Warfield on the Christian Life by Fred Zaspel

Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the GospelWarfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel by Fred G. Zaspel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had heard of B.B. Warfield before but didn’t really know much about him. After reading this book, I’ve learned much more of who he was and what he stood for. Warfield lived from 1851 to 1921 and is known for his stand on the inspiration of Scripture. He lived in a day where the Bible’s inspiration was being challenged and he defended it as being the inspired Word of God. But Warfield taught and wrote much more than just the Bible’s inspiration. This book takes us through what Warfield taught on the many doctrines of the Christian faith.
So much of this book resonated with me and what I already believe. Warfield put into words so many great truths. I found much that I wanted to quote from this book. Warfield not only defended the inspiration of Scripture but its authority. The book also takes us through what he taught on the gospel, our salvation, who Christ is, the Holy Spirit, sanctification and other doctrines important to understanding a life of faith. Warfield wrote prolifically and I am now interested in reading some of his writings after reading this book. Monergism has some of the books he wrote free as ebooks.
For an overview of what Warfield taught, as well as a good reminder of what the gospel is and how it affects our daily lives, this book is a great read. Recommended for encouragement in the Christian walk.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.

Advertisements

Studying the Bible for Yourself: Observation

After getting the historical, cultural background of what we are studying, the first step in the inductive study method is observation. This includes finding the background, such as who is the author and who is the original audience that it was written to. In the stage of observation we are reading through the passage and asking lots of questions. To help get started in what questions to ask, several books recommend the 5 W’s – Who, What, Where, When, and Why? You might not be able to get answers to all these but they are a good starting point to get the juices flowing.

Bombard the text with questions:
-Who are the people in the passage?
-Who is talking?
-Who wrote it?
-Who was it written to originally?
-What is happening?
-What is the author talking about?
-What is historically taking place at this time?
-What is wrong?
-What is right?
-What did the author intend?
-What is being emphasized?
-What is the style it is written in?
-What type of genre is this?
-Where is this taking place?
-Where is the author?
-Where are the original readers when they receive this writing?
-When is it happening?
-When was it written?
-Why is this being told? Why did the author write this?
-Why is this included in Scripture?
-How is it being portrayed?

Other things to look for in observing:
-Repeated words or phrases: what is their significance?
-Verb tense – how is the action portrayed (past, present, future)?
-The order of things mentioned – is there a significance to the order that is presented?
-Comparisons and contrasts – look for similes and metaphors
-Emotion or tone of the text
-Amount of time or space spent on a particular subject
-Imperatives
-Does the author give a purpose statement?
-New Testament use of Old Testament passages
-Connections – look for conjunctions, relationships between words and sentences, prepositions
-General to specific or specific to general – how is the material presented?
-Conditions – if, then statements or consequences; cause and effect
-Question and answer – are the questions rhetorical?
-Lists – such as character traits or sins – why are these listed together?
-Major shifts – when the text takes a turn
-Pronouns – how do these connect relationships?
-What is emphasized in the passage? What stands out?

It is helpful in this stage to mark words and phrases and have a notebook to jot down all the observations that you make. If you’re not comfortable marking directly in your Bible, print out a copy of the passage that you can mark on. Repetitive reading is important- reading the passage several times through as you ask the different questions.

Summarize your observations using charts or lists. This helps to solidify them in your mind as well as organize the information. A lot of study Bibles have charts in them showing themes of the book or a timeline. Look at some sample charts or lists found in study Bibles if you feel stuck compiling one yourself at first. But eventually you’ll want to get to the point of creating them on your own.

The more time that is spent in the stage of observation, the more likely that the interpretation stage will be accurate. You may spend several days in the observation stage before moving on to interpretation and that’s okay. One aspect of Bible study that often frustrates people is that it involves delayed gratification, not instant. It takes time and effort to ask questions of the text and make observations. But the rewards are worth it if you will stick with it and work your way through the text.

Next we’ll move on to the second stage of the inductive study method: Interpretation.

