Monday, December 31, 2007

The Best book on Exegesis I read in 2007

"Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period" 2nd ed. by Richard Longenecker.

This book looks at the exegetical techniques of Jesus, and the Apostles, and other biblical writers.

It explains Jewish exegetical techniques in the 1st century, ranging from Pharisaic to Essene techniques. Longenecker then argues how these techniques were used by the Biblical writers, and how the writers were justified in using the techniques they used.

I found this book very helpful for understanding how the Old Testament is used in the New Testament. Although I didn't agree with all the points made.

Longenecker has an interesting take on Paul's allegory of Hagar. I won't tell you what it is, because that would spoil the fun of reading it for yourself.

One tip, before reading this book, it uses Greek and Hebrew (and some bits of German), so if you can at the very least familiarize yourself with the Greek and Hebrew alphabet, you will be able to follow this book better.

Peace, and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Best Greek New Testament I read in 2007

At Christmas I got the new UBS Readers Greek New Testament.
That was only a few days ago, but I like it so much, it has to go on record as my favourite of 2007.

It is much bigger than the New Testaments I already possess.
This might mean that it doesn't look so sleek, but it also means that the print is bigger and the pages are thicker (in other words, no bleed).
This makes this the easiest GNT I have to read.
In fact the text is probably big enough to preach from (I haven't tried that though).
I've used it the last few days for my devotionals, and I've found the font so easy to read, that I've seen things in the text, that I think I would have missed with my Zondervan Readers Edition.

The UBS Readers GNT also has the following features:

-vocab lists at the bottom of each page for words that occur fewer than 30 times in the NT.

- a lexicon at the back

- parsing notes at the bottom of the page for difficult forms (that's what they say, but some of the ones they give are very easy)

- maps

I know that some people have complained that these features mean people will cheat and not learn the language, but I think that readers will find it more enjoyable to not look to the bottom of the page to try to find the parsing, and so it will be easy for most readers to motivate themselves to try and work out a form, rather than look it up.
On the plus side, I think that most people who do 1st year Greek, never read Greek again after that, and so a tool like this will be a really good way of getting Greek students to actually use their Greek, and start having devotionals with the Greek text.

For those of you who are starting the Greek course in a few days, this is the text that I recommend you get, but I don't think you will need it for a long time, so save your money for now - but plan to be having your devotionals with this baby, next September!

The best devotional book I read in 2007

Don Carson's "For the Love of God" vol. 1,
has got to be the best devotional book I have ever read.

It follows the Robert McCheyne reading plan, which means reading 4 chapters a day, so that in a year you read through the Whole Bible once, and the Psalms and New Testament twice.

Each day, Carson writes something on one of the readings, and will often tie it into God's plan of redemption.

What makes this devotional book so different to most, is that the comments are not on verses taken out of context.
Furthermore, you are getting comments by probably a first rate scholar, so its a lot more reliable than your average devotional.

I'd thoroughly recommend it, if anyone is looking for a new reading plan, or devotional for 2008.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 10

Q27: What do you understand by the providence of God?

A27: The almighty, everywhere-present power of God,[1] whereby, as it were by His hand, He still upholds heaven and earth with all creatures,[2] and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink,[3] health and sickness,[4] riches and poverty,[5] indeed, all things come not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.

1. Acts 17:25-26 2. Heb 1:3 3. Jer 5:24; Acts 14:17 4. John 9:3 5. Pro 22:2; Psa 103:19; Rom 5:3-5

Q28: What does it profit us to know that God created and by His providence upholds all things?

A28: That we may be patient in adversity,[1] thankful in prosperity,[2] and for what is future have good confidence in our faithful God and Father, that no creature shall separate us from His love,[3] since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.[4]

1. Rom 5:3; James 1:3; Job 1:21 2. Deu 8:10; 1Th 5:18 3. Rom 8:35, Rom 8:38-39 4. Job 1:12; Acts 17:25-28; Pro 21:1; Psa 71:7; 2Co 1:10

DF questions:

a) Read Acts 17:25-26, Heb 1:3, Col 1:17, Eph 1:11. Make a list of things God is in control of.

b) Read Jer 5:24. Is God in control of the weather?

c) Read Deu 28:1-2, 4. What sort of human actions affect the environment?

d) What therefore, is the greatest need of any nation (even if its starving)?

e) Read Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28, 35. Using terms straight from the text, explain how Christians should view hardships.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Billy Graham's statement about judgment and hell

It is so sad to watch this video clip.

Billy Graham has devoted so much of his life to preaching the gospel, but there are 3 major problems with what he says here.

