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Living with Biblical Paradox: An Interview with Krish Kandiah

Krish KandiahThe Christian faith seems rife with paradoxes—an all-powerful God who allows suffering; a God who is distant and yet present at the same time. What if it’s in the difficult parts of the Bible that God is most clearly revealed?

Bible Gateway interviewed Krish Kandiah (@krishk) about his book, Paradoxology: Why Christianity Was Never Meant to Be Simple (IVP Books, 2017).

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Define paradox and give an example.

Krish Kandiah: A paradox consists of true statements that lead to an apparent or real contradiction in logic or intuition. The birthday paradox is a classic example: how can you reconcile these two statements?

  • The boy has had three birthdays.
  • The boy is 13 years old.

They appear to contradict logic and intuition. But once we discover that the boy’s birthday is 29 February, the contradiction disappears. Easy.

However, the paradoxes that come to light when we try to think about God deeply are nowhere near as easy to resolve. How can God both be always with us, and yet so often seem alarmingly distant? How can Jesus’ death bring us life? How can a God who tells us to love our enemies ordain the wiping out of a whole generation, or command genocide? Why do we bring our prayers for healing to a God who, we are forced to recognize from experience, often doesn’t oblige?

Why do you say Christianity was never meant to be simple?

Krish Kandiah: I believe that in an effort to make Christianity understandable to children and nonbelievers we’ve tried to simplify its message. These good intentions have had not so good consequences. We’ve dumbed our faith down to the extent that it neither equips us to live effectively for God in a complex world nor does it adequately reflect what the Bible actually teaches.

Sadly our attempts to make Christianity palatable have resulted in robbing Christians of their confidence to trust that the Bible is rich enough and deep enough to risk living in radical obedience to the gospel. In my book Paradoxology I explore the riches of some of the most complex and difficult parts of the Bible, not to explain them away but to show that we can understand God at a whole new level.

Why is it important for people to confront the paradoxes of the Bible and not ignore them?

Krish Kandiah: Most of the time, what we hear about in church and what we might study in our own personal reading of the Bible focuses on the same safe Bible passages, with the same comforting texts; even recycling the same anecdotes. We become expert, not in wrestling with the big questions of faith, but in filing them away. We put them into a mental folder marked ‘unanswered’. And then, one day, we find ourselves sitting beside a friend in an intensive-care unit somewhere, wondering whether we know God at all. Suddenly we realize that those questions weren’t actually safely filed away; instead, the files are overflowing, mounting up and ready to spill over the floor, or, like an over-crowded email inbox, just waiting to crash the whole system.

Paradoxology makes a bold claim: that the paradoxes that seem to undermine belief are actually the heart of our vibrant faith, and that it’s only by continually wrestling with them—rather than trying to pin them down or push them away—that we can really worship God, individually and together. As we search the Scriptures we find that even the most heroic figures, the models of courageous faith in the Bible, those to whom we habitually look for strength, struggled with the conundrums of God’s character. Their struggles illuminate and validate our struggles, and their faith and worship in the midst of confusion can help us in our faith and worship too.

Whether you’re exploring the Christian faith for the first time, or have been leading a church for years, the premise of this book is based on the liberating fact that the Bible has more room for doubt, uncertainty, and struggle than we’ve ever allowed ourselves to believe. God is fully able to handle our inquiries and our inconsistencies. We don’t need to protect God or the faith he’s given us from our difficult questions.

What do you mean when you write, “What if it is in the difficult parts of the Bible that God is most clearly revealed?”

Krish Kandiah: When we stick to the parts of the Bible that we like, there’s a danger that we’ve simply edited God down to suit ourselves. But when we come across difficult parts of the Bible where God is not doing what we want, this is, paradoxically, a good sign.

When you’re in a relationship and everything is going smoothly, there’s no way to tell whether the relationship will stick through the tough times. Ira Levin describes in her 1972 novel Stepford Wives a Connecticut town where all the wives are both incredibly beautiful and at the same time docile and perfectly submissive to their husbands. The men claim marital bliss but as the novel unfolds we find out that the men have replaced their wives with androids. This thriller, which has been turned into two Hollywood films, offers a critique of gender stereotypes and patriarchy—more broadly, though, it helps us to see how real relationships do and don’t work.

Perfect relationships are a myth. There will inevitably be conflict, but these clashes can in fact prove the reality and durability of the relationship. If this is true at a human level, how much more will it be true in a relationship with a perfect God? If we never experience conflict in our relationship with God, the chances are we’ve replaced the real God with a substitute god made in our own image.

