Here is a quick look at seven, handpicked Bible study resources currently available in the church bookstore:
One-to-One Bible Reading: A Simple Guide for Every Christian, by David Helm
One-to-One Bible Reading is a way to help non-Christian colleagues, friends at church, or family members understand more of God’s Word in a way that is simple and personal. The book presents who this kind of relational Bible reading is for, describes how it works and provides training to put it to use.
Pastor David Helm will be at Covenant Life on Saturday, March 3, to teach the book’s contents in a Saturday morning seminar. Come early for coffee and donuts in the lobby.
40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible, by Robert L. Plummer
The author provides a window into biblical hermeneutics (i.e., how to interpret and understand the Bible) for the uninitiated. The format of the book allows readers to pick and choose the issues that are most pertinent to their interests and needs.
Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God’s Word, by Nigel Beynon & Andrew Sach
Dig Deeper offers 16 “tools” readers can use to get to the bottom of any Bible passage and discover its intended meaning. The book’s brevity and easy-to-read format make it ideal for Christians who want to get the most out of their Bibles.
Getting the Message: A Plan for Interpreting and Applying the Bible, by Daniel M. Doriani
Daniel Doriani provides wonderful guidance for people who fear that they can’t find their way through the Bible. His “how to” guidelines and examples for interpreting Scripture are so clear that even those new to Scripture will say, “Hey, I can do that, too.”
God Has Spoken: Revelation and the Bible, by J.I Packer
Dr. Packer points the way to understanding and applying Scripture by pursuing a lifestyle of Bible-reading and “subjecting the mind of faith to God’s promises.” “At no time since the Reformation,” he observes, “have Protestant Christians as a body been so unsure, tentative and confused as to what they should believe and do.”
God-Centered Biblical Interpretation, by Vern S. Poythress
Poythress offers a look at linguistic principles for understanding Scripture and exposes the idols that lead us away from sound interpretation. In the process he seeks to introduce readers to a Trinitarian approach to interpreting the Bible.
Knowing Scripture, by R.C. Sproul
R.C. Sproul has written for those of us who have a hard time understanding the Bible, providing encouragement to dig out the meaning of Scripture for ourselves. He presents a commonsense approach to studying Scripture and gives eleven practical guidelines for Bible interpretation and application.
January 14 2012 at 9:50 am 2 Comments
Here are more thoughts from church members in connection with our “Reading the Bible For All Its Worth” series, currently in progress. We asked people to send in brief stories describing how they have been affected through Bible reading, study, meditation and/or memorization. They are shared by permission. The first installment ran earlier this week.
... I’m currently 17 years old. As a church kid, I’ve heard the gospel a million times but never really gotten into the Bible. To be honest, it seemed kind of boring. My parents encouraged me to read the Bible every day, so I could spend time with God to know him better. I obeyed my parents, and as I read the Bible my attitude toward God’s Word gradually began to change. I had so many questions and prayed to God to show me those answers that I could find by myself. I wanted to know the Bible more, so my parents encouraged me to go to Bible classes. God began filling me with the Holy Spirit, and reading the Bible didn’t seem boring—it was awesome! The more I read the Bible, the more of my questions started to be answered. Never take God’s Word for granted, or treat it like a chore to check off your list. It will bless your life if you continue to read it carefully. Thank you. —Andrew Payne
I was brought up in a non-Bible believing church that dismissed much of Scripture as allegory. Even though I didn’t accept what the church said, there was so much of the Bible that I didn’t understand. It seemed like such a big book and it wasn’t written in a simple, orderly manner. I found it confusing and overwhelming. I was also discouraged by my walk with the Lord – up and joyous one minute and down and disappointed the next. I knew that something was very wrong, that something had to change, but didn’t know what or how. As I desperately cried out to the Lord for help, God began to speak to me and told me that my problem was that I didn’t know His whole counsel. He said I was picking and choosing various Scriptures that I liked and trying to live my life by them. I thought, “Wow, can anyone know the whole counsel of God?” God let me know that He wrote it all out in His Word and He wanted me to read the whole Bible. He later brought across my path a reading through the Bible plan that takes three years—this has been an AMAZING thing in my life, and I am now on the 10th cycle of this plan. Because I read such a small amount each day, I have time to meditate on it, look up words I don’t know, or even read a commentary. I am not rushed and know that I am literally spending time with Him. I can now see that the whole Bible is His love letter to His people, and we have the most awesome God and the brightest future.
I am currently going through a program to read through the Bible in a year. I am proud to say I’m almost done – but I started the program almost three years ago. There have been many mornings where I’ve told my wife I’m going to spend lunch time fasting and reading God’s word, and she has found me in the kitchen around noon sitting down to a big late of food and reading the newspaper. At times I get discouraged thinking about how I’ve failed to hold up my end of the bargain when it comes to my relationship with God. But in those moments I’ll read something like Romans 3 that reminds me that my righteousness and acceptance with God has nothing to do with my performance! One of the biggest benefits I’ve found in my interaction with God’s living Word has been through my prayer life, as I’ve learned to do more listening and less talking. —Jim Lutz
January 10 2012 at 4:05 pm 1 Comments
In connection with our “Reading the Bible For All Its Worth” series, we asked church members to send in brief stories describing how they have been affected through Bible reading, study, meditation and/or memorization. Here are the first few, shared by permission. We hope you find them encouraging.
In the spring of 2011, I studied 1 and 2 Peter with a group of women, with a focus on suffering and trials. Prior to this study, I had experienced some difficulties in life, but never anything I would consider a “BIG trial” that could shake my faith. Then I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in July, 2011. After undergoing a thyroidectomy, I sustained damaged vocal cords and couldn’t speak. This was a pivotal moment for me to continue to trust God when I felt my world was shaking. I could continue to trust Him or respond in anger and bitterness. I chose to trust. God proved his faithfulness through the prayers and acts of practical help by many people, and answered prayers for my vocal healing after seven weeks with no voice. Throughout this experience, the Holy Spirit often brought to my mind different Bible verses that comforted and strengthened me, verses that I had studied and meditated on in the past. I am so thankful for the time I had spent in the past studying His word and how it spoke to me during my most difficult trial so far. —Pamela Ward
I had a hard time joining the church. As someone from an ethnic minority, it was very hard at first to look at people that go to our church as my brothers and sisters when I had nothing in common with them. When I was asked to choose my care group, I prayed that God would pick them for me and found myself with people I would have normally avoided or not befriended. Reading and studying the Bible at that time I was dealing with this, I started to pray and accept them as God does, to believe that church unity is stronger than blood ties. Reading the Bible has helped me overcome and not label people that are not like me. And after a while, by reading Scripture, I started to look at eight beautiful people as brothers and sisters. —Brigette Nichols
I am reminded afresh of God’s faithfulness as I look back on the last 40 years of my life. I can still remember certain verses that sustained me in each season of life. As a young person looking for work and direction, it was Psalm 25. When the children were young and finances were tight, it was Psalm 37:25. During bouts of depression, it was Psalm 40. These last 6 years, it has been Romans 12:12. I could go on and on recounting the Lord’s favor and mercy in my life and family through sickness, trials and joys. His word does not return void as we wait for the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. —Mary Baker
January 9 2012 at 3:15 pm 0 Comments
Sheilagh Leo wrote in with this very encouraging report on the Wounded Warriors ministry that serves a bimonthly luncheon for approximately 100 of the patients, families and staff on the surgical floor of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Praise God for this faithful work and all those who are participating! —Mark Mitchell
We have been able to bless and encourage many over the past 12 months as we have provided luncheon to the staff, patients and families. Thank you all for your faithful support. We currently have 40 people in this ministry who do the following: Most give $20 or more monthly; some shop twice a month for the food; some bake delicious homemade desserts; and most help prepare, set up and serve the luncheon twice a month at the hospital.
It is always humbling when a young man in his early 20s with missing limbs in a wheelchair says “thank you” for such a simple thing that we do, or a parent is so grateful just to have a fresh meal (but doesn’t have to leave their son for very long to get it).
We have been able to listen to and try to encourage many parents and young wives that share in tears what their son/husband is going through during their time at the hospital. Please continue to pray for the staff at the Medical Center as they diligently serve and care for the families and the patients.
Here’s what one of the people who participates in the ministry wrote me about the December 24 luncheon: ‘We experienced another inspiring time of serving the wounded warriors ... My brother and his fiancee came this time too. It was touching to see my brother reach out to befriend these wounded soldiers and try to talk and get to know them and also give them his own money and candy canes he brought and say, “Thanks for serving.” I walked the halls of the hospital with one wounded soldier holding an IV drip machine while he got some exercise. He couldn’t eat solid foods and was real weak. He said how grateful he was to our church for caring so much! The team did its usually great job of doing food prep and having the sandwiches ready to go. Glad to be a part of this great ministry.
Monthly donations to support the Wounded Warriors luncheons may be dropped off on Sundays with the church receptionist.
January 6 2012 at 9:01 am 0 Comments
As Joshua shared this past Sunday, on January 8 we’re launching into a new sermon series called “Reading the Bible for All Its Worth.” The content had been planned for a Sunday Class taught by Don DeVries, but we’ve decided to make it a sermon series instead. Basically Don’s just going to be holding class in the main auditorium! (Don will teach the first three Sundays, and Ben Wikner the fourth and final one.) Please join us for these four important Sundays.
During the series, we plan to have a few people share how they interact with God’s Word—how they are meeting God, growing, and being strengthened through Bible reading, meditation, study and/or memorization. To that end, we want to collect some stories that will build up the body and then choose a few for people to share in church over the course of the series.
We invite you to participate by using this simple online form to share how you’re meeting God through his Word. On the form, we’ve provided some categories that may describe your situation. But no worries if you and your testimony don’t fit one of the categories. They are just to get you thinking.
We are not looking for amazing, impressive testimonies ... just simple, real-life stories of God’s Word working in real lives. We want to hear about the struggles as well as the high points and hear from as many people as possible.
Depending on the responses, we also hope to share some of the stories on the church website. This is a way to stir one another up as we reflect on God’s goodness in revealing himself through his Word. Psalm 119:162 says, "I rejoice at your word, like one who finds great spoil."
Share your story here.