Inside BST


Inside BST

Inside BST goes behind the curtain of BibleStudyTools.com and into the minds of our editors and developers. You'll discover encouraging stories, information about the site, links that interest us, and devotionals.

Contributors:

John UpChurch, Senior Editor (BibleStudyTools.com)

Alex Crain, Managing Editor (Christianity.com)

Stephen McGarvey, Senior Director of Editorial

Stephen Sanders, A/V Editor

5 More Verses You Just Won’t Find in Your Bible

With the rise of social media, the spread of biblical sounding phrases has—well—gone viral. Beautiful images filled with inspirational phrases slowly take on the status of being “somewhere in the Bible.” But when you take a closer look, you’ll have a great deal of trouble finding them. That’s because they aren’t really there—and sometimes they’re even contrary to what God actually says.

There’s so much wisdom in Scripture that these false verses can often lead us down the wrong road. So, in addition to the ones we already covered, here are 5 more “verses” to watch out for:

1. “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” 1 Memes 7:77

When some difficulty arises in the life a believer (or anyone else), this supposed verse gets tossed out there like a Scripture bomb. Sure, it sounds compelling, and it does remind us of God’s care and concern for each of us. After all, He knows exactly the number of follicles growing out of your cranium:

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)

But it’s because God loves us and knows us that He must give us more than we can handle. After all, we humans have a tendency to think that we can do everything on our own. Our pride has a way of dragging us down:

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

To keep us grounded in the reality of our need for a Savior, God graciously allows us to see just how much we can’t handle. He put the prophet Elijah’s back against the wall and made him depend upon birds, He gave Moses 600,000 impossible-to-please travelers, He tasked the 11 apostles with spreading the gospel all over the world, and He’ll give you way more than you can handle, too.

Now, the Bible does say that God won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your limits:

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

And that is certainly great news. We all need the assurance. But temptation is not usually what people mean when they say this supposed verse.

Can Handle Globe 600

2. “If God brings you to it, He will lead you through it.” Suburbians 3:9

This so-called verse does conjure up images of the Israelites passing through the Red Sea or Joshua leading God’s people through the Jordan River. We can see David’s Shepherd guiding us through that Valley of the Shadow of Death. Plus, it rhymes.

However, this isn’t necessarily what the Bible teaches.

It is true that God is with us always, no matter what we face, just as Jesus said:

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

But oftentimes we use this supposed verse to mean that God will always remove us from a bad situation. Tough job? God will get you out the door. Struggling marriage? God will fix it before you know it. Made a dumb decision? God will take care of it.

Could He get you out of that tough spot? Sure. Will He? That’s up to Him and His perfect will.

With the prophet Daniel, for example, God led the boy off into captivity. But He never brought him “through” Babylon and back to Israel. Instead, He kept him there through king after king, battle after battle, danger after danger. Daniel grew old and died far from home—never seeing the land he longed for. But God used that time for some amazing displays of His power.

So, you may never get “through” your struggle. God may lead you to stay right where you are so that you can have an impact there—and He can get the glory.

3. “If God closes one door, He’ll open another (or a giant window).” Ingressions 2b

You could say this folksy verse is closely associated with number 2 above. It has the same potential for stock image inspiration in your social media feed, and it does have some truth to it. The Bible does promise that God will keep us headed in the right direction:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8)

But the “way you should go” doesn’t necessarily mean God will make an escape hatch for us when times get tough or when we don’t seem to be making progress. In fact, God often does some of His best work in our waiting, and He teaches us to trust Him more:

“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (Psalm 37:7)

If God closes a door, we need to stop and consider what’s going on in our life. Perhaps we’re trying to force our way into something that He wants to protect us from. Looking for another door or window may make us miss the lesson because we’re sure we should be doing something—anything. We keep trying to go where God wants to protect us from.

If God stops you, don’t immediately look for another way through. First, stop and ask Him if that’s truly what He wants you to do. Otherwise, you could be like Peter who tried to keep Jesus from being arrested when arrest was exactly what God had planned (John 18:10).

4. “ ‘Your wish is my command,’ says the Lord.” Genie-says 1:1

Okay, so you may never have heard this supposed verse put so bluntly before. But the sentiment has certainly been shared all over the Internet. If you keep asking, if you believe enough, if you have faith enough, then God will give you whatever you want.

