Tuesday, June 27, 2017

DVD Review: Luther and the Reformation

Luther and the Reformation. R.C. Sproul. 2011. Ten 23 minute messages. [Source: Gift]

I definitely enjoyed this sermon series by R.C. Sproul. Earlier this year I watched another Reformation-themed DVD series by R.C. Sproul God Alone. I'm counting both of these towards my Reformation Reading Challenge.

Luther and the Reformation.

Luther & the Lightning Bolt
Monastery & Rome Crisis
Tower Experience
Building St. Peters
Indulgence Controversy
Progress to Worms
Roman Catholic View of Justification (part 1)
Roman Catholic View of Justification (part 2)
Protestant View of Justification
Rome's Objections Answered

The first six messages are definitely centered more on history--on what happened, on when it happened, WHO the major players were, etc.--than on theology. These six messages provide a good background or context for understanding the theological debate.

The last four messages are definitely centered more on theology. I think of the theological debate as the WHY IT MATTERED THEN AND WHY IT STILL MATTERS NOW.

This series would serve as an introduction, perhaps, to Martin Luther's life. But it doesn't quite do justice to Reformation theology itself. For that, I would recommend Sproul's God Alone. That series also has ten 23 minute messages. Two sermons each for the following solas.
  • Faith Alone
  • Grace Alone
  • Christ Alone
  • Scripture Alone
  • Glory to God Alone

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

My Year with Owen #26

I will be sharing some John Owen quotes this year. The third book I'll be reading is The Nature, Power, Deceit and Prevalency of Indwelling Sin. 
  • And for this reason does the apostle here call indwelling sin a law. It is a powerful and effectual indwelling principle, inclining and pressing unto actions agreeable and suitable unto its own nature. ~ John Owen
  • There is an exceeding efficacy and power in the remainders of indwelling sin in believers, with a constant working toward evil. ~ John Owen
  • Awake, therefore, all of you in whose hearts is anything of the ways of God! Your enemy is not only upon you, as on Samson of old, but is in you also. ~ John Owen
  • The pleasures of sin are the rewards of sin; a reward that most men lose their souls to obtain. ~ John Owen
  • Wherever you are, whatever you are about, this law of sin is always in you; in the best that you do, and in the worst. ~ John Owen
  • Men little consider what a dangerous companion is always at home with them. When they are in company, when alone, by night or by day, all is one, sin is with them. ~ John Owen
  • There is a living coal continually in their houses; which, if it be not looked unto, will fire them, and it may be consume them. ~ John Owen
  • Temptations and occasions put nothing into a man, but only draw out what was in him before. ~ John Owen
  • The more men sin, the more they are inclined unto sin. ~ John Owen
  • Every sin increases the principle, and fortifies the habit of sinning. ~ John Owen

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bible Review: KJV Reformation Study Bible

Reformation Heritage Study Bible--KJV. Edited by  Joel R. Beeke, Gerald Bilkes, and Michael Barrett. 2014. Reformation Heritage Books. 2218 pages. [Source: Birthday Gift in 2014]

First sentence: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Premise/plot: God created the heaven and the earth, and, everything he created was very good. But then the serpent in the Garden of Eden started singing "Trust in Me" (from the Jungle Book) and everything went WRONG because Eve ate the apple. God being a good God and a merciful God provided a way to restore his creation, that way--the only way, the only truth, the only life--was revealed more clearly in the New Testament.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.The same was in the beginning with God.All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.In him was life; and the life was the light of men.And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.He came unto his own, and his own received him not.But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)

The whole Bible--both Old and New Testament--reveals who God is and who we are. It tells of who we are apart from Christ, and who we are in Christ. It speaks of a just, holy, uncompromising, never-changing God who is kind, compassionate, merciful, faithful and good. The Spirit of God enlightens and teaches us through the Word. Apart from the Spirit, there is no true knowledge of God. 

My thoughts: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Bible so much.