*Source material for this blog series came from a variety of sources.
Living by the Book by Howard and William Hendricks
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkins
Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days by Kay Arthur
Credo House Bible Boot Camp video series (link is broken, no longer posted)
Secret Church: How to Study the Bible series
How to Read the Bible by A.J. Conyers (out of print, but seemingly available used)

Previous Posts in this series:
Studying the Bible for Yourself: Introduction
Studying the Bible for Yourself: Genre and Context

"Another Jesus" Calling by Warren B. Smith

Another Jesus CallingAnother Jesus Calling by Warren B. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish that every believer would read this book. It is eye-opening to how New Age terminology and concepts have become “Christianized” and accepted into today’s churches. My heart is heavy after reading this book. It reveals information that most Christians are probably completely unaware of as they read the popular devotional book by Sarah Young called Jesus Calling

What you may not know about Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling:
Her inspiration for writing Jesus Calling was a book called God Calling written by 2 anonymous women. Seemingly innocent, but in looking into the book God Calling, it is seen that God Calling is teaching New Age beliefs. It blatantly contradicts the Bible by saying that God is “in” everyone, while the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit indwells only believers. It appears that Sarah Young was inspired by this book to seek her own messages from God like the women received in God Calling
Sarah Young states in the introduction to Jesus Calling “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.” This indicates that Sarah did not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture, that the Bible was not enough for what she needed to grow closer to God. Using the teaching from the New Age book God Calling, she then proceeded to listen for her own messages from God. The result is the devotional Jesus Calling.Unknowingly (I hope anyway), perhaps because of being inspired and influenced by the New Age teachings in God Calling, Sarah uses similar New Age phrases and concepts in the book Jesus Calling. Most of us would not recognize these seemingly benign phrases. But those who have come out of the New Age movement, such as the author Warren Smith, recognize these for what they are and realize that the Jesus of the Bible would not use these well-known New Age phrases to communicate to us.

  • “The situation is ripe for spiritual deception when the Word of God is minimized and spiritual experience is raised above it.”
“Another Jesus” Calling is a commentary on the devotional Jesus Calling, showing where the book goes seriously astray, using New Age ideas such as channeling, and actually contradicting the Bible, something which the true Jesus would never do. As an example, on January 28 the devotional states: “I am with you always. These were the last words I spoke before ascending into heaven.” However, these were words that Jesus spoke to the disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20). In Acts 1, Jesus and His disciples are on the Mount called Olivet near Jerusalem (which is quite a distance from Galilee), when He ascends into heaven after saying “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:9 tells us that after He said these things is when He ascended to heaven, not after His statement in Matthew 28. If this Jesus from Jesus Calling were really Jesus, obviously He would not say a lie or contradict Himself.

This book goes on to show many examples of why Jesus Calling is not a book that should be embraced by Christians trying to follow the God of the Bible. Part of me wants to quote the whole book by Smith, showing the problems and pleading with people to recognize the subtlety of the New Age terms and concepts that are interwoven into this book. Smith reminds us that the Bible warns of false Christs coming and of people being deceived. Dr. Harry Ironside is quoted as saying: “Error is like leaven, of which we read, ‘A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.’ Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.”

Jesus Calling is immensely popular and is very emotionally appealing. This information in Smith’s book will likely not be received well by the many Christians that love this devotional. Out of love and concern for my fellow believers, I would urge you to pick up a copy of this book “Another Jesus” Calling to see what it has to say about the subtle dangers in Jesus Calling. We are told in the Bible in 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” It is hard to hear that something we dearly love may not be true. I understand that no one likes to hear this kind of thing. 

Eye-opening and extremely easy-to-read, this book can be read in just a few hours. Highly recommended!

More quotes:

“God is always present with us – a presence that will never be magnified above His Word. If we choose to put experiencing God’s presence above His Word, we are leaving ourselves open and vulnerable to the visits of a counterfeit presence.”

“If one becomes dependent on a subjective presence rather than the objective holy Bible, deception is inevitable. That is why it is crucial to compare what is taught by anyone or anything to the revealing light of God’s Word. Test the spirits of any presence that may appear in your devotions and quiet times.”  
2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (NASB)

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Lighthouse Trails Publishing in exchange for my review.

