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Showing posts from April, 2014

NERD BOOK! Interpreting the General Letters

Interpreting the General Letters by Herbert W. Bateman IV is a specialist sort of book. Not that anyone could not benefit here, but overall the target audience is the rising Biblical scholar, be it a pastor or a student. (click the picture for Kregel’s webstore for Interpreting the General Letters. There’s an excerpt available there. It’s a lengthy excerpt.)First, let’s establish the General Letters. These are the New Testament books of Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John, and Jude. These have differing authors (James, Peter, John, Jude, and ???? for Hebrews), and differing target audiences. There are special conceptual issues for these books compared with Pauline Epistles.Now, let’s look at Bateman’s work. Herbert W. Bateman IV (Ph.D., by the way) has taught Greek and is a professor of New Testament. One should assume that he knows the material, and has dealt with deep issues. This book reads as a textbook for an exegesis class on the General Epistles of the New Testa…

Wednesday Random Thoughts: April 30

A random smattering of thoughts: First, there was a very destructive tornado in Arkansas on Sunday. We get those. I’ve been in one very destructive. I’ve been in one, with the whole family, that wasn’t as destructive. It’s never pleasant and it’s far worse when you actually suffer loss. It is challenging to walk forward in normal life knowing about the devastation, but that’s actually a necessity. You have to go to work, I have to go to work—else those disaster relief donation checks will bounce. Help where you can, maintain the world as you need to, so there is a world to return to as life adjusts in disaster zones. And on that same train of thought—be aware of how to help. Just shipping stuff, or dropping it off, isn’t always good. These are people with no place to store replacement furniture yet. Be around to help in 3 months. That’s a good idea. Second, I’m studying on David and Bathsheba for church. Wondering about this: if “Bath” is also the Hebrew for “daughter,” and it is, …

3 or 4: Proverbs 30 for April 2014

Another month has gone by, and with it another read-through of Proverbs. I’ll squeeze Proverbs 31 in later today. Today, let’s look at Proverbs 30 as whole. Why?







While I think we do a disservice to the Proverbs by only reading them as individual short statements and not considering the whole book, this is highlighted as a problem in Proverbs 30. Too many of these verses are the completion of thoughts in the prior verses. It is necessary to read it in large groups to comprehend the point.






After all, we must not forget that the Bible was written word-by-word and line-by-line, but not verse-by-verse and chapter-by-chapter. Those divisions are later editorial aids for later readers. Read Scripture in thought units, like paragraphs, to better grasp the point.






In Proverbs 30 we see this illustrated in groups like these: Proverbs 30:1-4; Proverbs 30:11-14; Proverbs 30:21-23. With these examples, you should be able to notice the other groups of verses that represent full thought units in the cha…

Predestined: Ephesians 1

In Summary: Moving ahead from Galatians, we find Ephesians. Written primarily to the church at Ephesus, Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians points the church to her spiritual blessings and riches. Contrary to Galatians, Ephesians is not focused on rebuke, though it does contain some aspects of correction throughout.

The first chapter is concerned with introductory matters, including Paul’s standard greeting of “Grace and peace to you,” and his invocation of God as the source of that peace. He cannot get through this first chapter without launching heavily into the praise of God for this grace and speaking of how the believers were chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and the redemption according to Christ (1:7).
It is difficult to not note who Paul is, and what he went through at Ephesus with the church there. You should refer to Acts 19 (here) and Acts 20:13-36 for that information. Suffice it to say here that Paul was no stranger to the Ephesians, both the church and…

Expose the Truth: Proverbs 29 for April 2014

I’ll not trouble you with excuses, just a quick note that no, you have not missed posts this month. I have not written them. Good habits are hard to make, easy to break; bad habits are easy to make and hard to break. Daily writing? It’s a good habit.






