Website Review: KeyBibleConcepts.org

Key Bible Concepts One of the great benefits of the internet is the ability to quickly, easily, and inexpensively disseminate high quality literature. However, if you have spent any time on the internet, you will know that the major obstacle is identifying and locating reliable and trustworthy literature.

Sure, you could use a search engine (such as Google or Bing) to help locate material online regarding the topic you are interested in. However, search engines will not distinguish between Biblical truth and heresy. Online (and offline) we must remember to follow the example of the Bereans (Acts 17:11) who searched the scriptures daily to see whether the things they heard were true or not.

Here at Digital Sojourner we are constantly on the lookout for websites and other digital resources that we believe are worthy of your attention. Digital tools that we believe are helpful to the child of God. Of course, our recommendation is not a substitute for being a good Berean.

According to Lukewww.keybibleconcepts.org is an excellent example of a website that provides high quality and reliable literature for those who are seriously seeking the things of God. The website features ten full length books written by Professor David Gooding and Professor John Lennox. Each book is freely available via PDF download. There is no cost whatsoever. The site does not require you to create an account, or even provide an email address. Simply select the book you are interested in and begin reading!

Available titles include: According to Luke, by Professor David Gooding. This book carefully examines the literary structure used by Luke to present the person and work of Christ. In Opium or Truth Professors Gooding & Lennox examine the obstacles in accepting Christianity that many thoughtful people have expressed.

I could continue to list the available resources, but why not visit the site yourself to see what is available and then let us know in the comments what your favorite book is!

Note: Most of the books at www.keybibleconcepts.org are available in traditional print format from Gospel Folio Press at very reasonable prices.

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Website Review: StewardshipWeekly.com

Stewardship Weekly Podcast

Stewardship Weekly is a regular podcast hosted by Glen Steinson that focuses on the important and relevant topic of biblical finance.

Scripture has much to say about our money and possessions, yet many Christians struggle with their personal finances. There seems to be a disconnect between what the Bible teaches and how many Christians are living their lives. This is unfortunate. Glen’s passion is to bridge the gap by communicating God’s truth on this important topic in a fun and encouraging manner.

What is podcasting you ask? In brief, podcasting is an extremely flexible audio medium that can easily be adapted to fit almost anyone’s lifestyle. No time to sit at your computer and listen to a 45 minute podcast? No problem. You can download the audio file to an iPod or any mp3 player and listen while you’re on the go. You can also subscribe via iTunes or RSS Feed. Glen’s site provides more information on how to go about doing this here.

Glen and Scott

Glen and Scott

To date twenty-two episodes have been posted covering a wide range of topics, including: common money mistakes (Episode 20), the art of encouragement (Episode 8), and managing our time and talents (Episode 18).

Many of the podcasts feature interviews with other Christians who share Glen’s interest in biblical financial principles. I personally had the privilege of being interviewed in Episode 12 – “Don’t Disinherit The Lord In Your Will”.

The site also offers other helpful resources, so happy exploring!

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3 Online Bibles For Serious Study

Digital Sojourners live in privileged times when it comes to the availability of user friendly and effective electronic Bible study tools. There are numerous good hard drive based programs – some for purchase, and some for free (In the former category, my favorite is Logos; in the latter category I like e-sword and Bible Explorer). But there are also various good online Bible study programs which enable one to dig into the Word online. I want to highlight three excellent examples of this type of site.

Blue Letter Bible

BLB is one of the best known online sites for Bible study. It offers easy comparison of all the major reputable Bible translations. It also will play the Bible for you in audio, link you to articles, music, and sermons that tie into the passage you are studying (Disclaimer: I’ve never listened to any of the sermons, or delved deeply into the articles, so be a good Berean: always search the Scriptures and compare what preachers and teachers say against the Word itself.) It also offers Greek & Hebrew tools for word studies in the original languages.

The Bible Tool

Like the BLB, the Bible Tool offers a plethora of Bible translations. It is the only site I have found that has the footnotes to John Nelson Darby’s New Translation (aka the JND Version; the footnotes have quite a few gems elucidating the Hebrew and Greek languages for the non-specialist reader.) The site offers a very convenient parallel viewing format, easy searchability, plus access to a number of public domain Bible study tools such as Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, Adam Clark’s commentary, John Lightfoot’s commentary, and many others. One can also do Greek and Hebrew word studies using this site.

The NET Bible and Tools

The New English Translation of the Bible is not my favorite, but it is not the worst of the modern translations either (for instance I prefer it to the NLT or NRSV; I won’t even mention some of the ludicrous paraphrases that clutter the Christian publishing market.) Having said that, its footnotes are outstanding on Greek, Hebrew, Bible culture, & geography. The site also has a large quantity of in-depth articles on the Scriptures by a number of modern evangelical Bible students (e.g. Daniel Wallace, Bob Deffinbaugh, John Walvoord, to name a few.) It also has a helpful side by side glossary for names in passages. One can store ones own notes on the site, and the website also has audio of the NET version.

Of course, there are other online tools worth exploring; here are three more to explore on your own:
1. World Wide Study Bible
2. Bible Study Tools Online
3. Biblia

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Three Archaeology Websites Reviewed

Websites reviewed:
1. Life & Land Seminars (Gordon Franz)
2. Bible Places (Todd Bolen)
3. Associates For Biblical Research (ABR)

Archaeology fascinates modern people, for it lifts the veil on life in the ancient world. Christians are particularly interested in this field due to the light it sheds on the world of the Bible.

During the past two centuries, skeptics have sometimes asserted that archaeology disproves the Bible – or at least, undermines its credibility by revealing numerous errors. A careful study of archaeology from the 19th-21st centuries demonstrates that these claims are patently false. Time and again, the biblical view of the ancient world has been vindicated by the scholars’ shovels, spades, and research in libraries and laboratories.

The more of the Bible lands that are excavated, the more clear become the culture, languages, and backstory of Bible passages.

Unearthing The Past

Happily, digital sojourners (i.e. web-connected believers) have a trove of good materials relating to Biblical archaeology on the web. I wish to highlight three helpful & trustworthy pages.

By way of disclaimer, I will admit that the three driving forces behind these sites are acquaintances of mine: I studied with Dr. Bryant Wood during my history studies at Messiah College in the early 1990s. Todd Bolen led study tours at the American Institute of Holy Land Studies (now called Jerusalem University College) when I was a student there in the Fall of 1993. Gordon Franz has been a close personal friend for twenty-one years, and has encouraged and edified me in innumerable ways. I am indebted to these three brothers for their good service to their fellow-saints by laboring in the Word and historical research.

Veteran archaeologist Gordon Franz’s site is called Life & Land Seminars and may found here: www.lifeandland.org. His page contains numerous articles that he has written over the years on OT & NT history and archaeology. There are also excavation and tour reports pertaining to various biblical sites around the world. He updates the site regularly, and has it well-organized under various tabs such as “Life of Christ,” “Life of David,” “The Seven Churches of Asia Minor – Rev. 1-3,” etc. Technical material is sometimes discussed, but in a way that is accessible to the non-specialized reader.

Picturesque Israel

Todd Bolen’s Bible Places prominently displays his excellent photography of biblical lands – some is freely downloadable, other material may be purchased. He has spent years teaching in Israel (first with the IHLS and then with Master’s Seminary’s extension campus in Israel.) He is currently completing a doctorate at Dallas Theological Seminary. His blog (blog.bibleplaces.com) is outstanding. It contains helpful news from Israel, as well as links to current archaeology on the web.

The Associates For Biblical Research (ABR) exists to teach biblical archaeology, as well as conduct fresh research in the field. Its president, Bryant Wood is well-trained with advanced degrees from the Universities of Michigan and Toronto. His writing in defense of the biblical Jericho has been particularly noteworthy in refuting the prevailing opinion set down by Dame Kathleen Kenyon. Helpful articles and excavation reports may be found at their well-organized site under such headings as “Contemporary issues,” “Exodus-Conquest,” and “New Testament Era.” What is more, it is well-worth subscribing to their quarterly print magazine, Bible & Spade. Their bookstore contains helpful audio, video, & print resources. The blog’s address is www.biblearchaeology.org

I commend these helpful website for all thoughtful Christians, as well as for those who are not convinced of the Bible’s trustworthiness.

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Digital Sojourner’s New Site Design

Welcome to Digital Sojourner’s new look!

We are very excited about the site’s new look– and thankful for the Lord’s ongoing provision and blessing. In DigSoj’s short existence (34 days) the Lord has provided in amazing and completely unexpected ways. Without question He has shown Himself “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” Ephesians 3:20. To God be the glory!

Among the many who have contributed to DigSoj is the talented team over at mySonlight. mySonlight is a team of dedicated Christians devoted to helping local churches and other Christian ministries with their online efforts. Many congregations and ministries lack the technical skills necessary to establish and maintain a quality presence online… however with the rapidly growing reach of the internet it is becoming ever more important to be online.

If your local church is looking for help in this area mySonlight could very well be the solution you are looking for. Here are a few links to sample their work:

Again, welcome to DigSoj’s new look. Let us know what YOU think about the new design in the comments section.

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The Hunt For The Perfect Bible: Digital Dilemmas

The Hunt for the Perfect Bible: Digital Dilemmas

I really think that the Perfect Bible is probably going to be found in some sort of technological advancement: for now, that means portable computing devices. Now, I admit that there are inherent problems with having an electronic Bible. In this post I want to make you aware of some of these potential problems if you’re considering moving over from paper to pixel.

Power: No matter what, the electronic solutions of today necessitate electricity while all versions of print just necessitate enough light to read the text. This means that if you want to go wireless, you’re going to need a battery (or a battery backup) that will last you throughout the day. This becomes pretty important if you’re like me and planning to preach with your device in hand. You don’t want this thing to shut down mid-sermon.

Crash-Prone: Print Bibles never shut-down from lack of power and they also won’t fail from some random error—you have to expect this when it comes to electronic solutions. Laptops, tablets, phones: they all crash. Be it a software problem, a memory problem (I’ll explain a lot of these terms in a future post), or a storage problem: these things all crash. You must be prepared.

User-Error: True, Print Bibles also suffered from user-misuse but in this case I mean rather the error that comes along from doing things wrong. So let’s say you download what you think is virus protection—boom, there goes your Bible as you’re wiped out by a virus. Or let’s say you store multiple backups of your notes on different computers and you forget to synchronize your files: boom, now you’re working with an old version of your files (there’s a solution for this, but I’ll address this in a later post).

Legibility: most people don’t think about this, but most of your electronic devices have been made with nice shiny bright screens that are made specifically to be read indoors; your reading, on the other hand, can happen anywhere—including outdoors. These bright shiny electronic screens become reflective sun-mirrors whenever you’re outside and that destroys any ability at reading.

Expensive: A nice genuine leather Bible could cost you $100. A Mobile phone could cost you $300 plus a two year contract. A Netbook would run you $300-600; a Laptop $400 – $1200; and a Tablet $400 – $1000. And it’s seriously possible that you have to replace the thing if you spill, say, a cup of coffee on this your Perfect Electronic Bible.

Even despite all this, I still think that a good E-Bible is the right way to go, but it’s important for the person considering the transition to be informed before taking the plunge.

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To read the next installment in this series click here.

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Podcast: Long Vo Talks Accountability

Digital Sojourner recently featured a guest post written by my friend Long Vo. In the post, Long made a call for Christian leaders to “establish structures and relationships that hold them accountable.” For such structures to be successful, Long went on to explain, they must be voluntarily sought out and established.

Recently I sat down with Long to discuss how someone can establish accountability in their lives through an accountability group.

You can listen in here:

Have you established a godly accountability structure in your life? Let us know about it in the comments & reply section below.

As mentioned in the podcast, you can find additional information regarding accountability groups here.

 

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The Hunt For The Perfect Bible: The Need

The Hunt

Back in the day, I had received what I thought was The Perfect Bible. Black leather. King James Version. Red Letter. References on the side columns. Revised Scofield notes along the bottom. Concordance in the back. This was no award Bible: this was the real, no joke, deal.

Then I found myself having a problem textually following Spanish speakers in our bilingual church. My Perfect Bible had failed me!

Each subsequent year I faced variations of the same problem. After acquiring a bilingual version, I wanted something that I didn’t have to spend my time translating English to English—I got the NKJV but people around me were using the KJV. I was studying the original languages so I wanted something that followed the structure of those languages—I got the NASB but people around me were now using the NKJV and the KJV. I needed something to read aloud that got the point of the passage across—I got the NIV but all my notes were in my NASB.

And so on and so on and so on.

The publishing industry is structured in such a way that there is a Bible for every need. You have your versions, you have your amplified versions, you have your original language versions, you have your side by side versions and you have your versions with multiple versions. We in the West are found without excuse when it comes to the text!

But this all winds up being problematic when you want a single go-to Bible without worrying about copying all the notes into a new updated binding Bible.

And believe me, I tried. One year I went about printing my NASB with NET footers and my notes and references on side columns. I wound up with two tremendous binders filled with a couple reams of paper and only two books of the bible: Genesis and Romans. Sure the thing was detail rich but it was much too heavy to carry and would fail me if anyone was reading from any book other than those two.

What I needed was an actual Perfect Bible: something that allowed multiple languages, multiple versions, allowed access to my notes, allowed access to other’s notes and could be carried around.

Thank God for the Digital Age. Now, with the wide access we have to texts and technology we might be a step closer to the Perfect Bible. Maybe you’re in the same boat, like me, looking for that Perfect Bible—maybe not. Either way, I want to spend some time going over what I think you should be looking for and maybe even some pointers on what to pick up.

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To read the next installment in this series click here.

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