Our preacher, Mark Stinnett, publishes articles for the church bulletin each week. These articles are designed to teach, encourage and challenge the members of our congregation. His latest articles can be found below with the most recent at the end of the list. Mark has archived all of his articles on his personal blog 'MicroMarks' which can be accessed at: micromarks.blogspot.com.
Who wouldn’t want a copy of ‘The Pastor’s Bible’? Surely it would unlock the mysteries of scripture in an unparalleled way. Instead of your ‘pastor’ being the only one with a depth of understand of God’s word, YOU too would have rich insight.
Yes, that was sarcastic. The ESV Pastor’s Bible boasts “practical help for a pastoral life….” It comes with over 40 articles “specifically written to encourage those in ministry.” I don’t own a copy so I cannot be critical; its special features might be useful. Yet it is just one of many themed Bibles on the market today. My book store catalog has eleven full pages of Bibles listed for sale.
It IS important for you to have a Bible translation you trust with readable print, formatting you like and a durable cover. Yet, the myriad of choices can be mind-numbing.
One Bible will help you to “access your inner artist” and “rejuvenate your devotional time.” It does this by including “over 600 elegant line drawings, filigree designs and Scripture quotations to color.” It is a Bible with coloring pages.
The “Metal Bible” boasts a “trendy license plate design” on the cover that is “sure to appeal to teens!” I guess the idea is that someone has to make the Bible more appealing to our young people; by itself, it is not appealing enough.
Another exciting Bible for kids is called the “Following Jesus Bible.” (And I thought that was the expectation of every Bible, not just a specialty Bible.)
There are also Bibles with special materials for women, men, teens; for military families, globally-minded people; for those wanting ‘a deeper prayer life,’ wanting to ‘discover God’s heart,’ and wanting to ‘focus on God’s justice.’
Don’t be discouraged, it is all marketing. God’s word was originally recorded for men and women and teens; for those in the military and those who are not; for those who are globally-minded and those who want a deeper prayer life and want to discover God’s heart and want to focus on God’s justice. It’s all been there all along.
Is the Bible difficult to understand? Yes and No.
There are difficult concepts and difficult passages. Yet the overall message of the Bible is quite accessible to the common man.
So, what is the best translation?
Do I need a ’Study Bible’?
Recognize that many study Bibles are slanted to a specific theme or are biased by one man’s understanding. I recommend a study Bible that focuses on the biblical languages, archaeology, and ancient history and culture. However, expect a study Bible to abbreviate information easily accessible in a good Bible dictionary.
And what is the best translation?
Let me answer with an illustration:
He who watches the wind will not sow and
He who looks at the clouds will not reap.
The farmer cannot wait for perfect conditions; nor should we wait for the perfect translation. The farmer must plant in order to harvest. Our spiritual harvest will be rewarding, but only if we devote ourselves to reading and studying the copy of God’s word that we have in our hands. Then remember the words of Jesus:
Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.
September 20, 2020
Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest boxers of all time. There might have been legitimate reasons for his boasting. However, to many people it was distasteful pride.
I think that, in general, people do not enjoy hearing the boasts of the strong, the powerful, the rich, the privileged. Most often it comes across as a superior attitude. It is as if the one boasting is telling everyone, "I'm better than everyone else; I'm better than YOU."
We prefer the sport star who excels yet gives credit to his teammates and coaching staff; not the one who soaks in the praise of others and then announces with pride, "Yeah, I'm all that. I'm the best. I did it." We prefer a measure of humility that makes the star seem a little more accessible to the rest of us. Whether it is a sport star, successful businessman, accomplished musician, or applauded intellectual, we appreciate those who are content to allow others to place them on a pedestal.
What about YOU? Are you content to wait on others to lift you up? Or do you run to climb up on a pedestal to announce your accomplishments? What if no one applauds your victory or your achievement? What if no one tells you, "That was a job well done" or "That was a great effort"?
Listen to the words of Solomon:
Do not claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
For it is better that it be said to you, "Come up here,"
Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.
When you exalt yourself you place yourself at risk of being humiliated. Yet, when you present yourself humbly, you may be exalted. Solomon reflected on this principle as it applied to life. The Apostle Peter wrote about the same principle as it applies to spiritual life.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.
--1 Peter 5:6
In this life we are unsure whether anyone will applaud our success. However, with God there is certainty.
Be content in your humility.
Be humble in your contentment.
Let God place you on a pedestal of His design.
September 27, 2020