Saturday, January 2, 2010

3 Great Bricks for Christmas

Well, Christmas Day has come and gone. But remember, we're still technically in the Christmas season. We wind up the Octave of Christmas today and tomorrow is Epiphany Sunday. This year I got three great bricks for Christmas. Well, three books as heavy as bricks. I've told you about the first which was the ESV Study Bible. But first, I'm really enjoying The Chronological Bible published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. It is jam packed with a ton of useful information. I'm using it this year as my daily Bible reading plan. It has a nice two year plan to read through the Bible. And of course, it's read chronologically. Or as best as can possibly be done. There are disagreements over the order of reading, but they are minor. Overall, it is a very helpful way to read the Bible as books are read in the context of the eras they were written. It should never be read in place of regular reading, but in this case, I really enjoy reading the Psalms, for instance, within the context of the other books of the Bible. Another plus is the wealth of history this Bible contains. I recommend it highly as a good study Bible. If you want to get a new perspective, try the Chronological Bible. And make sure it's the one published by Thomas Nelson. There are others out available but I can only vouch for this one. And oh, by the way, it's written in using the New King James Version which is quite nice.

My second brick as equally as heavy as my others, is The Lutheran Study Bible. This has only been recently published. I have reveled in the content of this Bible. After spending so many years studying the history and background of Catholic teaching, this has been a delightful and refreshing return to what I consider to be the roots of my belief. This is a marvelous collection of study material with a decided Lutheran emphasis. And while I'm not Lutheran, I find myself more at home in this Bible than many I've read. It is chuck full of great charts, tables and commentary. The version is the ESV which I have come to really love and prefer. I have become increasingly tired of theology light in evangelicalism and this Bible gives me good meat to chew upon. I think the Lutheran's emphasis on the balance of Law and Gospel is refreshing. You would benefit well by having this fine Bible on your library shelf. Or better yet, by your reading chair. What? Don't you have a reading chair? Tut tut. Turn off your blamed TV and you'll have a reading chair. You'll do your brain a favor and you not lose out on anything important.

My third brick which I love and use is the ESV Study Bible. And coupled with the online access to the ESV Study Bible, you can also add your own notes as you read. This Bible is another of the great new Bibles coming out with the latest archeological findings and historical references. And of course, it has a strong reformed slant in it's notes, although not so much as its twin brother, the Reformation Bible. (which I don't have) Anyone want to give me one?

This Bible should be in every home, especially if you love reading scripture. It and the others I've mentioned can help do away with a lot of the clap trap that is out there in the local christian bookstores...if any are left. I know I'm hard on Christian Book publishers and authors. But there is so much misinformation out there, we need books and Bibles like the ESV Study Bible to get our heads screwed on right. Granted I'm talking about the notes. The Bible content speaks for itself and is the same in all the other ESV Bibles. The Bible is the Bible, right? Not necessarily.

I've become very disenchanted with the NIV because of its many, what I believe to be, mistranslation of the original language. Plus, there are so many Bibles published by ministers that are filled with downright error and false gospel which require a sound study Bible like the ESV.

Well, then I go from the sublime to the ridiculous, so to speak. I also got an ESV Pocket New Testament. One of my goals as I grow older is to keep my mind active by memorizing scripture. Specifically a whole book of scripture. I have taken on a real difficult goal of reading the New Testament through each month. I have a specific reading plan which will enable me to do that. If I set aside 30 minutes a day for reading the New Testament following my specific plan, I'll be able to do it.
The memorization may take me until the day I die, because my memory is very out of shape and is affected by natural aging.
The only drawback to this little pocket New Testament is the print is so small, I may soon need quadrifocals to see it. I know...not a real word. But I know my trifocals will never read it if my eyes change.

Why do I do this? Well, don't call me a nut, but, I have a personal belief that it's quite possible our country will get to the point where we may have our Bibles taken from us. I don't say this will happen. I don't prophesy it will happen. I could be very wrong. But I never suspected we'd fall away from the foundations of our faith as we have in the last 40 years. Maybe I'm being negative. And I still have hope for renewal in the church. Godly prayer can change history. But in the natural course of events, I'm convinced Christians will be so ostracized and condemned that we will lose all our religious freedoms. And if the Bible is taken from us, I want it in my brain. Then again, by that time, my brain will be gone too. :) But if it is, somewhere locked up in my senility, I'll still have the scriptures rattling around. And if the brain scientists are right, that might not be a bad thing.

Well, that's it for today. Read, read, read the word. You'll never regret it.

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