Hitting up hard against the paradoxes in Scripture is a good sign that we’re in a relationship with the true God and not just a projection we’ve created to suit ourselves.

Unpack your statement in the book, “God needs nothing—yet he demands everything.”

Krish Kandiah: There are so many Bible stories that I’ve struggled to understand. One of the most perplexing is when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. It feels so unfair. The Bible is clear that God needs nothing; theologians call it God’s aseity—God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. Yet, he demands of an elderly couple, who’ve been longing for children for longer than most of us have been alive, the child of their dreams. Why would God do this? It feels as if a rich man is stealing from beggars in the street. Rather than try to explain this story away, or give it a neat bumper sticker solution, in the Abraham Paradox we wrestle with the implications.

Every day Christians face, not the life of peace and contentment we might hope for, but impossible situations—where God seems to want them to take the hardest path, give up what is most precious to them. Why does worshipping God cost so much to those who love him, and those whom he supposedly loves? The more we reflect on the nature of God, the less these kinds of sacrifices make sense, as God is supposed to be all powerful and all sufficient. Wrestling with this fundamental question of trust must be vital for all who claim to follow him.

In the book we wrestle with many other paradoxes like this. How can God be both everywhere present, promising he’ll be with us at all times, and yet also so intangible that for much of our lives we don’t see, hear, or feel him at all? How can God tell us to love our enemies when he seems to ignore this commanding Joshua to slaughter whole cities? How do we deal with the paradox of Jesus, the one who is simultaneously fully God and fully man? What do we do about the God who is consistently unpredictable, actively inactive, who determines our free will and who speaks in silence? The book refuses simplistic answers but will help you learn how to worship with the paradox and find a richer appreciation of God in the process.

What do you hope your book will do for its readers?

Krish Kandiah: I found studying these difficult parts of the Bible incredibly liberating. I found an intense desire to pursue our mysterious God that Scripture reveals to us. I found myself hungry to know God better. I called the book Paradoxology because I found that the paradoxes in Scripture can lead us to doxology—praise and wonder and worship of God. I believe that accessible theology can be an incredible fuel for our worship of God and that is my hope for everyone who reads this book.

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

Krish Kandiah: I’m a big fan of Bible Gateway. I love that it’s free to use. I love that you have so many good translations available both in English and other languages. Bible Gateway is my go-to site as it’s quicker and easier to use than the other Bible software options available to me—both free and paid for. I spent numerous hours on Bible Gateway as I wrote Paradoxology, and I hope that my book will make its readers hungry for more of the Bible too. Hopefully you’ll begin seeing people even reading the more complex parts of the Bible as a result. Thanks for making Scripture available to so many so easily.


Bio: Krish Kandiah (PhD, Kings College London) is the founder and director of Home for Good, a charity finding homes for foster children and young refugees. An international speaker, he teaches regularly at Regent College and George Fox Seminary, and is the author of several books, including Home for Good: Making a Difference for Vulnerable Children.

Krish is the vice president of Tearfund, a Christian relief and development agency. Previously, he was president of London School of Theology and also on faculty at Oxford University. He has also worked with students in the UK with UCCF, and in Albania with IFES. Krish lives with his wife, Miriam, and their seven birth, adopted, and foster children.

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

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Now You Can Drill Down Deep With the Original Words of Scripture

Word studies give you an opportunity to experience God’s Word the way the believers did who first received these inspired books from those who penned them.

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Thomas Nelson’s (@NelsonBibles) newest study Bible is the KJV Word Study Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2017) (@ThomasNelsonKJV). Biblical manuscripts were written by the authors in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. English readers not knowing these biblical languages can sometimes make it challenging to understand the meaning and intent of Scripture. The KJV Word Study Bible allows readers to delve deeper into the original languages of the Bible and to better understand what God had in mind when he inspired the Scriptures. For example:

Acts 13:2 minister
(Gr. leitourgeō) (Rom. 15:27; Heb. 10:11) This is the word from which we get “liturgy.” It refers to the performing of religious or charitable acts in service to God, either by prayer and fasting or through meeting the needs of others. The root word means “public minister; servant of the state.” In the New Testament this word is used to describe the Aaronic priesthood (Heb. 10:11) as well as Christians serving the Lord by meeting the financial needs of other believers (Rom. 15:27). The focus is on service to God through the fulfillment of an office or ritual at one’s own expense. Such acts were usually repeated over and over.

The KJV Word Study Bible includes in-text subheadings and 1,700 easy-to-use word studies with select Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words explained in nearly every chapter, from Genesis to Revelation. Book introductions, word definitions, indexes, colored maps, footnotes, and concordance all help readers get closer to the original languages of the Bible. This easy-to-use study Bible does not require previous knowledge of languages or the use of an extensive reference system, so it is a perfect way to sample the benefits of immersive Bible word studies.

