Jacob – Being Transformed by Amazing Grace – The Bible Teacher’s Guide – by Gregory Brown – Comprehensive, Insightful & Interesting Bible Study About Jacob

One of my favorite books of the Bible, both to read and study, is the book of Genesis.  One of the characters I’ve struggled to understand is Jacob.  That’s why I was excited when Pastor, Teacher and Author Gregory Brown asked if I would like to read his newest Bible study, Jacob – Being Transformed by Amazing Grace.

This Bible study on Jacob is comprehensive.  Pastor Brown does not shy away from taking a closer look at some Jacob’s uglier character flaws, sin patterns and the sinful choices he made.  He also shows us areas of growth and faith in Jacob’s walk with God.  Additionally, he looks at the people in Jacob’s life, like his parents, brother, wives and children and we see how Jacob’s life impacted and influenced them.  Lest we think we are far superior to Jacob, there are some very convicting application questions and insightful commentary that will help us learn from Scripture and apply what we learn to our own lives.

Pastor Brown uses Scripture to interpret Scripture.  He studies the Scripture in context, line by line, verse by verse.

A few areas that Pastor Brown focuses on are:  Signs of Not Trusting God, Equipped in God’s Boot Camp, Protecting our Families from Sin and Dysfunctionality, Faithfully Following God, Living Out Our New Identity in Christ and the Consequences of Neglecting God.

Even though Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived over 4,000 years ago, their lives and what God did in their individual lives and families is very relevant to us today.  We can learn about who God is and who He has revealed Himself to be and how that should impact our lives.

This Bible study would be good for a small group study, an individual Bible study or to help someone prepare to teach from the book of Genesis about the life of Jacob.

I would like to thank Pastor Gregory Brown for the opportunity to read his latest Bible Teacher’s Guide on Jacob – Being Transformed by Amazing Grace.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

 

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Just Thinking About Scripture

This afternoon, I’ve been working on my Bible studies.  Even though, I’ve studied books Genesis and 1 Samuel before I continue to see things I’ve missed or overlooked before.  Today I was just wondering.

Is it significant that the Lord God’s curse on the serpent included that he would eat dust all the days of his life?  Specifically, the eating dust.  Interesting because the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground.

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being – Genesis 2:7

I just love that…God breathed in to his nostrils the breath of life.  First God formed Adam and then He breathed life into Adam.  Everything else that God created…He spoke it into existence.  But man…He form and breathed the breath of life into him.  That is up close and personal and paying attention to the fine details of His creation.

The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;

And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:14-15

My favorite translation of Genesis 3:15 is from the NIV.  I love the truth that on the cross Jesus crushed the serpent’s head.  It was a death blow.  Fatal and he is in the death throws right now.  But it is done!  Instead of bruising Jesus heal…it’s a strike.  Something quick…once.  A strike…but not something fatal.

    And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will crush your head,
and you will strike His heel.”

What is the significance in the Lord God’s curse on the woman that her desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you?  Is it looking on that fateful choice when Adam did not overrule his wife’s choice to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?  But now post fall, he will rule over you with a heart and mind tainted by sin.

To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.” – Genesis 3:16

What is the significance that God’s curse on Adam included that the ground is cursed because of Adam’s sinful choice?  The ground where God took the dust to make or fashion Adam.  Before sin, Adam was commanded to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  Post sin, the earth would not be as fruitful and require much effort to bring for the food.  Do the thorns and thistles reflect the barbs of sin that will impact all of creation?

God created Adam, formed and fashioned him starting with dust from the ground.  Now the curse of sin is death.  Adam, if he had not chosen to sin he would not have died.  But now he and all human beings, because of our sin, will die.  We will return to the dust from which the Lord started with to create man.

Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;

Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.

“Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;

By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.” – Genesis 3:17-19

 

In 1 Samuel, we were studying a dark time in Israel’s history when the Jewish priesthood was corrupt and the Lord allowed their defeat at the hands of their enemy the Philistines.  He allowed the Ark of the Lord God of Israel to fall into their hands.  But despite that…God’s sovereignty shines through.  There’s a question on how that encourages you.  This is what I recorded:

God is firmly, absolutely and completely in control, even when it seems like everything is out of control.

He is able to accomplish what He wants, when He wants and by whomever He chooses.

Get out of His way, obey God and trust Him fully.

I’m so very grateful to be part of some wonderful in-depth Bible studies.  Lord…keep me close and help me to understand Your Word and obey You.

 

In All things by Melissa B Kruger – An Excellent Bible Study!

When breaking for summer, my Bible study teacher recommended Melissa Kruger’s Bible study, In All Things, a study in the book of Philippians.

Because of that recommendation I was interested in reading In All Things and I’m so glad that I did.  I love finding solid Bible teachers so that I can use their books to stay in God’s Word when my regular Bible study breaks for summer.

In All Things, is an excellent Bible study.  Melissa teaches readers to learn a book of the Bible.  Each chapter is broken down in to five days and it includes studying the text to determine: Observation – What does the text say, Interpretation – What does the text mean, and Application – How does the text transform me.  Each chapter concludes with a devotional based on the text that was studied.

