One of the more interesting facets of Old Testament study to me is to look for a passage’s ties to the New Testament. You can accomplish that goal through a variety of means. You can serach for repeated words and themes, look for direct quotations, or find times when New Testament authors made references back to a story or passage.
Here’s some FREE tools that will help you on your Bible research.
- E-Sword is free Bible software. There are several “extras” you can download. Some are free, some are not. When I last checked though, the ESV translation (my favorite) is available as a free download thanks to the generosity of the folks at Good News Publishers. If you’ve never used Bible software, you really should try. You get all the benefits of an exhaustive concordance without breaking your back each time you pick it up.
- Bible Gateway has several online translations to choose from. You can search cross-references and everything. You’ve got to be online for this resource.
- Study Light also has free resources: commentaries, Bibles, maps, etc. You might find it beneficial.
- Bible.ca has all sorts of material from Bible studies to maps. While no site is perfect, these guys do a good job of trying to put as much evidence as possible for your consideration. (Side note: this is also the host of Mark Copeland’s Executable Outline series – a Kissime, FL preacher’s online archive of sermons. No, Keith, this isn’t where mine come from…)
- I got an email today with a list of sites that have Bible maps. I’ll just copy and paste the list for your convenience.
- http://www.bible-history.com/links.php?cat=22&sub=298&cat_name=Maps+%26+Geography& amp;subcat_name=Biblical
If you find a site that’s particularly good, please comment and let’s get it added to a list of good resources. Thanks!
Most people have a love-hate relationship with dreamers. We’re “fair weather” dreamer fans! We laugh at people with vision, always with their heads up in the clouds. We laugh and tell them to call us when they wake up and see reality again.
You’ve probably heard these: There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in the home. (President of Digital Equipment Corp. 1977) I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. (Thomas Watson, President of IBM 1943). There are others — like people explaining that air travel would never catch on, cars were a novelty, indoor plumbing was a fad… Most people tend to be Missouri residents at heart: we live in the “show me state.” We don’t believe things until we can already see, touch, taste, use, and buy 12 of them online!
Abraham was told that he was going to have a son. He believed…and he didn’t. He believed…and he didn’t… Sarah even laughed! God wasn’t laughing, though. His biting answer was direct: “Is anything too hard for me?”
It would have been easy to laugh at a big boat and all the world’s animals. A favorite younger brother who had a flair for colorful coats wouldn’t have much of an audience for his claim that all would bow down to him. An engaged virgin’s claim that her pregnancy was the gift of the Holy Ghost wouldn’t escape Jay Leno’s monologue. That the world could be turned upside-down by twelve ordinary men seems unfathomabe…but these are the realities of God’s dreams in man.
Maybe I’ll think twice before I chuckle and say never again…
Abraham’s proactive lifestyle really amazes me. When Lot was taken captive by the warring kings (Genesis 14), did Abraham call for someone else to help? Did he pray for God to deliver? Did he call 911? Nope…he just took “the 318 trained men” (implicitly all of them?)…and went to rescue him. He didn’t play the hero and relish in the spoils due the victor. He rejected the bounty of war all so that the king of Sodom could never claim responsibility for what God did: blessing Abraham.
Then there’s the time these mysterious visitors mention in an aside that Sodom & Gomorrah are going to get it. The visitors left for Sodom to enact God’s plan, but Abraham caught them from behind (they left, he approached them – Gen 18:22-23) and interceded on Lot’s behalf. This is the same Lot whose herdsmen quarrled with him, who kept getting taken captive, and had all the generosity and grace of one who always takes the best things for himself — and Abraham makes an extra effort to haggle with God for his salvation.
Can you think of anyone less like Abraham than the prophet Jonah? God commanded him to go for others’ salvation, he avoided his duty, and complained when God did save!
I’m glad God sent a savior more like Abraham and less like Jonah!
To give you an insight into my background: There’s a creationist group that promotes a literal understanding of Genesis called “Answers in Genesis.” They’re the ones that have drawn so much attention for the “Creation Museum.” I generally tend to agree with them and appreciate a more literal reading of Genesis, but I’ve always found their name to be a bit funny. I believe scripture to be inspired and inerrant, from God for man. It would follow then, that Scripture is written to be understood. Of all books other than Revelation, however, I find there to be more questions than answers in Genesis.
Here’s a few “What ifs” and “hypotheticals” I’ve gathered.
- Was all creation vegetarian? It appears meat was not given until after the flood. I’ve heard of post-fall changes, but never really post-flood changes.
- Was there reproduction in the garden? Eve’s pain in childbearing was greatly multiplied (indicating it didn’t start at zero…) (Gen 3:16) The command to ‘be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it’ (Gen 1:26-30) was pre-fall. Was there sex in the garden?
- Had you ever noticed that the animals were considered as possible companions for Adam? They were rejected, of course. Think they could talk? After all, no one seemed surprised by the talking serpent with legs…
- I never noticed that animals had the breath of life (Gen 1:26-30). Though not made in the image of God, they had that part of his essence.
I probably get distracted by trivia a bit too easily…but it’s interesting to ask the “What ifs.” What if the south had won the civil war? (Sorry to burst someone’s bubble…) What if my cat could talk…? What if I could fly?
The real tragedy of the first few chapters of Genesis is knowing that there was zero room for the question: “What if man never fell…” It’s a mere ten generations from fall to flood, and thanks to long lifespans, it seems that everyone would have been intimately familiar with the story of sin in the garden, yet each generation grew worse. “Every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5).
God hardly seemed to have a rosy outlook about his creation. That realism only makes his grace more impressive to me…and there’s no question about that!
N.B. You’ll need to have a program installed to view Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. If you don’t have PowerPoint, you have some free alternatives. 1) PowerPoint Viewer is free from Microsoft. It allows you to view (but not edit or print) presentations. 2) Open Office is an Open Source (free) Office suite that competes with Microsoft. 3) I’ve heard that Google’s online applications (Google Apps) now handles presentation files.
Here’s the introductory note guide for our class. This file is a PDF and will require a PDF Viewer like Adobe Acrobat Reader or Foxit Reader (both free) to view and print.
Well, not really. Hopefully you won’t notice. :-) This year, I’m workingi through F. Lagard Smith’s “The Daily Bible” — a special study Bible that’s made unique by its chronological arrangement. I’ve been through this Bible before, and it is a real blessing, especially if you have trouble sticking with a program…like me!
I’m teaching a class at the Burns Church of Christ on Wednesday nights working through this same material. “Teaching” might be a bit of an overstatement. I’m really just hoping to serve as a tour guide. But, thanks to the inspiration of my brother-in-law, Mick over at Project BOY, I’m going to blog my journey as well as provide the class materials and handouts we use along the way. I hope this will be a blessing to you! :)