Book Review: NIV Proclamation Bible


I love study Bibles. I cut my teeth on the NIV New Adventure Bible-a Study Bible for kids-in elementary school. Since then I’ve had an NASB Life Application Study Bible, which set the standard all future Study Bibles I have owned or used, and also an ESV Study Bible. All have been incredibly useful tools in personal Bible study, preparing to lead Bible studies, and doing research for teaching the Word to others.

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As some of you might have picked up by now, I am a big fan of Tim Keller. So when I read a quote by him saying “There are many Study Bibles, but none better,” I needed to find out which Bible he was referring to.

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Turns out that Keller’s quote was in reference to the NIV Proclamation Bible. Thanks to Zondervan I got my hands on a review copy. So is it the best study Bible ever???

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In a word, no. Now, I do think that it’s a very good resource for accomplishing its stated purpose. But that purpose is a bit different than most Study Bibles. More specific thoughts after the break. Continue reading

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Pray for the Drought (Or What Jonathan Edwards Might Say to Current Californians)


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If you have not heard, California is in the midst of a terrible drought. This is the fourth year of the current drought and all signs point to it getting worse before it gets better. The snowpack is at an all-time low, reservoirs and rivers are steadily dropping, and water rationing seems to be on the horizon.

As Christians, what should our response to this kind of situation be? I think that we are right to pray about this and ask God to miraculously intervene. After all, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit” (James 5:17-18, ESV). It is a good thing to pray about our physical world and for our physical needs.

But I think that we should additionally let the physical conditions of the world prompt us to remember the spiritual conditions too. The people who are physically thirsty here in California are spiritually thirsty as well. When we pray for God to pour out rain on our land, will we pray for God to also pour out his Spirit on our people?

In a sermon titled “Praying for the Spirit,” Jonathan Edwards says much the same thing (but better than I could ever phrase it!):

If rain be withheld and there be a drought, everybody is concerned. It is spoken of and lamented how the grass withers, and how the corn dies, and what a poor crop there is like to be; and there is, it may be, a great deal of praying for rain. But there may be a spiritual drought year after year, and not only in their crop, but no harvest at all in spiritual respects. Souls may be generally withering and drying up. And God is not very earnestly sought to, not because God is not as ready to bestow these blessings as the other–for he is, as has been shown, more ready to bestow them…[we must] seek them with vastly greater earnestness and diligence than we do temporal things, they being infinitely more necessary for us and will be so much more profitable to us.”

To clarify, I do not mean to take away from the seriousness of the current physical drought in California. It is a worsening situation that has an incredible direct and indirect impact on millions of people’s lives. But what I do mean to do is bring to our attention how concerned we are for the spiritual climate here in California (and elsewhere). May the lack of rain remind us to pray for the Spirit to be poured out and may the lack of the Spirit remind us to pray for the rains to come and be poured out too. And ultimately, may we simply be reminded to pray.

FREEsources-“Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life” by Stephen J. Nichols


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Crossway is giving away a FREE ebook copy of Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life for anyone who completes a short (5 question or so) survey about where they learn about new books. This giveaway is open today through March 15th. I have not read this entry yet but I have read the entry in this series on Jonathan Edwards. If this book is anything like that one then you should definitely get your hands on a free copy! Here’s the link to get started:

–> FREE copy of Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life <–

(and here’s the link to the Amazon page if you’d like to read some reviews first)

To Delay to Pray is to Fail to Pray


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“Guard yourselves against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, ‘Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.'”

-Martin Luther

I’ve been too guilty of this sort of thinking lately. “I’ll pray in a bit…just one more news article or funny video.” But the sad reality is that if I delay to pray, 99% of the time I fail to pray! May we guard ourselves vigilantly and dedicate ourselves to worthwhile endeavors instead of distractions that have little value in the grand scheme of things. Yes, it’s good to be informed or entertained…but consider praying first and then doing whatever else is on your plate. Will you regret watching fewer youtube videos today or failing to communicate with your Father?

“Love (III)” by George Herbert


Running across a quote of George Herbert’s in a book on Jonathan Edwards got me to dust off my British Literature textbook from college. As I read through his poems again, one in particular stood out and I thought I’d share.

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Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack’d anything.

“A guest,” I answer’d, “worthy to be here”;
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.

Recommendation Roundup (March 4)


I’m toying with adding a recurring feature where I share some of the more interesting things that I’ve recently read online. In the past I would share them directly to Facebook but I’m exploring ways to host more content here. So the following are some interesting articles I read in the past day or so that-for one reason or another-I think you might enjoy!

What Scares the New Atheists-a long, interesting read from The Guardian on what the author terms “Evangelical Atheists” and the problems with universal morality or values without the systems that gave them to the world (namely monotheism).

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“Why Our Children Don’t Think There are Moral Facts”-Is the information that George Washington was America’s First President a fact or opinion? If you said “fact” you’d better be prepared to personally prove/verify that. A great NYTimes piece on the importance of not just teaching children either/or thinking but allowing for nuance.

On My Shelf: Life and Books with Tim Keller-What is Tim Keller currently reading and what does he come back to again and again? A short piece from The Gospel Coalition where Keller answers a few similar questions.

Watch Colbert Discuss the Bible, Faith and Hymns with Fr. James Martin-Steven Colbert discusses his Catholic faith, favorite Bible verses, and more in this funny interview.

A Fuller Understanding of the Scriptures (Or, To the sources! To the Fount!)


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‘Lord, thou hast given me a determination to take up no principle at second-hand; but to search for everything at the pure fountain of thy word.’ -Andrew Fuller

It’s tempting to base our theology on what the “experts” have concluded on the topic. Have a question about doctrine? Well what does Tim Keller say about the subject? What about John Piper? Has MacArthur chimed in on the subject? How does N.T. Wright approach it? If you’re feeling especially interested you might even go to what Jonathan Edwards, Wesley, Calvin, or Augustine have said on the subject.

But coming across this quote by Andrew Fuller was an excellent and timely reminder about the true source of doctrinal and theological principles. May God give us a similar determination to not settle for “second-hand” theology but to instead go directly to the Word with any and every idea like the Bereans in Acts 17, who “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11, ESV).