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    Entries in Bible (18)


    The Truth, and People

    photo credit: In John 12:3-8, Mary anoints Jesus with expensive perfume and wipes his feet with her own hair, to which Jesus says that it was intended "she should save this perfume for the day of my burial". via photopin (license)

    When preparing to teach or preach a text from the Bible, we are responsible for presenting the truth and for expressing care for our people.

    The best presentations are contextual and local, while simultaneously possessing a global and universal dimension. The eternal and the temporal, commingling. God, unchanging in love, molding and shaping the hearts of the people. The teacher or preacher is a vessel for the work of God.

    There is a temptation, however, for leaders to single out a person or a group, and to "preach at" that person or group in an attempt to wrangle conviction, change, or some predetermined outcome. This is a mistake. It is also an abuse of power.

    Rather, the obligation of the preacher or teacher is to the Word of God, both written and Incarnate. The Word does its work, not independent of the vessel, but through it.

    Alec Motyer, in his book Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching, illustrates this kind of misstep with a story:

    Bearing in mind the needs of individuals in our care is very different from 'preaching at' somebody! I did that once, and learned a sharp lesson. On the Monday morning, on the way to post a letter, I actually met the man whose ear I had hoped to fill with truths tailored specifically for him. 'Oh,' said he, 'I enjoyed your sermon last evening.' 'Well that's a bad start,' thought I. 'You shouldn't have! You weren't meant to!' 'It's a pity,' he continued, 'that them wasn't there as it was meant for!' The pulpit is no place for trying to 'get at' people. It is a place for the Word of God, sensitively and carefully fashioned and phrased for their welfare.

    Trust the text, the God who gave it, and the Lord who works in and through it. Also, trust that the people in your care will ultimately be guided by God. Trust God's providential, sovereign purposes. Be faithful by pointing to Christ, and what he might say to us through the Scriptures.

    God gives the growth.


    The Menagerie :: Around the Web 

    An Itsy Bitsy Greek New Testament

    An Israeli tech company has found a new way to cash in on tourism: generate a complete copy of the Greek New Testament on a tiny chip, deem it the nano-Bible, put it on a necklace, and "cha-ching!"

    Please pardon the strange formatting. Send your critique to CBS News.

    Autobots, Roll Out!


    Nostalgia. I'm back in my childhood. This is sweet. Read more about it: Make: Optimus Prime in Stained Glass.



    One in a collection. Beautiful stuff.

    (If you missed it, raed it again.)

    The Lord's Table.

    This was featured in a collection of logo designs with bread. Check out more cool work from the artist who produced "Communion" here.


    Book Review: Zondervan's NIV Teen Study Bible

    Every time I visit a bookstore, I take a look at the Bibles on sale. Zondervan's NIV Teen Study Bible is widely used by young people. Whenever I have a student ask for recommendations for an age appropriate Bible, I want to be able to point them to helpful resources. This edition is solid.

    Teenagers have basic needs. The translation needs to be readable and accessible. The text notes need to be exegetically sound and practically helpful. Basic historical information makes the stories come alive, and this edition includes this kind of help. And, if possible, teen study Bibles prove essential when application is made to life today. This Bible makes a run at each of those aims, though the notes, application, and commentary in this edition is by no means exhaustive. Good teachers and secondary resources add perspective and depth of insight, and I trust that if your teen is reading this Bible, those will be available.

    One notable aspect of this version of the Bible is the inclusion of The Apostles' Creed as a theological rubric that guides the reading and understanding of the text. For creedal traditions, this will be a welcome feature. For church traditions which pay little mind to the creeds, this could be a cause for concern. In the early pages of this Bible, the creed is accompanied by Scripture references. I think this was a good move on the part of the editorial team.

    Concerning look and feel, my copy is a hardcover edition, which feels sturdy. The pages also have a good weight.

    Here is some information on specific features:

    • Big Picture Book Recaps: Tucked inside each book, there is a "Panorama" heading. In a sentence, the student is reminded of the primary theme.
    • Keeping Q & A Personal: Throughout this Bible, there are letters written addressing teenage concerns. The "Dear Jordan" inserts provide wisdom on moral dilemmas or theological searching.
    • Key Concept Exposition and Summaries: "To the Point" and "Instant Access" provide illustrations or direct applications of key passages or verses.
    • Unpacking the Apostles' Creed: This Bible begins with a copy of the Apostles' Creed, and the corresponding Scripture passages. Students are given both a basic theological framework through which to read the Bible, and guidance on where to find the foundations for these beliefs.
    • Book Overviews: Each book of the Bible starts with an overview, giving the reader an idea of what they will encounter. These are brief, have a basic outline, and provide a little bit of historical context. Would be complemented nicely with a commentary, Bible dictionary, or other resource.
    • Trivia: Insets raise questions and offer answers. Trivia questions relate directly to the text at hand, so if students are reading, they can search for answers, or check their reading retention and comprehension.
    • Full Color Maps: Patriarchs, Exodus and Conquest, 12 Tribes, Davidic and Solomonic Kingdoms, Life and Times of Jesus, the Missionary Journeys, and First Century Jerusalem. Those maps parallel the Bible stories most teenagers will explore as part of a Sunday School or midweek gathering.

    I'd recommend this Bible for teenagers. It's colorful, interactive, and constructed with youth in mind.

    Note: I received this Bible from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.


    Changes in How People View the Bible

    Sarah Pulliam Bailey of RNS filed this little chart on June 5, which shows how Americans have changed their view of the Bible over the last thirty years.

    Also of note is this little tidbit on KJV readership:

    More than half of Americans use a King James Version Bible, famous for its use of words such as “thee” and “thou.” Just 19 percent read the more modern New International Version, according to a recent study by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.

    If you don't follow Sarah on Twitter, you should. She's an astute observer of religion in America and a good journalist.

    Christians wishing to engage in the public square must continue to be aware of how people view the Bible, and be ready to answer the questions people have. It is my opinion that the phrasing of the different positions above come loaded with assumptions (what, for instance, do we mean when we say "the Bible should be taken literally?"), but that is a beef I'll have to take up with Gallup. Understanding of language and the precise meaning of words changes over time, not just opinions.

    Nonetheless, it is a place to begin.


    The Minimum Bible

    As far as design goes, I'm a fan of minimalism. I like simplistic designs, packed with power. Fast Company Design recently featured The Minimum Bible Project. Sweet stuff.

    And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
    - Exodus 3:12 (All quotations from the NIV)

    Praise the Lord.
    Praise God in his sanctuary;
        praise him in his mighty heavens.
    Praise him for his acts of power;
        praise him for his surpassing greatness.
    Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
        praise him with the harp and lyre,
    praise him with timbrel and dancing,
        praise him with the strings and pipe,
    praise him with the clash of cymbals,
        praise him with resounding cymbals.
    Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
    Praise the Lord.
    - Psalm 150 

    If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
    - Romans 11:17-18 

    Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
    - Philemon 1:15-16 

    Visit The Minimum Bible and browse the gallery. Joseph Novak is selling prints. Buy a couple for your walls.

    In the past, I've featured the Old & New Project. I love the stuff that community has produced.

    If you're aware of other artists who are creating compelling and intriguing work, leave a comment. Share the knowledge. I'd like to see.