7 Reasons I Love the ESV Study Bible

ESV

So this week the ESV Study Bible is turning one. In honor of my favorite Study Bible, I wanted to provide you with seven reasons I love the ESV Study Bible.

  • It can be used for self-defense if I get trapped in a dark alley by a communist mob boss. The smart folks at Crossway realized that there will be times when a Bible needs to double as a weapon, and so they created a Study Bible that has some serious weight. Don’t come too close bad guys or, “WHAM” – Bible to the kidney.
  • It’s packed with helpful articles. Before each book of the Bible is a helpful section explaining the purpose of the book, outline of the book, recipients of the book, etc. There’s an article on the history of salvation in the OT, the Bible and world religions, the Septuagint, and loads of other clarifying articles.
  • It’s too large to fit into Bible cases. No praying hands, bald eagles, or pictures of Dale Jarret on this Bible. It just won’t fit. And I like it that way.
  • Smart guys at my disposal. The study notes were not written by folks of average intelligence like myself. If I had written the study notes most of them would have said, “I’m not exactly sure what this means but I think it has something to do with prayer.” Fortunately, the notes were written by world class biblical scholars Thomas Shreiner, Wayne Grudem, and Iain Duguid. It’s like I have them with me each morning as I read my Bible.
  • It comes in leather. I have the calfskin version of the Study Bible, and I’m pretty sure that’s the version that John Wayne, Chuck Norris, and Macho Man Randy Savage would use. And maybe King James.
  • Diagrams galore. There’s a well known saying: “A diagram is worth approximately 400 words”, which is another reason to love the Study Bible. It’s packed with diagrams. The book of John alone has diagrams for: Specific References to Jesus as God, Seven Signs Pointing to Jesus as the Messiah, Tangible Images of Belief in Christ, Physical Items Used By Jesus to Describe Spiritual Truths, and six others.
  • It promotes physical health. Carry this baby around for a week and see if you don’t notice a change in your biceps. How do you think I got to be so strong?

I absolutely love the Study Bible and am so grateful to the folks at Crossway for making it accessible. Go out and get one. I mean right now.

David’s First Order Of Business

to do list

1 CH 16.7 Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the Lord by Asaph and his brothers.

David’s first order of business after bringing the ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, was to get the worship team singing thanks.

This agrees with Psalm 100:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name! (v4)

Coming to God with thanks is a great principle.  Obviously there are times we come to God with cries for help, mercy, or wisdom on our lips.  But there are great benefits to coming to the Lord with gratitude before starting to ask him for things.

I’ve found that giving thanks first lifts my eyes off my circumstances and onto the One who controls my circumstances.  By thanking the Father for all he did for me in sacrificing his Son on the cross, it gives me confidence he’ll meet all my lesser needs.  When I preface my requests with praise to Jesus for his power, love, and wisdom, it strengthens my trust in him to care for me.  By recalling and thanking him for past mercies and faithfulness, it bolsters my faith for his future faithfulness.

Some morning soon try this, spend your whole “prayer” time thanking Jesus for things.

Start with spiritual blessings – salvation, forgiveness, justification, adoption, the gift of eternal life.  Then move on to material and temporal blessings – your family, health, eyes, ears, strength, food, home, car, etc.

Let thanksgiving be your first order of business.  It’s a happy exercise.

photo by dmachiavello

A Year Without Toilet Paper

toilet paper

Could you go for a year without using toilet paper?

Colin Beavan did.

The AP reports a story about Beavan and his family, who for the past year have sought to make zero impact on the environment around them.

They shut off the electricity to their apartment. They refused to use anything disposable, and they wouldn’t buy anything that was new. They traveled by bicycle, only bought fresh food from farmers, put away their television, and even gave up toilet paper. They didn’t want to leave a single fingerprint on the earth.

I admire Beavan and his family for their desire to preserve the Earth. But as I thought about Beavan and his year-long experiment, I couldn’t help but think of Genesis 1:28, where God says to Adam and Eve:

“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Based on Genesis 1:28 it would seem that Colin Beavan’s desire to make zero impact on the earth is unbiblical. God has given humanity a mandate to subdue the earth and to have dominion over it. We don’t exist on an equal plane with the rest of creation. The earth exists so that we might subdue it, and make it useful to us, and receive benefit from it. To make no impact on the earth is to ignore the mandate given to us by God.

In his book Business for the Glory of God, Wayne Grudem comments:

God’s command to “subdue” the earth implies doing productive work to make the resources of the earth useful for themselves [Adam and Eve] and others. This is what he wanted Adam and Eve to do, and that is one of the things he wants us to do as well.

We’re called to be stewards of the earth. Yes, it’s possible to sinfully destroy and harm the environment, instead of stewarding it. But it’s also possible to try and preserve the environment too much. God created the earth so that we might use it for our good.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going out to purchase some toilet paper.

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+photo by Andrei!

What Kind Of Clothes Does God Wear?

leaves

You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
covering yourself with light as with a garment (PS 104.1-2)

The Psalmist poetically compares the creation with God’s clothing.  We can’t see God, but he shows us something of himself by his “clothing” – the creation.

Charles Spurgeon says “Garments both conceal and reveal a person, and [so does the creation] of God.”

The universe both conceals and reveals God.  It conceals God – we can’t see him in his infinite glory as he really is.  It also reveals God – the majesty of the heavens and the beauty of the earth hints at how infinitely glorious, breathtaking and marvelous Jesus Christ must be.

“It makes us feel how altogether inconceivable the personal glory of the Lord must be; if light itself is but his garment and veil, what must be the blazing splendor of his own essential being!”  (Spurgeon).

“All of nature can only hint at God’s greatness, just as a person’s clothing can only give a suggestion of what the person is really like.”  (Michael E. Travers)

The trees where I live in Western Pennsylvania are in full fall splendor now.  The colors are almost neon at times, they burn and glow with incandescence.  I’m almost ravished by beauty of creation at times.  What will the sight of Jesus’ face do to me?  I can’t wait.

How does the creation point you to the glory of Christ?

photo by VancityAllie