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.

 

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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.

 

The Armor of God – Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare – by Pastor Gregory Brown

Armor of God - Gregory Brown

When Pastor Gregory Brown presented me with the opportunity to read his newest Bible study, The Armor of God – Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare, I said yes without delay.  Previously I had read his Bible study on the book of Philippians – Pursing Spiritual Maturity – and I appreciated that Pastor Brown is a solid Bible teacher.

Pastor Brown has once again has shown himself to be a 2 Timothy 2:15 kind of pastor and teacher.  He is a workman approved rightly dividing the Word of truth.  He preaches Christ and Him crucified.

Pastor Brown has done a thorough study of Ephesians 6:10-20 and it’s evident in his exposition of the Scripture.  He uses Scripture to interpret Scripture.  He uses Scripture to give examples on what we should do or not do, and take heed and learn from other’s failures.  He shares some keen insights into the armor God has provided for the saints to wear so we can be victorious in this battle.  Pastor Brown takes the Word of God seriously and knows the power of God’s Word in a believer’s life to help us grow in holiness, obedience and sanctification.

Something I especially appreciate about Pastor Brown’s studies is that he doesn’t presume that the readers are Christians.  He knows that there will be some who are in church or in a Bible study, but not in Christ.  He shows through Scripture how you can be saved from sin and know with assurance of your salvation in Christ.

I was challenged, reproved, corrected and encouraged as I read this study on The Armor of God by Pastor Gregory Brown.  I highly recommend this Bible study.  It would be good for the individual who wants to better understand Ephesians and the Armor of God.  It would also be a good study for a small group or to prepare a Bible study leader teaching this passage.

Are you tired of feeling like you are losing spiritual battles?  Maybe it’s time for you to dig deeper in to God’s Word and learn how you can be equipped to Stand Firm in Spiritual Warfare.

I would like to thank Pastor Gregory Brown for the opportunity to read his new Bible study, The Armor of God – Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare, in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

If you would like to know more about Pastor Gregory Brown and his Bible studies, you may want to visit his website:  Gregory Brown

 

Philippians – Pursuing Spiritual Maturity by Gregory Brown – A thorough exposition and study of God’s Word

Philippians Pursuing Spiritual Maturity

Recently I was offered the opportunity to read Pastor Gregory Brown’s new Bible study Philippians – Pursuing Spiritual Maturity – The Bible Teacher’s Guide. I had not heard of Pastor Brown or his Bible studies before so I looked up information on him and found favorable reviews and feedback on his work. So I agreed to take a look at his new Bible study in the book of Philippians and I’m so glad I did.

In these spiritually perilous days in which we live in, it’s heartening to find a solid Bible study from a Pastor and teacher who takes the Word of God seriously. Pastor Brown does solid and thorough exposition of the Scriptures. He begins the study talking about whom the author is, the historical background and purpose of the book. He goes on to look at what are the signs and marks of a healthy (and unhealthy) church, its members and how we can develop spiritual maturity, grow in our walk with Christ and with body of Christ where we worship and serve.

I found this study very convicting and challenging. As you work through this study you will be examining yourself according to God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you through the washing of the Word.

If you want an easy Bible study that will make you feel good and doesn’t take much time, this probably isn’t it. But if you want to grow and mature in your walk with Christ and have real and lasting changes in your inner man which are reflected outwardly, then this study is for you. If you want to be better equipped to lead a Bible study, this book will give you a solid understanding of the book of Philippians.

I would like to thank Pastor Gregory Brown for the opportunity to read his Bible study Philippians – Pursuing Spiritual Maturity. I look forward to going through other studies by this gifted teacher. Be sure to check out his website, Gregory Brown, where you can find his Bible studies, sermons, articles and blog.

I was offered this book free in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Parables by John MacArthur – An Excellent Read and Resource

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Pastor John MacArthur’s latest book is Parables – The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through The Stories Jesus Told. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to read this book because of the solid Bible teaching it contains.