Favorite quotes:

  • Truth and love are closely related to each other. What are the consequences of having truth without love? Love without truth? What does it mean to love someone “in the truth” (v. 1)? How can we improve the balance of truth and love in our relationships at home, at church, at school, and in society? KJV Reformation Bible, 2 John 1
  • The Bible is a book like no other, for it is the Word of God. Therefore, every word is faithful and true. To believe and obey the Bible is the path of blessing. It stands unique in its authority, and we must never place any human tradition or philosophy on equal standing with it, or set aside any part of it because it offends our way of thinking. How does a Christian show with his life that he has received the Bible as the Word of God? The great theme of Scripture is the Lord Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man. His grace is the only salvation for sinners. His death like a lamb for the sins of His people is the only righteousness fallen men can have before God. His resurrection and future coming are the only hope of the world. God’s Son will bring His people into happiness beyond their greatest expectations, for He will bring them into the eternal enjoyment of infinite good: the triune God. All three of the primary Christian graces—faith, hope, and love—focus upon Jesus Christ. Do you trust, hope in, and love God’s Son? If not, call out to God even now to save you. If you do know Christ and His salvation, then use each day to seek grace to grow deeper in faith, hope, and love for Christ, as you prepare for the day of the Lord. KJV Reformation Bible, Revelation 22
  • The glory that shines in all the delights of heaven is the glory of God in Christ. The Lord is the sweetness, beauty, pleasure, and treasure of His kingdom. Heaven holds nothing for those who do not love God for His own sake. Those who do not delight in the Lord and holiness would be repulsed by heaven if they could go there. Do you love Jesus Christ and His holiness? What are some signs of a true love for God that can assure believers that God is preparing them for eternity with Him? KJV Reformation Bible, Revelation 21
  • Worship and missions are intimately related. Missions aim to see God create new worshipers, while worship declares God’s worthiness of the praises of all people. Ironically, sometimes people set the two against each other: one group in the church promotes worship and neglects evangelism, while another group does the opposite. Why can we never be faithful worshipers without missions? Why must missions be grounded in worship? KJV Reformation Bible, Revelation 15
  • The Bible is a bittersweet book for believers. On the one hand, its righteous laws and trustworthy promises are sweeter than honey to those who receive them. On the other hand, it calls us into the bitterness of loneliness and persecution in the world. How are you experiencing the sweetness of the Word in your life? Its bitterness? KJV Reformation, Revelation 10
  • The conflict between the church and the world boils down to this: “Who or what will you worship?” This is the great question of Revelation. What does this chapter teach us about what it means to worship God, and what motivates the worship of God? KJV Reformation, Revelation 4
  • The Lord Jesus is stunningly glorious. John knew Jesus and talked with Him after His resurrection, but even a symbolic vision of Christ’s glory put John on the ground. What about Christ fills you with awe? What about Christ comforts you? KJV Reformation Bible, Revelation 1
  • It is not a kindness in our preaching to the unconverted, to keep from them the fearful reality of hell, with its “flaming fire” (v. 8) and its “everlasting destruction” (v. 9). Pray for preachers that they would boldly preach both law and gospel, both hell and heaven. KJV Reformation Bible, 2 Thessalonians 1
  • Let us never assume that it is worthless to speak God’s Word to a group of sinners, no matter what their reputation. They may put us to shame with how they respond. Where are you tempted to think that it is not worth sharing God’s Word? KJV Reformation Bible, 2 Chronicles 28
  • Treasure the Word of God in the fear of God. One man speaking God’s truth is worth more than 400 men telling us what we want to hear. Thank God for faithful ministers who refuse to speak anything except God’s Word. The Word of the Lord proves true because it is backed by the providence of God. When God threatens death on an unrepentant sinner, be sure it will come, even if by a random shot by an archer. How then should we respond when God’s Word says hard things against us and our sin? KJV Reformation Bible, 2 Chronicles 18
  • We have all descended from one man: Adam. The existence of Adam was as much history as the existence of David. In Adam, we were all made in God’s image and likeness. God’s purpose for His people therefore remains to fill the earth with His living image. In Adam, we all sinned and have fallen into spiritual corruption and enduring misery. We all share the same fallen nature as the Canaanites. We all die and face judgment, and human life is so transient that from God’s perspective all the generations from Adam to Israel fit on a single page of history. God’s people consequently must be redeemed by the Lord’s grace if they will ever achieve their high calling and eternal life. Mankind needs a new Adam. How has God met that need in Christ? KJV Reformation Bible, 1 Chronicles 1
  • The opening statement of Nah. 2:13 is fearful: “I am against thee, saith the Lord.” For God to be the enemy spells doom and damnation. But this is the state of every individual outside of Christ. To be outside of Christ is to be under condemnation and subject to God’s severe wrath. To be in Christ changes everything. The believer is united to Christ and enjoys security and peace. The consequence is that God is now for us instead of against us. And the consequence of that is, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). KJV Reformation Bible, Nahum 2

