Category Archives: Bible Study

The Shadow of Death

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Through the virus outbreak the last couple weeks we have all become aware of something. This awareness is there any time we see numbered statistics about the pandemic. It is there in the background of every photo of health care workers or first responders in their protective gear. It is there as we wait in line to get into a grocery store. It is like a faint specter that drifts across the scenes of our lives. We know it is there, but we often refuse to make eye contact with it. The specter is death. It is always there and it has cast its shadow across every aspect of our lives during this time.

We often try to ignore its existence, but the longer the threat remains, the greater the odds are that we will all come into contact with it somehow. It might come to a friend, a family member or working colleague. We may not personally feel its touch, but most of us will feel its presence as it passes close by. It is an enemy and it is real.

As people of faith how are we to respond to death? We cannot just deny it is there. We are to have faith, and yet how do we balance faith with reality without denying either? Our success in facing our enemy comes by joining two things together. These two are the Word of God and knowledge. The Scriptures give us a lot of information. This information becomes the basis of our faith (Rom 10:17). If we believe the information in the Bible then it can impact us and become the basis for our faith. That does not mean we will like everything the Scriptures say, but it does mean that if we trust God’s Word, then it can become a secure place from which we face this difficult situation. The Bible talks about death and what it says can help us face this specter with confidence. 

What does the Bible say? It says that humans are mortal (James 1:11; 4:14). Our mortality is the result of sin (Gen 2:17; Rom 5:12-14). Death has spread to us all and is an enemy that we have to face (1Cor 15:26). It will one day be overcome (1Cor 15:54), but knowing this does not mean that some people will not still live in fear of its shadow (Heb 2:15). Jesus became human and suffered death. He also came back to life to show that death had no control over the final outcome of His life. Death touched Him but did not control Him. This knowledge can bring us all great comfort. Our lives are limited in their own strength. We are only temporary occupants on this planet for now (1Pet 111-17; Php 3:20). The lifespan of each person here may vary (Ps 90:10). Ultimately how long we each live is in God’s control (Ps 31:15), but there is a future.

A challenge that we face in this season is that we do not know how each of us will be affected by the virus. We lack specific knowledge that helps us anticipate our own future. It is this unknown that can be overwhelming at times, but Jesus came to bring truth to us that can help set us free from the grip of the unknown (John 8:32). This is the knowledge that when joined with our faith can have a positive stabilizing effect on us. Here are some simple words of truth that help bring perspective through this time.

  1. By far the majority of people will make it through this time. The current percentages support that fact, as was also true for previous pandemics.
  2. The health care officials have given us information about how to minimize our chances of contracting the virus. Follow their advice. These are people who are genuinely concerned for our wellbeing.
  3. Don’t take unnecessary risks. True faith does not reside in stupidity. Remember that even Jesus was tempted to recklessly expose His body to dangerous behavior under the deception that God was required to always protect Him. If Jesus could be tempted with this so can we.
  4. Keep your eyes open to what is going on around you (Eph 5:15-16).  This is not a time to go to sleep with our minds and hearts.
  5. We do not know all that lies in the future, but that does not mean we can’t move ahead. The study of Eschatology tells us an important truth. There are things about the future we do not know like the day and hour of Jesus’ return. There are things, however, that we do know like what He wants us to do until that time. Proceed with what we know and leave the rest up to Him.
  6. Don’t let the attraction to this life on earth be the most important thing to you (Matt 10:39; James 4:4).
  7. The lives of God’s people are precious to Him (Zech 2:8; Deut 7:6; 14:2; Ps 135:4). Their deaths are also precious to Him (Ps 116:15). Nothing gets past His eye.
  8. Whether we live or die in this life we can do it for the Lord (Rom14:8).
  9. It is possible that no matter what happens, that we can honor God in both life and death (Php 1:20).
  10. When all our efforts have been expended, and we have done all we can, in the end, we must  commit our lives to the gracious God who will make things work out in eternity (1Pet 4:19). This is our hope even if we don’t see now what will happen. We hope for what is not seen (Rom 8:24-25).

