Mobile Command Unit

Ok, I broke down and ordered one of those fancy Reformation Study Bibles.

I have the old “Reformation Study Bible,” you know, the edition just after they changed the name from the New Geneva Study Bible? It was a solid Bible and I used it often so when I noticed the crimson hardcover was on sale I picked one up…which is difficult to do considering the weight of the volume! It’s not that heavy, I was joking, it weights in at about 4 lbs.

This edition offers a very clean page style, the font is easy to read and the paper is bright white and thicker when compared to some of my other study bibles. (The ESV Study Bible which is WAY too thin if you ask me). The notes have been updated and revised as you probably already know. The confessions in the back are useful and the sidebar theological notes are extremely valuable, which is why I call it a Mobile Command Unit. I like to bring my Bible along with me to the coffee shop and read it during lunch. Sometimes the Bible I’m reading will solicit a comment or two. The sidebar notes are useful in these situations because it allows you to on the same page when discussing a theological subject when blind sided with random conversation.

It has everything you need to do battle!

reformation study bible crimson


I gave The Reformation Study Bible an 8 out of 10. It lost a point due to the single column paragraph setup. When reading, studying or even arguing over something from scripture, I’ve found it helps to have a versified two column Bible. Maybe that’s just me. This Bible lost another point due to the limit in translations (ESV/NKJV). It would be nice to have this study Bible with a modern Geneva translation or the King James. I’m thankful for The Reformation Heritage Study Bible which does come in my preferred translations and I would recommend that edition in a hearbeat.

That’s all for now folks.

Yours in the Lord,


Westminster Reference Bible

Without question I’m a AV guy, I love the King James and have used it for most of my Christian life. It’s the translation I read from on a daily basis, study from, where my devotional reading is found, etc. I have multiple editions of the Authorized Version and love every one of them, even my Old Scofield. The number one edition of the AV I use is the Westminster Reference Bible printed by the Trinitarian Bible Society. I own three editions of this Bible and use them at different times. I find it easier to memorize if I use the same Bible even if it’s in different sizes. I’m making this post so you can see the difference in size between the three editions.


Descriptions were sourced from the TBS website. You will see the Compact, Medium Size Print and Large Print.


Compact Bible with double column references and Metrical Psalms. Black calfskin leather. Authorised (King James) Version.

Compact Westminster Reference Bible in black calfskin leather with Metrical Psalms. This Bible contains over two hundred thousand cross references, and also features 8 full-colour maps. Ideal as a gift or for personal use. Supplied with presentation box. [Was PS60U/BK]


Print size 7.3 points, Presentation box, Good clear print, Cross references, Black text throughout, Sewn binding, Four marker ribbons, Bible paper, Gilt page edges, Semi-yapp page protection, Decorative head and tail bands

Additional Contents

Gift presentation page; The Epistle Dedicatory; List of pronunciation of words and proper names; Word list in margins; Tables of weights and measures; Daily Bible reading plan; Colour maps; Metrical Psalms


Page Size:166 x 118mm (6.5″ x 4.6″)

Thickness:33mm (1.3″)

Print Size:7.3 point

Product Code:60MP/UBK(was PS60U/BK)



Medium print Bible with double column references. Vinyl covered hardback. Authorised (King James) Version.

Westminster Reference Bible in black vinyl covered hardback. This Bible contains over two hundred thousand cross references, and also features a concordance and 8 full-colour maps. [Was 90A]


Medium print ׃ 9.6 points, Good clear print, Cross references, Black text throughout, Sewn binding, Two marker ribbons, Bible paper, Decorative head and tail bands

Additional Contents

Gift presentation page; Translators to the Reader; The Epistle Dedicatory; List of pronunciation of words and proper names; Word list in margins; Tables of weights and measures; Daily Bible reading plan; Concordance; Colour maps


Page Size:215 x 153mm (8.5″ x 6″)

Thickness:33mm (1.3″)

Print Size:9.6 point

Product Code:90/ABK(was 90A)



Large print Bible with double column references. Black calfskin leather. Authorised (King James) Version.

