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Bible News Roundup – Week of September 25, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just how large is the universe?

Buy your copy of Star Struck in the Bible Gateway Store

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How has studying the stars impacted your Christian faith?

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

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

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

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

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

The Milky Way

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you think there’s life in outer space?

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

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

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

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

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

Should your book be considered a contribution to Christian apologetics?

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

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

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

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bible Design in an Instagram Age: An Interview with Bryan Chung and Brian Chung

Bryan Chung Brian Chung

Infographics, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Periscope, Snapchat: our social understanding is more and more enamored of the visual. Image sharing is de rigueur. What if the Gospels were reimagined with modern depictions that combine truth with beauty? How would original artwork inspired by—and embedded in—Scripture impact readers of the Bible?

Bible Gateway interviewed Brian Chung (@brianchung) and Bryan Chung (@bryancreates) about their Kickstarter project, Alabaster (@Alabaster_Co).

Alabaster logoFirst of all, how is it that you each have the same name?

Bryan: Brian and I both went to USC (University of Southern California). I was a freshman and Brian was entering his first year as a full time campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. If I recall correctly, Brian and other InterVarsity leaders were passing out care packages to meet new students, and when I introduced myself as Bryan Chung, Brian shouted, “No way! My name is Brian Chung too!” We’ve been friends ever since.

The four Gospels published by Alabaster

What is Alabaster and why did you see a need to create it?

Bryan: Alabaster is the Bible beautiful. We set out to integrate visual imagery and thoughtful design within the text of the four Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke, John]. Our culture has become incredibly visual. Everyone now has access to a camera and digital media is available at our fingertips. We curate everything and share our everyday moments with the click of a button. We’ve become a society that cares about beauty and is visually engaged.

There’s a famous theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar, who in his notable work, The Glory of the Lord, states the importance of beauty in fully understanding who God is. Balthasar describes three fundamental realities—beauty, goodness, and truth—as realities that must exist together to paint a full picture of God. Without beauty, goodness “loses the self-evidence of why it must be carried out,” and truth “loses its cogency.” Something about beauty reflects the goodness and truths of God in a more holistic way. We saw a need to show a part of that beauty and the biblical text felt like a good place to start.

When we look at Bible design, it’s remained relatively the same. There have been few attempts to integrate imagery, typography, and layout design with the biblical text to engage with our rapidly growing visual culture. Similar to old master Renaissance artists, who looked at the Scriptures and created beautiful pieces of art from them, we wanted to do the same and wanted to explore what that would look like in our modern culture.

The four Gospels published by Alabaster

Why the name Alabaster?

Bryan: The name Alabaster is based of one of the few times Jesus calls something beautiful (Mark 14:1-9). In an extreme act a woman breaks an alabaster jar of incredibly expensive perfume onto Jesus’ head. Many people in the room scoff at her and say what she’s done is a complete waste. But Jesus defends the woman saying, “Leave her alone, why do you bother her? What she has done is a beautiful thing.” It is this complete act of sacrificial giving which Jesus calls beautiful. In the original Greek, Jesus uses the word kalos, which literally means beautiful, as a sign of inward goodness. We wanted to have this same level of intentionality and thoughtfulness as the woman did as we created Alabaster.

Image published by Alabaster of Jesus calling his disciples in Matthew 4:18-22 (NLT)

Describe the image process and design process of your project.

Brian: In terms of our image process we wanted to explore the visual language of photographic images and how it could give a new lens into the biblical text. Together, we have a decade worth of ministry experience in teaching the Scriptures. We started our process with an in-depth, inductive study of the Gospels, looking over key themes, repetition and contrast, chiastic structure, cultural commentary, and scholarly commentary before diving into the creative process. We then let the Scripture inspire us, as we prayed through and thought about what images we wanted to make. We did a mock 96-page layout to see how everything would fit, and then started making the images and design of each page.

Bryan: That being said, the process was inherently intuitive and creative. It was eye opening. We felt as if we were experiencing the Scriptures anew, but in a nonverbal, non-word oriented way. Our hope is that the art ultimately creates conversation—that it’s wrestled over and contemplated with—and through that process every person would experience God and his beauty in some unique way.

We wanted our design of the book to serve as the mediator between the visuals and the words. Our layouts are extremely simple, so the reader is not distracted from focusing on the images and the Scriptures together. For the interior of the book we’re using a thick 80# text uncoated paper. We believe strongly that beauty is tied to touch just as much as sight. We wanted a paper that felt natural, not necessarily glossy or overly manufactured.

