Showing posts with label Resources. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Resources. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2024

How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth: Coffee Pot Conversations

Picture of open book featured

Big Idea: The book "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth" is extremely useful for understanding the Bible because it approaches the various sections of the Bible by genre, giving helpful tips for reading and interpretation.

Coffee Pot Conversations

Coffee pot in front of theological books
The joke goes like this. “Two Seminary Professors go up to a Barista…”

Seriously, though, it was in the Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary corridors that a New Testament scholar (Gordon Fee) ran into an Old Testament scholar (Douglas Stuart). 

The coffee pot was where most theological discussions took place at the seminary where my husband and I studied.

“Hey I’ve got an idea for a book on understanding the Bible. Could you look it over and give your thoughts?”

After reading it, Douglas Stuart suggested, “Let’s call it 'How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth'.”


Fee at Gordon Conwell

Gordon Fee, son of a Pentecostal minister with serious respect for the Word of God and its life application, became a preacher and seminary professor.

He got the idea for this book from speaking in churches. He often taught seminars or Sunday School classes on reading the Bible by understanding the genre in which it was written.

“Why has no one ever told us how helpful this is to Bible study?” people said over and over to him.

The rest is not history

It did not sell well immediately till an astute editor at Zondervan Publishing sent hundreds of copies across America to church teachers, and it took off like crazy!

Over a million copies are now in print.

There have been 4 updated editions and a couple of sequels.

Some have indicated this book is for seminary students. NOT TRUE! It’s for all who want to read and understand the Bible better!

holding up book

Also of note. The first edition 1981, Second edition 1993, Third edition 2003, Fourth 2014. It is useful to read any of them. Most of the updates have to do with updating newer, more reliable Bible translations and how they help. Some clarify things that were not understood in earlier editions. Gordon Fee died recently in 2022. Douglas Stuart is still a Biblical Scholar teaching at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

If you find an older edition at a thrift shop or used bookstore, feel free to grab it and glean from its wisdom. They still give a ton of great advice.

Why is it so helpful?

It teaches you to pay attention to the genre (style) of the Bible section you are reading. It is best to read for instance Psalmist poetry differently from Gospel parables. Your approach, understanding and application would vary greatly between the two.

This is not rocket science but most people never think of this, nor how helpful it can be.

The tips offered in each section are insightful. They unlock great keys to correctly discern the purpose and lessons.

It is great to know that both Fee and Stuart deeply love God, the Bible, and want it to be applied to people’s daily lives. They are not dusty old professors in a high tower of oblivion.

How the chapters work

Note this is my quick digest of the book. You will find someone has posted a very good outline (55 pages worth) on squarespace (click here) that you can read that is more thorough.

There is a PDF of the entire book second edition if you click here.

My digest of what the chapters address

1. Introduction: the Need to Interpret

What is the nature of Scripture, and what is Exegesis and Hermeneutics and why do we need to learn to do them?

2. The Basic Tool: A Good Translation

Since most of us don’t know the original languages of the Bible, we rely on good English translations. What is important to a good Bible translation?

3. The Epistles: Learning to Think Contextually

Each one of these are written for a specific audience and occasion. We should look at the historical and literary context of these passages to understand what they say to us today.

4. The Epistles: The Hermeneutical Questions

The two basic rules for interpretation are established. Guidelines are given for what is indifferent and matters that are vital. The cultural contextual guidelines specific to the New Testament are discussed.

5. The Old Testament Narratives: Their Proper Use

What narrative stories are all about, what they do for us and how we should not use them. Principles they present for interpretation are very valuable. Caution guardrails suggested are immensely useful.

6. Acts: The Question of Historical Precedent

The key focus and model that emerges through the stories of Acts give perceptive. Three helpful principles are given to apply to these historical narratives.

7. The Gospel: One Story, Many Dimensions

There are four Gospels; none are written by Jesus. They give sayings and stories; each author with their own emphasis. The historical context and literary context are reminders how to examine them in this time period.