The strengths of the KJV Reformation Bible

  • King James Version (I happen to love the KJV)
  • Black Letter, NOT red letter (I think I squealed when I saw it was black letter!!!)
  • Has thorough book introductions for all 66 books of the Bible
  • Has introductions to different sections of Scripture (introduction to the Pentateuch, introduction to the historical books, introduction to the poetic and wisdom books, introduction to the prophetic books, introduction to the gospels and Acts, introduction to the epistles)
  • Has thousands of study notes; some notes are just clarifying the vocabulary of the King James Version; others are genuine study notes. All the notes are from the Reformed theological position. 
  • Includes within the notes, "Thoughts for Personal/Family Worship" for each and every chapter of the Bible. 
  • Has 50+ in-text articles covering seven key doctrines (the doctrine of God, the doctrine of creation, the doctrine of sin, the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of salvation, the doctrine of the church, and the doctrine of last things). Some of these in-text articles are excerpts from Puritans.
  • Double column
  • Has a daily Bible Reading Plan (M'Cheyne's Reading Plan)
  • Has an extensive study helps section at the back of the Bible (when I say extensive, I mean extensive*)
  • Has a dozen color maps
  • Has a concordance
*Here's a good idea of what the study helps section offers readers:

How To Live As A Christian
  • Coming to Christ
  • United with Christ
  • Experiencing Justification and Adoption
  • Growing in Sanctification
  • Assured and Persevering
  • Reading the Scriptures
  • Why and How We Pray
  • Worship and the Means of Grace
  • Fellowship with Believers
  • How We Regard Ourselves
  • Love to God
  • The Fear of God
  • Living by the Ten Commandments
  • Godly Contentment
  • Self-Denial
  • Humility
  • How We Kill Pride
  • Coping with Criticism
  • Enduring Affliction
  • Spiritual Desertion
  • Fleeing Worldliness
  • Fighting Against Backsliding
  • Family Worship
  • Being A Christ-Like Husband
  • Being a Godly Wife
  • Showing Hospitality
  • Raising Children in the Lord
  • Being a Christian Grandparent
  • Honoring Your Parents
  • Serving God at Work
  • Using Leisure Time Well
  • Witnessing for Christ
  • Defending Our Faith
  • Facing Sickness and Death
  • Living Positively
  • Living for God's Glory
Twenty Centuries of Church History
  • First Century: Apostolic Foundations
  • Second Century: The Church of Martyrs and Confessors
  • Third Century: Persecution and Heresy; Origen and Tertullian
  • Fourth Century: Beginnings of the Christian Empire
  • Fifth Century: City of God and City of Man
  • Sixth Century: Justinian, Benedict, and the Conversion of the Scots
  • Seventh Century: Gregory the Great and the Rise of Islam
  • Eighth Century: The Iconoclastic Controversy
  • Ninth Century: Struggle for Power in the Church; Ratramnus and Gottschalk
  • Tenth Century: "The Dark Ages"
  • Eleventh Century: The Great Schism; Anselm of Canterbury
  • Twelfth Century: The Crusades, Abelard, Lombard, and the Waldenses
  • Thirteenth Century: Francis of Assisi and Thomas Aquinas
  • Fourteenth Century: The Church's Babylonian Captivity and John Wycliffe
  • Fifteenth Century: The Renaissance, Huss, Savonarola, and Groote
  • Sixteenth Century: Luther, Calvin, and the Reformation
  • Seventeenth Century: Reforming the Church in England
  • Eighteenth Century: The Great Awakening
  • Nineteenth Century: Beginnings of Modern Theology and Kingdom Builders
  • Twentieth Century: Age of Paradoxes
Creeds and Confessions
  • Apostles' Creed
  • Nicene Creed
  • Athanasian Creed
  • Belgic Confession
  • Heidelberg Catechism
  • Canons of Dort
  • Westminster Confession
  • Westminster Shorter Catechism
  • Westminster Larger Catechism