Image published by Alabaster of Jesus calming the storm in Luke 8:22-25 (NLT)

Will your volumes include the full text of the Bible?

Bryan: Yes, it will include the full text of the four Gospels.

How do you define “passage” when you say you intend to include an image for each passage of the Bible?

Bryan: In our modern Bibles, chapters are broken into subsections by a title for each of these sections. For example, if we look at Mark 4 there are five subsections: Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed, Parable of the Lamp, Parable of the Growing Seed, Parable of the Mustard Seed, and Jesus Calms the Storm. When we say each passage will have an image, we mean each of these different subsections.

Will your images be more abstract or more overt in evoking the meaning of a passage?

Bryan: There’s going to be a good mixture of both. However, on the larger spectrum of “Christian art,” I would describe our images as more abstract. Our images are not a historical recording of the events that took place within the Scriptures. Thus we will not be capturing literal images such as people dressed like they were in Jesus’ times. Instead, we want our images to capture the emotion, tension, and complexity of each passage using the aesthetics of our culture today. Ultimately we hope this creates fresh conversation and contemplation with the text.

A sample page spread published by Alabaster

What Bible translation are you using and why?

Brian: We’re using the New Living Translation (NLT). With so many Bible options out there we don’t see Alabaster as people’s primary Bible, but rather an alternative visual way people can experience the Scriptures. Alabaster is more of a visual Bible than a study Bible, so we chose a version which would best compliment that fact. In terms of the spectrum of translations from word-to-word to thought-to-thought, we wanted to lean more in the middle of the spectrum with a bent towards thought-to-thought. We believe the NLT compliments Alabaster the best: a modern English translation that stays true to the original meaning of the text.

What is your projected date of completion for the four Gospels? And are you planning to complete the entire Bible? If so, won’t the bulk of it be overwhelming?

Bryan: The four Gospels will be completed in April 2017. At this time we’re not planning on completing the entire Bible. That being said, we do think it would be awesome to do other books. Genesis would be our next book if we did.

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

Brian: Bible Gateway is an incredible tool for biblical study. I use it all the time. In this digital and mobile format, Bible Gateway allows us to easily explore the entirety of the biblical text, in numerous translations, with a diverse amount of commentaries all at once. That’s powerful. Bible Gateway has actually been key in the formation of this project. It allowed us to read different translations and quickly look through various passages of the Bible as we studied it.

Bryan: No analog version of the Bible can match the mobility and variety of information digital tools such as Bible Gateway is able to provide. I believe that the combination of digital forms of the Bible such as Bible Gateway, and analog forms—such as what’s being created with Alabaster—can be powerful. There’s still something profound about the tactile experience of holding something beautiful in your hands, but nothing can compare to the study abilities provided within digital forms of the Bible.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Bryan: We’re incredibly thankful for all the support Alabaster has received so far. It’s amazing to see so many others resonate with the belief that beauty is integral to our faith. I think the most rewarding thing about the project is the positive responses we’ve gotten from people who don’t consider themselves Christian and are spiritually seeking. Since launching Alabaster, I’ve had friends, who are not Christian, share about the project. Friends of mine who are Christian and have shared the project have gotten into spiritual conversations with others who saw it. I believe this is because beauty has power, and it has the potential to bring us together as a humanity, regardless of where we’re at in our walks with God.

Bio: Bryan Chung is a recent graduate from the University of Southern California where he studied Animation and Digital Arts. He grew up loving to paint, take photos, and tell lots of stories. Since graduating, Bryan is now a campus minister at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA and a freelance artist/ photographer. He’s passionate about the intersection of beauty, art, and faith.

Brian Chung graduated from the University of Southern California in 2010 with a degree in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Communication Design. Afterwards, he spent a couple of years as an entrepreneur, helping other startup companies, while also volunteering his time after work doing campus ministry. He became a full-time campus minister in 2013 at USC, leading a ministry of about 200 students. In 2015, he became the lead director of the campus ministry. He’s taught and led Scripture studies for hundreds of students and is passionate about students experiencing God.

Bible News Roundup – Week of September 18, 2016

Read this week’s Bible Gateway Weekly Brief newsletter
Bible Gateway Weekly Brief
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Support Bible Gateway—Browse the Bible Gateway Store

Bible Translation Technologists Improve Speed and Quality by Collaboration
Christian Newswire

Breakthrough in Bible Translation Hidden in a Backpack

73% of Americans Self-Identify as Christian; 31% Are Considered Practicing Christians; 23% Are Bible-Minded
Barna Group

39% of Young Adults, One-Quarter Of All Americans Claim No Religious Affiliation
Report: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back

Scientists Unlock Secrets of Burned Hebrew Scroll: Verses From the Book of Leviticus
FOX News
WSJ: Video Showing Forensic Virtual Reconstruction of Burnt Scroll
The Washington Post: How Scientists Read an Ancient & Fragile Biblical Scroll Without Unrolling It
Live Science: 1,700-Year-Old Scroll ‘Virtually Unwrapped,’ Revealing Text
Science Advances: From Damage to Discovery Via Virtual Unwrapping: Reading the Scroll from En-Gedi
World: Leviticus Scroll Discovery Shows Scripture’s Inerrancy
Read Leviticus 1:1-9 and 2:1-11 on Bible Gateway
Read the book of Leviticus on Bible Gateway

Why the Church Can Rescue Us From Our Smartphones
The Washington Post
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post—Why is Bible Engagement Down in an Age of Digital Accessibility? Rachel Barach on Technology and Scripture

Bible Held During 1831 US Slave Revolt Now on Display at National Museum of African American History and Culture
The Washington Post

Family Donates Bible Signed by Nazi Defendants of Nuremberg Trials to Fort Jackson Museum
Salisbury Post

New Bible Theme Park Planned Near Moose Jaw, Canada
Moose Jaw Times-Herald
CBC News: Giant Ark Planned for Bible-Based Theme Park Near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Ohio University’s Alden Library Houses Hand-Crafted 13th Century Bible
The Post

John Knox’s 16th Century Bible Discovered
University of Glasgow Library

University of Toronto’s Fisher Library Now Has One of Canada’s Oldest Printed Books in English
University of Toronto News

Scribe to Queen Elizabeth II to Speak at Denton Gallery Opening, Oct. 6, with The Saint John’s Bible
The Standard Banner
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post—The Saint John’s Bible: A Work of Art
See various editions of The Saint John’s Bible available to purchase in the Bible Gateway Store

Let Scripture Shape Your Soul
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post—The Wired Soul: An Interview with Tricia McCary Rhodes
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post—How to Care for Your Soul: An Interview with John Ortberg
Visit the Scripture Engagement section on Bible Gateway

How the Biblical Lake Jesus Walked Compares to Lake Michigan
Read about the Sea of Galilee in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
Read about Jesus walking on water in Matthew 14:22-33 on Bible Gateway

Looking Back on Liberal, Missouri’s Failed Atheist Utopia

Satanic Temple Headquarters to Open Quietly in Salem, Massachusetts
The Boston Globe

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

How to be a Disciple: An Interview with Alan Briggs

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Alan BriggsAn estimated 4,000 churches are planted every year. An estimated 3,700 churches close every year. It’s not easy starting or sustaining a vital Christian witness of any kind. It’s even harder when there’s no structure to support the good work you’re doing.

Bible Gateway interviewed Alan Briggs (@AlanBriggs) about his book, Guardrails: Six Principles for a Multiplying Church (NavPress, 2016).

What does being a disciple of Jesus mean?

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Alan Briggs: We become numb to words through overuse. The word “disciple” accidentally represents one who simply fills their week with Bible studies and their head with scripture. Those practices are great, but they’re incomplete.

I define a disciple as someone who is actively learning Jesus, obeying Jesus and reproducing Jesus into others. We must learn his life and commands if we’re to obey them. When we obey him we simply cannot miss his call to embody and proclaim the best message in history to those around us.

Why don’t you think American (and other) Christians are serious about the concept of discipleship?

Alan Briggs: Two main reasons.

First, we live in an information culture in the West. We’re overloaded by information. Most Christians have no idea where to focus. Should we do a book study? Should we start a small group? Should we study a book of the Bible? The scores of Christian books on Amazon are overwhelming, but most Christians are overwhelmed to simply open their Bible and choose one book or chapter. This leaves us petrified, so we choose to run and hide. The issue is not usually in knowing enough about Jesus but in focusing our efforts to live in obedience.

Second, many Christians are overwhelmed at the complexity of their view of discipleship. Christian leaders have rarely presented laser-focused ways to get folks to start engaging Scripture, prayer, and learning Jesus in a community. We must always seek to whittle down the complexities into clear simplicity of learning Jesus, obeying Jesus and reproducing Jesus into others.

