The Pastor Needs More Than a Good Study Bible

At the risk of stirring controversy, I suggest that pastors should refrain from using “study Bibles.” At its best a study Bible is a devotional tool, not meant for serious study of the Scriptures. At their worst study Bibles are the dubious reflections of popular preachers that propagate sectarian or questionable doctrines. Also, too many readers of study Bibles fail to make the distinction between the inspired text and the notes contained on the same page. Instead of a study Bible, I suggest investing in just a few books that, with constant use, will make the pastor/teacher a competent interpreter of Holy Scripture.

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Is the Church Embracing Secularism?

As a child in Pentecostal church I often heard sermons warning against the dangers of worldliness. The words of John were seared into my Christian psyche:

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15-17).

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Where is God when the Innocents are Slaughtered?

Each Christmas we celebrate with lights, songs, and feasts. And, each Christmas our songs of praise are interrupted by the cries of those who suffer from violence, sickness, and death. This brings us to the story of the slaughter of the innocent boys in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-18). It’s part the Christmas story that we don’t often tell, or sing about. The words of the prophet are haunting and familiar.

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When God Comes Down – 1st Sunday of Advent

Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence—To make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! (Isaiah 64:1-2 NASB).

Advent is a word that speaks to the arrival, or appearing, of a notable person/event. Advent denotes hope, expectation, joy, and even fear. Christians celebrate a season of Advent as a time in between. The first Sunday of Advent is both historical and eschatological, that is, it remembers God’s appearances in history, and it anticipates the culmination of God’s kingdom in the future.

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