Archive for the ‘The Church’ Category


Family time

   Posted by: Mark

I just read Al Mohler’s column on Family Time vs. Church Time

According to the article Mohler references, families are increasingly choosing non-church activities over church activities when presented with the need to choose. This is likely more often the result of misplaced priorities (selecting “the world” before “Christ”), but it would be easy to assume this is always the case. I would suspect that Pop Warner has more spiritual impact than the teaching at a lot of today’s churches.

Be sure to read the entire article, or you could miss this:

When “church time” is seen as a competitor to “family time,” something is wrong at church. When family members hardly see each other at church activities, the congregation needs to take a quick inventory of its concept of ministry.

And if you make it all the way through the article, you would have seen the discussion of a Pastor’s life.

I had no idea the amount of criticism that senior pastors continually get. It just never ends. No matter what decision you make, you’ll always have somebody on the other side. That’s really hard for spouses, just to see the person that they love continually under criticism.

It is a great reminder to pray for your pastor and his family.



   Posted by: Mark

I was blessed to have been allowed to participate in a class this past weekend that introduced a method of Bible study known as arcing. Living Water Church was unbelievably generous in making such an opportunity available, and Tom Stellar and Jason Abell were incredibly gracious and kind to devote a weekend to teaching the small group of about 60 people.

It is frustrating that there is not more time and effort in our churches to devoted to teaching Christians how to study the Bible, whether the method is arcing, word study, inductive study, or any other method. We have strayed far from the “striving” and “treasuring” attitudes that we should have toward Scripture — It is God’s chosen method of revealing His mind and will to us!! As Piper says in the study book we used, “…if God humbled himself to take on human flesh and to speak human language, woe to us if we arrogantly presume to ignore the humanity of Christ and the grammar of Scripture.”

As is commonly the case with John Piper’s material, the booklet that very (very!) briefly explains the basic mechanical aspects of arcing is available at no charge.


Use your brain

   Posted by: Mark

This is a video from WorshipGod06. Ryan Ferguson recites Hebrews 9 and 10 from memory. Powerful? Unbelievably so…

And before you lazily say you cannot memorize like this (note that Ryan memorized the entire book of Hebrews), read what Dr. Andrew Davis has to say.


The Bible was not written to you

   Posted by: Mark

This is an excellent post by Lingamish. You ought to read the entire post, but I have included his conclusion below.

God has preserved these messages over many centuries and brought it into your language. It is worth the trouble to understand his message on his terms. Its not a grab bag of moralisms, sound bites or bumper-sticker sayings. The Bible means something but not necessarily what you think it does. The truth is there, but truth taken out of context is destroyed or can be turned into a lie. Read it in the original packaging. Usually that means reading an entire letter, or an entire discourse, or a major section of a book. Read it and read it again. Ask questions about the text. Who wrote it to whom? What is the occasion of the letter? Is the message of this text universal or was it addressing a specific person or situation? If it was written to a specific person or situation, is there an indirect application of this truth for your life?


Things between

   Posted by: Mark

I just read an excellent post that explains the importance of “the things between” in a text. Mike Sangrey references another post (Sins of Omission) by Richard Rhodes that is also outstanding reading and would be beneficial for you to read.

I was going to include a summary of Mike’s post, but I tried and discovered that I cannot do the topic the justice he provides it. So I will include his conclusion, and trust that you will read the rest of the post:

We need clear translations. We need to bring across from the original context into the modern context enough of the things between in order to generate that clarity.



   Posted by: Mark

There were a number of comments on my last post regarding our confidence in the Bible. I think it is necessary to clarify some rather important points, as they are the basis for my investigation into the translation process. And although I expect that no one would assume this, I am not a translation scholar, and am not all that well read on the subject, though lately I have certainly been doing some reading.

1. No Bible translation is perfect. Do not confuse this with the known fact among serious Christians that the Bible itself is completely perfect.

2. No Bible translation is inspired. I hesitate to state this, but it is important to separate this from the first point. It is not suggesting that God is uninvolved in any translation process. I am still working through the details of this, and will have to devote a later post to it. God did not inspire men to pen His words in German, Italian, Latin, or English. He inspired them in their own languages: Hebrew and Greek.

3. There are many Bible translation philosophies. Knowing which translation philosophy has been employed in the translation(s) you use should be important. And related to this, there is a huge difference between a paraphrase and a translation, at least from a textual integrity perspective. The two primary philosophies could be labeled “word for word” and “thought for thought.” There are many variations of these, and I plan to devote a number of posts to further details on this specific topic.

4. There is a need for “standardization” within a body of believers. For the sake of unity, it is important for any assembly of believers to clearly identify a “translation of choice.” There is certainly a very good point in the argument that not doing so can lead to confusion among the general body. The pastor should consistently use the same translation from message to message so that the focus of the people is not “hey, my Bible doesn’t say that.”

5. There is no reason for discouragement. I am certainly not suggesting that the only real way to know and understand God is to read the original manuscripts in Greek and Hebrew. And I am not suggesting, as I have seen in a few articles, that all translations are profitable. Rather, with the proper understanding, we can learn so much more by being diligent about learning the “why” of various passage translation choices. And we are commanded to study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the word of truth. It sure would be curious to know how rightly divide if we do not take into account the original languages and their context and related culture.

Finally, it is of utmost importance that any study about the Bible not take the place of the study of the Bible. I am mindful of this, and trust that you are, too.


Name the writer

   Posted by: Mark

I found this quote today, and thought it interesting.

Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, or make of a bad one a good one, … but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, … that has been our endeavor, that our mark.

Five points if you can tell me the source. Googling is cheating!


Confidence in the Bible

   Posted by: Mark

I have been doing some reading lately regarding Bible translations (probably to the chagrin of my parents — oooh, they are so patient with me and my tangents). I recently found two articles that contribute some useful thoughts to the study of Bible translating in general, posted by Tim Challies:

Confidence in the Bible
Confidence in the Bible (Part 2)

It seems that one of the most important things to remember about translation in general is that it is not possible to “translate” precisely from one language to another. That is, it is not a scientific process in which a word in Language A can be translated to an equivalent word in Language B. Understanding this does provide some softening of the notion that “this is the only translation that is any good in such-and-such language.”


Truth is certainly stranger than fiction

   Posted by: Mark

Occasionally I find things that I think must surely be practical jokes. If they were jokes, most would be pretty funny. The things listed below are not jokes, though in some cases are still rather funny. Sad, but funny.

• I hope this DVD Bible does not signal the beginning of the end of the printed Bible. And just after I bought a new one…

• Move over Monopoly, Joel is in town!

We can learn so much from the pagans
“This has remained Yong’s pressing question: Is it possible that the Holy Spirit is active not only among Christians of all denominations but also among believers of non-Christian world religions?”

• Church membership expands to include athiests?

• NEW (added after original post): Rick Warren believes you can be saved without knowing Christ? Now this is scary stuff.

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