Writing Commentary or Study Notes in your Bible Software


Why is this important? Not all of you are Pastors, although if you’re communicating the Gospel on your WordPress blog, it’s a good thing – you’re involved in the ministry that EVERY Christian is called to (1 Peter 3:15).

But ALL of you can use these features to take notes on what you’re reading! There’s three elements to Bible study…

  1. Reading
  2. Research
  3. Riting (okay, I left the ‘W’ off to alliterate it!

Reading is the Bible. Research means reading footnotes, looking up other related verses (cross references), looking up word meanings in dictionaries and encyclopedias, reading Bible handbooks, harmonies, surveys, and commentaries!

Note – David Cloud really recommends commentary study from Dispensational authors. You can use some of the others, but be aware that Matthew Henry and Matthew Poole are Calvinist and tended to interpret many things allegorically. If you understand this going in, you already know what to ignore. In many of my commentaries, IK simply highlight the wheat portion, and ignore the chaff. By 2017, I should finish reading all my commentaries, and by then I can simply look for my highlighted sections, and ignore anything not highlighted.

I’ll say this – if you are not taking notes on what you learn, you’re wasting your time. There’s almost no way to remember over 50,000 things you’ll learn on every verse in the Bible!

In Quickverse: If you have not done so, create a new user book, by Bible Verse (it offers you three options – verse, date, alphabetical). The book will automatically create, with a listing for every chapter of the Bible. I would have liked to see Findex add in the verses already, BUT… they didn’t. So, click on the plus (add new item), and it will begin adding in verses. Sadly, there is no way to add chapter and book notes. You can add in on say, Matthew 1:1 and then write in info on the book, then on the chapter, then on the verse and separate it with stars… but that’s your options.

Next, click the “edit this item” flag. (pencil and paper icon) Start typing! I periodically untoggle it and retoggle it to make sure it saves what I’ve written. Quickverse allows typing in Greek (μάγοι) and Hebrew. I have over 800 books, Bibles, & Commentaries in Quickverse. It’s got some annoying quirks, but that’s a huge resource, and I ate to turn my back on it.

In Wordsearch: writing commentary in wordsearch to me is less than exciting. the interface looks horrible. You either create a user book (same process as Quickbooks) or a Notebook. Really, the features in Wordsearch are lots of little leftovers from a lot of different programs. And sadly, it seems as if most of these are leftovers, and any further enhancement of these is sadly, wishful thinking. If Wordsearch had used many of my recommendations, they could have made this program really shine. Alas, they are deaf to suggestions.

If you create a notebook, then you have instant access by clicking the “notes” icon. Simply type in your verse (example 1pe 3.15) and click in the dialogue box and begin typing. Wordsearch does not allow Greek or Hebrew. You can enter it, but when you re-open the program all you see is little boxes instead of the Greek or Hebrew. I don’t understand it, because they added this feature after they bought Quickverse! How can you add this feature… and lose the ability of what you added? it makes no sense.

Logos: Really easy. Right click on a verse and “add user note”. I’ve got my notes open all the time, so I can save it to my user commentary. Tales Hebrew and Greek. Very conducive to writing.

Accordance: Under “User Notes”, I just created “my notes”. Wow. Really complicated name. But I was more interested in reviewing a new program for the blog, so everyone could be better informed. Now, click on a verse in your Bible window. You’ll see a pencil appear on the active verse… click that pencil. A note window will open, and you can type in it and click “update”. THe window closes, and adds your notes to your “My notes” file. Yes, it takes notes in Hebrew and Greek. It’s pretty easy, and I like the look of the results.

Olive Tree: Click on a verse. Add Note. Type. It probably helps to add tags and categories, but since Olive Tree is not something I use a lot, there you go. The note entry window functions similarly to that of Accordance. And yes… you can type in Greek and Hebrew.

E-Sword: Hopefully, if you use E-Sword and sent Rick Meyers a donation… you already know how to do this. You have Journal, topic, and study notes. Study notes. Go to the Study Notes and enter in your verse… Matthew 2:1. Uncheck the little chain icon, so that it stays on what notes you’re writing while you follow the TSK to look things up. Don’t forget to recheck the chain icon. And no… you cannot write in Greek or Hebrew. Hm.