Organic Mentoring by Sue Edwards & Barbara Neumann

Organic Mentoring: A Mentor's Guide to Relationships with Next Generation WomenOrganic Mentoring: A Mentor’s Guide to Relationships with Next Generation Women by Sue Edwards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is written primarily to older women who want to be mentors but find in their attempts to be part of traditional mentor programs that often they can’t seem to connect with the mentee and the relationship fails. Two age groups are addressed in the book – Moderns (those born prior to 1965) and Postmoderns (those born between 1965 and 1981). Traditional mentoring programs are tailored much more to how the Modern age group thinks and approaches mentoring, which no longer attract women in the Postmodern age group, thus causing the failure. I thought the book had a lot of good points in showing the differences in how the Modern age group women approach mentoring versus how the Postmodern age group women look at it. What struck me though is that when the characteristics of each age group was given, I fell more in line with the Modern women age group even though I am chronologically in the Postmodern age group (having been born in the 1970’s). The list (keeping in mind obviously that all women are different, these are generalities):

  • ”  Older women value programs, structure, and organization. Younger women value organic, flexible approaches.
  • Older women believe you must be a positive role model. younger women believe you must be yourself.
  • Older women prefer to teach or impart wisdom. Younger women want to process life and learn from real experiences.
  • Older women prefer to learn through instruction. Younger women prefer to learn through stories, experiences, and lived-out truth.
  • Older women respect and trust those in authority. Younger women respect and trust only those who have proven worthy.
  • Older women value privacy. Younger women value transparency.
  • Older women see distinct standards for how one should live as a woman. Younger women believe there is no one right way to be a woman.
  • Older women choose the mentor for the mentee. Younger women prefer to learn from multiple mentors.
  • Older women prefer scheduled terms that start and stop. Younger women want an ongoing relationship and content to build it over time.
  • Older women use technology in limited ways. Younger women depend on technology to manage life. 
  • Older women embrace contractual commitments. Younger women continue only if the experience is valuable.”

The book then tackles these issues and addresses the older women and their need to adjust and adapt to the type of mentoring that the younger women are looking for, though it goes against their natural instincts and inclinations. In order to help the current mentoring crisis (for younger women are looking for mentors), traditional programs and methods are not working and a new approach is needed. That new approach is explained throughout the book.
The appendices give training information for using this book to train older women in how to mentor the postmodern generation. Helpful tools are given – such as having a younger women panel, using skits, and doing mentor and listening skills assessments.
I found this book very easy to read and very practical. Though chronologically I fall into the younger women category, I find myself relating to more of the older women traits and so found it useful to better understand women in my own age group as well as the younger women I interact with. Though geared toward the older women, this book is also helpful for younger women to read and see why perhaps they are having trouble connecting with older women and to better understand the differences between the generations. So both groups would find this book useful in better understanding each other and seeing how they can adapt to each other for a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship. An excellent resource for any church to have for help with ministering to the women in their care.

*I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher Kregel Publications in exchange for my review.

Joy!: A Bible Study on Philippians for Women by Keri Folmar

Joy!: A Bible Study on Philippians for Women

I love inductive Bible study, though it can be hard work at times and a discipline to do. I have enjoyed the Kay Arthur inductive studies in the past and was eager to do the new studies by Keri Folmar put out by Cruciform Press.
I was not disappointed! This is a great study, following the inductive method of observation, interpretation and application. One of the things I really liked about this study is she would have you read a longer passage, and then read just a few verses and answer questions on those verses, having read them already in the larger context. Context is so crucial and this study allowed for that.
One thing I found was that if I was using a different translation, she would ask questions about specific words and those words might be different in the different translation. Typically I used the NASB and the NET Bible when doing this study, while the study primarily references the ESV translation. Not really a problem, but good to know if using a different translation then the ESV. Often I would pull up the ESV to compare so was seeing what the verses were saying in the different translations, which added to the study.
This study was quite in depth, sometimes only studying a couple verses for the day. Thought-provoking questions are asked to get you to observe the text, discover its meaning and then apply it. The last week of the study was used to review the whole book and go over final themes and applications.
For those who long to better study the Bible, this was a great study guide to use to dig into the Word. Next up I will be doing the Faith study on James.

Studying the Bible for Yourself: Genre and Context

The Bible is not about us. Too often we approach the Bible looking for how it can make our lives better or what it says that is meaningful for our needs. But the Bible was written to give God’s story – His plan of redemption through His Son Jesus Christ. The Bible is all about God and particularly Jesus. We need to read it in light of this truth, to see how Jesus is revealed throughout the Old and New Testaments.