Before diving into the parables, Pastor MacArthur explains, from Matthew 13, why Jesus started teaching in parables.  He had specific truths He was trying to convey to those who had the ears to hear. It wasn’t to make it easy for the common people to understand what He was teaching. Instead, the symbolism used in the parables was to hide the truth from those who had no desire to know what Christ was saying.

Pastor MacArthur brings clarity and helps the reader understand the truths contained in these stories. Unlike allegories, not everything in a parable has significance, but there is a profound truth to be understood. In this book a parable is defined as, “an ingenious simple word picture illuminating a profound spiritual lesson.”

This book covers select parables in ten chapters, including the parables of the soils/seed, the good Samaritan, and the rich man and Lazarus. Some of the parables are only a sentence or two long, but there’s a meaning that Christ wanted His followers to understand.

In this day and age, it is important for Christians to be wise and discerning and know when a pastor or teacher is accurately teaching God’s Word. This book will help you to be equipped as you study God’s Word for yourself. One of the benefits to the reader is that you will be able to take what you’ve learned and apply it as you study the Bible and read Jesus’ parables and teachings for yourself.

I greatly appreciate Pastor John MacArthur’s high view of God and Scripture. He is thorough in his study and exposition of the Bible. He is insightful and courageous as he speaks the truth about what’s happening in our culture and in today’s churches.

I highly recommend Parables by Pastor John MacArthur. This book is a great resource for anyone who loves to read and study God’s Word and for those who are new to studying the Bible. Whether you are a new Christian or mature, you’ll want to read this book.

I would like to thank BookLook and Thomas Nelson Publishers for the opportunity to read Parables by John MacArthur in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

LORD, I Want to Know You More

Ps 23

Recently, I was reading my Joni Eareckson Tada devotional before I went to sleep and something she said really stuck with me.

When reflecting about knowing Christ, Joni prayed, “Lord, I confess that I know more about You than I really know You.  I don’t want to be that way.  Never, never do I want my knowledge of You to be an illusion.  Help me to consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing You.”

When I read that sentence, “I know more about You than I really know You”, it jumped off the page.  I felt like the Holy Spirit was calling me to pay attention and ask, “Lord, do I know more about You than know You?”  As much as I hate to admit it, I’m afraid that’s true.

Why would I settle for knowing something about Christ, rather than spend the time getting to know Him and have a deep and growing relationship?

In some respects knowing something about God is easier than having a relationship.  It’s black and white, it’s on a page.  I can add to my growing list of truths what I know about God.  I can check off my box I’ve read my Bible today or prayed.  I can fit it neatly in to my daily schedule.

But’s it’s a whole different thing to spend time and get to know the Lord.  It includes being vulnerable and honest about my failings, fears, limitations and sin.  It’s taking a risk and waiting upon the Lord.  Will He really do what He says He can do?  Will I trust God when He’s silent, when His timing is different than my timing and when His plan looks a whole lot different than my plan?  I will be disciplined and choose to take my every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?  Will I take the time to put on the Armor of God each and every day?  Will I focus my mind when I’m reading the Bible and not be distracted and let my mind wander?  Will I seek counsel from God’s Word rather than from the world, or from my heart which is deceitfully wicked apart from the life changing work of Christ in me?  Will I meditate on God’s Word and let it convict, correct, encourage, strengthen and change me?  Will I set aside the distractions of this world…phones, computers, Facebook, Twitter and allow the silence to quiet my heart and mind?  Will I tune my ear to hear the chastisement of the Holy Spirit?  Will I bend my knee and say, “Thy will be done.”?

Lord, as we begin a new school year and study Your perfect, holy and inerrant Word, I ask You to help me know You more.  I want to know the Bible well, so I can discern truth from error.  But I also want to spend time getting to know You more.  May that time with You change who I am and how I live each day.  I want to trust You more, I want to love You more and I want to unashamedly tell others of the salvation and hope that I found in You Jesus.