What’s a topic note? Well, go to that window. Click the little page icon “create new topic.” Type in LOVE OF GOD, THE

Now enter in links on the love of God. Enter in your verbiage on God’s amazing love.

journaling – By the way, I say it every time, E-Sword’s Journaling function is the best in the business. If you’re not a pastor, you can enter in info on what you studied today. I had meant to write journals on what I learned during Seminary BUT… I was so incredibly busy that I didn’t have the time.

If E-Sword is something you use regularly, you really need to send Rick Meyers a donation. E-sword is actually donation ware. You shall not muzzle the ox as it treadeth out the grain.

Bible Analyzer: You simply enter your notes into the notes window. Unfortunately, it does not automatically load your notes in.. you have to manually open them. I would really love to see this great program really put some work into this feature… a Bible wide note function, that remains open and in use. That would be great. But I think Tim decided there are other programs you’ll probably use for this function. I don’t know if anyone really uses BA as their only Bible program. But every Christian on earth should own this program.

Setting up your Bible Software


I keep forgetting to write this one. I write a lot about Bible software, because we’ve gone (in this last days) far beyond the pencil-notebook-Bible days. Bible software (for the most part) used to just give you an electronic platform to read your Bible. Then it moved to the “Complete library” phase. We’re now rapidly moving past that to study tools that alllow you to do the kind of analysis and study that was impossible to do without advanced knowledge, access to many scholarly (read: unsaved) books, and lots of time. Most people are not interested in pulling down a half dozen books on Greek and Hebrew and studying.

But when it’s built into your Bible Software package, and a simple typing in of a word or search term yields results in Greek… suddenly its open to you.

There are several Bible programs that have these kinds of features. One is interesting, but I have to finally rule it out. Ready for the list? Read the whole thing, I’m on a caffeiene kick, and some of this may be funny.

Bible Analyzer. This program does things no other program does, and it’s free. It has little in the way of original language tools. Get it. Everyone needs this program. No setup needed.

Bibleworks: I like the fact that the Bible Works people actually listen when you ask for the Ben Chayim Hebrew Texts, and don’t dismiss what you’re talking about. The program has one option – $395. That’s it. you get everything it has. While some people love it, it runs afoul of several things necessary to Bible Study… no Bible dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, or commentaries. Any other electronic texts, no. All it really has is Bibles, and tools. That’s it. So when you come across a verse that makes you hesitate, or it has a word in Greek that is used less than a dozen times in the Bible and you want to see any entries on it in contemporary Greek texts… sorry. You’re on your own. If you feel like you completely understand the Bible with no help from others, great! Bible Works has it all. I will say that apparently either Wordsearch books are compatible, or they’ve been slowly, casually, making some Wordsearch materials backward compatible for Bibleworks. I’m passing on this unless I somehow invent the left hand carrot peeler and make millions. Then quite literally, i’m buying every Bible program known to man! Mwahahahahaha!

Wordsearch. Some foreign language tools.You’re pretty much limited to looking in Strong’s, then a dictionary. From what I’ve been reading, the Morphology explorer is a waste of the $80 they want for it. It’s been promising upcoming capabilities since 2011, and they’ve yet to do it.

Wordsearch has a lot of other strong points. If you’re not doing much in the way of Greek or Hebrew study, it may literally be the piece of software you’re looking for. Up until this year, I was a die-hard Wordsearch person. But as I moved into acutally using what I learned in Seminary, I found that I was quickly moving beyond what Wordsearch was capable of offering. Another review I read of Wordsearch describes it accurately of stopping “just short of excellence”. he’s right. If they’d just done a little more work on it, trying to polish every feature to better than “Good enough for now”, it would be a world-class piece of software.

How to set up Wordsearch… This actually took me years to figure out. If you open every book, you’ll crash. You just don’t have enough memory for it! The Wordsearch library is HUGE, and I think offers you more books than any other competitor. This is their strongest point! So… before you install this software! If you managed to snag Quickverse 2010 or 2011 from Ebay or Amazon or even a yard sale, install Quickverse first! If you also had Bible Explorer 4.0, same thing – install that first. The installation of Wordsearch afterwards will automatically import all of your books from Qiuickverse and Bible Explorer into it.

Next, run the software help wizard. It will take you through preferences, and let you set it up the way you want it. Wordsearch is very limited on how the layout is set up. I used to run Quickverse 3.0 and Logos 2.0 with multiple tiles per window. Wordsearch really doesn’t let you do that. But it does have display settings of font sizes for older people. You can change all the fonts to several font families (it ignores this, by the way… I suppose its on their list of things to fix) and font sizes.