When studying the Bible, we need to remember that this was written over a period of thousands of years to various groups of people. There are several aspects we need to keep in mind. One of these is the type of literary genre. We don’t read a fiction book the same way we read a non-fiction book or a poem or a newspaper. Similarly, we need to be aware of what genre we are reading when we read the Bible.
Depending on what you read or who you refer to, there are different classifications or lists as far as the different types of literary genres. The main ones are: historical narrative (for example 1 Samuel, 1 Kings), poetry (such as Psalms), prophecy (like Jeremiah), gospel (Matthew through John), epistles or letters (such as Romans) and apocalyptic (Revelation). Some also break out the Law as a genre that is given in places like Leviticus and Wisdom is considered a genre – such as Proverbs.
What can also cause confusion is that each book of the Bible isn’t necessarily all one specific genre. Genesis is mostly historical narrative, but also has poetry. Isaiah is mostly prophecy, but also has historical narrative. So understanding genre can sometimes be difficult.
Definition of Genre: “A category of literature which is to be read and interpreted according to distinct and specific rules that are assumed upon the writing.” For more information about genres and understanding the different types, the Secret Church How to Study the Bible part 4 video (and accompanying study guide available in pdf) is an excellent explanation and resource.

Next we need to consider the context. When most people think of context, they think of the surrounding verses. While this is true, there is a lot more to realizing the context. We need to know the cultural and historical context – who is the original audience? Who is the writer and why is he writing this? What is the cultural background (for example, Malachi is written after the Jews have returned from captivity and are back in their homeland but still not under their own rule)? The cultural and historical background of the audience of Leviticus is quite different from the cultural and historical background of Jeremiah. Even more so is the cultural and historical background of the audience of Ephesians. And all these are far removed from our own cultural and historical background. This is where a Bible handbook on the customs and culture of Bible times comes in handy – to see what is happening at the time a particular book of the Bible is written. What were the people who originally received this book going through?
Context is also the surrounding verses. The current chapter and verse divisions that we have in our Bibles are not part of the original manuscripts of the Bible. They were added later. And sometimes the breaks are not in the best places. So when reading a passage we need to consider what is around it – not just the immediate verses, but the larger passage and even the whole book that it is part of. And beyond that the scope of the whole Bible. Here we compare Scripture with Scripture. If the meaning of a passage seems to say something that contradicts another passage, then we are not understanding one of the passages correctly. Another aspect of context is grammatical – looking at verb tenses. How did the author present his point? Was he using past, present or future tense?
All of these factors play a part in what a passage is saying – how would the original audience have understood this in light of their culture and current circumstances? The text cannot mean what it never meant. When we come to our Bibles, we bring our own context to it, our own presuppositions and worldview. We need to learn to filter that out and look at it from the standpoint of when it was written, to whom it was written, the purpose of the author (the original intent), and other contextual factors mentioned above. The more we study and learn, the more we can understand. Bible study is a discipline and needs to be practiced in order to continually grow in our understanding.

Next in our series, we will take a look at the first step in the inductive study method: Observation.

*Source material for this blog series came from a variety of sources.
Living by the Book by Howard and William Hendricks
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkins
Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days by Kay Arthur
Credo House Bible Boot Camp video series (link is broken, no longer posted)
Secret Church: How to Study the Bible series
How to Read the Bible by A.J. Conyers (out of print, but seemingly available used)

Previous posts in this series:
Studying the Bible for Yourself: Introduction

The Art of Storytelling by John Walsh

The Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps to Presenting an Unforgettable StoryThe Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps to Presenting an Unforgettable Story by John D. Walsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This quick, practical book gives several steps to putting together a good story as a presentation. The premise is that people are more easily engaged by stories than by a 3 point outline and it is easier to get your point across through a story rather than a lecture. But in order to do this, there is an art in telling a story that the audience will relate to and then remember.

The book takes you through the different steps to crafting a story. One of the points is not to memorize the story word for word. Each of the steps is explained and then exercises are given to practice the steps and put together a story. The author recommends using practice audiences to work on the craft of storytelling. Part of storytelling involves using facial expressions, body language and hand gestures. All of these tools are described and explained in the book.

This book was very easy to read and engaging as it explained the art and craft of storytelling. At the end of the book, information is given on how this can be done with Bible stories (Bibletelling). All in all, a very practical book that anyone can take and use to increase their ability to tell a story more effectively.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review.