The weaknesses of the KJV Reformation Study Bible

  • Overall the text size is small. The text of the Bible itself is manageable. But the notes are definitely on the too-small-for-comfort size. But the notes were so good, I deemed it worth the squint.
  • The layout of the Bible is verse, verse, verse. It is not in paragraph format.
  • There are no subject headings in the text of the Bible. There are subject headings in the notes. So if you're looking for something specific, look in the notes of the chapter you think it might be in. Or else check out the book outline in the introduction of the book. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Week in Review: June 18-24

KJV Reformation Study Bible

  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra 
  • Nehemiah
  • Esther
  • Daniel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Revelation

Living Bible
  • Micah
  • Isaiah 1-24
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

  • Genesis 1-26

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, June 24, 2017

True or False with Tozer (Knowledge of the Holy edition)

My last game of True or False with Tozer was in December 2016.

1. True OR False: To know God is at once the easiest and the most difficult thing in the world.
2. True OR False: God does not love populations, He loves people. He loves not masses, but men. He loves us all with a mighty love that has no beginning and can have no end.
3. True OR False: We do God more honor by believing what He has said about Himself and having the courage to come boldly to the throne of grace than by hiding in self-conscious humility among the trees of the garden.
4. True OR False: For our souls' sake we must learn to understand the Scriptures.
5. True OR False: We can never know the enormity of our sin, neither is it necessary that we should. What we can know is that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
6. True OR False: Both the Old and the New Testaments proclaim the mercy of God, but the Old has more than four times as much to say about it as the New.
7. True OR False: We can hold a correct view of truth only by daring to believe everything God has said about Himself.
8. True OR False: Nothing that God has ever said about Himself will be modified; nothing the inspired prophets and apostles have said about Him will be rescinded. In God no change is possible; in men change is impossible to escape.
9. True OR False:  For every man it must be Christ or eternal tragedy.
10. True OR False: Sin has many manifestations but its essence is one. A moral being, created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his own selfhood and from that elevated position declares, "I AM." That is sin in its concentrated essence; yet because it is natural it appears to be good.
11. True OR False: We can never know who or what we are till we know at least something of what God is.
12. True OR False: A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: The Knowledge of the Holy

Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]

From the preface: True religion confronts earth with heaven and brings eternity to bear upon time.

From chapter one: What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. 

Why read A.W. Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy?

Because…"It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is."

Because…"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."

Because…"Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true."

Because... "If we insist upon trying to imagine Him, we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand."

Because…"We can never know who or what we are till we know at least something of what God is."

Because…"It is not a cheerful thought that millions of us who live in a land of Bibles, who belong to churches and labor to promote the Christian religion, may yet pass our whole life on this earth without once having thought or tried to think seriously about the being of God."

Technically, all those reasons are reasons to read the Good Book, the Word of God, Holy Scriptures. But I think the Holy Spirit can and will use Tozer's words--long after he's dead--to inspire new generations to seek God.

