Category Archives: Teaching Resources

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.

Image: Understanding our Sexual Identity

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At Portland Bible College, we study the Bible. The eternal, never-changing Word of God. So it would be easy to think that our curriculum hasn’t changed and our classes look the same as they did back when we started in 1967.

While the Bible itself doesn’t change, the culture in which we live sure does! What our students are facing today, the students of 50 years ago would have never been able to imagine. What we teach about the Bible stays the same, but every progressive generation needs to wrestle with how to apply biblical truths in their current context.

About a year ago, professor Lanny Hubbard took a poll in one of his classes. His poll included one question which read,

What do you think is the largest or most significant social problem
faced by young adults at this time?

The answers were varied but there was a commonly recurring theme: sexual identity. You see, the first word of our name is Portland because that is the city where we are located. And Portland has been a leader in the LGBTQ+ movement, tracing their roots all the way back to the native inhabitants and their Two-Spirit Collective. Confusion about sexual identity is not something our students merely read about, it is something that they are confronted with every single day as they make their way through the community that surrounds them.

In discussing it as a class, they found that while many believed it to be the most significant social issue of their generation, a good percentage of the students did not know enough about the topic to allow them to discuss it in an informed manner. Instead of telling them what to think, professor Hubbard set them to a research project to investigate the issue and discover their own opinions on the topic.

As a class, they spent a day brainstorming the issue to determine what areas they felt the least qualified to talk about. They listed out several aspects of the topic that they felt should be investigated. The students then divided into study teams based on which aspects were of most interest to them. Once the different teams were formed, captains were assigned to each team to oversee the students’ research and to help finalize the finished product.

That one simple question started a discussion. The discussion uncovered a blindspot in the students’ lives. So, like the Bereans of Acts 17, they turned to the Scriptures and research to seek out the truth of the matter. They researched the topic and compiled their findings into a booklet that they titled “Image.”

“Image” is solely a product of the student’s work. They designed it, wrote it, and laid it out. Since the topic is one that affects their generation profoundly, it turned into a great learning exercise to discover, for themselves, what they believe about the topic.

Now, we would like to make their booklet available to you. Read it and enjoy it as a gift from the young adults of Portland Bible College about an issue that is tearing their generation apart. You can click on the link below to download the .pdf version of “Image.”

 

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

A Reformation Prophecy

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Related image

“You are going to burn a goose, but in one hundred years you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil.”

These were some of the last words of John Huss, spoken in 1415 AD before he was swallowed by flames. Huss, whose name means “goose,” was a forerunner to the Reformation. Huss gained popularity as a preacher at Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, drawing thousands of people at a time to listen to his sermons. The community of believers who gathered to him was marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit. And the words of Huss provoked the imagination of the masses because they often confronted the status quo of unbiblical practices within the Roman Catholic Church. In particular, his opposition to the selling of indulgences crossed a line which led to his execution as a heretic.

In 1515, exactly one hundred years later, the prophecy of the Goose came true. This was the year in which a spiritually tormented monk, frightened by a vengeful God who sought to damn him, was assigned to teach the book of Romans at the new university in Wittenberg, Germany. Illuminated by God’s Spirit, Martin Luther realized that sinners could never be good enough to earn God’s approval, and instead God imputes his own righteousness to us through faith in his Son. Luther, now a priest and professor, was the Swan foretold by the Goose. Intriguingly, John Foxe, a historian from that era, tells us that Luther’s family coat of arms providentially displayed the image of a swan.

Naturally, Luther’s revelation led him, like Huss, to oppose the practice of selling indulgences, which had become a means of so-called penance by which believers could pay the Church in order to escape from purgatory. No! Christians did not need to suffer more for their sin after death. And you could not do anything to pay off God, since salvation comes as a free gift of grace and is received by faith alone. So on October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his 95 arguments against the selling of indulgences to the church door at Wittenberg. That was the eve of All Saints Day (i.e., Halloween), on which hordes of people would pay to gaze in adoration at the relics associated with dead saints, whose excess of good deeds supposedly made indulgences effective. Yet Luther’s act wasn’t intended to be particularly provocative. Posting to the church door was an accepted method of proposing points of debate among scholars. In fact, Luther wrote the points in Latin, not in German, because he simply sought an academic disputation. But the theses were soon taken, translated into German, and distributed with the help of the newly invented printing press. Nonetheless, increasingly, Luther came to welcome the controversy if it meant the glorification of the gospel.

Yet unlike the Goose, the Roman Catholic Church was never able to cook the Swan—though it certainly tried! As Luther later came to realize and proclaim, “We were all Hussites without knowing it.”

<<<    >>>

A note about the authenticity of Huss’ prophecy: I often read scholars deny the veracity of Huss’ statement at his execution. Yet the more I investigate it, the more the evidence stacks up in its favor. And the more I suspect that some scholars are simply unwilling to believe that such an accurate prophecy could occur. Their bias is often rooted in their cessationist theology. At the risk of boring you, here is a brief list of reasons to believe its authenticity. Enough is provided for you to investigate it further if you wish.

  1. Luther himself believed the prophecy pertained to him. And he was much closer to the matter than we. Do not forget, Luther was a brilliant scholar and researcher who, for example, was well enough acquainted with historical records and the official documents of the Church to correct its own cardinals when they misquoted it ever so slightly. (Just look up the account of Luther’s argument with Cardinal Cajetan in 1518.) So I quote a statement made by Luther: “St. John Huss prophesied of me when he wrote from his prison in Bohemia, ‘They will roast a goose now (for “Huss” means “a goose”), but after a hundred years they will hear a swan sing, and him they will have to endure’” (Commentary on the Alleged Imperial Edict, 1531).
  2. Luther must have had access to some record of the prophecy that differed from the one used by John Foxe in the mid 1500’s, whose quotation is slightly different and who portrays these as words spoken during Huss’ execution rather than his imprisonment. This is the sort of minor inconsistency you would expect to find in separate witnesses of the same event. And they are easily reconciled by supposing that Luther is quoting one of the various letters we know that Huss wrote from prison, while Foxe is quoting Huss’ proclamation of the same prophecy at his execution.
  3. Foxe’s statement that Luther’s coat of arms displayed a swan is questionable. The only thing I have been able to uncover in this regard is the fact that Luther’s birthplace was Eisleban, whose coat of arms featured a set of white wings at various times in history.
  4. We have several letters written by Huss during his imprisonment. He often refers to himself as “the Goose,” just as his friends and students affectionately called him. Moreover, he extends this analogy by saying that even if the Goose is trapped by nets, he fully believed that one day “other birds, which by God’s word and by their lives soar to high places, will break their traps in pieces” (letter, October 1412). Huss envisions future reformers as other species of birds which Rome will not be able to entrap, precisely as the prophecy in question states regarding a swan.
  5. And there is a fascinating letter written by a companion of Huss informing the faithful about the situation of their leader, which concludes as follows: “Written at Constance the Saturday before Martinmas. The Goose is not yet cooked, and is not afraid of being cooked, because this year the noted eve of St. Martin’s falls on Saturday, when geese are not eaten!” (John Cardinalis, November 10, 1414). This is intriguing for two reasons. First, and most importantly, Huss and his company were already thinking in terms of “the Goose being cooked,” just as he later stated in the prophecy. This is a great testament to its authenticity. Second (and prepare enter the Twilight Zone), Huss was not to be executed at the time of the letter because it was Saturday and the Eve of St. Martin’s Day. The statement is cryptic, but perhaps we can guess at its meaning. Goose is the traditional cuisine for St. Martins Day and would be slaughtered the day before; but I wonder if “Saturday” (sabbato, lit. Sabbath) is an allusion to the Sabbatical Passover before which Christ had to be removed from the cross in order to keep the Sabbath holy. That is, it could be a nuanced way of saying, “Don’t worry, by the same logic the Council of Constance won’t execute Huss on the holiday or its eve.” Indeed, it would be half a year before Huss was burned at the stake. Whatever we make of the difficult phrase, in time Martin Luther would be born on St. Martin’s Eve (which is why he was named Martin). The irony, of which the writer could not possibly be aware, is baffling: even though Huss was a “goose,” he would not be slaughtered on St. Martin’s Eve when geese were normally slaughtered; yet the more famous St. Martin, born decades later on that very day, would in fact be the man prophesied by Huss to evade slaughter, being a swan and not a goose.

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!

Psalms: 7 Days of Prayer

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The Psalms are an amazing gift to believers in the journey and growth of our worship and prayer to God.  The uplifting high peaks of praise, on down to the low valleys of lament and struggle, help us express our longings, emotions, and words.  They direct us in how to verbalize these things to God, providing a vocabulary to say things we find difficult to articulate at times.

This past semester in the Psalms class at Portland Bible College, we have focused on immersing our hearts and minds into these God-oriented songs and prayers, and discovering ways to incorporate their use & deepen our spiritual walk.  One project reflecting this this was putting together a 7-day journey of prayer using selected Psalms, based on specific themes in our experience.

These prayer guides give a daily verse or passage that guide a prayerful response and conversation with God.  Click on the titles to download the attached card.

 

Psalm 23 God's Protection I Am Loved Psalm 103

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