I’m Broken and Comes to My Aid

In John
      God Gives Me Everlasting Life

In Acts
      God’s Spirit Comes to Live in Me

In Romans
      God Works All Things Together for My Good

In 1 Corinthians
      God Teaches Me the Way of Love

In 2 Corinthians
      God Comforts Me

In Galatians
      God Sets Me Free

In Ephesians
      God Lavishes Me with Grace

In Philippians
      God Gives Me Joy

In Colossians
      God Completes Me

In 1 Thessalonians
      God Returns to Bring Me Home with Him

In 2 Thessalonians
      God Stands with Me When I’m Persecuted

In 1 Timothy
      God Entrusts Me with a High Calling

In 2 Timothy
      God Gives Me the Spirit of Power

In Titus
      God Steps Into My Confusion with a Love That Saves Me

In Philemon
      God Turns My Slavery into Brotherhood

In Hebrews
      God Invites Me to Come Boldly Before His Throne

In James
      God Refines My Faith

In 1 Peter
      God Gives Me Victory in Suffering

In 2 Peter
      God Gives Me Everything I Need for Life and Godliness

In 1 John
      God Makes Me Clean

In 2 John
      God Shows Me How to Finish Well

In 3 John
      God Offers Me Hospitality When I Need a Place to Rest

In Jude
      God Keeps Me from Falling and Presents Me Faultless Before His Throne

In Revelation
      God Receives Me as His Beloved and Treasured Bride

The above list is the Table of Contents from 66 Ways God Loves You: Experiencing God’s Love for You in Every Book of the Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2016) by Jennifer Rothschild. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. Table of Contents. All rights reserved.

Bible News Roundup – Week of September 25, 2016

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October 6 is Bring Your Bible to School Day™ (@BringYourBible) (#BringYourBible)

Crossway Statement on the ESV Bible Text
Crossway Blog
CT: Crossway Reverses Decision to Make ESV Bible Text Permanent
Browse various editions of the ESV Bible translation in the Bible Gateway Store

Americans Love God and the Bible, Are Fuzzy on the Details
LifeWay Research
CT: Study Examines What Americans Believe About 47 Theological Statements
Ligonier: The State of Theology
See the Theology section in the Bible Gateway Store

How Decades of Divorce Helped Erode Religion
The Washington Post
See Sacred Marriage resources in the Bible Gateway Store
See Bible Gateway free email devotionals to strengthen your marriage

Bible Removed from Military Base Medical Clinic
Northwest Florida Daily News: Eglin Removes Bible from Clinic Following Retiree’s Complaint

Appeals Court: Fire Dept. Didn’t Violate Firefighter’s Free-Speech Rights When it Prevented Him from Sending Emails with Bible Passages at Work
Courthouse News Service

University of Miami Head Football Coach Mark Richt Gave Every Player a Bible with the Player’s Name on the Cover
Miami Herald
SunSentinel: UM’s Rayshawn Jenkins on Mark Richt’s Newest Gift to Team: ‘He Wants Good for Us’

Bishop of Lancaster Launches Challenge for Children to Engage with Bible
See Bible Gateway free email devotionals for families

Discovery at 2,800-Year-Old Shrine Reveals Biblical Tale of Desecration of Religious Sites by King Hezekiah
Daily Mail
Read about King Hezekiah in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
See Bible verse search results for “Hezekiah” on Bible Gateway
Read 2 Kings 10:27 and 2 Kings 18:4 on Bible Gateway

1890s Bible Among Discoveries in 117-Year-Old Time Capsule

200-Year-Old Bible Comes Home to Paisley, Scotland After American Buys It On eBay

Illuminated Gospels Manuscript Digitized at the National Library of Greece
Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts
Browse the Biblical Archaeology section in the Bible Gateway Store

Washington, DC: ‘Topping Out’ the Museum of the Bible
Daniel B. Wallace
Listen to The Book radio program produced by Museum of the Bible on Bible Gateway

Saint Anselm to Host Heritage Edition of The Saint Johns Bible
Saint Anselm College
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post—The Saint John’s Bible: A Work of Art

Fake or Real?: Ten Commandments Carving in Ancient Paleo-Hebrew Text Found West of Los Lunas, New Mexico
CBN News
Read the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20 on Bible Gateway

Figs, Olives, Almonds and More: Exploring Israel’s Biblical Foliage
The Times of Israel

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

New NKJV Word Study Bible Helps Unlock the Languages of the Bible

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Buy your copy of the NKJV Word Study Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

Features In-Text Subheadings and 1,700 Easy-to-Use Word Studies

Thomas Nelson Bibles (@NelsonBibles) has published its newest study Bible, the NKJV Word Study Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2016).