Let’s take a look at Proverbs 29:24 for a moment and consider criminal justice. We all know that there are people in this world that do bad things, right? This is not in doubt. Even right now, in the backlash of major tornado disasters, law enforcement agencies are fending off looters and charity scammers. That’s right: people are willing to steal from families who have lost loved ones and homes. The implications of this on how you see “human nature” need another post to develop.




Instead, let us focus on the individuals here. First, we see a thief, but the thief is immediately discarded. Outright stealing is obviously wrong, based on a Biblical ethical worldview. Theft is one of those issues that is so plain it does not receive much discuss…

Book: Gospel Assurance and Warnings

Today’s Book is the next in the Recovering the Gospel series by Paul Washer. The book is published by Reformation Heritage Books and was provided through Cross-Focused Reviews. No requirement for a favorable review was made. This review first appeared at my personal blog and the opinions are entirely my own.The term “Gospel” is everywhere in modern Christian writings. This brings us a great question: “What is ‘the Gospel,’ then?” Paul Washer’s Recovering the Gospel Series is intended to answer that question. Gospel Assurance and Warnings is the third volume in the set, dealing with the implications of the Gospel in a person’s life.Rather than even attempt to treat with Washer’s theological writing here, I’ll offer just a few thoughts on the text in general. Certainly, you can see a few other reviews that deal with the in-depth issues.First, you should know that Washer approaches theology from a Reformed point of view. This is, after all, published by Reformation Heritage Books. If you…

David, Ziklag, and Amalekites: 1 Samuel 30

Tonight at Almyra First Baptist, we’re going to look at David and 1 Samuel 30. We may drop back and cover a few other issues, but this is our focus.First, we need to see where David is at the beginning. He’s been off serving the king of the Philistines, Achish. Achish is headed at this point to fight with Saul, King of Israel, and David is sent away from the Philistines. Second, we look at what occurred. The Amalekites, long-time enemies of God’s people, sacked the area David’s family (and his men’s families) dwelt in. The families were home in Ziklag while David was lining up to help the Philistine Army invade Israel.What do we take from this?These items:1. David’s men are ready to stone him, because he has failed. End of story, he’s blown it here. 2. David, though, takes his strength from YHWH.Where do you turn when it all goes wrong? Do you turn to God? Or do you set out to stone those who failed you?Godly people fail, and often it is worse than when ungodly people fail. After all,…

Sermon Wrap-Up for April 20

Good morning! You will notice some difference in the audio options. This is because I am having to move the audio hosting to a new site. Hopefully, this is the last time I’ll have to do that! Here is the sermon recap:First, we had our first ever Good Friday Worship Fellowship. I did not video that, but here is the audio link: Second, we had the Easter Sunrise Service held jointly with Almyra Methodist Church. Here is the audio:Here’s the video:One Sentence Changes Everything: April 20 from Doug Hibbard on Vimeo.Third, we had our normal Sunday Morning Service. The audio is here: Here’s the video:April 20 AM Easter Service from Doug Hibbard on Vimeo.

Following Through: Numbers 36

In Summary: Numbers is over. We have reached the edge of the Promised Land, and now it’s time to wrap it up. Except for recapping it all through Deuteronomy, the wanderings are over. The people are ready to cross the Jordan into the Land of Promise.
There are a few final details to deal with. First of all, there’s a flashback to Numbers 27 and the case of Zelophehad’s daughters. These women were granted a special situation in the distribution of land by being alloted territory. Typically, only men were property holders, a fact common to most cultures in the region and time frame. However, the daughters of Zelophehad were his only offspring and they were granted the right to his property. Interesting here is that the property allocation is based on who left Egypt, not on who entered Canaan: Zelophehad was due property to his family, even though he would never touch it. His daughters were not “married out” but continued the family line. The final issue with this arose when others in the tr…

For Frank: Is Captain America a Christ figure?

