Hot Deals This July!

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July is here! Even more, new monthly deals are here! This month we have over 180 resources on sale, designed to connect you with the Word. Check out all the deals!

Here are a few of the hottest savings July has to offer:

Institutes of the Christian Religion

On sale for 21% off!

John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion is a monumental work that stands among the greatest works of Christian theology and Western literature. Written as an introduction to Christian doctrine, Calvin’s Institutes quickly became one of the best systematic theologies of the Reformed tradition.

The Logos edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 vols.) contains extensive tagging and linking. All Scripture references display the verse on mouse-over, and each reference is linked to the original language texts and English Bible translations in your library. With Logos, you can also perform advanced searches—searching Calvin’s tracts and treatises by passage or topic. That makes the Logos edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 vols.) ideal for students, pastors, theologians, and Calvin scholars.

A.W. Tozer Collection

On sale for 48% off!

This collection consists of fifty-seven books written by Tozer or compiled from his sermons. Many of the books were compiled by his close friend, Harry Verploegh, by Gerald B. Smith, James L. Snyder, Ron Eggert, Warren Wiersbe and others. In all, this astounding collection contains approximately 11,000 pages filled with the inspirational, Christ-centered words only Tozer could pen.

Topical Analysis of the Bible

On sale for 33% off!

In this handy biblical reference tool, analytical outlines to 35,000 Scripture references touch on thirteen major doctrines of Scripture: God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, God’s works and providence, revelation and Scripture, supernatural beings, human beings, sin, salvation, sanctification, Christian living, the church, and the last things. Those setting out to preach or teach a certain doctrine will find this book an invaluable resource.

The Life Application Bible Commentary

On sale for 23% off!

The Life Application Bible Commentary series is ideal for personal Bible study, small groups, classes, and sermon preparation. Written by the team that designed and produced the Life Application Bible, this commentary series is exegetically accurate, theologically sound, and intensely practical. The Life Application Bible Commentary series helps students of the Bible understand the text and apply it to their lives.

Each volume features an interesting introduction, extensive commentary, and a helpful reference section. And it’s easy to use: throughout the book you will find maps, charts, classic quotations from Christian thinkers, illustrations, and extensive application notes. This edition allows you to link the commentary to any Bible in your Logos Bible Software.

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Again, these deals just scratch the surface of what July has to offer! Don’t miss an opportunity to save—check out all of this month’s hottest deals!

3 Ways to Uncover Biblical Themes

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The key to understanding a Scripture passage is often to first understand the larger theme of the book it’s in. Commentaries or study Bibles may point out major themes for you, but you can find them yourself if you know where to look. Here are three ways to find a biblical book’s theme:

  1. Read through the opening and closing paragraphs of a book. The writer may leave a clue for you in the opening or closing paragraph of a book. This is especially common in the epistles. If you notice a common theme in both the opening and closing paragraphs, you know you’re on to something. For example, Peter speaks to the process of growing “in the knowledge of God” in the first and last paragraph of 2 Peter. This theme ties together everything in between. Study 2 Peter with that in mind, and many complex passages become easier to unravel.
  2. Look for repeated words, phrases, or ideas. Remember that when the biblical writers penned Scripture, emphasis markings like bold, italics, and underlining were not used because they took up valuable space on the page. Romans 8, a well-known passage, draws special attention to the Holy Spirit, mentioning it 20 times in 38 verses.
  3. Look for a purpose statement. There isn’t a clear statement of purpose in every book, but when a biblical writer spells out his reason for writing a book, or his hope for how it will impact the reader, take special note. Luke provides a clear purpose statement at the beginning of his Gospel (Luke 1:1–4). Any study of Luke will benefit from regular references to this introduction and statement of purpose.

If you’re studying with the Faithlife Study Bible, these markers and much more are explained in its three layers of study notes. Download the Faithlife Study Bible app for free from your app store of choice.

Where Faith and Life Connect

faithlife_logo_cmyk_hToday’s interview is with Mark Prim, the Southeast Michigan Coalition for Men’s Discipleship area director for Man in the Mirror ministries. Prim helps pastors and leaders establish an intentional strategy to reach and disciple men.

How does your family use Faithlife together?

My two older sons started reading the Bible when they were six and seven. They began by reading small portions of the New Testament at a time. Three years later, they’ve read through the New Testament twice and Psalms once.