Biblical manuscripts were written by the authors in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Not knowing these languages can sometimes make it challenging for English readers to fully understand the meaning and intent of Scripture. The NKJV Word Study Bible allows readers to delve deeper into the original languages of the Bible. It introduces readers to word studies in an approachable way, so they can gain basic knowledge of the ancient text and make it part of their daily study habits.

[See the New King James Version (NKJV) Bibles section in the Bible Gateway Store]

“The meaning of Greek and Hebrew words can truly affect the proper interpretation of Scripture,” says Daniel Marrs, Associate Publisher, Thomas Nelson Bible Group. Marrs also served as the editor for the NKJV Word Study Bible. “Word studies can provide unique insights into God’s Word. We want readers to discover the significance and richness of the original languages and to experience Scripture in a whole new way.”

The NKJV Word Study Bible includes in-text subheadings and 1,700 easy-to-use word studies with select Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words explained in every chapter from Genesis to Revelation, helping readers dig deeper into their Bible studies.

Book introductions, word definitions, indexes, color maps, footnotes, a concordance, and Strong’s Hebrew and Greek numbering system help readers get closer to the original text. This easy-to-use study Bible does not require previous knowledge of biblical languages or the use of an extensive reference program in order to experience the benefits of immersive Bible words studies.

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

Seeing the Creator in the Wonders of Our Cosmos: An Interview with David Bradstreet

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Dr. David BradstreetThe heavens beckon us, telling us this wonderful, mind-boggling cosmic display is indeed the work of the creator. And now, using rovers and satellites, explorations venture further out into the vastness of space than ever before.

Bible Gateway interviewed Dr. David Bradstreet (@EUastronomy) about his book, Star Struck: Seeing the Creator in the Wonders of Our Cosmos (Zondervan, 2016).

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, God of the Big Bang: An Interview with Leslie Wickman, Rocket Scientist]

Just how large is the universe?

Buy your copy of Star Struck in the Bible Gateway Store

Dr. David Bradstreet: We don’t know for sure.

We’re limited to measuring the observable universe because of the finite speed with which light travels: 186,000 miles per second. In one year light travels about 5.9 trillion miles, which we call a light year. We can only detect light out as far as the universe is old; that is, since the creation of the universe—approximately 13.8 billion years ago—light has only been able to travel 13.8 billion light years. But with an expanding universe, the objects which radiated the light that we now see as having come those vast distances are now much further away; and so current estimates as to where those objects are right now are more like 46 billion light years!

And, we don’t know whether or not the universe is infinite or not! So for now, just imagine it to be unimaginably big—and then realize that it’s beyond imagining! Would we expect anything less spectacular from an infinite creator?

How can similarly competent astronomers examine the heavens and each come to different conclusions: either theistic creationism or atheistic materialism?

Dr. David Bradstreet: Frankly, I believe that one’s worldview cannot be excluded from the answer to this question. God has said that it’s impossible to please him without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Thus we cannot prove through science or any other human endeavor that God exists.

On the other hand the evidence that points towards God’s existence seems to me to be overwhelming, and Paul said much the same in Romans 1:20 and the following verses.

So it’s possible to see the exact same evidence and explain it as simply a “natural” occurrence via “natural” laws (the secular worldview) or to see those laws as God at work and we’re discovering his methods.

Perhaps there’s a human pride element here. To admit that there’s a God is to admit that we’re not the pinnacle of all there is. To admit that there’s a God is to admit that we’re weak and fallen and desperately in need of forgiveness and redemption. This is a profoundly humbling state of mind, and perhaps many cannot or will not come to this conclusion.

How has studying the stars impacted your Christian faith?

Dr. David Bradstreet: As I believe is the case with studying almost anything, the more I learn about the creation, the more I marvel at the genius of the creator! How marvelously everything works together; the intricate simplicity of the universe. By that I mean that, despite its complexities, there are still unifying principles that allow us to at least glimpse a little bit of what’s going on, and in some cases make reliable predictions of what will happen as time progresses.

In addition, our limited but expanding understanding of the universe has allowed us to greatly enhance our own existence via technology and labor-saving devices, etc.

What Bible verse or passage means the most to you as a Christian astronomer?

Dr. David Bradstreet: My “heart” is always drawn to Psalm 8, and in particular verses 3 and 4, where David writes that, in considering the unimaginable grandeur of the heavens, what indeed is man that God cares for him; that God treasures us above all of creation?

Indeed, we’ve seen in his infinite sacrifice for us on the cross that we are of inestimable worth in his eyes; proven by that infinite price paid for our redemption. It also shows the depths of our sin; that it took such a price to redeem us! It’s too much for words; almost too good to be true!

The Milky Way

What can we know about the character of God from exploring the cosmos?