8. The Parables: Do You Get the Point?

Look at the audience to whom it was given, notice what kind of parable it is (story, similitude, metaphor or simile, epigram), how it functions for the original audience. Suggestions where to begin with interpretation.

9. The Law(s) Covenant : Stipulations for Israel

What the Old Testament law is, how to handle the Old Covenant in light of the New Covenant, what we can learn from the old laws even for those non-applicable for us today. Laws categorized; apadictic, casuistic, food, about blood, unusual prohibitions and blessings. Helpful list of do’s and don’t’s.

10. The Prophets: Enforcing the Covenant in Israel

The nature of prophecy, the function of prophecy, the task of understanding, forms of utterance (lawsuit, woe, promise), poetry and suggestions for interpretation with a caution, a concern and a benefit.

11. The Psalms: Israel’s Prayer and Ours

Notation that the Psalms were often not God’s spoken words to people, but words spoken to God or about Him (inspired by Him of course). Look at the Psalms as poetry, as literature, and how it was used in ancient Israel. Types of Psalms; Lament, thanksgiving, hymns of praise, salvation history, celebration or affirmation, wisdom, and trust. Three benefits of the Psalms explained.

12. Wisdom: Then and Now

The nature of wisdom, its’ abuse, limits, and who is considered wise. Ecclesiastes, Job and Proverbs addressed differently as well as the Song of Songs.

13. The Revelation: Images of Judgment and Hope

The nature of Revelation (as Apocalyptic, Prophecy and Epistle). Principles to apply to understanding it and helpful tips for interpretation give insight.

I highly recommend referring to this book when you are studying specific sections of the Bible.

The Word of God always comes first!

There are many great Bible tools around! Just be sure studying them does not replace the primary importance of the Bible! The Word of God always comes first! Read it today!

This series is about Bible study tools. There are many types of Bibles and helpful resources like a concordance or Bible dictionary. Information about their book and their electronic version are included. Cost and “how to use” are addressed.


Previous: What the Bible is All About: by the Amazing Henrietta Mears
Up next: Top Ten Things Most Valuable at the Bible Project



1. Have you ever felt afraid to try to interpret the Bible from reading it on your own?

2. Do you get much out of reading it? Why do you think that is or is not? What helps or what do you think might help? 

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5 NLT

Thursday, February 29, 2024

My Favorite Bible Tools Come From Rose Publishing

Big Idea: Explore the many helpful colorful Bible tools from Rose Publishing.

My Favorite Bible Tools Come From Rose Publishing

“I like books with pictures,” I told my Bible study class. I was using a pamphlet on the Tabernacle for a study of the book of Exodus. More information was in a big book I showed them from Rose Publishing.

Different people learn using different parts of the brain. I am definitely a visual learner!

This is why I love Rose Publishing so much!

About 10 years ago a Bible study I led thanked me with a $20 gift certificate to a local Bible Bookstore. As I wandered around like a kid in a candy store, my eyes fell upon a spiral bound book, Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps and Timelines. I got that and have referred to it often.

What makes Rose Publishing so useful?

Maps Charts and Timelines

Rose Publishing does maps, charts and timelines exceptionally well. They are easy-to-read and accurate. They have helpful information. The information is accurate and Biblically sound. It is also practical, helpful stuff.

They show comparisons, such as their Maps of Israel Then and Now. They have giant wall charts for an office or classroom.

Overviews of Information

Rose takes big information and breaks it down into easily recognizable categories that get fleshed out. They cover lists from the Bible like the Twelve Disciples, the Feasts of the Bible, what’s in the tabernacle and then the temple, the Armor of God and so on.

Rose provides helpful comparisons. They have a chart comparing the different Bible translations. They have a whole DVD series/powerpoint and book about 4 different Christian views on the end times. They compare Ancient Israel with Israel today.

Rose presents great overviews. I have taught a Sunday School class on the Bible Overview, using their book and powerpoint of the same name. It breaks down by sections of the Bible showing the theme, outline, key verses, connection to Jesus and usefulness for believers.

This spring I am going to use that same Bible Overview to teach a 7 week rapid overview of the Bible in a community education program for senior adults.

They also show overviews of prophesy throughout the Bible. How the Bible fits chronologically. The names of God in the Bible as a whole. Church history and Bible history overview.

Seeing how the Bible ties together and how the storyline is consistent is a very valuable thing for us to grasp. Rose Publishing tools show that.  

Various formats

With various formats come various prices and various levels of depth.

Pamphlets are a visual way to view a topic with a bird’s eye view. They contain a lot of detail with charts and illustrations succinctly presented.

They are laminated so you can refer to them over and over. They are thin enough to use as a bookmark in your Bible.

Pamphlets are the cheapest item to buy on a topic. They are usually $4.99 but they are periodically 50% off.

Topic examples

Powerpoint and ebooks.  This source is a Bible Study leader’s dream. The many powerpoint presentations come ready to teach. They are not made into lesson by lesson so you can break them up as you need them.

They are also a very easy way to go slide by slide through information if you like to learn on your own.

Most of the powerpoints have a pamphlet and an ebook, and/or paperback, that you can buy to dig more deeply into the subject.

Many of these cover books of the Bible or Christian History topics

Cost: Most powerpoints are $39.99. Periodically they have a 50% off special so I have a wish list I keep to snatch one when it is on sale.

Examples of powerpoint lessons – (many of the above pamphlets are also available as powerpoint).
There is a lot more available! Just take a look at their website or punch in Rose Publishing at Amazon or CBD.

Wall Maps and Charts

Rose Publishing has some fantastic tools for the office or classroom.  The regular price for them is $14.99.  For instance it has a 10 foot chart of world and church history. 

For instance:

Ten Foot World and Church History Timeline  currently $14.99 at Hendrickson/Rose
Jesus and the Apostles
Holy Land Then and Now Relief Map
Exodus Wall Map
Paul's Journeys Then and Now Wall Map

FREE stuff

You KNOW how much I appreciate free stuff! 

I became so aware of all their resources by getting on their email list.  They immediately send you 15 free echarts.  They then send you free charts periodically. 

Here is a screenshot of their deal currently. I kept getting them for 3 years and only recently unsubscribed because I own a number of resources now.

It includes sale notifications time to time for up to 50% off in various categories, free shipping days, and so on. I was able to try them and see for myself that their charts and additional resources are helpful.

I personally don’t use children’s material but they also have resources for children. A popular series is about Instant Bible Lessons for. Toddlers, Preschoolers and Preteens.

The Word of God Always Comes First!

There are many great Bible tools around! Just be sure studying them does not replace the primary importance of the Bible! The Word of God always comes first!

This series is about Bible study tools. There are many types of Bibles and helpful resources like a concordance or Bible dictionary. Information about their book and their electronic version are included. Cost and “how to use” are addressed.


Previous: Soup to Nuts II: Bible Dictionary Series
Up next: Where in the World is Ur of the Chaldees? The Bible Atlas


1. How do you learn best? Do you like to read and listen to lectures, learn through videos or images, is participation or hands on most effective for you? 

2. Check out Rose Publishing pamphlets. Do you think the Rose resources might have something for you?

(I have not monitized my site and get nothing from Rose Publishing for featuring their stuff!)

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Watch the Bible


The Big Idea: Get to know the Bible better watching videos of the Bible as quoted word-for-word.  

See the Gospels Not Just Read Them

In our media driven world we are privileged to have several videos available to us with the Bible read and re-enacted for us word-for word. Here's what it does for us:

  • It lets us view the Bible in a fresh way.
  • We observe customs, the ancient lifestyle, weather, topography of the land and so on.
  • We see the nuance of a glance or a smile, proximity people with Jesus, Jesus’ human emotions.
  • We can visual the story of real people in a real place. Perhaps we identify with a character.
  • We can insert ourselves in the story like a fly on the wall and see what Jesus does.