Ps 23:4 says “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  We are surrounded by glimpses of that shadow daily. It discourages many and it could also be disturbing to us as well, except for a very important truth. Our Lord is with us. He has been through this valley before and He knows the way through it for us as well. This is the Shepherd of our souls. He is the one who guides us in this season.

From Stress to Strength

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In this unprecedented season of stress, anxiety, fear, and so many other emotions, we believers earnestly implore the Lord asking for a Divine Exchange.  We yearn for, reach for, claim, and proclaim that our God is real and that He not only sees, but cares. We reach out to Him in our sincerity and offer Him our frailty for His strength, our weakness for His empowerment, and our fear and anxiety for His peace.  

In our confidence, and yet to our surprise, He offers to give us that Divine Exchange and we step into His very Presence and go from stress to strength in a moment that leaves us in breathless astonishment of the good and gracious God that we love and serve.  We cease to grasp for control that so obviously is out of our reach. We cease to be the proverbial Commander of the universe and put our concerns back into His trustworthy hands. In that moment we find ourselves residing, no longer in turmoil, but rather in peace, surrender, and resolve.  We allow Him to be Lord once again, just as He was, is, and will always be. Hence, somewhere in the process of surrender there is a tumultuous, yet serene, journey that takes us from stress to strength moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour, and day-by-day.

James 1:2-6a (NIV) tells us that trials will come. “(2) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt..(12) Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

We learn at least four things from this passage:

  1. Stress is certain to come.  James says, “when,” not “if.”
  2. It can come suddenly. James says, “when you fall into,” fall, not crawl or walk.
  3. It can come in several ways.  James refers to “various trials.” Your stress may be more about financial provision than it is about this pandemic, or health more than your singleness, or social connection more than homeschooling your ‘littles’ so suddenly, or it may be all of these various trials all at one time.
  4. When we persevere, we will be blessed. James does not say that we should be joyful for the stress/trials, but rather in the stress/trials.  A godly perspective of joy and faith releases heaven’s perspective.  It helps us to see beyond the stressful situation into God’s perspective through His eyes.

The Greek word peirasmos, which is testing, trial, or temptation, has an expanded definition here. It means ‘a testing that is directed towards an end, and the end is that he who is tested should emerge stronger, purer, and more godly from the testing.’

While Satan tempts us to question God’s goodness, or to give into hopelessness and our own solutions, God allows stress, pandemics, difficulties, and challenges to come into our lives to make us strong through it all. Yes, in the middle of it all, we must come to a resolve that we are either in God’s hands or we are not.  If we are in His hands, then we have this solid hope and belief on which we can stand, kneel and bow, that God is God and we can trust Him and come out of the trial stronger than when we went into it. If we are not in His hands, we are destitute and left to our own designs alone. God has given us sound minds on which we can come to practical wisdom, but ultimately, our trust must be in His guidance, His touch, His wisdom and direction.  

James says in verse three, depending on the translation you read, that the “…testing of your faith produces perseverance/ patience/endurance.”  He tells us that the aim of the testing is to purge us of all impurity.  If we meet this testing in the right way, it will produce hupomone.  The English word “patience,” or even perseverance, is far too passive to describe what the Greek word means here. 

Hupomone is not simply the ability to bear things; it is the ability to turn them into greatness and glory.  

I doubt that our world will ever be the same again after this pandemic.  This season has tattooed an indelible mark on history. It will be remembered along with other great plagues, wars, and Great Depressions.  When the stories of people begin to pour in about how God turned this challenge into greatness and how His glory was revealed through it all, we will never see Him in the same way again.

Hupomone is also the quality which makes a person able, not simply to suffer things, but to vanquish them.  They give you the strength to bear still more and to conquer still more challenging battles in the future.  

Just as anerobic exercise tears and then rebuilds the muscle tissue to make it stronger, so trials come so that we might become stronger, vanquish them, and be better prepared for the next challenge.  I can only imagine that, even as science works hard to catch up with the ever-increasing strength of viruses today, this generation will become stronger in wisdom and in the spiritual realm and will be well able to vanquish trials and turn them into greatness and glory. 