Running on Empty by Barbara Bancroft

Running on Empty: The Gospel for Women in MinistryRunning on Empty: The Gospel for Women in Ministry by Barbara Bancroft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As someone who is just getting started in being more involved in ministry, this book intrigued me in being for women who are involved in ministry. Early on the book deals with the misconceptions of the Proverbs 31 woman and how her example is often more guilt-producing than helpful. Then the author takes us back to the gospel itself and the importance of remembering all that God has done for us in Christ.

Throughout the book, over and over the author reminds us of who we are in Christ, who our dependence is to be on, and God being the One at work. We are not special because we are in ministry, rather God has taken the ordinary and works through us in spite of ourselves.

One of the topics covered is fairness, or the seeming lack thereof when it seems in ministry that we are obeying God and yet things are not going our way. We have the mindset that if we are obedient, God should bless us. “Our analysis of fairness is always comparative and biased by our limitations. Our humanity creates a weakness that only faith can overcome. When we judge what God is doing by what we can see rather than by what he has said, we easily come to an unrighteous conclusion: God is not good. He doesn’t care. God is not pleased with me. He isn’t acting fairly. God must not love me. We are convinced we know best and accuse God of being unfair because he isn’t doing what we want him to do. The daily battle for believers is to believe Scripture even when it conflicts with our expectations. The battle is lost when we draw insidious conclusions about God because of our biases and limited perspective. The resulting resentment and bitterness may seem directed at others but in truth they are directed toward God who, we believe, has somehow let us down and acted unfairly.”

Also looked at is entitlement – the feeling that since we have left so much for God, surely we are entitled to a few blessings as well. Then when it doesn’t happen, envy sets in. The author takes us to the heart of the matter: we are not letting the gospel be at work in us, reminding us the awful nature of sin and how much God despises it. The book continues to pound home the reality of letting the gospel continually be a part of our lives, throughout our days of ministry, reminding us that we still sin and we must constantly remind ourselves of the gospel. In order to better communicate the gospel to others, we must have it do its work in our own lives, humbling us before God and returning to Him for dependence.

This was not a self-help book for women in ministry, but rather a reminder of the need to let the gospel be the center of our lives. Even in ministry we must continually remind ourselves of our need for the gospel, making us rely on Christ and the Holy Spirit working in our hearts. What a timely reminder that it’s not about us, but about Christ. Giving up our reputations, our sense of entitlement and fairness, humbling relying on God moment by moment for the strength to minister. An excellent book focusing us on Christ and the immense gift He has given us in the gospel.

More quotes:
“Christian ministry is a hard place to have problems, but the solution is always the same. The gospel speaks to each of us where we are. There are no lost causes or hopeless cases with Christ….All of us will benefit from the encouragement we receive from friendships, books, and other resources, but no amount of human help will fill our emptiness if it does not lead us to Christ. His is the voice we need to hear.”

“The hardships of ministry expose the dark places of our hearts where the gospel has not yet penetrated. The Holy Spirit often uses life’s everyday occurrences to illuminate the dark corners where our sins lurk. As he reveals sins like entitlement and envy, it’s easy for us to despair or run away from the dark rebellion he has exposed. Hearing the truth about our sin is painful, but Jesus comes and binds our wounds with his forgiveness, bringing us hope that he can change us in ways that seem impossible in the chaos of ministry.”

“We die to ourselves so that others may find life in Christ. Forgiving those who harm and offend us is just one of the ways that we die to our rights so that Christ will be revealed through us. Laying down our lives voluntarily so that others may know Christ does not come easy or naturally to us either. It is only as we are filled with the treasure of Christ that our jars are not ground into dust by the opposition we face. This is why our experience of Christ must be fresh daily.”

“Having a realistic view of ourselves as sinners who need a Savior each day will keep us relying on his Spirit and address our hypocrisy. Seeing the work he does in us to make us more like Jesus will strengthen our faith.”

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review.

Studying the Bible for Yourself: Introduction

I have been working on and planning a workshop on how to study the Bible for yourself, mostly focusing on the inductive study method. A brief overview of that method can be seen here. As a result of my research into this topic I have found a plethora of information and resources and thought it might be good to do a blog series on how to study the Bible for yourself. Biblical illiteracy seems to be very prevalent these days and a lot of people seem to have never been taught how to study the Bible for themselves, but rather they just expect to learn what they need to know from their pastor or teachers on TV. As a result, people are not learning for themselves about the Bible but are getting spoon-fed by others. In a day and age where we have the advantage of being able to read and have the Bible available to us in our own language (multiple translations at that), we have unprecedented access to the greatest book on earth, yet we are not taking advantage of its treasures.

