Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Study Bibles for Expositors--The Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (HCSB)--Holman Bible Publishers

This study Bible is the sixth one that I will review.  Several years ago I ran across a garage sale where due to some very unfortunate events a man had compromised his ministry and his family was selling all of his books, commentaries, and Bibles.  While I did find some very useful books at dirt-cheap prices, I did not want to purchase the Bibles because there was a little something sacred about them even though this man was not of my doctrinal persuasion.  As I was about to leave, his ex-wife came over and gave me a copy of a very nice leather bound Holman Christian Standard Bible that was just plain text with a single reference column.  I started to read it some weeks later and found it to be a thought-provoking translation. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Study Bibles for Expositors--NIV Zondervan Study Bible--Zondervan Publishing

We have been reviewing several study Bibles that I thought would be helpful to those who are making a concerted effort to become effective expositors.  An expositor is a preacher who has a commitment to preach through the Bible dealing with the context, the doctrinal content, and the application to a New Testament apostolic church.  Expository preaching can be best summed up in this threefold manner:  Read the text, explain the text, and apply the text.  On the other hand don’t let that greatly simplified form lead you to think that this makes for simple preaching for it does not.  I have been working at this angle of preaching for a little over ten years now and it is the most demanding sort of preaching that a minister can give himself to.  It requires great discipline and you have to get control of your personal schedule so that you can effectively work somewhere that is free from interruptions.  However, the soul building that takes place in the preacher and in the life of the church will be astounding!  So all of these study Bibles that I have been reviewing for the last four posts is nothing more than an effort to encourage men to be students of Scripture. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Study Bibles for Expositors--The NIV Archaeological Study Bible--Zondervan

The fourth study Bible that I would like to recommend to those who are endeavoring to develop into being an expositor is one that is very useful in looking at a text in a bit of a different light.  The NIV Archaeological Study Bible published by Zondervan is another excellent tool for those who would be critical of the biblical text.  A preacher will preach to a wide variety of people that visit the church where he will pastor.  For the most part the vast majority of apostolic churches have people who attend that believe the Scriptures to be authentic, inspired, inerrant, and authoritative.  But we have unbelievers who attend that do not have the same shared confidence in Scripture that we might not have and we have college students who attend schools where professors and other students can be militantly hostile against the Word of God.  This Bible is very helpful in combatting some of that rhetoric. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Study Bibles for Expositors--Dugan Topical Reference Bible--Dugan Publishers, Inc.


The third study Bible that we come to has a great sentimental value to me.  It is the Dugan Topical Reference Bible from Dugan Publishers out of Tennessee although I believe they are no longer in business.  I purchased this Study Bible on September 15, 1989 from Rev. Kelsey Griffin who was teaching my Bible Study Methods class my freshman year at Texas Bible College when it was still located in Houston.  He had boxes of these Bibles that he kept in his upstairs study/library and he sold them to the students for $20.  If I had known then what I know now I would have bought as many as I could afford at the time.  What is unique about this Bible is that it came at a time when computers were just starting to come on the scene but the vast majority of people did not have $2000-3000 to spend on one.  So most of the resources that ministers had available to them had to be in printed form of books.  Also at that time there was very few study Bibles around.  Most Pentecostal ministers used a Thompson Chain Reference Bible, a Schofield Study Bible, or a Dake’s Annotated Bible.  Occasionally you might find someone who had a Ryrie Study Bible but they were not very many who had those at the time.  There were a couple of features about the Dugan Bible that Brother Griffin brought to our attention.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Study Bibles for Expositors--English Standard Version (ESV) by Crossway