I’ve been teaching this material for years. I wrote Guardrails to give simple handles to guide followers of Jesus. The life of a disciple is not easy, but it’s simple. We must come back to simplicity.

How does apprenticeship fit in with discipleship?

Alan Briggs: The term “apprentice” is new to many people, but it’s an old term for a learner. Trades still use the term. Apprentices are willing to give their lives to learning so they can live into their destiny. I use “disciple” and “apprentice” interchangeably.

Every Christian is an apprentice of Jesus. Apprentices grow through experiential, relational, and formal learning. We learn the way of Jesus through his Word, through his people, and through joining with him in ministry. We’re always apprentices of Jesus, and we’re to apprentice others in our faith through spiritual reproduction.

What is the Kingdom of God and what role do Christians have in it?

Alan Briggs: Simply put, the Kingdom of God is the reign and rule of God in all things. Jesus was obsessed with bringing heaven to earth; a new way of embodying justice, generosity, grace, love, healing, and freedom.

This alternative Kingdom was the foundation for the life and ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul. Kingdom principles are laced all through Jesus’ ministry, but many followers of Jesus have missed it. I missed it for years myself. The Kingdom of God has been undervalued and under-understood.

Our role in God’s Kingdom work is fourfold:

We PRAY for his Kingdom to come. Jesus teaches the disciples to pray “Your Kingdom come.” This should anchor our lives and become a cry for liberation from the self-satisfaction and consumerism we’re immersed in. We should always be looking for how God is bringing heaven to earth and filling the cracks of brokenness in this world with the mortar of the gospel.

We OBEY Kingdom impulses. Next in progression is “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God invites us to participate in his work; to join with him co-laboring in his cosmic and life-altering mission. When the Holy Spirit prompts us to act we must respond.

We learn to SAY what God is up to. Telling stories of God’s advancing Kingdom is powerful. Those stories inspire others to join. When we keep keen eyes aware of what God is doing and how his Kingdom is advancing, we see glances of God’s plan unfolding. These stories become a sprinkling of lighter fluid to fires of his church.

We learn when to get of the WAY. Sometimes we’ll find ourselves trying to pry open a door to join God’s Kingdom work. We must learn when to get out of the way of what God is uniquely doing before we become an obstacle. Far too often we try to take credit for God’s work or resist raising up another leader because we’re controlling.

Buy your copy of Guardrails in the Bible Gateway StoreWhy do you call your six discipleship principles “guardrails”?

Alan Briggs: Discipleship is a journey. Imagine you’re driving a nail-biting mountain road with steep cliffs and drop-offs. Guardrails provide some safety to know if you were to brush up against them you won’t topple off the cliff. I see Christians everywhere who are hungry to follow Jesus, and they’re simply looking for a few pointers and a touch of theology to keep them moving safely in this discipleship journey.

Briefly outline each guardrail and its biblical foundation.

Alan Briggs: For discipleship to be sustained over a long period of time these six principles must be present. I call them SHARRP.

It must to SIMPLE. In 1 Corinthians 1:17-18, the apostle Paul confronts the tendency to complexify the gospel. “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Sometimes the greatest barrier to seeing gospel fruit in our ministry is ourselves. Until the cross is at the center of our ministry we’ve gotten the whole thing wrong.

We can be so wrapped up in big words and complicated tasks that our efforts literally become devoid of God’s power. As long as we think we’re impressive and prolific, people won’t see that Jesus is. We take the simple message of the gospel and jack it up. We accidentally add insulating layers and cool off the boiling hot message that Jesus died to get us off death row.

It must be HOLISTIC. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 we encounter the importance of a faith that shapes every aspect of our lives in the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” We express our obedience through loving God in all aspects of life: God and man, space and time, word and deed, inside and outside. Everything in life is spiritual territory.

It must the ADAPTABLE. The book of Acts chronicles the infancy of the church. Ordinary disciples simply respond to what the Holy Spirit asks them to do and what the context requires. You cannot extract a single model of ministry from the book of Acts, because they continue to adapt to the Holy Spirit. Obedience to the Holy Spirit brings God’s authority, so listening to the Spirit will always force us to adapt our ways to the will of God.

It must be REGULAR. The parable of the sower in Matthew 13 has a lot of teach us. Some seeds were eaten by the birds, scorched by the sun, and choked by thorns. But the last batch of seeds produced a significant harvest. I most frequently observe the seed falling on the rocky soil. Often I watch young believers grow rapidly but fizzle out because their roots are shallow. The busyness and worries of life hit all of us, and we get worn down. When our identity is not rooted in Jesus alone life is simply too hard, frustrating, distracting, and mundane to handle without Jesus. We must always be seeking a faith of the long haul where our practices are consistent and our focus is set on faithfulness.