Dr. David Bradstreet: No one can argue that the creation is not incredibly vast, intricate, beautiful, diverse, and yet composed of all the same building blocks (protons, electrons, etc.)! So there is, as Jacob Bronowski used to emphasize, a profound “unity within variety.”

The Scriptures declare that the universe is a reliable source of inspiration regarding God’s characteristics (for example, Romans 1:20), and so it is. It’s so fantastic that even God declared it “very good” as a whole (Genesis 1:31).

So, God is the genius creator. He obviously loves diversity and loves to create all kinds of marvelous things, from atomic structures to galaxies and everything in between. When the microscope was first used to study tiny creatures like fleas, the investigators were so flabbergasted by the unimaginable details apparent in these “worthless” creatures that they declared them veritable proof of God’s handiwork! I would claim the same of the stars, galaxies, and universe as a whole. To understand the workings of our universe and the idea that our bodies are literally composed of the dust of long dead stars, literally blows the mind to see what God has wrought in order to create us! How much he must love us!


What’s meant by the term “Goldilocks planet”?

Dr. David Bradstreet: Assuming that everyone is familiar with the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the idea of a “Goldilocks planet” is one which is “just right” for life to thrive upon it.

Earth resides within the habitable zone of our Sun; that is, that region where the temperatures allow water to exist in abundance in liquid form which we believe is necessary for life to persist.

The Earth also has its rotational axis tipped relative to the plane of its orbit such that the Sun’s rays do not continually strike directly on the equator. Our climate is mitigated by the fact that the earth’s tilted rotational axis results in a more moderate and life-enhancing climate. If the Earth were not inclined, then the tropics would always be unbearably hot and the polar regions always very cold, with the consequences that the boundaries between these two extremes would be pummeled with continuous storms and hurricanes. It’s unlikely that life would have gained a foothold in such a drastic environment.

However, the ideal conditions of our Earth and hence its “Goldilocks” nature do not preclude that there might be other such “Goldilocks planets” in the galaxy, but rather the idea that Earth is “just right” for all kinds of life to flourish. Going back to the Goldilocks story: just because Goldilocks found certain conditions within the Bears’ house to be just right didn’t mean that there weren’t other Bears’ houses spread throughout the forest with similar ideal conditions.

What does Scripture mean when it refers to the “ends,” “depths,” or “four corners” of the Earth?

Dr. David Bradstreet: Many people have pointed to the Bible’s reference (see Isaiah 11:12 for example) to the “four corners of the earth” as implying that the Bible believed in a flat and square earth.

The Hebrew word used here is kanaph which is translated in several different ways in the Old Testament. I like Dr. Joan Sloat Morton’s explanation from Science in the Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1978, p. 138,141). She points out that kanaph is translated as borders in Numbers 15:38. In Ezekiel 7:2 it’s translated four corners as it is in Isaiah 11:12. In Job 37:3 and 38:13 it’s translated as ends. In Revelation 7:1 and 20:8 the Greek word gonia is translated as four corners and literally means angles or divisions, most closely related to what we think of as quadrants, according to Dr. Morton.

So it makes complete sense to me that what the Holy Spirit is conveying by saying “four corners of the Earth” is simply “from all compass directions” and is not implying that the Earth is square or flat. In other words, God will bring back all the dispersed of Judah no matter where they are on the Earth; that is, from all directions.

Do you think there’s life in outer space?

Dr. David Bradstreet: This question is such an interesting one, and the answer to it is mind-blowing no matter what it is!

It’s possible that life is so challenging to create that it takes a universe this large and this old in order to sustain its existence on just one planet! That idea certainly boggles the mind; that we may indeed be the only sentient (self-aware) creatures in the entire universe!

But the idea that God has created other life on other worlds is certainly possible and just as mind-boggling!

Although not directly pertaining to extraterrestrial life, I always remember Jesus’ statement in John 10:16 where he talks about the fact that he has “…other sheep, which are not of this fold.” Certainly in this context he’s speaking of the Gentiles, but, as the Jews believed that only they belonged to the family of God, perhaps we Earthlings should not make the same egocentric claim regarding the potential of extraterrestrial sheep?

Yes, I believe that there is the potential for sentient life elsewhere in the universe, but I also admit the possibility that we’re the only ones.

Should your book be considered a contribution to Christian apologetics?

Dr. David Bradstreet: Yes, absolutely! One of the overarching principles which we hope pervades the book is demonstrating how an evangelical can also be a respected scientist, and that I don’t have conflicts between my faith and my science. I firmly believe in Jesus Christ and everything that he said.

Steve Rabey (my co-author) and I are trying to show that science and faith are partners in the search for truth, and that discovering scientific principles or “laws” are simply discovering how God continually sustains his creation.

