Friday, August 31, 2018

August Check-In

What Bible(s) did I read from this month? I finished the Living Insights Study Bible.
Living Insights Study Bible. NIV. 1984. Charles R. Swindoll. 1996. Zondervan. 1606 pages. [Source: Traded]
and I began a new project:
NIV Rainbow Study Bible. 2015. Holman Bible Publishers. 1632 pages. [Source: Review copy]

How many books by J.C. Ryle did I read this month? I continued reading his Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew
Favorite quote(s) by J.C. Ryle:
  • Weak faith is less comfortable than strong faith. Weak faith will carry us to heaven with far less joy than full assurance. But weak faith gives an interest in Christ as surely as strong faith.
Am I keeping up with my Morning and Evening devotional by Charles Spurgeon? Yes.
Favorite quote(s) by Charles Spurgeon:
  • Do you dread sin? He has nailed it to His cross! Do you fear death? He has been the death of death! Are you afraid of hell? He has barred it against the entrance of any of His children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition!
How many books by R.C. Sproul did I read this month? 1
Knowing Scripture. R.C. Sproul. Foreword by J.I. Packer. 1977. IVP. 126 pages. [Source: Bought]

Favorite quote(s) by R.C. Sproul:
Countless times I have heard Christians say, "Why do I need to study doctrine or theology when all I need to know is Jesus?" My immediate reply is this: "Who is Jesus?" As soon as we begin to answer that question, we are involved in doctrine and theology. No Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian is a theologian. Perhaps not a theologian in the technical or professional sense, but a theologian nevertheless. The issue for Christians is not whether we are going to be theologians but whether we are going to be good theologians or bad ones. A good theologian is one who is instructed by God. (22)
Did I read any Puritans or Reformers this month: Yes. I finished Matthew Henry's commentary on Genesis. "Commentary on Genesis." From Matthew Henry's Commentary on The Whole Bible Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Matthew Henry. Updated by Martin H. Manser. 1710 for the original. [Source: Bought]

Favorite quote(s):
  • Times of fear should become times of prayer; whatever frightens us should drive us to our knees and to our God.
Did I complete at least one book from the TBR Pile challenge? Which one? Yes. the Living Insights Bible.
Other Christian nonfiction books read this month:

Christian fiction books read this month:

How many "new" books did I read (published 2000-present)? I read two new books.
How many "old" books did I read (published before 2000)? I read eight old books.
Which book was my overall favorite?  The Sovereignty of God. Arthur W. Pink. 1917. 272 pages. [Source: Bought]

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Book Review: Commentary on Genesis

"Commentary on Genesis." From Matthew Henry's Commentary on The Whole Bible Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Matthew Henry. Updated by Martin H. Manser. 1710 for the original. [Source: Bought]

We have now before us the holy Bible, or book, for so bible signifies. We call it the book, by way of eminency; for it is incomparably the best book that ever was written, the book of books, shining like the sun in the firmament of learning, other valuable and useful books, like the moon and stars, borrowing their light from it. We call it the holy book, because it was written by holy men, and indited by the Holy Ghost; it is perfectly pure from all falsehood and corrupt intention; and the manifest tendency of it is to promote holiness among men. The great things of God’s law and gospel are here written to us, that they might be reduced to a greater certainty, might spread further, remain longer, and be transmitted to distant places and ages more pure and entire than possibly they could be by report and tradition: and we shall have a great deal to answer for if these things which belong to our peace, being thus committed to us in black and white, be neglected by us as a strange and foreign thing, Hos. 8:12. The scriptures, or writings of the several inspired penmen, from Moses down to St. John, in which divine light, like that of the morning, shone gradually (the sacred canon being now completed), are all put together in this blessed Bible, which, thanks be to God, we have in our hands, and they make as perfect a day as we are to expect on this side of heaven. Every part was good, but all together very good. This is the light that shines in a dark place (2 Pet. 1:19), and a dark place indeed the world would be without the Bible.

Genesis is easily one of my favorite books of the Old Testament. Every time I begin a new Bible project, Genesis is my favorite place to begin. Likewise, Revelation is my favorite place to finish. I may read the other sixty-four books in any order, but Genesis and Revelation are my book ends.

I have read a few commentaries on the book of Genesis. My latest to read was by Matthew Henry. He began with a few introductory remarks about the Bible in general and then proceeded on to Genesis.

The edition of the commentary I read did not include the text of the Bible. (I imagine some do.) It is broken down into chapters, and within each chapter it is arranged by verses. The book includes summary or highlights for each section. The arrangement seems to be entirely in outline form. At first I found this slightly odd. But the more I read, the more accustomed I became to the style. I think perhaps Puritans did this quite a bit with their sermons. (I've also read some Thomas Manton and John Owen.)

I will point out one little thing. While I agree with Henry's overall theology most of the time, I do disagree with him here and there. In particular, I (strongly) disagree with his assessment that Dinah--Jacob's daughter who was raped--was asking for it. His argument is that Dinah was in the wrong and that if she'd just stayed at home--near her home and the protection of her father and brothers, she'd never have been raped. Not content to just blame Dinah, he also finds a way to blame her mother, Leah, for encouraging her daughter's "vain curiosity." He writes, "SHE WENT TO BE SEEN." His application is that fathers should exercise great(er) authority over their families and in particular their daughters.