There are a lot of Bible study guides available and these can be useful in helping to dig into the Bible. But there is something exciting about digging into the Bible for yourself without the help of a study guide – learning how to interpret it and understanding what it’s saying. Before jumping in though, why is it so important that we learn to study the Bible for ourselves?

One reason is that it is commanded: 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us (NASB) “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

Another reason is that it reveals who Jesus is, so that we can have eternal life: John 20:30-31 (NASB) “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

And, it helps us to grow in our Christian walk (it equips us): 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB) “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

There are a lot of different methods that can be used in studying the Bible. The primary method we will look at is probably the most popular method and that is the inductive study method. What does inductive mean? Inductive is starting from a general overview and then narrowing down to the specifics. In further blog posts, I’ll go into more detail on this method but here is a quick overview.

Step 1: Observation
Asking questions of the text, looking at what it says (not trying to get meaning out of it, just blanket observations)

Step 2: Interpretation
Taking the observations and extrapolating the meaning – based on what is observed, what does this text mean?

Step 3: Application
After understanding what the text means, we look at how we can apply it to our own lives.

Before we can begin our study however, there are some factors we need to consider. The Bible is a book that was written by various authors over a period of a few thousand years. It was written to different people in different cultural settings and historical backgrounds. And the type of literature varies from historical narrative to poetry to prophecy to letters. We live in a different place and time from the original authors and audiences. All these different factors play a part in how we interpret the Bible. In the next post in the series, we’ll look at some of these factors – the importance of context and understanding literary genres in the Bible.

*Source material for this blog series came from a variety of sources.
Living by the Book by Howard and William Hendricks
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkins
Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days by Kay Arthur
Credo House Bible Boot Camp video series (link is broken, no longer posted)
Secret Church: How to Study the Bible series
How to Read the Bible by A.J. Conyers (out of print, but seemingly available used)

Has God Spoken? by Hank Hanegraaf

Has God Spoken?: Memorable Proofs of the Bible's Divine InspirationHas God Spoken?: Memorable Proofs of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration by Hank Hanegraaff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The writing flows in this book, making it very easy to read. There is a lot of evidence outside the Bible itself for its historicity and truthfulness. The author takes us through these evidences.
Using acronyms for easier memory, we are taken through all the evidence given through the various manuscript copies of the Old and New Testaments. While having read this information in other sources, it is still amazing to see the number of manuscripts that we have available to us of the New Testament, especially compared to the number of manuscripts of other ancient documents, such as Homer’s Iliad.
Next we learn of how archaeology has confirmed much of the historical information given to us throughout the Bible. Time and again discoveries have been made that confirmed various details in Scripture, giving credence to its reliability.

At a point in the book where he is talking about fulfilled prophecies of the Bible, the author’s theological viewpoint is very evident and is given as fact. While in reality, there are many different viewpoints on these prophecies and whether they have already been fulfilled or are still future. These are not primary doctrines but are secondary issues that Christians can disagree on and still fellowship together. Yet it is interesting to see how prophecy has been fulfilled, and how all the minute details of prophecy concerning who the Messiah would be point to Jesus being the only one who could fulfill all those prophecies.

Finally, the author takes us through the importance of reading Scripture in context – looking at the literary genre, the historical context, grammatical syntax, and how typology plays a part. The evidence both externally and internally is overwhelmingly in favor of the Bible being the book that it claims to be – God’s inspired Word. This book has ample documentation that can be used to refute those who claim that the Bible has errors in it, as well as other attacks against the Bible. Well-written and easily readable, it is a great book to be used in apologetics and defending the truth of the Bible to skeptics.

“You have just read a volume that answers the question has God spoken? in the affirmative. Our challenge is to build a lighthouse in the midst of the gathering darkness; to be change agents in the culture rather than a microcosm of the culture; to be transformed by the renewing of our minds rather than conformed to the culture.”

“My challenge to you is this: get into the Word and get the Word into you. Memorize, meditate, and mine the Bible for all its wealth. Stem the tide of darkness by ever being ready to provide proof of the bible’s divine inspiration.”

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review.