Daniel Marrs, Associate Publisher for Thomas Nelson Bibles says: “Engaging with the languages in which Scripture was originally written is a great way to bring these sacred words to life. The KJV Word Study Bible uniquely opens up the richness and significance of key biblical words, and helps make Scripture’s original languages wonderfully accessible for today’s readers.”

Also available is the NKJV Word Study Bible with the New King James Version (NKJV) Bible translation (@NKJVbible).

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 thomasnelson.com.

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Bible News Roundup – Week of February 26, 2017

Read this week’s Bible Gateway Weekly Brief newsletter
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Support Bible Gateway—Browse the Bible Gateway Store
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7 Out of 10 Americans Call Themselves Christians; Few Are Able to Answer Questions About the Bible and Christian Beliefs
American Culture & Faith Institute

Jesus Film Project Announces 1,500th Translation of ‘JESUS’ Docudrama About the Life of Christ Based on the Gospel of Luke
News Release
Read the Gospel of Luke (GNT) on Bible Gateway (The Good News Translation (GNT) is used in the English “JESUS” film)
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Bible Translation Organizations

The Book of Revelation Will Shape Urbana 18
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Read the book of Revelation on Bible Gateway

Killed for Christ in the Amazon
BBC World Service – Witness
See books about Jim Elliot in the Bible Gateway Store
See Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot in the Bible Gateway Store

Divine Intervention? Lost Bible Found Off Highway by Owner’s Friend
KMBC News

Teacher in France Suspended for Reading Bible to Pupils in Class
The Local France

Prof. Boyd Taylor Coolman: “Verbum Domini: The Catholic Approach to Scripture”
The Thomistic Institute
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, CNN: A Catholic Reads the Bible
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Exploring the Apocrypha at Bible Gateway

Technology Transforms Ancient Art of Bible Translation
Orlando Sentinel
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Wycliffe Associates—Helping to Translate the Bible Where Persecution of Christians Is Severe: An Interview with Bruce Smith

Man Performs Memorized Chapters of the Bible
KGET News
See the Bible Engagement section on Bible Gateway: Scripture Memorization

Union Bridge Pastor to Highlight Historic Bibles in Three Presentations
The Frederick News-Post

Sistine Chapel Gets Full Digital Treatment for Future Restorations
Reuters

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Divine Direction: An Interview with Craig Groeschel

Craig GroeschelEvery day we make choices. And those choices accumulate and eventually become our life story. What story do you want your life to tell? What would your life look like if you became an expert at aligning those choices with biblical principles?

Bible Gateway interviewed Craig Groeschel (@craiggroeschel) about his book, Divine Direction: 7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life (Zondervan, 2017).

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Does every decision really matter? Even the decision between a cheeseburger or chicken bites for lunch?

Craig Groeschel: Some decisions are obviously much more inconsequential than others. For example, let’s say you choose the blue shirt over the red one; not much is likely to change. And in your example, red meat over white meat once a week won’t likely make a huge difference in your health. But if you believe that grilled chicken is healthier than a cheeseburger, your lunch choice might cause you to pause; especially if you know that the cheeseburger also comes with fries and a large chocolate shake.

Without going overboard, we’re wise to remember that decisions often compound. When we generally make healthy choices about food (or wise choices about life), we tend to move in the right direction, living as we believe God wants us to live. If we make an intentional exception for a special treat or for a diversion, that might not be a big deal. But if we step off the best path, we’re tempted to detour into more unwise choices. In that case, your decision does matter.

Without being legalistic, we should be careful and wise in all decisions we make (Ephesians 5:15-17).

You talk a lot about flossing in your book. Why is that so important?

Craig Groeschel: In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg writes about “keystone habits.” A keystone habit leads to other positive habits and disciplines. These positive traits start a chain reaction that produces other positive outcomes. The presence of these important habits help you become more faithful in other areas of your life. On the other hand, the absence of these key disciplines can impact you negatively.

I write about flossing with some exaggeration for effect. Personally, I hate flossing. So this is the first discipline I quit when I am stressed. But if I stop this one important habit, then I might be tempted to cheat on my eating plan, stay up too late, or skip my Bible reading. If I stay faithful in doing something that I don’t enjoy, I tend to believe that I’m disciplined. Therefore, I eat better, go to bed on time, and stay in God’s Word. In Divine Direction, I want to help readers find the important habits that lead to the life God wants for them.

Explain your statement, “God loves you so much you have a choice.”

