All posts by Doug Smith

DEAL ALERT: Logos Bible Software $25 Code

Logos Bible Software has a free $25 code (no strings attached).

You don’t even have to have a paid version of Logos (they have a free version).
One very worthwhile option would be to get Steve Runge’s High Definition Animated Commentary on Philippians (https://www.logos.com/product/50323/animated-high-definition-commentary-philippians) — this is a Logos exclusive and consists of very helpful videos.  But make sure you do your study of the text before jumping to any commentary!

2017 Bristol TN CAPS Class at Liberty Baptist Church

The Cumberland Area Pulpit Supply is partnering with Liberty Baptist Church to offer a 12 session, monthly course in studying and preaching the Bible. The first meeting is from 6:30-10pm on Thursday, Feb 2 at 112 Walnut Hill Road, Bristol, TN 37620. CAPS director Doug Smith will teach the Bible study component and Associate Pastor Roger Daugherty will teach preaching. Pastor Stan Anderson will also assist with the class. The cost for each student is $50 and includes all textbooks (Doriani, Getting the Message & MacArthur, ed., Preaching) and notebook materials. For more information or to sign up, click here to contact us.  For more information about CAPS, visit capsministry.com.

Sanctity of Life Resources – 2016 Update

UPDATED 1/22/2016

Let this sink in: In 43 years, at least 58 million helpless American persons have had their lives snuffed out, with the sanction of our government. Ligonier is making their course on this topic permanently free.

http://www.ligonier.org/blog/abortion-ligonier-connect-free/

Also, during the month of January 2016, Sproul’s book on the topic is free:

http://www.ligonier.org/blog/abortion-rational-look-emotional-issue-free-ebook/

ORIGINAL POST:

Many churches and organizations recognize National Sanctity of Human Life Day (a practice which originated in 1984 – see here), usually on the third Sunday of the month. This is a worthy topic any time of year, but it has been traditionally observed on the third Sunday of January, to coincide with the timing of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which was made on January 22.

We should think about issues of the sanctity of human life, abortion, and euthanasia through the lens of Scripture, not missing the relevance that the holiness of God, the dignity of mankind as God’s image-bearers, and justice and righteousness bring to bear upon the issues.

Steve Baker, pastor of Coeburn Presbyterian Church in Coeburn, Virginia, and executive director of Abortion Alternatives and Crisis Pregnancy Center until 2012 (a local ministry; see website at http://aacpc.org) spoke to one of our CAPS classes about the significance of this day and the importance of remembering it. He also spoke about some of the passages he had preached from (the following is adapted from his own words), such as:

  • Psalm 139:13-16 – from that marvelous chapter where David is talking about all the Lord’s blessings in his life You are intimately acquainted with all my ways, You know what I am going to say before I say it. Where can I go from Your presence or flee from Your Spirit?  Wherever I go, You’re there — and then without a break says, “Oh, by the way, You were weaving me together in my mother’s womb,” as if what You were doing in my mother’s womb was just as much a part of my life as what You’re doing now. He sees that his life before birth as a focus of the Lord’s work in his life.
  • Isaiah and Jeremiah and the apostle Paul in Galatians 1 – all 3 indicate they were called and set apart for their tasks even from their mothers’ wombs. And again, you string all these together and it doesn’t sound like the Lord is talking about an undifferentiated mass of cells or a potential person, but a human being with plans and a purpose and a role already set apart.
  • I have used the passages linked together from Luke 1. You’ve got that intriguing passage, verse 15, speaking about how John the Baptist – he would be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb, and then his mother carrying him meets Mary carrying Jesus. She says the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And those last two words, put there by the Holy Spirit, are telling us that there was emotion or some measure of comprehension behind the lurching in the womb. It wasn’t like an instinctive reaction to someone slamming the door. There was some very mysterious understanding — that’s a marvelous one.
  • Ephesians 5:11 calls us to not just to not participate in the deeds of darkness, but to expose. Sometimes I wish he had stopped at don’t participate, but he adds, part of our calling is exposing the deeds of darkness.
  • Proverbs 6:16-19 – things the Lord hates – includes hands that shed innocent blood
  • Prov 8:36 “all those who hate me love death” – that’s an interesting way of looking at it – nobody would admit loving death, but part of being separated from Christ and totally in a lost and godless state, they tend to be drawn to things that are deadly – practices – personally as well as policies that are deadly in a culture.
  • Proverbs 14:34 – righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people
  • I’ve preached from passages in Jeremiah. Jeremiah speaks of the people of that day as those who didn’t know how to blush, had lost all sense of moral absolutes, and so no sense of embarrassment. It wasn’t a physical problem, it was their whole attitude about sin and the holiness of the Lord.

There are many other passages that could be used to highlight a focus on sanctity of life, such as Exodus 20:13 (forbidding murder), Exodus 21:22-25 (case law for a situation where a pregnant woman is struck and delivers early or miscarries as a result), Proverbs 31:8 (speaking up for the oppressed who cannot speak for themselves).

Here are some other resources to help educate pastors and churches about these issues and some good example of preaching on the topic (including other texts than those mentioned above):

THE 180 MOVIE: http://www.180movie.com/

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39FtbDZRP_4&rel=0]

Book Review: Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament

NTOTG. K. Beale & D. A. Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.  Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.  Jacketed Hardcover, 1239 pp.

Purchase links (affiliate):
WTS (hardcover)
Amazon (hardcover)
Amazon (Kindle)

DESCRIPTION

The Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (CNTUOT) is not a commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament in the sense of, “This is how the NT writers used the OT, and now we will talk about a method to use for interpreting the OT today.”  This work is, however, about specific ways that specific OT references were used by specific NT writers in their specific contexts.  The purpose of the book is not to “survey contemporary debates over the use of the OT in the NT,” but to provide a “reasonably comprehensive survey of all the textual evidence,” examining the New Testament context of the quotation or probable allusion, the Old Testament context from which it is drawn, how it was handled in Second Temple Judaism or early Judaism, textual factors such as manuscript traditions, how the New Testament employed the Old Testament in the specific example being considered, and the theological use to which the quotation or allusion is put (xxiii-xv).

The book aims to show the flexibility and variety of ways in which NT authors used the OT, the way they applied Scripture to Jesus and the church, the interpretive difference between the NT writers and Jewish contemporaries who rejected the Messiah, the question as to whether a writer used a text to expound a teaching from the OT or whether he used the OT to confirm or justify Christian experience, and that an eclectic grammatical-historical method can be used to assess the use of the OT in the NT, with the caveat that NT authors would have looked at Scripture differently than “any of the dominant historical-critical orthodoxies of the last century and a half” (xxvi-xxviii).

G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson have edited the contributions of 18 biblical scholars (including themselves) into this large reference work.  Besides the editors, the writing team is comprised of Peter Balla (2 Corinthians), Craig Blomberg (Matthew), Roy Ciampa (1 Corinthians), George Guthrie (Hebrews), Andreas Kostenberger (John), I. Howard Marshall (Acts), Sean McDonough (Revelation), David Pao (Luke), Brian Rosner (1 Corinthians), Eckhard Schnabel (Luke), Mark Seifrid (Romans), Moises Silva (Galatians, Philippians), Frank Thielman (Ephesians), Philip Towner (1-2 Timothy and Titus), Rikk Watts (Mark), and Jeffrey Weima (1-2 Thessalonians).  Carson handles James through Jude and Beale covers Colossians and Revelation.  The book has a brief introductory overview, followed by treatment of each New Testament book in canonical order, followed by a bibliography.  The one exception is Philemon, since it has no quotes or probable allusions to the OT; a single paragraph touches on a relevant OT background text and recommends a couple of resources for studying this epistle.  A sizable index of references to Scripture and other ancient literature is provided at the end, while the work begins with a table of abbreviations for various scholarly publications referenced.

EVALUATION

In evaluating this resource, I want to raise and answer two questions.

First, who could benefit from this work?

Generally speaking, the treatments in the book are not only thorough, but often thoroughly academic in their language and tone.  There is a great deal of interaction with other sources and viewpoints (though the authors are generally conservative theologically).  The target audience is presumably Bible scholars, theologically trained pastors, and seminary students.  Someone who has learned through self-study will need to have attained to an advanced level or be willing to learn some new vocabulary to get the maximum benefit from this work.  Some use of the biblical languages, as well as terms like midrashtargum, and pesher may present difficulties to those without adequate education.  That being said, this would be a great resource to have in a Bible college or seminary library, or in the study of a scholar or theologically educated pastor , or student receiving a theological education.  It would not be a helpful resource for those without this training.  For those with such training, the use of this work will hopefully help their understanding of the biblical text in the early stages of their study, so that they can rightly interpret and apply it.

Secondly, is this work necessary?

I’m not sure this work is necessary for everyone who could benefit from it.  I am currently consulting it as I preach through Ephesians, and it gave me some considerations to chew on as I looked at Paul’s use of Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:8.  But I also have several commentaries on Ephesians I am using, in addition to notes from various study Bibles.  The CNTUOT went into much greater detail to examine the questions surrounding this passage than any of the commentaries I had.  However, I ended up finding the most plausible approach in a study Bible note that gave an explanation not even considered in the CNTUOT.  While such instances are probably rare exceptions, this reference work may not be necessary for people who have libraries of scholarly commentaries that treat the handling of OT quotes and allusions in the NT.  Some of the better study Bibles should also treat the NT use of the OT, and busy pastors probably will find all they need if they have several key commentaries and consult several helpful study Bibles (such as MacArthur, ESV, HCSBReformation Heritage, Zondervan study Bibles).  If a pastor has a large part of his week devoted to study, this work should enrich that study, but I would not consider it indispensable if he has access to plenty of quality resources.

On the other hand, if one needs a one-stop, thorough treatment, and one has adequate training, this could easily and affordably fill a needed gap.  A student specializing in either the OT or NT could greatly benefit from this volume, as could a trained pastor with a very limited library.

Using this resource in tandem with further study in the area of Christ-centered interpretation as dealt with in books such as Edmund Clowney’s The Unfolding Mystery, James Hamilton’s God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment, and David Murray’s Jesus on Every Page could help one fill out and process some of the specific details when going through each passage and will hopefully help one to better understand God’s Word and how its parts relate to each other.  Including this study of Christ-centered interpretation will also help one grapple with whether the apostolic interpretation of the OT is a matter of historical record only or whether they provide a model for today, something this book is related to, but is not designed to address on its own.

Thanks to Baker Academic for providing me a copy of the book at half price in exchange for a review.

Purchase links (affiliate):  WTS (hardcover)    Amazon (hardcover)   Amazon (Kindle)

Reviewed by Doug Smith

Three Steps of Inductive Bible Study

God’s Spirit moved on holy men to pen His written revelation to us (2 Peter 1:21). This resulted in 66 books which His people receive as authoritative and without error, since their source is an all-knowing, omnipotent, and truthful God. Since He has communicated to us in written form, His intention is that we read and study His Word.

For studying God’s Word, inductive Bible study is a method many have found fruitful. Inductive Bible study is at the core of what we train preachers and teachers to do through the Cumberland Area Pulpit Supply, so we can prepare and send out men who have studied the Word they are to preach.

The method is simple and something we already do every day. It will also help us to directly encounter the voice of God in the text, as we prayerfully and sincerely approach Him there. There are three basic steps to this type of study and three corresponding questions. I have gleaned much from Peter Krol’s excellent, brief, and very readable book, Knowable Word, which I commend as a follow up to this article.

WHAT DOES IT SAY? (OBSERVATION)

First of all, we must observe what the Bible says. Every day we observe some things and ignore others. When we observe that the red flag is still up on our mailbox, that observation will provide the foundation for our interpretation that the letter has not yet been picked up, which will lead to our response of refraining to visit the mailbox. Likewise, when we read the Bible, we need to notice both large and small details.

To help us observe, we need to set aside any familiarity we may have with the text and know some things to look for. Asking the basic who, what, when, where, why, how questions is always a good starting point to slow us down and help us see what is in the text. These questions are helpful to note what you can see about the bigger picture (author, audience, occasion, type of literature, themes, purpose) and the particulars of a certain passage (structure, key words, connector words).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? (INTERPRETATION)

Once we notice what is actually there in the text, we can proceed to the next step, which is interpretation. Interpretation seeks to find the meaning of the text on its own terms, not presuming to understand it before we have observed and examined it in context. The context includes not only the paragraph of the verse(s) under consideration, but encompasses the entire book of the Bible in which it is found, as well as the larger context of the whole Bible, since all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16).

The type of literature and factors such as figures of speech will have an impact on interpretation. The structure and grammar that you should have observed will also provide clues for understanding the meaning of a passage. Since the purpose of the Bible is to point us to Christ (2 Tim 3:15; Luke 24:27, 44), we must also interpret a given text in light of Jesus. To do this, we can ask how the text points forward or backward to Jesus’ death and resurrection, how it illustrates our need for repentance and faith in Christ, or how it demonstrates our obligation to preach Him to all nations.

HOW SHOULD I RESPOND? (APPLICATION)

Bible study cannot be properly done without observation and interpretation. But it is not complete without application. We must seek to discern the implications of the biblical text, not only for its original hearers and readers but for our own time and our own lives. Application deals with how we need to change in our thinking, our desires, and our actions. The text may have multiple applications that can vary widely depending on one’s situation. Application can be made to individuals as well as to entire groups. We must look for the proper response to the text, and then cooperate with God’s Spirit to overcome our inertia and be doers of the Word (James 1:22).

CASE STUDY: PHILIPPIANS 4:2-9

OBSERVE

Philippians 4:2-9 contains several well known verses. As you read through the book and the passage, you can see them in light of their larger context. In this case study, we observe that Paul is addressing a situation in the church at Philippi, a church he had helped start after meeting them at a women’s riverside prayer meeting and being jailed for his ministry (Acts 16). The context of the book shows us that the church had sent him a gift to him in a later imprisonment, which he acknowledges, but that he also wanted to address the issue of unity in the church. Their fear of persecution, need for more humility, and threat of false teachers were factors that reduced their unity and robbed them of joy. In this particular passage, Paul lists two feminine names, Euodia and Syntyche, tells them to be of the same mind in the Lord and enlists a true yokefellow to help them. The commands to rejoice in the Lord always, be gentle, pray, think on certain things, and follow Paul’s example come immediately after Paul addresses this particular instance of disunity.

INTERPRET

The fact that these commands follow Paul’s mention of a specific situation strongly suggests that the church was to work through the apparent conflict between these women by doing the things commanded. As they tried to help Euodia and Syntyche, they needed to rejoice in the Lord (4:2-3). This is the same Lord who set the perfect example of humility (2:5-11) and who should be everything to them (3:7-11), whose gospel they needed to proclaim and represent in a worthy manner, which would be demonstrated in unity (1:27). They needed to be gentle since the Lord is at hand (4:5), avoid anxiety through thankful prayer (4:6-7), think on excellent and praiseworthy qualities (4:8), and follow Paul’s good example (4:9).

APPLY

When we face conflict in the church today, rather than avoiding people, we need to take responsibility, whether as one of the parties directly involved or someone who can help them resolve matters (4:2-3). We need to be of the same mind in the Lord and remember that we are on the same team if we are believers (4:2). We need to rejoice, not in getting our own way, but by locating our joy in the Lord, regardless of how matters proceed (4:4). We need to be gentle, not harsh, since the Lord is at hand and looking on during our conflict (4:5). As conflict brings anxiety, we need to take that to the Lord in prayer and be thankful for our brothers and sisters, and expect mind- and heart-guarding peace to come from God (4:6-7). We need to think on the things that are excellent, not dwelling on the negatives and our differences primarily, but the pure, good, true things that are who they are in Christ and who God is making them to be now (4:8). We must not follow just any example in dealing with conflict, but godly ones which follow the pattern laid out in the text (4:9).

KEEP PRACTICING

The best way to learn inductive Bible study is … to do it! Pray and ask God’s Spirit to open your eyes and heart (Psalm 119:18). Read, read, and re-read. Observe, interpret, and apply. Look at what it says, learn what it means, and live it out.

After you do these three steps, you can add one more. Share what you have learned with others. You can do this one on one, in a small group, or even through writing or preaching. Lord willing, in the next issue, we will consider how inductive Bible study is a necessary foundation for biblical, expository preaching that feeds God’s Word to people.

For more help in inductive Bible study and supply preaching, check out the Pulpit Supply Handbook or capsministry.com.

Related:  “How to Agree When You Disagree” – sermon from Philippians 4:2-9

Thanks to the Common Ground Herald for printing this article there!

Deal Alert: Seven Arrows – Aiming Bible Readers in the Right Direction

This looks like another good book on Bible study.  Free for Kindle through April 28.

Matt Rogers and Donny Mathis, Seven Arrows – Aiming Bible Readers in the Right Direction

Comes at the recommendation of my seminary prof., Dr. Rob Plummer at SBTS.

Arrow 1: What does this passage say?
Arrow 2: What does this passage mean to its original audience?
Arrow 3: What does this passage tell us about God?
Arrow 4: What does this passage tell us about man?
Arrow 5: What does this passage demand of me?
Arrow 6: How does this passage change the way I relate to people?
Arrow 7: What does this passage prompt me to pray to God?