The current best word-for-word video series

LUMO PROJECT  provides each gospel in full. It is made using Middle Eastern actors with a Bible lands setting. Because of the Middle Eastern actors and direct reading of the Bible, it is easily viewed and translated into many languages. You will find many other languages represented on the YouTube channel. Languages like Bengali, Farsi, and Malagasy. If you have international students in your life, or neighbors or relatives who speak another primary language, this is definitely a resource!

On YouVersion Bible App for free here.

The Lumo Project video channel free here. Search for book and chapter such as "Matthew 5"

Occasionally it is available for free on streaming services, such as Amazon Prime or Netflix. Just check on it.

Here is a sample of Mark 6: 1-29

Other Word-for-Word Videos

The Gospel of John (2003) Distributed by Lions Gate. I enjoy the playful light in the eyes of the one who plays Jesus.


The series, "The Visual Bible" in cooperation with International Bible Society, has produced several excellent productions that are very useful.

The Visual Bible: Matthew (1993)

The Visual Bible: The Acts of the Apostles (1994) I love seeing the book of Acts come to life!

The Gospel According to Luke (1979) is the King James Version being read. It is from New Media Bible. It was released as The Jesus Film Project. This also has been dubbed into many languages and is still widely available. When I was a missionary in Guinea, West Africa, this film was shown widely. It was often the first time for many to hear about Jesus. The website "Blue Letter Bible" has it broken down into chapter by chapter of Luke here.

Biblical Movies Adapted

It is important to be aware of a couple factors concerning adaptive text Biblical movies compared to the word-for-word Biblical movies. These movies create dialogue because a lot of the Bible is narration. The Scriptures are not written like a screenplay. These movies take creative license in their desire to create an engaging story creating conversations that might or might not have happened.

These conversations inserted to the story in addition to the Biblical text are man's interpretation. It might even unknowingly reflect bias.  It is harder to translate these into other languages because of idioms and other modern Western influence though unintentional.

On the other hand, sometimes the woven story gives a very good picture of what might have plausibly happened. The accuracy to Biblical truth depends on the seriousness of the writers and producers. Do they make efforts be true to the scriptures and with good, faithful Biblical background to the original text, cultural context and customs of the day?  Done well, these films can help us have a much better picture and understanding of the context in which the Bible was written.

Before you watch an adapted movie double check who backs the production.  Ask spiritually mature Christians what they think of the adaptation. Opinions may vary but it is valuable to discuss it. You may find these trustworthy opinions online on a Christian website such as through Plugged in: Focus on the Family or Christianity Today, for instance. Usually if a Bible publishing house backs a movie that is a very good sign.

While watching, consider what you know what the whole Bible says and (Scripture interprets Scripture) what you know to be true of God. Create discussion with pastors, teachers and good Christian friends on the portrayal. Ask yourself what you think is the intent of the film for a take away.

I recently read an article from a movie review site ( that stated that Christians prefer accuracy the most when it comes to films about the Bible. I agree. God's character and our understanding of God is at stake!

An Excellent Referral

The Chosen is a current crowd-sourced TV series about the life of Christ. This is not at all a word-for-word rendition. There are back stories and storylines developed to create understanding. Some of this is conjecture. However, the producer of this series truly wants to get it right, prays Christ is portrayed correctly and humbly seeks good counsel for accuracy. I am encouraged with it’s faithfulness. I am blown away by it and often moved to tears. Please feel free to check it out and consider supporting its production.  

We could go one by one through some of the many films of recent years giving a grade. There are a couple that surface as best. Sometimes a movie will provide good background information of the Bible to us in a sort of back story of the times. However if it steers us in the wrong direction about the Bible or tries to present a half truth about God, we are in trouble.

