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Midweek Roundup – 7/30/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Tim Keesee writes a letter to the leader of ISIS

Dear Mr. al-Baghdadi,

Recently, you publicly presented yourself as the Caliph, the leader of a new order for the Islamic world. In your inaugural sermon at the mosque in Mosul near the ruins of Nineveh, you said, “If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me.” I’ve given that offer some thought and wanted to follow up with you.

2. The Gospel Coalition reviews Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully by John Piper

The Scripture recommends beautiful words as like “apples of gold” (Prov. 25:11) and illustrates such words in genres from David’s poetry to Jesus’ parables. How welcome, then, to read John Piper’s bracing Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully, in which the former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church reintroduces the power of “poetic effort” by considering three titans of Christian rhetoric: the poet George Herbert, the evangelist George Whitefield, and the apologist and novelist C. S. Lewis. I suspect most readers will know something of Lewis, less of Whitefield, and Herbert least of all. But in Piper’s hands, the combination of these three aptly demonstrates the value of Christians’ literary labors for the glory of God and the edification of the church.

3. Michael Patton answers alternatives to the resurrection

When it comes to the resurrection of Christ, there are an infinite number of possible alternative explanations for the development of belief in a risen Christ other than opting for the most obvious (Christ actually rose from the grave). For centuries skeptics and non-believers have offered their possibilities, but, in my opinion, they are never a probability.

4. Gloria Furman encourages us to take confidence in the wake of Easter

Sometimes when we survey the landscape of missions we feel a tremor of despair in our hearts because of either the magnitude or the complexity of the task. My own feelings of boldness come and go for different reasons, and I felt the familiar tremors of discouragement as I read the news this week.

But there is a heart-lifting truth that holds us fast in the midst of the ground-shaking wars and rumors of wars. There is one piece of earth-shaking news that our forgetful hearts need to always remember. We live in the wake of Easter. Two thousand years ago the ground shook as the Son of God died on a cross, and three days later the earth trembled again as he walked out of his tomb never to die again. Our confidence is not in our earthly circumstances, but in a Person.

5. John Piper reflects on J. I. Packer’s 88th birthday

[Packer] is not naïve. He is 88! There is no romantic idealization for the final years of this life. It will be hard. “Aging,” he says, “is not for wimps.” Some may paint a rosy picture of life after seventy. Even John Wesley, Packer observes, said that at eighty-five “the only sign of deterioration that he could see in himself was that he could not run as fast as he used to.” With characteristic understatement Packer says: “With all due deference to that wonderful, seemingly tireless little man, we may reasonably suspect that he was overlooking some things.”

July 30, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News & Announcements | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Bible Study

WOWM - Tips and Encouragement

This is a guest post by Jen Wilkin and is part of Women of the Word Month, a free 31-day campaign designed to encourage and equip women for transformative Bible study. Learn more or sign up at crossway.org/women.


As women, we must often find creative ways to work “time in the Word” into our schedules. Depending on our life stage, we may find ourselves squeezing in fifteen minutes in the morning before the baby wakes, taking two hours on a Wednesday evening that suddenly opens up because of a cancelled meeting, or stealing a few minutes before bedtime when the day’s tasks are finally put to rest.

I’m often asked by women for tips on how to make the most of the time we have to spend in the Word. Here are five ways to make the time you have count:

1. Distinguish between devotional reading and Bible study.

It can be tempting to want our personal study time to fill our emotional tank for the day. We may rush to find an application point we can act on in whatever time we have. This may mean we limit our time in the Word to devotional reading—meditating on a passage and looking for a way to put it to immediate use.

Devotional reading is beneficial, but it is not foundational, and its benefit actually increases exponentially as we grow in our foundational understanding of the Bible. Draw a distinction between devotional time and study time. Then decide how much time you will allocate to each, based on their relative merits. Dedicate your study time to building a foundational knowledge of Scripture.

2. Remember who the Bible is about.

It is tempting to read the Bible as a road map for our lives or a guide for abundant living. But the Bible, strictly speaking, is not a book about us. It is a book about God. From Genesis to Revelation, it reveals and celebrates the character and work of God. We do gain self-knowledge, but only as we gain God-knowledge, learning to see our own character in relation to His.

Read asking “What does this passage teach me about God?” Then see yourself in relation to Him: “Knowing that God is longsuffering causes me to reflect on how impatient I am. How then should I live?” Allow application of a passage to flow from seeing God in a particular light.

3. Take a long-term view.

Think of Bible study as a savings account rather than a debit card. Rather than viewing it as a declining balance you draw on to fill an immediate need, allow it to have a cumulative effect over weeks, months, years. You may not reach understanding of a passage or be able to apply it well after one day’s exposure to it. That’s okay. Keep making deposits into your account, trusting that in God’s perfect timing he will illuminate the meaning and usefulness of what you’ve studied, compounding its worth.

What if the passage you study today is preparing you for a trial ten years from now? Study faithfully now, trusting that nothing is wasted, whether your study time resolves neatly in thirty minutes or not.

4. Stay put.

Rather than reading passages pulled from different parts of the Bible each day, choose a book and stay there. Jumping around from passage to passage can leave us with spot knowledge of Scripture. We may grow very familiar with certain passages, but we might never learn their context.

Reading a book of the Bible from start to finish helps us connect the dots of our spot knowledge into a cohesive understanding of the text. Be sure to learn the background information for the book (the who/what/when/why/where) before you dive in so that you can place it in its proper historical and cultural context as you read.

5. Pray.

We lack wisdom. Never are we more aware of this fact than when we embark on becoming students of the Bible. Pray before, during, and after your study time. Ask God to give you ears to hear. Like the psalmist, pray: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Acknowledge your limitations, and humbly ask Him to grant you wisdom and insight as you study.

He will never refuse your request.


Jen Wilkin is a speaker, writer, and teacher of women’s Bible studies. During her thirteen years of teaching, she has organized and led studies for women in home, church, and parachurch contexts. Jen and her family are members of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. She is the author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds.

 


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Video: Bible Study Q&A with Jen Wilkin (Part 2)

wwm_blog_header02

This Q&A with Jen Wilkin is part of Women of the Word Month, a free 31-day campaign designed to encourage and equip women for transformative Bible study. Learn more or sign up at crossway.org/women.


We recently asked readers to submit questions about Bible study for Jen Wilkin, author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds.

Yesterday, we published Part 1 of Jen’s response. Here’s Part 2:


Bible Study Q&A with Jen Wilkin (Part 2)
from Crossway on Vimeo.


Jen Wilkin is a speaker, writer, and teacher of women’s Bible studies. During her thirteen years of teaching, she has organized and led studies for women in home, church, and parachurch contexts. Jen and her family are members of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. She is the author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds.

 


Related Posts

Video: Bible Study Q&A with Jen Wilkin (Part 1)

wwm_blog_header02

This Q&A with Jen Wilkin is part of Women of the Word Month, a free 31-day campaign designed to encourage and equip women for transformative Bible study. Learn more or sign up at crossway.org/women.


We recently asked readers to submit questions about Bible study for Jen Wilkin, author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds.

Today is Part 1 of Jen’s response to some of your questions:


Bible Study Q&A with Jen Wilkin (Part 1)
from Crossway on Vimeo.

Watch Part 2!


Jen Wilkin is a speaker, writer, and teacher of women’s Bible studies. During her thirteen years of teaching, she has organized and led studies for women in home, church, and parachurch contexts. Jen and her family are members of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. She is the author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds.

 


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4 Tips for Memorizing God’s Word

WOWM - Tips and Encouragement

This is a guest post by Gloria Furman and is part of Women of the Word Month, a free 31-day campaign designed to encourage and equip women for transformative Bible study. Learn more or sign up at crossway.org/women.


The Truth

Whether you feel like you are wandering aimlessly through life in a misty fog, or the sandy foundation you thought was firm is currently being blown to a billion pieces, or you are confident that you are grounded on an unshakeable rock, you need to be reminded of the Truth. We all do.

God is Truth and he speaks truth only. He was pleased to breathe out his holy Scripture and his Word carries with it his incontestable authority. It is impossible to have too high of a regard for the Bible.

With such faith-full convictions like these, it’s no wonder that Bible memory is such a yearned-for spiritual discipline. And with such a distraction-saturated world like the one we live in, it’s no wonder that Bible memory so often eludes us.

But what if we flipped our so-called distractions on their head like a preschooler turning somersaults and focused on how these things can actually serve us in our Bible memory efforts?

1. Pray It

Are you faced with a situation that grieves you? Circumstances that frustrate you to no end? Things that make you feel like there’s no point to life? Seize the opportunity to pray through the Scripture that you have memorized. Pray the words that the Spirit divinely authored. You never know when those verses you have memorized will lead you to prayer, comfort you as you pray, and instruct you in your prayers as the Lord intended them to do.

2. Announce It

How many times have you had an opportunity to share the gospel and felt frustrated by a loss for words? When we memorize verses about the gospel, we will become better prepared to announce the gospel. Since faith comes through hearing and hearing through the word of Christ, we can take seemingly outlandish confidence that the verses we have memorized explicitly concerning the Good News (and other verses!) will be of unparalleled benefit to our hearers. Taking opportunities to announce the gospel as the Spirit leads also drives God’s Word deeper into our own hearts.

3. Sing It

Do you need to hear something that is “music to your soul”? There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that were written so God’s people could sing them. Some modern musicians have even put lots of other verses to music in really enjoyable arrangements. On one memorable day this year, God steadied my heart as I sang with my kids in the car, “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name” (Ps. 86:11). Singing Scripture on different occasions is one more way that our circumstances can serve our Scripture memory.

4. Teach It

Scripture doesn’t “come alive” when it is skillfully taught because it already is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12). God’s Word is what makes us come alive! Dive deep into the study of the Bible and talk about what you’re learning with other women, and see how the God’s Word gets stamped indelibly on your own heart. When we take the passages we’ve memorized and explain them to others, defend them to skeptics, and talk about how we are applying them to our lives, the Word not only edifies those who listen, but it also works in us.

Instead of drawing us away from remembering what God has said in the Bible, we can see our circumstances as gifts to help us store up his Word in our hearts.


Gloria Furman is a wife, mother of four young children, doula, and blogger. In 2008 her family moved to the Middle East to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai where her husband, Dave, serves as the pastor. She is the author of Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, and blogs regularly at The Gospel Coalition and GloriaFurman.com.

 


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