The Knowledge of the Holy is a theological-devotional book about the attributes of God. You may not be used to theology crossing over into devotions, but this Tozer quote sums up how this is so.
The study of the attributes of God, far from being dull and heavy, may for the enlightened Christian be a sweet and absorbing spiritual exercise. To the soul that is athirst for God, nothing could be more delightful.
What is an attribute?

  • An attribute of God is whatever God has in any way revealed as being true of Himself.
  • An attribute, as we can know it, is a mental concept, an intellectual response to God's self-revelation. It is an answer to a question, the reply God makes to our interrogation concerning himself.
  • What is God like? What kind of God is He? How may we expect Him to act toward us and toward all created things? Such questions are not merely academic. They touch the far-in reaches of the human spirit, and their answers affect life and character and destiny.
  • Between His attributes no contradiction can exist.
  • The divine attributes are what we know to be true of God. He does not possess them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals Himself to His creatures. Love, for instance, is not something God has and which may grow or diminish or cease to be. His love is the way God is, and when He loves He is simply being Himself.
I recommend Knowledge of the Holy to every believer--no matter their age, gender, or denomination. You may or may not agree with every single sentence Tozer ever spoke--ever wrote--but what you will find is someone who challenges you to think, to consider, to grow. Tozer rarely leaves readers the same. 


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Summer with Psalm 119 #3

As a few of you know, I love, love, LOVE Psalm 119. I thought it would be great to spend a summer focusing on that psalm and what others have had to say about it. I'll begin with Thomas Manton's Exposition of Psalm 119. It may take all summer to read all 158 sermons. But they're so GOOD, so RICH, I think it will be worth it.

Sermon three covers Psalm 119:2. 

This is the second sermon by Thomas Manton which covers the second verse. It's a rich verse, and it deserves more attention. Essentially, this time we focus exclusively on SEEKING God. 

I think John Piper would approve of this sermon very much!!! The ideas in this sermon may seem a bit radical, a bit extreme to modern ears. But certainly not to John Piper! He has been advocating the whole DELIGHT in God concept for decades. 

I invite you to read and reread these quotes slowly, to really stop and consider what it means to seek God. Do you agree with Manton?!  

  • We do not live merely to live; but for this end were we sent into the world, to seek God.
  • God is the cause of all things, and nature cannot be satisfied without him.
  • We were made for God, and can never enjoy satisfaction until we come to enjoy him;
  • We are seeking that for which we were created, when we seek and inquire after God.
  • The chiefest good should be sought after with the chiefest care, and chiefest love, and chiefest delight; nothing should be so precious to us as God.
  • It is the greatest baseness that can be, that anything should take up our time, our thoughts, and content us more than God.
  • If anything be sought from God above God, more than God, and not for God, it is but a brutish cry.
  • It is our benefit to seek God. It is no benefit to God if we do not seek him. The Lord hath no less, though we have less. He that hides himself from the sun, doth not impair the light. We derogate nothing from God if we do not seek him. He needed not the creature: he had happiness enough in himself; but we hide ourselves from our own happiness and our own peace.
  • Every hour we need his direction, protection, strength; and we are in danger to lose him, if we do not continue the search.
  • Wrestle through discouragements; though former endeavours have been in vain, yet still we should continue seeking after God.
  • It is not enough to own Christ to be the true Messiah, but we must embrace him, put our whole trust in him.
  • To seek God with the whole heart, is to seek him with the highest elevation of our hearts. The whole heart must be carried out to God, and to other things for God’s sake.
  • He that gives but part to God doth indeed give nothing.
  • The devil keeps an interest as long as one lust remains unmortified, and one corner of the soul is kept for him.
  • We were not mangled in our creation; God, that made the whole, must have the whole. He preserves the whole. Christ hath bought the whole:
  • All that you have is to be glorified in the day of Christ; all that you are and have must be given to him—whole spirit, soul, and body. Let us not deprive him of any part.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible