Books of the Bible Periodic Table

Here is a wealth of information about the books of the Bible in an easy to navigate format.  Info about genre, author, date, and title are all easily accessible for all 66 books!

Click the graphic below for the full size version. (1600×1200 .png)free-books-of-bible

Lust

Lust is defined by Dictionary.com as “a passionate or overmastering desire or craving”. Here we can see the breakdown of lust and how the different aspects interact. This is paired with a biblical explanation through bible verses dealing with each component.

Click the graphic to enlarge.

lust infographic

What are currently the most popular Bible Translations?

“Which bible translation should I use?” This question is asked to me often by people just beginning to get serious about studying God’s Word. This is an important question to take some time thinking through. I believe there are some translations that are better than others.

(FYI, here are some of my tips on How to Study the Bible.)

Here are the top sellers of 2015 according to Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

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So are there differences between these translations?!?

Yes and no.

While the main heartbeat of the Biblical message is consistent in all these reliable texts, the nature of language translation allowing for a range of meaning in individual words, and the ongoing advances in ancient language understanding, create a scale of wording choice as seen by different translators/editors who publish these varying translations.

When looking at the original ancient languages imagine all those words are square pegs. Then imagine all modern words are round holes. It is impossible to get a perfect fit of the ancient meaning of a word into a modern word format.

Therefore you must choose, do we match as best we can word for word or do we translate the larger thought more smoothly thus loosing some connection to individual words? Here is the scale of where modern bible translations fall on this question. (click the photo for a larger view.)

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For some textual comparisons of this challenge, see my Bible Translations Handout.  It may help you make an informed decision as you dig deeply into God’s Word.

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How Can I Know The Bible Is True?

monkimage.phpYesterday I had the privilege to preach at our church on this very important question.

“How can I know the Bible is true?”

It is a question of foundations, how do we really know. In universities and seminaries this is called epistemology, but I never dropped that word bomb in my sermon. For us, its just real life. How do we know the bible is true, as well anything at all? Can we really have certainty on anything!

My answer is ultimately, yes, we can.

You can listen to my sermon HERE for the full audio of the discussion under the media player. Keep reading for the main point.

There are many ways to tackle this question.

I outline the 1) Personal Experience Standard, 2) Just have Faith Approach, 3) The Bible says it Method, 4) Textual Uniqueness, 5) External Evidences, 6) Internal Divine Insights, – all of which have strengths and weaknesses.

The most powerful explanation I have found for certitude on the Truth of Scripture is in its exclusive ability to provide a foundation for Reason and Morality. The Bible alone explains why we can trust our own understanding and our sense of right and wrong.

  • The primordial soup of evolution has no basis to really trust the chemicals in our brain, yet we do.
  • The doubt of the atheists and agonists destroys any confidence to trust their own knowledge, yet they do.
  • Other religions have contradictory foundations for truth, yet they still trust our ability to know.

Only the Bible presents an accurate picture of reality. Carl Henry nails it as he astutely writes,

“But the nature of truth is such that the Christian revelation is formally intelligible to all men; it convincingly overlaps ineradicable elements of every man’s experience, and offers a more consistent, more comprehensive, and more satisfying explanation to the meaning and worth of life than do other views.” (GRA I, 238)

This worldview is one in which logic and reason are rooted in the Image of God.  Genesis 1:27 says in His image he created us, male and female.

The bible shows that God Himself is the standard to judge all things. Col. 2:3 “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Logic has its root in the person of God. The Bible reveals this to us.

The way in which God’s mind works is purely logical; Titus 1:2.- “for God cannot lie”, also in 1 Cor. 14:33 “God is not a God of confusion.”

Without the Bible we would not have a firm foundation from which we could know anything! If we dismiss the bible, how do we account for the logic we depend on for every thought or discussion?

We count on the laws of logic to never change, why is that?

Because God never changes.  Micah 3:6 says, “I the Lord do not change.” James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

We are rational beings having rational thoughts right now because God is who he says he is, and we know this through the Bible.

Morality is equally rooted in the person of God as revealed in the bible.

The bible has revealed a God who is Good and a world that is fallen. Every person and every society of all time has had a sense of right and wrong. Where did this come from? Why do we even seek for truth rather than a lie?

