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The Indwelling Word

howtostudythebible

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


I love being around people who have so deeply taken the word of God into their lives that it has shaped the very way they think, their overall attitude toward life, their reactions to minor and major events, even their temperament. This is the fruit, developed by the Holy Spirit, of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. These are the signs that the word of God has truly gotten lodged into the deepest part of who we are–into the heart–where opinions are formed and motives are birthed, where emotions are sparked and decisions are set.

These are not people who look to impress others by quoting Scripture all the time, or who feel obligated to slap a verse on every event of life. They so respect Scripture that they avoid twisting it to suit their purposes. The Bible is never a weapon in their hands, and not merely a tool. It is more than an encyclopedia of spiritual knowledge. It is the voice of God– sometimes a whisper, sometimes a shout–but always a revelation of God’s own pure character. It is thus the wisdom of God, the power of God, the love of God, the light of God, the truth of God. They read the Bible because they long to know God and to have a God-filled life.

But how does the word of God get firmly planted in us?

Whenever I have run across Colossians 3:16, which says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” it has always challenged and enthused and comforted me. “Dwell in you richly.” Of course that’s what God wants! I’m not a computer hard drive whose purpose it is to collect more and more data. I’m not a student hoping against hope to get all the answers right on the final exam. I’m a member of God’s household, and I get to learn with my brothers and sisters what God’s word through the prophets and the apostles is, and to ask God to make that word go down deeply and effectively, down to a place where it won’t get blown away by the winds of today’s concerns. I can ask God to make it take root there, so it will dwell there, and nobody can take it away. And it will not lie dormant. It will, like well-planted seed, sprout and grow, and then put down roots, and finally be ready for harvesting and digesting. We take it in as seed, but it becomes a nourishing feast.

The way I look at people who have had a pattern of Scripture digestion over the years is that the word which they consume faithfully is transformed into the spiritual muscle tissue of their lives. The word of God actually becomes part of who they are.

These people do not view Scripture as a collection of magical sayings which work wonders when voiced, but they consistently act out of the truth of Scripture. Their reactions to people around them are governed by grace because they have a graduate degree in grace, as it were (in learning and in experience). They react with truth because their consciences have been trained and shaped to stay within the bounds of honest, authentic reality. Their instincts, which are as naturally fallen as any of us, have been retrained. They don’t even think: “what is the biblical thing to do or say?” because biblical ethics and ethos have become essential to who they are. It is what is promised in the new covenant when God said, “I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33).

Next week: how to meditate on the word of God.


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

Five Biblical Prayers for the National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer in the United States (#dayofprayer)—a day when people are encouraged to spend time in prayer and meditation. This year’s event is themed around Isaiah 58:1:

“Shout aloud!
Don’t hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!”

Are you planning to participate in any way? To mark today’s special focus on prayer, here are five of the most interesting and memorable prayers in the Bible. Use these as inspiration as you spend time in prayer today!

#5: David’s Prayer of Repentance (Psalm 51)

Convicted of a terrible sin, the Israelite King David cried out to God with one of the most moving confessions and pleas for forgiveness in all of the Bible.

Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you. — from Psalm 51 (NLT)

#4: The Early Church Prays for Courage (Acts 4)

Continually harassed for their beliefs and activities—even for a miraculous healing!—the early church gathered to thank God for delivering them from prison or worse.

…they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
and the rulers have gathered together
against the Lord and against his Messiah.’

For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. — Acts 4:24-31 (NRSV)

#3: Solomon Prays for Wisdom (1 Kings 3)

If God offered to give you whatever you wanted, what would you ask for? The Israelite king Solomon was presented with just such an offer—but he didn’t ask for any of the things you might expect.

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” — 1 Kings 3 (NIV)

#2: Jehoshaphat Prays for Deliverance (2 Chronicles 20:5-12)

Faced by an overwhelming force of enemies bent on his destruction, the king Jehoshaphat called out to God with a prayer that acknowledged his own powerlessness, and entreated God to intervene.

And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” — 2 Chronicles 20:5-12 (ESV)

#1: The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)

Jesus’ own prayer is certainly the most famous prayer in the Bible—and it’s noteworthy for being short and to-the-point. Asked to demonstrate for his disciples how to pray, here’s how Jesus responded.

You, therefore, pray like this:

Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ — Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB)

Praying with Authority: An Interview with John Eldredge

The Global Day of Prayer is May 15, 2016.
Browse resources in the Prayer section in the Bible Gateway Store.

John EldredgeWhy does it seem as if some prayers work and others don’t? Are we doing something wrong? How do we keep from losing heart and giving up on the very tool God has given us to not lose heart?

Bible Gateway interviewed John Eldredge (@johneldredge) about his book, Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority (Thomas Nelson, 2016).

Buy your copy of Moving Mountains in the Bible Gateway Store

[Browse books by John Eldredge in the Bible Gateway Store]

What distinguishes your book from the many others that are available on the subject of prayer?

John Eldredge: The disciples watched the prayer life of Jesus and responded by saying, “Teach us to pray.” I think that’s a new idea for most Christians—that prayer is something we learn and grow into and mature at. Prayer isn’t like sneezing; it’s far more like getting married, where love is a good start, but there’s a whole lot more to be learned isn’t there? Moving Mountains is different because it is an how-to book on prayer. How do you consecrate your home? How do you pray for the sick? It’s a step-by-step guide to powerful and effective prayer.

What is the “zap” view of prayer?

John Eldredge: I think most of look at prayer this way: We ask, then wait for God to move. If he is going to move, he’s going to move fast—zap—and it’s done. But that’s not what you see in the stories of prayer in the Bible. It took Elijah eight rounds of prayer to call in the rain that ended the drought for Israel. It took the church in Acts an all-night prayer vigil to spring Peter from jail. In the famous parable of the persistent widow, Jesus urges us to stick with it. If all we do is pray once, and give up—no wonder we don’t see more results to our prayers.