We have to be careful here, of course, because God does promise many times to hear the prayers of those who call on Him (2 Chronicles 7:14; Micah 7:7; 1 John 5:14). We also know that God answers those prayers (Psalm 120:1; Matthew 7:7; etc.). We’re even told this:

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

But there’s much more here than God being some sort of genie in the sky. Whenever God promises to hear our cries or to answer our prayers, there’s always an important stipulation—whether explicit or not. Take Psalm 37:4 as an example. God will give us the desires of our heart… when we delight in Him. And that’s the point: He is what we truly need—not fame, fortune, or anything else this world can offer. When we seek Him first and His righteousness, we have exactly what we truly need.

So, does God answer our prayers? Absolutely. Should we bring our needs to Him? Every single one. Should we expect Him to answer our prayers exactly as we want? No—not unless we’re mainly praying and desiring for His will to be done. He knows way better what we need than we do.

5. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” Limnentations 3:16

Years ago, this phrase became a staple of evangelism, and since then, it’s taken on an aura of something biblical. The problem, though, is that it suggests an idea that’s not biblical at all. How? Let’s break it down.

We can be sure that God loves us, the first part of this phrase. After all, the most famous verse in the Bible assures us of God’s love (John 3:16), and He sent His Son to prove that love (Romans 5:8). So, there’s nothing amiss there. God sent Jesus to save us, and that’s solid ground for evangelism.

But the trouble starts when we add to that the idea that once we’re saved, everything will suddenly be awesome. Despite what it may have meant at one time, that “wonderful plan for your life” part sounds an awful lot like “He’ll fix all your problems.” The truth is that following Jesus may actually cause problems for the believer.

Jeremiah obeyed God’s call, and he ended up at the bottom of a cistern. David trusted God, and he spent years running for his life and dodging spears. Paul surrendered to Christ, and he forfeited prestige for prison. And this apostle wasn’t one to hide what following Christ means:

“So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8)

God loves us and has a wonderful future in store for those who love Him:

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17)

But in the present age? Not necessarily. The road will likely be very hard.


This article first appeared on BibleStudyTools.com.


5 Destructive Lies You Tell Yourself Every Day

Just go ahead and admit it. You’re lying to yourself today. Life gets complex, relationships get sticky, loneliness creeps in—and sometimes we just feel the need to bend the truth to make it through the week. We need our lies to keep the pain tucked away where it can’t get to us. That deceitful heart of ours has a way making it easy for us to be okay with these lies (Jeremiah 17:9)—that is, until they’re drawn out by God’s scalpel (Psalm 139:23).

These lies don’t just cover up the pain of life, though. They actually make it harder for us to grow in our faith and in our connection with others. We’ve gotten so numb to them that we don’t necessarily even see the damage they do.

But here’s one time when it’s definitely okay to “name it and claim it.” If we’re to get beyond these lies that we drag around with us, we have to identify them and call them what they are.

Have you seen any of these 5 lies in yourself today?

1. I’m Okay.

We don’t like to dig around inside and examine what’s going on. Why? Because when we start looking, we often find areas that need some major renovations. That gets messy, and most of us are far too busy to go and look for things to fix.

So, we just tie on the “I’m okay” superhero cape and trudge onward. It’s usually only when some sort of tragedy strikes that we finally realize we aren’t as okay as we thought.

But that’s not the biblical model. In the Bible, the Psalmist continually cries out for God to search him and test him and examine him so that He can keep doing the necessary renovation work (for example, Psalms 11, 17, and 26). The attitude of Scripture is more like this:

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:40)

Honestly, admitting daily that we’re not okay and that we need God’s help can be scary. It means owning our weaknesses and doing the hard work of self-examination on a regular basis. But thankfully for us, God specializes in weakness, especially when we aren’t sure where to start:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26)

We’re weak. He’s strong. And that’s the best truth there is.

2. No One Will Ever Find Out.

If we’re ever looking for justification to do something dumb, we usually start here: No one will ever know. True, there might be a thousand variations on that theme, but it almost always comes back to anonymity. That’s why private browsing on the Internet and personal devices such as smartphones and tablets can be some of the most dangerous tools known to humanity. (They’re not necessarily bad, but “personal” devices do have drawbacks.)

No one will know if I watch this. No one will know if I go here while I’m on that work trip. No one will know if I post this anonymous and hurtful comment. No one will ever know.

First of all, there’s no such thing as true anonymity in our world. What we do in “private” very often has a way of being found out and exposed. (Just pay attention to all those hacking breaches you see in the news.)