Large Print Westminster Reference Bible in calfskin leather. This Bible contains over two hundred thousand cross references, and also features 8 full-colour maps.


Large print ׃ 11.8 points, Presentation box, Good clear print, Cross references, Black text throughout, Sewn binding, Four marker ribbons, Bible paper, Gilt page edges, Semi-yapp page protection, Decorative head and tail bands

Additional Contents

Gift presentation page; The Epistle Dedicatory; List of pronunciation of words and proper names; Word list in margins; Tables of weights and measures; Daily Bible reading plan; Colour maps


Page Size:265 x 188mm (10.4″ x 7.4″)

Thickness:34mm (1.3″)

Print Size:11.8 point

Product Code:120LP/UBK




I now have five TBS Bibles in total and each one of my children own and have used the leather Winsdor Text editions. What can I say, these are great Bibles for cheap. The binding is solid, the leather is nice and flexible, even the vinyl is of good quality. I know the Large Print Westmister seems HUGE and it is. When I first opened the box I thought it was way too big to take back and forth to church with me but it is a real pleasure to read from. I type this post up in my very low lite basement study area and have no trouble making out the Bible in front of me. It’s just under a 12 point font but the way the text is spaced, coupled with the thickness of the paper allows me to read from it without issue. This is a text I can read and teach from without any issue and I highly recommend it.

Yours in the Lord,


The Ankh & Hezekiah

H (2)


King Hezekiah reigned from 727 to 698 BC and is considered to be a good King according to scripture. We read,

“He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.” 2 Kings 18.5

For more on King Hezekiah have a look at 2 Kings 16:20-20:21; 2 Chronicles 28:27-32:33; and Isaiah 36:1-39:8 as well as Proverbs 25:1; Isaiah 1:1; Jeremiah 15:4; 26:18–19; Hosea 1:1; and Micah 1:1.

Hezekiah was a zealous believer in YHWH and tried to cleanse his lands of pagan altars, images, idols and temples. The people had forgotten God’s Law in their rebellion, even turning the bronze serpent held by Moses in Numbers 21 into an idol, so Hezekiah destroyed it. The good King reinstated the Priesthood, reopened the Temple his father had closed and religious fervour returned to Judah. For the most part Hezekiah was a faithful King and committed believer.

In 2015 news outlets reported the finding of a seal or bulla dating from the 8th century BC belonging to Hezekiah. The team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem were excavating a dumpsite when they found the ancient seal. The seal grabbed my attention because of the symbolism used by the faithful King. The seal reads, “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah”and includes a two winged sun disc flanked by two Ankh or Egyptian crosses. The winged sun was a symbol used in ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, Mesopotamian, Hittite, Anatolian, and in Persia by Zoroastrianism, South America and even Australia. The Ankh is a common image found in Egyptian art meaning life and is carried by the gods.

Hezekiah seal drawing 00

I found it interesting that what is now considered an occult pagan symbol, and was at the time used by pagans, was also chosen by King Hezekiah for his bulla. According to Wiki the two winged sun disc is a symbol of the Egyptian god Ra and latter Horus. It looks like the faithful King Hezekiah redeemed the symbol from its pagan origins and used it for his own.

Yours in the Lord,



I’ve started using the Revised Common Lectionary – it’s been a good experience. I still prefer reading a couple of chapters but have decided to try the lectionary for a while and I’ll admit, it’s been a positive experience so far and recommend trying it. It’s nice to walk into a church service being fed on scripture for a week in advanced on the theological themes being brought to mind during the worship service.

Here’s a quote highlighting 6 points or reasons for using a lectionary from Reformed Church in America :


The Revised Common Lectionary harmonizes the major variants of the three-year lectionary used in North America, bringing to church-goers across the continent the same Scripture passages each week.