In the modern era of American Christianity, we have a habit of trying to shoehorn an image of Jesus into every container we find. Mocking this, a blogger of ill-repute named Frank Turk has emerged from his hiatus long enough to poke Internet-based Christianity about Captain America and Jesus. While there were several efforts to line up Jesus with Superman last year, there have been no major efforts to align Captain America (Steve Rogers) with the Lord. I am not the comic book junkie that my Inter-friend Frank is, so I cannot address the comic book Cap. I am familiar with him from the recent explosion of movies from Marvel Movie Studios, including Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers, as well as the affiliated other films. As an aside, the Marvel/Avengers series has filled the gap abandoned by Star Wars when Lucas decided to justify Darth Vader as simply a maladjusted loving husband who made a few errors. Back on track, the question that has been posed is this: How does…

Galatians 6: I'm done with this

In Summary: Paul is wrapping up his letter to the Galatians in this chapter. Compared to some of his letters, this one ends rather coldly because it lacks any of the personal greetings of his many other letters. This is remarkable especially in light of Romans, a letter to a church he has never been to, which features a substantial greetings section.

Galatians 6 shows how different Galatians is from other letters by focusing on practical, behavior-driven content. Typically, Paul’s letters take a hard turn about halfway through (usually marked with a “Therefore” in the NASB) where the emphasis moves from doctrinally underpinning to effective implementation of the doctrinal concepts. That’s a simplification, but you will see it in Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1-2 Thessalonians.
Galatians, though, is not about the right actions. Galatians is tailored to address a group of churches that are, overall, acting morally and near to the ideal of godliness from Scripture. Thei…

Proverbs 14:14 April 2014

There is value in noting Proverbs 14:4 and comparing that to how we want to keep things like church buildings nice and pristine. We aren’t here to make clean mangers. The goal of our lives is to walk in obedience, bringing increase to the Kingdom.I also want to highlight a thought about Proverbs 14:14 and the backslider’s filling compared to the good man’s satisfaction. Of note in this idea is that those who slip away from the right path, the backslidden, do not do without. In fact, they are filled. But it’s more like the filling you get from a terrible meal, and then you eat a bit more. Sure, it’s enough. It’s just unpleasant, and in the long run, you regret it.Backsliding, attaining to growth and then falling backwards from it, is the same way. We get what we want, but it’s never enough.The other option is that we choose to be good, to be God-honoring in our behavior. This provides true satisfaction, not a temporary feeling of fullness that won’t last. That won’t be worth having.

Devouring Ourselves: Galatians 5

In Summary:Galatians is a thoroughly-packed letter from the Apostle Paul. As with Ephesians and Philippians, I would love to see Galatians redivided into twice as many chapters, or presented straight through and you can divide it where you will.

After all, the chapter divisions are not original to the text anyway. That’s why you should always be cautious hanging too much emphasis on “this was in a different chapter!”

Galatians 5 carries on Paul’s overall theme of liberty in Christ based on the sufficiency of Jesus for salvation. This is the overall point of Galatians: that we are set free (Galatians 5:1) by Jesus. We are to walk in the Spirit, not by the Law—but also not by the flesh. This is where so many conflicts arise.

We find it far easier to walk by the Law or run to the flesh rather than live in the Spirit. The Law makes plain what we cannot do, and the flesh is generally happy doing whatever it wants as long as it goes unlimited. The Christian life, though, does not chase the ple…

Proverbs 10 for April 2014 by Doug

In the midst of a few days of being a dreadful slacker, I come to Proverbs 10:4. This is how God speaks through His Word: the truth is always there. Then when you need it and bother to read it, the truth smacks you in the face like a bug hits a windshield on the highway.

What do we do with Proverbs 10:4? First, we need to address a reality of life in poverty. There are some who are poor because of unjust systems or pure misfortune. The latter should receive assistance and the former should see us provide systems that provide justice.

There are those who are poor because of negligence and laziness, though. The difficulty in modern America is that we are so sensitive that we never want to judge another person’s behaviors when in point of fact, we should do just that in the case of poverty. How we do so should be carefully considered, but it should be done.

Why? Because as Solomon tells us, poverty also comes from working negligently. Consider that person at work who slacks throughout the d…