Local bar serves up scripture with suds

The headline above was taken from a front-page newspaper story in our community. The following is quoted directly from the first two paragraphs of the article:

It was a pretty common sight — the Bible setting (sic) open on a counter, waiting for someone with a thirst for religious knowledge to graze its pages. What wasn’t common was the freshly-poured glass of beer nearby; the many glass bottles of assorted alcoholic beverages in the room. It was weekly Bible study night at a seemingly unlikely place — Janie’s Cafe, a bar in Shamokin.

“I believe if Jesus were walking on the face of the earth as you and I are today this is the type of place he’d come to,” said Jane Stanchick-Garancheski, owner of Janie’s. She added that a bar is a place where trouble is likely to brew, a place where His presence is needed.

What do you think? Should something like this be stopped?

Note: to read the entire article, click here.

Bible Study Lesson 5

We are learning how to use the Blue Letter Bible, an online, interactive, and very powerful study tool. If you are just joining us, place the link for the BLB in your favorites or on your desktop. You do not need to download anything. And welcome to the study. You may want to subscribe to this blog in order to keep up with the lessons. You may do so by signing up with the Free Subscription on the right-hand side of this blog. However, all lessons will be archived under the category titled Bible Study Methods. You can go there at any time and get a lesson to review or to catch up.

I recently received the following note from the folks at the Blue Letter Bible:
Dale,
Thank you so much for this. Your blog is extremely helpful. It’s
encouraging to read a thorough and clear use of the BLB tools! So you
have encouraged us greatly. I really like your idea of parallel
viewing panes. Right now the only way to do that right now is to line
up BLB windows next to each other.

Your participation in this study is helping to encourage others as well as build yourself up in the faith.

In our last lesson we learned about using Strong’s numbers to aid in our study. Strong’s is the word used to reference the original comprehensive concordance to the Bible. If you are not familiar with the reference work, that is okay. Using it within the BLB will open a new world of study for you.

Bring up the homepage of the BLB, and in the search box enter Hebrews 11:6. For information on how to do this, go to Lesson 1.

Notice the blue buttons next to the verse on the left-hand side. Click the “C” button. A window opens that is labeled Lexicon/Concordance for Hebrews 11:6. Scroll down until you find the phrase “to please.” Next to that is the number G2100 in the column labeled Strong’s.

Click on the G2100. That brings up an entirely new window labeled Lexicon Results with a lot of information in it, and new roads to take in our exploration. For this lesson, we will look into Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words.

Locate the blue bar labeled “Vines” and click on “View Entry.” That opens a new window containing the basic information from Vine’s work.

Then, underneath the first simple entry is the phrase in brackets [View Entry in Its Context]. Click on that and you are brought to the full entry from Vine’s that contains all the various ways the words translated “please” are used.

Remember, we are looking into what the Bible says about pleasing God, because it is our desire to be found pleasing in His sight.

You should have your notebook out, because the amount of information now becomes much more than your mind can assimilate.

Notice that all Scripture references are “hot” so that you can click on any one of them and be taken to that verse. It would be better if that link opened in a new window, but it doesn’t. So, you will always have to use your back button at the top of your browser to return to where you were.

I’m going to leave you with this for now. Begin your own study of what it means to be found pleasing to the Lord. Search through the verses listed in the Vine’s window. Make notes as you go. Add what you learn to the comments section below, so that we may all benefit from what the Lord gives you (Matt. 4:4).

If you click on a verse, and then get sidetracked by the buttons on the side that you have already learned how to use, you should REJOICE! You will not come to the end of the study anytime soon if that happens to you.

As you explore the idea of what it means to please the Lord, you will discover many wonderful things from the Word. Be sure to take notes from your study. This is not only about how to use the BLB. It is also about trying to discover “what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10).

