Posts belonging to Category Bible

When the Bible Seems Difficult to Understand

John Piper looks at the flip side to the objection that parts of the Bible are too difficult to understand:

It seems to me that if everything were easy and straightforward, no controversy at all, nothing complex, nothing apparently out of sync with my little human brain and its ability to discern contradictions, then I bet there would be a question here like, “If this is really God’s word, why is it so simple?”

I have often thought the same thing. If I understood everything about God and his Word, I would begin to wonder if this was really God’s Word at all. A God that finite human beings can fully understand wouldn’t be much of a God. I would be more inclined to think we made him up. The difficult parts of the Bible just serve to confirm what the Bible clearly proclaims anyways: He is God, and we are not.

        “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the
        things revealed belong to us and to our children forever,
        that we may follow all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

        “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we
        shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall
        know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Related posts:
    • The Bible Memory Version
    • Amazon Kindle’s Most Popular Bible Highlights

Google Will Bring Dead Sea Scrolls Online

From The Washington Post:

[Google] and Israel announced Tuesday that they are teaming up to give researchers and the public the first comprehensive and searchable database of the scrolls – a 2,000-year-old collection of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek documents that shed light on Judaism during biblical times and the origins of Christianity. For years, experts have complained that access to the scrolls has been too limited.

Once the images are up, anyone will be able to peruse exact copies of the original scrolls as well as an English translation of the text on their computer – for free. Officials said the collection, expected to be available within months, will feature sections that have been made more legible thanks to high-tech infrared technology.

Free ESV Bible for Kindle


The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV) [Kindle Edition]
Yet another great deal for the Kindle – The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV) for free.

The English Standard Version (ESV) Bible is an essentially literal Bible translation that combines word-for-word precision and accuracy with literary excellence, beauty, and depth of meaning.

Remember you don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle books. Amazon offers free Kindle apps for your computer or smartphone. Also, be sure to check out this week’s earlier post on 16 free Kindle books from Christian publishers.

Note: Amazon’s free book offers are temporary and often end quickly. Check back often or subscribe by email or feed reader so that you don’t miss any future offers.

Related posts:
    • The Bible Memory Version for the Kindle
    • Top 10 Kindle Features
    • Amazon Kindle’s Most Popular Bible Highlights

(Note: For ebook and audiobook conversions, see Fowler Digital Services.)


The Bible Memory Version

Fowler Digital Books | The KJV Bible Memory Version: A Tool for Treasuring God's Word in Your Heart (King James Version), by Ray Fowler

I am excited to announce the release of what I hope is the first book in a series: The Bible Memory Version: A Tool for Treasuring God’s Word in Your Heart.  Bible memory has long been a passion in my life, and I hope The Bible Memory Version will help others catch a vision for Bible memory in their lives too.

The Bible Memory Version is an interactive book that helps you memorize and review whole sections of the Bible. Click on any verse or passage of Scripture, and it instantly switches to first-letter view. (Click here for an example of how this works.) The first-letter method is based on memory research which shows that recalling information is a far more effective way to memorize than merely repeating information.

The Bible Memory Version includes:

  • the entire text of the Bible in both full-verse and first-letter view
  • an introductory chapter with helps and hints for Bible memory
  • a quick-start guide with list of recommended passages
  • a topical section with 100 key verses arranged according to 20 topics
  • five popular gospel presentations with accompanying Bible verses
  • a helpful Bible Memory Resource guide

    Available in ePub, Kindle, and Mobipocket formats
    Works with all standard e-readers including iPad, iPhone, Amazon Kindle, and Nook

I am excited about this project and hope to work with publishers to produce Bible Memory Versions in various translations. If you would like The Bible Memory Version released in a specific translation, please email me at If you don’t have an e-reader, you can download a free e-reader here for your computer or portable device.

So what do you think of this project? Let me know in the comments section below!

Click here to purchase The Bible Memory Version now.
Click here to see all the titles available at Fowler Digital Books.

Related posts:
    • Bible Memory Version Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon
    • The Bible Memory Version Poll

Ligon Duncan on Bible Study and Prayer

Dr. Ligon Duncan offers ministry leaders the following six wise suggestions on how to help your people grow in Bible study and prayer.

  1. Be patient.
  2. Preach the word from the pulpit with fervency, clarity and power, and let the prime means of grace do its work.
  3. Emphasize the importance of a weekly prayer meeting.
  4. Invite a core group of potential leaders in the congregation to study the Bible and pray with you, weekly and personally. Meet as a small group and do a Bible survey, and lead them in prayer. Model for them how to do it. Make them take part and be active participants. Watch the contagion spread among them for the study of God’s word and prayer in the church, homes and their personal lives. Let them become recruiters and encouragers of others to study the word and pray for themselves.
  5. In the course of your teaching/preaching the Bible in the local church, spend time explicitly and specifically on explaining why it is important for Christians to study the word and to pray, and how one ought to do it.
  6. Get your people to read good books about Bible study and prayer (John Blanchard, “How to Enjoy Your Bible,” Don Carson, “A Call to Spiritual Reformation,” Matthew Henry, “Method For Prayer,” “Ryken’s Bible Handbook,” etc).

Amazon Kindle’s Most Popular Bible Highlights

      (Note: For ebook and audiobook conversions, see Fowler Digital Services.)

Fowler Digital Books | The KJV Bible Memory Version: A Tool for Treasuring God's Word in Your Heart (King James Version), by Ray Fowler

Check out The Bible Memory Version for the Kindle here.


The Amazon Kindle e-reader device allows you to highlight specific passages for viewing later. Amazon just rolled out a software upgrade (version 2.5) which expands this feature in a whole new way. Not only can you view your own highlights for a particular book, but now you can view the combined highlights of all other Kindle users as well. (Kindle users not wanting to share highlights can deactivate this feature.)

Using this feature I was able to find the most popular Bible highlights on the Kindle. Amazon lists six Bible translations in their top 100 most highlighted books: NIV (ranked #2), NASB (#19), TNIV (#32), NLT (#33), ESV (#35) and KJV (#76). I took the top highlights for each translation and put them together in the chart below. So, here are the most popular passages in the Bible as highlighted by Kindle users around the world:

                      Amazon Kindle’s Most Popular Bible Highlights
      (Hover your mouse over the Bible reference to view the passage.)

Passage   NIV    NASB   TNIV    NLT     ESV     KJV     TOTAL  
 Philippians 4:6-7 120 29 67 90 75 381
 John 3:16 152 30 60 72 24 338
 Matthew 6:33-34 106 40 49 26 16 237
 Proverbs 3:5-6 70 62 11 143
 Galatians 5:22-23 25 62 54 141
 Philippians 4:13 41 72 19 132
 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  41 47 88
 Ephesians 2:8-9 19 31 37 87
 Romans 8:28 54 9 63
 Jeremiah 29:11 55 55
 Romans 8:38-39 51 51
 Hebrews 11:1 45 45
 2 Timothy 3:16-17 19 19
 Psalm 23:1-4 16 16

I found it interesting how many of these highlights focus on trusting God and not worrying. What stands out to you? (Click here for the most popular Kindle highlights for the Koran.)


Related posts:
    • The Bible Memory Version for the Kindle
    • New Amazon Kindle Goes Wi-Fi!
    • Top 10 Kindle Features
    • My Kindle Got Run Over by a Car

Note: For ebook and audiobook conversions, see Fowler Digital Services.

The Centrality of Scripture (PTOM 6)

(Last week and this I am sharing my Personal Theology of Ministry. Click here for more posts from the Personal Theology of Ministry series.)

God’s Word is central to all effective ministry:

Therefore I will make God’s word central to my ministry. I am a minister of Christ and God’s word. Paul charged Timothy to preach, correct, rebuke, encourage, instruct and evangelize (2 Timothy 4:1-5). He told him to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching (1 Timothy 4:11-14). God’s word is the power for salvation, especially through the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:15). God’s word also contains the power for spiritual growth (1 Peter 1:23-2:3). God’s word never returns empty but always goes forth to accomplish his purposes (Isaiah 55:10-11). Should I stray from the word of God, I abandon my calling, power and authority. I will proclaim the whole will of God (Acts 20:27-31) and watch my own life and doctrine closely (1 Timothy 4:15-16). I will run all of my decisions through God’s word and base my life and ministry on Biblical values.

Back to Table of Contents | Next section: Gentleness and Grace (PTOM 7)

Related post: Church Search

Don’t Be an April Fool!

Here are ten wise sayings from the Bible fitting for April Fools Day:

  • The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)
  • The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin. (Proverbs 10:8)
  • He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise. (Proverbs 11:29)
  • The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. (Proverbs 12:15)
  • A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. (Proverbs 12:16)
  • A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2)
  • It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. (Proverbs 20:3)
  • As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. (Proverbs 26:11)
  • He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. (Proverbs 28:26)
  • A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Proverbs 29:11)

Can a fool change? Probably not, but God can change a fool! (I can testify to that.) So don’t be an April Fool this year — or a January, February, March or any other type of fool either. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Related posts:

Don Carson’s Overview of the Bible

Don Carson is conducting a two-weekend seminar aimed at providing an overview of the Bible and the gospel message, especially for those not familiar with the Bible.

Learning to evangelize men and women who know nothing about the Bible and who are bringing their own “baggage” or “context” with them does not require a super intellect or a Ph.D. in biblical theology. What it requires is learning to get across a lot of things that we Christians simply presuppose.

There are quite a lot of ways of doing this. One of them is to focus on a variety of biblical texts drawn from across the entire Bible and work through them with people. One might begin with Genesis 1-2: “The God who makes everything.” Genesis 3 becomes “The God who does not wipe out rebels.” We keep working through the Old Testament and eventually arrive at the New, coming to topics like “The God who becomes a human being” (John 1:1-18). The wonderful atonement passage in Romans 3 covers “The God who declares the guilty just.” Gradually the Bible becomes a coherent book. It establishes its own framework; it is the context in which alone Jesus, the real Jesus, makes sense.

This is similar to the method that New Tribes Mission uses with unreached tribes that have no Biblical framework to understand Christ, sort of a Biblical-theological approach to missions. (See post here on The Taliabo Story.) Here is Carson’s complete 16-point overview tracing the storyline of Scripture:

      1. The God who made everything
      2. The God who does not wipe out rebels
      3. The God who writes his own agreements
      4. The God who legislates
      5. The God who reigns
      6. The God who makes his people sing
      7. The God who is unfathomably wise
      8. The God who is coming
      9. The God who becomes a human being
    10. The God who grants new birth
    11. The God who loves
    12. The God who dies–and lives
    13. The God who declares the guilty just
    14. The God who gathers and transforms his people
    15. The God who is very angry
    16. The God who triumphs

Update: The lectures from the seminar have now been released in book form: The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story

What Is Love?

If you came here after searching for “What is love?” you are not alone. According to Google*, “What is love?” is the top “What is …” search in all of America. So, what is love? Here are three of my favorite answers straight from the Bible (and just in time for Valentines Day!).

Romantic Love:

Love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love,
    it would be utterly scorned. (Song of Solomon 8:6-7)

The Nature of True Love:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
    it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
    always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

God’s Love:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:1-10)

Related post: A John 3:16 Valentine Message

Click here for more Love related posts.

(*Google Stats 2008; Google Stats 2007)

Reformation Study Bible for Any Gift Amount

Ligonier Ministries is offering a genuine leather edition of the Reformation Study Bible for any gift amount from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2 while supplies last (retails for $69.99). Click here for details on the offer. Click here to read R.C. Sproul’s Introduction to the Reformation Study Bible.

Click image to go to Reformation Study Bible Offer

NIV Bible 30th Anniversary Tour

Bible Across America | NIV 30th Anniversary Tour

In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the New International Version Bible, Bible publisher Zondervan has launched a massive 90-city, 44-state tour called Bible Across America. You can track tour stops and real time blog updates at the Bible Across America website.

I remember getting my first NIV Bible back in 1978. It was one of those brown, hardcover editions. It opened up a whole new world of Bible reading and memory for me and pretty much changed my life. So happy 30th anniversary to you, NIV! You can swing that bus by my house anytime.