Craig Groeschel: God could have programmed us as robots to do whatever he tells us, but then we’d never have the freedom to love and worship him. Because God loves us, he gives us the freedom to make choices. That’s good news if we choose wisely. But it also gives us the capacity to sin.

Start. Stop. Stay. Go. Those are the first four decisions you challenge readers to consider. Briefly unpack those.

I encourage readers to make these four important divinely directing decisions:

  • With prayer, you may be able to start one discipline or habit that will overflow into many more positive, God-honoring traits.
  • Most of us could stop doing something that’s hindering our passion for Jesus and effectiveness in following him.
  • As we’re growing closer to God, I ask readers to decide when God wants them to stay planted exactly where they are.
  • Then there are those times when they’ll have to take a step of faith to move forward and go. To step toward your destiny, you may have to step away from your security.

In each big decision, we’ll always make them by faith (Hebrews 11:6).

What role does the Bible play in helping people discern the correct decisions they need to make every day?

Craig Groeschel: The Bible is the best and most important tool in discerning direction from God. God’s Word instructs us, teaches us, guides us, encourages us, convicts us, and helps conform us to the image of Christ. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Unfortunately, the Bible won’t tell you directly, “Thou shalt take the new job in marketing…” or “Thou shalt go directly from undergraduate school to honor me in graduate school.” While the Bible doesn’t speak to some of our specific decisions, it does speak to every decision about who God wants us to become.

God’s will is clear about many things. We’re to be holy (1 Thessalonians 4:3). I like the metaphor that his Word is a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105). A lamp may help guide my next one or two steps, but it’s not a crystal ball into the future.

In practical terms, what does it mean to trust God?

Craig Groeschel: That’s a great question. It’s not easy to trust in a God you can’t see. That’s why so many want God to prove himself so we can trust him. In reality, God wants us to trust him so he can prove himself.

Scripture teaches us that we should trust God and not lean on our own wisdom or understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). To do this, we have to strive to know God intimately, walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). This may not be easy at first, but it starts with simple obedience. Obedience is our responsibility. The outcome is God’s responsibility. As we learn to trust him with our future, trust him with those we love, trust him as our provider, and trust his sovereign plan, that gives us the foundation to step out in faith. We can trust that he’ll always be faithful.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway?

Craig Groeschel: Twenty-nine years ago, I came to faith in Christ after a gentleman from the Gideon’s International gave me a free copy of the New Testament Bible. I started in Matthew and read all the way to Ephesians 2 when it finally clicked for me. After reading about salvation by grace through faith, I cried out to Jesus for his forgiveness and surrendered my whole life to Him. At that moment, I became a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Because my life was changed by God’s Word, I love every organization that helps people know him through his Word. Our church was honored to create the YouVersion Bible App that we passionately give away. I’m equally grateful for Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App that helps make Scripture accessible to people all over the world. I’m personally grateful for the leaders at Bible Gateway and pray that together we can all help spread the love of Jesus through God’s Word!


Bio: New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of Life.Church, an innovative and pacesetting church meeting in multiple locations around the United States and globally online. He’s the author of several books, including #Struggles, Fight, Soul Detox, The Christian Atheist, and It. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Oklahoma.

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Last Chance: Get Full Access to the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis During February

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is now available on Bible Gateway PlusThere’s still a few days left to get free access to the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis! It’s available during February when you sign up for a free trial of Bible Gateway Plus.

The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis is one of the best and most accessible resources you can find, and it’s useful to anyone studying Genesis. Whether you’re a pastor preparing a sermon or an everyday Christian reading it on your own, it’s useful for answering questions like:

  • Are the Creation days meant to be understood as literal 24-hour days?
  • Can our modern, scientific understanding of the cosmos be reconciled with the Genesis account?
  • How should we understand some of the violent and brutal scenes from Genesis from a modern Christian perspective?
  • How can a book that’s thousands of years old possibly be relevant to us today?

This month only, the the NIV Application Commentary on Genesis joins the 40+ other digital titles in the Bible Gateway Plus study library. As with other Bible Gateway Plus titles, you don’t need to download or install anything—you read it right alongside the Scripture passages that it discusses.

It’s available with your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus, but only for a few more days! There’s no risk to try Bible Gateway Plus, so start your free trial today and get access to the The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis during the final week of February. Click here to start your free 30-day trial of Bible Gateway Plus.

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Revised Edition

Buy your copy of The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Revised Edition, Old Testament Set, 8 Volumes in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day   Buy your copy of The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Revised Edition, New Testament Set, 5 Volumes in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day   Buy your copy of The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Revised Edition, Old & New Testament Set, 13 Volumes in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Based on the original 12-volume set that has become a staple in college and seminary libraries and pastors’ studies worldwide, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Revised Edition gathers the most current discoveries in Bible scholarship and archaeology. Of the 56 contributors, 30 are new; all are committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible.