In all of this, I would like to humbly offer some practical tips to consider:

  • Discern what is the most important thing in life to you and prioritize accordingly.

“The secret is priorities.  If you can get your priorities straight, you have the foundational tool you need to control the pressures and tensions in our life and to prevent stress from becoming overwhelming and debilitating.”  Dr. Kevin Leman, Say Good-bye to Stress

We are tri-dimensional beings; spirit, soul, and body, and should consider what our highest priority is in each.

  • What are your spiritual priorities?  Make sure these fit your spiritual temperament.

(i.e. If you best connect with God when you are outdoors, get out and walk. If you best connect with God when you are sketching or painting, start doing that.  If it’s through playing an instrument or singing, let God hear you. If it’s reaching out to someone in need, go for it.) Figure out what you do in your relationship with God that brings you the most peace and joy and go do it. 

  • What are your emotional priorities?  Make sure these fit your personality. How do you recharge and restore energy to your soul?  You may not be able to hug someone right now, but you can still connect relationally and meaningfully through social media. 
  • What are your physical priorities?  Make sure that these are enjoyable as well as physically profitable.  Exercise releases endorphins needed to reduce stress, as well as having other health benefits.
  • Discern the root cause of your stress and face it honestly & tenaciously.  Assess your stress.
  • Group your stress/fear/anxiety into two categories:

–One-time stress, such as a pandemic

–On-going stress, such as chronic health issues

  • Is your stress, fear, or anxiety level harmful to your health?

Is it beginning to affect your health, joy, peace, or sense of well-being?

-Is it causing you to lose interest in your favorite hobbies?

-Is it causing you to constantly feel rushed?

-Are you making more mistakes than usual, or are you performing at a level that is less than your best?

-Do you feel constant fatigue, lack initiative, feel generally unwell, having muscle & joint aches, a pounding heart, and perspiring without exercising. Are you having stress symptoms, connected to, but unrelated to COVID19?

  • Categorize your stress/anxiety:

–Stress factors you can change now. 

–Stress factors you can work on over time, but cannot fix right away

–Stress factors that are totally out of your control

–What are you most afraid of?

*Finances – daily, educational, or retirement provision

*Relationships – family, work, friendships

*Health – major, chronic, low-grade concerns

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed.  If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.”  Corrie Ten Boom

  • Prayer
  • Personal Prayer Effectiveness – Flow with your Spiritual Temperament (See Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas)
  •  “Prayer is as necessary as the air, as the blood in our bodies, as anything to keep us alive – to keep us alive to the grace of God.”  Mother Teresa
  • “When faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live.” E.M. Bounds
  • “The wonderful thing about praying is that you leave a world of not being able to do something and enter God’s realm where everything is possible.  He specializes in the impossible. Nothing is too great for His almighty power. Nothing is too small for His love.” Corrie Ten Boom
  • Prayer Partners/Friends – Who are the people in your life that you really trust to pray?

There is power in agreement.  Mt. 18:19,20 NIV 

–Give a prayer and ask for prayer

  • Health Evaluation – Although I am not a medical professional, from research I have done, many professionals suggest that these health tips help in stressful times.
  • Honestly evaluate your Diet & the effects is has on your health and make the appropriate changes needed.

–Caffeine:  Research suggests that caffeine raises cortisol, the stress hormone.  Chronically high cortisol levels can damage immune health. Cortisol can make handling pressure difficult.  Skipping a caffeinated drink can immediately help regulate this hormone and it’s short and long-term effects.  On the other hand, some caffeine, in moderation, may help your mood. 

–Complex Carbs: All carbs prompt the brain to make more serotonin.  For a steady supply of serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical, it’s best to eat complex carbs, which take longer to digest.  Good choices include whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals, including old-fashioned oatmeal. Complex carbs also help you feel balanced by stabilizing blood sugar levels.

–Simple Carbs:  A little of these carbs is okay but avoiding a large intake of them is helpful in avoiding stress.  They are digested quickly and lead to a spike in serotonin, then a sharp decline. These include sweets and sodas. 