More importantly, though, God has a way of making our “no one knows” sins come out—and He doesn’t miss any:

“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” (Psalm 90:8)

Day by day, we let this lie bring us low and keep us from living the life God has planned. You see, God knows—He always knows the dumb things we do.

But He still loves us:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

You can’t hide... and you don’t need to.

3. No One Will Get Hurt.

This lie really could be 2b, since these two excuses are like twins. If it’s not enough that no one will know, we also like to tell ourselves that no one will get hurt. If it’s behind closed doors, if it only involves two responsible adults, if it only impacts me, then it’s got to be okay.

However, what we usually mean is that no one will get hurt that we can see right now. We often don’t like to follow the chain of problems beyond the moment or the immediate circumstances. But what we don’t always consider are the spiritual ramifications that could pop up or the problems that might not be so obvious.

We also don’t take into account that God Himself is grieved and pained by our bad choices. God felt major pain because of raging sin before the Flood (Genesis 6:6), the rebellious grieved His Holy Spirit in Israel (Isaiah 63:10), and Jesus longed to gather His people to Him when they refused to accept Him (Matthew 23:37).

In other words, our sins always inflict grief and pain. And they do so to the very one we should want to please.

4. That’s Just the Way I Am.

Often, the easiest way out of dealing with a destructive pattern in our lives is simply to make it an acceptable or unchangeable part of who we are. Whether we see it as a part of our nature or simply as something we “can’t fix,” this lie helps us avoid feeling responsible. We can’t stop it because it’s just too deeply embedded.

But what we don’t like to admit is that God is the one who made us. We were intended to look like, act like, and be like Him (Genesis 1:27; 1 John 3:2). Sure, we all trip up somewhere on the way to that goal, but saying something is “just the way I am” means saying that God messed up or was taken by surprise by our struggles. We’re really just saying that He can’t change us.

Thankfully, we’re wrong. He specializes in making broken things new.

Your struggles are real. Just confess that first. They stink; they hurt; they mess us up. Once you get that out of the way, you can begin the often very long, very painful process of being made like Christ. Just keep this promise in mind:

“… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Got that? He’s not going to give up halfway through because you mess up or because you’re just a special case. He will complete the work.

We just have to admit that it is a problem before we’ll ask and seek transformation.

5. I Can Do That Tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the time for Bible study, for that new morning prayer routine, for that meeting with our pastor or Christian friend. Tomorrow is when we’ll tell our spouse the truth. Tomorrow is when we’ll get honest with God.

But—and this is the truth—many times that “tomorrow” never comes. Even in the midst of how miserable some of our bad life choices make us, we just don’t like to make changes today. We look for a more opportune time—when it won’t be so hard.

That’s why the Psalmist and the writer of Hebrews make sure that we get focused on today:

“So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Psalm 95; Hebrews 3)

Telling yourself that you’ll make a change tomorrow certainly makes you feel better about today’s failures, but it rarely ever changes us. We must remember that a lack of commitment to change today comes with a steep price:

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)

We don’t even know if we’ll have a tomorrow, but we do know we have a right now. And God is faithful in that right now.

“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 5:8–9)


Article first appeared on BibleStudyTools.com.


1 Cross, 1 Savior, 7 POWERFUL Sayings—THIS is How Much He Loves

 
1 Cross, 1 Savior, 7 POWERFUL Sayings—THIS is How Much He Loves

Jesus cried out from the cross 7 times, and each one shows the MIND-BLOWING depth of His love for all of us. These are powerful!

Posted by Crosswalk.com on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

An Early Easter Sermon

The early church had no lack of excitement for the resurrection of Christ, as revealed in a sermon from Leo the Great (d. 461). In other words, the knowledge that Jesus really rose from the dead gave them reason to celebrate. We'll show you what we mean:

And then there followed many proofs, whereon the authority of the Faith to be preached through the whole world might be based. And although the rolling away of the stone, the empty tomb, the arrangement of the linen cloths, and the angels who narrated the whole deed by themselves fully built up the truth of the Lord's Resurrection, yet did He often appear plainly to the eyes both of the women and of the Apostles not only talking with them, but also remaining and eating with them, and allowing Himself to be handled by the eager and curious hands of those whom doubt assailed. For to this end He entered when the doors were closed upon the disciples, and gave them the Holy Spirit by breathing on them, and after giving them the light of understanding opened the secrets of the Holy Scriptures, and again Himself showed them the wound in the side, the prints of the nails, and all the marks of His most recent Passion, whereby it might be acknowledged that in Him the properties of the Divine and Human Nature remained undivided, and we might in such sort know that the Word was not what the flesh is, as to confess God's only Son to be both Word and Flesh.

Read the rest of this sermon and many more like it in our history archives.


What Does Our Logo Mean?

A guest on our site recently wrote in to ask what our logo means. Great question, and one we're glad to share the simple answer to.

The logo that you see at the top of our website and on our social media pages represents an open Bible with light pouring out of it. That idea isn't ours, however. It comes straight from the book we love to study:

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)

In other words, we see God's Word as our guide, and we want all our guests to see the same thing. Our logo is meant to show that the Bible is exactly what the world needs because its pages tell out the Savior. Or, as Peter put it:

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19)


5 Verses You Thought Were in the Bible… but Aren't

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Even though Western culture gets slapped with the “Post-Christian” label, that doesn’t mean references to biblical ideas have been scrubbed away. In fact, nods to Scripture show up quite often in pop culture—from movies to rockstars.

But as often as not, these attempts at grabbing onto what the Bible actually says can miss. By a lot. You see, we’ve got some “everybody knows” notions about God’s Word that borrow much more from Western ethos than they do from the Wisdom literature. You could say they're something like the “old wives’ tales” that popular imagination has attributed to the Good Book.

That doesn’t mean these “phantom verses” are okay, though. In fact, they actually go against what Scripture teaches. Sometimes in damaging ways.

So, what verses do people think are in the Bible but really aren’t? Here are 5 to get us started.

1. "God helps those who help themselves.” 1 Americanians 17:76

The so-called American Dream means that almost anyone can be born into or come to the country with nothing, work hard, gather a loan payment or three, and die with enough to leave to children. And this “verse” (which may go back all the way to Aesop of fable fame) fits nicely with that American ethic.

But it’s definitely not biblical.

In the Bible, the help always comes from one place, which the Psalmist lays out succinctly in Psalm 121:2, "My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” When the Israelites stared down the crashing waves of the Red Sea and the crushing horses of Pharaoh’s army, God didn’t have the people build boats. He did the helping:

"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)

When desperate people came begging Jesus for help, He never had them prove their mettle. After all, He knows the sinfulness in us. Instead, He helped them because of His own compassion.

Does that mean we can just float through our Christian walk? Not at all. In fact, it’s because of our salvation through Christ that God has provided everything we need to “abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). We’re saved to do good because God provides the tools and power to get it done.

2. "This, too, shall pass.” Wisdomonius 4:11

Whenever something bad happens, this “verse” pops up. It certainly sounds biblical, and some have even quoted it on TV as being from God’s Word. But it’s not, and it’s not even necessarily true.

Sure, we’ll usally move beyond the debilitating pain of loss or find another job or heal from an accident. But not every pain will pass away while we’re here on earth and in this body.

In fact, some pains don’t pass because God has a bigger purpose for them. When Paul struggled with a thorn in his flesh, he begged Jesus to remove it. You’d think that Paul, who saw many miracles as he preached the gospel, would see this pain “pass.” But he didn’t:

"But [Jesus] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

We can be sure that God provides comfort, but that doesn’t mean He will necessarily take away the source of the pain.

3. “Yea, verily, God wants you to be happy.” Oprah 1:1

This popular verse floats to the top every so often and gets thrown around on talk shows and magazines. We like to think that our happiness is God’s highest goal because that fits our consumer-focused, instant-access, you-deserve-it world. It’s a verse that allows people to skirt other biblical mandates because, as is often claimed, happiness trumps everything else.

But none of these false verses does more damage than this one. So, let’s just be blunt here: your happiness is not God’s intent nor your reason for existing. We are here to praise God—not to accumulate wealth, be comfortable, have a great relationship, feel satisfied, or reach our personal goals.

Here’s how Paul puts it:

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6–7)

Why are we saved? So that God can forever point to us as evidence of His love and His glory. That in itself is enough to make us happy and to give us joy. But happiness is not the goal.

In fact, if we put our happiness ahead of everything else, we’re completely disobeying what Jesus said are the most important commands: Love God; love people (Luke 10:27). Elevating our own happiness as the ultimate goal gets in the way of both of those. We love God by obeying Him. We love our neighbor by serving.

4. “If you work hard enough, you’ll be successful.” 2 Jobs 4:04

Is hard work good? Yes. In fact, we’re told over and over in Proverbs that we’re supposed to work hard (12:11, 13:4, 14:23, etc.). Jesus kept a tireless pace during His life on earth, and you’ll never hear Paul condemn someone who works hard (in fact, he condemns those who don’t in 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

But the popular idea that hard work necessarily equals abundant earthly blessings has no basis in Scripture. In fact, for all His hard work, Jesus sometimes had nowhere to even sleep at night (Luke 9:58). Paul, the tireless tentmaker, spent much of his time running from mobs, swimming from shipwrecks, and singing in jail.

As a Christian, we are supposed to work at everything as if we were doing it for Jesus. But our reward is in knowing we did our best for Him, not in seeing our bank accounts bloom. While we may receive tangible blessings for our hard work, the bigger blessing is knowing that our Father who sees everything is pleased (Matthew 6:4). That’s a huge reward in itself.

5. “Just follow your heart and believe, and you can do anything.” Song of Disney 20:15

Sometimes, Disney movies seem to invade Scripture. Perhaps because we humans love Cinderella stories (unjust rags to magical riches), the notion of us being "anything we want to be if we just believe” has become weaved into the fabric of how we view the Bible. David the shepherd boy became a king, right?

But we aren’t meant to do just anything. We’re meant to fulfill the purpose God has for our lives. For example, David was created to be king. Long before he was born, in fact, Jacob/Israel had prophesied that a ruler would spring from the line of Judah (Genesis 49:10). David didn’t "follow his heart" to the throne of Israel. He followed His God along the path laid out for him (Psalm 119:35).

God gives us passions and desires and uses our lives to prepare us for His purposes—just as He prepared David during his time as a shepherd, soldier, and court musician. But that only works if we completely surrender our lives to His leading. On the other hand, if we spend our lives pursuing that “whatever we want to be,” we may very well end up disillusioned and dissatisfied even if we achieve our goal.


Who Was St. Patrick?

When you're looking for information on historical saints and martyrs, you'll find a treasure trove of information in our History section. And the story of Saint Patrick is no exception. So, who was he? What do we know? Here's part of what you'll find about him in our Sketches of Church History:

It is a question whether Patrick was born in Scotland, at a place called Kirkpatrick, near the river Clyde, or in France, near Boulogne. But wherever it may have been, his birth took place about the year 387. His father was a deacon of the church, his grandfather was a presbyter, and thus Patrick had the opportunities of a religious training from his infancy. He did not, however, use these opportunities so well as he might have done; but it pleased God to bring him to a better mind by the way of affliction.

When Patrick was about sixteen years old, he was carried off by some pirates (or sea-robbers), and was sold to a heathen prince in Ireland, where he was set to keep cattle, and had to bear great hardships. But "there," says he, "it was that the Lord brought me to a sense of the unbelief of my heart, that I might call my sins to remembrance, and turn with all my heart to the Lord, who regarded my low estate, and, taking pity on my youth and ignorance, watched over me before I knew Him or had sense to discern between good and evil, and counselled me and comforted me as a father does a son. I was employed every day in feeding cattle, and often in the day I used to betake myself to prayer; and the love of God thus grew stronger and stronger, and His faith and fear increased in me, so that in a single day I could utter as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night almost as many, and I used to remain in the woods and on the mountains, and would rise for prayer before daylight, in the midst of snow and ice and rain, and I felt no harm from it, nor was I ever unwilling, because my heart was hot within me. I was not from my childhood a believer in the only God, but continued in death and in unbelief until I was severely chastened; and in truth I have been humbled by hunger and nakedness, and it was my lot to go about in Ireland every day sore against my will, until I was almost worn out. But this proved rather a blessing to me, because by means of it I have been corrected of the Lord, and He has fitted me for being what it once seemed unlikely that I should be, so that I should concern myself about the salvation of others, whereas I used to have no such thoughts even for myself."

Keep reading for more about Patrick.


What Lies Below?

You probably know how easy it is to use our multi-search bar from any page on our site. You just type in a book of the Bible, a chapter, a verse, a word, or anything, and we’ll find what you’re looking for in Scripture. Once you’ve found the verses, you can read them in a number of translations.

But that’s not the end.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the reading pane (where the verses are), you’ll find a list of resources connected to that particular verse or section. Each one has a small plus beside it. Click the plus, and you’ll get links to some solid commentaries that will help you in your study. (Tip: Open them in a new tab in your browser by using your alternate click so that you don’t lose track of where you were.)