1) He refuses to say that people will go to Hell if they do not believe in Jesus.
Jesus said however,
John 14:6 "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

2) Rather than giving doctrinal reasons for not preaching about judgment, Billy claims it is not his 'calling'.
This seems in contradistinction to Jesus' calling (he preached Hell and Judgment on numerous occasions), and to Paul's calling who said,
Acts 20:26-27 'Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.'
- It is very sad to see that Billy is shrinking back from telling the whole counsel of God. He has chosen to present one aspect of Biblical truth, whilst ignoring another aspect.

3) Billy describes himself as having mellowed.
In response to this, I would want to encourage Billy with Paul's words,
2 Timothy 4:5-8 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Let's pray that Billy would be convicted of his error, and that he might end his race well for the glory of God.

Friday, December 21, 2007

UBS Greek New Testament Readers Edition review

The UBS Greek New Testament Readers Edition is now out.

Check out this view comparing the UBS with the Zondervan Readers Edition.

Mines in the mail.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A. W. Pink's thoughts on "practical" preaching

'The substitution of so-called "practical" preaching for the doctrinal exposition which it has supplanted is the root cause of many of the evil maladies which now afflict the Church of God. The reason why there is so little depth, so little intelligence, so little grasp of the fundamental verities of Christianity is because so few believers have been established in the faith through hearing expounded and through their own personal study of the doctrines of grace. While their soul is unestablished in the doctrine of the Divine Inspiration of the Scripture, their full and verbal inspiration, there can be no firm foundation for faith to rest upon. While the soul is ignorant of the doctrine of Justification there can be no real and intelligent assurance of its acceptance in the Beloved. While the soul is unacquainted with the teaching of the Word upon Sanctification it is open to receive all the crudities and errors of the Perfectionists or "Holiness" people. While the soul knows not what Scripture has to say upon the doctrine of the New Birth there can be no proper grasp of the two natures in the believer, and ignorance here inevitably results in the loss of peace and joy. And so we might go on right through the list of Christian doctrine. It is ignorance of doctrine that has rendered the professing church helpless to cope with the rising tide of infidelity. It is ignorance of doctrine which is mainly responsible for thousands of professing Christians being captivated by the numerous false isms of the day. It is because the time has now arrived when the bulk of our churches "will not endure sound doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:3) that they so readily receive false doctrines. Of course it is true that doctrine, like anything else in Scripture, may be studied from a merely cold intellectual viewpoint, and thus approached, doctrinal teaching and doctrinal study will leave the heart untouched, and will naturally be "dry" and profitless. But, doctrine properly received, doctrine studied with an exercised heart, will ever lead into a deeper knowledge of God and of the unsearchable riches of Christ.'

Pink, A. W. The Sovereignty Of God, chapter 12.

Do you want to read the whole Greek NT in 5 years?

There is an excellent resource on-line to help people read through the whole Greek New Testament in 5 years. It's split into daily reading plans, and contains vocab and grammatical helps, plus excerpts from commentaries throughout.
The site is

It is probably the most amazing webs-site I have seen in 2007!

If you do not know Greek, why not get Mounce and spend 2008 learning Greek, and then you can start on misselbrook in September?

For those of you who are about to start the 2008 Greek course with me, why not have a look at misselbrook and get an idea of what you are going to be able to read in September?


Monday, December 17, 2007

Greek students: Buy Mounce now!

Calling all Greek students for the 2008 Greek course.
If you have not ordered Mounce's 'Basics of Biblical Greek' textbook and workbook, then you need to order them as soon as possible.
If you find that its too late to get them in time for January, then I would suggest going somewhere like Wesley Owen, and asking them to get it in. Usually they can get books in the shop within a couple of days.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 9

Q26: What do you believe when you say: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth"?

A26: That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who of nothing made heaven and earth with all that in them is,[1] who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence,[2] is for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father,[3] in whom I so trust as to have no doubt that He will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul;[4] and further, that whatever evil He sends upon me in this troubled life, He will turn to my good;[5] for He is able to do it, being Almighty God,[6] and willing also, being a faithful Father.[7]

1. Gen 1:31; Psa 33:6; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3

2. Psa 104:2-5; Psa 115:3; Mat 10:30; Heb 1:3; Acts 17:24-25

3. John 1:12; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:5-7; Eph 1:5; 3:14-16; Mat 6:8

4. Psa 55:22; Psa 90:1-2; Mat 6:25-26; Luke 12:22-24

5. Rom 8:28; Acts 17:27-28

6. Rom 10:12 7. Mat 7:9-11; Num 23:19

DF questions:

a) Some people say that because the world appears to be very old, it must have evolved over millions of years. Read John 2:6-10; Matthew 14:19-21. How do these miracles show us that God can make things as if they had aged? If a mountain appears to be 30 million years old, does it actually have to be 30 million years old?

b) Some people say that man has evolved from monkeys. How does Genesis 2:7 refute this?

c) How does Genesis 3:19 show us that Genesis 2:7 is not talking about an evolutionary process?

d) How does 1 Tim 2:13 disprove evolution?

e) How does Romans 5:12-19 support the belief that Adam was a real man, and was the first man? Why is this important?

f) Read HC answer 26 again. What practical applications come from the doctrine of creation?

