Bible Scholars and You: Share Your Ideas on ChristianDiscourse.com

CD_EmailHeader_600x175-NoBorderChristianDiscourse.com lets you share your ideas, devotionals, questions, and more to start conversations among fellow believers. Whether you’re looking for answers to a tough question, feedback on your latest idea, or you just want to share something that inspired you, Christian Discourse is your canvas for connecting with the Christian world.

Recently, Dr. Mike Heiser, a prominent Bible scholar at Logos Bible Software, shared his personal “Laws for Bible Study,” which he originally shared on his personal blog, The Naked Bible:

Heiser’s Laws for Bible Study:

Bible reading is not Bible study. I have learned, kicking and screaming mind you, that this is where most people are at. Everyone can do serious Bible study and they should.

1. There is no substitute for close attention to the biblical text

You should be observing the biblical text in the original languages. If you cannot, never trust one translation in a passage. Use several and then learn skills for understanding why they disagree. These skills would be things like learning grammatical terms and concepts, along with translation philosophy and the basics of textual criticism.

2. Patterns in the text are more important than word studies

You need to learn to trace threads and ideas through the Bible and observe how the New Testament re-purposes and interprets the Old Testament. If you aren’t paying attention to these things, you’re missing more than you think you’re seeing.

3. The Bible must be interpreted in context, and that context isn’t your own, or that of your theological tradition

The context of the Bible is the context that produced it—ancient Near East/Mediterranean.

In other words, if you’re letting your theological tradition filter the Bible to you, you aren’t doing Bible study or exegesis, and you aren’t interpreting the Bible in context.

4. The Bible is a divine human book; treat it as such

Put another way, God chose people to write the biblical text, and people write using grammar, in styles understood by their peers, and with deliberate intent—and so the Bible did not just drop from heaven. Study it as though some person actually wrote it, not like it is the result of a paranormal event.

5. If it’s weird, it’s important (i.e. it’s there for a reason; it is not random)

Put another way: Systematic theology isn’t helpful (and can be misleading) if its conclusions are not derived from exegesis of the original text. Biblical theology is done from the ground up, not the top down.

6. If, after you’ve done the grunt work of context-driven exegesis, what the biblical text says disturbs you, let it

 

For more biblical insight from Dr. Mike Heiser, check out his blog, The Naked Bible. Or, get his new book, I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible.

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Got ideas you want to share with other Christians? Check out Christian Discourse, and pick the category that fits your idea!

R.C. Sproul Sheds Light on God’s Promise

surprised-by-suffering-the-role-of-pain-and-death-in-the-christian-lifeRight now, you can get R.C. Sproul’s book, Surprised by Suffering, for free! Get your copy.

Suffering often catches us by surprise. One day we are healthy, comfortable, and happy. The next we find ourselves ill or injured, struggling, and distraught. The pain that invades our lives may come from our own suffering or that of a loved one. But no matter the source, we don’t see it coming. All too often, our perplexity prompts us to suspect God of wrongdoing.

R.C. Sproul wrote Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life to help Christians see purpose in pain and sovereignty in suffering.

Surprised by Suffering offers solid biblical counsel and comfort for those undergoing suffering. For those who minister to the suffering, Sproul’s counsel helps believers stand firm with faith in a God who is both loving and good—even in the midst of our deepest sorrows.

Here are some of Sproul’s insights into Matthew 11:28–30:

There have been times in my life when I have uttered foolish prayers. When I have been hard pressed I have cried out to God, “This much and no more, Lord. I can’t handle another setback. One more straw and I’m finished.” It seems that every time I pray like that God puts a fresh load on my back. It is as if He answers my prayer by saying, “Don’t tell Me how much you can bear.”

God knows our limits far better than we do. In one respect we are very much like camels. When the camel’s load is already heavy he doesn’t ask his master for more weight. His knees get a bit wobbly, and he groans beneath the burden, but there is still room for more before his back will break.

