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Archive for March, 2013

Preaching the Word Now Available on ESVBible.org

In recent weeks Crossway’s web developers have made several improvements to ESVBible.org, including a significantly updated interface. One of the new features the site now offers is integration with Crossway’s Preaching the Word commentaries.

Preaching the Word is a popular commentary series written by skilled Bible teachers, with R. Kent Hughes as the General Editor, designed to help pastors and thoughtful Christians interact with the text through a combination of expository teaching and application.

On ESVBible.org, the PTW commentaries come in the form of web “apps” that integrate with other site features, including the ability to highlight and share Bible text, follow reading plans, and keep personal notes. Additionally, each web app comes with free access to the title’s ebook file (includes .epub, .mobi, and .pdf formats)—two resources for the price of one.

Currently available Preaching the Word web apps include 1 & 2 Peter and Jude, 2 Corinthians, Ecclesiastes, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Revelation, Isaiah, Deuteronomy, Proverbs, and Philippians. More are added every month, and the entire series will eventually be available. Check here for the most up-to-date list.

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to sign up for a free account on ESVBible.org. You can try any app, including Preaching the Word, free for 30 days.

Questions or feedback? Feel free to post to comments.


March 27, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Digital News,ESVBible.org,News | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 1:00 pm | 0 Comments »

Introducing Knowing the Bible: A New Study Guide Series

In April 2013 Crossway will be launching a new Bible study guide series called Knowing the Bible.  The series is edited by J. I. Packer and is designed to help readers better understand and apply God’s Word.

Each study includes:

  • Reflection Questions designed to help you engage the text at a deeper level
  • Gospel Glimpses highlighting the gospel of grace throughout the book
  • Whole-Bible Connections showing how a passage connects to the Bible’s overarching story of redemption culminating in Christ
  • Theological Soundings identifying how historic orthodox doctrines are taught or reinforced throughout Scripture

The initial group of guides will be available April 2013 and will include GenesisIsaiahMarkJohnRomans, and James.

In the following video Dane Ortlund, Vice President for Bible Publishing at Crossway, introduces the series:

You can read what leaders are saying about the series, or download the full book of Mark for free. Learn more about the series at www.KnowingtheBibleSeries.org.

March 26, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News,Video | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 8:00 am | (16) Comments »

Reboot: Romans 7-8: More Good News

Guest post by Elyse Fitzpatrick

I have to say I’ve loved our time together in Romans. Hasn’t it been a great way to prepare our hearts for next Sunday? The resurrection is far more than a nice holiday when we get to dress our kids up. It’s the realization that everything about us has changed. Our old life characterized by disappointment and sin’s domination has been overcome by the power of God in the good news.

In chapter 6 Paul makes the connection between our new life and our daily grind.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life…For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace (6:12-14).

More Good News

Here’s more good news: God promises that “sin will have no dominion over you.” It’s easy to turn that verse into a command. But it isn’t a command. It’s a promise. Sin can’t dominate us anymore because we’re no longer under the law. What does being “under the law” have to do with it? Everything! As we’ll see in chapter 7, the law has no power to free us from sin. In fact, it incites us to sin.

Don’t misunderstand: the law is not sin (7:7); rather it’s indwelling sin that responds to God’s good commandments by producing the opposite effect in us. Paul said he wouldn’t know what it was to covet,“…if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet’” (Romans 7:7). Is the law good? Yes, in fact it reveals God’s beautiful character to us. Does it promise life? Yes, but only to those who obey it. Otherwise it produces more sin and ultimately death, as Paul writes, “The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me” (7:10) because of the sin that dwells in my heart.

It’s only when we know the law no longer has the power to condemn us that we begin to obey it as it should be obeyed—in grateful response to the good news that we are forgiven, righteous and loved no matter how we fail. Before we believed the good news, the law hung over us with the power to kill us. We couldn’t be freed from sin’s curse because all our attempts at obeying were done selfishly, not out of “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). Therefore they counted for nothing.