If you click on “Cross References,” you can also follow a chain of thought through Scripture and see how it relates. You never know where a click might take you and what nugget of wisdom you might dig up.

Try it now on John 3. Read down to the bottom and get started opening up our resources. Then, come back here and tell us what your favorite commentary is.


Are We Staying in Touch?

Those of us at BST love social media. In fact, you’ll find us all over the Internet, sharing God’s Word. We never get tired of taking the Bible to the world.

If you’re already a member of a social media network, chances are you can keep in touch with us there as well. Our social media channels present some unique content to inspire and encourage you.

Here’s where you can find us:

  • Twitter: On our Twitter account, we share a daily verse to get your day started right and some helpful articles and tips.
  • Facebook: Our Facebook community continues to grow quickly, and those who “Like” our page interact to answer each other’s questions. You’ll also receive some encouraging posts and pictures right in your newsfeed.
  • Pinterest: We admit it. We love to pin things... especially Bible verses, encouraging quotes, and inspirational prayers.
  • Email Newsletters: Based on your feedback and interests, we try to add email newsletters that fit your life. Take a look at what we currently offer (with more to come).

We hope to meet you there.


Aholibamah or Oholibamah?

Recently, someone wrote in asking us why names in various translations of the Bible can be spelled differently:

I have a question about names of people in the Bible in different translations. Why do different English versions have different names for the same people (e.g., Aholibamah in KJV is Oholibamah in NIV)? Some have just one letter different, others have a letter added or taken away. I understand the translation being different, but why are names different?

So, why the alphabet shuffle with certain names? While you could fill a book explaining the details, here's the short answer:

In the original Hebrew, there are no vowels, just consonants. That's not so much a problem when you're reading in the original language, but it is tough for transliterating words into English. Now, this isn't a problem in understanding what the words mean... just how they're pronounced. For example, you may have heard that God calls Himself Yahweh in Exodus, but in the Hebrew, it's just YHWH.

So, when translators are moving ancient Hebrew names into English they do so by providing vowel sounds. When you factor in tradition and also Greek-icized versions of names that came to us through the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), you can see why there are some variations. (In fact, formalized spelling of names wasn't common until recent times even in English.) In Greek for example, you have Elias instead of Elijah or Jesus instead of Y'shua (or Yeshua).

When you factor in those differences, you can see why there's some variation. Tradition generally wins out for most modern translations. For example, we know of Nebuchadnezzar instead of Nebuchadrezzar, even though he was called both.


Quick Look: ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament

Even for those who have learned biblical Greek somewhere along the line, maintaining that skill can be somewhat challenging. After all, it's not a language most of us use every day. So, wouldn't it be great if there were a Bible that helped you both study the English and brush up on your Greek? That's where the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament (ESV EGRINT) comes in.

Most interlinears, including the one on our site, give you the Greek first and then the English translation underneath. But by turning things around, the ESV EGRINT gives you another valuable tool in your study arsenal:

This state-of-the-art reverse interlinear New Testament, created in partnership with The German Bible Society and Logos Bible Software, breaks with the convention of traditional interlinear texts by keeping the English as the top-line entry and placing the Greek text underneath it. This approach allows you to see firsthand the accuracy with which the translators of the English Standard Version of the Bible (ESV) rendered the Greek text.

In other words, you can study Scripture smoothly in English... and also dig into the Greek.

Great for: pastors, theologians, seminary students, and anyone wanting to learn some Greek


Sharing Your Love for Bible Study

Getting your children interested in Bible study is a tall order for any parent. But it’s certainly not impossible. An article from Quick Relief for Sunday School Teachers offers a few tips to get you started:

Model it. Passionately, enthusiastically, and practically - make the Bible part of who you are. Carry it with you, memorize it, consult it often, and let your students know that you are obedient to it.

Use the Bible. Keep your Bible in your hands or nearby throughout the lesson. Let the children see you referring to it as you tell the story. Read verses from the Bible, not from the teacher's guide. Let the Bible be the ultimate authority in your class.

Make Scripture interesting. Use teaching techniques such as drama and role-play to bring the past into the present. Explain unusual Bible customs, serve Bible-time food, and explain and enjoy the imagery of Bible poetry.

What tips do you have for sharing your love for Bible study with the next generation? Leave them in the comments below.