The promise of God is not that He will never give us more weight to carry than we want to carry. The promise of God is that He will never put more upon us than we can actually bear.

For more encouraging wisdom from R.C. Sproul, download your free copy of Surprised by Suffering today!

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Want even more free R.C. Sproul books? Get all 17 volumes of his Crucial Questions Series for free! Tackle some of life’s biggest questions with a world-renowned theologian.

How Can You Exhibit Proverbs 31?

proverbs 31 2Proverbs 31 includes one of the most quoted passages of Scripture. Proverbs 31:10–31 describes characteristics of an excellent wife, but what parts apply to all women?

Take a moment to reflect on this powerful passage about the beauty of a godly woman:

I look forward to the day I can display the qualities of Proverbs 31 to my future husband and children, but why wait for marriage to develop such qualities? In fact, those qualities I desire in my future marriage are a product of my present relationship with Jesus. Aunts, friends, fiancés, sisters, nieces, daughters—how can we become Proverbs 31 women regardless of our marital status?

The woman who has had the greatest impact in my life is my late aunt. She didn’t have children and her husband passed away before I was born, so I never witnessed her as a wife or mother. Yet her mother-likeness, generosity, and hospitality left a huge mark on who I hope to resemble as both a spouse and a mom. My siblings and I would stay at her home as often as possible, sometimes even in week-long stretches if our parents allowed. Her unwavering warmth and welcome kept visitors returning.

“She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. . . . She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hand to the needy.”

What comforts are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of others?

Another female figure who has displayed qualities of a Proverbs 31 woman is my older sister. Her lifelong mentorship, willingness to always lend a listening ear, and her sound advice has been key in molding my goals, worldviews, and understanding of how to serve and constantly pursue the Lord.

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

Who looks to you for wisdom, and how can you show them God’s love more effectively?

In spite of being the same age, I have always looked up to my friend for her ability to be gentle to others yet firm in her desire to constantly seek God’s will. Overall though, what initially made us friends was the magnetic appeal of her joy. She discovers God’s blessings in all that comes her way, and because of that, nothing can rob her of her joy.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”

What joyful details of life are you skimming over? Start tuning in to them!

There are so many more women in my life who have reflected the Proverbs 31 woman. But like the few examples I’ve provided, I hope  women of all ages and marital statuses never cease to seek, develop, and exhibit Proverbs 31 traits.

Lysa Terkeurst, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explores what choosing to live a godly life looks like and more in her new book, The Best Yes. And if you want more encouraging Bible passages, check out these Verse of the Day magnets!

Get 35 Biblical Language Books for 18% Off

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Zondervan’s proven and popular language textbooks continue to transform novices into experts. Right now, you can get the Zondervan Biblical Languages Collection for $459.95—that’s over $150 off the regular price! Use coupon code BTS2014, and get yours now.

For the college class or the casual learner

Boasting 35 of Zondervan’s finest texts on biblical languages, this collection contains tools for instructors, students, self-learners, re-learners, and home-schoolers. Wherever you’re at, you have a lot to gain by adding this collection to your library.

After 20 years of success, Basics of Biblical Greek remains the most popular introduction in the field. Over 200,000 students around the globe have learned biblical Greek under its guidance. An entire series of curricula now stands beside it. The Zondervan Biblical Languages collection equips you with the latest editions of these world-renowned introductory textbooks.

These internationally acclaimed textbooks offer you the best in biblical language instruction, from authors and teachers like William D. Mounce, Miles V. Van Pelt, Daniel B. Wallace, and Gary D. Practico. With tools for understanding grammar, building vocabulary, and performing exegesis and word studies, these scholars impart decades of teaching and condense years of learning into materials you can study at your own pace.

To help you build vocabulary and promote interactive learning, the collection includes:

  • Audio aids
  • Workbooks
  • Reference guides
  • Morphology and syntax texts

If you’ve ever thought about taking on biblical languages, now is the time. Reading the Bible in English is undeniably valuable, but no matter how accurate a translation is, understanding the original languages of Scripture can transform the way you interpret it.