Reflecting the commentary’s international and cross-denominational approach, the Bible scholars come from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand, and from a broad diversity of churches, including Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, and Reformed.

The thoroughly revised features include:

  • Comprehensive introductions
  • Short and precise bibliographies
  • Detailed outlines
  • Insightful expositions of passages and verses
  • Overviews of sections of Scripture to illuminate the big picture
  • Occasional reflections to give more detail on important issues
  • Notes on textual questions and special problems, placed close to the texts in question
  • Transliterations and translations of Hebrew and Greek words, enabling readers to understand even the more technical notes

From the preface: The Bible was not written for our information but for our transformation. It is not a quarry to find stones with which to batter others but to find the rock on which to build the church. It does not invite us simply to speak of God but to hear God and to confess that his Son, Jesus Christ, is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Php 2:11). It also calls us to obey his commandments (Mt 28:20).

Whenever specific biblical words are discussed, the Goodrick-Kohlenberger (GK) numbers have been added. These numbers, which appear in The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and other reference tools, are based on the numbering system developed by Edward Goodrick and John Kohlenberger III and provide a system similar but superior to the Strong’s numbering system.

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Revised Edition uses the complete New International Version of the Bible for its English text, but it also refers freely to other translations and to the original biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

About the Editors:
Tremper Longman III (PhD, Yale University) is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies and the chair of the Religious Studies department at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, where he lives with his wife, Alice. He is the Old Testament editor for The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Revised Edition, Old Testament general editor for The Story of God Bible Commentary, and has authored many articles and books on the Psalms and other Old Testament books.

David E. Garland (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is William B. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures and dean for academic affairs at George W. Truett Seminary, Baylor University. He’s the New Testament editor for The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Revised Edition and the author of various books and commentaries, including the NIV Application Commentary on Mark and the NIV Application Commentary on Colossians & Philemon, and the entry on Mark in the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary. He and his wife, Diana, reside in Waco, Texas.

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The Dangers of Social Media on Self Worth: An Interview with Kari Kampakis

Kari KampakisWould you rather be liked online—or loved in person? Social media can be great. But for girls growing up in a generation saturated with social media, getting enough “likes,” comments, and online friends can become an unhealthy obsession.

Bible Gateway interviewed Kari Kampakis (@KariKampakis) about her book, Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For? (Thomas Nelson, 2016).

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What problems are you addressing in the book?

Kari Kampakis: Liked addresses four primary topics: identity, social media, friendship, and faith. I dove into these because they’re so relevant to the lives of teen and tween girls, and they all tie together. My goal with Liked is to help girls tune into the quiet voice of God inside them over the megaphone of public opinion, and to trust Him when making decisions, understanding their worth, and searching for who they are.

Why can social media be so damaging to girls?

Kari Kampakis: Like most things, social media has an upside and a downside. It can be used for good—to spread positivity and hope—or it can be used in narcissistic or hurtful ways. In today’s world, social media is often seen as a way to get famous, get even, or get attention. It doesn’t matter what you post as long as you attract a large following and get tons of likes and shares. Girls who buy into this will end up making some poor choices and will give social media a power it doesn’t deserve: the power to dictate their worth based on the fleeting opinions of people rather than the timeless truths of God.

This can be especially damaging for teen and tween girls because they’re figuring out their identity. They aren’t firm in who they are yet, and if they rely on the world to shape them and define them, they’ll end up disillusioned and disappointed. This is why I’m passionate about helping girls find their identity in Christ and things with eternal value, because that is what takes their lives in a meaningful direction.

How should girls incorporate the Bible into their social networking lives?

Kari Kampakis: The best way for girls to incorporate the Bible into their social networking lives is to pick a goal that pleases God. One verse I like is Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

This verse is a great filter for social media. It’s a reminder that God is found in the good, and by posting things that reflect his light—that is, a picture of a baby cousin, a birthday tribute to a friend, a rainbow over the ball field—you honor God and potentially inspire others to do the same.

What are 10 biblical truths about self-worth and how should girls live by them?