The next study Bible on the list is the English Standard Version (ESV) published by Crossway, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois.  The ESV was initially published in 2001 however the Study Bible was published in 2011.  If you are a Bible reader and are familiar with other translations, it won’t take you long to realize that the ESV closely resembles the New American Standard Bible.  There are not a lot of changes between to the two to the casual reader.  I am certain that it you made a comparison with charts and diagrams and so forth that there would be some notable differences between the two of them.  Before going further I would like to point out my usual disclaimer that just because I am a reader of this particular translation it does not mean that I can entirely endorse everything about the ESV Study Bible.  I look at it as simply being another tool in the toolbox of one who desires to be serious about the exposition of Scripture in his preaching. 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Study Bibles for Expositors -- Hebrew-Greek KEYWORD Study Bible by AMG Publishers

Part 1—Hebrew-Greek KEY WORD Study Bible—AMG Publishers

If you would be a serious expositor of God’s Word, you are constantly on the lookout for good resources that will help you to pull all you can from the biblical text.  One of tools that you need is good study Bibles.  There was a time not too long ago when we would have had to say a good study Bible but as times have progressed there are many choices of study Bibles that are available for us to use.  For the month of November I intend to do a review of a host of study Bibles that I have found helpful to me in the last several years.  Another reason that I am going to spend November to do this would be because of Black Friday being just around the corner.  If you live near a chain Christian bookstore, you can pick up many of these study Bibles very cheaply and even more so if you decide to go with hardbound instead of bonded or genuine leather. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Book Recommendation: Unashamed Workmen: How Expositors Prepare and Preach - Rhett Dodson

Increasingly I am much encouraged by some of the conversations that I am having with various Pentecostal pastors around the nation.  It is becoming more and more common that I am finding men who are paying the price with discipline and diligence to really dig into the Word so that their preaching has taken a different direction.  This direction change is coming because of the challenges that we are facing in our culture and the deep moral depravity that is assaulting the church.  We also have to contend more and more with the onward advancement of various world religions that are making inroads to the United States.  Our preaching has to change to meet those challenges for we can no longer afford to simply preach to the moment so that people get out of their seats and flutter about for a little while to satisfy some shallow emotional need they need to feel better about. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Isn't That Something?

I have been revisiting some of my journal scribblings from the last four years or so and have found a variety of thoughts I had written down.  Some of those scribblings had to do with little mental or spiritual stimulations that I thought I would put on this blog.  This post comes about from three different entries that I have merged together.  The first one was from Eugene Peterson’s very fine memoir, The Pastor and the other two were blog entries that Thom Rainer had written which dealt with pastoral ministry.  Peterson’s angle was that pastors have fallen into the trap of being turned into church growth gurus and it has cost them the priority of their own spiritual life of prayer, personal Bible reading/study (you would be shocked how many pastors don’t read the Bible on a regular basis), and the practice of spiritual disciplines which include the previous two and a host of others.  His fear was that pastors are being turned into executive automatons who can drive cattle about on a range but have lost the art of leading sheep through still pastures.  Rainer wrote about the dilemmas pastors face in the church which contribute to great dilemmas in the soul of the pastor.  The best way to describe it would be to say that the little foxes have gained an entrance and they are spoiling a harvest. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Only 30%

Several weeks ago I had a very thought provoking discussion with my brother about Pentecostal preaching.  In 1992 my parents gave Mark a new Thompson Chain reference Bible for Christmas.  It wasn’t too long after that he began to use this Bible as his primary Bible as his everyday carry.  He used it for devotional matters, he used it at Texas Bible College in the classroom, and he also used it to preach.  One of the other things he did with this Bible was underline every sermon he heard during a twenty-year period.  After retiring this Bible in 2012, he discovered something very interesting about this Bible.  He went back and looked at all of the Scriptures that he had underlined when he was listening to preachers.  He noted that during that twenty-year time period that he had heard approximately 3,500 messages.  This came from a variety of places.  Obviously the bulk of these came from the local churches where he had attended during that twenty-year time period.  There were other unique places where he had listened to preaching.  He had been in multiple chapel services at TBC, he had gone to several of the larger Pentecostal churches in the Houston area, and he had been to various conferences although he had not attended as many as I have through the years. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

On Pastoral Criticism--Part 3

We have spent the last two posts speaking of what takes place with criticism in the confines of a church.  The first one was what takes place in the soul of the pastor.  The second was what takes place in the soul of the critic.  This last post is devoted to what takes place in the church when critics began to do their work. 