What is a more spiritually mature way to think about, and to practice, prayer?

John Eldredge: The wonderful view of prayer given to us in Scripture is that prayer is partnership with God. Not just asking and then waiting to see whether or not God moves. God in fact promised the rain, but he told Elijah to pray; Elijah was God’s partner in that project. When Saul is blinded on the Damascus road, Jesus goes to a disciple in Damascus and says to him, “Ananias—I want you to go pray for Saul.” Now certainly the Lord of heaven and earth could just give Saul back his sight—zap—but he chose to use Ananias’ prayers. I think this is so encouraging. It gives us such a remarkable role in what God is doing in the world.

What are two basic assumptions that are the starting point for a mature understanding of prayer?

John Eldredge: The first is this: God is growing us up. He is deeply committed to our maturity—including maturity in prayer. As Christians we want to stay in simple, “Jesus be with us” prayers. And God honors those…for a while. But then he calls us up into a much more mature approach to prayer. The second big idea is that we live in a world at war. This is a core assumption of the Scriptures—the church is battling evil on the earth. You have an enemy. If we really believed that, we would take prayer much more seriously than we do. We would want to get really good at it.

Explain the concept of praying Scripture and give examples from the Bible.

John Eldredge: Let’s start with a promise the Bible gives us: That if we ask anything according to the will of God, those prayers will be answered (1 John 5:14-15). This is so encouraging! How then do we know what the will of God is? Well—we have the Scriptures. Praying the word of God and the promises of God is a very powerful way to pray. There is a beautiful prayer in Ephesians 3 where Paul demonstrates for us, asking that God would fill us with his Spirit in our inmost being, that we would be rooted deep in love, that we would have his help in knowing the magnificent love of Jesus. The end of that prayer is the promise that we will be filled to all the fullness of God. I want to be filled to all the fullness of God! I think everyone does. Well then—pray that prayer! (Eph. 3:16-19)

Why are so many prayers met with silence from God?

John Eldredge: Mmmmm. We need to be careful by what we mean by “silence.” Unanswered prayer has so many booby traps to it—we jump to conclusions like, God isn’t listening. I can’t pray. I am abandoned. None of that is true, according to Scripture. What’s interesting is that in Daniel chapter 10 we are given a dramatic story of seemingly “unanswered” prayer, and it turns out that God in fact was moving, just not at the pace Daniel was expecting. Be very careful how you interpret “unanswered” prayer.

Is it enough to simply recite people’s names to God in prayers of intervention?

John Eldredge: These are good questions—they illustrate what I was saying earlier about our need to develop a mature prayer life. For example, here—Christians have been taught that repetition is somehow bad in prayer. And indeed, Jesus warns against vain repetition. But the Bible is filled with prayers that keep at it, circle back, repeat the ideas, keep praying—like in the Psalms. In fact, Jesus himself prays the exact same thing three times over in Gethsemane. So repetition is actually modeled for us in Scripture. Let me try and illustrate why—prayer is like chopping down a great tree. If you only give it a whack or two, you’re not going to see results. The persistent widow stayed with it, and saw results.

If answers to prayers of intervention cannot be guaranteed, what’s the purpose of praying for others?

John Eldredge: Because we care; because we cannot sit idly by and do nothing for the heartache of the world. Because Jesus assumes that we will pray. Notice in the teaching before the famous “Lord’s prayer,” he says “when you pray…” (Matt. 6:5-7). James says the fervent prayer of a righteous man or woman is powerful and effective (James 5:16). So the biblical worldview assumes a vital role for prayer. We are not passive observers; we are God’s sons and daughters, here on the earth to bring his kingdom. Pray!

Do you think Christians are more concerned with praying for physical healing than they are for strengthening their souls?

John Eldredge: Well, when you or someone you love are in pain, it does move you to pray. I understand completely. But too often we wait till then to pray, or we only pray about “crises.” That’s actually very unkind to your prayer life. Don’t wait for huge needs to pray; pray over small things to begin with, so that your faith grows and you get into a habit of prayer. And yes—my goodness—your soul needs care and strengthening, so please pray for that too!

How do you respond to people who say its presumptuous to claim conversational intimacy with God?

John Eldredge: I reply, “That is what Jesus taught. That is what the entire Bible is about.” Seriously—the Bible is filled with stories of God speaking to his people. Jesus taught four times in John 10 alone that his sheep hear his voice. This idea is all throughout the Old and New Testaments. In fact, in Revelation—after Christ has ascended—he says he stands at the door and knocks, and “if anyone hears my voice, I will come in…” (3:20). Prayer is not a one-way communication; it is not making speeches at God. He wants to speak back. Can you imagine any earthly father never ever speaking to his children? What would we think of him as a father? Learning to hear the voice of God is a critical step in maturity in the Christian life.

How does prayer help achieve the goal of union with God?

John Eldredge: Life is so distracting. The number one soul-killer is simply how busy we all are. We are a very busy and distracted people. Prayer causes us to stop, and turn our attention to God. The more we linger there, the more intimate the relationship becomes. (Frankly, I think this is one of the reasons for “unanswered” prayers—God wants us to stay with him, linger, and if we simply said quick prayers and walked away, the relationship would never deepen.) Look at the life of Jesus—it’s marked by long periods of getting away just to be with his father. If the Son of God could not live without it, do we really think we can?

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

John Eldredge: I’m glad you asked! I use it all the time for Bible study and research. It’s enormously helpful!

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

John Eldredge: Thank you for allowing me to share a few thoughts on prayer. It really is the secret weapon God has given his people and far too many good folk have given up on it.

Bio: John Eldredge is an author of many books—including Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul and You Have What It Takes: What Every Father Needs to Know—a counselor, and a teacher. He is also president of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recovering their own hearts in God’s love, and learning to live in God’s Kingdom. He lives near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Four Biblical Mothers to Remember on Mother’s Day

hannahMother’s Day is just a few days away! We hope you’ll take some time this weekend to pay respects to your mother—or if that isn’t possible, to somebody in your life who embodies the grace and wisdom we associate with godly mothers.

The Bible speaks highly of mothers who raise children and guide their families in a righteous manner; in the oft-quoted Proverbs 31, the “wife of noble character” is honored by her husband and children for her virtues.

Motherhood wasn’t a requirement for godly women in Bible times—and just as today, not every woman who wanted children was granted her wish. But the mothers and matriarchs of the Bible exhibit qualities that all of us, male or female, parent or not, should strive to emulate. Here are a few of the famous mothers of the Bible, with links to their stories:

1. Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Perhaps no more famous mother exists than Mary, who at a young age learned from an angel that she would give birth to the long-awaited Messiah. Her song of praise in response, and the well-known events of Christ’s birth, are what usually spring to mind when we think of Mary. But her role as mother brought her grief as well as joy; we can only imagine what it must have been like for her to witness Jesus’ crucifixion. Read her story in John 19.

2. Elizabeth

Mary’s was not the only miraculous birth recorded in the New Testament. Elizabeth was a godly woman who was “righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly”—and yet she and her husband were unable to conceive a child. God answered her prayers late in her life and she gave birth to John the Baptist, but is perhaps best known for her prophetic encouragement of the young (and perhaps frightened) Mary: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Read her story in Luke 1.

3. Hannah

Hannah is one of the most inspiring mothers in the Bible, although her story is less well-known. Despite years of patience and prayer, she remained unable to have a child. One day “in her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly”—and God answered her prayer at last. But Hannah’s character truly shone when, in gratitude to God, she dedicated her newborn son to His service. Her son would one day become one of Israel’s greatest prophets. Read her story in 1 Samuel 1.

4. Sarah, the Wife of Abraham

Sarah is one of the great matriarchs of the Bible—yet she didn’t become a mother until very late in life. In fact, her reaction to God’s promise that she would have a son was to laugh, as memorably recorded in Genesis 18. Nevertheless she did give birth to a son, and her lineage would include Jesus Christ himself. Read her story in Genesis 18.

There are many more famous mothers described in the Bible; many of them righteous, some not so much, but all used by God to bring about His design. This weekend, as we give thanks for the mothers in our lives, consider how you can embody the traits that define a godly mother—patience, kindheartedness, faithfulness—and consider how you can encourage the mothers in your community, young and old, as they work to meet that same standard.

While Mother’s Day is on your mind, here are a few Mother’s Day devotionals worth checking out (or passing along to mom):

Happy Mother’s Day to you and to the mother figure in your life!

Prayers That Changed History: An Interview with Tricia Goyer

The Global Day of Prayer is May 15, 2016.
Browse resources in the Prayer section in the Bible Gateway Store.

Tricia GoyerWe read stories of world-changing leaders in history books and hear about the amazing things they did. But one part of the story is often left out: the role of prayer in their lives and the effect it had on their singular accomplishments. How can prayer make history?

Bible Gateway interviewed Tricia Goyer (@triciagoyer) about her book, Prayers That Changed History (Zonderkidz, 2015).

Click to buy your copy of Prayers That Changed History in the Bible Gateway Store

What do you say to people who think your book’s title is audacious?

Tricia Goyer: History is the study of past events. We often don’t get the full story from history books. The amazing thing about looking back at historical people and events with spiritual eyes is seeing how whispered prayers impacted the course of a person’s life—and beyond. There are times when ordinary people prayed and things happened, such as tens of thousands of orphans being cared for (in George Muller’s case), organizations being created (Catherine Booth), and a monumental missionary movement happening (David Livingston). Because of prayer, history is forever changed. I loved digging out moments when influential men and women turned to God in prayer. It is a bit audacious, but then so are things God asks men and women to do in his name!

What is prayer and why is it important for people to pray?

Tricia Goyer: Prayer is taking one’s eyes off of one’s circumstances and own abilities and, instead, lifting one’s heart up to God. Jesus doesn’t physically walk by our side, as he did with the disciples, but, instead, he leads us through the Holy Spirit. Each of us has a special connection with the Holy Spirit when we go before God in prayer. Through prayer we can make a difference in the world we live in, too. The difference starts with internal changes and then leads to external ones.

Prayer shouldn’t always be about asking God to change things. Instead, it’s asking God to change us and give us his heart. And once we have his heart, we care about the things he cares about. That’s when things truly begin to change.

How did you select the people you write about?

Tricia Goyer: I started collecting stories in 1999. Every time I came across a “prayer that changed history,” I filed it away. The file grew and there were soon too many stories to include in one book. I chose stories by picking a sampling of men and women throughout history. I didn’t want to focus too much on one era, but, instead, show how prayers over generations have made an impact.

Each person’s chapter is comprised of sections, one of which is “It’s in the Bible.” What is that about?

Tricia Goyer: When I started compiling these stories, it was amazing how similar these historical stories were to biblical stories. For example, one night Patrick (St. Patrick) had a dream that the people of Ireland were asking him to come to them and tell them about God. This story reminded me of the Bible story of Paul having a dream about a man from Macedonia asking him to come and tell him about Jesus. That’s just one example. Over and over again I saw similarities between historical stories and biblical accounts. I love how God’s fingerprints are all over history.

How should the Bible influence a person’s prayer life?

Tricia Goyer: The Bible should be the foundation for everything, including how we see history.

The Bible is filled with amazing stories of what happens when people pray: the sun standing still, the walls of Jericho falling, the mouths of lions closing. We know those are answers to prayers because the Bible gives us an eternal perspective.