–Vitamin C: Studies suggest that Vitamin C can curb levels of stress hormones while strengthening the immune system.

–Spinach & other Green Leavy Vegetables:  These vegetables provide magnesium which lowers blood pressure and eases anxiety, among other health benefits.

–Fatty Fish:  Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon & tuna, can prevent surges in stress hormones and may help protect against depression as well.

–Black Tea: This tea helps to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

–Nuts:  Pistachios, walnuts, almonds, or other nuts & seeds, are good sources of healthy fats. They help lower cholesterol, ease inflammation in the arteries of the heart, make diabetes less likely, and protect against the effects of stress.  

  • Honestly evaluate your Exercise Routine

Some research studies say that a 12-minute walk improves mood and helps eliminate feelings of boredom and dread.

-According to the National Institute of Mental Health in 2017, “thirty minutes of daily, gentle walking can boost your mood and reduce stress.”

–Exercise also has immediate effects on blood sugar, minimizing energy peaks and valleys throughout the day.

  • Honestly evaluate your Sleep Routine

–The American Psychological Association in 2017 reported, “Sleep is so crucial that even slight sleep deprivation or poor sleep can affect memory, judgment and mood….Many report that their stress increases when the length and quality of their sleep decreases.  When they do not get enough sleep, 20% of adults report feeling more stressed.”

–Top 7 Sleep Tips:

1. Schedule 7-9 hours for a full night of uninterrupted sleep. Some people need only  5-6 hours; some need as much as 10-11 hours. The majority need 7-9 hours of sleep.

2. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.

3. Do not watch TV, use the computer, or focus on bills before going to bed.

4. Avoid coffee, chocolate, caffeinated soda, or nicotine in the evening.

5. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet.

6. Use your bedroom for sleeping, relaxing & intimacy only.

7. Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime.

  • Relationships

–Stay away from or reduce the amount of time that you spend with negative, toxic people in especially stressful times like these. Toxic people add to stress.

–Forgive those who have offended you and release yourself from the tension of trying to please them.  Do not continue to put yourself into their negative, hurtful atmosphere.

–Studies show that married people in a trusting relationship, who engage in consistent sex, have less anxiety.

–Reach out to others.  You are not alone. We are in this together.  Don’t get disconnected. In times like this pandemic, we may have physical distance, but we do not need to have relational distance.  Stay connected through social media, the phone, or any avenue possible at a 6 foot distance. Lean into, not away from, others.

–Edify others with your gifts and talents.  Share words of encouragement, songs, photo-art, calligraphy, poetry, humor, etc.  Mow a lawn or offer to get groceries for a Senior citizen. Sew a face mask for a First Responder.  Give a smile or take a photo of yourself smiling or something that makes you smile and post it for others to see.

  • Focus on the Positive – Be grateful.

–You may not be able to change your circumstances or stop a pandemic, but you can adjust your attitude.

–A grateful spirit relieves tension and relieves stress.  Start a Gratitude List. Write what you are thankful for each day.  Let gratitude be your focus.

— IN whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we can thank the Lord that He is with us. (1 Thess 5:18)

Let me now close with a few simple thoughts of wisdom, blending the spiritual and practical together.  In doing so, I propose that God does not waste any trial that comes into our lives, whether it is a pandemic or the results of one.  He always uses it for our good and for the sake of others, that we might run this race with hupomone and turn it into greatness and glory.

Eph. 1:17-23, Jer. 31:3, Psa. 138:8

  1. Stop.  Remember who you are. You are a son or daughter of the King of kings.  He has called you by name and you are His.  He loves you with an everlasting love.
  2. Look.  Look to Him. You’re not God; He is.  You can’t be all things to all people, and you can’t be everywhere all the time.  When you try to be everything everywhere, you’ll burn out, stress-out, and melt down.  You can only do successfully what He enables you to do. Psalm 121
  3. Listen.  Meditate on Him.  Hear His voice.  Offer praise in the silent times.  Phil. 4:6-8 
  4. Proceed.  Go where He wants you to go and do what He wants you to do in faith……. ON Social Media and without spreading the virus. Mt. 6:25-34, Pro. 3:5,6 