It must be REPRODUCIBLE. Paul was more than just a teacher to Timothy; he was a spiritual father. Timothy was most likely estranged from his biological father, but Paul saw potential in him. He discipled him, equipped him, challenged him, raised him up to be a pastor, and kept in contact with him. This is the ideal process for spiritual reproduction. These words in 2 Timothy 2:2 encompass Paul’s reproducible discipleship process: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”

Paul’s instructions to Timothy are clear: What you’ve seen and heard from me should be offered as a gift to others. This is a process for four generations of discipleship from the start: The discipler, the disciple, those the disciple entrusts with the message, and those who then hear the message. Kingdom leaders intentionally plant the seed of the gospel and challenge others to reproduce it. We should always be looking for more multipliers of the message of Jesus within us.

It must be POSITIVE. Most discipleship groups I encounter are motivated by shame and guilt instead of freedom in Christ. In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul approaches a hot topic in an unusual way. When addressing the topic of sexual immorality, a topic rampant in our culture today, he leads us to the positive. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We often try to motivate through negativity, but Paul creates a positive expectation. Jesus came to offer life “abundantly” (John 10:10), not simply escape from death. How would it change the groups and churches we lead if we aimed at glorifying God instead of managing sin? People would leave drenched in grace and freedom, yet challenged toward living in the way of Jesus.

How can Christians begin discipling relationships with their friends?

Alan Briggs: It starts with invitation. Pursue a few friends, and express a vision to grow toward Jesus together. Pick a regular time and place and ground yourself in one piece of Scripture. I recommend starting with The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) as a primer for living a life like Jesus. Begin to look for others God is asking you to repeat this process with. I give tips in the book for effectively leading simple Jesus-shaped groups.

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

Alan Briggs: I use it regularly and love it! The main portal is an easy tool for reference, memorization, and sermon prep, but a lot of folks don’t know about the other tools. The Scripture Engagement tools are particularly helpful for folks who want to apply practical tools to their Scripture study.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Alan Briggs: Don’t believe all the articles claiming the Christian faith is dying. Yes, there’s a recalibration of faith today. Some are choosing to pursue Jesus apart from the local church. There’s no more social advantage to being called a Christian in North America, but that’s not all bad. The Christian faith is thriving in many countries today under persecution, and there are pockets of people in every country who are choosing to take Jesus seriously and embody his life. Jesus reassures us, “In this life there will be trouble; but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

Bio: Alan Briggs is the multiplying pastor at Vanguard Church, Colorado Springs, and the director of Frontline Church Planting. He’s the author of the newly released Guardrails and Staying Is the New Going: Choosing to Love Where God Places You. Visit him at

Evangelism: The Romans Road to Salvation

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For your quick reference, here is the Romans Road to Salvation: a selection of Bible verses from the book of Romans that present the plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

[See Evangelism resources in the Bible Gateway Store]

The Problem

Romans 3:23 (CEB)
All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.Buy your copy of Tell Someone in the Bible Gateway Store

Romans 3:10 (CEV)
The Scriptures tell us, “No one is acceptable to God!”

The Consequences

Romans 5:12 (NIrV)
Sin entered the world because one man sinned. And death came because of sin.
Everyone sinned, so death came to all people.Buy your copy of Just Walk Across the Room in the Bible Gateway Store

Romans 6:23 (ERV)
When people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. But God gives his people a free gift—eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Scope

Romans 1:20 (ICB)Buy your copy of The Case for Christ in the Bible Gateway Store
There are things about God that people cannot see—his eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand. They are made clear by what God has made. So people have no excuse for the bad things they do.

The Solution

Romans 5:8 (GNT)
Buy your copy of Share Jesus without Fear in the Bible Gateway StoreGod has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!

The Response

Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.Buy your copy of Mere Christianity in the Bible Gateway Store

The Assurance

Romans 10:13 (NLT)
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

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The Result

Romans 5:1 (VOICE)
Since we have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King.

Romans 8:1 (NIrV)
Buy your copy of Man, Myth, Messiah: Answering History's Greatest Question in the Bible Gateway StoreThose who belong to Christ Jesus are no longer under God’s judgment.

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

NIV Committee on Bible Translation Adds Newest Member: Rev. Dr. Andrew Shead

Read the New International Version (NIV) Bible translation on Bible Gateway

The newest member of the New International Version (NIV) Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) is Rev. Dr. Andrew Shead. Of the 15 CBT members, five are from countries other than the United States (India, the United Kingdom, and Australia).

[See editions of the NIV Bible translation in the Bible Gateway Store]Rev. Dr. Andrew Shead

Shead, who earned his PhD from the University of Cambridge, is Head of Old Testament Studies at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia, where he’s taught all three biblical languages—Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic—and most books of the Old Testament since 1992. His research interests include textual criticism, biblical theology, Hebrew poetry, and the book of Jeremiah.

[See Bible Gateway Blog posts about the NIV Bible translation]

“It’s a wonderful privilege to work with and learn from a group of such people, with such a task,” says Shead. “Their diversity is enriching, their joyfulness is infectious, and their godliness is a constant encouragement. I quickly learned to value the wisdom of the group, a wisdom that comes out of the spiritual unity generated by sitting together under the word of God and letting the message of Christ dwell among us richly.”

The NIV translation was first published in 1978 by Biblica, the Bible translation ministry founded in 1809 as the New York Bible Society. The translation philosophy of the NIV is to provide optimum combination of transparency to the original manuscripts with ease of understanding in every verse. It states that given the nature of language and the changes that occur over time, this work is never complete and demands ongoing attention to keep the text as accurate, readable, and clear to the reader.

All 15 members of the CBT are leading evangelical scholars with an unwavering commitment to the authority of Scripture. The CBT, which is a self-governing body (so that no outside group can determine how the NIV is translated), has met every year since 1965 to monitor developments in biblical scholarship, as well as changes in English usage. Each year it requests and receives input from pastors, missionaries, laypeople, and scholars. This translation team seeks to ensure that the NIV translation is free from bias and remains an accurate, readable, and clear modern English Bible translation.

About Biblica
Biblica exists to bring God’s Word to people in a way they understand, so they’re transformed by Christ and inspired to join his mission for the world. This is accomplished through Translation & Publishing, Scripture Access, and Bible Engagement programs. Biblica has been stewarding God’s Word for more than 200 years. Throughout this time, the Bible has always been at the center of all it does. By partnering with other Christian ministries and with local churches around the world, Biblica strives to honor God’s Word and glorify Christ. To learn more about Biblica, go to

About Zondervan
Zondervan is a world leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications. Zondervan, part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., delivers transformational Christian experiences through its bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, academic resources and digital products. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and translated into nearly 200 languages. Zondervan offices are located in Grand Rapids, Mich. For additional information, please visit

26 Bible Verses of Comfort and Courage

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Bible Verses of Comfort

Job 5:11 (NKJV)
He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.

Psalm 27:13-14 (CEB)
I have sure faith that I will experience the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Hope in the Lord! Be strong! Let your heart take courage! Hope in the Lord!

Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

John 16:33 (ERV)
I have told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!

Romans 8:28 (ESV)
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:37-39 (GW)
The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can’t be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation.

Romans 15:13 (GNT)
May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (HCSB)
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Philippians 4:6 (AMP)
Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.

Hebrews 13:5 (CEV)
The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us.

Bible Verses of Courage

Deuteronomy 31:6 (ICB)
Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t be frightened. The Lord your God will go with you. He will not leave you or forget you.

Psalm 23:1-4 (KJV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalm 27:1 (ISV)
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom will I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom will I be afraid?

Psalm 27:14 (LEB)
Wait for Yahweh. Be strong and let your heart show strength, and wait for Yahweh.

Psalm 31:24 (MSG)
Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.

Psalm 56:3-4 (MEV)
In the day when I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God whose word I praise, in God I have trusted; I will not fear. What can mere flesh do to me?

Psalm 112:7 (NASB)
He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (VOICE)
Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely; never depend upon your own ideas and inventions. Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish, and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.

Isaiah 41:10 (NAB)
Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

John 14:27 (NCV)
I leave you peace; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

Mark 5:36 (NIV)
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIrV)
My dear brothers and sisters, remain strong in the faith. Don’t let anything move you. Always give yourselves completely to the work of the Lord. Because you belong to the Lord, you know that your work is not worthless.

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NET)
Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong.

Ephesians 6:10 (NLT)
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

Philippians 1:28 (NLV)
Do not be afraid of those who hate you. Their hate for you proves they will be destroyed. It proves you have life from God that lasts forever.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NRSV)
God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.