Archive for the ‘Biblical Study Tools’ Category

Seven Reasons Why Outlines are Helpful

April 20, 2008

Recently, I added another section to the “Theology & Exegesis” page. It consists of links to outlines I have drawn up of several books of the Bible (more will be added later). I hope you will be able to make use of them, and that they will aid in your understanding of Scripture. The outlines attempt to give the main idea of the author’s argument and/or purpose in writing each section and then analyzes how these sections relate to and make up the whole of his work. Here are seven practical reasons why creating such outlines are helpful for Bible study.

  1. Outlines force readers to articulate brief, helpful summary statements for each passage/section of the biblical book, and then prepares him/her to articulate those summaries to others in biblical discussions or evangelism opportunities. In short, they help the Christian to tell others what the Bible teaches and where it does so.
  2. Outlines help very detail-oriented, atomistic readers to see better the larger picture in the biblical narrative or argument, and thus grasp the main purpose(s) of a book. For example, each cycle in the book of Judges (Israel Rebels; Enemies Attack; Israel Cries; God Responds Mercifully; Land has Rest), when read together, paints a larger picture of now-Canaanized Israel’s need for a covenant-keeping king.
  3. Outlines aid in Scripture memory because they enable one to memorize the main point of complete sections of the Bible as well as how the individual memory verses fit into the larger picture. John 3:16, for instance, will thus include an understanding of the work of the Spirit, the Son’s mission, and the wrath of God that abides on all who reject 3:16’s message about them.
  4. Outlines act as quick reference guides (that have been memorized by the way) when searching for a verse or section of Scripture that might encourage a discouraged brother/sister, or address a difficult situation with another person, or answer an unbeliever’s question, “What does the Bible say about…?”.
  5. Outlines serve preachers and teachers by helping them map out how many sermons they should expect to preach after choosing to work through a certain book. The structure of the biblical book, then, shapes the sermon series and helps to prepare him to speak and the people to listen.
  6. Outlines, when developing them, force people to read the entire narrative, psalm, letter, etc. multiple times, in their parts and as a whole; and rereading the text (esp. in large blocks) is never a bad thing.
  7. Outlines look really neat and organized, and both of these are very cool 🙂

ESV Study Bible

April 17, 2008

I normally do not recommend many study Bibles to people since there is a tendency to be always relying on the study notes and commentary instead of reading (and rereading) the biblical text. However, when used properly as a tool for further study, they can be very helpful. After reading over the new website for the forthcoming ESV Study Bible, I believe this study Bible will be one of the best contributions to the church in helping believers to mature in their knowledge of Christ. They have done a superb job in selecting some of the most significant evangelical scholars and pastors to contribute and edit this study Bible. I am looking forward to purchasing one myself this October. Take some time to peruse their website, and note the helpful commentary, theological articles, maps, charts, diagrams, and much more.

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: A Brief

September 25, 2007

Yes, this blog has been fairly lifeless lately with hardly any new posts. This, of course, is because the Fall semester has started off with quite a rush of work and assignments. Reading about 4-500 pages a week, learning and translating German, researching for papers, working two jobs, and preparing for a Sunday School lesson will cause a blog to become quickly not a top priority. I did just finish Richard Bauckham’s book entitled, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. I would highly recommend reading this book if you are interested in learning about the nature of the Four Gospels. He writes well, explains the situation at hand in New Testament scholarship, and presents his case very clearly. Scholars and pastors both would benefit from reading this book. Though I do not agree with everything he argues for, I commend his overall approach to you. I have provided you with a brief (not a book review) on his significant contribution below.

The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

Bauckham, Richard. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006. 508 pp.

The post-Enlightenment embrace of the historical critical method triggered decades of NT scholarship that presupposed the Gospels portray the historical Jesus inaccurately, since the Jesus of the Christian faith as represented by the four Gospel traditions, cloaks him in the theological agendas attributed to anonymous communities separated from the eyewitness accounts by an extensive period of time. Consequently, scholars still find the Gospel writers’ theological message about Jesus antithetical to their historical preservation of him. In his Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Richard Bauckham finds these assumptions misguided. He argues that the Gospels represent trustworthy historiography based on the authoritative testimony of real eyewitnesses that remained the primary sources for each Gospel writer’s account. Long periods of time filled with the succession of oral traditions did not delay the Gospels’ composition. Instead, their final form is “much closer to the form in which the eyewitnesses” testified, hence, Bauckham’s subtitle: the Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (6). Accepted and studied on this appropriate and more natural basis, the Gospels not only provide reliable history concerning Jesus, but also grant theological access to the meaning of his life and mission. (more…)