In chapter 7 Paul describes how all the law (which is holy and righteous and good) could do was condemn him and bring him death—because of the sin still residing within him even as a believer. As you read over that chapter this week, try to envision Paul practically pulling his hair out in despair…

…I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing that I hate…For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing…Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Our Struggle with Sin

Paul was very aware of his ongoing battle with indwelling sin. Sin’s loss of dominion over him didn’t mean Paul never struggled with sin once he believed the good news. He just was no longer under its complete rule. He believed the good news and that news had the power to break guilt producing bondage and give Paul (and us) the faith to continue to war against the sin that makes us cry with him, “Wretched woman, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

This is where Romans 8:1 comes to our rescue! No matter how you fail today, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Right now. None. No condemnation. Have you believed the good news that you are his? Have you believed that he died for you? That he was raised for you? Then you are completely free. You are free from the law’s condemning judgment and you will learn to be free from your heart’s incessant failure to believe that he continues to love you no matter what.

Which brings us to the end of our reading:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That, my friends, is the best news you’ve ever heard. Yes, you will continue struggling with sin’s pull, but he’ll never stop loving you. Good news? You bet.

Why not take few moments at the end of your reading and pray a simple prayer of thanksgiving for all this good news?

If you’re just jumping in to this series, be sure to read the introductory post and the posts for week oneweek two, and week threeClick here to download the reading plan.

Elyse M. Fitzpatrick (MA, Trinity Theological Seminary) is a counselor, a retreat and conference speaker, and the head of Counsel from the Cross Ministries. Fitzpatrick has authored over 15 books, including Because He Loves MeGive Them Grace, and Comforts from Romans.
March 25, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:33 am | 0 Comments »

9 New Features of an Updated ESVBible.org

Our web development team has been hard at work to bring several important updates to the ESVBible.org platform.

On ESVBible.org you’ll find a significantly updated design with improved navigation and added features. In addition to updating the coding structure of the site so it will scale with future development, we’ve added several exciting improvements to the interface.

  • Fully Compatible with Mobile Devices
    ESVBible.org now features responsive design, which means the site will automatically resize to fit any screen size, be it your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Free Ebooks
    In the future, when you purchase apps on ESVBible.org, you’ll also receive the ebook files (when applicable) for free, available on your Crossway.org digital bookshelf. In effect, you’ll have access to two resources for the price of one. (We regret we’re not able to retroactively apply this to already purchased ESVBible.org apps).
  • Themes
    We currently have three different themes available, including a nighttime reading theme and a “legacy” theme (mimics the look of the old site). We’ll be adding more themes in the future to give you more options to pick the look & feel you prefer.
  • My Stuff App
    For any given passage of Scripture, a new “My Stuff” app provides shortcuts to related content found in your other ESVBible.org apps–a one-stop shop for all your content.
  • Column Snapshots
    ESVBible.org automatically resizes your open columns to fit your screen (though there is a maximum of how many columns your screen will hold). We’ve added a new feature called “snapshots” that enables you to open additional apps in new tabs on your web browser. The content on these new tabs will automatically update as you navigate to other passages in the Bible. These Snapshots are also available on mobile devices.
  • My Notes Export
    This has been a popular feature request for ESVBible.org, and we’re pleased to announce it’s now ready. Users can export the entirety of their notes into an Excel or CSV spreadsheet.
  • Improved Search
    Search on ESVBible.org is more powerful than ever. You can now search the ESV Bible’s section headings and notes, along with the full Bible text. Using an asterisk at the end of the root of a word will pull up all derivatives of the term. For example, typing “meditat*” will deliver all instances of “meditates” and “meditation.”
  • Reader Mode
    ESVBible.org now offers a special reader mode so you can focus on the Bible text alone when you choose. You can toggle verse numbers and section headings or remove them from the text altogether for undistracted reading.
  • Evernote Sync (Coming Soon)
    Finally, we’re getting close to launching a new feature where you’ll be able to sync your notes with your Evernote account. We hope to build on this feature over time for all of the ESVBible.org users who use Evernote.

We invite you to take this quick guided tour of the new interface. If you’re an existing user and want access to the old site, you can still access it for the next few months.

We hope you enjoy the new ESVBible.org!