Perhaps this is a good subject for another day!

Up Next: Why Read the Bible?

Previous Post: 10 YouVersion Tips



1. Have you ever tried watching a chapter or two of a passage instead of reading it? How did it impact you differently than just reading it on paper? With YouTube and YouVersion it is very accessible now.

2. How would YOU proceed to check the accuracy of a film related to the Bible? Who might you ask or what site might you check out?

3. Is there a Bible based movie or an episode of "The Chosen" that you absolutely love? What truth touched you in the story? What did it show you about God?


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

10 YouVersion Tips


The Big Idea: Many use the YouVersion Bible App but aren't aware of some great features.

Millions of people have already discovered the totally free YouVersionBible App. That might be you too! But did you know there are a number of options available in the app? Check out this list and see if there is something new for you to try! God's Word is worth the effort!

1. Listen to an audio version of the Bible

Not all translations have an audio version, but quite a few do. Some foreign languages do too but not all. Listening to the Bible is a fresh way to take it in. My husband is listening to the Bible as his read-through-the Bible in a year.  Another friend of mine caring for someone in her life, finds she is awoke often in the night. She listens to the Bible while helping her family member, and often falls back asleep to the Bible. As you scroll through the list of translations, you will see a sound icon next to versions available in audio. 


2. Side by side Bible translations

There are times when it is useful to look at two different Bible translations at the same time for comparison. For instance, your pastor may preach using one translation and you may appreciate to compare the verse in the version you usually read. Translation comparison can be a passage on a tablet or on the computer. It is only available by verse with a cell phone.


3. Enlarge the font for a large print Bible

If you are getting older or have poor sight, you can enlarge the type very easily. It is lighter weight than a ponderous large text Bible, and available in all translations, even with other languages.

4. Find a ready-made Bible reading plan

YouVersion has partnered with many organizations to provide Bible reading plans. There are plans available to read the Bible through in a year, with numerous options.  Some are chronological. Some have shorter passages with a devotional thought. You can start at any time, not just on January first.

Of course there are also shorter plans. Some are one month long, a week long, and anything else that fits for you.

5. Read the Bible focused on a topic or issue

Above is a sample list of emotions with readings that address whatever you might feel a need for. If you are struggling right now, this is a great way to kick start getting back into the Bible to see what God has for you today. Many plans have a devotional thought included. Some are short. Some are long. Some have links to useful websites.

There are very specific groups addressed. Men. Women. Teens.  Going through a divorce. Addiction.  Losing a job. Finance.  Parenting littles. Parenting teens. So many options interesting to scroll through.


6. Watch a Bible Video enhancing understanding

There are Bible Videos that are word for word passages re-enacted, such as the Gospel series by LUMO. Each episode of the Chosen is available though it is not word for word Scripture. There are tools for better understanding such as the BibleProject videos for each book of the Bible, themes, key words, and so on. The Spoken Word videos are dramatic, meaningful readings. There are lots more video series. Additionally there are teachings by well appreciated  Bible teachers under the category "Discovery". Check out your options.


7. Use the highlights, notes and sharing features

You can copy verses to import into another program if you are a Bible study leader or preacher, and make your own notes for future study. You can also add notes to a verse as you are taking sermon notes.  There are fewer choices online than with the tablet and cell phone apps. You can edit your notes, bookmarks, images, etc. when you click on the wheel at the upper right corner of the app for settings.

8. Prayer resource

Your tablet and cell phone version has an option that the computer app does not have, to form a prayer. It even coaches you through ideas what to prayer for. You can send it to a friend or just leave it for your own journaling memory. You find the menu on the left when you click on the More category at the bottom of your screen.


9. Make verse art of a verse

The tablet and cell phone version let's you underline a verse and then choose to make an image. You can use their images or import one of your own. You can then download it to your phone and use it as a lock screen or share with friends.


