Archive for May, 2014

Taking a page out of Mortimer Adler’s book How To Read A Book, I’d like to take a few blog posts to explain how to read the Bible. These are meant to be general thoughts, not exhaustive; good ideas, not iron-clad rules. Hopefully, they will help you in your reading of God’s Word, the Book of books.

The first way to read any text or document, including the Bible, is superficially. Reading in this way means that we look through the contents in order to get an overall view or flavor. It’s a bird’s-eye view, if you will. The point of superficial reading is not to read every single word, but to get the basic idea and format.

How it’s done:

  • Read the Table of Contents.
  • Thumb through the individual books, looking to see the number of chapters and divisions.
  • Look for the different literary genres.
  • If your Bible has short introductions for each book, read them.
  • Take a good look at the maps in the back of your Bible.
  • Read some selected passages, like Genesis 1, Genesis 3, Exodus 20, Psalm 1, Isaiah 53, John 3, Romans 8, Revelation 21-22.

Even though I’ve called this type of Bible reading “superficial,” I’m convinced that most people have never done any of the things I listed. (I find it especially galling that skeptics of the Bible-and who will quote it repeatedly-don’t even have a superficial knowledge of it in most cases.) If you have a superficial knowledge of the Bible (which I think everyone should), your level of knowledge will be greater than most people.

Having a superficial knowledge of the Bible is a good thing. But it’s a starting point, not a destination. The two other levels of reading depend upon it.

As St. Augustine heard in his garden so many years ago, “Tolle Lege!” Take up and read!

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on John 15:18-16:4, 33. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus tells us we will be hated and persecuted, and when we are, we are not to be deceived and not fall away from Him because He has overcome the world, and so will we.

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on 1 Peter 3:13-17. The following is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Preparing for persecution involves fearing God and not man, recognizing Christ as Lord, being ready to speak up, keeping a clear conscience, and submitting to God’s will.

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A.W. Pink on Grace



Grace is favor shown to the undeserving; and the more we grow in grace the more we perceive our undeservingness, the more we feel our need of grace, the more sensible we are of our indebtedness to the God of all grace.

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Albert Mohler discusses the decline of preaching and teaching from the Bible in many of our churches. Woe to us if we don’t preach the Word! You can read Al’s comments here.

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on 1 Peter 3:8-12. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Christians love each other, their enemies, and life.

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A Little Levity


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The church of Jesus Christ, at least in the United States, is under immense pressure to change. But we’re not talking about dumping the flannel-graph for DVD’s – it’s something far deeper and far more significant.

The refrain goes something like this: “If we continue to focus our attention on people’s sex lives, especially homosexuality and our opposition to it (and in particular our opposition to same-sex marriage), we’ll lose an entire generation. We have to change or die.”

Russell Moore takes a closer look at this line of thinking in his post “Can We Trade Sexual Morality for Church Growth?”

He says, “If we have to choose between Millennials and Jesus, we choose Jesus.”

I highly recommend this post. Read and consider for the glory of God.

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Reformation Trust, the publishing arm of Ligonier Ministries, is giving away a free e-book during the month of May, and it’s a good one — The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts by Douglas Bond. It’s available on most e-reader formats.

You can get it here.

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on the subject of death. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Death, a reality because of sin, has been conquered by Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection.

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