The lectionary has several advantages:

1. It covers a great breadth of Scripture–the whole counsel of God.

2. It provides a sequence from week to week (frequently from the New Testament).

3. It relates the gospel of the New Testament to its Old Testament antecedents (including an appropriate Psalter passage).

4. It follows the Christian year, with its focus on Christ.

5. It speaks to the persons and work of the Trinity.

6. It protects the congregation from a narrow preoccupation with the New Testament to the exclusion of the Old Testament.

Yours in the Lord,


On Reading the Bible Out Loud

Found this gem over on and heartily recommend the practice. When I worked part time in a pet food store years ago, during slow periods of the day, I would roam around reading out loud. It was a blessing and a great benefit. Give it a try.

Yours in the Lord,


Reading the Bible

by Reformed Reader


Here’s a good book that gives practical lessons on how to read the Bible aloud: Unleashing the Word by Max McLean and Warren Bird.  One section I appreciated was the list on how to prepare for reading the Bible aloud (I’ve edited to keep it brief):

1) Pray.  …When I pray, I usually close with the phrase that God will use this reading ‘for God’s glory and our good.’

2) Make sure the print is readable.  …You don’t want to lose your place or bury your face in the Bible as you read.

3) Understand your text.  Good readers demonstrate a deep commitment to an understanding of the text. …Good preparation involves a personal commitment to understanding the passage.

4) Block out your assigned text.  Most people are wired to only receive one thought or unit of information at a time.  As you initially read your text…, divide it into natural thought groups.

5) Find the passion.  Your delivery will be the result of preparation and commitment, but the key is to find your passion for the text – that emotional connection to the words.

6) Outline the emotional journey.  When you read Scripture, you are taking your hearers on an emotional journey.  Look for the ‘story’ in your text – a beginning, middle, and end based on your preparation (or look for the peaks, curves, and valleys).

7) Keep practicing!  The entire process will involve reading the passage at least eight times aloud before your actual presentation.  Stand up as you read.

8) Plan to have a verbally animated conversation with your audience.  Prepare yourself with the right attitude – you have something exciting and wonderful that you are about to share with your listeners.

9) Remember the role of faith.  …Believe that God will use his Word at it is spoken through people like you and me.

10) Rehearse the event.  If possible, practice reading the passage in the venue where you will be speaking with the sound system turned on. Practice the entire process: step up to the podium; introduce the text; read it, giving any concluding comment (‘this is the Word of the Lord’); make eye contact; and walk away from the podium (p. 101-103).

While I don’t agree with everything McLean and Bird write in this book, I do believe it is a helpful one for seminary students, elders, and pastors to study since reading the Word publicly should never be done casually or flippantly.  If you need some practical and biblical advice on reading the Bible out loud, you’ll want to get this book for sure.

Here’s the full info: Max McLean and Warren Bird, Unleashing the Word: Rediscovering the Public Reading of Scripture (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009).

shane lems

More than half of them pick up a King James Version

Older article worth reading.

The Most Popular and Fastest Growing Bible Translation Isn’t What You Think It Is

NIV vs. KJV: Surveys and searches suggest the translation that most Americans are reading is actually not the bookstore bestseller.
The Most Popular and Fastest Growing Bible Translation Isn't What You Think It IsPaul Keller/Flickr

When Americans reach for their Bibles, more than half of them pick up a King James Version (KJV), according to a new study advised by respected historian Mark Noll.

The 55 percent who read the KJV easily outnumber the 19 percent who read the New International Version (NIV). And the percentages drop into the single digits for competitors such as the New Revised Standard Version, New America Bible, and the Living Bible.

So concludes “The Bible in American Life,” a lengthy report by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Funded by the Lilly Foundation, researchers asked questions on what David Briggs of the ARDA, which first reported the results, calls “two of the most highly respected data sources for American religion”—the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study.

The numbers are surprising, given the strong sales of NIV translations in bookstores. The NIV has topped the CBA’s bestselling Bible translation list for decades, and continued to sell robustly in 2013.

