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Died: C. Peter Wagner, Theologian, Bible Teacher, and Church Growth Specialist

C. Peter WagnerC. Peter Wagner (@cpeterwagner), 86, died Oct. 21, 2016. Author or editor of more than 70 books, he was a Christian theologian, Bible teacher, missiologist, missionary, and church growth specialist.

[Browse books by C. Peter Wagner in the Bible Gateway Store]

According to Wikipedia, Wagner was a missionary in Bolivia from 1956 to 1971 and then served for 30 years as professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of World Missions (@Fuller_SIS) until his retirement in 2001. He was the president of Global Harvest Ministries and chancellor emeritus of Wagner Leadership Institute (@TweetWLI), which serves to train leaders to join in a movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation, an organization Wagner also helped to found. Wagner coined the term The Third Wave to identify a new movement of the Holy Spirit. He explained the Third Wave as “a gradual opening of straightline evangelical churches to the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit without the participants becoming either Pentecostals or Charismatics.”

[See the Charismatic Interests section in the Bible Gateway Store]

Buy your copy of Discover Your Spiritual Gifts in the Bible Gateway Store where it's always on sale            Buy your copy of The Book of Acts: A Commentary in the Bible Gateway Store where it's always on sale            Buy your copy of Territorial Spirits: Practical Strategies for How to Crush the Enemy Through Spiritual Warfare in the Bible Gateway Store where it's always on sale            Buy your copy of Praying with Power in the Bible Gateway Store where it's always on sale

Bible News Roundup – Week of October 23, 2016

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

November 14 is International Day of the Bible (@IntlDayofBible) (#biblecelebration)

Died: Scholar Who Made the Bible Kid-Friendly
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post—Died: Lawrence O. Richards, Author and Bible Editor
Browse books by Lawrence O. Richards in the Bible Gateway Store

Study: US Protestants Keep Their Children in the Faith at a Higher Rate Than Catholics or the Unaffiliated
Pew Research Center: 1-in-5 US Adults Were Raised in Interfaith Homes

Watch Wycliffe USA Fall Bible Translation Celebration 2016

Updated Luther Bible Translation is a Big Hit at World’s Biggest Book Fair
Read the Luther Bible on Bible Gateway
Read other German Bible translations on Bible Gateway

Venerated Burial Place of Christ in Church of the Holy Sepulchre Exposed for First Time in Centuries
National Geographic
See the Biblical Archaeology section in the Bible Gateway Store

Russian Experts Will Work in Palestine to Save the Oak of Mamre Mentioned in Bible
Read about Mamre in Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary on Bible Gateway
Read about the Oak of Mamre in Genesis on Bible Gateway

Oldest Ten Commandments Stone Tablet from 4th Century to be Auctioned
Breaking Israel News
Read the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20 on Bible Gateway
See resources about the Ten Commandments in the Bible Gateway Store

Oldest Hebrew Mention of Jerusalem Outside of Bible Found on Rare 2,700-Year-Old Papyrus
The Times of Israel

Archaeologists Discover Where Titus Breached Jerusalem Walls
The Guardian

Guatemalan Prison Guards, Police Gather to Study the Bible
Mission Network News

Arizona Moms’ Shadow Puppets Teach Kids the Bible
Ahwatukee Foothills News

Lee Strobel’s Bestselling Book The Case for Christ Comes to Life on Film
News release
See books by Lee Strobel in the Bible Gateway Store

Faith & Fitness: Why a Workout has Become a Reason to Go to Church
Deseret News
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New Website Looks to Equip Christians to Share Faith
See the Evangelism section in the Bible Gateway Store, where everything is always on sale

Persecution of Christians is Getting Worse, EU Special Envoy Warns
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post—Wycliffe Associates—Helping to Translate the Bible Where Persecution of Christians Is Severe: An Interview with Bruce Smith
Read the Bible Gateway 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 Printed in 1646 Given to Church
The Lawton Constitution

National Bible Convention First for New Zealand

Fallen New Zealand Soldier’s Family Reunited with Bible After 101 Years
The Timaru Herald