These texts help you discover nuances in language that were previously inaccessible to you—and get meaning out of it even if you don’t know Greek or Hebrew! With Greek and Hebrew audio readings, interactive workbooks, quick-reference guides, and texts for all levels of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic learning, this collection is essential for everyone who reads Scripture.

Get all 35 volumes of biblical language scholarship for over 18% off—that’s more than $150 off the regular price! Or, check out the rest of Logos’ Back to School deals.

Top 5 Controversial Topics on Christian Discourse

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See what Christians are talking about right now, and add your voice to the conversation.

For many people, it’s tough to find the right place to talk about controversial issues. The wrong topic at the wrong time or in the wrong place can create divisions in families, friendships, colleagues, or even churches. In lieu of navigating these delicate conversations and risking relational struggles, some people choose silence. Sometimes silence is the right choice, but if we always hide our voice, we miss out on both an opportunity to grow and an opportunity to reveal Christ in us.

When our own beliefs interact with the beliefs of others, something powerful happens. Our beliefs emerge from the conversation even stronger than before. Whether you identify with someone else’s thoughts, or you disagree, the process of sharing with other Christians can hone and sharpen our faith (Proverbs 27:17).

Here are the top five controversial discussions going on right now:

1. Women leading and teaching in the church

2. Why is homosexuality such a big deal?

3. The moral argument for God’s existence

4. Leviticus for today?

5. Is the Bible obsolete?

Whatever you believe, and whether or not you express it verbally, the love of Christ should first and foremost manifest itself in your life through your actions. This includes the way we verbally communicate our beliefs. That’s why Christian Discourse is designed to foster healthy communication. When you discuss your beliefs on Christian Discourse, approach the conversation the same way you would at church. Love God, love others. Choose words that reflect this love. If you can’t do that, you probably aren’t ready to have the conversation—in person or on the Internet.

If you’re ready to start discussing life and God with other Christians, they’re waiting to hear from you. Christian Discourse lets you talk about everything from how to watch sermons online to the salvation of pets to fasting. Whatever your question, Christian Discourse offers a great community to quickly gather insight from a variety of perspectives.

Don’t have time to read an entire forum thread? Summarize it. Below the initial post in a particularly lively forum thread, Christian Discourse shows you all of the links in the post so you can quickly gather context, an estimate of how long it will take you to read the entire forum, and the option to summarize the thread into the most popular responses. If you’re interested in a topic but short on time, Christian Discourse frees you to easily navigate each thread.

Visit Christian Discourse today, and start discussing life in Christian community.

Get a Free Bonhoeffer Book + One for 99 Cents!

August FBOTMThroughout August, get Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 3: Creation and Fall for free! This volume contains lectures Dietrich Bonhoeffer delivered at the University of Berlin throughout the winter of 1932–1933. During a time of turmoil, Bonhoeffer urged his students to focus on the Word of God, despite their surrounding circumstances. Now you can gain these influential insights, too—get it today!

While you’re there, don’t forget to add Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 7: Fiction from Tegel to your library for just 99 cents. Bonhoeffer’s life events are recounted in this powerful book, which draws from personal experiences. You can also enter to win the entire 16-volume Works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which explore more aspects of Bonhoeffer’s life and uncover valuable wisdom and inspiration from his legacy.

Read these books in your FSB app

Accessing these titles is easy in your Faithlife Study Bible app. You can find a full tutorial for using Logos resources in the FSB, but here are the basics:

  1. Download your books and check out using your Logos.com account—this is the same account tied to your FSB, so your new books are automatically connected.
  2. Open your FSB app, and tap “Resources” then “Library” to find every Logos resource you own.
  3. Search for your new books, and tap them to open and start reading!

Download these two titles today, and get them in your FSB app right away. But don’t wait—this deal is only available during August, so get them before it’s too late!