Saturday, December 13, 2008

Studying the Bible

I like to use books when I study the Bible rather than the internet. I find that in using the internet, I get distracted too easily and get nothing done. I invariably begin browsing for books on or look at some programming web page or update my online photo gallery or something equally useless. There are however many good tools online for Bible study. A few of them are as follows: Blue Letter Bible, and e-sword. E-sword is a program for download with modules. Blue-Letter-Bible is an online Bible study tool that my friend Mike recommended to me.

I find myself being increasingly more old-fashioned. Writing a letter instead of an email, wearing plain clothing, and books. I am creating quite a good collection of Bible study materials and enjoy using them. I do however realize the power of PC and mac programs like Logos Bible software or e-sword. I do like to use programs like that because they have great articles by dead preachers that I like to read.

In studying the Bible, I have a good literal translation, a Vine's and Strong's Dictionary, a greek/english new testament and maybe one or two other translations that are less literal in case I am meditating on a scripture and don't have a good Bible dictionary handy. If I am studying a verse such as Matthew 5:3, I have learned to look up certain words in the origional greek because they often have a wider meaning than the translators used. I know there are certain ones who believe that THEIR translation has the all-supreme-exact-infallible translation of that word from greek to english. In reality, those people linguistically ignorant. Any person who has learned to speak a language other than english had to come to the realization that every language has words that translate differently and there are in many cases no exact translations for similar words.

An good example is the difference between the renderings in the Bible of, "be merciful" and "be propitiate". The english versions of the Bible render Luke 18:13, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" or something similar. The real translation should be, "God, be propitiate toward me the sinner!" In webster's dictionary, propitiate has almost the exact meaning that the Greek word, hilaskomai has: To conciliate (an offended power); appease: propitiate the gods with a sacrifice. Basically, the tax collector(publican) is asking God to apply the atoning sacrifice to him not to just be merciful to him because God is the kind that just forgives those who ask him. God is not that way.

So we must come to him realizing that our God forgives us through the passion of Christ, that is the suffering from the wrath of God poured on him because of our sins. Because Jesus took our sins upon him on the cross and we must come to him broken and humble, knowing that we deserve the wrath of God and offering no defense on our behalf. We must know that God is just in condemning us and that he cannot simply overlook what we have done because he demands absolute perfection and are not perfect so God requires either that we pay for our sins or that we humbly submit to God's verdict and ask for the forgiveness based on the suffering of Jesus for what we have done.

What should that inspire in you? Namely a life sparked and energized by that reality to live for God rather than yourself. You are a pathetic wretch apart from living your life in light of that reality and submitting to God's ownership of you.

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