As a leaping off point, look to Romans 16:17-20 from the Message (as a disclaimer, I don’t use the Message as a primary source):

Romans 16:17-20 MSG  One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth.  [18]  They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They're only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren't above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.  [19]  And so while there has never been any question about your honesty in these matters--I couldn't be more proud of you!--I want you also to be smart, making sure every "good" thing is the real thing. Don't be gullible in regard to smooth-talking evil. Stay alert like this,  [20]  and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

On Pastoral Criticism--Part 2

We are continuing this brief series on pastors and dealing with the fact that a pastor will have to deal with criticism on a fairly regular basis.  In the last post, I dealt with what criticism does to a pastor and the ways that he can let it work productively for him.  By no means am I insinuating that criticism does not have a mark that it leaves on a man who generally is working to do his best to help people to grow in their spiritual walk.  Over the years, I have had multiple conversations with pastors who were enduring some form of criticism for decisions they had made concerning the churches they pastored.  What I have found to be true is that the size of the church really does not matter.  It can be a small church or a mid-sized one, or a large church and all of these men of God found themselves having to contend with the critics they were attempting to lead.

Monday, May 04, 2015

On Pastoral Criticism--Part 1

There is one occupational hazard of a calling into the ministry, especially that of being a pastor, that seems to hurt more and grate at ministers more than any other—having to endure criticism.  It is one of the necessary pieces of territory that comes with holding a public place in ministry.  Even though it is painful to endure and it is understood that we have to deal with it, it has the capacity to create overwhelming waves of discouragement and free-falls into the abyss of despair.  No matter how faithful a man may be or how diligent he is in his work ethic, criticism is coming to a local church near you.  If you are district official, it is coming to district near you and there is nothing we can do to make us protected from it.

There will be waves of criticism that seem to come from every direction at times and then there will be periods when all seems to be at rest and you walk through life and ministry without a peep so to speak.  After having been involved in ministry for almost 30 years, I have come to realize that there is a fringe that every church has that is always buzzing about something.  Early in my ministry, I was very concerned about this fringe of the “mixed multitude” and what they were saying and doing.  However as the years have passed, I have come to believe what the Proverbs recommends, “Answer not a folly according to his folly” (Proverbs 26:4).  The best course is to leave them alone and let your only form of protest be the excellence of your work.  Let your work, your life, and your ethics stand in the face of criticism.  

Friday, March 06, 2015

A Conversation with UPCI Assistant General Superintendent (Eastern Zone) Paul Mooney

Yesterday, I shared with you the conversation that I enjoyed with the UPCI General Superintendent, David Bernard.  This blog is going to cover the gist of several conversations that I had with UPCI Assistant General Superintendent (Eastern Zone) Paul Mooney.

I have known Brother Mooney for quite a number of years.  I suppose the first time I officially met him was around 2004 or so at an Alabama District Men’s Conference.  Since that time he has preached at several camp meetings in Alabama in addition to a district conference.  He is one of the most uniquely brilliant men I have ever met!  He has a very gifted mind and you find that to be very obvious when you begin to interact with him because all of the times you spend with him there isn’t an ounce of wasted energy or time.  He also serves dual role as the pastor at the historic CalvaryTabernacle in Indianapolis and as the president of Indiana Bible College.  If ever there was an ardent supporter of apostolic doctrine and identity in this generation, he certainly falls into that category.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Apt to Teach - Part 2

I have a few more thoughts to add to the idea of this challenge that comes with being “apt to teach.”  As I revisited this passage again in 1 Timothy 3, it is important to point out that this is the only skill or practice that Paul notes is specific to the church.  He very well could and must be a teacher to his family but the overarching purpose of being apt to teach is that he provides instruction to the church.  We also must give consideration to the idea that all of the character traits that Paul lists; blameless, husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, not given to wine, no striker (not violent), not greedy of filthy lucre, patient, not a brawler, covetous, ruling his own house well, having his children in subjection, not a novice, and having a good report of those that are around him; that all of these matters will have a great impact on his ability to teach.  If these matters are compromised, his public ministry of teaching will be publically ignored and privately mocked and scorned.  This matter of character in apostolic ministry has far more reaching boundaries than most of us who are in public ministry grasp and understand.  You cannot separate your life and practice from your doctrine. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Apt To Teach - Part 1

Last year as I floundered through writing out the Pastoral Epistles in a journal with a fountain pen (all in the great hopes that my cursive handwriting would improve), I found an intriguing quality that was listed by Paul.  He instructed that a man who was desired the work of a bishop (KJV), overseer and bondservant (ESV), servant (ESV), and superintendent and overseer (Amplified) be “apt to teach”.  I was particularly struck by this phrase as I wrote the words from Weymouth.  He translated 1 Timothy 3:2 as “with a gift for teaching” and in 2 Timothy 2:24 as “a skillful teacher.”  The Amplified Bible also had a remarkable rendering also for in 1 Timothy 3:2 it is “a capable and qualified teacher” and 2 Timothy 2:24 it was “he must be a skilled and suitable teacher.”

I am certain that all students have at one point had a teacher or two or three who really stood out from the rest of the mix as someone who pushed your life in a direction of excellence.  I personally have had some who did that very thing for me as I have navigated through my years of education.  I have been incredibly blessed to have taken part in a wide range of education both in the classroom and clinical setting.  What I have realized is that of all the teachers that I ran across there were just handful who could fall into the category of being an excellent teacher.  It is apparent that Paul fell into the category of exceptional.  You can see his excellence coming through in a variety of ways when you read the account in Acts and scattered throughout his epistles.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

A Book Recommendation - Don Basham, Deliver Us From Evil

I am quick out of the chute this year having already finished a book in the first week of the New Year.  This book is not a particularly new book with an original publishing date of 1972 but it has gone through at least thirteen printings of the original edition.  Furthermore it has gone through a revision in 2005 and I have the second printing of that copy also.  Last year, I wrote several lengthy posts of some personal Bible study notes as I trackedthrough Kay Arthur’s book, Lord, Is ItWarfare?  Those are still available although I did not complete them because I had started writing with a fountain pen as described in the first post of this year.  I do have those notes written in another journal and perhaps may need to revisit them and post the rest of them.

Spiritual warfare has always been an interest of mine and I have more than 100 books in my personal library that deals with this subject.  The only subject that I have more single volumes about is holiness which logs in at more than 150 books devoted to that subject.  I have discovered over the course of the years that when you read and study about personal holiness and spiritual warfare together that you will have to come to grips with the very close link between to the two.  A commitment to personal holiness gives a Christian great power when he is dealing with the attack of the devil.  Indeed!  A real live devil who is not a concept, theme, or ideal planted in the human consciousness but an arch-angel who fell from heaven to lead a rebellion against God.  Spiritual warfare operates in zones that attempts to weaken the commitments that we make toward personal holiness and when we fall in the battle, we suffer and those around us suffer. 


Friday, January 02, 2015

Beginning 2015 with An Excuse

What a horrible way to begin a New Year!  I am speaking of beginning this year with an excuse.  However, this may not be so much of an excuse as an explanation.  As the year faded from spring to summer and then to fall and finally to the winter, I began to have inquiries as to why I had stopped blogging.  In fact the last post I had put on the Barnabas Blog was way back in April when I was in the midst of the series on spiritual warfare from Kay Arthur’s study guide, Lord, Is It Warfare?  So the questions that came my way were reasonable as to why I had “gone dark” on the Barnabas Blog.  This is why I had nothing to post. . .