The high numbers of KJV readers confirm the findings of last year’s American Bible Society (ABS) State of the Bible report. On behalf of ABS, Barna Group found that 52 percent of Americans read the King James or the New King James Version, compared with 11 percent who read the NIV.

The KJV also received almost 45 percent of the Bible translation-related searches on Google, compared with almost 24 percent for the NIV, according to Bible Gateway’s Stephen Smith.

In fact, searches for the KJV seem to be rising distinctly since 2005, while most other English translations are staying flat or are declining, according to Smith’s Google research.

Smith, whose research on how technology is shaping Bible use is profiled in this month’s CT cover story, blended data from Google Trends and the Google Keyword Tool to see how English Bible translations compare in search terms. Bible translation searches may not necessarily be an indicator of Bible transation usage—a Bible Gateway study earlier this year found dramatic differences between the cities most likely to search for Bible verses and the American Bible Society’s list of top “Bible-minded” cities.

Nevertheless, other studies also indicate that the KJV remains the translation powerhouse. A 2011 Lifeway study, for example, found that 62 percent of Americans—and 82 percent of Americans who regularly read the Bible—own a copy of the KJV.

“Although the bookstores are now crowded with alternative versions, and although several different translations are now widely used in church services and for preaching, the large presence of the KJV testifies to the extraordinary power of this one classic English text,” Noll commented in the IUPUI report. “It also raises most interesting questions about the role of religious and linguistic tradition in the makeup of contemporary American culture.”

Noll, a leading evangelical scholar, wrote a cover story for CT on where the world would be without the KJV.

The study from IUPUI in some ways paints a more religious picture of Americans than the ABS/Barna study, recording that 78 percent read their Bibles monthly, compared with the 41 percent found by Barna and the 53 percent found by Lifeway.

But IUPUI also found that fewer Americans read their Bibles every day—just 9 percent, less than the 13 percent recorded by Barna and half of the 18 percent found by Lifeway.

IUPUI also noted several main tells: You’re more likely to read the Bible if you’re female (56 percent compared with 39 percent of men), African American (70 percent read at least once a year, compared with 46 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of whites), and older (56 percent of those over 70 years old, compared with 44 percent of those between 18 and 29). You’re also more likely to read the Bible if you live in the South (61 percent) rather than the Northeast (36 percent).

While IUPUI found that readers name Psalm 23 as their favorite scripture, followed by John 3:16, Barna found that more people liked John 3:16 the best, followed by Psalm 23. (CT covered the 10 most-searched Bible verses of 2013.)

CT has reported on ABS’s State of the Bible reports, including how the Bible gained 6 million new antagonists in 2013.

CT’s previous coverage of the KJV includes a history of the translation, its influence, and how the KJV compares to other translations.

CT’s previous coverage of the NIV includes the Southern Baptist Convention’s rejection of the 2011 version for avoiding male pronouns where both genders are intended and responses from Lifeway and CT.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Keller/Flickr)

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POSTED:March 13, 2014 at 11:17AM
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Reformation Heritage Study Bible Premium Hardcover

Ok, I’m back…for a minute.

Bought a new Bible and wanted to share some pics of it since I was unable to find any online, except from the publisher and they were not very detailed.

From 2009 until December of 2015 I used a reference Bible only. In December I started reading The Orthodox Study Bible and found the “study notes1” helpful so I decided to go for it and get the Reformation Heritage Study Bible. The regular hardcover, IMO, looked a little tacky and I wanted just a plain jane cover. The black hardcover was listed as “Premium” for a few bucks more so I took a chance and ordered it.

Why hardcover?

The first two “leather” Bibles I purchased were bonded and felt worse in the hand than any of the high quality imitation leather covers I had seen on the market. After looking around online I ordered a Bible through Trinitarian Bible Society, printed by Cambridge, but straight out of the box the text block had pulled away from the cover. I didn’t complain, just sucked it up, TBS is a good organization worth supporting. It has lasted me seven years so I guess the issue is just cosmetic. When the Westminster Reference Bible was released from TBS I ordered the hardcover and came to prefer it over the limp leather or paperback bindings. The price was also a lot better which means I could save the money for more theological and devotional works. I am still happy with my Westminster Reference Bible and will continue to use it but I wanted a few notes to aid my study when I’m talking with folks at the coffee shop.

Google provided me with a few reviews for the Reformation Heritage Study Bible but nothing for the “Premium” hardcover so I thought I would post a few pictures so folks can see how nice it really is. I am not disappointed and highly recommend the Premium edition. This Bible is substantial with just over 2200 pages, and has a good Smyth sewn binding with heavy cover boards. Compared to the Westminster it is much better bound and the boards are thicker, with a leather look and feel, as well as gold gilding on the pages. The paper seems fine to me by the way. That’s all I’m going to say about the looks of the Bible since, for me, the Bible must be functional and durable rather than pur-tee.

The Notes

The real meat and potatoes can be found in the notes. The notes are taken from the works of the Puritans as well as modern Reformed Christians who have been influenced by Puritanism. The editors of the Reformation Heritage Bible have mined the works of William Ames, Geoff Banister, Charles Barrett, Brian Borgman, Wilhelmus A Brakel, Anthony Burgess, John Calvin, Stephen Charnock, Jonathan Edwards, Christopher Love, John Owen, William Perkins, Richard Sibbes, Thomas Watson, etc.  to provide us with a study Bible that is theological deep as well as practical. With this Bible you won’t have to worry about any modern controversies, modern textual criticism, etc. just time tested exegetical wisdom from solidly biblical Christians. The back of the Bible contains articles, creeds and confessions along with introductions, theological articles and practical questions for rumination. This Bible will help you anchor your biblical faith in the historical church.

Details From the publisher.

Product Description

A Study Bible to Feed Your Soul . . .

Thoughts for personal and family devotions for every chapter
Three dozen articles on how to live the Christian life
Guidance on how to experience the truths of the Bible

A Study Bible to Instruct Your Mind . . .

Thousands of study notes with integrated cross-references
Introductions to each section and every book of the Bible
Classic Bible text with explanations of difficult words
More than fifty articles on key Christian teachings
Concordance, color maps, daily reading plan, and more!

A Study Bible to Discover Your Roots . . .

Overview of twenty centuries of church history
Ancient creeds, confessions, and catechisms with introductions


Size: 6 ½ x 9 ¼

Page Font:

Bible: 9.8 pt. Minion Font

Notes: 8 pt. Myriad SemiCondensed Font

All Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bibles are Smyth Sewn for lasting durability. These editions of The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible are being printed by Jongbloed, a Dutch printer reputed as the world’s finest publisher of Bibles.

With the purchase of the Bible, you will receive a free access code to create an account at This will allow access to all the study notes from the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible online.

Each Bible is packaged in an elegant presentation box.

Smyth Sewn bindings use thread to sew through folded signatures of a book. Signatures are made by printing on large sheets and then folding into groups of pages, usually 16 or 24 at a time. Each signature is sewn individually with threads going through each page several times. The threads are then tied off. All of the signatures are likewise attached together with thread creating what is called the book block. The book block is further strengthened using flannel and adhesive on the spine.


General Editor: Joel R. Beeke is pres­i­dent and Pro­fes­sor of Sys­tem­atic The­ol­ogy and Homilet­ics at Puritan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, a pas­tor of the Her­itage Nether­lands Reformed Con­gre­ga­tion in Grand Rapids, Michi­gan, edi­tor of Ban­ner of Sov­er­eign Grace Truth, edi­to­r­ial direc­tor of Ref­or­ma­tion Her­itage Books, pres­i­dent of Inher­i­tance Pub­lish­ers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Trans­la­tion Soci­ety.