We should view history in the way we see the Bible–as a platform for God to do his great work, starting first in the hearts of men and women and then through events and circumstances. The more we read and understand the Bible, the more we know the value and the power of prayer.

Reading the Bible has transformed my life, and when I view the world and history through the lens of the Bible, I see God’s hand everywhere.

Talk about one of the people you feature in Prayers That Changed History.

Tricia Goyer: One of my favorite stories is about Corrie ten Boom. As a writer of historical novels I’ve known about Corrie for a long time, but when I researched for this book I discovered an amazing story of prayer. Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Prayer came naturally to Corrie. Her parents made prayer an important part of her life. Her parents taught her to pray, and they lived an example of prayer. Corrie’s grandfather, Willem ten Boom, felt the need to pray for Jewish people after a moving worship service. In 1844, the ten Boom family, along with friends and neighbors, started a weekly prayer meeting for Jewish people. Every week they specifically prayer for the peace of Jerusalem as talked about in Psalm 122:6. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (KJV). These meetings took place every week for one hundred years. They stopped on February 28, 1944, when Nazi soldiers came to the house to take the family away.

I love that story! 100 years before Corrie was taken to a concentration camp for hiding and protecting Jewish people, her family started praying for them. Corrie’s life was changed and her testimony still continues through her books. It’s a reminder to me how prayer can impact generations.

Of those included in your book, who would you say is the most colorful person and what were his/her prayers like?

Tricia Goyer: One of the most colorful people in my book is Sojourner Truth. Born Isabella Baumfree, she was born into slavery in Ulster County, New York. With the help of friends, Isabella was able to win her freedom a year before emancipation, but her son Isaac had been sold across state lines, which was illegal at the time. She decided to go to court to get him back. No one thought she’d ever be able to win, but Isabella believed God was on her side. Every night she prayed:

“Oh, God, you know how much I am distressed, for I have told you again and again. Now, God, help me get my son. If you were in trouble, as I am, and I could help you, as you can me, think I wouldn’t do it? Yes, God, you know I would do it.

“Oh, God, you know I have no money, but you can make people do for me, and you must make the people do for me. I will never give you peace till you do, God.”

This, truly, is an example of persistent prayer. It reminds me that it’s okay to ask God more than once. It’s okay to plead our case even if this labels us as colorful!

Sample page from the book Prayers That Changed History

Who might be the most unexpected person to be included in your book?

Tricia Goyer: The most unexpected person might be Constantine—or maybe Christopher Columbus. Both men are known for good and bad actions during their lifetimes. Neither can be considered saints. Yet, both of them prayed amazing prayers that are worth noting. There’s so much in the history books about both of these men, and I felt it was important to share their prayers that were turning-points in their lives. They are prayers that few people know about.

The book is published by Zonderkidz, but what might adults glean from it?

Tricia Goyer: I’ve received notes from many adult readers who love Prayers That Changed History. I believe both children and adults will walk away with knowing more about history. More importantly they’ll be inspired to become more bold in their own prayer lives. Prayer changes things—but it starts by changing people.

What do you want readers to do when they finish your book?

Tricia Goyer: Well, that’s easy. I hope they’ll pray and become diligent in prayer!

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

Tricia Goyer: I use Bible Gateway on a daily basis! I use it when working on my books and blogs. I use it in my homeschooling. I especially love the ability to listen to Scripture on the Bible Gateway App. As a busy mom, I often listen to it when I get ready in the morning or fold laundry. It’s a huge blessing to me!

Bio: USA TODAY bestselling author Tricia Goyer is the author of more than 40 books, including The One Year Book of Amish Peace: Hearing God’s Voice in the Simple Things and the novelization for Moms’ Night Out. She’s written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like TheBetterMom.com and MomLifeToday.com. Tricia and her husband, John, live in Little Rock, Arkansas, where Tricia coordinates a Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. They have six children.

Letters to the Church: Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy

Did you know that most of the books that comprise the New Testament are actually letters? These letters (also known as “epistles”) contain both general Christian teaching and specific instructions for the congregation to which they were addressed. As part of our Letters to the Church series, we’re taking a brief look at each epistle in the New Testament. This week, we look at the second of Paul’s “pastoral letters,” written again to his fellow missionary Timothy.

[See commentaries on 2 Timothy in the Bible Gateway Store]

[See other Blog posts in the Letters to the Church series]

Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy

Start reading it here: 2 Timothy 1

When was it written? In the late 60s A.D., probably not long before Paul’s death. Paul was imprisoned in Rome at the time when he wrote this; it’s believed to have been his last known letter.

To whom was it written? Paul’s longtime friend and associate Timothy, who had worked alongside Paul in evangelism and ministry for many years. Timothy was in the city of Ephesus, where he had been sent by Paul several years earlier.

Why was it written? Aware that he didn’t have much longer to live, Paul wrote to Timothy as a mentor dispensing final words of advice to his protégé. In addition to encouraging Timothy in his ministry, Paul was concerned that false teachings were still threatening the young but quickly growing Christian church.

What does it say? 2 Timothy opens with moving words of encouragement to the young missionary Timothy. Paul dispenses a string of advice, some of it quite specific (even naming individuals in the church who needed to be confronted for sinful behavior). Paul expected that a time of renewed persecution was about to descend on the church, and there’s an urgency in his exhortations to Timothy to stand strong in the faith.

Paul mentions that most of his friends had abandoned him in prison; combined with the specter of Paul’s impending execution, that casts a shadow of sadness over this letter. Nonetheless, Paul doesn’t write out of a sense of gloom or despair; he is reaching the end of a long life lived in service to Jesus Christ, and Paul does not regret his suffering on account of his Savior. His concern as the end nears is not for himself, but for a Christian church that, while enthusiastic and growing, is still vulnerable to false preachers and heresies.

Noteworthy passages:

  • 2 Timothy 1:7-8: What kind of spirit does God give to His children?
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-5: Paul’s sobering description of the trials the Christian church must face before Christ’s return.
  • 2 Timothy 4:6-8: A moving account of Paul’s mindset as he nears the end of his life.

What can we learn from 2 Timothy? This letter paints a moving picture of a Christian nearing the end of both his ministry and his life. Any Christian would want to emulate Paul’s attitude: no self-pity, no bitterness, but only a strong desire to use what time remains to share as much insight as possible. That selfless attitude is one that Christians of all ages and at any stage of life can adopt.

Consider these questions as you read 2 Timothy today:

  • Do you have a Christian mentor—an older Christian who has helped shape your faith? Could you be a mentor to somebody else?
  • Why do you think the early church, even under the leadership of respected ministers like Paul and Timothy, had so much trouble keeping false teachers and ideas out of their communities?
  • If you were to write a letter of “final advice” to your children or somebody else, what would it say?
  • Imagine that you’ve received this letter from Paul. What might you write back to him in response?

Bible News Roundup – Week of May 1, 2016

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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The Spark of Life: Science and the Bible Meet Again
FOX News
Amazing Truths: How Science and the Bible Agree by Michael Guillen in the Bible Gateway Store

Orthodox Celebrate Easter in Jerusalem with “Holy Fire” (Candlelight) Ceremony
The Jordan Times
Infographic: Holy Week Timeline
Resources for Easter in the Bible Gateway Store

Thousands of Jews Pray at the Grave of Biblical Joshua [PHOTOS]
Breaking Israel News
Read about Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:7-8; 34:9; and Joshua 1:1-6 on Bible Gateway

Entire Bible Read Aloud from US Capitol
ABC 13 News
Watch Portions of the Opening Ceremony

Bible Reading Marathon; Concludes with National Day of Prayer
Harrison Daily Times

Photos & Video: Greater Tuscaloosa Bible Reading Marathon Underway
The Tuscaloosa News
WIAT-TV
WBRC-TV

Marathon Bible Reading Kicks Off in Tupelo, Mississippi
Daily Journal

250 Volunteers Read Bible Cover-to-Cover in Clarksville, Tennessee
WKRN-TV

120 Volunteers Read Bible in 75 Hours in Corinth, Mississippi
Daily Corinthian

Marathon: Volunteers in Eureka Springs, Arkansas Spend Week Reading Aloud from Bible
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

USA National Day of Prayer is May 5
National Day of Prayer
A New Chairman for the National Day of Prayer Task Force—Anne Graham Lotz Succeeds Shirley Dobson
The Daniel Prayer: Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations by Anne Graham Lotz in the Bible Gateway Store

Bentonville, Arkansas School Board to Consider High School Elective Bible Class
ArkansasOnline

Bible Makes ‘Most Challenged Books’ List
Mission Network News
Blog post—Perspective: Bible Still Most Accepted Despite Being Included on ALA List of Top 10 Most Challenged Books

Bible: The Book That Made Your World
Evangelical Focus
Blog post—How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization: An Interview with Vishal Mangalwadi

Oldest Bible Society in USA—Rock Creek Bible Society—To Meet for 202nd Time
Marshall County Tribune

The Risks Of Translating The Bible
BBC World Servicer
Blog post—Bible Translation Organizations

‘Day for the Unreached’ May 15 to Focus on Billions Who Have Never Heard the Gospel
Outreach Magazine
See Evangelism resources in the Bible Gateway Store

Bible-Based Literacy Booklets Boost Literacy in South Africa
News24

Malaysian Catholics Urged to Read the Bible
UCA News
Blog post—CNN: A Catholic Reads the Bible
See Catholic resources in the Bible Gateway Store

Persecuted Christians Read Bible for First Time in Their Own Language After 182 Year Wait
Wycliffe Associates

Religious Freedom Faces ‘Serious And Sustained Assault’ Around The World
NPR
Baptist Press
Blog post—I Am N: An Interview with Cole Richards and Jason Peters
See resources on the topic of Christian persecution in the Bible Gateway Store

Bible with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Handwritten Inscription on Display in Fresno, California
KMPH-TV

“Jesus in Quran and Bible” Exhibition in Greece
ABNA
Blog post—Interview: Nabeel Qureshi, Author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi in the Bible Gateway Store

Video: Biblical Wildlife Roam in Israel’s South
Wildlife Nature Reserve in the Israeli Desert
Read Genesis 1:25 on Bible Gateway

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

How Bible Gateway Can Enhance Your Writing

writersheaderblog

How do you use Bible Gateway? Most people use Bible Gateway for its most obvious function: to read and engage with the Bible as part of your spiritual walk. That’s gratifying to see, because making Bible Gateway relevant and helpful to your personal, everyday Christian experience is our primary goal.

But that’s certainly not all that Bible Gateway can do. One of the ways that people have put Bible Gateway to use for them is as an aid to their writing. Over the years, we’ve heard from all manner of published authors—from best-selling novelists to academic writers to Bible study authors to bloggers—about how they’ve used Bible Gateway to make their writing easier.

We recently asked several dozen writers to tell us how they use Bible Gateway. Here are their tips for using Bible Gateway to help your writing.

1. Use the parallel Bible feature to compare how different Bibles translate the same passage.

“I love the split screen options when I am studying Scripture. I typically have the NIV translation in the left window and then scroll through other translations in the right window. Insights and clarifications emerge as I read multiple translations.” — Sharon Hoover

One of the simplest and most practical tools on Bible Gateway for writers is the parallel Bible view, which allows you to easily see how different Bibles translate the same verse or passage. It’s simple to use—once you’ve looked up a Bible verse (say, 1 Corinthians 13), just look for and press the parallelbutton button in the top left to open a second Bible alongside your original choice:

Click to add a parallel Bible version on Bible Gateway

You can press that button repeatedly to add up to five Bibles side-by-side:

Click to add a fourth parallel Bible version on Bible Gateway

For a complete step-by-step tutorial for viewing multiple Bibles side-by-side, see this blog post.