How do we make our videos?

A frequent question I get asked is "How do you make your videos?"

Now seems like a good time to answer that because the software we use is now available for free download!

We record our powerpoint with Camstasia studio. This records both the powerpoint, and my microphone.
It can be downloaded for free here:

We then use Sony Vegas to match up the powerpoint with the camcorder video footage. In Vegas we render it as a PAL mpeg-2 and then we make it into a DVD with DVD architect.

I think that Vegas is much more intuitive and easier to use than Adobe Premier, so it is always my first choice for video editing.
As for DVD architect, I have never used any other software, so I don't really know how this compares with others.

Hope this helps,

Hope that helps,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christ’s obedience

I was reading the other day about Jesus' obedience to his Father, and thought I should share it:
‘...Christ’s obedience always came from his heart as a willing, joyous yielding up of himself to his Father’s will and law; never was it merely artificial and outward, executed mechanically and perfunctorily. His entire like was one of delight in doing his Father’s will.’
Reymond, Robert L. A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith. 2nd ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998. p.630

If only our lives were like this too! Instead we don't delight in God as we should (even though we would be happier if we did) and God says to us,

"O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me!" Micah 6:3

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Exegesis on a dual screen

Last week we had 2 computers die.
As a result I now have a spare screen (with no working computer to plug it into), and so I have plugged this into my laptop and am using it as a secondary monitor.

The benefits of this for exegesis are enormous.
I can now have my grammatical diagram of the text on one screen, whilst writing my notes / sermon on the other screen.

The difference between this and working on a single monitor screen are like night and day.

It is also especially helpful when I want to create the powerpoint from my sermon notes. Now I can have Word open on one screen, and powerpoint on the other. It saves a lot of time and brain power (which I usually don't have much of after doing exegesis!)

If you haven't tried dual screen exegesis, and you have an old monitor around somewhere - then do it now!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Greek Vocab Aids

For those of you starting the Greek course in January, Mounce's Grammar comes with a very good CD-Rom with software on it called "Flashworks". This is a very useful tool for learning vocab, and may well be all you need. However if anyone wanted to get anything Greek for a Christmas present, then you might want to look at this page:

And consider buying either the vocab cards, or the vocab CD.
Personally I am not a vocab card person, I can carry them around in my jeans (and they turn blue over time!) but I never get round to taking them out and reading them.
But there are many people who do benefit from the cards.
I'm more of a CD guy. I like to listen to vocab CD's as I fall asleep, when I'm in the bath, and when I'm driving.
But that's just me - you decide what works best for you.

If you have a pocket PC, then you might want to consider Pocket Scholar which is software for learning Greek vocab.


Friday, November 23, 2007

The Big Picture Story Bible

We just recently finished reading the Big Picture Story Bible as a family.
This is the best children's Bible I have ever read, and is great for family devotionals.

It's not so much that the pictures are really big! But its more the way that it tells the Bible as one big unified story:
In each individual Bible story, it shows how it fits in with the meta-narrative of God saving His people through Jesus.
This means that children can get interested in the individual Bible stories, seeing how they all relate together and how they all point to Jesus Christ.

I really enjoyed reading this Bible with my family, and we are now reading a different Bible, but I can't wait to start this one all over again.

If anyone wants to have a look at it, you can see it at


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 8

Q24: How are these articles divided?

A24: Into three parts: the first is of God the Father and our creation; the second, of God the Son and our redemption; the third, of God the Holy Ghost and our sanctification.

Q25: Since there is but one Divine Being,[1] why do you speak of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost?

A25: Because God has so revealed Himself in His Word,[2] that these three distinct Persons are the one, true, eternal God.

1. Deu 6:4, 2. Isa 61:1; Psa 110:1; Mat 3:16-17; 28:19; 1Jo 5:7; 2Co 13:14

DF questions:

a) Read Deuteronomy 6:4, How many Gods are there? _________________

b) Read Gen 1:26, 3:22, 11:7. Which clue is found in these verses that God may have some kind of plurality?

c) What extra clue is found in Isaiah 6:8?

d) Read Matthew 3:16-17, How do these verses disprove modalism?

e) Read Matthew 28:17-20, What does this tell you about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

f) Read 1 Peter 1:1-2, List the different roles the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit play in your salvation?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dependence on God to not sin

I read Psalm 141 the other day and was struck by how the Psalmist relies on God so that he would not succumb to temptation:

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity,
and let me not eat of their delicacies!
5 Let a righteous man strike me--it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me--it is oil for my head;
let my head not refuse it.