About two years ago, they both bought Kindles with money they saved from Christmas. The first app I installed was Faithlife. I created a family reading plan so we could all read the Bible at the same pace, and so my wife and I could help answer questions the boys have. With the reading plan, we can be sure we’re familiar with the passages they read so we’re ready to talk about them.

We have recently begun using Faithlife for family devotions, reading the book Experiencing God at Home Day by Day. The boys read a portion of their Bible using Faithlife, then we read the devotional, and they finish with some quiet time of reading and praying.

Why do Faithlife groups work so well for Bible studies and small groups? What features does your group use together?

Faithlife works well for small groups and Bible studies because all members are able to read the same passages and follow along the same reading plan. Not only this, but when members have questions while reading, they can post the question to the group or specifically to the leader, without waiting until the next meeting. The ability to load documents for the group to read is also a great tool when there are additional resources or information for further study. The reading plan and documents tab are the two tools we use the most.

Using Faithlife for a small group can be a little tricky at first. Since not everyone has a smartphone or tablet, it can become a divider when we try to use it as our main tool. The second challenge is that we must use the first session or two just to familiarize everyone with the functionality and power of this free study tool. Not everyone learns at the same pace, so this can become a point of stress, and it takes a little more work when someone new joins our group. However, we can overcome both of these challenges. In my experience, it’s worth it to use Faithlife for small group studies.

When individuals take the time to learn and use Faithlife, studying the Bible together truly becomes a community effort. When people have questions, thoughts, or concerns, there’s no need to wait until the next weekly or monthly meeting. If the people in your small group want to study God’s Word, and they are open to doing it from a digital source, Faithlife is a free resource that’s worth using.

What’s your favorite feature in Faithlife?

I like Faithlife as a whole. It’s a great tool for the kingdom of God! That being said, I think my favorite feature is the reading plan because it reaches across all platforms. If all the features were available across all platforms, I think Faithlife would be more widely accepted and used by churches and small groups.

Many parents are afraid to let their kids create social-media accounts. What makes Faithlife different, and why do you let your sons use it?

Faithlife doesn’t have all the foul language and advertisements. It also doesn’t have the “freedom” that other social media outlets have—the parameters of use are much more controllable. I set up and maintain my kids’ accounts.

One reason I let my sons use Faithlife is because they can study the Bible together. And we are a closed group, so no one else can join unless my wife and I approve them. Another reason is because it makes a great tool for discipleship. I can create specific reading plans based on subjects we need to discuss, and then they read not just for devotional time, but also to gain knowledge and understanding. As they get older, I will teach them more and more about how to use Faithlife.

What does Faithlife do for you that other communication tools don’t?

Faithlife provides a way for us to interact with God’s Word together. Other communication tools allow you to post different verses back and forth, but with Faithlife we can highlight verses and make community notes that our whole family can see.

Why do you think churches should use Faithlife together?

Like I said before, it makes a great tool for discipleship. With our fast-paced world and our ever-increasing reliance on technology and all things digital, this is a perfect tool to study God’s Word together. If used the right way, Faithlife can also help someone quickly catch up if they miss a small group session.

To learn more about Prim’s ministry, you can head to ManintheMirror.org.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to join Faithlife, download the free Faithlife Study Bible, and start studying Scripture in community today.

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Logos helps you dig deeper into the Bible. But to take advantage of Logos’ powerful datasets and study tools, you’ll need a Logos 5 base package. And right now, you can get a custom upgrade discount during the Logos 5 upgrade sale—get yours now!

The Creation Story (As Told by the FSB)

Creation begins with the separation of light and darkness. Interestingly, God creates light before he creates any sources of light. Some have speculated that God’s glory served as the initial source of light. The FSB study notes point out that the order of creation is consistent with the ancient perception of the universe. An article by Michael Heiser explains this, and this helpful chart is included to illustrate.

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Six times in the first chapter of Genesis, God affirms his creation as “good” or in a right relationship with him. This changes a few chapters later when, because of sin, God curses the earth and all its inhabitants.

The first day, and all the subsequent days of creation, close with an expression: “evening and morning.” Ken Ham is a staunch literalist, meaning he interprets the seven days of creation as 24-hour periods of time. But there are several different approaches to the creation narrative. For a quick summary of some ways the creation story is perceived by theologians, refer to the table, “Interpretation of Days in Genesis.”

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The FSB study notes point out how Genesis 1 provides a subtle critique of prevailing ancient–Near Eastern beliefs by deliberately avoiding the words for “sun” and “moon” that carried idolatrous undertones. The writer makes it clear that these two bits of creation respectively rule over the daytime and nighttime only at the creator’s divine appointment.

One of the most exciting applications of Genesis 1 for me is the precedent of creativity that God sets for mankind. Trey Boden explains in his devotional article about creativity:

To understand our place in the drama of creation, we should look at how God created us. God made us in His image to give Him glory through service and love to the world. Because we are made in His image, we can assume that we have a likeness of His creative spirit within us. God initiated this sharing in His creative works by giving Adam the tasks of cultivating the garden (Genesis 2:15) and naming the animals (Genesis 2:20). The major difference between God’s creative action and ours, however, is that God has the power to create something from nothing.

The creation story closes in Genesis 1:27’s summary of mankind’s origin:

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

The FSB study notes summarize the first chapter of Genesis with this huge infographic (click to enlarge) that depicts the seven days of creation like never you’ve never seen it before.

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To explore the creation narrative and the rest of Scripture in a new way, download the free Faithlife Study Bible on your smartphone or tablet today.

Help Others Discover the Faithlife Study Bible

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The Faithlife Study Bible app has been downloaded by more than a quarter million people. Every day, it helps thousands connect with God by unlocking the truths of Scripture with a modern English translation, layers of study notes, rich multimedia, and several included devotionals.

Read more…

The 9 Major Types of Bible Study Tools

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Bible study tools come in all different shapes and sizes, but the most common resources usually fit into one of a few basic categories. They each have a specific purpose to aid your studies.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of different kinds of Bible study tools and what they can do for you, along with some suggested resources to get you started.

Bible dictionary

Bible dictionaries are a lot like English dictionaries, but they are focused on biblical words. Rather than providing modern definitions, they describe what a given word means when used in the Bible. They often include details like the meanings of biblical names. Some more technical Bible dictionaries will include references to the Greek and Hebrew, while others stick to the English.

Bible encyclopedia

Bible encyclopedias are similar to Bible dictionaries in concept, but they are greater in scope. While dictionaries typically have short entries for quick reference, encyclopedias tend to have longer articles covering people, places, events, objects, and more as found in the Bible. Bible encyclopedias often go into much greater historical and cultural detail than dictionaries.

Both Bible dictionaries and Bible encyclopedias are organized alphabetically by topic. When you get one from Logos.com, you’ll see links to it in your study notes whenever the text you’re reading mentions a topic it addresses. In this way, your FSB app gets more detailed and powerful as you add resources from Logos.com.

Commentary

Commentaries go verse by verse or passage by passage through the Bible, or through a particular section of the Bible. This system of organization is called “versification” because it follows the book, chapter, and verse structure of the biblical text. Commentaries are meant to be used in parallel with the Bible’s text, offering explanations, insights, textual notes, historical background, and more. Most commentaries also include introductions to the books of the Bible, providing details such the book’s author, as well as when, where, and why it was written.

Study Bible

Study Bibles combine multiple study tools (such as a Bible dictionary and commentary) into one relatively compact volume. Like commentaries, study Bibles are versified, but the notes in study Bibles are usually much more concise and to the point than full commentaries. When sold in print, the text of the Bible is placed right alongside or above the notes and articles. The world’s largest, most advanced study Bible is free! If you’re not already using it, get your free Faithlife Study Bible now. You can also add notes from other study Bibles to your FSB.

Versified resources like commentaries and study Bibles offer a great alternative to the study notes included in your FSB app. If you’d like to survey multiple opinions while you study, add a commentary set or another study Bible to your FSB, and you can quickly switch between them.

Concordance

Concordances are designed to help you find things in the Bible. Basic concordances have fallen out of popularity, due to the ease of searching digital Bibles. However, the more advanced concordances are still useful, due to their ability to search by topics and themes or even people and places, rather than simple word searches.

Harmony

Harmonies take books of the Bible that overlap one another in content, and they show how the books fit together. They reorganize the biblical content to flow chronologically, so you can find parallel passages more easily. The most common variety are Gospel harmonies, combining the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; however, harmonies also exist for other books, such as Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. Many harmonies only include Scripture references, while others place the actual texts in parallel columns. A few harmonies actually combine the four Gospels into a single text that flows chronologically.

Lectionary

Lectionaries are reading plans for the Bible that group texts into weekly readings. They often span three-year cycles, designated year A, year B, and year C. The idea is to provide believers around the world with a shared reading schedule. While some lectionaries include only the readings themselves, others include reflections on the texts.

Devotional

Devotionals are one of the most common Bible study tools, but they have wide variety among them. Some focus on a book or passage of the Bible, while others focus on a certain topic, while others still cover multiple topics. Some devotionals include a year’s worth of reading, while others only last for a month. Some are meant to be read in the morning, while others are meant to be read at evening, while others still have entries for both morning and evening.

Bible atlas

Bible atlases are collections of maps that show the world as it was in Bible times. They are helpful for seeing how different biblical locations fit together. Many Bible atlases show the paths followed by biblical people during their travels.

All the study tools you see here can be enjoyed in your free Faithlife Study Bible app. Buy one from each category, and you’ll have a robust Bible study library that will serve you well for years to come.

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Serious Bible study is easier with serious Bible study software. The Faithlife Study Bible is a great place to start, but if you’d like to study in greater detail, Logos 5 is for you. Its powerful, intuitive tools and vast libraries are the perfect way to expand your understanding of the Scriptures. Visit Logos.com/Logos5 to learn more.

You’re Never Too Busy to Learn

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I have noticed something about most people around me. If I ask my friends, coworkers, or family members, “How’s life?” they inevitably answer, “Busy!” I am no exception. Working a full-time job, raising a family, and serving in local church ministry all take their toll. With everything going on, it’s a struggle to continue to learn and grow in understanding the Bible. But if the Word of God is the ultimate rule for faith and practice, how do we make sure we’re letting it inform everything we do?

If you’re like me—longing to learn more but struggling to find the time—there’s an answer: Logos Mobile Education.

Education that fits

Mobile Ed is a new way to learn, developed for you exclusively by Logos Bible Software. It’s a mobile learning experience, with personal video lessons from world-class teachers and super-powered transcripts, so you can follow along, highlight your favorite portions, and search through the lessons at any time to find what you need. Mobile Ed also interfaces beautifully with Faithlife, as Community Notes and Faithlife groups give you the perfect platform to go through a Mobile Ed course with your spouse, your small group, or your entire church.

Moo Screenshot for Faithlife Blog

These video lessons are broken up into bite-sized teaching segments. Instead of watching hours of lectures at a time, you can watch a cohesive, logical chunk, or as many as you like. You can grab your phone, tablet, or computer, and dive into a biblical and practical lesson, whether you only have five minutes on the bus or an hour while the kids take a nap. Mobile Ed goes with you, where you are, and fits into your lifestyle.

Learn from the experts

We are filming courses from the leading experts and teachers on many topics, including biblical counseling, practical theology, biblical interpretation, and so much more. If you want to better understand or teach the book of Romans, you can learn with Dr. Douglas Moo as he takes you through the book’s intricacies. If you desire to be a better mentor, friend, or counselor, don’t miss the three-course Elyse Fitzpatrick Bundle comprised of Gospel-Centered Counseling, Our Identity in Christ, and Idolatry and the Power of the Cross.

Check out Fitzpatrick’s introduction to her course, Idolatry and the Power of the Cross:

Learn more about Mobile Ed, or browse all available courses at Logos.com.

What God Meant: “Like Newborn Infants, Long for the Pure Spiritual Milk”

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Biblical writers use several different word pictures to help us understand the power and function of Scripture.

At different times, the Bible is compared to:

  • Light (Psalm 119:105)
  • A mirror (James 1:23)
  • Fire (Jeremiah 23:29)
  • A hammer (Jeremiah 23:29)
  • A sword (Hebrews 4:12)
  • Milk (1 Peter 2:2)
  • Food (1 Corinthians 3:2)

It’s those last two that can be a little confusing. In 1 Peter 2:2, the comparison to milk seems to be a favorable one. Peter’s admonition is for the readers (and us) to preserve a singular focus on and childlike enthusiasm for God’s Word.

Then Paul uses a similar word picture in 1 Corinthians 3:2, but seems to indicate that at some point, we ought to graduate away from the “milk” of the Word.

So which is it? Is the Word of God like milk or like food? And is that good or bad?

While it’s almost always a good idea to compare Scripture with Scripture, literary devices like metaphors or similes remain effective only in their original contexts. The same metaphor used in a different way can illustrate a different point, and that’s what’s going on here.

Peter uses the “milk” word picture to point out how eagerly we ought to consume the Word of God, just like an infant consumes milk.

Paul is addressing a different group of people all together about an all together different idea. The Corinthians who received Paul’s letter did not lack eagerness—they lacked perseverance. They were rehearsing the same fundamental truths constantly, never moving beyond the basics, and were thus missing the richness of other, heavier, more substantial Scripture passages.

Peter and Paul are not arguing. They are standing back to back, defending the same idea from different directions.

As we read the Word of God, it’s important for us to keep in mind that it was written over a span of more than 1,500 years by more than 40 different individuals from all walks of life. They address different subjects for different audiences, from different perspectives, and yet not a single contradiction or error appears in its 66 books. Remarkable, no?

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The Faithlife Study Bible links Scripture passages that address the same topic, so you can make connections with just a click. Download the Faithlife Study Bible for free from your favorite app store, and take your Bible study to the next level.

How to Study the Bible

 

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Reading the Faithlife Study Bible the other day, I happened across a great article titled “How to Study the Bible.” Once more I was impressed by the depth and helpfulness of this tool. Here’s an excerpt:

While we may wish that the Bible was entirely clear, students of literature would never expect that from other important books. When it comes to the Bible, it should be obvious that we have to study the Bible in order to understand it.

Some writing—a newspaper story, for example—might be understood by almost any mature reader. Other writing—such as a Shakespeare play—might require readers to consult dictionaries, study guides, and other aids because of the nature of the language and the subject matter. Yet other writing—a calculus textbook, for example—might require years of prior study as well as patient, focused effort in order to appreciate even a single page. The Bible contains literature at all these levels: some parts any reader can follow, some parts require some help, and some are difficult enough that even seasoned scholars struggle to comprehend them.

This is to be expected. A book claiming to be authored by the One whose thinking and communication can range from the simplest level to far above human understanding should require serious effort from seekers of its truth. It is naïve to think that the Bible differs from all other literature in being automatically comprehensible, or that our good intentions and love of God will make irrelevant the need to study in order to appreciate the quality of ideas He has put into writing for us.

Get this and even more inspiring Bible study content in the free Faithlife Study Bible. Download it today from your app store of choice.

Sometimes Freedom Looks Like Slavery

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In Matthew 7:13, Jesus describes the Christian life—the path to spiritual freedom—as being a narrow road that’s difficult to find and follow. He said that most people take a different road—a road that is wide and flat, a road that is easy to find and follow. Though it is difficult, the narrow road is the only way to a fulfilling life of freedom. But unfortunately, many people settle for less than what God intends for them because they mistake it for bondage.

The biggest trophy on Satan’s wall is from the day he made freedom look like slavery. (Click to tweet)

Think about it like this:

Am I free to practice medicine? No. I am very much not.

Why? I don’t have a license, and I don’t have the knowledge required to get one.

If I decided I wanted to become a doctor, how would I go about that?

I’d go to medical school, where I would experience serious restrictions on how I could spend my time and money. I would submit myself to deadlines, fees, and a dress code—a series of restrictions (a narrow road) that would result in a degree of freedom unavailable to me otherwise.

That’s why James 1:25 refers to the Scripture as “the law of liberty.” The Word of God, though full of prohibitions and commands, directs us to the life of freedom and fulfillment God intended for us.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can look back on seasons in my life and clearly see how my commitment to or abandonment of Scripture’s truth influenced my decision making and my temperament. Seasons when I regularly made time to look to the Scriptures are seasons I lived as a person free from selfishness and full of gentleness and wisdom, because I was close to the heart of God. And I can look back on seasons when I ignored the Word of God and see how pride crept into my life. I can see how I became distant from the heart of God, how temptation became harder to resist, and how I became cold. All my regrets are from seasons when I confused freedom and slavery, neglecting the truth I knew.

One of the best ways to remind yourself of truth is to spend a few minutes each day reading God’s Word. With a modern English translation, rich study notes, and a huge variety of reading plans, the Faithlife Study Bible makes it easier than ever. Download it today from your app store of choice.