Kari Kampakis: In Liked, the chapter on confidence begins with this: “What other people say about you is opinion. What God says about you is fact. The way to know your worth is to focus on the facts.” Here are 10 biblical truths to support that:

  1. I am made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28), and I have great potential to grow more like Him and reflect His goodness to others.
  2. God is within me, so I will not fall (Psalm 46:5).
  3. Nothing can separate me from the love of God that I receive through Christ (Romans 8:39).
  4. God has begun a good work in me, and He’ll continue that work until the day Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6).
  5. God’s love toward me is great (Psalm 86:13).
  6. God’s plan for me is worth the wait (Jeremiah 29:11).
  7. Everything God makes, including me, is good (Genesis 1:31).
  8. I can confidently trust the Lord to care for me and not fear bad news (Psalm 112:7).
  9. Jesus looks for me when I’m lost (Matthew 18:12-14).
  10. The world needs my light because God created me to shine for Him (Matthew 5:14-16).

The way to live by truths is to truly embrace them, and to tuck them away in your heart so that when heartaches or disappointments arise, you can counsel yourself with what you know to be true deep down—regardless of what the world says.

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

Kari Kampakis: I love Bible Gateway! It makes my job much easier by literally putting Scripture at my fingertips. Both my books include Scripture, and while writing the manuscripts I often visited Bible Gateway to get precise wording or search for a verse related to a subject. In addition to being a credible resource, Bible Gateway is user-friendly and a fantastic tool to help spread the Gospel.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Kari Kampakis: Parents often tell me they wish social media would go away. They see no benefit, only the harmful and negative effects. I agree there is great danger we need to protect our kids from, but I also believe social media presents a huge opportunity to create good. It gives every individual a stage and a microphone to easily and quickly share messages that might help or inspire people. Rather than fight social media and treat it as the enemy, I believe we should empower our kids to use it wisely. After all, they were created for this moment in time, designed for the digital age, and as far as I can tell, social media will only become a bigger part of the world that they are growing up in.


Bio: Kari Kampakis is a blogger, author, speaker, and newspaper columnist from Birmingham, Alabama. Her first book, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, has been used widely across the country by teen youth groups and small groups to empower girls through faith.

Kari’s work has been featured on The Huffington Post, TODAY Parents, and other national outlets. She and her husband, Harry, have four daughters and a dog named Lola. Learn more by visiting karikampakis.com or finding Kari on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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Draw Closer to Jesus During Lent With Our Free Lent & Easter Devotions

Easter devotions at Bible Gateway

Lent—the season of reflection and repentance leading up to Easter—begins soon! You’re invited to draw closer to Jesus during the Easter season with the insights of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dallas Willard and others.

As we do each year, we’ve put together a series of email devotionals to walk you through the season of Lent. This year, our devotionals focus on the challenge of living humbly and sacrificially in a confused world. Here’s what you can choose from:

40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer: back by popular demand, this devotional will challenge you to live a life of intentional service and sacrifice. Bonhoeffer—murdered by the Nazis for standing up against Hitler—knew what it meant to follow Christ no matter the cost. His words are powerful and important for Christ-followers today.

Dallas Willard Lenten Devotions: this 40-day collects the best inspirational writing of Dallas Willard, beloved author and philosopher. Willard wrote much about what it meant to find true peace while living in a morally confused and anxious culture. It’s a good choice for anyone looking to simplify their life and renew their focus on Jesus during Lent.

Bible Gateway Lent Devotions: our popular Lent devotional, which alternates Scripture readings and short reflections from the church fathers. A great choice for reading with family or friends throughout Lent!

Click or tap here to sign up for one or more of these devotions. Each begins on Ash Wednesday (March 1), the first day of Lent. Sign up today so you won’t miss out on any of these inspiring Easter devotionals!

Bible News Roundup – Week of February 19, 2017

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Kentucky Senate Passes Bill Allowing Use of the Bible for the Study of Religion
The Gleaner

Bill Introduced to Make the Bible the State Book of West Virginia
The Herald-Dispatch

All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
CT

Mississippi Retains Standing as Most Religious US State
Gallup

Americans Express Increasingly Warm Feelings Toward Religious Groups Except for Evangelical Christians
Pew Research

‘The Jesus Storybook Bible’ Turns 10: The Story Behind the Bestseller
The Gospel Coalition
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Jesus Storybook Bible Reaches Two Million Copies Sold
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Video: Christmas with The Jesus Storybook Bible
See all the editions of The Jesus Storybook Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

Why Africa Needed Its Own Study Bible
CT
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Africa Study Bible: An Interview with Matthew Elliott

No Creed But the Bible?
Credo Magazine
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Why Creeds are Still a Big Deal: An Interview with Justin Holcomb

Exhibit: 11 Reasons the Bible Is Absolutely True
Charisma News
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Undeniable Reliability of Scripture: An Interview with Josh McDowell