Once you’re done picking your colors, fonts, default books, etc… go to the Library window. Open one Bible, one commentary, one dictionary. Okay? Now, here’s how to open a million books without crashing the program! In the bottom left hand corner of every book window that supports it is something called a carousel. I didn’t really start using this until this year

Open the Carousel window, and it will show you every book you can load into it. Once that’s done, you can save it, and simply cycle back and forth between them. I’m not happy with that, but there you go. It’s their way to let you keep 300 books open without crashing the program.

You’ll need to create a notebook in Wordsearch, for all your findings. The word processor in Wordsearch is abysmal. I suppose it’s on their list of things to improve, and they’ll get to it during the Millennium, I suppose.

Accordance: Accordance to me is a little odd. They offer a substantial program, but the way they do things is odd because it’s written for Mac. Yes, it does work in Windows. You’ll need a username and a password to run the settings wizard. Because I just got stubborn and am tired of getting one more “User Name: philipdean” to keep track of, I never did it. I did click open the “Preferences” and poked at it a little.

Accordance supposedly has a large library they can offer, but browsing through their book store, I’m not seeing it. They prefer to sell exclusively in bundles. So if all you want is Smith’s Bible Dictionary, you have to buy the bundle that has that. I’ll say this for Accordance – it’s a lot easier to use than Logos. If you’re not a software guru type, this may be your option. It’s easier to work with the Greek if you don’t know Greek in this program! clicking on the English word shows the corresponding Greek word by highlighting it. Enough of that, and you literally learn it! You can choose to see the word in the Greek, and by having a Bible window open with Strong’s visible, you can see the lemmas highlighted at the same time. VERY handy. You cannot import Bible books from other programs into Accordance.

I would start by opening a window with two KIng James Bibles,, and making the Strong’s numbers visible in one. Choose to show the Greek lemmas. Now, in the same window, add a Textus Receptus. How do you do this? Open a King James, then click the “Add parallel”. As you can see from my screen shot, I’ve got tabs open to other books, probably some of which I really don’t need open. Originally I was going to make August as “Accordance” month, and really give the program a fair shake, but…

accordance

Supposedly, if you use Accordance enough, it learns what you like to research, and will prioritize that for you. Creepy…

Logos. To set up Logos, you have to open it up, and poke at the preferences. like the other programs, you can save your desktops. It’s not something I bother with too much in other programs, but I do switch my desktops far more in Logos than I did in any other program. There’s no setup wizard like the other programs. But since Logos changes desktops depending on what you’re trying to do, that’s not too much of a problem. I did have to poke at program preferences to get the program how i like it.

If you click on the layouts button, you can see a number of displays. Logos will organize your own books according to types. Every now and then it makes a mistake, or puts a book where I don’t need it, but I can just drag and drop. You’ll have to prioritize your library, otherwise I think it makes the ESV the default Bible. In the Logos videos they tell you to prioritize 5 of everything. Bibles, commentaries, lexicons, grammars, encyclopedias. It will open those resources in that manner.

Now, if you want a simple layout, just open a bunch of study titles. Grammars, any user books you’ve imported, Bibles, commentaries, encyclopedias, etc. To do this, once you’ve prioritized your library, click on the taskbar repeatedly. It’ll open things in the order you’ve prioritized. If you click the layouts button, you’ll see several icons of layouts. just click one.

Logos arranges your books. Choose to save it as a named layout, and now you can just choose it later. Be sure to update the active layout regularly. You’ll see what I mean when you use Logos.

Sorry, but I’ve got a sinus headache, and I’ll have to finish this another day.

Logos Starter!


Yesterday, my wife surprised me with telling me that she’d managed to put aside enough money for me to spend on Logos. I had a coupon code from Logos, and between them it was enough money for me to spent the almost $300 to get the starter program.

If you’ve never bought Logos, and have already installed the free engine plus the King James for $10, let me explain how to time this. You can’t do this if you’re leaving for someplace in an hour. Expect the entire process to take two and a half hours. I recently wrote how my wife got me a Dell Inspiron that is screaming fast, so I can’t imagine how some of you with older HP laptops will manage this.