At best, Henry's remarks are 99.9% speculation. The Bible simply says that Dinah "went out to visit the women of the land." In the next verse, we're told: Shechem saw her, took her, raped her. Henry's argument it seems is that the sin that started it all was the sin of being seen. He speculates that Dinah wanted to be seen. That she was seeking attention and flattery.  That she was inviting men to approach her. That if she'd taken care not to be seen by men, then she'd never have been raped.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  • Our duty as Christians is always to keep heaven in our sight and the earth under our feet.
  • God is not only the author of everything living, but the fountain of life and spring of every change. Dead matter would remain dead if he did not bring it alive. And this makes us believe that it is possible for God to raise the dead.
  • What God requires of us he himself works in us, or it is not done. He that commands faith, holiness, and love creates them in us by the power of his grace alongside his word.
  • The glory and goodness, the beauty and harmony, of God’s works, both of providence and grace, will best appear when they are perfected. So the lesson is: judge nothing before the right time.
  • The One who made the soul is alone able to make it new.
  • It adds much to the comfort of any situation if we have clearly seen God going before us and putting us into it.
  • None of us was sent into the world to be lazy. The One who made these souls and bodies has given us something to work with; the One who made us living wants us to labor, to serve him and our society, and to work out our salvation.
  • Satan teaches people first to doubt and then to deny; he makes them skeptics first, and so gradually makes them atheists. He could not have persuaded them to run the risk of ruining themselves if he had not suggested to them a great probability of improving themselves.
  • Our first parents, who knew so much, did not know this—that they knew enough.
  • Satan may tempt, but he cannot force; he may persuade us to throw ourselves down, but he cannot throw us down (Mt 4:6).
  • The way of sin is downhill; we cannot stop ourselves when we want to.
  • What a dishonor and restlessness sin brings; it causes trouble wherever it is admitted. What a deceiver Satan is. He told our first parents, when he tempted them, that their eyes would be opened; and so they were, but not as they understood it; they were opened to their shame and grief.
  • Although God knows all our sins, yet he wants to know them from us, and requires from us a simple confession of them; not so that he may be informed, but that we may be humbled.
  • A perpetual quarrel is here begun between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the Devil among human beings. It is the fruit of this enmity that there is a continual conflict between grace and sin in the hearts of God’s people and that there is similarly a continual struggle between the wicked and the godly in this world.
  • A gracious promise is here made of Christ, as the deliverer of fallen humanity from the power of Satan. It was said in the earshot of our first parents, who, doubtless, saw a door of hope opened to them. Here was the dawning of the Gospel day. No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed. They are told three things concerning Christ: His incarnation, that he would be the seed of the woman, the offspring of that woman; therefore his genealogy (Lk 3:23-38) goes so far as to show him to be the son of Adam, but God does the woman the honor to call him rather her offspring, because it was she whom the Devil had deceived, and Adam had laid the blame on her. In this we can see that God magnifies his grace, in that, though the woman was first in the rebellion, it is she who will be saved by childbearing, that is, by the promised offspring who will descend from her (1Ti 2:15). He was similarly to be the offspring of a woman only, of a virgin. His sufferings and death, pointed at in Satan’s bruising his heel, that is, his human nature. Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness, to draw him into sin; and some think it was Satan that terrified Christ in his agony, to drive him to despair. It was the Devil that put it into the heart of Judas to betray Christ, of Peter to deny him, of the chief priests to try him, of the false witnesses to accuse him, and of Pilate to condemn him. In all this, they aimed at destroying the Savior, and so destroying salvation. But on the contrary, it was by death that Christ destroyed him that had the power of death (Heb 2:14). Christ’s heel was bruised when his feet were pierced and nailed to the cross, and Christ’s sufferings are continued in the sufferings of the saints for his name. His victory over Satan in this. Satan had now trampled on the woman, and insulted her; but the offspring of the woman would be raised up in the fullness of time to triumph over him (Col 2:15). He shall bruise his head, that is, he shall destroy all his schemings and all his powers, and overthrow completely his kingdom and concerns. Christ thwarted Satan’s temptations; by his death, he gave a fatal blow to the Devil’s kingdom, a wound to the head of this Beast that can never be healed.
  • Sin brought sorrow into the world; if we had known no guilt, we would have known no grief.
  • How wonderfully the satisfaction our Lord Jesus made by his death and sufferings fulfills the sentence here passed on our first parents. Did travailing pains come in with sin? We read of the travail of his soul, the soul of Christ, the suffering servant (Isa 53:11). Did subjection come in with sin? Christ was born under law (Gal 4:4). Did the curse come in with sin? Christ became a curse for us, died a cursed death (Gal 3:13). Did thorns come in with sin? He was crowned with thorns for us. Did sweat come in with sin? For us his sweat was like drops of blood. Did sorrow come in with sin? He was a man of sorrows, in his agony his soul was extremely sorrowful. Did death come in with sin? He became obedient to death. And so the plaster covers the whole wound completely. Blessed be God for Jesus Christ!
  • It is the will of God that each one of us should have something to do in this world.
  • So close are sin and punishment that the same word in Hebrew signifies both.
  • If sin is harbored in the house, the curse waits at the door, like a bailiff ready to arrest sinners whenever they look out.
  • Adam’s eating the forbidden fruit seemed just a little sin, but it opened the door to the greatest.
  • Those that reject God cannot find rest anywhere else.
  • The human race is not its own maker, therefore we must not be our own master; but the Author of our being must be the director of our activities and the center of them.
  • True religion; what is godliness, but walking with God? The ungodly and worldly are without God in the world, they walk contrary to him: but the godly walk with God, which presupposes reconciliation with God, for two cannot walk together except they be agreed (Am 3:3).
  • To walk with God is to set God always before us, and to act as those that are always under his eye. It is to live a life of fellowship with God both in worship of him and wisdom in our dealings with others. It is to make God’s word our rule and his glory our aim in all our actions. It is to obey his will, to agree with his intentions, and to be workers together with him.
  • The bad will sooner lead astray the good than the good reform the bad.
  • God was grieved that he had made human beings; but we never find him grieving that he redeemed human beings.