Today, call on the Lord and then go with the strength that He gives to you.  Trust in Him. Remember, you are not alone; we are in this together. Today, we stand on our balconies and wave to our neighbors.  We sing Happy Birthday from our front porches. Today, we light our Christmas lights early to proclaim to the world that Hope has come; there is reason to go on. Today, we do what we can with a six-foot distance between us physically, but a heart to embrace within us.  Today, we grieve the loss of friends; we carry the burdens of others. We may be weak, but He is strong. Today, as those realities saturate our souls, we cry out to the living God. Today, we stand in the strength that only He so generously gives.  

Tomorrow, we will not be the same.  Tomorrow, we will walk, we will run, we will embrace, and we will share the love that our Heavenly Father has so generously given to us in abundance.  Tomorrow, we will be changed. We will be a little more aware of our neighbor, young or old, healthy or infirmed. We will be more aware, and we will care.  We will help one another find jobs, finish wedding plans, and attend funerals of those lost in this storm. Tomorrow, we will reach out and we will be a little more attune to the needs of those around us. We’ll be better stewards of those around us.  We will be changed for the good; we will be better than we were before. Tomorrow, we will go forward. We will step into the future with clean hands and brave hearts.  

Let us go forward in faith into the future together, arm-in-arm with each other and with our precious Heavenly Father.

YOUTH PASTORS AND THE STUDY OF THE BIBLE

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I.  Biblical Study:Most of those in Christian ministry know that the Bible is the primary source of material that will be used in preaching, teaching, counseling and personal development. Because they use it so much, the time they give to studying it is very important. Many youth pastors have had some form of formal Bible training which has familiarized them with the skills necessary to do this kind of research. Others have not had any such training and so find studying a fairly challenging task. For either group there is always a need to become more familiar with things that are available to streamline and enrich their time of study. Read More

25% Coupon Code for PBC Curriculum

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Portland Bible College has launched an all new Curriculum Store! To celebrate, we are offering 25% off any one course of your choice!

Many of PBC student’s favorite courses are available for independent study – including Basic Doctrine, Covenants, Counseling Techniques, Pauline Epistles and Romans. Listen to all the updated lectures from your favorite teachers. Go to www.pbconlinecurriculum.com to see if your favorite course is available.

To utilize the discount, simply visit our curriculum Store, add your chosen course to the shopping cart and add the Coupon Code ‘NewStore25’on the payment page.  Online access to the lectures and handouts is then available for 6 months and is licensed for independent use only.

This coupon expires May 31st, so get your curriculum now!!

Your Bible is True and Reliable

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more than a good book

Recently, in our sermon series at City Bible Church, we discussed the trustworthiness of the Bible. Here are some links discussing a few of the illustrations and concepts mentioned in the sermon.

We talked about a few of the seeming contradictions or conflicts within Scripture. Our premise was that the Bible has no real contradictions within itself when it is thoroughly examined in its entire context. Here are a few books that deal specifically with some of these “problem areas” if you are interested in investigating them further.

  1. Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter Kaiser Jr., et al.
  2. The Big Book of Bible Difficulties by Norman Geisler & Thomas Howe
  3. New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer Jr.

We also discussed some of the major archaeological finds that support the historical accuracy of Scripture. Here are a few links to some of the examples from the sermon.

  1. This is an article from the Oregonian showing the archaeological evidence for the Biblical account of the fall of Jericho, as mentioned in the sermon.
  2. Here is an article on a recent discovery of a seal impressed with King Hezekiah’s signet. It is significant because the Bible says that Hezekiah was miraculously healed of a deadly illness; and the divine sign of his healing was the shadow cast by the sun going back several steps on a sort-of sundial. The seal comes from the time of Hezekiah, was found in the royal precinct, and has the Egyptian symbol for life with a sun rising on wings, as if to commemorate the event of the healing. It proves that not only was Hezekiah real (an otherwise well attested historical fact), but that the story surrounding his healing was not a fable to evolve long after his death, but comes from his lifetime.
  3.  Here is a link to the NIV Archaeological Study Bible, an illustrated resource focusing on historical and archaeological discoveries that confirm and illuminate the Biblical text.