Melissa goes through the book of Philippians verse by verse.  She encourages people to read through the complete text multiple times so that you get very familiar with it.  Each day you will be reading the specific text you are studying.  The questions that are asked help the reader to pull out the facts of what the Apostle Paul wrote and help you unpack the text.  What does it say, what does it mean and how should I apply it to my life?

To help better understand the passage, Melissa may have the reader look up other Scripture verses that may correspond to what’s studied.  She uses Scripture to help interpret Scripture.  You learn to study Scripture within context.

This study is mature, Christ centered and helps the student to develop godly wisdom and discernment.  Melissa asks some hard, but true and necessary questions.  She is open, transparent and has a godly humility.

I encourage anyone looking for a good solid Bible study to read and work through In All Things by Melissa Kruger.  You will come away with a good understanding of Philippians.  You will have developed some good Bible study techniques and know how to study the Bible, verse by verse and in context.

This Bible study would be good resource for a personal or group study or even a formal women’s Bible study at church.

I would like to thank Edelweiss and Multnomah Publishing for the opportunity to read In All Things by Melissa Kruger in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.  I am looking forward to going through this study in future.

 

 

The Church in Babylon Study Guide by Erwin W Lutzer – A Timely Reminder and Call to Be Prepared

In a world that seems to be fast spinning out of control, we unfortunately see some churches and people who believe they are Christians that seem to have no moorings to which they are anchored.  We live in perilous times, especially for churches that do not hold fast and firm to the foundational truths taught in Scripture.

Pastor Erwin Lutzer has written a new book and study guide, The Church in Babylon.  Its message is timely and will hopefully spark a study in God’s Word that will encourage believes to know what God says and choose to live in light of truth found in Scripture.

Topics include Finding God in Enemy Territory, Keeping the Faith in a Hostile Work Environment, Courage to Confront a Deadly Enemy, Calling out the Lies of the Culture, and Prayerless Pulpits, Satisfied Saints and Spiritual Blindness.

The Church in Babylon is thought provoking.  The study guide includes some good questions for people to examine their knowledge of Scripture and compare it secular culture’s views.  I appreciate that Pastor Lutzer is uncompromising to the truth that God gave us in the Bible and that he reinforces his arguments with Scripture.  More and more the church will face pressure and disapproval from a culture that is guided by feelings, not facts.  Pastor Lutzer doesn’t shy away from controversial topics that are affecting our culture and making their way into our churches.

Until I started reading the book, I didn’t realize it was just the study guide for The Church in Babylon.  Even as study guide, it was very good.  I’m sure I would like the book even more.

I recommend Erwin Lutzer’s new book and study guide, The Church in Babylon.  I would like to thank Moody Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read The Church in Babylon Study Guide in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

The Church in Babylon by Erwin Lutzer will be published August 7, 2018.

First Timothy – Becoming a Good Minister of Christ Jesus – by Gregory Brown – A Timely Word and Study for Today

Pastor Gregory Brown presented me with the opportunity to read his most recent Bible study, the Bible Teacher’s Guide in the book of First Timothy – Becoming a Good Minister of Christ Jesus.

Once again, Pastor Brown has done an excellent and thorough job of expositional teaching of the Bible. Going verse by verse, he helps the reader/student to understand Scripture in context. He uses Scripture to interpret Scripture.

He’s deals straight with the truth and the Bible is the standard by which he measures truth or falsehood and right and wrong. It’s clear he desires that the church be equipped to know and teach God’s Word and live it out in their daily lives. He asks hard questions, challenges Christians to examine themselves and be serious about their faith.

I found the questions throughout the book to be challenging, sobering and very convicting. He doesn’t shy away from dealing with topics that are controversial in today’s culture. He uses Scripture, Old Testament and New Testament, to back up his assertions and interpretations.

First Timothy – Becoming a Good Minister of Christ Jesus by Pastor Gregory Brown is an excellent book and resource for Bible study. It would be a great help to prepare someone who is going to be leading a study, or for group or individual study.

I highly recommend Pastor Gregory Brown’s newest Bible study, First Timothy – Becoming a Good Minister of Christ Jesus.

 

Abraham Living the Life of Faith by Gregory Brown – A Solid Bible Study That Will Challenge You and Help You Grow

Abraham: Living the Life of FaithI’m grateful when I come across a Pastor or Bible study teacher who is sound in their theology because it’s rooted and grounded in the Bible.  Pastor and teacher Gregory Brown is one of those men.  He studies to show himself as a workman approved and accurately handles the Word of Truth.

That’s why, I was eager to read Pastor Gregory Brown’s newest Bible Teacher’s Guide, Abraham: Living the Life of Faith.  I’ve been privileged to study the book of Genesis in-depth several times under solid Bible teachers.  Even though I’m familiar with Abraham’s story, Pastor Brown shares some sound interpretation of the passages and brings some new insights in this man of God who is foundational to both the Jewish and Christian faiths.  He does this through the sound exposition of the Scripture.

Not only does he examine Abraham’s life and his faith, both his victories and failures, but Pastor Brown helps the reader to ask some challenging questions and apply what they are learning to their own lives.

You may wonder, what you can learn from a man who lived over 4,000 years ago.  Is his life relevant to you today in a much different day and age?  I can answer that with a resounding yes.  Abraham, who was called by God and is known as a friend of God, is a Patriarch whom we can learn much from.

Do you ever wonder if God still calls people today?  As a Christian how well do you respond to trials?  Do you know any believers who seem to be falling away from their faith or are friends of this world?  Do you ever do battle with fear, doubt and discouragement?  Ever find yourself struggling with a sin, time and time again?  Can you have victory over that sin?  What promises in the Bible belong just to the people whom God spoke to and which ones can you as a Christian know with confidence belong to you too?   These are just some of the areas Pastor Brown delves in to.

If you want a quick one minute Bible reading for each day with a clever quote, this book may not be for you.  But if you want to better understand the Bible and who God is as He has revealed Himself in the perfect and inerrant Word of God, Abraham: Living the Life of Faith may be just what you are looking for.  If you want someone who will deal with you straight, someone who preaches the Word in season and out of season, someone who will reprove, rebuke and exhort you with patience and instruction, then I encourage you to read Pastor Gregory Brown’s newest Bible Teacher’s Guide – Abraham: Living the Life of Faith.  This book would be good for a group study and also for the individual.

I would like to thank Pastor Gregory Brown for the opportunity to read Abraham: Living the Life of Faith.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

If you would like to know more about Pastor Gregory Brown, please take a look at his website:  Gregory Brown.  On this website, you can learn about additional resources that are available.

 

The Bible Habit by David Ramos – Mixed Review

I’ve had the opportunity to read some author David Ramos’ devotionals and enjoyed them very much and appreciated some of his insights.  That’s why I was excited to read his newest book, The Bible Habit.

After reading The Bible Habit, I had some conflicting thoughts and observations about this book.  When David sticks with the Bible and shares some of what he’s learned from studying the Bible it’s good, thought provoking and challenging.  When he delves into secular studies, science or philosophy to encourage or prompt people to read the Bible, I think he got off course.  There were a couple of times, he referenced sources that are not Biblically sound writers or teachers.

The good…I appreciated that David started with the importance of people understanding the Bible in context and he went on to explain what that means and why it’s important.  In a day and age when context is thrown to the wind, it was refreshing to see David reinforcing this important truth.

The chapter on The Memory Boosting Tactic had some good ideas on how to learn, remember and memorize the Bible.  I didn’t care for the secular references on learning.  The Beginner’s Ultimate Toolbox referenced some good study tools that people can use to better understand the Bible and dive deeper.  I take issue with David’s opinion that there is no wrong translation to start with.  Absolutely, it makes a big difference on starting with a translation that is accurate and sound.  If you don’t, you can more easily be led astray with false teaching.

The chapter Two Souls Are Better Than One was a great reminder, we shouldn’t be solo Christians.  God calls us to be part of a community.  David did a good job in sharing some of the benefits and challenges of being part of a church or Bible study or Christian community.  I would like to add that it is important what community we are a part of.  We need to make sure that it has Biblically sound teaching.

The chapter on Prayer, The Truth Igniter, had some good insights and references.  But I was concerned about with the reference of Richard Foster in how to pray the Bible.  Richard Foster is part of the spiritual formation and contemplative prayer movement.  Foster is not biblically sound.  Steer clear of his teaching.

The not so good…the chapter on Building Blocks of a Habit had some practical tools to help you develop the beneficial habit of reading the Bible.  But this chapter seemed to miss the boat in acknowledging that the Bible is from God and the primary source that God uses to reveal Himself and it is a privilege to read it.  I felt this chapter downplayed the authority of God’s Word and made reading the Bible seem common and lowly.  So much so, that you should put incentives in place to read the Bible like you would when starting a new exercise program.  Also, I disagree with David’s suggestion to not read a book of the Bible chapter by chapter, but aim for reading by story.  Reading a book of the Bible helps you to read and understand it within context.  The mix of secular and Bible in this chapter didn’t mix well.

To sum things up, I had some mixed and conflicting thoughts about The Bible Habit by David Ramos.  He had some beneficial thoughts and tools for people to consider as they learn to study the Bible.  However, I was concerned with the secular studies and science that he cited to incentivize reading the Bible as well as a Christian writer who is not biblically sound.  At times, I felt like he was making the Bible palatable, when in fact it is the perfect and inerrant Word of God.

Would I recommend it?  Maybe.  Some of the material is beneficial for a new Christian or an unbeliever wanting to know how to read God’s Word.  But I would also be concerned that they start with a biblically sound foundation, have a high view of Scripture and steer clear of false teachers.

I would like to thank author David Ramos for the opportunity to read The Bible Habit.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.