Old Testament Editor: Michael Barrett is Aca­d­e­mic Dean and Pro­fes­sor of Old Tes­ta­ment at Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He is a min­is­ter in the Free Pres­by­ter­ian Church of North Amer­ica. For­merly, Dr. Bar­rett served as pres­i­dent of Geneva Reformed Sem­i­nary. For almost thirty years, he was pro­fes­sor of Ancient Lan­guages and Old Tes­ta­ment The­ol­ogy and Inter­pre­ta­tion at Bob Jones Uni­ver­sity.

New Testament Editor: Gerald Bilkes is Pro­fes­sor of New Tes­ta­ment and Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy at Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He com­pleted a PhD (2002) from Prince­ton The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He was recip­i­ent of the United States Infor­ma­tion Agency Fel­low­ship at the Albright Insti­tute (ASOR) in Jerusalem dur­ing the 1997–1998 year.


1) not really study notes but Eastern Orthodox opinions on the text…but anyway

The Orthodox Study Bible


OSB without dust jacket

This year, 2016, I decided to read the Orthodox Study Bible. Last year I tried reading the New Living Translation but found it difficult to read with reverence for my devotions and damn near impossible to use for study. I gave up the NLT after only a few weeks and went back to my Authorized King James Version. The Orthodox Study Bible (OSB) grabbed my attention years ago when it was published as the New Testament and Psalms, which was a little misleading, only the notes were from the Eastern Orthodox perspective while the translation was taken from the New King James. I decided to wait until the OSB was published with the Old and New Testaments, including the deuterocanonical or apocrypha. A few thoughts on the OSB will follow.

POSITIVES: What I like about this Bible

=> The Bible itself (without the dust jacket) is beautiful! I find the red cover with gold embossing quite fetching. The 10 point text size and 8 point note size allows for easy reading. Throughout the OSB you will find colour Icons depicting different stories or people found in scripture.

=> If you are interested in learning about Eastern Orthodoxy this Bible might be the way to go. The study notes were taken from the church fathers including Ambrose of Milan, Elias the Presbyter, Eusebius, John Cassian, Leo the Great, Vincent of Lerins, etc. Many of the notes point to the Nicene Creed, Canon of St. Andrew and the Akathist Service. The notes also point out when a passage of scripture is read during a church service. For example, Genesis 13.12-18 has a note that reads, “This passage is read during Monday Vespers in the fifth week of Great Lent.” Again, “This passage is read during the Feasts of the Holy Fathers.” Genesis 14.14-20

=> Another aspect of the OSB that I find fascinating is the emphasis on pointing out the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whenever even the slightest hint of the Trinity can be found in scripture. A note from Genesis 1.2 reads, “The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit (BasilG; EphS). He proceeds from the Father, and is ‘the Lord and Giver of Life’ (Creed). Since He is Lord, He is coequal with the Father, and is His Coworker in making heaven and earth.” (The source abbreviations represent Basil the Great and Ephraim the Syrian.) Not only do you find a strong Trinitarian theology in the notes you also find a quiet/not so quiet denial of the Filioque. Bavinck refers to the Eastern Orthodox denial of Holy Spirit descending from the Father AND the Son (Filioque) as the last remnant of Subordinationism but I digress.

=> Throughout this Bible you’ll find theological notes that are helpful in understanding the Eastern Orthodox denominational opinion as well as a Lectionary, Morning and Evening Prayers.

=> It’s the Septuagint. I’ve wanted to read a translation of the LXX for some time, this Bible contains the complete LXX canon with the LXX ordering of the Books. I’ve included a list of Orthodox, Roman and Protestant canons below.


NEGATIVES: What I dislike about this Bible

=> Thomas Nelson produces some of the worse quality Bibles on the market! The paper is ok but the binding is horrible. I will probably have this Bible rebound at the end of the year.

=> NO CROSS REFERENCES! I’m a cross reference fanatic. My favorite Bible is the Westminster Reference Bible from TBS because of his massive cross reference system. The OSB doesn’t offer any cross references unless you include the random references in the notes. It would have been cool to use a cross reference system that took one through the apocryphal works…

=> The theological notes are humanistic and man centered. If you are looking for great examples of eisegesis this Bible will supply you with many. Off the top of my head, notes on church government and authority seemed forced upon the scriptures rather than draw from the scriptures.

=> If you set out on a long journey in the wrong direct you will miss your destination. The Eastern Orthodox deny original sin. Some examples from the OSB, “Human nature remains inherently good after the fall…” and “after the fall the intellectual, desiring and incensive aspects of the soul are natural and therefore neutral.” For anyone considering conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy please take time to investigate original sin or radical corruption.

=> The ordering of the Old Testament is confusing. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for the ordering, it’s very random… I’ll get use to it in time.

=> I’ve discovered the LXX uses a mixture of translation philosophies including extreme literalism and paraphrasing. I can’t confirm this it’s just a detail I recall from my studies a few years ago.

=> When the OSB arrived from the box had been opened and not secured shut again. At some point in its travels the dust jacket was ripped in half. That’s not a big deal really, the dust jacket had a creepy Icon representing Jesus Christ on it, I wasn’t going to use it anyway.



The Orthodox Study Bible will be an interesting read but it will not take the place of my plain Jane AV with references. I look forward to reading some of the apocryphal works just for kicks and reading through the LXX Psalms. Would I recommend this Bible? Too early to say. Maybe I’ll do a followup review.

Yours in the Lord,



Westminster Reference Bible from TBS


The Orthodox Study Bible


The OSB and Westminster

PS: My wife and I are considering matching Bible with Sproul’s Reformation Bible ESV high on the list. Any other recommendations? Thanks

Reblog: Analogy of Faith

From Abraham’s Seed

Traditional versus Dispensational Interpretation

The traditional method of Scriptural interpretation used by Protestants is well summed by the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), Chapter 1, Article 9:

Historic Baptist/Protestant View

The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.

Viewed from another vantage point is Augustine’s oft quoted saying that “the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and that the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed“.

According to Plan (Goldsworthy)

One small modern book that teaches Bible students how to study the Bible in light of the full revelation of Christ is Graeme Goldsworthy’s According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible. Goldsworthy highlights the key events of the Bible, such as creation, the fall, the promises to Noah, the call of Abraham, the Exodus from Egypt to Israel, the giving of the law, the wilderness temptation, the conquest of Canaan, the beginning of the monarchy, the Exile of Israel to Babylon, the prophetic promises, the coming of Christ, the outpouring of the Spirit, and the future consummation. He does so in a way which emphasizes that all of Scripture points to Christ and finds its ultimate fulfillment in Him.

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
(Luke 24:25-27)

In his own words:

“In doing biblical theology as Christians, we do not start at Genesis 1 and work our way forward until we discover where it is all leading. Rather we first come to Christ, and he directs us to study the Old Testament in the light of the gospel” (According to Plan, pg 55)


There is a modern system of interpretation that finds itself threatened by this approach to Scripture. An example of this school is Dr. Keith Essex, graduate of Dallas Seminary and professor at The Masters Seminary (associated with radio personality John MacArthur).

Dr. Essex takes particular exception to the preceeding quote from Goldsworthy. He strongly disagrees with the approach that the New Testament can be used as an interpretive aid in understanding the Old. Says Dr. Essex: “In contrast to Goldsworthy, the present reviewer would affirm that biblical theology should proceed from Genesis 1 and OT prophecies should be understood literally.

Literal Interpretation: But What Does It Mean?

Now, all conservative Bible students agree that the Bible should be interpreted ‘literally’; but only IF by ‘literally’ we mean in a normal and natural way (contra allegoricalism). But, this is not ALL the Dispensationalist means when he says ‘literal’. By literal, the Dispensationalist means that the Old Testament prophecies were intended to be understood by first generation of hearers entirely within their own historical context and culture. Given this interpretive grid, the reader must understand that all Old Testament prophecy must be comprehended (and must find their fulfillment) within the context of Old Covenant Temple Judaism without regard for future revelation or fulfillment.

Errors of Dispensationalism

The errors of this method are that it assumes that: 1) the original hearers were intended to fully understand the mysteries of God revealed to them, and 2) that we can only understand the Scriptures by understanding this original historical context.

Response to Dispensationalism

According to the Apostle Paul, Gentiles during the Old Covenant were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise” (Eph 2:12). But now that Christ has come, believing Gentiles are “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph 2:19). In these verses, the apostle is revealing that Gentiles can be (“contrary to nature”, Rom 11:24) fellow citizens of Israel and of the one people of God.

The Dispensationalist simply will not (cannot) accept this! If the Dispensational Bible student believes that Israelite hearers under the Old Covenant would have understood God’s promises to Israel to exclude Gentiles, then no later revelation can include them. For Dispensationalists, the Old has a sort of logical priority over the new.


The Apostle continues into chapter 3, writing of the same theme. He states:

…by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.
(Eph 3:3-6)

According to Paul, the things he himself wrote about Gentiles being engrafted into Israel were a mystery in “other ages” and were “not made known to the sons of men”. If indeed these matters were a mystery under the Old Covenant, it should only make rational sense that we would not try to understand them fully there.


The further issue I have with Dispensationalism is with the arrogant assumption that we can create models of interpretation, that if followed, allow us to fully understand Old Testament prophecy as the original hearers understood it. Not only is this arrogant, but within this there is a false assumption that everything revealed in Scripture was even intended to be fully comprehended by the generation that received it (a denial of mystery). In the end, I think our forefathers had it right. We should let the final and fuller revelation interpret the shadowy and less clear.

For more, see Problems in Dispensationalism and Dispensationalism and Ephesians.

Is “Calvinism” Biblical? (pt 8)


We are not made sons and daughters of God by our choice, our ability to discern the spiritual goodness of God or believe the Gospel. This ability to receive the Gospel is “lead by the Spirit.”

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Ro 8:14)

The Gospel is “revealed” “unto us by the Spirit.”

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Cor 2:10-13)

“no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (1 Cor 12:3)

The Spirit “giveth life.”

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (2 Cor 3:6)

The Spirit releases us from bondage and gives us freedom.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor 3:17-18)


The Lord performs the act of giving a new heart and it’s not contingent on the free will of man.

And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. (Deut 30:6)

How did you get to where you are today, sitting in church on Sunday’s, reading your Bible, struggling to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength?


God brought you to where you are today. He gave you a knew heart. It was God that brought you to a place where you can believe on His dear son Jesus Christ.

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: (Eze 11:19)

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Eze 36)

I’ll include a handy graphic that explains the order of salvation as presented in scripture.


But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1)

You cannot control the operations of the Holy Spirit, not by your will or choice. God will do as He pleases and brings salvation to those He chooses.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:3-8)

The Spirit brings us to faith by raising the spiritually dead, giving them life…(pisst, that’s what Calvin believed)

For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. (Joh 5)

The Holy Spirit moves us from a state of spiritual death and decay to life.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Cor 5;17-18)

It doesn’t matter what you do you cannot impress God. You can perform works, you may be a nice person, you could even claim to have faith but without the new birth performed by the Holy Spirit it means nothing. The Holy Spirit must move a “dead” sinner to life and belief.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Gal 6:15)

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Eph 2:5)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)

The Bible teaches that due to sin fallen man cannot believe in the Gospel.

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (Col 2:13)

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Tit 3:15)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Pet 1:3)

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Pet 1:23)

In our fallen state the Holy Spirit regenerates our soul. This is a gracious act of God. Amen.

Yours in the Lord,