The first half hour after buying the upgrade is annoying. Nothing happens. Nothing at all. You’re waiting for the little blue circle with the number to appear next to your “layouts” button. You close the program, open it, nothing. Close it, open it, nothing. I’ve noticed it’s like that sometimes with Logos, like with the free book of the month.

So yesterday, about 20 minutes in, I restarted my computer, and then started Logos up again. Then I just did what I should have done and waited.

About 31 minutes in, the circle appeared. I was expecting an “89” or something, letting me know a lot of books were being downloaded. I got a “2” instead. “3.7 Gigs downloading, 0%”. It’s going to take about an hour to download all that.

Then 30 minutes to index the library. If your Library (CTRL+L) is open, you’ll see it jumping as things are added. half of what’s added doesn’t even show up – the Interlinears and datasets happen behind the scene.

after that, it took about 40 minutes to index every tag and search term in every new Logos book. By the time it was done, the task bar read “247 items updated.”

BaptiststarterNT
The first thing you notice is that now there’s an awful lot of stuff visible in my King James. I now keep two KJB open, one as the KJB and the other as an Interlinear. I set it to pretty much the display I get with Accordance – just the English word (surface) the Greek or Hebrew word as used in the verse (Manuscript), the root word (Lemma) and the Strongs numbers. I absolutely have no need for the Louw-Nida index numbers. Now, John MacArthur may like his TVM (tense-voice-mood) displayed, but it just takes it from viewable to visual noise. Logos calls the TVM “Morphology”, so if you’re trying to figure out what to turn off, this should help. Now, it looks like an off the shelf print interlinear.

BaptiststarterInterlinear

 

Is that a hymnal? Absolutely. I played a couple of the hymns yesterday, just enjoying myself. It has the words, so if you want to sing along with some Godly music, there you go.

The Baptist Starter version comes with 14 Bibles, so I have several open. The first two are KJB, the others right now are the NASV, the HCSV, the New KIng James, the ESV, and a Critical Text Greek. I’ll probably NEVER get around to critiquing the multiple thousands of errors in the Critical Greek text (once I can afford the Textus Receptus, Logos has a feature called “Text Compare” which highlights the differences between the Bible and whatever modern version you’re comparing it to), but I should get to some of the more blatant errors in the Modern Versions now. Before, if I wanted to see the modern versions, I had to go online to blueletterbible, Biblegateway or open my Quickverse.

BaptiststarterOT

The first thing I noticed after the Interlinear option was that my info window now goes nuts. Before, I’d have very little show up in it. now, I’ve got a ton, due to the dictionaries and encyclopedias.

You may have to play with the layouts and setups go get it your way. If you are left eye dominant, Logos may well drive you nuts by constantly placing the Bible window on the right hand side. Fortunately, I’m right eye dominant, so that’s what I’m used to. Besides, I’m kind of accustomed to right-to-left thinking in Bible study ANYWAY, because that’s how Hebrew is written.

Am I going any higher than Logos Gold? Nope. The dynamic pricing allows me to now purchase the Bronze package at $300, instead of the $695 it is regularly. I probably can afford that in the next year. And that may drop the Gold package price to about $500, I’m hoping. If not, then Bronze is where I’ll have to stop. Logos Platinum and Diamond have features I can use – but you know, it’s kind of like the curb detector in a Cadillac – nice feature, but who can afford the car???

Logos Diamond and Platinum are in the same boat. Unless I somehow invent a left hand carrot peeler and make millions, even Logos Gold is iffy.

The pricing in Logos has you over a barrel, unfortunately. There are many items which are only available as part of a base package.

One neat little gizmo is the timeline feature. They used to have a Liberal Scholarship timeline, that had most of the books of the New TEstament being written after 130 AD, and some as late as 200 AD. Only problem is, we’ve got lists of the Bible books at 130 AD, listing books that the “Scholars” claimed were written after that date. And… that list is included as part of the Starter base package. Oops.

So, now, Logos gives you several timelines to choose from. Simply “collapse” the most heretical of them, and you won’t blow a gasket. I have the Walvoord one open, but I raised an eyebrow at him placing the authorship of Matthew at 50 AD, when we’ve got fragments of it in HEBREW dating to 37 AD. Oops. If the Hebrew was written in 37 AD (by the way, odds are REALLY good that’s the original manuscript written down by Matthew himself), then Matthew, being guided by the Holy Spirit, would have written down the preserved Greek that same year, or the next one at the latest. So, any timeline of the books of the Bible should read Matthew as the first manuscript, and in the year 37. You can NEVER go wrong with the earliest theories of dates of the books. It’s only the unsaved scholars (who truly will be the most miserable of men in the Lake of Fire, because THEY KNEW BETTER…) who suggest late dates, because it gives them an excuse to be heretics.

I try, thanks to the kind of job I have, not to work too much on the weekends on my blog, or on Bible study. But I’ll admit to wasting several hours yesterday, poking at a million features in Logos. Some of them are downright odd to get used to. Logos is one of those programs that you’ll want to spend six months poking at, fussing with the display, desktops, the arrangements, the behind the scenes things… one thing I did was to split the highlights file into a separate highlight file for every book. I realized if I ever got to Gold, and had as many books in my Logos Library as I have in Quickverse, I’d be slowed down to a crawl because Logos would constantly be accessing that one file over and over again for everything open in my desktop. By splitting your highlights into multiple files (you can choose that option with the click of a mouse), you slow the program down MUCH less. Where did I learn this? I went to school for computers back in the 1980’s. If you have some programming to do in RPG-II, I’m your guy! 2 bit computing is not dead!!!

Logos grays out on your wishlist, by the way, everything you just got by buying the Baptist Starter package. Incidentally, I was torn between the Baptist Starter and the Logos Starter, which last month cost a few dollars less. I opted for Baptist Starter. The regular Logos Starter is now only $147, if i want to add that one in. And that should drop the Logos Bronze and Gold prices even lower.

How do you afford Logos, if you’re on low income? Understand that you’re probably going to have to accept “Good enough”. Get the free engine, every book they have for free that you’re interested in (they have a lot of BLAH options), and buy one book you need at a time. Wait until your items go on sale, then buy them then. And… remember this code: 6CARM. The CARM website (Calvinist Apologetics Research Ministry) had a code embedded in it that gives you a discount. I’m working with my old Seminary to make Logos Baptist the required program. Why? It gives all the students a discount of 20-30%. And by getting a Logos account, you get a birthday code! Another 20%.

There’s a lot you won’t get by buying it one book at a time. But, hey… look at what kinds of things were done by Matthew Henry and just a Bible!

I am very thankful for my wife, who knew how I agonized over Bible programs and the need to have the programs with all the features.

This mornings feature I was playing with? Numeric converter. I now have something that will take all those Roman Numerals in the old PDF books I have from the 17th century, and will convert them! LIke, Matthew MXMXCVIII:VII!

Or how about… 30 baths equals…

≈ 772.5 liters / 772,500 milliliters

≈ 21.9 bushels / 169.9 gallons / 1,359.4 pint

≈ 1.7 koroi / 5.1 cors / 5.1 homers / 10.3 lethech / 20.3 metretes / 51.5 ephahs / 85.8 satons / 103 modii / 171.7 hins / 171.7 seahs …

About 4 barrels of oil

And lets hear no more about Nero = 666. His name adds to… 225. If you did Gematria, it would be synonymous with Racah – “thou fool”.

And here’s the crazy part.. all of this syncs to my phone, so I can study during breaks! I’ve lately been doing my devotional readings during work. This frees up an hour or so when I get home I can spend working!

How to Study The Bible


It’s been a while since I posted this! I used to post this about every six months… I think it’s been a very long time since I put it up!

*****************

Rule 1: Understand it literally

here’s where everyone gets it wrong! if you can’t understand it literally, what advantage does allegorical interpretation give? None! The Bible will TELL you when a passage is to be taken figuratively, and in almost every case, the Bible even tells you what that interpretation is! God takes ALL the guesswork out of it!

Rule 2: read it in context

Here’s the other area that people goof up. If you see a verse and don’t understand what it’s talking about, go back and read the context! That usually explains EVERYTHING!

Rule 3: Get an understanding of simple rules of grammar

Know what a noun is, a verb, pronoun, and adjective is. When you see a word function as an adjective, obey the rules of grammar and understand it as an adjective! This is like a minor rule – it won’t ever change your doctrines if you’re doing it right. it just helps make it clearer. LIke cleaning off the lens of a camera before taking a picture, it just makes it clearer.