New Mexico Man’s Collection of Rare and Old Bibles and Books Spans Centuries
Albuquerque Journal

Pennsylvania Man’s Collection of Bibles Dates to 1551
The Standard Speaker

Bible Society Queensland Celebrating 162 Years of Taking the Bible to the World
Eternity
Insights Magazine: Celebrate the World’s Most Read Book

Feb 23, 1455, Gutenberg Pressed ‘Print’ on Printing Revolution
The Christian Science Monitor

History of the Silver Ring Thing
BBC Witness
See Bibles for Teenagers in the Bible Gateway Store

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

See God in the Midst of Your Adversity: An Interview with Lacey Buchanan

Lacey BuchananWhat happens when things don’t go as planned? How do you handle storms you face that are completely out of your control? Do you trust God in the face of adversity? How can God turn tragic circumstances into something beautiful for his glory and cause you to love more, complain less, and see God at work in the most unlikely of places?

Bible Gateway interviewed Lacey Buchanan (@LaceyNBuchanan) about her book, Through the Eyes of Hope: Love More, Worry Less, and See God in the Midst of Your Adversity (Charisma House, 2017).

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Beyond Suffering Bible: An Interview with Joni Eareckson Tada]

Buy your copy of Through the Eyes of Hope in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

What is Tessier cleft lip and palate syndrome?

Lacey Buchanan: A Tessier cleft lip and palate is actually not a syndrome at all. It’s a condition that affects the face, similarly to a typical cleft lip and palate. The difference is that Tessier clefts can have classifications ranging from 0 to 14. The number classification correlates to the place on the face that the cleft affects. For example, Christian’s classification of Tessier cleft is 3, 4, and 5. Each number represents a place on his face where the cleft is. The 5 indicates the clefting of his eyes.

Describe the challenges your son, Christian, faced at birth.

Lacey Buchanan: His biggest challenge, honestly, is social. I’m sure you’d expect me to say something about his disability here, but sadly no. That isn’t the biggest obstacle he faces. We live in a world where it’s acceptable to discard children like Christian. That carries over into how our society views people like Christian as a whole. People sometimes look at Christian and they feel sorry for him, or they think that he must be miserable or suffering. They think that he must have such a difficult life. They also sometimes think that he doesn’t deserve the same treatment as everyone else.

Christian, first and foremost, is a person just like the rest of us. Sure, he has some challenges that he has to face, but don’t we all? Christian’s challenges are just a little more obvious than some. Physically, Christian also has the challenge of figuring out how to navigate a world where everyone else has vision and he doesn’t. That’ll be a challenge, but not something he can’t handle! The social challenges are much more daunting.

Before Christian was born, ultrasounds foretold some of his challenges. After his birth you were hit with more. Through blow after blow, how did you hold on to faith? Did you ever doubt God’s love?

Lacey Buchanan: I definitely went through a time of doubting God’s love. I think it’s only normal when we go through something that shakes us to our core to really examine ourselves and figure out where we stand. The refining fires can be painful, but they can also make something beautiful out of us!

I spent a lot of time in prayer during those hard days, and I spent a lot of time questioning God. I believe there’s no point in withholding our questions from God because he already knows what our hearts are feeling anyway. I also believe he’s definitely big enough to handle any of our concerns or questions. I asked God hard questions and poured my heart out to him. I asked him why my innocent child had to go through these things. I asked him why he would allow me to hurt so much that some days I wasn’t sure I could stand it any longer.

But, isn’t God good, in all his sovereignty, that he would see fit to hold me close and stay by my side while I was busy questioning his authority, blaming him, and dealing with the hurt in my heart? I didn’t have to hold onto my faith in God during these trials because he was holding onto me. He’s good, and I have never seen it more clearly than when Christian was born.

What role did the Bible play in how you dealt with your situation?

Lacey Buchanan: The Bible was my lifeline during the difficult times. When I hurt the most, I’d open my Bible and beg to hear from God. The Scriptures constantly reminded me of the truth when my circumstances tempted to convince me otherwise.

How did these challenges affect you and your husband? What advice do you have for couples in similar circumstances?

Lacey Buchanan: Anytime something rocks your world, it’s most likely going to rock your marriage, too. We definitely went through a hard time in our marriage right along with the challenges we were facing with Christian. My advice to couples would be to cling to Jesus and always put him first. Build a solid foundation in Christ before the hard times come. Build your house on the rock, so to speak, so that when the storm comes, you’ll be ready.

In response to Internet cruelty you experience, you posted a video on YouTube with music and statement cards, and you showed Christian to the world. Why do you think your video drew six million views?

