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?