Historic 16th Century Bible Donated to Pacific Union College Library
Pacific Union College
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post—A Collection of Bible Museums & Exhibits

How Christian Theology Affects Body Image
Read Psalm 139 on Bible Gateway
Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 on Bible Gateway

Vatican Bans Catholics from Keeping Ashes of Loved Ones at Home
The Guardian

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Died: Lawrence O. Richards, Author and Bible Editor

Dr. Lawrence O. RichardsProlific Christian author and Bible editor Dr. Lawrence O. Richards died October 16, 2016. Among his authorship of more than 200 works, Richards was the general editor of the Adventure Bible (Zonderkidz) and the co-general editor with his wife, Sue, for the Teen Study Bible (Zondervan).

[Browse books by Lawrence O. Richards in the Bible Gateway Store]

“Larry Richards has been my friend and partner in publishing for 37 years,” Stan Gundry, editor-in-chief and senior vice president and publisher, Zondervan, says. “Zondervan published many of his books, and for a number of years he served on our advisory committee for academic publishing. I soon discovered that this man, whose primary expertise was Christian education, was very knowledgeable in all the biblical and theological disciplines. He was brilliant; his knowledge was encyclopedic; and as an author he was prolific. His versatility was unmatched. He wrote textbooks, devotional books, biblical reference books, and books for children.”

In addition to his publishing history with Zondervan, Richards penned works published with Thomas Nelson, including The Bible: The Smart Guide to the Bible Series.

Early in his career, Dr. Richards was an assistant professor of Christian Education in the Wheaton College Graduate School where he also taught New Testament and Old Testament courses. He went on to write major works on overall philosophy of Christian education, church renewal, children’s ministry, youth ministry, leadership, ministry of the laity, small groups, spirituality, and Bible teaching.

Buy your copy of Creative Bible Teaching in the Bible Gateway Store            Buy your copy of the New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words in the Bible Gateway Store            Buy your copy of DayBreak Prayers for Believers in the Bible Gateway Store            Buy your copy of DayBreak Verses for Men in the Bible Gateway Store

NIV Faith and Work Bible: An Interview with David Kim

Rev. David H. KimHow does your Christian faith relate to your job? Your career? Your everyday work? How relevant is God’s Word to your daily employment, whether part-time, third shift, freelance; from the shop floor, to school hallways, to the corner office? What does it mean to be a Christian in your vocation?

Bible Gateway interviewed Rev. David H. Kim (@dhkimnyc), general editor of the NIV Faith and Work Bible (Zondervan, 2016).

Buy your copy of NIV Faith and Work Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

[See the Bible Gateway Blog post, Find Purpose and Passion in Your Daily Work with the NIV Faith and Work Bible]

Why is it necessary to understand how to integrate the Christian faith with a person’s daily work?

Rev. David H. Kim: One of the fundamental premises of this Bible is that the gospel changes everything. If this is true, how does the gospel change the very thing we spend most of our waking hours doing—work. If we begin to see how the gospel is able to change our work, it can have a profound effect on our sense of calling and the meaning behind the work that we do day-in and day-out.

When the gospel enters our work in a robust way, there’s a deep encouragement and renewed sense of purpose that people begin to experience sometimes for the first time.

Why is there a need for this Bible?

Rev. David H. Kim: This is a good question because initially I thought the world didn’t need another study Bible. However, as I considered this further, I began to see the value and need for a Bible like this. The longer I work in this space, the more I realize that people not only need a gospel-inspired vision of work, but they need a new vision of the Scriptures.

For various reasons, when people engage the Bible, they don’t see very readily how it relates to their work. We want to broaden people’s conception of the applicability of the Bible to work and so having the features and materials in this Bible reminds people that the whole of Scriptures addresses the whole of our lives, including our work. We need to be reminded of this every time we open the Bible, so that we experience the hope and power of the gospel in our work every day.

Explain what you mean when you say faith is an indispensable part of work.

Rev. David H. Kim: The often-surprising truth for many people is that we all integrate faith into our work, but most of the time we’re completely unaware of what faith underlies our attitudes and responses to our work.