Because we were created in the image of God.

The bible does not ignore the evil in our world or make excuses, but explains it. We see ourselves for who we really are as we read its pages. We find the answer to the problem of evil through the redemptive plan of God to rescue us from that evil. All of this is revealed in the bible. It accurately describes our reality.

What anchors our understanding of Good?

Psalm 100:5 “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever”. Psalm 136:1 “give thanks to God for he is Good”. In John 10 Jesus is called the “Good Shepard”. And yet we know that we are not Good, which is affirmed in the bible. Jeremiah 17:9 “the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked”. Mark 7 talks about the sinfulness of man does not comes from just his mouth, but from his heart.  Romans 3:23 rightly says, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

The understanding of right and wrong is not a herd mentality or social construct, but it is written on our hearts by our Creator.

Apart from the bible we have no foundation for the reality that we all live in and accept as truth every moment of every day.

Why is there reason and rationality? Why is there right and wrong? God has revealed why in the bible.

How do we know the bible is true?

If it is not true, we have no foundation to make sense of reality as we know it. Without presuming the truth of the bible, we cannot prove anything else.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” -CS Lewis

 

Periodic Table of the Bible

This infographic has a lot of useful information on it concerning the books of the Bible.  In Periodic Table form, we can see any given book’s position within the Bible, number of chapters, and genre.  Cool little resource.  Click to enlarge.

Used with permission.

bible_periodic_table

7 Ways to Improve at Apologetics

APOLOGETICSIn college I fell in love with apologetics.  My mind was opened to the intellectual credibility that the Christian faith has, and I was blown away.  Yet the ability to communicate these truths takes time.  All Christians are called to be ready to give and answer for the hope they have (1 Peter 3:15), so here are seven tips I can offer to improve your apologetic prowess.

  1. Read Your Bible Daily – There is no substitute for knowing and loving God’s Word.  The more you are in it the more you will be changed by it and be able to use it in real life situations.  Remember that apologetics is about communicating God’s truth, not our own ideas, so get to know what He has said!  God’s Word is able to penetrate the heart of every conversation, remember Heb. 4:12.
  2. Find Good Resources – A quick google search will bring up tons of options, but note, I said “good” resources.  Not all resources are equal.  Some are solid, some are shaky.  Always be on the lookout for the Who, What, When, Where, and Why behind the resources you find.  You will find that you gravitate to theologically like-minded authors.  As you get a feel for the apologetic pulse, start collecting books, articles, and resources for ease of access.  Start your own library of trusted resources.  This will feed your growth immensely.  Don’t be a fool on your own, seek good advise it says in Prov. 12:15.
  3. Ask God for Opportunities and Wisdom – Warning: If you really ask, be prepared for action.  God tells us to ask Him, and He promises to answer.  Ask, seek and knock. (Matt. 7:7)  Ask for whatever you want in Jesus Name. (John 15:7) Ask for wisdom from the God who gives freely. (James 1:5)  Begin asking God to give you opportunities to share His truth and then keep your eyes open…its just a matter of time.
  4. Anticipate Responses – I am not a good chess player, but I have great respect for those who are.  The real characteristic of a quality chess player is the ability to think several moves ahead.  As believers we should do the same.  How helpful would it be to have pre-prepare responses to common retorts like, “that may be true for you, but not for me…” or “the Bible is just a book of myth and legend…” or “I trust in the facts of science, not faith in religion”.  Do you know there are very good answers for these statements and more?  Do your homework and take a cue from the chess player, “think several moves ahead”.  Be innocent but shrewd, as in Matt 10:16.
  5. Keep Your Attitude in Check – A good rule of thumb I read in Greg Koukl’s book Tactics is “if anyone in the discussion gets angry, you lose.” If you are getting angry, you are bullying or intimating them, not engaging them.  If they are angry, they are probably defensive too.  When emotionally defending their own ideas they are in a poor position to honestly deal with new ideas.  Therefore keep yourself in check and guide all conversations to be as cordial as possible.  If offense is taken, make sure it is because of the ideas, not because of you personally. Why do we do this? Read 2 Tim. 2:24-25.
  6. Practice with Your Friends – This can be helpful because of the low stress environment.  To have a Christian friend role-play with you can sharpen your skills.  Or, to be more bold, ask a non-believing friend if they can help you sharpen your belief system.  In a non-confrontational way you can walk through the core tenants of your faith as they offer real life insight to their worldview. Asking for their help to practice communicating with clarity and brevity could be mutually beneficial. (Acts 4:20)
  7. Teach others about Apologetics – Nothing helps me understand a topic better personally than preparing to teach it to others.  Offer to teach a sunday night study at your church on apologetics.  Facilitate a small group book study through one of the many resources you are collecting in your apologetics library (see point 2).  Disciple a teenager or college student on challenges they may face in coming years that you wished someone would have guided you through.  As you teach you will become a true student of apologetics. (Titus 2:7-8)