That’s one way to compare different Bible translations. But there’s another less-well-known option that’s perfect if you want to quickly compare how every English Bible translates a specific verse. This trick only works when you’re looking at a single verse, but if you’ve looked up a verse (say, John 3:16), look below the verse for the …in all translations link:

John316

This is useful for a number of different reasons. First, seeing how different translators render the same material is a great way to both get at the core meaning of a Bible passage, and to notice fresh nuances that different translations bring out. Second, if you’re looking for just the right translation of a verse to cite or quote in your writing, it’s an easy way to compare different options and determine which would be most appropriate for your audience. For example, writer Anna Schaeffer, who writes material for teens, compares verses in different Bibles to find the translation that’s most accessible for her young audience.

2. Master the keyword search to quickly find out how and where topics are discussed in the Bible.

I appreciate the highly customizable keyword search feature. — Thomas Horrocks

You probably know how to use our search box to quickly look up a Bible verse or do a search for a particular keyword. But that’s just scratching the surface of the ways you can use Bible Gateway’s search engine to comb the Bible for exactly what you’re looking for.

Searching for simple keywords is useful for most everyday Bible reading purposes. But when dealing with very commonly-used keywords—for example, the word “love”, which appears many hundreds of times in Scripture—you’ll almost certainly want to narrow the results down to make them more useful for your research. (If you’re writing a Bible study about how that word is used in the epistles, you don’t want your search results clogged up with hundreds of verses from other parts of the Bible, for example.) To gain more control over your searches, you’ll want to visit the Keyword Search Page.

The Keyword Search Page lets you very precisely define how you want to search the Bible. In addition to narrowing your search down to specific books or sections of the Bible, you can use this tool to search more than one Bible translation at a time.

There’s so much you can do here that we’ve written up an in-depth blog post specifically about how to get the most out of the Keyword Search Page. Rather than repeat all of it here, we’ll direct you to this blog post explaining the ins and outs of the Keyword Search Page.

3. Check commentaries to explore the meaning and context of a passage.

“I take frequent advantage of the ‘STUDY THIS’ feature which puts great tools at my fingertips for free (ie. study Bibles, commentaries (Matthew Henry is my fav!), dictionaries and encyclopedias. Bible Gateway provides a variety of reliable biblical information with just a few clicks. It’s super easy to use – no learning curve nescessary.” — Jennifer Anderson

“I have shelved my 20 pound Strong’s Concordance and fully rely on Bible Gateway.” — Susan Shipe

Writing about Scripture, or incorporating it well into your writing project, requires more than just finding the right Scripture passages to use. It means understanding them, so that you can help your audience understand them too. Some of you, particularly pastors or academics, might have a huge library of print commentaries, dictionaries, and other study references to help you dig past the surface of the Bible text. But did you know that much of that reference material is freely available at Bible Gateway, right alongside Scripture? If you don’t have a Bible study library—or if you’re getting tired of hauling those hefty tomes out every time you want to see what Bible scholars have to say about a verse—you’ll want to make use of the Study This feature.

Accessing reference material on Bible Gateway is simple. To start with, just look up any Bible passage—say, Genesis 1. See the blue Study This button above and to the right of the Bible passage? If it isn’t already open, click or tap this button:

studythisbutton

Opening the Study This drawer (or bookshelf, if you prefer to think of it that way) shows all of the Bible references available to you. It looks like this:

sharethispanelopen

This panel lists the types of reference materials available to you which have content related to the Bible text you’re reading. The number to the right of each resource type shows you how many individual reference works contain relevant content. When you click on a resource type, you’ll see that some resources are free, and others require a paid Bible Gateway Plus membership. There’s plenty of free material to get you started, but a Bible Gatewaply Plus membership greatly expands your library to include not just classic Bible references, but best-selling modern works as well. Click here to learn more about Bible Gateway Plus.

For a complete step-by-step tutorial showing you how to access Bible commentaries and other reference materials on Bible Gateway, see this tutorial blog post. If this is a Bible Gateway feature you’ve never explored, it’s well worth your time and will help you more confidently write about the meaning and significance of Bible passages.

4. Copy, paste, and print verses directly from Bible Gateway.

Bible Gateway allows me to copy and paste Scripture into blog posts and link back to the exact Scripture…. It helps me not misquote Scripture. — Nikole Hahn

This is a very practical writing matter: are you using Bible Gateway to copy and paste Scripture into your manuscript, blog post, or other writing project? It might seem obvious, but copying and pasting Scripture straight from the Bible text, rather than re-typing it yourself, is a good way to keep typos or other mistakes from creeping into your Scripture quotes.

If you’re copying and pasting Bible verses from Bible Gateway, you’ll benefit from taking a moment to understand what the text display options let you do. The display options let you toggle off and on text elements like verse numbers, headings, and footnotes:

pageoptions

If you’re pasting lots of Bible text into a document but find yourself repeatedly going in to tediously delete things like verse numbers, you can save time by toggling those elements off using the display options. Here’s a guide to using the display options.

Don’t forget that you can easily create a printer-friendly version of a Bible passage, too—a printable version of the passage that strips out the Bible Gateway website images and other elements you don’t want to print out. You’ll find the Printer friendly button right next to the display options button above the Scripture text; here’s a quick guide to finding it.