This Psalm reminds me of Jesus' advice in Matthew 6,

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

The emphasis is so much on God that it is even worded "lead us not". This helps me to see that avoiding sin is not something that I do on my own, and it's not even something I can do with a little bit of help from God. But it's actually something that I am totally dependent on God for.
The psalmist shows this by saying "Do not let my heart incline to any evil", which shows that he did not think he could control his heart, but he knew that God could.

What I also found interesting was that the Psalmist goes so far as to actually ask for someone to rebuke him!

There are 2 major lessons I draw from this:

1) Pray that God could not let my heart incline to any evil.
2) Pray that God would send people to rebuke me when I do.

The second prayer is harder to pray than the 1st! Maybe that's why the psalmist prayed the first one before he prayed the second one?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s day 7

Q20: Are all men, then, saved by Christ as they have perished in Adam?

A20: No, only those who by true faith are ingrafted into Him and receive all His benefits.[1]

1. John 1:12-13; 1Co 15:22; Psa 2:12; Rom 11:20; Heb 4:2-3; Heb 10:39

Q21: What is true faith?

A21: True faith is not only a sure knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word,[1] but also a hearty trust,[2] which the Holy Ghost [3] works in me by the Gospel,[4] that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation are freely given by God,[5] merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits.[6]

1. James 1:6, 2. Rom 4:16-18; 5:1, 3. 2Co 4:13; Phi 1:19, 29, 4. Rom 1:16; 10:17, 5. Heb 11:1-2; Rom 1:17, 6. Eph 2:7-9; Rom 3:24-25; Gal 2:16; Acts 10:43

Q22: What, then, is necessary for a Christian to believe?

A22: All that is promised us in the Gospel,[1] which the articles of our catholic, undoubted Christian faith teach us in summary.

1. John 20:31; Mat 28:20; 2Pe 1:21; 2Ti 3:15

Q23: What are these articles?

A23: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

; And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

; I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

DF Questions:

a) Read Mar 9:41, Mat 10:42, Gal 5:24. Who does the phrase “belong to Christ” refer to? ____________

b) Read 1 Corinthains 15:22-23. Some people quote only v.22 to say that everyone will be saved (Universalism). How does v.23 qualify who the “all” in v.22 are?

c) Read John 1:12 Which verb does the Bible use to describe someone who receives Christ? _________

d) Read John 1:12-13. According to v.13 who is it who makes v.12 happen? _________________

e) Read Romans 10:9-17, 1 Peter 1:23 List things that people need to hear before they can have faith?

f) Bonus Question: What clues are there that John 1:12 might refer to adoption, whilst v.13 refers to regeneration?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Good blog for preachers

If you're an expository preacher and you haven't checked out "Unashamed Workman" yet then I seriously recommend you do.
It has a good series of interviews of well known expositors.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Understanding 'ou' Questions better from the Greek

On Sunday in the sermon I read out a Bible verse with the wrong emphasis, I read,

ESV Matthew 17:24 "Does your teacher not pay the tax?"

out loud in a tone that suggested they thought that Jesus did not actually pay the tax.
But in actual fact the Greek is clear that they were expecting an affirmative answer, not a negative answer.
In Greek the question is worded with the Greek word 'ou'.
Questions with 'ou' are questions that are expecting a positive answer.
For example:

ESV John 6:70 Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve?..."

This is an 'ou' question (although here it is written as ouk because the next word begins with a smooth breathing mark).
In this question Jesus is asking in a way that let's the disciples know the expected answer is "Yes!"

=> So when the temple tax collectors asked if Jesus pays the tax, they were expecting the answer to be "Yes!"

This also sheds some light on the disciples' approach to Jesus in the storm when they said,

ESV Mark 4:38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"

- this again is an 'ou' question, and it shows that the disciples expected that Jesus did really care. Unfortunately the English translation does not show that, and we can easily think that they were shocked and saying, "Don't you care!!!!!!" But in actual fact they were saying, "You do care that we are perishing don't you?"

Isn't it good to know that Jesus does care?
- yes I'm expecting an affirmative answer there ;)

Suggested Greek New Testaments for the Greek course

You certainly won't need a Greek New Testament for the first month of the course, and probably not for the 2nd month either.
However after that point it would be a good idea to buy a Greek New Testament, and especially to buy a readers edition so that you don't have to spend forever looking up words in a lexicon.

There are 2 new Reader's editions that are coming out soon, and without having actually seen a real copy of either one, here are my thoughts:

1st choice:

UBS Greek New Testament, A Reader's Edition.

Edited by Barbara Aland and Barclay M., Jr. Newman Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart ,

Forthcoming January 2008
732 pages, English and Greek
Flexible casebound
ISBN: 1-59856-285-1
ISBN13: 978-1-59856-285-9

Publisher: Hendrickson

This won't be out until January 15th 2008, but I think it is worth waiting for.
The beauty of this one is that it contains the parsing for difficult verb forms.
Some would see this as cheating, but I see it as a way of getting people to start reading their Greek New Testaments as quickly as possible. I think that its good to get into the habit of reading the Greek Text even when you are not perfect at parsing, because by reading it you learn so much about how the language works.

Heres the blurb from the publishers:

The Reader’s Edition combines the Bible text of the latest edition of the UBS4 Greek New Testament, edited by Barbara Aland, et. al., with an Onpage Greek-English Dictionary, compiled by Barclay M. Newman.

• Running Dictionary providing translations of all vocabulary items occuring 30 times or less in the New Testament at the bottom of each page
• Translations given according to context
• Definitions of idiomatic word combinations
• Grammatical analysis of all difficult verb forms
• Reader-friendly layout enabling the reader to transfer easily from text to dictionary and vice versa
• An appendix providing translations of all vocabulary items occuring more than 30 times in the New Testament
• Including the maps from the UBS Greek New Testament

A link for this can be found here:

And it can be ordered in the UK here:

2nd choice:

A Reader's Greek New Testament: Burgundy, Italian Duo-tone (Leather Bound) 2nd edition: by Richard J. Goodrich (Author), Albert L. Lukaszewski (Editor)

Publisher: Zondervan

Some of you have seen my 1st edition version of this.
The 2nd edition which is not out yet should be even better than my one.
The really good thing about this book is the lovely burgundy leathery cover (not too sure if it's real leather). Normally when people see this New Testament they want to start learning Greek because it looks so nice!
However this book lacks the parsing helps that the Hendrickson one includes, so I have only put the Zondervan one down as a 2nd choice.

This one does not use a UBS text, but a an NIV Greek text.

It can be found on here:

As neither of these 2 books are out yet, there is not a lot I can say. I have not seen physical copies of these yet, so my recommendation of the first one might not be any good if it is badly made and will fall apart.
But I will be getting the UBS one (Hendrickson) one as soon as it comes out, and I will let you know what I think then.
In the meantime I would avoid buying any Greek New Testaments until both of these new ones are available. So start saving, budgeting, and praying.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Hip Hop in the Greek?

I heard Gerald Bray point this out in his Church History lectures on, and have been fascinated with it ever since. (He didn't mention Hip-Hop, but I'm sure he would have if he was from the ends).

In Revelation 1:9 John says,
"I was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." ESV

In Greek this seems to flow like a rap lyric:
I have written the beats of the bar above the text, so that you can see how it flows. The Greek has been written phonetically rather than with the traditional method of writing Greek in English characters:

e-ge-nomen _ev_tay__nayso__tay
____ton__lo-gon_tou_theou___kai_ tain

Have fun trying to recite it!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Wise words from Washer on Osteen, Free time, and Marriage

Motivation to learn Greek from an old reformer

“I have firmly decided to study Greek. Nobody except God can prevent it. It is not a matter of personal ambition, but one of understanding the most Sacred Writings.”
—Ulrich Zwingli (1513)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s day 6

Q16: Why must He be a true and righteous man?

A16: Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned should make satisfaction for sin; but one who is himself a sinner cannot satisfy for others.

Q17: Why must He also be true God?

A17: That by the power of His Godhead He might bear in His manhood the burden of God's wrath, and so obtain for and restore to us righteousness and life.

Q18: But who now is that Mediator, who in one person is true God and also a true and righteous man?

A18: Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is freely given unto us for complete redemption and righteousness.

Q19: From where do you know this?

A19: From the Holy Gospel, which God Himself first revealed in Paradise, afterwards proclaimed by the holy Patriarchs and Prophets, and foreshadowed by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law, and finally fulfilled by His well- beloved Son.

DF Questions:

a) Read Genesis 3:15. Given that humans had already been defeated by Satan, how does this text suggest that Eve’s descendent would be different to normal humans?

b) Read Genesis 22:18, Gal 3:16. Why is the word for ‘offspring’ singular?

c) Read 2 Samuel 7:12-13. How does this show us that the Messiah would be human?

d) Read Psalm 110:1, Matthew 22:41-45. How does Psalm 110:1 say that David's offspring would be more than human?

e) Read Hebrews 10:1-4. What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?

f) Read Hebrews 10:12-14, John 19:30, Isaiah 53:11. Why would these verses not be true if Jesus was just a human?

g) Read Romans 5:19. Why did Jesus have to be human?

Monday, November 05, 2007

God helps us in our studying

When I read about Daniel in the Old Testament, I can't but help think that he was one serious boffin!
He seems to me to be the Einsten of his day.

What's more interesting though is that the Bible says that it was God who gave him (and his mates) learning and skill:

ESV Daniel 1:17 As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

I find this a big encouragement to me. I have many things to study all the time, and I often ask God to give me a greater ability to study. Amazingly God answers this prayer, and I can testify that over the last two years my ability to study has increased considerably.

Obviously the only right way to respond to this, is in praise to God:

Daniel 2:23 To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's matter."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Greek Course 2008 Essential Materials

Thanks for everyone who has expressed an interest in the Greek course.
Here is a list of the materials that you will need to buy by January:

'Basics of Biblical Greek' 2nd edition, Bill Mounce

'Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook', Bill Mounce

Both of these books are essential for the course, there is other material that I will recommend, but these 2 books are essential, you will not be able to do the course without them.

So now you know what to put on your Christmas list!

Friday, November 02, 2007

New Testament Exegesis Step 6: Rhetorical Devices READING TIP

A good way to spot rhetorical devices in the text is by reading the Greek text out loud.
For example back in 1 John the text reads:

1 John 1:1
Ho a-ke-ko-a-men = that which we have heard
Ho he-or-a-ka-men = that which we have seen

then in v.3 it reads:
Ho he-or-a-ka-men = that which we have seen
kai a-ke-ko-a-men = and we have heard

When you read the whole of 1John 1:1-3 out loud, the word heorakamen stands out in a big way, it's a very interesting sounding word. When coupled with akekoamen (and with the article ho being repeated), it stands out even more, and when you hear it repeated in v.3 you straight away remember that you just heard this said in v.1. You then look at the text and see the chiasmus mentioned in Step 6:b.

I didn't used to think it was worth reading Greek out loud. In fact my Classical Greek teachers in the 90's told me to not worry about accents or pronounciation. and I followed their advice until about a year ago. Now I can see the benefit of learning not just to look at the text and understand it, but to hear it out loud, just as the recipients of the New Testament letters would have heard them read out loud.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Heidelberg Catechism Part 2: Of Man’s Redemption

Lord’s day 5:

Q12: Since, then, by the righteous judgment of God, we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, how may we escape this punishment and be again received into favor?

A12: God wills that His justice be satisfied;[1] therefore, we must make full satisfaction to that justice, either by ourselves or by another.[2]

1. Exo 20:5; 23:7

2. Rom 8:3-4

Q13: Can we ourselves make this satisfaction?

A13: Certainly not; on the contrary, we daily increase our guilt.[1]

1. Job 9:2-3; 15:15-16; Mat 6:12; 16:26

Q14: Can any mere creature make satisfaction for us?

A14: None; for first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man committed;[1] and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God's eternal wrath against sin [2] and redeem others from it.

1. Heb 2:14-18

2. Psa 130:3

Q15: What kind of mediator and redeemer, then, must we seek?

A15: One who is a true [1] and righteous man,[2] and yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is also true God.[3]

1. 1Co 15:21-22, 1 Co 15:25-26

2. Jer 33:16; Isa 53:11; 2Co 5:21; Heb 7:15-16

3. Isa 7:14; Heb 7:26

DF questions (as you answer these, refer back to Q12-15 for hints):

A) Read Exodus 20:2-6, 23:7, How do we know that God must make satisfaction for our sins?

B) Read Job 15:14-16, How do we know that we can never make satisfaction for our sins? (refer back to A.13)

C) Read Hebrews 2:14-18, Why would an animal or angel not be able to make satisfaction for your sin?

D) Psalm 130:3, Why would another human not be able to make satisfaction for your sin?

E) Read Isaiah 53:9-12, Hebrews 7:26-27, Why was Jesus able to make satisfaction for our sins?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Reformation Day really is

For anyone wanting more information on Reformation day, there's an interesting article here:

Reformation Day!!!!!!

Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door this very day 490 years ago! Well we don't know that for sure, but it sounds good!

As well as the obvious benefits, this also means that some Christian book shops are running reformation deals today.

I was therefore going to tell you about the deal to get a Reformation Study Bible Hardback copy for only $15 from Ligonier, but when i got home from work and went to order one for my wife, I saw that they had sold out!!!! I couldn't believe it, I thought with the 5 hour jump on the East Coast I would be okay.

Check out the link here:

If anyone else was disappointed, you can still get a leather copy, or the next best deal I could find is to go to Monergism books,

They still have a free shipping deal going until midnight (US time).
The details of their offer is here:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Koine Greek lessons in London starting January 2008

It has been a desire of mine for a while to see more Christians in London equipped to do exegesis from the Greek Text of the New Testament.

As a result of this I've decided to start teaching 1st year Greek in January 2008 in London for anyone who's interested.

The course will be based on Mounce's Greek Grammar.

Student's will be expected to spend around half an hour a day (5 days a week) reading through a chapter of Mounce in a week, watching his videos and doing the workbook exercises.

I aim to teach a 2 hour lesson once a week.

At this rate, everyone should be able to complete 1st year Greek within 36 weeks, and then we can start having fun reading though a book of the New Testament in Greek, and learning Greek exegesis as we go.

If anyone is interested, then please email me as soon as possible.


Monday, October 29, 2007

My Monday hiding place

Monday is my day off.
It's a day to be with my family, but it's also a day in which I can spend time with God, talking about things that I may not have talked to him about in the week due to general busyness.
On Monday's I often expect God to show me something that I should pray about, or to show me something about himself that I have not considered before, or need to meditate over.
This morning I was thinking about God being my hiding place:

ESV Psalm 119:114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.

I love on Monday's being able to spend a larger chunk of time than usual hiding in God. There are so many worries in this life, and it is wonderful to be able to spend time seeking God, and trusting in Him to sort all of the worries out.

When I spend time doing this, I am then able to face any bad news that might come in the week:

Psalm 112:7 7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Orthodoxy affects Orthopathy which affects Orthopraxy

Following on from the last post,
The good news is that right doctrine can affect our feelings in a positive way, which can help us to do right actions.
After many chapters of doctrine, the apostle Paul writes:

ESV Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I don't think that I have a complete grasp of what's going on in this verse, but I find Douglas Moo's comments quite helpful:
"The renewing of your mind" is the means by which this transformation takes place. "Mind" translates a word that Paul uses especially to connote a person's "practical reason," or "moral consciousness." Christians are to adjust their way of thinking about everything in accordance with the "new-ness" of their life in the Spirit (cf. 7:6). This "re-programming" of the mind does not take place overnight but is a lifelong process by which our way of thinking is to resemble more and more the way God wants us to think. In Rom. 1:28 Paul has pointed out that people's rejection of God has resulted in God's giving them over to a "worthless" mind: one that is "unqualified" (adokimos) in assessing the truth about God and the world he has made. Now, Paul assers, the purpose of our being transformed by renewing of the mind is that this state might be reversed; that we might be able to "approve" (dokimazo) the will of God. "Approving" the will of God means to understand and agree with what God wants of us with a view to putting it into practice."

Moo. Epistle to the Romans. p. 756-757, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Orthopathy affects Orthodoxy

I've just been looking at the relationship between Orthodoxy (good doctrine), and Orthopraxy (good actions), and Orthopathy (good emotions), and thought I'd write down a few comments:

If I have bad emotions, then my doctrine can be affected. I could misinterpret a text because my feelings lead me to see a text meaning something that it doesn't really mean.

For example, if I have very strong feelings about war, then I will be tempted to interpret scripture in a way that supports my views of war.
If I have strong feelings about the social welfare of people in council estates, then I will have a tendency to interpret certain verses in the Bible in a way that supports my emotions.

I think that knowing this can be very helpful to us in exegesis, because we will realise that we are bringing some baggage with us to the text. This means that we can then pray that God will renew our minds, and help us to see his word clearly by the power of His Holy Spirit.

To do this though I think we need to ask ourselves, "What are emotive issues to me? Have I carried out good exegesis on these issues? Have I listened to the other side's interpretation?"

ESV Psalm 119:29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!

Example of chiasmus in Matthew's Gospel:

Following on from the last post, for an example of chiasmus, fast forward this video to 29mins 43 secs:

New Testament Exegesis Step 6: Rhetorical Devices, part B

We've just looked at step 6a) Repeated and synonymous words, now we're going to look at part b:

6b) Chiasmus:

This is a parallel pattern in the words such as the following:
1 John 1:1-3 ESV
That which was from the beginning,
A) which we have heard,
__B) which we have seen with our eyes,
which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life
____c) -- 2 the life was made manifest,
__B) and we have seen it,
and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father
____c) and was made manifest to us--
__B) 3 that which we have seen
A) and heard

The words "heard" "seen" "made manifest" are all repeated in pattern.
That pattern can be written as:

This chiasmus draws attention to the C which is the word for "made manifest".

=> From seeing this pattern in the text, we can tell that John is wanting to emphasis that Christ was made manifest.

A further point that can be noted here is by looking at the two different C's.
The first says, "was made manifest"
the second says, "was made manifest to us"
=> This shows us that John was making the point that not only was Jesus, and his whole life and ministry made manifest, but it was made manifest in particular to John and the disciples, who are therefore witnesses of Jesus. This plays an important part in John fighting the heresies that were attacking the church.