In the message, we also briefly investigated the textual support for the Bible; that is, the manuscript evidence by which we trust that our English translations accurately represent the original writings.

  1. We considered the fact that we have thousands of very early New Testament manuscripts, produced astonishingly close to the writing of the original documents. If you are interested in how scholars weigh and compare these various manuscripts in order to come to a confident trust in the genuineness of the Bible as we have it today, Is My Bible the Inspired Word of God? by Edward Goodrick is a fascinating book. It is short and easy to read yet scholarly.
  2. We also mentioned a few recent discoveries that help confirm the trustworthiness of the Masoretic Text, the main manuscript we use to translate the Old Testament even though it is quite distant from the originals. Here is a link to a Christianity Today article on the Dead Sea Scrolls by Ed Stetzer. Although some significant differences are present (perhaps due to the separatist nature of the community responsible for them), these ancient manuscripts are quite early and are amazingly similar to the Masoretic Text, bolstering our trust in it.
  3. Here is an article on the En-Gedi Scroll, which was discussed in the sermon. This is a small charred scroll found in 1970 in a synagogue in Israel. It was an official scroll for reading on the Sabbath, meaning it was a respected and accurate copy. It dates to about 250 AD, which means it represents a very early tradition of the Hebrew Bible. In 2015, scholars made a CT scan of the scroll to discover its contents, since unrolling the charred remains would ruin it. Several paragraphs from the Leviticus have been deciphered so far, and every word is exactly identical to the Masoretic Text!
  4. Here is an article on the Silver Scrolls, which are two small silver amulets inscribed with a blessing from the book of Numbers. It dates to the 7th century BC, which is before the close of the Old Testament! Although the text from Numbers is abbreviated to fit on the scroll, the verbiage is identical to the Masoretic Text. The further back archaeology takes us, the more we end up trusting the reliable Old Testament manuscripts that have been preserved for us!

28 Day Bible Reading Plan

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Check out these wonderful verses that teach us how to fall in love with the Word of God!

DAY 1: THE WORD CLEANSES
PSALM 119:9

DAY 2: THE WORD DELIVERS
Psalm 119:11, 170

DAY 3: THE WORD SHOULD BE OBEYED
Psalm 119:17, 158

DAY 4: THE WORD SHOULD NOT BE NEGLECTED
Psalm 119:16

DAY 5: THE WORD REVIVES
Psalm 119:25, 107

DAY 6: THE WORD STRENGTHENS
Psalm 119:28

DAY 7: THE WORD STABILIZES
Psalm 119:38

DAY 8: THE WORD IS LIFE-CHANGING
Psalm 119:41

DAY 9: THE WORD IS TRUSTWORTHY
Psalm 119:42

DAY 10: THE WORD IS TRUTH
Psalm 119:43

DAY 11: THE WORD GIVES LIFE
Psalm 119:50

DAY 12: THE WORD PROMISES MERCY
Psalm 119:58

DAY 13: THE WORD SHAPES OUR LIFE
Psalm 119:65

DAY 14: THE WORD KEEPS US
Psalm 119:67

DAY 15: THE WORD IS OUR HOPE
Psalm 119:74, 81

DAY 16: THE WORD PROMISES KINDNESS
Psalm 119:76, 82

DAY 17: THE WORD IS SETTLED IN HEAVEN
Psalm 119:89

DAY 18: THE WORD RESTRAINS OUR FEET FROM EVIL
Psalm 119:101

DAY 19: THE WORD IS A LAMP TO OUR FEET
Psalm 119:105

DAY 20: THE WORD UPHOLDS ME
Psalm 119:116

DAY 21: THE WORD IS RIGHTEOUS
Psalm 119:123

DAY 22: THE WORD DIRECTS OUR STEPS
Psalm 119:133

DAY 23: THE WORD IS PURE
Psalm 119:140

DAY 24: THE WORD IS OUR SPIRITUAL FOOD
Psalm 119:148

DAY 25: THE WORD IS ABSOLUTE TRUTH
Psalm 119:160

DAY 26: THE WORD IS AWESOME
Psalm 119:161

DAY 27: THE WORD IS A SPIRITUAL TREASURE
Psalm 119:162

DAY 28: THE WORD GIVES ANSWERS
Psalm 119:167

Click here for a downloadable version.

 

© Portland Bible College 2017

Video Tutorials for Logos Bible Software

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Here are the Logos video tutorials we have developed specifically for Intro to Bible Study, Bible Research and Hermeneutics. While there are plenty of good tutorials in Logos itself, and on the web, these videos take the time to explain how to use Logos to perform the tasks and assignments given in the PBC classes. The videos are password protected. If you have taken the classes at PBC, you should have been given a password. Contact Travis Arnold if you cannot access them.

  1. Getting Started in Logos – Set up Logos in a way that makes it easy to use for the required tasks ahead.
  2. Basic Search – Learn how to search your entire library for words, phrases, etc.
  3. Bible Search – Learn how to search your Bibles for words, phrases, etc.; and how to analyze the results
  4. Original Languages – Starting with the English Bible that you understand, learn how to find and read definitions of the Hebrew and Greek words being translated into English
  5. Finding Every Occurrence – Learn to search your Bible for Hebrew and Greek words (not just English words) in order to find every occurrence of a particular original-language word
  6. Bible Dictionaries – Learn how to access and use your Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias to study Bible people, places, things and themes
  7. Topical Studies – Learn how to use Nave’s Topical Bible to find pertinent Bible passages related to particular topics
  8. Character Studies – Learn how to use the skills acquired in the videos above to perform character studies according to the Portland Bible College model
  9. Mounce’s Expository Dictionary – Learn how to use “Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words” to go deeper into the meaning and background of key Bible words (required for PBC word studies)
  10. Word Studies – Learn how to use the skills acquired in the videos above (and some new methods) to complete word studies according to the PBC model
  11. Morphology – Learn how to use reverse interlinears and the information window to access morphological information about a Hebrew or Greek word
  12. Comparative Mention – Learn different approaches to finding comparative passages using Logos

If True Morality Exists, God Must Exist

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C. S. Lewis opens his famed book, Mere Christianity, by presenting a convincing case for the existence of God. I am going to summarize his argument here; but I recommend you purchase the book and read it for yourself—it’s an easy-to-read classic.

Lewis begins with a description of people arguing over some misdeed that has been committed. Cutting in line. Stealing a seat. Breaking a promise. He notes how fascinating it is that people always make the claim that the offending deed was wrong. Even if they don’t make that claim outright, the fact that they are so upset indicates that they believe some rule has been broken. Moreover, the offender hardly ever says, “To hell with your standard” (Lewis’ words). Instead, he explains why his actions were justified—he had some special reason for breaking the rule. This, of course, admits that there is in fact a standard. And if the offender is so bold as to claim that there is no standard—that he can do whatever he wants—he almost always appeals to this very standard when someone wrongs him later on!

Lewis then claims something bold. The above scenario indicates that there is indeed a basic universal standard of morality governing all humans. Sure, different civilizations have had slightly different perspectives about how morality should play out; but there have never been any major differences between societies regarding basic morality (a point further defended as Lewis continues). But the astounding thing is this: though we all sense obligation to this Moral Law, none of us really keep it! Over time “we have all failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.” And when we do fail to practice it, we almost always make excuses for why our failure is understandable, given the circumstance. Of course, this just further proves how real the Moral Law is to us and how obligated we feel to keep it.

If there is a Moral Law, there must be a Lawgiver. God is the best explanation for the fact that all humans have, more or less, this concept of right and wrong.

If you find any of this compelling, or if you have some objections to Lewis’ logic (or rather my imperfect summary of it), please watch this video. It is a reading of a chapter from Mere Christianity in which Lewis tackles some of the major objections to his claim.

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