Rule 4: Get a King James Bible

I’m sure I’ll have to write on that series again this year, it’s been a while! But for now, get a good King James Bible. Yes, I know all about the litmus tests for if its a King James Bible or if its edited, but I’ll just say there’s at least ONCE the Pure Cambridge Edition makes a mistake in its work and does not capitalize the Spirit in Holy Spirit when it should!

I recommend the King James Study Bible, formerly the Liberty University Study Bible. It does have a couple of minor errors in the so-called litmus test, but for the most part, it passes all the other tests. For those unfamiliar with it, these tests ask questions like: Does it say shew or show? Really. That’s a question of spelling. Others do make a difference, such as throughly vs. thoroughly… they’re two different words. In all the litmus tests where its not questions of spelling, this Bible passes.

Next, get a set of Bible marking pens, and a white out pen. You’ll need the white out pen to remove a couple of the footnotes in the study Bible, where they question 1 John 5:7, and a couple of other spots where some heretic managed to get a footnote in questioning the inerrancy of the Bible. Those are easy to spot. Just white them out.

How to mark your Bible

My mother in Law (in the last two years of her life) began to write in pen the date of every time she studied her Bible. You’d look at a passage, and see the date she studied it. That’s a really good habit to get into!

Your aim, the first read through this year, is to make one highlight mark per study session. If you didn’t highlight a verse, then you zoned out and weren’t paying attention.

If you see a passage on the two open pages that connects to a passage elsewhere on those pages, draw a star on one of them, then a line with an arrow pointing to the other passage. Don’t block or obscure any words! You have to make your pen marks in the margins.

Important words in a passage, circle them with a pen.

THe Bible highlighter sets have 4 colors. Identify colors in terms of importance, and try to stick to that scheme. It works that way in my Bible except for Psalms, where I’d had no scheme whatsoever, I was just highlighting. By the time I got to the halfway point, I’d chosen my scheme.

You might want to use the margins of your Bible to take notes on. I can walk into a pulpit, open my Bible at random, and find within a few pages some section I’d marked notes on, and can give a sermon based upon those points.

Let the Bible define its own points

6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 2 Thessalonians 3:6 (KJV)

I challenged my congregation to look for the common things in that verse, and gave them two minutes to look at it. Nobody spotted it.

,

see that? what is it? “a comma.”

Yup.

There’s four points right there.

6 Now we command you, brethren,

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly,

and not after the tradition which he received of us. 2 Thessalonians 3:6 (KJV)

That was a throwaway comment in my seminary when the instructor just made a comment about using the commas to define the points in his sermons, and it was revolutionary. Wow! I can instantly take ANY verse and write a sermon out of it!

Care must be taken to read the chapter and make sure that what you’re reading fits with the context. Any text taken out of context is a pretext.

Let the Bible define its own words

Yup! The Bible is its own dictionary. Find the first time the word is used, and see how it is used in context. give it a try. You’ll be… well, not surprised. I have NOTHING new to tell you about the Bible. Anyone who does, fear them. Anyone who tells you things you’ve NEVER heard before, worry!

T words – singular – thee, thine thou

Y words – plural – Ye, You (not the same word) yours

timelines

Start learning when things happened. That sometimes makes for amazing reading! It also helps to avoid some doctrinal issues. How many people would be preterists if they looked in their timeline and saw Revelation written about 95 AD? Answer – none.

Bible Study Tools

Topical Bibles are indespensible – but remember they are written by fallible men. I remember complaining to someone that Orville Nave missed a lot of references in his topical Bible, and he had an ax to grind in that he did not believe in Hell. Unfortunately the man I was complaining to was a United Methodist minister, and it didn’t get a good reception, because apparently Orville Nave was a Methodist. Well, back when that meant something.

Torrey’s Topical is also recommended. Between the two of them, they help where the other misses, or has doctrinal objections. Look, if the Bible teaches there’s only once way to baptize, let’s not start quoting from Leviticus on circumcision!

Because of his Calvinism, I cannot recommend John MacArthur’s Topical Bible.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is also very good. consider it a bridge between a topical and a concordance. It kind of sits in the middle somewhere.

Concordance. Everyone’s got one. James Strong’s famous concordance is good, but WAAAY too many people try looking in the back pages to define the greek and Hebrew, with no knowledge of how to use it. I see the GROSSEST mistakes and errors all the TIME from people with no knowledge or training. Look under my pages on Messianic Judaism for an example. Those people spend more time looking in their Strong’s than in their Bibles!