Another example of a chiasmus is found in Matthew 13:13-17.
I will post a video of this next, so that you can see how I used this in a sermon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Testament Exegesis Step 6: Rhetorical Devices

So far in this series we've looked at
1) Spiritual preparation.
2) General introduction.
3) Literary context.
4) Provisional translation
5) Grammatical Analysis.

Now we're at step 6:

6) Rhetorical Devices:

This involves looking for repeated words, transition devices, and parallelisms.
Right now, we're going to look at repeated words:

6a) Repeated and synonymous words:
At this stage in Exegesis it is good to look for repeated words, and then mark them in some way. I like to colour code repeated words.
For example when I was studying John 6, I noticed the Greek word pisteuo (to believe, trust) come up a number of times, so I colour coded it green. Then I colour coded the word erchomai (to come) in blue, the word didomi (to give) in yellow, anistemi (to rise) in grey, and dunami (able) in pink, I also colour coded the word to see, but to save time and space I have not put it down here):

ESV John 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

ESV John 6:36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

ESV John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

ESV John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

ESV John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

ESV John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

ESV John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me--

ESV John 6:47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

ESV John 6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)

ESV John 6:65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

=> Having these words coloured makes it much easier to see the point Jesus is making. It also makes it easier to scan through many verses and quickly see where certain words are repeated.

Having coloured these words we can also see clear themes in the text, in this case we see the following:

Being Given,
Being raised up.

By looking at the first two 'coming' and 'believing' more closely we can see that both have the same meaning in this text (see John 6:35).

By looking at the similarities between v.44 and v.65 we can see that word 'given' (v.65) is used synonymously with the word 'drawn' (v.44). Therefore I have colour coded the word 'drawn' in orange as it is close to yellow.

This leaves us with the final word 'raised', and if we look for every grey instance of this word, we see that this is not talking about a general resurrection of both the wicked and the righteous, but is talking about only those the Father has given to Jesus (v.39).

There is more than can be mined here, but hopefully there is enough here to demonstrate the usefulness of looking for repeated words.

Heidelberg Catechism 04

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 4:

Q9: Does not God, then, do injustice to man by requiring of him in His law that which he cannot perform?

A9: No, for God so made man that he could perform it; but man, through the instigation of the devil, by wilful disobedience deprived himself and all his descendants of this power.

DF question a) What do the following verses tell us about why we were originally created?

Colossians 3:10

Eph 4:24

2 Cor 3:18

DF question b) Use the following verses to write out a chronology of Man's creation, fall and subsequent life. How does this explain HC answer 9?

Genesis 1:27

Genesis 1:31,

Romans 5:12,

Eph 2:1-3

Q10: Will God allow such disobedience and apostasy to go unpunished?

A10: Certainly not, but He is terribly displeased with our inborn as well as our actual sins, and will punish them in just judgment in time and eternity, as he has declared: Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.

DF question c) Read Gal 3:10,

Based on this verse, how many people in history of the world should God punish?

Q11: But is not God also merciful?

A11: God is indeed merciful, but He is likewise just; His justice therefore requires that sin, which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting punishment both of body and soul.

DF question d) Read Psalm 5:5-6, Leviticus 20:7, 2 Tim 2:13,

Imagine if you were God, would you let some of your friends into heaven, even thought they had done bad things? Explain why this would be impossible for God to do (without Jesus’ sacrifice).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The difference between Regeneration and Adoption

Someone recently asked me what the difference is between being born again, and being adopted.
Wayne Grudem handles this in his Systematic Theology:

B. Adoption Follows Conversion and Is an Outcome of Saving Faith
We might initially think that we would become God’s children by regeneration, since the imagery of being “born again” in regeneration makes us think of children being born into a human family. But the New Testament never connects adoption with regeneration: indeed, the idea of adoption is opposite to the idea of being born into a family!
Rather, the New Testament connects adoption with saving faith, and says that in response to our trusting in Christ, God has adopted us into his family. Paul says, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Gal. 3:23–26). And John writes, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12). These two verses make it clear that adoption follows conversion and is God’s response to our faith.
One objection to this might be brought from Paul’s statement, “Because you are sons God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”’ (Gal. 4:6). Someone might understand this verse to mean that first God adopted us as sons and second he gave us the Holy Spirit to bring regeneration to our hearts. But a few verses earlier Paul had said that we have become sons of God “through faith” (Gal. 3:26). Therefore Paul’s statement in Galatians 4:6 is best understood not to refer to the giving of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, but rather to an additional activity of the Holy Spirit in which he begins to bear witness with our spirit and to assure us that we are members of God’s family. This work of the Holy Spirit gives us assurance of our adoption, and it is in this sense that Paul says that, after we have become sons, God causes his Holy Spirit within our hearts to cry, “Abba! Father!” (cf. Rom 8:15–16).

Grudem, W. A. (1994). Systematic theology : An introduction to biblical doctrine (738). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.