Posts Tagged ‘Recommended Reading’
Who’s in the Spotlight? – HD Bible Study
Who’s in the Spotlight?
One of the big challenges in studying Old Testament stories is identifying the central character, the one to whom the writer wants you paying close attention. This is especially true in complex stories like that of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing, in which Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau each play an important role. So how do you find the central character, the one in the spotlight?
The Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible and theLexham High Definition Old Testament help you find information like this by marking all the places where the most important linguistic devices occur. The device we’ll look at today is overspecification.
Think about the last time you introduced someone to someone else. Chances are you gave a name (“This is Jayson…”) plus some specific connection to you (“. . . my neighbor” or “. . . a friend from work”). You picked the most relevant connection for the context, which required you to choose which connection to use. Here’s what I mean. If I were speaking at a conference, they’d never introduce me as “Ruth’s dad” or “Jayson’s friend.” They’d pick the connection most relevant to the context, like “scholar-in-residence” or “doctor of biblical languages.” After the introduction, they’d only use my name, usually there’s no more mention of the connection. Usually, that is.
Genesis 27 recounts the story of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing. The main characters are already well established from the preceding context, as is their connection to one another. So why is it that the writer keeps repeating their connection to one another, e.g., “Esau his older son” (Gen 27:1), “Jacob her son”, and “Esau your brother” (Gen 27:6)? What is accomplished by these overly specific connections? They exist for two reasons; we’ll cover the first one in this post.
Since connections are only needed when someone is first introduced, repeating them where they’re not required helps us see where the writer has placed the spotlight. How? Even though the connection is unneeded, it still instructs us how to connect the person to the story. Here’s how it works. The story opens with Esau connected to Isaac as “his son” in v. 1, instructing him to fix him a savory meal. After Rebekah hears of Isaac’s plans, she calls for Jacob, “her son.” Note the shift here. He could have simply been called “Jacob” or alternatively connected to Isaac as “his son.” By connecting Jacob to Rebekah, the writer shifts the spotlight from Isaac to Rebekah just as Rebekah begins hatching a plan to divert Isaac’s blessing from Esau to Jacob.
In Gen. 27:11, overspecification signals another shift in the spotlight, just before Jacob protests against Rebekah’s request. He’s no longer called “her son”; instead, Rebekah is called “his mother.” This new connection forces us to the new initiator.
The coolest example of overspecification comes as Jacob presents the meal he’s prepared to Isaac.Gen 27:17 states that Rebekah gives the food to “Jacob her son,” who, in turn, takes it to “his father.” Here the connections and spotlight shift from Rebekah to Jacob. In v. 20, as Isaac questions the identity of the meal-bearer, he speaks to “his son!” Which one? He’s not sure, and the writer of Scripture captures this ambiguity by changing from “Jacob” vaguer “his son!” In v. 21, as Isaac prepares to touch and smell the one addressing him, there are no connections provided! Why not? It avoids making any judgment about who’s initiating, whether Jacob will triumph or whether Isaac will reject his claim.
Finally in v. 22, as Isaac gives in to Jacob’s request, the expression “Isaac his father” is used, connecting him to Jacob right at the point that Isaac decides to go along with Jacob’s request, despite his misgivings.
In Gen 27 this devices is used to signal shifts by providing new connections between participants. The changes coincide with shifts in initiators, heightening the drama of an already exciting story. The resource annotates all occurrences of 30 of the most exegetically significant discourse devices, and it includes both an introduction and a glossary that help you understand what each accomplishes. The analysis also provides a block-indent outline to help you break down the complexities of Hebrew syntax.
There’s also a version specially designed for those who haven’t studied Hebrew: The Lexham High Definition Old Testament (HDOT). Even though the analysis is based on the Hebrew text, nearly all the same discourse devices are available, displayed on the ESV text.
Both resources come with an introduction and glossary to explain the concepts. Plus the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible comes bundled with the HDOT in a six-volume bundle: the Hebrew and the English together at a special price.
There’s a parallel set of New Testament resources currently available that use the same symbols and same linguistic framework:
- Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament
- Lexham High Definition New Testament
- Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament
- Introducing New Testament Discourse Grammar Video Series
These resources are part of a growing suite of exegetical resources that apply cutting-edge linguistic research to day-to-day study, helping you find important details often lost in translation.
Teach Children: The Bible Is Not About Them
Many of you have heard me talk about “The Jesus Storybook Bible”. It is one of the few Children’s Bibles that I highly recommend and would say is a must have for families with young children. Here is a blog post written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, the author of this remarkable Children’s Bible on why she wrote it.
Teach Children the Bible Is Not About Them
When I go into churches and speak to children I ask them two questions:
First, How many people here sometimes think you have to be good for God to love you?They tentatively raise their hands. I raise my hand along with them.
And second, How many people here sometimes think that if you aren’t good, God will stop loving you? They look around and again raise their hands.
These are children in Sunday schools who know the Bible stories and probably all the right answers, and yet they have somehow missed the most important thing of all.
They have missed what the Bible is all about.
They are children like I once was.
As a child, even though I was a Christian, I grew up thinking the Bible was filled with rules you had to keep (or God wouldn’t love you) and with heroes setting examples you had to follow (or God wouldn’t love you).
I tried to be good. I really did. I was quite good at being good. But however hard I tried, I couldn’t keep the rules all the times so I knew God must not be pleased with me.
And I certainly couldn’t ever be as brave as Daniel. I remember being tormented by that Sunday school chorus “Dare to Be a Daniel” because, hard as I tried to imagine myself daring to be a Daniel, being thrown to lions and not minding . . . who was I kidding? I knew I’d be terrified out of my skull.
How could God ever love me?
I was sure he couldn’t because I wasn’t doing it right.
One Sunday, not long ago, I was reading the story of “Daniel and the Scary Sleepover” fromThe Jesus Storybook Bible to some 6-year-olds during a Sunday school lesson. One little girl in particular was sitting so close to me she was almost in my lap. Her face was bright and eager as she listened to the story, utterly captivated. She could hardly keep on the ground and kept kneeling up to get closer to the story.
At the end of the story there were no other teachers around, and I panicked and went into automatic pilot and heard myself—to my horror—asking, “And so what can we learn from Daniel about how God wants us to live?”
And as I said those words it was as if I had literally laid a huge load on that little girl. Like I broke some spell. She crumpled right in front of me, physically slumping and bowing her head. I will never forget it.
It is a picture of what happens to a child when we turn a story into a moral lesson.
When we drill a Bible story down into a moral lesson, we make it all about us. But the Bible isn’t mainly about us, and what we are supposed to be doing—it’s about God, and what he has done!
When we tie up the story in a nice neat little package, and answer all the questions, we leave no room for mystery. Or discovery. We leave no room for the child. No room for God.
And that’s why I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible. So children could know what I didn’t:
That the Bible isn’t mainly about me, and what I should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
That the Bible is most of all a story—the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
That—in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost him—God won’t ever stop loving his children . . . with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
That the Bible, in short, is a Story—not a Rule Book—and there is only one Hero in the Story.
I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible so children could meet the Hero in its pages. And become part of His Magnificent Story.
Because rules don’t change you.
But a Story—God’s Story—can.
Editors’ Note: The new Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Sam Shammas contains 44 lessons revealing how Jesus is the center of each Bible story and how every story whispers his name. It includes activities, notes for teachers based on material from Timothy Keller, memory verses, handouts for children, a hardcover copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible, and three audio CDs containing David Suchet’s reading.
Recommend: Logos Bible Software – iPhone App
My Vote -
Now the best Bible App for iPhone, iPad, & iPod users!
Make sure to update (or download for those who didn’t have it) & check it out! In my opinion, the new new features make it FAR better than any other Bible app out there.
Here is why:
You will be amazed at all the different highlighting palettes & options available. from basic colors, underlining, inductive (graphical) and much more. one great thing about the new Logos app over the ESV app, is you are not forced to highlight an entire verse, but can highlight a single word, a phrase, or the whole verse. Its really wonderful.
Logos now has notes for the mobile iOS! This is phenomenal as you can now use this as your all-inclusive Bible and note taking application. During your quiet time, something jumps out at you… take a note. Had a great prayer time over a verse? Write it in your notes. Have a question? Take a note and even mark it with a question mark graphic. Listening to a sermon is great, as you can now take notes in your Logos Bible app! Notes also comes with a full selection of color and graphic markers so you can systematize it however you prefer to.
One of the reasons I preferred the ESV app over Logos was because it seemed “snappier”. Meaning it seemed to be faster in response to page turning, etc. This is no longer the case. Logos Bible app is very responsive and excellent to work with in study & keeping up with teaching/preaching. One quick note of advice – make your favorite Bible translation & commentary available offline (download it to your device) for even quick responses!
Another thing I truly love about Logos Bible Software and its App is that they are cloud based. So all of your preferences, books, highlighting, notes, etc. are saved on a cloud server that automatically syncs with all of your computers and devices. Highlight a verse on your iPhone, and it will show up on your desktop that way. Add a note while studying at home, and your iPad will have it on it when you travel. Its amazing and seamless.
Bible Word Study
Logos iPhone & iPad app allows for you to do a Bible Word Study just by tapping a word with your finger. Its that easy! Find a word that you find interesting or would like to study, tap it, and click “Look Up”. If you have a Logos base package with original language support, you will then see the Greek/Hebrew along with morphology and much more. You can also click “Bible Word Study” to get much more detailed information from your resources that you have available.
Two Resource Panels
Logos not only gives you access to your Bibles, commentaries, and all other resources, it even allows you to see two at the same time! With their split-screen view, you can have your Bible on one screen, and your commentary on the other one. Want a different commentary or resource, you can easily switch them out from something else in your library. You can also choose for the panels to follow each other, so you don’t have to update them both. Turn your Bible to Ephesians 2, and your commentary automatically follows. Its that easy!
Its the Best!
All in all, this is the best Bible app I have seen on the iPhone and the iPad. I will now be using this for further study, teaching & preaching prep, and for my quiet time. You can get a free account to sign up for free resources. Even better, if you already have a Logos base package, you get almost your entire virtual library available at your fingertips. I highly recommend it to anyone who has an iPod touch, an iPhone, or iPad! Excellent job Logos! Click here to get it for free!
Here is a brief video to show you more of these features in action:
Recommend: Finally Alive (Now Only $5!)
What does the Bible teach about the miracle of rebirth? In his book Finally Alive, Pastor John explores Jesus’ peculiar command, “You must be born again.”
You can now order the book for just $5.
Or, if you’d like to purchase a case, you can order 60 books for a suggested donation of $160, and shipping is free within the continental United States. For this option, please call 1-888-346-4700 Monday to Friday, 9am – 3pm (CST).
(Because our inventory is limited, this offer is good while supplies last)
Free eBook: “Temptation and Sin” by John Owen
by John Owen
John Owen’s treatises on temptation and sin stem from his pastoral concern for the church in England. These works have provided invaluable insight into the human condition and God’s grace to Christians for centuries.
Included in this volume:
- On the Mortification of Sin
- On Temptation
- On Indwelling Sin in Believers
- Exposition of Psalm 130
“I owe more to John Owen than to any other theologian, ancient or modern; and I owe more to The Mortification of Sin than to anything else he wrote.” —J. I. Packer