NOTE: As we progress, you may have a question about something that we have covered. Be sure to use the comments section for all comments and questions. Also, read the comments section, because someone may ask or say something that will benefit you as you go through this study. Thanks

Bible Study Lesson 4

We are learning how to use the Blue Letter Bible, an online, interactive, and very powerful study tool. If you are just joining us, place the link for the BLB in your favorites or on your desktop. And welcome to the study. You may want to subscribe to this blog in order to keep up with the lessons. You may do so by signing up with the FeedBlitz on the right-hand side of the blog. However, all lessons will be archived under the category titled Bible Study Methods. You can go there at any time and get a lesson to review or to catch up.

In the last lesson, we saw how to use the V button to discover the various translations of a verse. While we are not yet able to have parallel viewing panes in which to read an entire passage of scripture, it does help to have the various version for each verse. A bit cumbersome if you are used to having parallel windows with your particular software. But this will work for the in-depth Bible study that is available with this tool. The people at BLB told me they are working on developing parallel viewing panes.

In this lesson we will learn about using Strong’s numbers to aid in our study. Strong’s is the word used to reference the original comprehensive concordance to the Bible. If you are not familiar with the reference work, that is okay. Using it within the BLB will open a new world of study for you.

Bring up the homepage of the BLB, and in the search box enter Hebrews 11:6. For information on how to do this, go to Lesson 1.

Notice the blue buttons next to the verse on the left-hand side. Click on the “V” button to bring up the various translations, and read through them. Make any notes about something that strikes you.

Close the translation window. There is a red X at the top right corner of the drop-down window. That will bring you back to your verse.

Now click the “C” button. A window opens that is labeled Lexicon/Concordance for Hebrews 11:6. The first part in the window will mean nothing unless you have had some Greek instruction, which I am not prepared to take you into during these studies. It’s not at all necessary to be able to read the Greek rendition.

Underneath that you will see the verse broken down into words and phrases. Next to some of them, you will see the letters PHR, which indicates that this is a phrase translating just one word.

Next to that column is a list of numbers, each preceded by the letter G. The G indicates the particular dictionary of Strong’s Concordance that is being used. The book contained two dictionaries–one for the Old Testament and one for the New. The OT is written in Hebrew. The NT is written in Greek. Hence the letter G. When you are in the OT, the letter that will be used is an H.

The numbers refer to the numbers in Strong’s dictionary.

In the last column is the Greek spelling of the word followed by a transliteration–the English equivalent of the Greek.

If you read down the first column, you will notice that the entire verse is printed out. Each word or phrase that translates from the Greek is given in that column.

Let’s suppose that we want to learn something about pleasing God. What does the Bible say about pleasing God?

We can begin with this verse, because we are told that we must have faith in order to please Him. But, maybe there are other passages that would help me to learn what it means to be pleasing to the Lord. We have an excellent resource in the BLB that will help us do just that.

Go down to the phrase “to please” and roll your mouse over the number “G2100.” You will notice that it is hot-linked.

Click on the G2100. That brings up an entirely new window labeled Lexicon Results with a lot of information in it, and new roads to take in our exploration.

You first see the Greek word under consideration; then its transliteration into English; and then its pronunciation key.

If you are a linguist, the part of speech is given and also its Greek etymology (root). It won’t hurt you to look into these aspects even if you aren’t a linguist. It will add to your knowledge, and when you hear someone teaching on this, your experience under that teacher will be enhanced by prior knowledge.

Continuing on down the various boxes we see that a reference is given for the TDNT. The BLB does not have that work available for us to use. But, if you have it in another of your programs, then this number will help you to get there quickly to add to your study.

Next to the TDNT is the entry from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words. That is another excellent resource for good Bible students, and we will look into that next lesson.

For now, we want to continue on down the remaining windows of the Lexicon Results.

The “Outline of Biblical Usage” gives you the basic meaning of the word. Then we see how often the Greek word is used in the KJV.

This is important. It is not how often the word “please” is used. It is how often the Greek word that is translated “please” in this particular is used in the Bible. Big distinction!! And we will get into that in future lessons.