Faith is an indispensable part of work, whether that work is paid or unpaid. All work flows from some underlying assumptions, and the content of that faith can dramatically change our expectations for our work. For example, in a New York Times article titled “What Work Is Really For,” philosopher Gary Gutting argued a position he attributed to Aristotle: “We work to have leisure, on which happiness depends.” He later encapsulates his belief that “Leisure, not work, should be our primary goal.” Many people functionally share this belief that work has no greater meaning than the paycheck it provides. A natural consequence of this faith commitment is the belief it’s okay to do mediocre work so that in your free time you can enjoy your true passions.

On the flip side, if you believe the gospel changes everything, then you must wrestle through the implications of this wide-sweeping, life-encompassing statement.

How do you respond to people who say work has no greater meaning than the paycheck it provides?

Rev. David H. Kim: There’s something very noble about bringing home a paycheck to provide for oneself and one’s family. However, there’s so much more to work than just a paycheck. This is unfortunately a very common view which I believe accounts in part for the statistic that approximately 70% of people are disengaged at work. Think about the loss of meaning and productivity and the staggering economic implications of that statistic. If you think your work is ultimately about a paycheck, then that will affect the quality of your work as well as the quality of your own life.

We were created for a purpose and when our underlying assumptions don’t reflect this deeper purpose, we begin to whither as human beings. We may get a paycheck, but over time what we sense is the dying of our souls. On the flip side, when we connect our work with a greater sense of purpose and calling beyond the paycheck, we begin to see the kind of flourishing that we were called to create.

What are ways in which the gospel transforms our work, other than evangelism and ethics?

Rev. David H. Kim: While these are two important aspects of faith and work, there’s so much more that the gospel is able to change. In the NIV Faith and Work Bible we introduce a simple yet robust framework to expand people’s conceptions of how the gospel transforms our work—motivations, relationships, and world.

First, the gospel is able to change our deepest motivations for why we work and this alone can have a profound effect upon us and our work.

Second, the gospel changes how we view and work with others in a way that both humanizes our interactions with them and empowers them to work well. The gospel moves us to see others as people created in God’s image and that can have a profound impact on people’s productivity and work satisfaction.

Third, the gospel impacts the way we do our work in ways that hopefully brings a greater flourishing to our world. Because of the gospel, God is doing a new work, and he invites us to participate in this innovative work that affects the entirety of our world.

How is it that work has become the source of people’s identity instead of the expression of it?

Rev. David H. Kim: When God created the universe, this world beautifully and gloriously revealed his unfathomable being. As image-bearers of God, human beings likewise create in ways that reflect our identity. Yet, our identity was bestowed upon us by God and when humanity rebelled against God, we were divorced from the source of our identity. In this vacuum, work can wrongfully become the source of our identity wreaking havoc on our lives and work. Work was never meant to carry the weight of our identity.

So when we try to find our sense of security, value, worth from our work, we’ll find ourselves anxiety-ridden and burdened. When people criticize our work, whether that work is a spreadsheet, a coffee, or our children, we take it very personally as if they were attacking us. This response shows how instead of taking criticism in ways that help us in our work, we become easily defensive and negative. The gospel has brought a new identity in Christ that then allows our work to no longer be the source of our identity but the rightful expression of it.

How does the gospel renovate redeem the world through work?

Rev. David H. Kim: Of the three areas the gospel renews—motivations, relationships, and world—this is the hardest to put into succinct words.

When we think of our world today with all of its interconnectedness and complexities, the scope of gospel renewal includes systems and structures that are far beyond what we might consider day-to-day. For examples, economic and political structures that have a far sweeping impact on the lives of billions is not outside the purview of the gospel’s redemptive influence. When economic structures and policies allow people to have access to capital, it releases a host of productivity that could humanize many bringing a greater flourishing to our society to the glory of God.

Our work is connected to much larger structures and systems that can be influenced and changed to align with God’s intention to bring order and fruitfulness into the world.

Does each book of the Bible actually speak to the issue of faith and work?

Rev. David H. Kim: Absolutely. When we think about our work it deals with our motivations, our desires, our sense of security, purpose, and status. Our work deals with a whole host of relationships. Work impacts the flourishing of individuals, communities, and nations.

