Thursday, September 3, 2015

Learn About The Biblical Covenants

The biblical covenants are critical if we are going to accurately interpret the Word of God. God has made six, and only six. They are extremely important as we work our way through every single book of the Bible. Failure to understand the biblical covenants will inevitably result in misunderstanding what God wants us to know from passages all through the Bible. Well, if you never studied the biblical covenants, here's a chance for you to walk through them with me. I have made my videos on the biblical covenants available via YouTube. You can access the channel with all of the videos, thirty-two total, by clicking here. In addition to the videos, I've put together a booklet on the covenants. You can download it here. I really hope that you'll find the study profitable and that it helps you understand the Bible better. Feel free to share it with your friends and churches.

All of the videos and the booklet are offered free of charge. Prayers are accepted if you feel inclined to give something in return.

Teaching At Riva Trace

This Sunday I will be teaching in the two main services at Riva Trace Baptist Church in Davidsonville, MD. The last time I taught at Riva was July 5th, the day before we flew to Spain. It feels like just yesterday. I'm thrilled to be back and to have an opportunity to teach the congregation. In July we looked at John 1:35-42. This time we will back up a little bit in the Gospel and look at a single verse, the conclusion to John's prologue. The prologue runs from John 1:1 all the way to John 1:18. Eighteen verses in total. Most of us are familiar with this prologue to some extent. I bet most of us are most familiar with the very first verse in the Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). That verse is rich, isn’t it? What a declaration right there at the opening of John’s Gospel! It sure tells us a lot about who Jesus is. Well, there’s another verse in that prologue, one you might not be familiar with. And it’s to that verse that I want to draw our attention on Sunday. “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father has explained him” (John 1:18). What, my friends, does John want us to know from this verse about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Great question.

If you want to hear the message from July, you can listen to it here.

An Excellent Meeting Yesterday

I had a wonderful time meeting with a student and his pastor yesterday. Pastor Gomez is doing the work Jesus calls us all to do, namely the Great Commission. Jose is the student and he is gearing up for his ministry internship. He and his pastor came in to meet with me to discuss how they can maximize this opportunity at local church where they serve. That's a first, hopefully not the last. Pastor Gomez is intentional about developing Jose in all of those characteristics Paul listed in 2 Tim. 3:10-11. I was so impressed. I sat there and watched their interaction and just thought to myself, "This guy Jose is so blessed." There are lots of people out there who have no one that is really being trained like this. And I thought to myself, "Don't forget, Thomas. This is what you're supposed to be doing for the rest of your life–pouring your life into others and being one of the instruments God uses to mold and shape other believers into the image of Christ." So thankful for yesterday's meeting.

Curious what Jose will be doing for his internship? Well, if you ask me, this is one of the best that I've seen. For the first three weeks, Jose is going to research and write up what the Bible says about visitation. He's going to be the go-to-guy when it comes to what the Bible says about visiting people in ministry (e.g., those who are sick). Then, he's going to put his work into three teaching lessons and he will teach the deacons at his local church what he discovered in the Bible. Then, over the next six weeks, Jose is going to take each of his eight deacons twice to visit someone. He's going to get experience studying the text, teaching others, and showing others. Study, teach, do. That sounds like ministry to me!

Jose is also in my Greek class that started on Monday. He was super excited to hear about our translation of Dave Black's beginning Greek grammar. Shame on me for not having any copies on hand. I need to order another batch and fast!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

¡No Olvides!

No te olvides! Puedes comprar tu propia copia de Aprenda a leer el griego del Nuevo Testamento y aprender el idioma en lo cual escribieron el Nuevo Testamento. También, puedes comprarlo por un precio especial de previa-publicación por el Software Bíblico de Logos. Compre el libro ahora en el sitio de web de Energion aquí. Esta disponible por Logos aquí.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Wonderful Convocation In Lancaster

My dad and I were up in Lancaster today for my school's convocation ceremony. It was excellent. President Teague delivered a message on the nature of the Word of God. That's a reminder we all need. Beginning a new school year, students, faculty, and staff alike all need a reminder that the Word of God should be the study of all studies. Having my dad with me was special. This was his first visit to the Lancaster campus. We got to walk around and see what is really, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States.

After convocation we walked over for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new dorms on the Lancaster campus. The building is exceptional. Lesly and I got the tour last week. Whichever students are in that building are basically living in the Trump towers. It's top of the line. Can you believe it's already at full capacity! Pretty cool. This is another record-setting year for incoming students.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Have You Seen The Logos Pro Training Videos?

Logos has got some really sharp videos for doing some important steps in exegesis using Logos Bible Software. It's called Logos Pro Training. You should definitely check out the page. Click here to teleport right over.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Learn About Logos' Manuscript Explorer

Logos Bible Software has some pretty cool features. It's no wonder that I am thankful for our school's use of technology for the 21st-century seminary student. One of the cool features is the New Testament Manuscript Explorer. What is it? Just click here to see a tutorial introduction.

Bart Ehrman's Textual Criticism Syllabus

Interested in seeing what a class on textual criticism with Bart Ehrman is like? Well, he's made his syllabus available online. You can see it here. That's a class I would like to audit.

Tim Jenney's Webinar On Using Accordance For Textual Criticism

Accordance has a fifty-minute webinar on using their software for textual criticism. If you're interested, click here.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Around My Office

A Couple More Fair Pics

And This Was Today

Today was action-packed. Lesly, my dad, and I went to the Maryland State Fair. We had a great time. I will say this, though, perhaps because of my Carolina bias . . . The Maryland State Fair is nothing–and I mean nothing–compared to the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, NC. There simply is no comparison, well, with one slight caveat. A few years back the NCSF stopped allowing people to walk around and look at the animals. That was one of my favorite parts of the fair, but now you are sort of restricted to the shows, and the temporary stables are off-limits to passers-by. In Maryland you can still walk through the different rows and check out all of the livestock. But that's the only exception. Everything else is topped by North Carolina–food, energy, exhibits, etc.

I think the highlight of today's visit to the fair was the youth sheep show. We watched the whole thing. I couldn't help but think about Christians. I mean think about it. What would happen if we were asked to stand before the judge and present the sheep we have been pouring our lives into? You might say, "Isn't this more an analogy for pastors than say everyday Christians?" And I'd say nope, because all of us are tasked with training others; just see Matt. 28:19-20; and you all know I don't like that lingo when it is used to separate people in the body of Christ, especially from the responsibilities of the Great Commission that we all share. But can you imagine doing that? One thing that stood out to me during this show was how the event is as much about the one presenting their lamb as it is about the sheep. I was also intrigued by how this particular judge walked by and spent about three to five minutes with each participant, helping them to understand where they can improve and how they do better next time. I started asking myself whether I have these moments with the Lord, moments where he gets to tell me where I need to improve and how I can be more faithful. I do, but I want to be more attentive and I want the takeaway to last longer and go further. What do those moments look like? Well, it happens when we pray. It happens when I go to the Lord and I'm telling him what's going on in my life and in the work that he's given me to do. It happens when I'm talking to him about those he's entrusted to my care and I am presented with an opportunity to give an account to him. And remember. "One is your teacher," Jesus said in Matthew 23. He teaches us during those times. He uses his Word and applies it to our lives, helping us to see and hear where we can grow and improve in the work he has given us to do.

If you ask what the second highlight of the fair was, I'd say it was the funnel cake. We got one with extra sugar!!! And it was delicious. Of course, I won't be able to eat anything sweet for six months, but it was all worth it.

And when we got home, I had some mail from Spain! Very cool! (Hey, looking at the price on the envelope I noticed that it's cheaper for them to mail something here than it is for me to mail something there!)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Rolling Discussion: What Are Some Things You Saw Modeled By Others That Significantly Influenced The Way You Live For Christ?

Given what we were talking about in the previous post, I have a question for us. I think it will be a good fit for the "Rolling Discussion" part of this blog. What are some things that you saw modeled for you that totally changed or influenced the way you now live for Christ? How important was that example in your life, and why?

Sometimes We Hear What We See

Sometimes we hear what we see. I've been watching a program on National Geographic that analyzes communication. Really interesting stuff. I found a video on YouTube similar to the one that they played on National Geographic. Amazingly our brains bend the audio based upon the input of our sense of sight. You can see the video below.

I think there is something we can learn from ministry from this little exercise. Besides the obvious, that we need to be articulate and clear in our communication, there's a little more. Communication is more than words and sounds in isolation. Communication is much more dynamic and multidimensional. In fact, people learn as much from what they see, if not more, than what they hear. That's why the apostle Paul emphasized his lifestyle and pointed to his example. He understood that people needed to see in order to really get what he wanted them to hear.

When we are living for the Great Commission, we can point to our own examples. It's that example that really impacts those into whom we are pouring our lives. How often do we just give people the words and the sounds. When we do that, those who hear us can hear different things. They might get it right, they might get it wrong. But when we put that image up of what it looks like to be living for the sake of the gospel, they hear what we want them to hear. And it's at that point that they can move forward and live out the life Christ wants them to live.

Aren't you thankful for a New Testament with examples? Aren't you thankful for the example we have of Christ Jesus? Would any of you want a New Testament without Paul's example, or those passages where he points to Timothy and Epaphroditus, for example? I don't. I know you wouldn't either. Those passages are powerful. I'll even go a step further. The people in your life need–whether they know it or not–they need the picture of you living for Jesus. It's all the more reason for us to be resolved to live for the only thing that matters. If we don't, people will hear something totally opposite what Jesus wants them to hear when we are talking about living for him. I've got a long way to go; I'm sure you think you do too. But we can strive, can't we? We can press forward, dependent on Christ's strength, to live Great-Commission lives. I'm game. Let's do it, folks.

A Textual Criticism Class In Mexico

I read this morning about a course on textual criticism that is being offered at Seminario Teológico Presbiteriano de México, located just outside Mexico City. Well if I was in Mexico City, I would definitely try to sit in. See the flyer here.

Oh yeah, it got me thinking . . . seminary plus Greek plus Spanish . . . yep, that means we need to get the school some info about Aprenda a leer el griego del Nuevo Testamento. I just sent the school's president an email.