NOTE: As we progress, you may have a question about something that we have covered. Be sure to use the comments section for all comments and questions. Also, read the comments section, because someone may ask or say something that will benefit you as you go through this study. Thanks

Bible Study Lesson 3

We are learning how to use the Blue Letter Bible, an online, interactive, and very powerful study tool. If you are just joining us, place the link in your favorites or on your desktop. And welcome to the study. You may want to subscribe to this blog in order to keep up with the lessons. You may do so by signing up with the FeedBlitz on the right-hand side of the blog. However, all lessons will be archived under the category titled Bible Study Methods. You can go there at any time and get a lesson to review or to catch up.

Open your BLB to the home page. Find the Search box labeled New Bible Search.

Notice just above the box (help) (abbreviations) (drop list). Each of those are “hot-linked” and give a drop down list that you can use for the books of the Bible. 

Click on the (drop list ), which will change the window you are viewing. You now have four boxes labeled from left to right “Book” “Chapter” “Verse” “Version”.

Use the drop down arrow under Book to locate Philippians. Enter a 4 in the “Chapter” box and 13 in the “Verse” box. Make sure you have your version of choice set, and click the Search button.

When the verse pops up at the top of your screen, you will notice six buttons to the left of the verse. Five of them are “hot” and one is not.

Each of those buttons brings up a different tool or set of tools to use with that verse.

Click on the “V” button. A window opens underneath the verse with all the available translations of that particular verse. Each version has its own box with its copyright information available.

Knowing how others have translated a particular verse helps to gain understanding of the nuances of meaning that may be appropriate from the original language.

You can close the versions window by clicking on the red ‘x’ at the top of the drop down window just below the verse we are looking at.

That’s it for today’s lesson. Be sure to explore as much as you want with this incredible study tool. There is more to learn than we will possibly be able to cover in these few short lessons.

In the next lesson, we will begin to uncover the power of this tool for its use in word studies.

NOTE: As we progress, you may have a question about something that we have covered. Be sure to use the comments section for all comments and questions. Also, read the comments section, because someone may ask or say something that will benefit you as you go through this study. Thanks

Bible Study Lesson 2

We are learning how to use the Blue Letter Bible, an online, interactive, and very powerful study tool. If you are just joining us, place the link in your favorites or on your desktop. And welcome to the study. You may want to subscribe to this blog in order to keep up with the lessons. You may do so by signing up with the FeedBlitz on the right-hand side of the blog. However, all lessons will be archived under the category titled Bible Study Methods. You can go there at any time and get a lesson to review or to catch up.

Let’s begin.

Hopefully, you did some exploring on the left-hand section of the home page of the BLB like I suggested in Lesson 1. If you did, you found that they have a wealth of resources available–dictionaries, topical studies, commentaries, charts, maps, and a host of other tools to enhance your study time in the Bible.

Open the home page.

Under the top bar labeled New Bible Search you will find a blank bar in which to enter your search criteria. You can enter a specific book reference, or you can enter a word or word string that you are looking for.

I remember that there is a place in scripture where someone complained to Jesus about a different group doing things even though they were not part of the main band of disciples. Seems to me there was something about demons in the story. I want to find that passage.

Type in casting out demons. You don’t need quotes or the bold or italics. Just the text.

In the next box, select the version you want to use. I use the ESV, and have it set as my Preferred Bible. (see lesson 1)

Then click on the Search button.

This should bring up your search results in the middle of the page. Look over the entire page to gain an understanding of what the page looks like.

For my search, using the ESV, I’ve been given three verses. Yours may be different. To see how powerful this is, change the version selection and click on the search button again. You should get different results.

For instance, when I changed to the KJV, I was given a “sorry.” There are no verses that match the search. There is a way to find those verses on the results page without further typing, but that is for a later lesson.

Okay. I’ve found the passage I was trying to remember. It is Mark 9:38. Now I want to see that verse in its context.

The address is hot-linked, so click on Mar 9:38, and you will be taken to the entire chapter of Mark 9. However, the verse you clicked on will be at the top of your screen.

We can scroll up or down to access the context of that verse, and we discover that it is all within verses 38-41, which is in the midst of a lengthy record of some of the Master’s teachings on various subjects.

In order to read it smoothly without all the helps to distract me, I can change the page to be just simply text. For those of us who are easily distracted, this is a benefit.

Go to the top of the page, and look over on the right-hand column. Under the bar labeled Mark 9 you will see the words “Read / Print.” There is a question mark for help with this particular tool. Click on that and it will open a small window with an explanation of its features.

For instance, within the ESV I can change from paragraph format to verse format. I can change the words of Christ from red to black. Whatever I want for ease of reading at the computer. I can also change translation within that window. (The one feature not yet available is parallel viewing panes.)

Now, for the last point of today’s lesson–a real TREAT!

Underneath the “Read / Print” box is a box labeled “Listen to:”

Click and enjoy.

NOTE: As we progress, you may have a question about something that we have covered. Be sure to use the comments section for all comments and questions. Also, read the comments section, because someone may ask or say something that will benefit you as you go through this study. Thanks

Bible Study Lesson 1

I am beginning a series on how to use the online Blue Letter Bible (BLB) for study. It is one of the most powerful of the free study tools that I have found.

The Blue Letter Bible now has over 4,000,000 links onsite to over 165,000 pages of concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, commentaries, images, and Bible versions! Our prayer is that you will enjoy the site, in Jesus’ name! (taken from their site 2/5/09)

The first thing to do, then, is to get your copy. You do not have to download it. It is always online. Just add it to your “Favorites” on your browser, or set a link on your desktop.

The link above will take you to the homepage of the BLB.

The first thing to do is to set your preferred translation.

Look on the right-hand column and find the third blue bar from the top. It is labeled “Featured Items.” Under that, the first item is My BLB with a hotlink that says “My Preferred Bible.” Click on that and you will be taken to a new section.

Look in the middle column lableled My BLB Preferences. Click on the dropdown arrow. The available translations are listed. Set yours.

Notice that even a Spanish version is available. If you have an Hispanic friend, let them know about this. Invite them to join in this study.

You should still see three columns. On the left is a blue column with many links for various things that you should become familiar with. Many of those links open a window that explains part of how the BLB works. Others show the feature-rich aspects of this study tool. You can always return to the home page by clicking on the Bible logo at the top of the left column.

Explore this column.

If you take the time to go exploring, you will have done plenty for the day’s lesson. You will probably get side-tracked with some of the tools they make available. That’s okay.

We will come back to this to learn how to use some of the various and exciting tools of the BLB.

Chained, but NOT Bound

Philippians 1:12-14

Phl 1:12  

I want you to know, brothers,[fn4] that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,

Phl 1:13  

so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard[fn5] and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.

Phl 1:14  

And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word[fn6] without fear.

 

What happened to Paul had to be terrifying to the natural man; but, apparently, Paul had learned how to rise above the dictates of his flesh.

This holds for me a powerful example of what it means to keep my eyes on Jesus, not looking at nor considering the circumstances.

“Hey! How ya doin’,” the pastor greeted his friend.
“Fine…under the circumstances,” the friend replied.
The pastor retorted, “What are you doing under there?”

The humor in that setup continually reminds me to maintain my focus. Sometimes, the situation becomes heavier than others, and I falter. But, what I have discovered as I pray about my failure, is that the situation became heavier when I began to consider it. Therefore, I am still looking for the secret to not give in to the temptation to consider, worry, fret, question, or whatever my circumstances.

I am learning to commit my way to the Lord on a daily basis. I am learning to commit my thoughts. I am still learning what all that means and how it is carried out on a daily, moment-by-moment basis.

Paul found himself chained, his freedom to move about openly hindered. Yet, it in no way took away from his commission to preach the gospel.

Rather than be frustrated about his plans to travel, he just relaxed in the Lord and continued to do what he had always done–preach Jesus.

It is when I begin to focus on my plans for the kingdom and then see how they are not working out that I become frustrated. A lack of money can do it. A lack of a place to meet can do it. A cross word from a loved one can do it.

But, as we work our way through this study, I will eventually see why Paul was able to say, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

Maybe I will be further along in my journey by then, and will have a more encouraging note to write.

NOTE: There is an ongoing study of the epistle to the Philippians. It is a verse-by-verse study by all who participate.
Won’t you join us?