Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Importance of Knowledge and the Holy Spirit

Mastered By the Book from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

This video of a discussion between D.A. Carson and John Piper has been spreading through the biblical studies blogosphere, and the discussion is an important one. The blogs I've seen featuring this exchange are all written by well-educated Bible students or by established scholars. As one who has been mostly self-educated I feel a bit out the loop and am in a position that naturally makes me want to argue the other side. If it's not possible for preachers to preach a solid sermon without cultural and historical study, is it possible for the saints to have a solid understanding of scripture without cultural and historical study? The points raised in this video are vital because they transcend the context of the discussion. I do not see a great gap of difference between what a pastor needs in order to preach and what a saint needs in order to live. It is the same Father who has already given us everything pertaining to life and godliness in Christ (2 Peter 1:3).

There is pursuit of a balanced perspective, but the dialogue comes within a context that majors on scholarship and education. All of the voices present have spent major amounts of their time and life pursuing knowledge regarding cultural and historical context, learning the things deemed necessary to aptly interpret scripture and perhaps even becoming professional interpreters of scripture. Marc Cortez of Scientia et Sapientia acknowledges the possibility of bias within the debate and further acknowledges the supernatural character of scripture:

But, on the other hand, it’s easy for us academics to become elitist with our claims that you really can’t understand the Bible without our advanced degrees, thick books, complex theories, and countless hours of uninterrupted study. At that point, we lose sight of the fact that the Bible is not just another ancient text requiring for its proper interpretation the acquisition of academic arcanity. It’s also a divine text through which the Spirit has always worked powerfully, even among poorly educated people or those who just lacked an adequate understanding of its original socio-historical context.
This perspective seems to be a waning afterthought as we become more and more engrossed in biblical studies, advanced knowledge and professional scripture interpretation.

We often forget that all of this information and knowledge is fairly new. The heroes of church history had little to no access to the information that so many are claiming is vital today. Did Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield and so many others err in their work? Were they hampered in evangelism, soul-winning, discipleship or the Christian life because of their lack of scholarly study? Did they preach volumes of bad hermeneutics and inaccurate interpretations because they had no access to the socio-historical context of the scriptures? Perhaps some scholars will say they did. They were conquerors for Christ who turned their world upside down with the gospel and they did so without the professionalism or scholarship that we have today. The average westerner has access to far more than they did via the internet. It is obvious that the success of their life and preaching was not socio-historical accuracy. They had a far better resource in the Holy Spirit. We seem to spend far less time wondering why the Holy Spirit isn't bearing witness to Jesus in our ministries than we do wondering how educated we should be. The amount of time and money spent on education shows how much faith we have in seminary, Bible college and extra-biblical knowledge. How much faith do we have in the Holy Spirit?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Adding Blank Pages to Your Bible

Matthew Blair, creator of the Octavius Winslow Archive and Bible Design Blog Facebook admin recently posted a project displaying how to add extra pages to the back of any book. He clearly has Bibles in mind. Matthew's old blog The Foolish Galatian featured a number of these projects and was part of the inspiration for this blog. Surf over and check out the newest of many cool projects from Matthew.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Allan Oxford Longprimer

R.L. Allan and sons has been publishing high quality Bibles since 1863 in Glasgow, Scotland and holds the Queen's royal licence to publish the King James Version in the UK. Allan's Bibles have an unblemished reputation for the finest craftsmanship and quality. I can think of no better way to introduce these fine publishers than to present their KJV Oxford Longprimer Reference Edition. This flagship edition displays all the reasons why Allan's has such a devoted customer base and why they've retained a reputation as the best of the best., Allan's U.S. distributor, comments,

 The Allan Longprimer is Allan's signature Bible.  It is perhaps the best designed and manufactured Bibles available.  It has continually received the best reviews of any Bible that we market. [. . . .] The Longprimer has a host of other features that separate it from the pack, but Legibility and Binding are the 2 single most important features that contribute to Bible quality.  With hundreds of Bibles in our facility to choose from, the Highland Goatskin Longprimer stands in a league of its own. 

The Longprimer is a classic edition of the KJV, presenting all the finest features in a traditional elegance and style.


The Highland Goatskin binding featuring a full yapp and the finest natural-grained leather available is distinct and luxurious. The finish features a low gloss, a rich texture and a soft but durable flexibility. The full yapp feature encloses the text block with an extra half inch fold of leather, producing a classic vintage look as well as extra protection for the art gilt pages. The extra pinched leather at the top and bottom of the spine protects the sewn binding and the edge of the book block.

Among the other special features are three long glossy blue ribbons, the leather lined, gold trimmed interior of the cover and beautiful blue endpapers.

This binding rivals or exceeds almost all other editions I've handled as far as flexibility. It easily rolls, flips bends and flexes into a number of positions without pressure or folding. It also seems to achieve these positions with a minimum amount of stress on the spine due to the sewn binding's flexibility, the leather's malleability and the advanced binding technique which distributes the pressure away from the spine toward the center of the book block.

A tight yoga position is easily achieved with minor stress. The dimensions fit this Bible into the larger end of the average carrying size at 8 and 3/4 inches by 6 inches. This is fairly ideal for regular use and study, providing space for a larger font and more margin space but not too large to hold for casual reading in the armchair, the pew or in bed.

The leather grain will vary because it's a natural product but this edition features a wider or more pronounced grain versus Cambridge Bibles which seem to feature a finer grain with a higher gloss finish. This binding features all around excellence and a number of features that elevate this Bible beyond many other publishers' finest editions.



The Longprimer features a familiar Oxford, black letter text block with a very traditional verse per line format, center column references and self-pronouncing text. The Longprimer surrounds this layout with a generous margin, a 10/11 pt font and clear, dark print. The result is eminently readable and though it may not appeal to readers who are searching for a more modern paragraph or single-column setting, this is the best traditional layout I have yet reviewed. The pictures do not do this layout justice. Every time I open this Bible I am surprised by the size of the font and the high contrast on the page.


The Longprimer features a number of additional features which push it above and beyond the best. Along with the Oxford cross reference system comes a 43 page dictionary of proper names, a 37 page Subject Index and a 161 page Concordance along with 16 pages of Oxford maps. The near-full yapp, glossy dark blue ribbons, exquisite gold foil page edges and the 32 pages of lined paper in the back only continue the well-established excellence of the edition. A unique feature is "overcasting" or a line of reinforced stitching in Genesis and Revelation that is visible in the inside gutter and provides extra support and durabilitity for the smyth sewn text block bound in the Netherlands. The Bible also features a presentation page and a number of pages for tracking family history.

The Longprimer excels in every way. It is without a doubt the most luxuriously executed Bible edition I have ever reviewed. It is also the most expensive. My preferences tend to lean toward the innovative and interesting. I have a predilection for wide margin Bibles and those editions which have unique function and purpose. The Longprimer is does not provide new innovations, but excels at perfecting old techniques and classic publishing. It does not offer a specialized function, but instead perfects the traditional beyond Cambridge and Local Church Publisher's editions. For those looking for a traditional format KJV, this is without a doubt the finest Bible I've yet seen. 

The only reasons for not choosing this edition would be size preference (the Cambridge Concord is smaller and perhaps more portable) or pricing. The Longprimer is a very portable and readable size, though it may not conform to the current "tiny Bible" trend, and although the price is high at about $190.00, this Bible will certainly appeal the most to those looking for the perfect lifetime edition. For those searching for a Bible the attains the highest level of quality in almost every category, while still maintaining a traditional layout, will have their dreams met in the Longprimer. I would recommend it without hesitation to the traditionalist, the collector or the KJV lover who is searching for the perfect edition.

My thanks to R.L. Allan for providing this complimentary review copy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Graham Cooke on How God Uses Scripture

From the Art of Thinking Brilliantly.

Graham Cooke's interesting, controversial and potentially illuminating explanation of how God uses scripture is worth the listen whether you agree or disagree. Wholly accurate? Partially accurate? Partially erroneous? Wholly erroneous? Comment and let me know what you think.

I find myself sympathetic but not in total agreement.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jots and Tittles July 2011

This month's edition of Jots and Tittles has tons of content and free resources so be sure to take your time to browse through the links.

You will be tremendously blessed by checking out One Time Blind. Their work is below.

If you're a Facebook user, think about joining Networked Blogs (especially if you have a blog) and following the blog, my followers are a little low.

Cambridge publishes a truly unique new edition: the KJV Transetto:


Read Bible Design Blog's review and Bible Buying Guide's review.


Bible Buying Guide features an excellent introduction to Bible Study.

I'm about to finish FIRE School of Ministry's video on demand class on Principles of Holiness.

The Bible faces blasphemy charges in Pakistan.

An excellent article on "How to Pray for Israel and the Middle East" from Real Messiah.

A phenomenal set of links to classic and contemporary Christian Literature available for free as E-books.

Revival or Riots features a verse collection of "Every Example of Healing in the New Testament."

One of the books I'm currently reading:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Almost Out of My Blogging Coma. . .

I would like to apologize to my readers for an unannounced retreat from the blogosphere for the last few weeks. I am nearly ready to return from my blogging coma with a Jots and Tittles post, project post, review and more content, but I may not fully return until next week. Between my missionary activities, individual pursuit of God and emotionally trying events it has been hard to pay attention to the blog. I would appreciate your prayers. If you would like to see some of what I'm up to, you can surf over to In the interim I would like to re-post this article from Voice of the Martyrs:

Over 61,000 Bibles Needed, Will You Help?from Persecution Blog Screen shot 2011-07-06 at 10.40.51 AMI have a confession...I am a bible collector.  I definitely have more bibles than one person needs.  I just ordered a new archaelogy study bible, just yesterday.  I have a prophecy study bible.  I have different versions, from the New King James Version to the New American Standard Version.  I have leatherbound, hardbound, paperback, large print, small print, a bible small enough to fit into the palm of my hand and to be read with a magnifying glass, and a large bible that fits great on a coffee table.  I LOVE the bible.
So, when I read that over 61, 000 bibles are needed to give to our brothers and sisters all over the world, I HAVE to ask you to consider joining Bibles Unbound.
We've discussed this wonderful ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs numerous times before, and so many of you have stepped up and joined the program.  But the truth is, we still need so many more people to join, so that the Word of God can be read all over the world.
It's easy.  For a small donation of 30.00 a month, you can have the blessing of sending 5 bibles to someone who doesn't have a bible.  Will you please help today?
Click here to learn more about becoming part of Bibles Unbound.  Please tell a friend, your church, Sunday school class, BFF, your neighbor or anyone who loves the bible as much as you do.
These bibles will change the eternity of someone.  Click here to join now.