 

4 Myths about Teaching Apologetics in Youth Ministry

I saw this article on youthministry360’s blog. Bam. Right on brother. I believe that apologetics needs to be in the regular diet of christian teens. Check out the full article through this link: 4 Myths About Teaching Apologetics in Youth Ministry

(I addressed the need for more curriculum options in a blog around a year ago. Here is the link if you want access to ton of resources and ideas for High School, Middle School, and Elementary School age Apologetics.  Check it out:  Age-Graded Apologetics Resources)

The 4 myths Benjer McVeigh deals with are accurately described. Thank you Mr. McVeigh for the insights!

Myth 1: I’m not smart enough to teach apologetics.

Books on apologetics are intimidating, even before you open them up to start reading. The latest comprehensive tome on apologetics, Doug Groothuis’ Christian Apologetics, weighs in at an impressive (and heavy) 750 pages. Teaching apologetics may take a bit more work. But you don’t have to be an expert to teach apologetics. You only have to be willing to learn. (In addition, there are some great resources out there that let you learn right along with your students.)

Myth 2: Teenagers don’t care about or aren’t ready for apologetics.

Next time you’ve got a small group of teenagers together, simply ask a question such as, “How can we really know that God exists?” and you’ll likely be peppered with several follow-up questions. Teenagers discuss spiritual matters with their friends far more than we realize. They want to know whether what they’re learning at church is trustworthy. Teenagers are already thinking about apologetics, even if they haven’t ever used the word. And if they’re already asking the questions, they are ready for some solid answers, developmentally speaking.

Myth 3: Apologetics is too academic.

Yes, apologetics does involve a bit more brainpower than some youth minister and their students may be used to using. But it’s OK to make your students think. After all, God created us with brains. He designed us to use them in our pursuit to know Him and to make Him known. I understand the danger of having too much of a “heady” approach to one’s walk with Jesus. But your students can handle a few weeks out of the year dedicated to apologetics. You’ll probably be surprised at how many students end up wanting a whole lot more of it!

Myth 4: Faith means not questioning the Bible or asking whether Christianity is true.

If this is what you’re teaching your students, whether it’s said out loud or implied, please stop. Apologetics can’t answer every single question we have about God, faith, or life in general. And at the end of the day, we can only see and know in part (1 Corinthians 13:12). But there is plenty of evidence available that gives us confidence that what we believe is true. Apologetics not only removes intellectual barriers some people have before they decide to follow Jesus, but it also strengthens followers of Jesus in their faith, because they can have confidence that what they believe is true.

 

13 Lies Teenagers Believe

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lies

  1. There is no truth.  John 14:6
  2. If I am good enough I will get to heaven.  Isaiah 64:6
  3. When I am on my own I can do what I want.  Romans 13:1
  4. The things I do now are not important.  I Cor 3:12-13
  5. My past determines my worth.  Philippians 3:13
  6. The easiest way is the best way.  Hebrews 12:4-6
  7. If it feels good do it.  Hebrews 11:25
  8. My friends and family will be with me forever.  II Cor 5:10
  9. I do not have to change friends to follow Christ.  I Cor 15:33
  10. What I listen and watch does not effect the way I think.   Philippians 4:8
  11. There is no consequence for my sins.  Romans 6:23
  12. Premarital sex has no effect on my life.  I Cor 6:15-18
  13. Serving God is boring.  Psalms 34:8