5. Use our Bible annotation features to take notes and record insights as you read.

When researching and planning your writing project, you probably take a lot of notes. How do you take and store those notes? Maybe you use a good ol’ physical notebook, a computer file, or an organizational tool like EverNote. But did you know you can highlight and take notes on Bible passages right within Bible Gateway?

You’ll need a free Bible Gateway account to take advantage of this feature, but it’s well worth it if you want an organized way to take notes and record insights on specific Bible passages. This video explains how to do it:

Your notes, highlights, and favorites are stored online and can be easily accessed (as well as edited or deleted) at any time.

Make Bible Gateway Your Own

We’ve just covered an awful lot of information—and we hope that you’ve taken note of at least one or two new things you can do with Bible Gateway to make your writing a bit easier. Your writing is unique—so there will be some Bible Gateway features you find indispensable that other writers may not need to use at all. But we hope that you’ll get to know Bible Gateway well enough to make it your own—to identify the ways it can help you, and to get the most out of those features to make your writing easier and as faithful to God’s Word as possible. Enjoy exploring these features, and if you’ve found another way to use Bible Gateway in your writing, don’t hesitate to share it with us!

Remembering Charles Welty and His Work on the International Standard Version

CRW 20110921 webWe were saddened this week to learn of the death of Charles Welty, who helped to develop the International Standard Version (ISV) of the Bible. His passion for the Bible in general and for the ISV in particular always shone through brightly in all his interactions with Bible Gateway, and we salute his contributions to the great work of Bible translation.

The ISV is a fascinating English Bible translation. It was born as a new response to the age-old question of Bible translation: when translating Scripture, should you translate the original texts as literally as possible (the formal equivalence translation philosophy), or should you focus instead on conveying meaning without worrying about replicating the original’s exact wording (the functional equivalence philosophy)? All translated Bibles sit at different points on the wide spectrum between these two approaches, and most employ both approaches but emphasize one over the other to some degree. The ISV’s translators aimed to avoid the extremes of both tendencies, balancing both approaches in a Bible that is both accurate and readable—they describe the ISV as a “moderately literal” Bible that works equally well for serious study, public reading, and personal devotions.

If you haven’t read the ISV, you’ll find its translation style intriguing and unique. Here’s how it presents the famous passage John 3:16:

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his uniquely existing Son so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. — John 3:16

Click to read the ISV Bible on Bible GatewayIf you want to compare this to other approaches, click here to see the ISV’s translation side-by-side with several other English Bibles.

Taking a few minutes this week to try the ISV Bible is a good way to honor the work of Welty and the many others who produced this translation. And if you want more information about the ISV’s approach, and about the work that Welty was a part of, the ISV website (@isvbible) or the Davidson Press (publisher of the ISV) website are good places to start.

The God Who Heals: An Interview with Mary J. Nelson

Mary J. NelsonHave you stopped believing in the healing power of God? Do you read in the Bible about the healing miracles of Jesus and wonder if those stories are relevant today? What does it mean that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever?

Bible Gateway interviewed Mary J. Nelson (@maryjnelson1) about her book, Jehovah-Rapha: The God Who Heals (Shiloh Run Press, 2016).

What is the meaning of your book’s title?

Click to buy your copy of Jehovah-Rapha in the Bible Gateway Store

Mary J. Nelson: In Bible times, names were not only used for identification but to reveal someone’s purpose, nature, and authority. Jehovah is the Hebrew name for “I AM,” the unchanging, eternal God as revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14. By adding a second part to his name as he often did throughout Scripture, God revealed additional facts about his character and his care and concern for his children. In Exodus 15:26, he called himself Jehovah-Rapha in Hebrew meaning, “I am the God who heals you.” In naming the book, Jehovah-Rapha: The God Who Heals, I wanted to capture the heart of a loving God whose nature is to heal and restore as revealed through the biblical and modern day stories in the book. In essence, he is saying, healing isn’t just something I do. Healing is who I am!

How do you intend your book to be used by readers?

Mary J. Nelson: For readers seeking healing and restoration, this book offers 72 biblical and modern healing meditations and stories that will guide them on a journey of prayer and devotion, and lead them to Jehovah-Rapha, the ultimate healer. On their journey toward wellness, my hope is to correct any misunderstandings they may have about the nature and character of God. I want them to know that he is a good and faithful Father who loves them and wants the best for them, not a cruel and vindictive Father who makes people sick (John 10:10). As readers engage in each biblical teaching, each true story, and each guided prayer for healing, they’ll draw closer to the heart of Jesus and discover he’s all they will ever need.

You write that God always heals those who seek him? Always? Please explain.

Mary J. Nelson: God can heal by physicians, surgeons, climate, renewed mindsets, common sense, a direct touch of the Holy Spirit, and more. Sometimes he heals instantly, sometimes gradually, and always eternally. While His methods and timing are not always predictable, he is the one who heals all our diseases (Exodus 15:26; Psalm 103:3).

He provides physicians to prescribe medications to destroy mutated cells, kill harmful organisms, and regulate body systems. He uses surgeons to remove unwanted tissues and repair defective organs. He provides sunny dry weather to bring health to the bones of the stiff and crippled. He uses counselors and ministers of inner healing to help us heal from wrong mindsets and the wounds of our past that can impact our physical health. Through forgiveness and releasing bitterness, God can rewire old toxic thought processes, causing the body, soul, and spirit to be healed and restored.

He also gives us common sense and a sound mind to make good choices. God has established natural laws for health and wellness. Our health can improve greatly when we avoid harmful addictive behaviors and take care of our bodies. Sometimes he bypasses all of his natural methods and heals instantly through a direct touch from the Holy Spirit. Being healed miraculously is not “more spiritual” than being healed medically. God is sovereign over all healing, whether supernatural or natural, and the coming of his kingdom made healing in the most impossible situations possible today (Matthew 19:26).