10. Subscribe to the verse of the day

The home page always shows you the featured verse of the day. You would be surprised  how often  you will tell yourself how much you needed to hear that! In the settings page you can change the version you would like for this feature. Make your own image with the verse or use one they have already made from it. A daily scriptural reminder is always a good thing! Take a moment during the day to pray the verse for your life or reflect on its meaning for you. It is a mini-devotional moment that will honor God. He likes it when you take time to reflect on His Word!

I hope this detailed list of ideas for YouVersion was helpful for you. Leave a comment on how you use the YouVersion Bible app. Inspire others with your suggestion.

Up Next: Watch the Bible

Previous Post: My 5 Favorite Bible Apps



1. How do you feel about an electronic Bible? Do you like it or avoid it? When might it be helpful to use?

2. Is there one feature you were not aware of that you might like to experiment with or try out to enhance your reading of God's Word?

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Free Ebooks on Deep Questions


The Big Idea: Very helpful pastor/author has excellent free series of ebooks on very serious questions for the Christian life. Here's how to get them.

R.C.Sproul Crucial Question Series

There is a series of books that are available in electronic form, that will be free forever. It will help you learn more about who God is, why you should believe, how you should live and how you can share your faith. It is an amazing and valuable series for any Christian or someone interested in the Christian faith.

R.C. Sproul was a conservative, Reformed pastor, author and speaker who passed away in 2017. This valuable series of books are free electronically and you can buy paper versions of them. He started Ligonier Ministries. They have decided to make these books available forever for free. Additionally most are in Spanish. Each book is between 60-90 pages or so. Here is the list of titles taken from their website.

Here is a complete list of the free ebooks in the Crucial Questions series

·         Are People Basically Good? 

·         Are These the Last Days?  (Español)

·         Can I Be Sure I’m Saved?  (Español)

·         Can I Have Joy in My Life?  (Español)

·         Can I Know God’s Will?  (Español)

·         Can I Lose My Salvation?  (Español)

·         Can I Trust the Bible?  (Español)

·         Does God Control Everything?  (Español)

·         Does Prayer Change Things?  (Español)

·         How Can I Be Blessed? 

·          How Can I Develop a Christian Conscience? (Español)

·         How Can I Be Right with God? 

·          How Should I Live in this World? (Español)

·         How Should I Think about Money? 

·          What Can I Do with My Guilt? (Español)

·         What Can We Know about God? 

·         What Do Jesus’ Parables Mean? 

·         What Does It Mean to be Born Again?  (Español)

·         What Is Baptism? (Español)

·         What Is Faith?  (Español)

·         What Is the Great Commission?  (Español)

·         What Is Repentance? (Español)

·         What Is the Church?  (Español)

·         What Is the Lord’s Supper?  (Español)

·         What Is the Relationship between Church and State?  (Español)

·         What Is the Trinity?  (Español)

·         Who Is Jesus?  (Español)

·         Who Is the Holy Spirit?  (Español)

·         Does God Exist? 

·         How Does God’s Law Apply to Me? 

·         What Is Predestination? 

·         Why Should I Join a Church? 


You can go to the R.C. Sproul author page at

There you will find these and more of his books, occasionally offered for free. The way you search on that page (and any author page on Amazon) is using these buttons near the top of the page. Choose Kindle Books and then choose on the drop down menu, Price: Low to High.

R.C. Sproul's book, Abortion: A Rational Look at anEmotional Issue, is also always free.

I have noticed this book from Ligioner Ministry author Keith Mathison is also always free. A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture.

Logos Bible Software also offers the Crucial Question Series electronically for free.

You may be asking yourself what does a Reformed Christian or pastor mean?

This is a well explained short definition from

Generally, Reformed theology holds to the authority of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, salvation by grace through Christ, and the necessity of evangelism. It is sometimes called Covenant theology because of its emphases on the covenant God made with Adam and the new covenant which came through Jesus Christ (Luke 22:20).

 Up Next: No light for my way

Previous Post: My favorite Bible Versions