Most of the great scientists of the scientific revolution were also devout Christians and believed firmly that they were worshipping God by studying and trying to understand his reation. Kepler wrote in a letter that he believed he was “thinking God’s thoughts after him” as he discovered the mathematical principles we now know as Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Dr. David Bradstreet: One of the main themes of Star Struck is the idea of God as creator and sustainer. The Bible is replete with references that God not only created the universe but sustains it at all times as well. See for example Psalm 104, Acts 17:28, Colossians 1:16-17.

Why is this such a critical point? If we make the mistake of only emphasizing God as creator (which is, of course, critically important in itself) but neglect the fact the he is sustaining his creation at all times and in all points, then we can be led down the path of deism. Deism is the belief that God created the universe as a self-sustaining entity (machine), run by natural laws, and now God is not necessary except with perhaps an occasional interjection of a miracle here and there.

To see God as continually sustaining the universe is to understand that everything that we discover through science will reveal that he is continually at work (as Jesus said in John 5:17). God controls every electron in every atom throughout the entire universe (and possibly in an infinite number of them!) and yet this is “no sweat” for him.

An infinite God can handle an infinite amount of “work” and still have plenty of time for each one of us! If you think this is beyond his abilities, then you need to rethink the greatness of your God! No discovery of science will ever diminish God’s greatness. If God didn’t exist, NOTHING would exist.

Bio: David H. Bradstreet is an award-winning professor, author and binary star expert who has been teaching students about the heavens since 1976 at Eastern University, where he serves as Professor and Chair of the Astronomy and Physics Department and Director of the David H. Bradstreet Observatory and Julia Fowler Planetarium. He’s been teaching astronomy to children from ages 4–20+ and adults of all ages in the planetarium since he was a freshman at Eastern in 1972.

Dave earned a BS in Astronomy, Communications and Secondary Ed. at Eastern University, and a MS and PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Pennsylvania. He’s worked with NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the International Astronomical Union, and has over 100 professional publications. He’s the author of two volumes of the Spitz Fulldome Curriculum, a popular curriculum product used by SciDome planetariums internationally. He also authored the Binary Maker 3.0 software program that helps astronomical researchers worldwide calculate the characteristics of binary stars. Asteroid 5826 Bradstreet was named by the International Astronomical Union in honor of his achievements. He’s been happily married to his best friend, Colleen, for 40 years and has two grown sons and two rambunctious grandchildren. You can find out much more about Dr. Bradstreet at the Astronomy Department website at

Co-writer Steve Rabey is an award-winning author of more than 30 books and more than 2,000 articles for more than 100 major media outlets including The New York Times and Christianity Today. His books on faith and culture for ABA and CBA publishers include study Bibles; the bestselling Rachel’s Tears about Columbine shooting victim Rachel Scott (more than 350,000 copies sold) and The Lessons of St. Francis (more than 50,000 copies sold). Steve’s articles have been published by major outlets including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Religion News Service. He’s covered religion for the Colorado Springs Gazette for two decades (church mergers, Billy Graham’s legacy, “nones”). Recent stories about Christians and legalized marijuana for OnFaith generated more than 7,000 Facebook shares. Steve has an MA in church history from Denver Seminary. He’s taught at Denver and Fuller seminaries and the US Air Force Academy. He and his author/speaker wife Lois are celebrating 25 years together.

New Devotional: Explore the Jewish High Holy Days with “Holy Land Moments”

holylandmomentsDo you wish you knew more about the Jewish background of Scripture? Are you curious about the ways that the Christian faith connects to its roots in Jewish history and culture? This fall, Bible Gateway invites you to join us for a free two-week devotional experience that explores the Jewish roots of Christianity: Holy Land Moments.

Holy Land Moments is a daily devotional that offers a short reflection on Scripture written by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, with additional insight from Jewish teachers and thinkers. Each reading also includes a Hebrew Word of the Day (with an audio pronunciation). It’s written to bring a new historical and cultural perspective to familiar Bible texts.

Earlier this year, we offered a Holy Land Moments devotional experience centered around Passover. It was very well-received, so we’re timing this second Holy Land Moments devotional (with all new daily readings) to coincide with the Jewish “High Holy Days”—a period of time that encompasses the major Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These “Days of Awe” are fundamental to the Jewish faith, commemorating the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement; and with their basis in the Old Testament, they hold significance for Christians today as well.

Click here to sign up for Holy Land Moments. Holy Land Moments starts September 29 and continues for two weeks through the High Holy Days. If you’re interested in the Jewish roots of Christianity, or are just looking for something slightly different in your devotional reading, this is a perfect chance to try something new! Sign up today, and share it with your interested friends!