For followers of Jesus, eternal life is always the final cure in a world where physical death is a fact. Through his resurrection, we have the promise of immortality where there is no more death or sorrow or crying or pain and evil is gone forever (Revelation 21:4).

Briefly share one or two of the compelling stories in your book.

Mary J. Nelson: Ryan was a senior in college when he was diagnosed with leukemia. He went through grueling chemotherapy treatment and received a good prognosis. He was just getting his life back in order when he relapsed. Defeated and hopeless, he gave up. He would not face more treatment. And then some people of faith gathered around him to pray. God lifted him out of the pit and he could hope again. A bone marrow transplant was an answer to prayer and his brother was a perfect match. Once again, he was ready to get on with his life, when God had a different plan. Ryan felt the sacred call to ministry, attended seminary, and he is now a lead pastor. God took what the enemy had intended for evil and turned it into something good for his glory (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).

Zach was 7-months old when he was diagnosed with a rare from of lung cancer. His parents sought help from Pray for the Cure, our cancer healing and discipleship ministry. After the initial surgery, doctors wanted to watch and wait. The prayer team walked closely with the family, praying with them and encouraging them, as they tried to live as normally as possible from check up to check up. Finally, when Zach turned 4, doctors thought it was time to remove the tumor. Covered in prayer, his parents had just settled in for a long wait when the puzzled surgeon burst into the waiting room. When he opened up Zach, all he found was pink healthy lung tissue.

What do you say to someone who does not receive physical healing no matter how much she prays?

Mary J. Nelson: In my ministry to the sick, I pray in faith and expect God to heal (James 5:14-15). Then, I leave the rest up to him. When healing doesn’t come in the way we had hoped, I don’t pretend to have an answer. I don’t tell them they just need more faith, believe more, or read their Bible more. I listen, love, and don’t judge. It makes a huge difference when we pray, regardless of the outcome. People connect with Jesus often for first time in their life, they may get physically healed, they feel his peace, and they always feel loved.

I encourage everyone who’s waiting on God for healing to pray persistently (Matthew 7:7), surround themselves with praying friends, worship and praise him often, find comfort in Scripture, find reasons to be grateful, bless others, and forgive. I always encourage them not to base their beliefs on experience.

Jesus is standard for all truth. God is who he is, regardless of our perspective. My heart is to help them navigate this tension so what they see and experience doesn’t shake their faith in God and his truth (Hebrews 11:1). I want them to know God, the one who heals; to chase after the healer, rather than the healing.

What do you say to someone who doubts God’s healing power?

Mary J. Nelson: When someone doubts God’s healing power, I’m reminded of the blind man who Jesus healed on the Sabbath. After several attempts by the religious leaders to discredit his story, he simply said, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:15).

All I can do if someone doubts is share my own story of how I experienced his healing power and how I’ve personally witnessed him heal others through some of the stories I’ve shared in this book. I’ve seen him miraculously heal a woman with Stage 4 cancer after she gave up years of hate and bitterness. I’ve witnessed blind eyes and ears open on prayer lines in India. I’ve walked hundreds of people through cancer treatment and watched him work through doctors and medicine to heal and restore their lives. I’ve been there when people received their eternal healing, the greatest miracle of all, and watched entire families find Jesus through the journey of their loved one.

What role does the Bible play in helping a person see God’s healing nature?

Mary J. Nelson: We can know God’s healing nature, because Jesus said if you have seen me, you have seen the Father (John 14:9). He is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). When he walked on this earth, he had deep compassion for the sick and the lost (Matthew 9:36; Luke 5:12-13). He both proclaimed and demonstrated the kingdom of God by healing and delivering people (Mark 1:15; Acts 10:37-38). He healed everyone who came to him, and his healings made up 25 percent of the Gospels (Matthew 4:23).

Then, as part of his disciples’ preparation, he gave them the power and authority to do the same in his name. He sent the 12 (Luke 9:1-2), he sent the 72 (Luke 10:8-9), and then he sent us all into the world to preach the good news. He said we would be able to place our hands on the sick and heal them (Mark 16:15-18). The ministry of Peter and Paul further demonstrated that healing was a central and vital part of God’s message to the world (Acts 4:29-30; Romans 15:15-18-19). Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:5). He is still Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals.

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

Mary J. Nelson: Bible Gateway is absolutely essential to my writing, teaching, and my own personal Bible study. I love the passage lookup, the key word search, and having all the translations instantly available, as well as the commentaries for reference as needed.

Bio: Mary J. Nelson is a full time author, speaker, and pastor of prayer (non-staff) at Hosanna! (@hosannalc), a church of 7000+ members in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Formerly, she was the founder and President of Soterion, a communications company dedicated to the healthcare industry. Mary has a passion for helping people encounter God and his goodness in the midst of trials, and be empowered and set free to live out their destiny. She emerged from a breast cancer diagnosis in 1999 eager to share how God restored and transformed her life. Her deepest desire is to give away what she’s freely received.

Mary is the author of Grace for Each Hour: Through the Breast Cancer Journey (Bethany House 2005), Hope for Tough Times (Revell 2009), and Peace for Each Hour (Comfort Publishing 2013). Her 2016 releases by Barbour Publishing include Jehovah-Rapha: The God Who Heals, the first in a series of names of God books, and Praying for the Cure: A Powerful Prayer Guide for Comfort and Healing from Cancer. Her books inspire those suffering from physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual brokenness by helping them draw close to the heart of God. She founded and leads the Pray for the Cure cancer healing and discipleship ministry at Hosanna! where she also serves as a leader in the Sozo inner healing ministry and healing prayer ministry. She and her husband, Howie, have two adult children and two grandchildren, and have been married for 39 years. They enjoy spending time with family, traveling, motorcycling, reading, and serving together as prayer leaders in their local church.