So much is wrapped up in our work and each book of the Bible points to Christ and the good news of what he’s done that impacts the whole of our lives and the whole of our world. When our eyes are opened to see how each book of the Bible points us to the gospel, the relevance to our work and the need for this good news to enter into our work becomes increasingly evident.

Describe what the 45 Core Doctrine articles are in this Bible.

Rev. David H. Kim: One reason why people find applying the Bible to work so difficult is that the world of Scriptures seems so distant from our modern world today. Many established realities we encounter daily, like non-profit and for-profit corporations, did not exist in the ancient world. The fast paced nature of our technologically-driven world seems to create issues that would appear to be foreign to ancient civilization.

The NIV Faith and Work Bible highlights doctrines because the theology contained in these doctrines help bridge the cultural gap between the ancient world of Scripture and our world today. Despite how much has changed over the past two millennia, the theology contained in these doctrines are quite relevant to any context, especially that of the modern workplace.

Unfortunately, when these classic doctrines are often taught, they’re not applied to work place situations and so the relevance of these rich doctrines to our work are scarcely developed. This Bible helps the reader start with Scriptures and then moves to show how the theology embedded in these Bible passages are highly relevant to our work context.

What is the 31-day journey in this Bible?

Rev. David H. Kim: I encounter many Christians who’ve been raised in the church but never realized that there’s a cohesive storyline from Genesis to Revelation.

Many Christians understand the Bible to be a collection of stories without an overarching narrative. As Tim Keller has said, one of the unique aspects of the Bible is that it is primarily a story illustrated by teaching and not primarily teaching illustrated by story.

This 31-day journey was designed to help the reader begin to see the grand narrative that highlights that the gospel centers on what God has done for us in history rather than what we have to do to become right with God. When we understand this redemptive narrative, we begin to deepen in our knowledge and appreciation for the gospel and its unique revelation of God’s grace to renew a broken world.

Does this Bible only pertain to the career professional person?

Rev. David H. Kim: No. The NIV Faith and Work Bible was designed to appeal to a wide variety of professions from white collar to blue collar, non-profit to for-profit, and private as well as public companies.

The stories that we highlight throughout this Bible are real life stories of individuals throughout the United States, and we intentionally drew from a diverse demographics range. They’re not formulaic stories as they reflect the harsh reality of how broken many industries are. These stories are my favorite feature of this Bible and make very concrete how these doctrines are relevant to real life.

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

Rev. David H. Kim: Bible Gateway has fundamentally changed the way people have access to the Scriptures. If there’s an Internet signal, people will always have access to God’s Word and for that I’m profoundly grateful for the technology and people who’ve made this access to life-giving words possible.

Bio: Rev. David H. Kim, oversees all the ministries of the Center for Faith & Work (@RedeemerCFW) as executive director and is the pastor of faith and work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Prior to this role, David served as the director of the Gotham Fellowship, developing and teaching its intensive curriculum while providing spiritual direction. Before joining CFW in 2007, David was a chaplain at Princeton University, where he also served as the founder and executive director of Manna Christian Fellowship for over 12 years.

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The Complete Jewish Study Bible Is Now Available

Buy your copy of The Complete Jewish Study Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

Buy your copy of The Complete Jewish Study Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

Christians and Messianic Jews who are interested in the rich spiritual traditions of their faith will be thrilled with this brand new study Bible. The Complete Jewish Study Bible (@CJSBible) (Hendrickson Publishers, 2016) pairs the newly updated text of the bestselling Complete Jewish Bible with detailed notes and comprehensive study material to help both Jewish and Christian readers understand and connect with the essence of their faith—God’s redemptive plan for his people.

[Read the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) on Bible Gateway]

Readers will be enriched through this Jewish reading of Scripture and the revelation of the long-awaited Messiah, Yeshua, throughout both the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament).

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Quoting the introduction: “This study Bible contains information from Jewish sources to explain a thoroughly Jewish book—the Bible—written by Jews, about Jews, initially for Jews in the Jewish Land of Israel.”