If you have any feedback, feel free to post it to comments.

March 21, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Digital News,ESVBible.org,News | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 12:19 pm | (3) Comments »

Reboot: Romans 5–6: The Unbelievably Good News That We Believe

Guest post by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Did you find some good news as you read Romans 3 and 4 last week? I sure hope so! I love that I’ve been given the “righteousness of God.” That’s almost too much to believe, isn’t it? And that’s the point.

This right standing before God, this “okay-ness,” is only mine if I believe God is good enough to give it to me. But that’s the hardest thing in the world to believe. Who would think that by simply believing God tells the truth, we are counted as righteous? Who would believe a just God “justifies the ungodly” without becoming unjust himself? But it’s true!

Here’s good news: if you believe he’s forgiven you and given you right standing before him simply because he said he would, not because of any of your good works, but only by faith nude, you are blessed.

In what way?

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin” (4:7-8).

All your lawless deeds are forgiven. The Lord will never count your sin against you. What would your life be like today if you really believed you’re completely forgiven? To be completely free of guilt, to have that “I’m not making it. I always mess things up. I have to try harder” thought pattern shattered forever? Knowing that God knows all your ungodliness and yet forgives and justifies you should transform everything about you.

How Could God Forgive Us Without Making Us Pay Our “Fair Share”?

It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification (4:24-25).

Jesus Christ was “delivered up;” he died for our trespasses. On the cross he bore all God’s just wrath and then he died as a sinner in our place: deserted, in weakness and shame, bearing the full weight of all the punishment we deserve. The heavens were silent and darkened that day, but another day was coming when he would be “raised for our justification.” That means when God raised Jesus from the dead, he was vindicating him. The resurrection is God’s “Amen!” in answer to Christ’s “It is finished!”[1] The resurrection means that all the blessings are ours now: we are forgiven; we are justified and all by faith alone. How do we know? We know because Jesus is alive. There simply is no better news anywhere.

In Romans 5 and 6 Paul continues to proclaim the good news. He begins chapter 5 by assuring us that God is no longer angry with us. Even when we suffer, it’s not because he’s angry, but because he’s working hope into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. We have salvation, justification, and reconciliation through faith in Jesus.

Grace = Freedom to Sin?

In chapter 6 Paul answers the argument that we always hear (especially in our own hearts) when we talk about the good news. Here’s the argument: If God loves to pour out grace on sinners, and he gets glory by doing so, then maybe we should sin more so he can pour out more grace, and thereby get more glory for himself. Paul is flummoxed by his own rhetorical question.

What? Haven’t you been listening? Did you miss the part about your union with Christ in his death and resurrection? You are forgiven because the old you that deserved death has died and a new you has come into being, a new you that has the record of all of Jesus’ obedience. How could you go on living as if all this good news weren’t true? Don’t you understand what your baptism means?

I’m really sure if you got news that a mysterious benefactor left you $10,000,000, your life would change. But this is better than a generous inheritance! This is news of a whole new you: a you without guilt, without a sentence of death hanging over you, without a celestial frown lurking behind every dark cloud, a you with a completely clean slate, a holy, beloved, cherished you. It’s better than a do-over, better than a Mulligan, or a resolution to try harder. And it’s the news you need to remember even though you may already be a Christian. You’ve been given a new life and been guaranteed that you can’t mess this life up. Why? Because God loves and justifies sinners. Jesus has already done it all. In light of that good news, rejoice and live in grateful response. What do you need to do? Believe that this good news is about you!

[1] Alec Motyer, Look to the Rock:An Old Testament Background to Our Understanding of Christ (Kregel Academic) pg. 21.

If you’re just jumping in to this series, be sure to read the introductory post and the posts for week one and week twoClick here to download the reading plan.

Elyse M. Fitzpatrick (MA, Trinity Theological Seminary) is a counselor, a retreat and conference speaker, and the head of Counsel from the Cross Ministries. Fitzpatrick has authored over 15 books, including Because He Loves MeGive Them Grace, and Comforts from Romans.

March 18, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:36 am | 1 Comment »