I used to have a Young’s, and preferred that. Alas, I don’t have it any more. But with today’s Bible software, a Young’s now is only to make a pastor’s bookshelf look full.

Bible dictionary

the King James Bible dictionary is a free download for many Bible programs.

I also recommend Webster’s 1828. I suggested that Wordsearch add that as an add on module, and they added the 1916 dictionary. Duh. They’ve probably sold none of them because they didn;t listen to the reasons.

Rules of interpretation

  1. Interpret the Bible literally
  2. rely upon the interpretation given by the majority of verses. If you have 111 references to something, and 3 times the Bible says “B”, and the other 108 it says “A”… the answer is “a”. What’s going on? The other verses, when examined in the light of the majority, usually reveal details about the 108 verses. Cults rely upon the minority verses, and completely miss out on the meaning.
  3. Do not allegorize.
  4. Do not derive doctrine from a parable. Why? The parables were worded to conceal knowledge. You run a VERY good risk of grasping onto a descriptive in the verse, or the part that fills in between the descriptive and the point. Like the people who reject the vast majority of verses in the Bible on the Rapture and seize upon one parable, the dragnet. If your doctrinal understanding is that the wicked is raptured… you’ve violated not only this rule, but also rule #2.
  5. Do not derive doctrine from Ecclesiastes or from Job. Why? Ecclesiastes is the process of worldly thinking, of a man reasoning out the process of “Who am I? What is my end? What am I here for?” There is a lot of incorrect philosophy in it, as the author will tell you, how he went through every indulgent sin he could think of to find meaning, and finally discarded it all to cling to God. That last part is what you want to focus on. And Job? Job has chapter upon chapter of incorrect speculation on why God was punishing Job. Correct answer? God wasn’t punishing Job at all. All four of them were wrong. So… why try to derive doctrine from men whom God ended up rebuking?
  6. Understand that some events are types (hints of future fulfillments). It won’t change your understanding of the Bible at all, but it’ll train you to look for them, and suddenly Leviticus is not boring at all.
  7. Understand that while some Old Testament prophecies have had a partial fulfillment, there i s only one ultimate fulfillment in the Bible. It too won’t change your understanding in the Bible, but when you’re reading through Joel and Zepheniah and other minor prophets, you’ll suddenly grasp what you’re reading. Which I’ve found most people do anyway – they understand some of the references that scholars think only apply to the invasion of Israel by Babylon actually apply mostly to Armageddon.
  8. Unsaved people are incapable of really comprehending the Bible. The only passages they’ll really understand are salvation passages. Why? It’s the Holy Spirit who draws us to Christ. And it is the same Holy Spirit who enlightens us as to the understanding of the Bible. If you’re not saved…. you don’t have that Holy Spirit.

There you go! You don’t have to read ithis article again for another six months.

Study to Shew Thyself Approved – IFB Pastors 3


What does the word Siloam mean?

Explain baptism. What is it a picture and type of?

How does it identify us with Jesus Christ?

Explain the Melchezidek priesthood.

What does the significance of the First Adam and the Last Adam mean???

Define Sanctified.

Someone in your congregation comes to you and says frankly they don’t like how you’re always preaching dogma. Answer them. How do you explain what it is, what it means, and get them to understand why Christianity is not just a happy bunch of soap bubbles in the sunshine?

Someone in your congregation asks you how to get spiritually mature. What do you recommend?

Why should we seek to live holy lives?

How do you answer someone in your congregation that begins telling you that the Sabbath is forever, and the church should be meeting on Saturdays?

A member in your congregation admits to you they simply cannot understand the Bible no matter how hard they try. They admit they understand all the verses about salvation, but nothing else… and reading the Bible makes them feel condemned and guilty. Your answer… GO.

Study to shew thyselves approved. It’s time that Independent Baptists – heirs to the theological lineage of the twelve apostles – stop being bargain basement preachers, and instead got into the word.

Lessonmaker


I know I’ve talked about this before, but its a module for Wordsearch. The original plan I think was for it to be a stand alone program for Sunday School teachers. The program got bought out by Wordsearch (I’m assuming all this from what I’m reading).

now it’s a module within Wordsearch. You click on the LM button, and the module opens up. Click your reference, “Panic”, select your entries (what out of your library you’d like to see included), and it readies the lesson.

All you get for free is the book of John. You originally could only add “lessons for adults” and “lessons for youths”.

Wordsearch now apparently has quite a bit of study material. I’m a little annoyed of course that they managed to get John 9 completely wrong. The focus of the chapter is not that the man was blind, but that he was full of faith, he believed, he came to the Lord, he was healed, and then, he endured persecution – which he met in a simple, stubborn, confrontational style.

Probably where I get it from, actually.

Anyway, most of the Lessonmaker questions focus on “if you were blind…”

My assumption is, whoever wrote up the Lessonmaker lessons has that problem themself.

Key verses to que in on are…

25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. John 9:25 (KJV)

40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. John 9:40-41 (KJV)

The chapter is not about a blind man being healed – it’s about a man in faith getting saved and seeing… but the Pharisees who could see were blind.

Focusing in on the healing is missing the point! There’s a lot here I could preach on (I have in the past) in this chapter. I’m a little crazy when preaching – once I preached on John 8, and once a chapter out of Hebrews. It took half the time of the sermon to READ the chapter, and then I had to quickly explain it. I ran a little over, but everyone actually understood.

Sermonettes make Christianettes.

Anyway, if some suitable teachers could be found to write Lessonmaker material, this could have been a major tool that would make Wordsearch invaluable. But back when I was learning computer programming, they emphasized GIGO – garbage in garbage out. If you have unqualified people writing these lesson modules, it’s a worthless tool.

And from what I saw at the Wordsearch website… yeah… most of what I was seeing didn’t look like it was good quality material. I suppose if you spent thousands and bought them all, you could draw from a bigger bank of questions, but the potential of a Sunday school teacher looking at this material and choosing all the wrong questions to discuss is overwhelmingly good.

A Plea for Pastoral Literacy 2


I recently addressed that most Independent Baptist pastors have not studied to shew themselves approved. No harm, no foul – but get yourself approved.

Why?

Pastors receive the greater condemnation. We will have to answer for how we teach our congregations. If you have not studied to shew thyself approved, you may be struggling for answers at the believer’s judgment on “Why did you go in advance of my will when I called you? I told you to prepare, and you did not. You assumed a pulpit when you were not ready. Why?”

That’s a bad moment as a pastor. It’s why I’ve answered the call, studied, studied, and did not assume a pulpit to preach until I had three years of Seminary done. It wasn’t until I had the Homiletics assignment, and ask my pastor if I could preach the sermons to him, and thus fulfill my requirements?

His answer was, no. You’re preaching the first one to me, then you’re preaching one Wednesday Evening every other week.

Yeah. That’s how it works. Sometimes, in Seminary, churches begin asking the seminaries, “Who do you have that’s ready?” In one drastic case in history, a Seminary in Bowdoin, Maine named one student named Frank Sandford who’d been there TWO MONTHS.

Was that a problem? Turn on TBN. Everything you’re seeing there is the result of that one faulty decision.

Incidentally, if the church in Shiloh, Maine wants to get their doctrine right, yes, I’d take the job. I have absolutely no problem trying to right the mistakes of 120 years ago. How bad was that decision? Everyone that died because they threw away their medication, it can eventually be traced back to Frank Sandford.. The three people that died in Shiloh, and the ones who died on the yacht that was taking Sandford around the world. All his fault.

Huge mistake.

Here’s another huge mistake – worship of the King James Bible. I am King James only. I only use the King James, and have written extensively against modern translations.

But one very odd man has written some truly bizarre and unScriptural things about it, claiming it is inspired above and beyond the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, and it’s a sin to read the Bible in any language but English.

What’s the consequences of that? Some of you reading this blog have made comments that their doctrinal conviction is that we should only be reading the King James… and not looking into the GReek. There’s suspicion when you open the Textus Receptus – even though a lot of lip service is paid to it!

By the way, I have freely shared over the last four years all my learning. I haven’t addressed EVERYTHING I learned, but when I could work it in, I did. I truly hope I have taught all of you who’ve stuck with me some things about the Bible.

Pastors, get teaching. Get learning. Open some Bible dictionaries. Don’t be one of those pastors with a large library on your shelf and a large library in your software, and you never use any of the materials! Some tools, like the King James Dictionary is indispensable. Are you using it? Webster’s 1827. Are you using it? Bible knowledge commentary. Do you use it? Vine’s greek. Do you use it?

Your job is to teach the Bible. You can’t do it if you don’t know it yourselves.