  • Over 100 articles—categorized into twelve themes—run throughout the Bible covering topics such as Jewish Customs, Messianic Prophecy, the Names of God, Shabbat, the Torah, and more
  • Over thirty additional topical articles—ranging from such subjects as the menorah and repentance, to Yeshua’s “Sermon on the Mount” and the Noachide Laws—offer fresh insight and spiritual application
  • New Bible book introductions, written from a Jewish perspective
  • Follows the Jewish order of the Takakh’s books (Old Testament), the order with which Yeshua was familiar
  • Includes extensive bottom-of-the-page notes throughout to help readers understand the historical background and cultural context of the text
  • Provides Scripture readings for Sabbaths, Festivals, Feasts, and Fasts
  • Offers the original Hebrew names for all people, places, and concepts, as well as a pronunciation guide
  • Articles written by over thirty contributors (both Jewish and Christian), including Drs. John and Patrice Fischer, Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Rabbi Barney Kasdan, and many more
  • Featuring quotes and excerpts from well-known Rabbis and scholars, both ancient and modern, such as Dr. Walter Kaiser, Dr. Daniel Boyarin, Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Gamaliel, Rabbi Hillel, Rabbi Shammai, Rabbi Akiva, Maimonides, Dr. Michael Brown, Dr. Michael Rydelnik, and many more.

117 articles are organized into 12 tracks or themes. These articles cover the following topics:

  • Covenants
  • The Torah
  • Jewish Customs
  • Messianic Prophecy
  • The Names of God
  • Anti-Jewish Scriptural Interpretations
  • The Shabbat
  • Salvation and Atonement
  • The Holy Days of Isra’el
  • Jewish-Gentile Relations
  • The Land of Isra’el
  • The Tabernacle (Mishkan)

Buy your copy of The Complete Jewish Study Bible in the Bible Gateway Store      Buy your copy of The Complete Jewish Study Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible: An Interview with Sara Bierling

Sara BierlingThe NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible is complete with a year’s worth of devotions to help children develop a reading habit they’ll want to keep. Engaging weekday devotions, fun weekend activities, interesting illustrations, and a dictionary make this a Bible they’ll want to read and apply to their lives. It includes the complete New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)—the stepping stone to the NIV—making it easier for young readers to read and understand. Recommended for ages 6 to 10 years.

Bible Gateway interviewed Sara Bierling, general editor of the NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible (Zonderkidz, 2016) (@Zonderkidz).

Buy your copy of the NIrV Kids Devotional Bible in the Bible Gateway Store               Buy your copy of the NIrV Kids Devotional Bible, Green Bicycle in the Bible Gateway Store               Buy your copy of the Kids Devotional Bible, Lavender Butterfly in the Bible Gateway Store

Explain what the New International Reader’s Version Bible translation is and why it’s used as the text of this Bible.

Sara Bierling: The New International Reader’s Version (or NIrV) is a simplified version of the New International Version (NIV) written at a third grade reading level, making it the ideal choice for children and adults looking for an easy-to-read translation. As with the NIV, the NIrV is a dynamic translation that is continually reviewed and improved by the Committee for Bible Translation (CBT).

We chose the NIrV for this Bible because we wanted to provide a devotional Bible for children ages 6-10 that was written with their reading needs in mind. Difficulty reading should never be a barrier between you and the Word of God.

Page sample of the NIrV Kids Devotional Bible

How do the elements of this Bible meet the needs of the specific age group it’s designed for?

Sara Bierling: The NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible was created especially for children in the 6-10 age group. First, we’ve used a 9-point font size, which might not sound big, but is a great improvement over most Bibles, which are printed in an 8 point font or smaller. This font size makes a huge difference for developing readers who don’t need to be doubly challenged by both big words and tiny text.

Next, we’ve accompanied our content with very engaging doodle-style art—bicycles, kites, swings, and rainbows all serve to make the visual experience of this Bible uplifting and fun.

Bible book introductions are short and to the point. Daily devotions are clearly designated by day of the week and lead the child to the next day with handy page references, making sure that kids are never in doubt about where they’ve been and where they’re headed next in the Bible. Children read a short Bible passage and then are asked to question how that passage relates to their lives.

How does a devotional Bible differ from a study Bible?

Sara Bierling: A devotional Bible is not a line-by-line study of the Bible as a study Bible is. It doesn’t try to unpack the meaning of all the verses, but highlights core stories, promises, and principles, and distills them into easy-to-digest daily learning opportunities. A devotional Bible is often more focused on life application of Bible learning while a study Bible often focuses on the historical and theological context of particular verses.

Since this Bible is for kids, how does it present some of the more violent and dark stories of the Bible?

Sara Bierling: We don’t sugar-coat the dark parts of the Bible, but we don’t focus on them either. For example, children are asked to read the passage of Genesis that explains how bad the sins of the people of earth had become during the time of Noah. The devotional states very clearly that Noah lived in violent times, and also asks children to compare those times to the times we live in now. What violence have you seen in your world? But this passage also provides a great example of a faithful and a good person—Noah. So we ask, How should you be like Noah?

There are, however, topics that we as editors feel are best left up to parents and pastors to explain, since we know that Christians come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Ultimately, we let the Bible text speak for itself and hope that parents will be actively engaged with children as they read these devotions and the Bible itself.

Why should parents buy this Bible?

Sara Bierling: From top to bottom, the NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible was designed just for your 6-10-year-old child.

As Bible editors, we want children to be actively using their Bible on a regular basis so that they’re forming a lifelong habit of connecting with the Word of God. A devotional Bible is a great way for children not yet ready for serious Bible study to connect with the Bible through easy-to-handle daily readings. With 52 weeks of devotions, this Bible will be your child’s companion for a whole year!

Bio: Sara Bierling is an Acquisitions Editor working primarily on Bibles for all ages as well as YA titles for Zondervan Teen and Blink YA. Prior to working for Zonderkidz, Sara was an editor in the Zondervan Bibles department, a freelance editor and writer, and an editor for School Specialty Publishing (formerly McGraw-Hill Children’s Publishing), where she developed elementary grades educational products. She holds a BA in English and Writing from Hope College.

NKJV Know The Word Study Bible Provides Three Ways to Understand the Bible

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

Book-by-Book, Verse-by-Verse, or Topic-by-Topic

Studying the Bible does not have to be an intimidating or overwhelming experience. The study of God’s Word can be rewarding if the Bible is broken down into understandable segments.

[Read the New King James Version (NKJV) Bible translation on Bible Gateway]

[Sign up for the NKJV Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway]

[Browse the Bible section in the Bible Gateway Store]

The NKJV Know The Word Study Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2016) offers three easy ways to begin studying Scripture and helps you transition from being a casual reader of the Bible to becoming a regular student of the Word. Whether you prefer to study the Bible book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic, each starting point offers powerful insights that will help you develop a daily routine of Bible study.

“Every Christian is called to know God through his Word, to encounter him in the pages of the Bible,” says Daniel Marrs, associate publisher, Thomas Nelson Bible Group (@NelsonBibles). “The NKJV Know The Word Study Bible strikes a great balance between depth and accessibility, reliable scholarship and a warm, inviting tone. And the three ways of studying Scripture ensure that you get the big picture as well as the important details of Scripture’s amazing story of God’s love and redemptive work.”

The Book-by-Book series of notes leads readers through the main points of each book of the Bible. The Verse-by-Verse studies help readers to dig deeper into God’s Word at a verse level. The Topic-by-Topic articles, which cover 21 key theological topics, give readers a bird’s-eye view of Scripture and guide them through the main themes that run throughout the Bible.

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

Bible News Roundup – Week of October 16, 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

November 14 is International Day of the Bible (@IntlDayofBible) (#biblecelebration)

Wycliffe USA Celebrates 29 Newly Completed Bible Translations
Mission Network News

New Universe Research Confirms Bible’s Teaching on Astronomy
Read Isaiah 40:22, Job 26:7, Genesis 1, Psalm 19:1-6, Psalm 33:6-9, Psalm 136:4-9, Psalm 147:4-5, Nehemiah 9:6, and Romans 1:18-20 on Bible Gateway
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post—Seeing the Creator in the Wonders of Our Cosmos: An Interview with David Bradstreet

How the Berenstain Bears Found Salvation
The New York Times Magazine
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post—The Berenstain Bears and the Bible: An Interview with Mike Berenstain
Browse the many books of The Berenstain Bears series in the Bible Gateway Store

The Bible? Not on My Desert Island, Say Majority of Britons
The Guardian

Azusa Pacific Universtiy Conducts Groundbreaking Dead Sea Scrolls Research
Azusa Pacific University
See the Biblical Archaeology section in the Bible Gateway Store

Biblica, The International Bible Society, is Restructuring Its Ministry in the East Asia Pacific Region
News release

What’s Changed in the New Luther Bible
Deutsche Welle
Read the Luther Bible on Bible Gateway
Read other German Bible translations on Bible Gateway

“Faith Is Alive” in Cuba, But Bibles Are Scarce
American Bible Society

Norwegian Bible Society Honors Adventist Couple for Scripture Songs
Adventist Review

Photos: Biblical Feast Revives Ancient Foods
Breaking Israel News

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

Discover the Joy of Gratitude with the “Give Thanks” Devotional

Does reading the headlines each day stress you out? Are you already anxious about the hectic holiday season? The Bible instructs us not to spend our lives worrying—but that’s easier said than done. In addition to trying not to worry, is there something active we can do to keep our focus centered on Christ and not the day-to-day grind of headlines and deadlines?

The Bible has some practical advice for anyone who wants to live differently:

…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (NIV)

This holiday season, choose to do something different. Take a break from angry politics and holiday stress, and rediscover the joy of simple thankfulness. To help you do this, we’ve put together a devotional that highlights biblical stories of gratitude: Give Thanks, a Thanksgiving-themed devotional that runs through November.

Each Give Thanks devotional contains a Bible story that illustrates something important about gratitude and thankfulness, as well as reflection questions to help you think through what you’ve just read. You can enjoy the readings on your own, or use them as the basis for a group discussion with family or friends.

Give Thanks doesn’t start until November, but you can sign up now to be sure you don’t miss out. Click here to sign up!

Reading the Word of God in the Presence of God: An Interview with Vern S. Poythress

Vern S. PoythressDo you need a practical handbook to help you grow your skill in interpreting the Bible? Are you serious about diving into the deep waters of proper Bible interpretation methodology?

Bible Gateway interviewed Vern S. Poythress (@vernpoythress) about his book, Reading the Word of God in the Presence of God: A Handbook for Biblical Interpretation (Crossway, 2016).

What skills are necessary to properly interpret the Bible?

Buy your copy of Reading the Word of God in the Presence of God in the Bible Gateway Store

Vern S. Poythress: The first and most basic requirement is communion with God. The word “skill” can suggest that interpretation is all a matter of technical training. But when we’re hearing God speak, as we do when we read the Bible, we’re in a personal relation. We don’t experience this personal relation alone. God promises the Holy Spirit to us who believe in Christ, and the Spirit guides us in understanding. But within this life our understanding is limited, and contaminated by sin. Just because a person feels Spirit-led does not mean that he is. Pride remains, and our hearts easily deceive us.

One of the “skills” is to be humble, to acknowledge our limitations, and to be ready to learn from others, within the context of the church. God has appointed teachers and pastors and elders to lead in the process—though they, too, are fallible. Christian writers from previous generations and other cultures can also help us. Technical resources like lexicons and Bible dictionaries and atlases can help. We should grow in knowledge of the contents of the Bible as a whole, skill in understanding language, skill in understanding history and societies as the context in which God’s speech comes to us, and finally skill in understanding ourselves as recipients who can distort the truth and as people with various temptations to sin. We should interpret the Bible not only to grow ourselves but to grow in ability to help others to grow.

Communion with God does not imply turning off your mind but turning it on—to be renewed in our minds (Rom. 12:1-2). We’re to love God with all our mind as well as heart (Matt. 22:37-38). So true communion with God empowers hard work with the Bible, rather than bypassing work in favor of pure passivity.

Communion with God as we hear his voice is rich. We receive his meanings; we submit to his authority; we grow by his power that is at work in our lives through his words; and we experience the glory of his personal presence as we hear him. These aspects go together, though we may sometimes be more conscious of one aspect.

How does the interpretation approach you present in this book differ from the standard approach among many biblical scholars?

Vern S. Poythress: I emphasize the centrality of communion with God from beginning to end. God is present in the technical aspects as well, such as understanding the meaning of words and grammar in the original languages.

How has modern culture corrupted the process of interpreting the Bible?

Vern S. Poythress: The desire to have meaning and messages in a neutral way, independent of religious commitments, corrupts scholarly work on the Bible, because it suppresses the reality of the presence of God as the key to biblical understanding.

How should “communion with God form the central axis in every stage of interpretation”?

Vern S. Poythress: We acknowledge God as the God who has saved us through the mercy of Christ in his glory (Col. 1:13-14). This God, in Christ, is the one who is present in the details as well as the big picture in the Bible. So we need to be responding to him in faith, repentance, and praise all the way through the process of interpretation.

You write that the Bible is “God’s speech to us.” How can we know when a passage is God’s speech and when it is an interjection by the human authors of the Bible?

Vern S. Poythress: The Bible is all God’s speech, as well as all mediated through human writers who wrote the individual books (2 Pet. 1:21). It’s a mistake to try to separate passages into a divine piece and a human piece. Rather, we should treat the Bible for what it is: divine and human all the way through. Of course God can quote human sinful speech, or describe human sinful actions, without implying that he approves them.

How does the lordship of Christ enter into interpreting the Bible?

Vern S. Poythress: Christ is Lord of all (Eph. 1:20-22). This truth implies that he is lord of language, lord of grammar, lord of history, and lord or interpretive principles. We cannot just take things over unchanged from the world around us. We should be thinking through and living through the implications of Christ’s lordship in every sphere of life.

Explain what you call the three simple steps in interpretation.

Vern S. Poythress: The three steps, which the book introduces at an early point, are observation, elucidation, and application. They answer successive questions: what does it say, what does it mean, and how does it apply (what am I supposed to do with it)?

The three steps together form a good starting point for people who are young Christians. I didn’t invent these steps. They’ve been used in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship circles for decades. I regard them as perspectives on the whole. In a broad sense, answering “what does it say” involves also answering the questions about meaning and application. And so with the other two steps. They interlock rather than being separate.

If correctly interpreting the Bible depends on the degree to which readers love God and their neighbor, what are the implications of differing (and wrong) interpretations based on individuals’ spiritual maturity levels in achieving that love? How should differing interpretations of the Bible be considered?

Vern S. Poythress: Sometimes differences arise partly from incomplete information. We are finite. And we should admit that there are cases of uncertainty. But often the differences become exacerbated because of sinful inclinations underneath the surface, which incline us to prefer our own ideas and not to submit to what is less comfortable. We must be cautious about accusing anyone else of sin. We don’t know people’s hearts. But we must also avoid being naïve about the subtlety of sin and the corrupting effects of sin on the mind—our own minds, not only the mind of the other fellow.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Vern S. Poythress: The three simple steps mentioned above are a beginning. But people can unpack the steps in more and more detail, and thereby go deeper and deeper in the study of the Bible. The rest of my book repeatedly expands and goes into greater detail. I particularly devote attention to seeing the centrality of Christ in the whole Bible, because I think that this aspect is important and at the same time challenging.

I attempt to make the process easier and clearer by using one main passage—1 Samuel 22:1-2—as an illustration of the entire process of interpretation, from beginning to end, using it to illustrate detail as well as the three simple steps. But the Bible has different kinds of books in it. Each kind of book makes its own demands. So I illustrate the process more briefly with other passages—one passage from the Psalms, one from Proverbs, and one from the prophets.

Bio: Vern S. Poythress (PhD, Harvard University; ThD, Stellenbosch University) is professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he’s taught for over 30 years. In addition to earning six academic degrees, he’s written numerous books on biblical interpretation, language, and science, including Redeeming Science, Redeeming Sociology, Redeeming Mathematics, Logic, and Chance and the Sovereignty of God.

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