Lacey Buchanan: I think the video drew so many viewers because the story behind the video is relatable. Not that everyone could relate to our unique challenges, but they could relate to the love of a mother and a child. They could relate to the struggles, too, because we’ve all faced challenges in our lives. And that’s what I was hoping for! I was hoping people would see the video and not make a knee-jerk presumption about Christian and about his disability, but see a mother and a child, a person.

Christian can’t see people’s responses to him, but he can hear or sense them. What do you tell him about how to manage the ignorance or well-intentioned missteps of people he meets?

Lacey Buchanan: As of yet, we haven’t really had to explain much to Christian. He’s just now getting to an age where he can understand what people are saying about him. I hope to teach him about his value and worth now, and build him up so much, that when people do respond in a negative way to him, they can’t tear him down. I also hope to mirror for him how he can respond to people and teach him healthy ways to cope. I want him to always be sensitive to other people and realize when someone is being genuine, even if they weren’t being tactful. I want him to know how to respond gracefully and to give people the benefit of the doubt. I don’t want him to instantly become defensive and angry. I hope that I am doing that now so that I am an example for him to follow.

How is Christian now and what is he up to?

Lacey Buchanan: Christian is fantastic! He’ll be 6 years old next month! He’s in kindergarten now, doing really well. He takes karate and recently successfully tested for his first belt! He’s officially a yellow striped belt in karate, so watch out! 🙂 Every day is a joy and a gift and I couldn’t be more thankful that I get to fill my days with his vibrant personality and the beauty he brings to this world!

This far down a most unusual road, how do you define disability?

Lacey Buchanan: There’s a quote in Chicken Soup for the Soul Children with Special Needs that I love and would be appropriate here: “A disability means the loss of part or all functional ability of certain parts of one’s body. Handicaps are the roadblocks other people, and in some cases our own minds, put in the way of people with disabilities who are trying to live normal lives.” I love to tell people that Christian is differently abled, not disabled. He can do anything anyone else can do, he just may have to do it differently; and different doesn’t equal less!

What do families of people with special needs wish other people knew?

Lacey Buchanan: In my opinion, families who have members with special needs want other people to know that the stigma needs to go. There’s this stigma around special needs: it must be so hard, so difficult to live with day to day, that somehow, people with disabilities aren’t as happy as everyone else because, how could they be? And yes, sometimes disabilities can create extra challenges and obstacles for people to overcome, but that just serves to make them stronger. We’re stronger for what we’ve been through. We’re better people than we were before it. To us, Christian is just Christian and his disability is just a part of that. We aren’t miserable. Far from it. We are, in a small way, thankful, that we’ve faced adversity and come out stronger; and we are, in a huge way, thankful for Christian. Sure, some days are hard, but who doesn’t have hard days? We have so many more happy days than hard ones. We’re just a regular family, loving life and dealing with what’s thrown our way.

What two or three things do you know now about life, love, differences, God, difficulties, and family that you didn’t know before Christian arrived?

Lacey Buchanan: I think before Christian was born, I didn’t fully grasp God’s love for me. The love a parent has for a child is almost too large to comprehend until you have a child of your own. When God blessed me with Christian, I think I understood a little more how God loves me as his child. It was probably still only a small grasp of the unconditional and unfathomable love he has for his children, but it was at least a little deeper glimpse!

After having Christian, I also began to understand even more just how trustworthy God is. I had always heard it in church, but I had never experienced it personally, or been in a situation where I had to depend on God with my all. With Christian, I got to see God’s faithfulness, steadfastness, and just exactly how trustworthy he really is because I was in a place where he was all I had to hold onto. I was able to fully take him at his word and see every promise come to be, and see how perfectly God keeps his promises!

What do you most want readers to come away with from Through the Eyes of Hope?

Lacey Buchanan: I hope that when people read Through the Eyes of Hope, they’ll come away knowing that sometimes what we might perceive as the death of a dream is, in God’s hands, really the beginning of a beautiful journey.

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

Lacey Buchanan: I LOVE Bible Gateway! I use it at least a few times a week when I’m looking up verses or going along in my studies. I also have the app on my phone and love all the ways to use it! I specifically enjoy the audio function so I can listen to Scripture and Christian can follow along! The Bible Gateway App is unique, user friendly, and convenient for anyone who wants to study the Bible!


Bio: Lacey Buchanan is a middle Tennessee native who, with her husband, Chris, enjoys raising two rambunctious boys named Christian and Chandler. She has also earned her Juris Doctor. Lacey travels the country, sharing her family’s story and spreading a message of hope in God. An avid runner, lover of books, and follower of Christ, she plans to use her law degree to educate and advocate for the disabled.

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