  • We mock God in saying that we are sorry for our sin, and that it grieves us to the heart, if we then continue to indulge in it.
  • None are destroyed by the justice of God except those who hate to be reformed by the grace of God.
  • God directs Noah to make an ark (vv. 14-16). This ark was like the hulk of a ship, fitted not to sail on the waters (there was no need for that, as there would be no shore to sail to), but to float on the waters, waiting for them to subside. God chose, however, to use him to make what would be the means of his preservation, both to test his faith and obedience and to teach us that none will be saved by Christ except those who work out their salvation (Php 2:12). We cannot do this without God, and he will not do this without us.
  • God does not command him go into the ark, but come into it, implying that God would go with him, would lead him into it, accompany him in it, and in due time bring him safely out of it. It was this that made Noah’s ark, which was a prison, to be not only a refuge, but also a palace. This call to Noah was a type of the call which the Gospel gives to humble sinners. Christ is an ark already prepared, in whom alone we can be safe when death and judgment come.
  • It is our great duty in obedience to the Gospel call to come by a living faith in Christ into that way of salvation which God has provided for poor sinners. When Noah came into the ark, he left his own house and land. In the same way, we must leave our own righteousness and our worldly possessions, whenever they compete with Christ.
  • He that believes does not make haste to run before God, but he does make haste to go out to meet him (Isa 28:16).
  • Serving God with the little we have is the way to make it more; and we must never think that what God is honored with is wasted.
  • God sets the whole earth before all human beings, tells them it is all their own, while it remains, to them and their heirs. Though it is not a paradise, but instead a wilderness, it is still better than we deserve. Blessed be God that it is not hell.
  • Our lives are not so much our own that we may leave them at our own pleasure, but they are God’s.
  • The thicker the cloud, the brighter the rainbow in the clouds. In the same way, just as sufferings come to us in abundance, God showers his encouragement and comfort upon us all the more (2Co 1:5).
  • If God loves us and has mercy in store for us, he will not allow us to take up our rest anywhere short of Canaan, but will graciously repeat his calls, till the good work that he has begun is truly carried out and our souls rest only in God.
  • God knows how to make his favors fit the needs and necessities of his children. He who has a bandage for every sore will first provide one for what is most painful.
  • Jesus Christ is the great blessing of the world, the greatest blessing that the world has ever known. He is a family blessing, by him salvation is brought to the house (Lk 19:9).
  • Enemies may part us and our homes, us and our altars, but not us and our God.
  • The way of family worship is a good and old way; it is not a novel invention but is the time-honored practice of all the saints. Wherever we go, let us not fail to take our faith along with us.
  • We ought to be ready, whenever it is in the power of our hands, to help and relieve those that are in distress.
  • Though we must never complain about God, we may still complain to him, and it is some ease to a burdened spirit to open up to a faithful and compassionate friend:
  • If Christ is ours, heaven is also ours.
  • What God has promised is as certain as if it were already done; and so it is said, whoever believes hath everlasting life (Jn 3:36), for all that believe will as surely go to heaven as if they were there already.
  • When passion is on the throne, reason has been thrown outdoors and is neither heard nor spoken. Those who are most loud and forward in appealing to God are not always in the right.
  • Tears speak as well as prayers.
  • On this side of heaven we have the food we need, but not a continual feast.
  • What God is himself, that he will be to his people: his wisdom is theirs, to guide and counsel them; his power is theirs, to protect and support them; his goodness is theirs, to provide for and comfort them.
  • God graciously comes to those in whom he has first raised an expectation of him.
  • Religion does not destroy, but improve, good manners, and teaches us to honor all people.
  • Fellowship with God is maintained by the word and by prayer. In the word, God speaks to us; in prayer we speak to him.
  • God’s word does us good when it provides us with matter for prayer and stirs us to it.
  • Though sin is to be hated, sinners are to be pitied and prayed for. God does not delight in their death, and we should not desire, but pray for deliverance from, the day of destruction.
  • We must direct our prayer as we send a letter and then look up to wait for a reply. We must direct our prayer as an arrow and then look up to see whether it reaches its mark (Ps 5:3).
  • God is always punctual according to his timing. Though his promised mercies do not come at the time we set, they will certainly come at the time he sets, and that is the best time.
  • Whatever is the source of our joy, God must be acknowledged as its author, unless it is the laughter of the fool (Ecc 7:6).
  • The best evidence of our fearing God is our being willing to serve and honor him with what is dearest to us.
  • Tears are a tribute due to our deceased friends. When the body is sown, it must be watered. But we must not grieve as those that have no hope (1Th 4:13); for we have a good hope through grace both concerning them and also concerning ourselves.
  • Meditation and prayer ought to be both our business and our delight when we are alone.
  • If we are sure of God’s presence with us wherever we go, then we may move on with God’s encouragement.
  • Divine Providence is to be acknowledged in all the detailed circumstances which go to make a journey or any other undertaking encouraging and successful. If we meet with those who can direct us, we must not say that it was by chance, but that it was at such times God in his providence who was favoring us.
  • Times of fear should become times of prayer; whatever frightens us should drive us to our knees and to our God.
  • We may be going where God calls us and still think our way is obstructed by thorns and thistles. If God is our guide, he will also be our guard.
  • Let sin be recognized as sin (Ro 7:13); we should call it by its name and never lessen it.
  • Let us be content to prove ourselves innocent and not be fond of rebuking others for their guilt.
  • Suffering sometimes turns out to be a fortunate and effective means of awakening our conscience.
  • God sees his work from the beginning to the end, but we do not (Ecc 3:11). 4.3. God often works by opposites. Many of those who put Christ to death were saved by his death.
  • If God is with us while we stay behind in this world and will soon receive us to be with those who have gone on ahead to a better world, we ought not to grieve as those who have no hope.
  • God often brings good out of evil, and furthers the purposes of his providence even by human sins. Not that he is the author of sin; far be it from us to think so; but his infinite wisdom so overrules events that the outcome ends in his praise which in its own nature had a direct tendency to dishonor him, as, for example, the putting of Christ to death (Ac 2:23).

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: Bruce and Stan's Pocket Guide to Studying Your Bible

Bruce and Stan's Pocket Guide To Studying Your Bible: A User-Friendly Approach. Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz. 2001. Harvest House. 112 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]

First sentence: Millions of Americans turn to one literary source for guidance. Some do it daily; others read it only once a week (often on Sundays). To the novice reader, this literary work may seem complicated and intimidating--with references that range from historical to contemporary, spiritual to practical, and serious to comedic. But the diligent reader will be rewarded…Of course, we are talking about the weekly TV Guide. But you knew that. People are much more anxious to read about the plots and schedules of their favorite television shows than to read the Bible.

If you're looking for an extremely basic guide to studying the Bible, then this one is worth considering. Especially if you can pick it up cheap. It is BASIC. How basic is basic? In this one you will learn that there are TWO testaments in the Bible. The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. The New Testament was written in Greek. You will learn that there are sixty-six books in the Bible. You will learn that you shouldn't randomly point your finger at a verse in the Bible and call that studying. You will learn the importance of reading the Bible in context and grasping the big picture of the Bible.

It is a very quick read. If you know absolutely nothing about the Bible, then this one wouldn't be a bad starting place. It certainly would not be intimidating. Though you should be warned that for better or worse the authors have a frivolous, light-hearted writing style that is far from timeless. This book is very 2000-2001. The Bible is without a doubt timeless and always, always relevant. This book about how to study your Bible in an attempt to be "with it" and "cool" at the time it was published is a bit dated now.

I remember liking the authors more than I actually do. Perhaps other books in the series are better? Maybe I'm thinking of another book by them that I really enjoyed?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Book Review: Prophet

Prophet. Frank E. Peretti. 1992. Crossway. 416 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: John Barrett heard God speak when he was ten years old.

Premise/plot: Prophet is a novel about the media, about reporting news, about politics, about biases, about balancing what do people NEED to know, what do we want people to know, and what do people think they need to know. All three are important, of course. Sometimes people NEED to hear the truth, need to know the facts, even if it isn't something they want to hear.

The hero of The Prophet is a anchor man on the news. Through him readers get a behind-the-scenes look--though it is an extremely outdated behind-the-scenes look--at a newsroom in action. Readers get to learn about what stories make it on the air, and which stories get dropped at the last minute. They get to hear WHY stories are chosen over others. They get to see how news is framed.

It is also a novel about abortion. When I first reread it in 2013, I thought the bias was over-the-top extreme. That it was presenting the opposing viewpoint in such exaggerated extremes that it was losing touch with reality. Then I read Gosnell in 2017. I no longer think Prophet was exaggerating. Gosnell was a SHOCKING true-crime nonfiction read. It was not a Christian book pushing a Christian agenda. It was nonfiction aimed at a general audience. So was Peretti being prophetic writing about dangerous abortion clinics killing women and getting away with it?! I'm not sure I'd go that far.

I would recommend pairing Gosnell and Prophet for adult book clubs. 

Prophet is also about tense relationships between fathers and sons. Our hero, John Jr., has had a terribly rocky relationship with his own father, and he has an extremely bad relationship with his own son. While he misses out on the opportunity of making things right with his father, he does get a good opportunity to restore a relationship with his own son before it is too late.

Prophet has many memorable scenes. I definitely am glad I decided to reread this one! 

Son, the days ahead are going to be difficult for you. I want you to know that ahead of time. The Truth is coming after you, son, and it's going to sink its claws into you and not let go until you start paying attention. There's something you need to keep in mind about the Truth, John. Depending on where you stand, the Truth can be your best friend or your worst enemy. So let me tell you something. I mean, if I never get the chance to say anything else to you, at least let me say this: Make friends with the Truth, John, as quickly as you can." (44)
Well, if he couldn't nail down what Evil was, why fight it? Whatever was evil today could be voted, legislated, or judged good tomorrow. Maybe if we just wait long enough, he thought, we'll get comfortable with the way things are. (146)
The media being what it is, you don't have to withhold information. You don't even have to lie that much. Just pour on enough distraction and people won't know which way to look. (357)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, August 27, 2018

Book Review: Knowing Scripture

Knowing Scripture. R.C. Sproul. Foreword by J.I. Packer. 1977. IVP. 126 pages. [Source: Bought]

From the foreword: IF I were the devil (please, no comment), one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible.

From chapter one: Why study the Bible? It may seem odd and foolish to raise this question since you probably would not be reading this book unless you were already convinced that Bible study is necessary.

Knowing Scripture is a practical how-to-STUDY-the Bible book by R.C. Sproul first published in 1977. (It has been republished, but I haven't bought an updated edition. I'm not sure if Sproul has added extra content.)

In the first chapter, Sproul addresses two myths concerning the Bible. The first myth being, "the Bible is SO difficult that only highly skilled theologians with technical training can deal with the Scriptures." The second being, "the Bible is boring." He argues that the Bible is not difficult to read--for the most part. Does it contain a few difficult passages that require study and unpacking? Yes. But. For the most part, the basic, essential message of the Bible is straight-forward and clear. Sproul does not quote Mark Twain here, but I will!
“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scriptures they don’t understand, but for me I have always noticed that the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” ~ Mark Twain
He also argues that the Bible is NOT dull or boring. (Though he adds that *if* it were the world's most boring book, it would still be our duty to read it because we're commanded to know the Book.) 
The preponderance of boredom that people experience with the Bible came home to me several years ago when I was hired to teach the Scriptures in required Bible courses at a Christian college. The president of the institution phoned me and said, "We need someone young and exciting, someone with a dynamic method who will be able to 'make the Bible come alive.'" I had to force myself to swallow my words. I wanted to say, "You want me to make the Bible come alive? I didn't know that it had died. In fact, I never even heard that it was ill. Who was the attending physician at the Bible's demise?" No, I can't make the Bible come alive for anyone. The Bible is already alive. It makes me come alive. (14)
He concludes that the reason people don't study the Bible has nothing to do with either myth. Not really.
We fail in our duty to study God's Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy. (15)
He includes this startling fact: If you have read the whole Bible, you are in a small minority of Christian people. If you have studied the Bible, you are in an even smaller minority. (18) Sproul isn't saying that only Christian laypeople are lazy when it comes to reading or studying the Bible, the whole Bible. He's also saying that it's a problem among the clergy as well. 
Countless times I have heard Christians say, "Why do I need to study doctrine or theology when all I need to know is Jesus?" My immediate reply is this: "Who is Jesus?" As soon as we begin to answer that question, we are involved in doctrine and theology. No Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian is a theologian. Perhaps not a theologian in the technical or professional sense, but a theologian nevertheless. The issue for Christians is not whether we are going to be theologians but whether we are going to be good theologians or bad ones. A good theologian is one who is instructed by God. (22)
He includes many reasons WHY Christians should study the Bible. One of my favorite quotes is, "But what happens when there is a conflict between what God says and what I feel? We must do what God says, like it or not. That is what Christianity is all about." That is Sproul telling it like it is. Not tickling anybody's ears, for sure. There is a follow-your-heart, follow-your-conscience, define-your-own-truth mentality that has even found its way into modern pulpits. 

We were not created to be happy. Let me clarify. We were not created to pursue our own version of happy. Our version of happy is far removed from what we were created for because of the fall, because of our inborn sin nature. We were created to glorify God; we were created to enjoy HIM forever. When God is at the center of our happy, when God is our 'one thing' then we are fulfilling his design for us. We are in God's will and not outside of it.
Knowledge of God's Word does not guarantee that we will do what it says, but at least we will know what we are supposed to be doing in our quest for human fulfillment. The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in. (30)
In chapter two, Sproul discusses personal Bible study and private interpretation. He argues that it is important to balance private interpretation with the church's teaching. The text has a definite meaning. A text can have more than one application, but it can only have one meaning. We're not free to read MEANING into a text and build our theology around a misinterpreted passage. Free perhaps being the wrong word. We are of course free to be bad theologians. But TRUTH should matter to us. And we should care more about what the scripture actually means than what we want it to mean. Should. 

In this second chapter, Sproul talks about objectivity and subjectivity. He defines the terms EXEGESIS and EISOGESIS. At the heart of every bad sermon is eisogesis. 
Exegesis means to explain what the Scripture says. The word comes from the Greek word meaning, "to guide out of." The key to exegesis is found in the prefix ex which means "from" or "out of." To exegete Scripture is to get out of the words the meaning that is there, no more and no less. (39)
Eisogesis has the same room but a different prefix. The prefix his, also coming from the Greek, means "into." Thus, eisogesis involves reading into the text something that isn't there at all. Exegesis is an objective enterprise. Eisogesis involves an exercise in subjectivism. (40)
Subjectivism takes place when the truth of a statement is not merely expanded or applied to the subject, but when it is absolutely determined by the subject. "That's your interpretation, and that's fine for you. I don't agree with it, but my interpretation is equally valid. Though our interpretations are contrary and contradictory, they can both be true. Whatever you like is true for you and whatever I like is true for me." (39, 40)
In the third chapter, Sproul introduces hermeneutics, "the science of interpretation." What should be the means of interpretation? How should the Bible be interpreted? The Reformers argued--stood for and in some cases died for--the notion that Scripture should interpret Scripture. That the Bible was all one needed. He writes, "No part of Scripture can be interpreted in such a way as to render it in conflict with what is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture." (40)

He spends a good deal of time in this chapter discussing the importance of reading the Bible literally.
The term literal comes from the Latin litera meaning letter. To interpret something literally is to pay attention to the litera or to the letters and words which are being used. To interpret the Bible literally is to interpret it as literature. That is, the natural meaning of a passage is to be interpreted according to the normal rules of grammar, speech, syntax, and context. The Bible may be a very special book, being uniquely inspired by the Holy Ghost, but that inspiration does not transform the letters of the words or the sentences of the passages into magical phrases. Under inspiration a noun remains a noun and a verb remains a verb. Questions do not become exclamations, and historical narratives do not become allegories. (49)
To be accurate interpreters of the Bible we need to know the rules of grammar; and above all, we must be carefully involved in what is called genre analysis. The term genre means simply "kind," "sort," or "species." Genre analysis involves the study of such things as literary forms, figures of speech, and style. (49)
The third way of interpreting the Bible--which he addresses in this chapter--is the grammatico-historical method. Here is where context and original meaning come into play. 

The fourth chapter is the PRACTICAL chapter. He includes rules for biblical interpretations:
Rule 1: The Bible is to be read like any other book.
Rule 2: Read the Bible existentially. [He adds a disclaimer here, "What I mean is that as we read the Bible, we ought to get passionately and personal involved in what we read. I advocate this not only for the purpose of personal application of the text but for understanding as well. What I am calling for is a kind of empathy by which we try to "crawl into the skin" of the characters we are reading about." (66)]
Rule 3: Historical Narratives are to be interpreted by the didactic.
Rule 4: The implicit is to be interpreted by the explicit. [Not only do we have problems when we draw too many implications from the Scripture, but we also face the problem of squaring implications with what is explicitly taught. When an implication is drawn that is contradictory to what is explicitly stated, the implication must be rejected. (77)]
Rule 5: Determine carefully the meaning of words. 
Rule 6: Note the presence of parallelism in the Bible. (There are three basic types of parallelism: synonymous, antithetic, and synthetic.)
Rule 7: Note the difference between proverb and law.
Rule 8: Observe the difference between the Spirit and the Letter of the Law. 
Rule 9: Be careful with parables.
Rule 10: Be careful with predictive prophecy.

The fifth chapter is all about culture. Not only should we be mindful of the original cultures--of the Old and New Testaments--but we should be--must be--mindful of our own culture. Difficulties can arise when we ignore our own culture and bring our own cultural bias or understanding into Scripture. He writes, 
"We need to become aware that the perspective we bring to the Word may well be a distortion of truth. I am convinced that the problem of the influence of the twentieth-century secular mindset is a far more formidable obstacle to accurate biblical interpretation that is the problem of the conditioning of ancient culture." (105)
The sixth chapter is about Bible study tools. This chapter is without a doubt the most dated section of the book. In a way. Commentaries are still commentaries. Atlases are still atlases. Dictionaries are still dictionaries. But. This is the chapter where he analyzes various translations and gives recommendations. 

So many BIG translations were not published yet in 1977. For example, New King James Version, New International Version, New American Standard Bible Update, English Standard Version, New Living Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible and Christian Standard Bible. He would later go on to publish study Bibles in the New King James Version and the English Standard Version so one can only assume that he approved those translations!

This section also includes a Bible Reading Program for Beginners.
Why have Christians been so derelict when it comes to biblical study? Is it merely a lack of discipline or devotion? That may be part of the problem and consequently produces much guilt among Christians for leaving undone those things that should have been done. I think, however, that more than a problem of discipline, it is a problem of method.  We begin our Bible reading in a spirit of grim determination and diligently read the book of Genesis. Genesis provides important information about the foundations of biblical history and moves smoothly through the narrative history of the patriarchs. So far so good. Exodus is full of drama with the exploits of Moses and the liberation of Israel from the tyranny of the Egyptians. Cecil B. DeMille and Charlton Heston have given millions of us a sense of familiarity with these events. Then comes Leviticus. Here the attrition rate of interested readers begins to accelerate. Many of us who wade through Leviticus are finished off by Numbers. A few die-hards make it through Deuteronomy, and even a persevering few make it through the whole New Testament. Actually I have discovered that the majority of people who read the first five books of the Old Testament will make it through the whole Bible. Most people fail to read the Old Testament by getting bogged down in Leviticus and Numbers. The reasons are obvious. These books deal with detailed matters of the organization of Israel including lengthy lists of case law. So much of the material is foreign to us and makes difficult reading.Yet, the information contained in these books is of crucial importance for understanding the scope of redemptive history. An accurate understanding of the New Testament depends on an understanding of these books. In fact, once a person acquires a general understanding of the whole scope of Scripture, he usually discovers that Leviticus and Numbers are fascinating and delightfully interesting. But without the general understanding the details seem somewhat unrelated. To overcome the problems so many people have with reading the Bible I suggest an alternate route to our goal. Read the biblical books in the following order:
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon
Psalms and Proverbs.
This list of readings gives an overview of the Old Testament and provides the framework for understanding it. (121-22)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Week in Review: August 19-25

NIV 1984

  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • John
  • Hebrews
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude
  • Revelation

NIV 2011 -- Rainbow Study Bible

  • Genesis
  • Job

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

My Victorian Year #31

I'm sharing quotes from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening AND J.C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on Matthew this week.

From Expository Thoughts on Matthew, chapters 8 and 9

Matthew 8:1-15

  • It was fitting that the greatest sermon ever preached should be immediately followed by mighty proof, that the preacher was the Son of God. A leper is healed with a touch. A palsied person is made well by a word. A woman sick with a fever is restored in a moment to health and strength. 
  • Let us learn, for one thing, how great is the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. To heal a person of the PALSY without even seeing him, by only speaking a word, is to do that which our minds cannot even conceive. Yet Jesus commands, and at once it is done.
  • Let us trust him, and not be afraid. The world is full of snares. Our hearts are weak. But with Jesus nothing is impossible.
  • Let us learn, for another thing, the mercifulness and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Let us learn, in the last place, what a precious thing is the grace of faith.
  • To believe Christ's power and willingness to help, and to make a practical use of our belief, is a rare and precious gift. Let us be ever thankful if we have it. To be willing to come to Jesus as helpless, lost sinners, and commit our souls into His hands is a mighty privilege.

Matthew 8:16-27

  • Let us keep back nothing from young professors and inquirers after Christ. Let us not enlist them on false pretenses. Let us tell them plainly that there is a crown of glory at the end. But let us tell them no less plainly, that there is a daily cross in the way.
  • Let the prayer "Lord, increase our faith," always form part of our daily petitions. We never perhaps know the weakness of our faith, until we are placed in the furnace of trial and anxiety.

Matthew 8:28-34

  • Let us settle it firmly in our minds, that there is such a being as the devil. It is an dreadful truth, and one too much overlooked. There is an unseen spirit ever near us, of mighty power, and full of endless malice against our souls.
  • Let us, in the next place, settle it firmly in our minds, that the power of the devil is limited. Mighty as he is, there is one mightier still.
  • Let us, in the next place, settle it in our minds, that our Lord Jesus Christ is man's great deliverer from the power of the devil.
  • Let us beware of loving the world more than Christ. Let us beware of hindering the salvation of others, because we fear the increase of true religion may diminish our gains, or give us trouble.

Matthew 9:1-13

  • Nothing can be concealed from Christ. What do we think of, in private, when no man sees us? What do we think of, in church, when we seem so grave and serious?
  • Jesus knows. Jesus sees. Jesus records. Jesus will one day call us to give account. It is written that "God will judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ." (Rom. 2:16.) Surely
  • We ought to thank God daily that the blood of Christ can cleanse from all sin. We ought often to cry, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight." (Psalm 19:14.)
  • Let it be a fixed principle in our religion, that with Christ nothing is impossible. He can take a tax collector, and make him an apostle. He can change any heart, and make all things new.
  • Let us never despair of any one's salvation. Let us pray on, and speak on, and work on to do good to souls, even to the souls of the worst. "The voice of the Lord is powerful." (Psalm. 29:4.)
  • "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Let us make sure that we thoroughly understand the doctrine that these words contain.
  • Finally, if by the grace of God we really understand the glorious truth that sinners are those whom Christ came to call, let us take heed that we never forget it.

Matthew 9:14-26

  • Let us mark in this passage, the gracious name by which the Lord Jesus speaks of Himself. He calls Himself "the bridegroom." What the bridegroom is to the bride, the Lord Jesus is to the souls of all who believe in Him.
  • Our courage may be small. Our grasp of the Gospel, and its promises, may be weak and trembling. But, after all, the grand question is, do we really trust in Christ alone?
  • Weak faith is less comfortable than strong faith. Weak faith will carry us to heaven with far less joy than full assurance. But weak faith gives an interest in Christ as surely as strong faith.
  • This is the kind of truth we never can know too well. The more clearly we see Christ's power, the more likely we are to realize Gospel peace.
  • Greater is He that is for us, than all those who are against us. Our Savior can raise the dead. Our Savior is almighty.

Matthew 9:27-38

  • Let us mark, in the first place, that strong faith in Christ may sometimes be found where it might least have been expected.
  • Grace is stronger than circumstances.
  • Let us mark, in the next place, that our Lord Jesus Christ has had great experience of disease and sickness. He "went about all the cities and villages" doing good.
  • But let us arm ourselves betimes with the precious thought that Jesus is specially fitted to be the sick man's friend.
  • Let us mark, in the next place, our Lord's tender concern for neglected souls. "He saw multitudes" of people when He was on earth, scattered about "like sheep having no shepherd," and He was moved with compassion.
  • Let us mark, in the last place, that there is a solemn duty incumbent on all Christians, who would do good to the unconverted part of the world. They are to pray for more men to be raised up to work for the conversion of souls. It seems as if it was to be a daily part of our prayers. "Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers into his harvest."
  • Let us settle it in our minds, that it is one of the surest ways of doing good, and stemming evil. Personal working for souls is good. Giving money is good. But praying is best of all.

From Morning and Evening:

  • What the sun is to the day, what the moon is to the night, what the dew is to the flower—such is Jesus Christ to us.
  • What bread is to the hungry, clothing to the naked, the shadow of a great rock to the traveler in a weary land—such is Jesus Christ to us.
  • They are unsearchable! You may look, and study, and weigh—but Jesus is a greater Savior than you think Him to be—when your thoughts are at the greatest.
  • My Lord is more ready to pardon—than you to sin; more able to forgive—than you to transgress. My Master is more willing to supply your needs—than you are to ask for them!
  • Never tolerate low thoughts of my Lord Jesus. When you put the crown on His head, you will only crown Him with silver when He deserves gold.
  • Faith must be strong—or love will not be fervent; the root of the flower must be healthy, or we cannot expect the bloom to be sweet. Faith is the lily’s root—and love is the lily’s bloom. Now, reader, Jesus cannot be in your heart’s love—unless you have a firm hold of Him by your heart’s faith; and, therefore, pray that you may always trust Christ in order that you may always love Him. If your love is cold—you can be sure that your faith is drooping!
  • Inasmuch as Jesus has gone before us, things do not remain as they would have been, had He never passed that way.
  • Do you dread sin? He has nailed it to His cross! Do you fear death? He has been the death of death! Are you afraid of hell? He has barred it against the entrance of any of His children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition!
  • Whatever foes may be before the Christian—they are all overcome!
  • Faith, in the Scripture, is spoken of under the emblem of all the senses. It is sight, “Look unto me—and be saved.” It is hearing, “Hear—and your soul shall live.”
  • Faith is smelling, “All your garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia.” “Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; Your Name is like perfume poured out.”
  • Faith is spiritual touch. By faith, the woman came behind and touched the hem of Christ’s garment. By faith—we handle the things of the good Word of life.
  • Faith is equally the soul’s taste. “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my lips!” “Except a man eats My flesh,” says Christ, “and drinks My blood, there is no life in him.” This spiritual “taste” is faith in one of its highest operations.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Berean Playlist #1 Trading My Sorrows

See my blog post: On Being Berean, Part 2 for context on this series.
I'm Trading My Sorrows, video

I'm starting what could potentially be a series with this song because it may be Todd Friel's number one song to pick on and abuse. I am not starting with this song because it is my all-time favorite number one worship song.

Is the song biblical? These are the verses that come to mind--directly or indirectly--when examining the lyrics:

Romans 5:3,4,5
Romans 8:18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,
2 Corinthians1:3,4, 5,6, 7, 18, 19, 21
2 Corinthians 4:7,8,9,10,11,12,13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
2 Corinthians 12:8,9,10,
Philippians 4:4,5-7
James 1:2,3,4; 12;
1 Peter 1:3,4,5,6,7,8,9
1 Peter 3:15,16,17,18,
Psalms 30:5, 11; 37:4; 59:16; 90:14, 40:3, 96:1; Psalm 42:2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
Nehemiah 8:10

The lyrics:

I'm trading my sorrows
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying them down
For the joy of the Lord
I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying them down
For the joy of the Lord
I'm pressed but not crushed
Persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse
For his promise will endure
And His joy's gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with morning
The chorus:
And we say, "Yes Lord, yes Lord, yes, yes, Lord
Yes Lord, yes Lord, yes, yes Lord
Yes Lord, yes Lord, yes, yes, Lord Amen"

The verses clearly are biblical. I think the chorus is biblical too. But not as clearly so. I believe the chorus is ALL about saying YES, Lord, YOUR WILL--not mine--be done. Yes, LORD, I'll praise you no matter the circumstance. Yes, Lord, have your way with me. Yes, Lord, teach me what you will. I'm yours. I surrender to You. I trust You to work this for my good. YOU are for me and not against me. That's my interpretation anyway.

Is the song repetitive? A thousand times yes. Are all the la, la, la, la, la, la, las necessary? Do they actually add any biblical content to the song? No. Of course not. As recorded on the album, the song is a little over six minutes. And it repeats a great deal--the verses and the chorus. And then there's all the la-las.

Does the song use "I" "me" "my" "mine"? Yes. But so do 100+ Psalms. Unless you're willing to throw out the book of Psalms from the Bible, this isn't a valid reason to reject a song.

But trimmed down to two or three minutes, I believe this song is worth singing in churches.  (Not every week certainly.) Primarily because I think most--if not all--members of a congregation can relate to feeling sorrow, to feeling shame, to being weighed down with sickness and pain, to feeling pressed, persecuted, and struck down. We do not need reminders to grumble, to complain, to whine, to feel sorry for ourselves. We do need reminders to REJOICE IN THE LORD, to praise the Lord and bless his name, to be grateful, to prize KNOWING GOD above any other earthly treasure. We're fallen creatures who need reminders of why we have HOPE.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

On Being Berean, Part 2

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about discernment, "On Being Berean." I was specifically referring to--in that post--being discerning when listening to sermons. But discernment isn't only called for in preaching and teaching. It's also appropriate when it comes to music.

I think it is completely fair to say that plenty of people get a special thrill--a high--off of hating on Christian music, of hating Christian worship music in particular.

Zeal is not wrong. But you can be overzealous. Discerning the reasons WHY you feel the way you do are crucial in distinguishing between objective concerns and subjective preferences.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:15-20.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

Points to consider:

  • Is a song biblical? 
  • does it directly, expressly use Scripture?
  • does it indirectly express Scriptural principles? 
  • how does it use Scripture? does it twist or distort? or does it correctly interpret Scripture?
  • Is it clearly about God? Or is it vaguely about God? Could the song do double duty? Could it just as easily be about God, cheeseburgers, your child, or your significant other? 
  • Is it best suited for church or home? 
  • Is the song thought-provoking? Does the song awake in you a love for God, an awareness of your need for God? Does it spur you to action? 

The points I listed above, should, I believe, get high priority. The points below often get greater priority--whether its warranted or not:

  • does it use the word "I" or "me"
  • does it use big words to describe who God is and what he has done?
  • is it repetitive?
  • do I like the melody?
  • is it manipulatively catchy so that you couldn't get it out of your head if you tried?
  • is it the "It's A Small, Small World" of Christian music?
  • has it been covered by twelve different Christian artists?
  • does it get played on the radio more than five times a day?
  • does it use more than one musical instrument?
  • was it written by Chris Tomlin
  • was it written at least fifty to seventy-five years ago?
  • can I find it in a hymnal?
  • is it over four minutes long?

I would encourage every believer to LISTEN to the lyrics before they reject a song. Not just to listen to them, but to read them as you listen to them. Treat the lyrics to the song as you would a sermon, book, or article. Examine what is being said and perhaps what is not being said. Test them against Scripture. Hold onto what is good. Reject what is evil. Worship leaders can and should make distinctions between: okay, good, great, and excellent. The music played in our churches each week is, of course, limited. So there should be some standards--some would argue HIGH standards in place.

I would love to review individual songs in the days, weeks, months ahead and see if they pass the Berean test.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, August 24, 2018

New Bible Project

NIV Rainbow Study Bible. 2015. Holman Bible Publishers. 1632 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I don't always have a plan in place when I approach a new Bible project. But. This time I do. I am going to take the structure of the MESSAGE 100 and use the NIV Rainbow Study Bible. I have no interest in reading the Message translation cover to cover, but I did enjoy the structure of the 100 sequenced readings. I won't share the exact readings for each of the days. That would be a LOT of typing. But I will share the ordering of the books. 

It is an interesting arrangement. Some days there are a lot of chapters to read. But then you have odd days where you read just three chapters! (See Habakkuk!) 

  • Genesis, 4 readings
  • Job, 4 readings
  • Exodus, 3 readings
  • Leviticus, 2 readings
  • Numbers, 4 readings
  • Deuteronomy, 3 readings
  • Joshua, 2 readings
  • Ruth combines with 1 Samuel 1-10, 1 reading
  • 1 Samuel, 3 readings total
  • 2 Samuel, 3 readings
  • 1 Kings, 3 readings
  • 2 Kings, 2 readings
  • Jonah and Amos, 1 reading
  • Hosea, 1 reading
  • Micah, 1 reading
  • Isaiah, 7 readings
  • Nahum and Zephaniah, 1 reading
  • Habakkuk, 1 reading
  • Jeremiah, 6 readings
  • Lamentations and Obadiah, 1 reading
  • Ezekiel, 4 readings
  • Daniel, 1 reading
  • 1 Chronicles, 2 readings
  • 2 Chronicles, 2 readings
  • Ezra, 1 reading
  • Haggai, Zechariah, 1 reading
  • Esther, 1 reading
  • Nehemiah, 1 reading
  • Joel and Malachi, 1 reading
  • Proverbs, 3 readings
  • Ecclesiastes, 1 reading
  • Song of Songs, 1 reading
  • Psalms, 8 readings
  • Matthew, 3 readings
  • Mark, 2 readings
  • Luke, 3 readings (Luke 22-24 is combined with Acts 1-8)
  • Acts, 3 readings
  • James, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 reading
  • 1 Corinthians, 1 reading
  • 2 Corinthians, 1 reading
  • Romans, 1 reading
  • Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 reading
  • 1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy, 1 Peter, 1 reading
  • 2 Peter, Jude, Hebrews, 1 reading
  • John, 2 readings
  • 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation 1-8, 1 reading
  • Revelation 8-22, 1 reading

I did write out the specific readings for each day in a composition book. The questions I've printed up to motivate study come from Matthew S. Harmon's Asking the Right Questions. I  can already tell you that I won't be answering ALL the questions for each day. I don't think Harmon envisioned his questions having to cover 10+ chapters of the Bible at a time. And I've only allotted one page per day! (The exception being that I gave myself two-to-three pages for some of the New Testament!) So I'll pick and choose what I answer. 

I would not be surprised if some days I do two readings. I'm like that. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Bible Review: Living Insights

Living Insights Study Bible. 1996. 1606 pages. [Source: Bought]

I've had this one for a little over twenty years. Hence why it was an almost natural choice for making it onto my TBR Pile challenge list.

The Bible is the 1984 New International Version. Of course, when I bought it in the 1990s, there was only ONE NIV. It had yet to be replaced--for better or worse--with the NIV 2011 or even the TNIV.

This Bible has book introductions, character profiles, a few articles and insight boxes.

It is "light" rather than heavy in terms of being a study bible.

I decided to have a special notebook for writing verses. Some people feel completely okay with marking and underlining in Bibles--even drawing. I'm not one of them. I write the verses that I might otherwise underline. These are verses that deserve fuller attention and reflection.

I alternated the ink color each day.

Like always, my Bible reading mainly coincided with tea time!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible