Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Quotes: What’s the Best “Proof” of Creation?

From The Answers Book 2.

What’s the Best “Proof” of Creation? by Ken Ham

Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians, all have the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same.

The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions; these are things that are assumed to be true without being able to prove them. These then become the basis for other conclusions. All reasoning is based on presuppositions (also called axioms). This becomes especially relevant when dealing with past events.

We all exist in the present, and the facts all exist in the present. When one is trying to understand how the evidence came about—Where did the animals come from? How did the fossil layers form? etc.—what we are actually trying to do is to connect the past to the present. However, if we weren’t there in the past to observe events, how can we know what happened so that we can explain the present? It would be great to have a time machine so that we could know for sure about past events.

Christians, of course, claim they do have, in a sense, a time machine. They have a book called the Bible, which claims to be the Word of God who has always been there and has revealed to us the major events of the past about which we need to know. On the basis of these events (creation, the Fall, the Flood, Babel, etc.), we have a set of presuppositions to build a way of thinking which enables us to interpret the facts of the present.

Evolutionists have certain beliefs about the past/present that they presuppose (e.g., no God, or at least none who performed acts of special creation), so they build a different way of thinking to interpret the facts of the present.

Thus, when Christians and non-Christians argue about the facts, in reality they are arguing about their interpretations based on their presuppositions.

That’s why the argument often turns into something like:

“Can’t you see what I’m talking about?”

“No, I can’t. Don’t you see how wrong you are?”

“No, I’m not wrong. It’s obvious that I’m right.”

“No, it’s not obvious.”

And so on.

These two people are arguing about the same facts, but they are looking at the facts through different glasses.

It’s not until these two people recognize the argument is really about the presuppositions they have to start with that they will begin to deal with the foundational reasons for their different beliefs. A person will not interpret the facts differently until he or she puts on a different set of glasses—which means to change one’s presuppositions.

Read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Review: Our Covenant God

book cover

Our Covenant God
by Kay Arthur

ISBN-13: 9781578561827
Hardback: 288 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Released: March 16th 1999

Source: Bought at library book sale.

Book Description from Publisher Website:

But how can that be possible? Why would God love you so? Because He has fashioned an unbreakable covenant between Himself and you. And He always keeps His promises. “Everything God does,” says Kay Arthur, “is based on His covenant.” And when you understand how thoroughly the dynamic concept of covenant permeates everything God says in His Word, and everything He does in our lives, you’ll come to experience one of the most stabilizing, most freeing truths you’ll ever know.

In a culture in which unfaithfulness is rampant, God’s “fierce, ferocious loyalty” toward us is difficult to imagine. And yet, through her characteristically warm and wise exploration of the Scripture, Kay Arthur will lead you into discovering the stunning truth of God’s covenant–and help you experience its revolutionary truth in your life.

The Bible reveals the covenant bond to be the highest personal relationship possible. In ancient times, covenants were solemn, binding agreements supremely honored above all others. Making a covenant represented an unqualified, total commitment of one person to another–unconditionally, totally, eternally.

As you follow the thread of God’s covenant woven throughout the Bible, you’ll discover the awesome privilege of getting to know the Lord as your Covenant God.

My Review:
Our Covenant God studies the covenants God has made with humans (as recorded in the Bible). The focus was mainly on the blood covenants found in the Bible and how, since it was so binding between humans, that should give us confidence in the covenant God has made with us. She quoted information from a book by a person who studied blood covenants all over the world and throughout time to help provide cultural background information.

I thought that Kay Arthur did a good job describing how covenants work and showing them "in action" in both the Old and New Testament. She'd take an aspect of covenant making, describe it, show an example of it in the Bible, and then make an application point about it before moving on. Very good information.

I'd highly recommend this book to Christians, especially those who haven't read information on blood covenants before.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The Riches of Covenant

If only he had known....
If only I had known!

He had been summoned. What could he do? There was no higher authority to appeal to, no one to mediate. He had been bidden to come--and go he must.

Most people looked on him with contempt because of his physical appearance. Some even derisively spat out the word "cripple" as he passed them by. He hated the stares of the people who watched his rocking body lumber and jerk as he approached the throne--the throne of a man who he was sure desired his death.

He sweated profusely.

The fear churning within caused his hands to tremble. He clenched them together to hide his misery from the watchful eyes.

But it was no use--both shook.

Bitterness had hardened his countenance, but inside he felt as spongy as mud and as worthless as dirt.

He felt cheated by life, ignored by God.

Robbed of a bright and seemingly certain future at the age of five, when his father and grandfather were killed suddenly in battle, he had spent his life in a barren, no-account, out-of-the-way village.

All his life he had successfully hidden from this man--a man who, he had been told, could never be trusted. Now this man had found him!

How much worse could it be? he wondered in irony...and heard his angry heart respond with a refusal to weaken.

He didn't know it, but in a matter of minutes he would discover how needless his years of bitterness, fear, poverty, and hiding had been. Even his physical disabilities could have been avoided had he and others known one thing--the covenant that had been made on his behalf!

And so it was with me--and so it may have been with you or with a friend or family member--just as it was with Mephibosheth of old, whose story we'll study in depth later.

Read more using Google Preview.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Review: If Animals Could Talk

book cover

If Animals Could Talk
by Dr. Werner Gitt

ISBN: 0-89051-460-7
Trade Paperback: 115 pages
Publisher: Master Books
Released: 2005

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
"If animals could tell us about themselves, using our scientific knowledge, if they could tell us about the way they live, the special way they are made and many details about their individual design – what they would say would be unique praise to the Creator."

  • Did you know that while in flight, the sparrow’s heart can beat up to 760 times per minute?

  • Or that a baby blue whale grows at a rate of 7.28 pounds an hour while it’s nursing, a grand total of 17 tons by the end of the nursing stage?

  • How about that glow worms have a light output efficiency of 100% as compared to only 4% for our incandescent bulbs?

Dr. Werner Gitt uses his scientific expertise in this book to show the unique design features of some of God’s most captivating creations. All people, young and old, layperson or expert, will be able to understand and enjoy this straightforward book. Told from the perspective of the animals being described, If Animals Could Talk shows the impossibility of life without design.

My Review:
If Animals Could Talk describes unique and technically refined design features found in field sparrows, various types of whales, the platypus, swallow, glowworm, dragonfly, human eye, earthworm, E. coli, and golden plover. Several of these features were clearly irreducibly complex (all the parts of the unique ability had to be in place at once for it to work, and if it had developed in steps, the animal wouldn't have survived).

However, this book probably won't convince evolutionists that these various animals didn't evolve. Most of the features brought up sound amazing, but it's like the author didn't finish the argument--like he thought the point was so self-obvious he didn't need to. I can see an evolutionist reading it and thinking, "Well, yeah, they're amazing features, but that just shows how well evolution works." So it's a fun and fascinating book for creationists and those who aren't sure what they think, but it'd probably just frustrate most evolutionists.

There were some black and white illustrations. Most of the information was written in common language that even children could understand. However, sometimes he used technical language. It wasn't difficult to understand, but I don't think I'd hand this book to anyone under about 9 years of age. I think tweens and teens who love animals will probably enjoy this book.

Overall, this was a fun book that I'd recommend to Christians (especially creationists) who enjoy reading fascinating facts about animals.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from pages 98-99
[In the chapter about the golden plover...]
Did you know that I'm a great fan of the Hawaiian Islands? You're right, that's quite a long way from Alaska! How do I get there? It's quite simple really: I fly. My Creator didn't make me a fast sprinter or swimmer, but He did create an ace flyer! I'd like to show you just what I'm made of.

My brothers and sisters and I were just a few months old. We had hardly learned to fly when our parents left us. They had flown on to Hawaii. We weren't aware of that at the time. To tell you the truth, we didn't really care where they were. In fact, all we could think about was our appetite, and we ate ourselves silly. In a short time I put on 2.5 ounces (70 g)--that's more than half my own body weight. That's something you should try to imagine! Have you any idea what you'd look like if after three months instead of weighing your usual 165 pounds (75 kg) you weighed 254 pounds (115 kg)?

Now I'm sure you want to know just why I ate so much. Quite simply, my Creator programmed me to. I needed this extra body weight as fuel for the trip from Alaska to Hawaii. That's about 2,796 miles (4,500 km). Yes, that's right, you heard me, 2,796 miles! Not only that, but I can't stop once during the whole trip. Unfortunately, there aren't any islands, rocks, or dry patches on the way and, as you know, I'm a pathetic swimmer.

My friends and I fly for 88 hours--that's three days and four nights--over open water, without a break. Scientists have worked out that we flap our wings about 250,000 times. Imagine doing 250,000 pushups--that would be a reasonable comparison.

Here's another question for you: How did I know that I had to put on that extra weight to get to Hawaii? Who told me to go there anyway and in which direction should I fly? I'd never flown that route before! There aren't any orientation points along the way. How were we supposed to find those tiny islands in the Pacific? If we hadn't found them we would surely have met our end after our food reserves were used up. In that sector, for hundreds of miles, there's nothing but water.

Your scientists are still scratching their heads trying to figure out how we get our course and can correct it, even after an inflight storm takes its toll. We fly through fog and rain, whether sunshine, starlight, or overcast skies, and still get there.

Read an excerpt (preface and chapter one) using Google Preview.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Quotes: Is the Bible Full of Contradictions?

From The Answers Book 2.

Isn’t the Bible Full of Contradictions? by Paul F. Taylor

Some years ago, I was participating in an Internet forum discussion on this topic. Another participant kept insisting that the Bible couldn’t be true because it contradicts itself. Eventually, I challenged him to post two or three contradictions, and I would answer them for him. He posted over 40 alleged contradictions. I spent four hours researching each one of those points and then posted a reply to every single one. Within 30 seconds, he had replied that my answers were nonsense. Obviously, he had not read my answers. He was not interested in the answers. He already had an a priori commitment to believing the Bible was false and full of contradictions. It is instructive to note that after a quick Google search, I discovered that his list of supposed Bible contradictions had been copied and pasted directly from a website.

This anecdote shows that, for many people, the belief that the Bible contains contradictions and inaccuracies is an excuse for not believing. Many such people have not actually read the Bible for themselves. Still fewer have analyzed any of the alleged contradictions. It has been my experience that, after a little research, all the alleged contradictions and inaccuracies are explainable.

If you, the reader, are prepared to look at these answers with an open mind, then you will discover that the excuse of supposed inaccuracies does not hold water. If, however, you have already convinced yourself that such an old book as the Bible just has to contain errors, then you may as well skip this chapter. Like my Internet forum opponent, nothing (apart from the work of the Holy Spirit) is going to convince you that the Bible is 100 percent reliable—especially not the facts!

In attempting to explain some of the Bible’s alleged errors, I am standing on the shoulders of giants. I will not be able to address every alleged error for reason of space; others have done the job before me. In my opinion, chief among these is John W. Haley, who wrote the definitive work on the subject, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible.1 Haley tackles a comprehensive list of alleged discrepancies under the headings “doctrinal,” “ethical,” and “historical.” This chapter uses a similar thematic approach because it will be possible to examine only a representative sample of alleged discrepancies. Readers are referred to Haley’s work for a more exhaustive analysis of the subject.

Read the rest of the chapter.

Also, read a series of articles by several authors dealing with alleged contradictions in the Bible.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Book Review: 102 Fascinating Bible Studies

book cover

102 Fascinating Bible Studies
by Preston A. Taylor

ISBN-13: 978-0-7642-0837-9
Trade Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: BethanyHouse
Released: Aug. 2010

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
While most Bible study books cover a single topic, 102 Fascinating Bible Studies provides a wealth of interesting subjects to choose from week by week. Learn what the Bible says about angels, find out what it means to fast, see what worship truly is, and much more! Each topic has been carefully selected for small group discussions or personal study.

Short lessons allow for maximum flexibility, and Bible references and discussion questions make this book easy-to-use for leaders.

Each study contains:
  • A short introduction to the concept being studied
  • Ten relevant scriptural references
  • One or more discussion questions relating to each Bible reference

102 Fascinating Bible Studies provides 102 topical Bible studies for small groups. Each Bible study is intended to last for only one session, and the studies can be done in any order. Each study started with some comments by the author. This was followed by 10 Scripture references to look up and about 2-4 questions after each Scripture reference.

The author strongly suggested reading the verses surrounding the given verses so that the reader knew the context. Indeed, sometimes the questions seemed to refer to verses just outside those referenced in the study. The verses were given in order so that they'd be easy to look up, however this sometimes meant that the study jumped around in focus since similar verses weren't grouped together.

The questions he provided will get a discussion going. Many of the questions brought out important points about and had their answers in the verses read. However, more frequently the questions were only lightly connected to the verses and asked questions that the reader would answer with their own opinions. To me, the point of a Bible study is to see what the Bible teaches--God's answers to our questions--so I was a bit disappointed by this.

My overall impression of these Bible studies was of uneven quality. Some studies did a great job of pulling out the verses that gave the "whole Bible" view of the topic and the questions focused on finding what the Bible said on the topic. Others studies skipped what I thought were important verses in favor of others so it gave a slanted view on the topic (like the Angel question section ignored their main role, which is as messengers).

So I like the idea of this book, and I really enjoyed about 35 of the studies. However, I'd recommend that anyone using this book for small group studies look the possible study over for quality before suggesting it to the group.

The topics: Amen, Angels, Anger/Wrath, Antichrist, Baptism, Beatitudes, Bible, Blind/Blindness, Blood, Bold/Boldness, Cheer/Encourage, Children, Church, Comfort, Ten Commandments, Confession, Conflicts/Strife, Cross of Christ, Death (Physical & Spiritual), Depression/Despair, Discernment/Understanding, Dreams/Visions, Evangelism/Witnessing, Faith, Fasting, Fellowship/Partnership, Fools, Forgiveness, Friends, Fruitful/Fruit, Glory/Glorification, God, Gospel, Government/Civic Life, Grace, Health/Healing, Heaven, Hell, Help, Holy Spirit, Hope, Humility, Hunger/Hungry, Husbands/Marriage, Hypocrisy, Inheritance, Jesus' Humanity, Jesus' Deity, Jesus' Death, Jesus' Resurrection, Jesus' Return, Joy, Judging/Judgment, Justify/Justification, Kingdom of God, Eternal Life, Love, Memory/Remember, Mercy, Miracles, Music/Singing, Patience, Peace, Pleasures, Poverty, Praise, Prayer/Praying, Pride, Prisons, Promises, Reconciliation, Redemption, Repentance, Rest, Rewards, Riches, Saints, Salvation, Sanctification, Satan/Devil, Senior Citizens, Sheep/Shepherds, Sin, Sleep, Spiritual Renewal, Suffering & Pain, Tears/Crying, Temptation, Time, Tithes & Offerings, Tongue/Tongues, Trials/Tribulations, Trinity, Vanity, Voices, War/Warfare, Water, Wisdom, Wives/Marriage, Work/Labor, Worship.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from page 35-36
Someone asked Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley, how she was able to raise these two sons as she did. She told them it was by getting a firm grip on their hearts when they were young and never turning them loose. Susanna and her pastor husband had nineteen children, and all who lived to adulthood became Christians. Children need the love of their father and mother. They need a good education as well as spiritual instruction--Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, church camps; and the list goes on. When we think of raising children, let's keep in mind that the Bible is the perfect guidebook. Proverbs is a great prescription for child-rearing. When we stay with God's Book, we have the help that every family needs and we become the channels through which godly help continues to flow to our children. Are we prepared for the discipline of raising godly children?

1. Exodus 2:6-7. Refresh your mind on the story of the birth of Moses. What did his parents do for his welfare? What can we do to protect our children in evil times?

2. Deuteronomy 6:6-9. When is the best time to read the Bible with children, pray, and talk with them about how God wants your family to live and honor Him?

3. 1 Samuel 2:22-25. Why do you think Eli's two sons became immortal? What early training can parents give children that will help them live for Christ's glory?

4. Proverbs 4:1-27. This entire chapter presents the potential for rich blessings to be upon our children. Select a few verses to share and explain to your children.

5. Proverbs 22:6. What does it mean to train up a child? How much time should be given to children's training? How can we help children plan for the future?

6. Matthew 10:21. What causes some children to betray their parents? Why do some children rebel? Is the environment responsible for the behavior of our youth?

7. Mark 10:13-16. What attitude did the disciples have about children? What response did Jesus make regarding this attitude? Talk about how Jesus received the children.

8. Luke 11:11-13. Name some bad gifts that children could receive from parents. What good gifts should children receive? What does God as our loving parent provide?

9. Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20. What promises are given to children who obey their parents? How does God feel about children who obey their parents?

10. 2 Timothy 3:14-15. When should children be taught the Scriptures? (Deuteronomy 6:6-9) How important is it to teach our children the Word of God?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Quote: Does Egyptian Chronology Prove That the Bible Is Unreliable?

From The Answers Book 2.

Doesn’t Egyptian Chronology Prove That the Bible Is Unreliable? by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell

Though traditional Egyptian chronology dominates modern understanding of ancient history, traditional chronology is inconsistent with the Bible. When there is a discrepancy between traditional chronology and the Bible’s chronology, scholars usually ignore the Bible. Though many claim that traditional chronology is indisputable, a close look at this chronology reveals its shaky foundation. Dr. Rene Grognard of the University of Sydney says, “It is important to show the weaknesses or errors in our understanding of a theory in order to leave our minds free to think of a more acceptable alternative.” Before exploring an acceptable alternative to traditional Egyptian chronology, this chapter will show some of the errors it is built on.

Traditional Egyptian chronology is built on Manetho’s history and the Sothic theory. In the third century B.C., Manetho compiled a list of pharaohs and the lengths of their reigns. The Sothic cycle theory assigns familiar calendar dates to those reigns. However, both Manetho’s history and the Sothic theory have flaws that make them an unreliable foundation for chronology.

Manetho’s History
Ptolomy II commissioned a priest named Manetho to compile a history of Egypt. Traditional Egyptian chronology bases its outlines of Egyptian dynasties on Manetho’s history (see chart). However, Manetho’s writings are unsuitable for establishing a reliable Egyptian chronology because Manetho’s history:

* was never intended to be a chronological account of Egyptian history,
* is inconsistent with contemporary Egyptian sources.

Read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Something Interesting: The Mark of Love

I have not personally seen these, but the idea is an interesting one. Here's the promotional copy:

Have you been “Marked?” The Mend Mark is a mission, a movement, an entire revolution. It is a bracelet meant to remind its wearers of Christ’s love and sacrifice, and its message is the passion of its creator, Hunter Harrison.

The Mend Mark is an innovative and distinctive bracelet that is designed to reflect the scars and nail holes of Jesus. When worn, the band resembles the deep holes of the nail driven into the wrists of Jesus during his crucifixion. By bringing the story of Jesus’ life and death to constant awareness by wearing a bracelet, Mend Mark is meant to powerfully remind wearers of the ultimate act of love Jesus made for all of humankind.

Harrison’s mission is to remind all to remember Christ’s love in both his life and death. But more than only a poignant recollection, the Mend Mark is meant to inspire and motivate wearers to live a life of service. Harrison strives to bring people together around the simplicity and power of love as lived by Jesus. But this is no example of passive love. The Mend Mark calls individuals in all walks of life to love with a profound sincerity and commitment great enough to change a neighborhood, a community, a world.

Harrison leads this call to love and sacrifice by example and joins hands with each Mend Mark bracelet purchaser to take the first step in global change. A portion of each bracelet sold goes to support Living Water International, an organization combating the clean water crisis victimizing over one billion people worldwide. Each $5,000 given will result in one well drilled, providing a community with clean water.

But wearers should be prepared to be seen. Unique in its design, the Mend Mark is sure to be noticed and gives wearers an opportunity to share the story of the profound love of Jesus for each and every person. “It was important to me that the design was simple and generic enough that the observer had to ask about it to know what it meant. But I also wanted it to appear distinctive enough that it sparked curiosity,” reveals creator Hunter Harrison. “I wanted it to require the wearer of the product to engage in conversation about the love of Christ (and hopefully show that love to others) instead of just letting the product talk for them.”

Launched in late 2009 after a year and a half of packaging, material, and design development by Harrison, the bracelet has been sold across the United States, Canada, and the UK and has been featured in retail stores as well. The Mend Mark bracelet movement has grown to further fame after being worn during performances by American Idol winner Lee Dewyze, Idol runner up Siobhan Magnus, Decifer Down, Israel Houghton & New Breed, Pillar, and Finding Favour, to name a few. Says Harrison, “I want it to be more than just another bracelet; I want it to represent a movement.” Based on the way things are going, a movement is exactly what it is becoming.

Order online for $9.99 at

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Review: Taking Back Astronomy

book cover

Taking Back Astronomy
by Dr. Jason Lisle

ISBN-13: 9780890514719
Hardback: 128 pages
Publisher: Master Books
Released: 2006

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
"This book is meant to be an introduction only—a starting point to a biblical view of the universe…”

People have been fascinated by the stars for centuries, looking to them for guidance and in awe. Unfortunately, modern evolutionary thinking in astronomy has caused many people to disconnect from the Bible's account of history as they are taught that the universe is millions or even billions of years old. Taking Back Astronomy is written for the layperson and shows how what we see in the universe confirms the biblical account of the origins and workings of the universe. This book:
  • Contains over 50 full-color, rarely seen photos of stars, nebulae, and galaxies.

  • Is filled with facts that challenge secular theories and models of the universe.

  • Explores numerous evidences that point to a young universe: magnetic poles of planets, the spiral shape of galaxies, comets and how long scientists think they can last, and much more.
Dr. Jason Lisle discusses and debunks popular evolutionary concepts such as the big bang and answers biblical questions like how the speed of light affects the Bible's account of history. With a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Dr. Jason Lisle is a qualified guide to the universe beyond our world. Experience the truly awesome power of God through this glimpse of His vast creation.

Taking Back Astronomy gives Christians a biblical view of astronomy. It's written in a clear fashion that teens and adults can easily understand. Some technical language was used, but the terms were explained in the text and in the glossary in the back. While the book was mainly an overview of astronomy, there were in-depth explanations on a number of topics, like Hubble's Law, gravitational attraction, the horizon problem for the Big Bang model, and so on.

The book was filled with beautiful full-color photographs of nebulae, star clusters, planets, stars, and galaxies. Most of the pictures were fairly small (a couple inches across) but some were full page or even a two-page spread. All were clear and beautiful. Overall, I felt the book was well-written and very interesting. I'd recommend it to any Christian interested in learning more about astronomy and how it confirms a biblical worldview.

The introduction explained how worldviews (starting assumptions about the world) influence how we interpret the evidence. Chapter One surveyed the universe and our solar system to show just how big it is. Chapter Two explained what the Bible says about the universe and how modern science has confirmed much of it even though ancient astronomers didn't accept what the Bible stated on the topic.

Chapter Three talked about the age of the universe, why secular astronomy gives billions of years instead of the biblical ~6,000 years, the many ways that the Big Bang doesn't match the biblical account of the origin and end of the universe, the distant starlight problem versus the horizon problem, problems with the day-age compromise, evidence that confirms a young universe (moon recession; the magnetic field of the earth, other planets, and the sun; spiral galaxies, and comets) and why explanations as to how these evidences can be explained in a billions-of-years time-frame are unsupported.

Chapter Four talked about modern astronomy (with its commitment to naturalism) and the problems with the Big Bang origins model (anti-matter, solar system formation, star formation). It also described how unique the earth is and touched on the subject of UFOs and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Chapter Five explained the conflicts between the biblical and secular worldviews and pointed out which one best fits the evidence found in astronomy.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Read (and see the illustrations) from chapter one.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Quotes: Why Are There 66 Books in the Bible?

From The Answers Book 2.

Why 66? by Brian H. Edwards

How can we be sure that we have the correct 66 books in our Bible? The Bible is a unique volume. It is composed of 66 books by 40 different writers over 1,500 years. But what makes it unique is that it has one consistent storyline running all the way through, and it has just one ultimate author—God. The story is about God’s plan to rescue men and women from the devastating results of the Fall, a plan that was conceived in eternity, revealed through the prophets, and carried out by the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Each writer of the Bible books wrote in his own language and style, using his own mind, and in some cases research, yet each was so overruled by the Holy Spirit that error was not allowed to creep into his work. For this reason, the Bible is understood by Christians to be a book without error.

This collection of 66 books is known as the “canon” of Scripture. That word comes from the Hebrew kaneh (a rod), and the Greek kanon (a reed). Among other things, the words referred equally to the measuring rod of the carpenter and the ruler of the scribe. It became a common word for anything that was the measure by which others were to be judged (see Galatians 6:16, for example). After the apostles, church leaders used it to refer to the body of Christian doctrine accepted by the churches. Clement and Origen of Alexandria, in the third century, were possibly the first to employ the word to refer to the Scriptures (the Old Testament). From then on, it became more common in Christian use with reference to a collection of books that are fixed in their number, divine in their origin, and universal in their authority.

In the earliest centuries, there was little debate among Christians over which books belonged in the Bible; certainly by the time of the church leader Athanasius in the fourth century, the number of books had long been fixed. He set out the books of the New Testament just as we know them and added:

"These are the fountains of salvation, that whoever thirsts may be satisfied by the eloquence which is in them. In them alone is set forth the doctrine of piety. Let no one add to them, nor take anything from them."

Today, however, there are attempts to undermine the clear witness of history; a host of publications, from the novel to the (supposedly) academic challenge the long-held convictions of Christians and the clear evidence of the past. Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code claimed, “More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only relatively few were chosen for inclusion—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John among them.” Richard Dawkins, professor of popular science at Oxford, England, has made similar comments.

So, what is the evidence for our collection of 66 books? How certain can we be that these are the correct books to make up our Bible—no more and no less?

Read the rest of the article.

Also read more about why other books aren't included in the 66.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Book Review: Wiersbe Bible Study Series: John

book cover

Get to Know the Living Savior
by Warren W. Wiersbe

ISBN-13: 978-1434765079
Trade Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook
Released: July 2010

Source: Review copy provided through the The B&B Media Group.

Book Description from Back Cover:
The book of John lays the very foundation of the Gospel: Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and through Him we begin to truly live. This study takes an in-depth look at the life of Christ, from a miraculous public ministry that confirmed His identity to personal revelations that can transform the life of every believer. Rich in theology and essential to evangelism, the book of John provides a definitive guide to Christ’s powerful message of hope.

The Wiersbe Bible Studies Series explores timeless wisdom found in God’s word. Based on Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s popular “BE” series, each study provides topical, relevant insights from selected books of the Bible. Designed for small groups or personal study, this twelve-week Bible study features selected commentaries from BE Alive and BE Transformed, engaging questions, and practical applications, all designed to help you connect God’s word with your life.

John: Get to Know the Living Savior is a Bible study of John that has 12 main lessons. It also has a short introduction and an ending summary lesson. This study can be used with small groups that meet once a week or as a personal Bible study. I really liked how the study remained God- and Scripture-focused throughout and helped me dig deeper into my reading of John. The questions invited thought and discussion, and I felt they were more effective than the questions typically found in Bible studies.

Each lesson started with a reminder to pray and with the reading of the next one or two chapters of John in your own Bible. The Bible study then asked two questions about what stood out to you in the reading. Next were eight questions that help you dig deeper into the themes found in the reading. Each of these questions was proceeded by a paragraph or two of comments or material quoted from the author's Be commentaries on John. Next were three questions reflecting on what was learned and how it mattered to your life today. The final question asked you to pick one idea from the reading to explore further in the coming week. Then you're prompted to say a prayer asking God to guide you in the areas you've noted during the study.

Overall, I was very impressed with this Bible study and would highly recommend it for small groups or as a part of your personal daily reading of the Bible.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Lesson One
God in the Flesh
(John 1-2)

Before you begin...
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.
  • Read John 1-2. This lesson references chapters 1-2 in Be Alive. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.

Getting Started

From the Commentary

Much as our words reveal to others our hearts and minds, so Jesus Christ is God's "Word" to reveal His heart and mind to us. "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9). A word is composed of letters, and Jesus Christ is "Alpha and Omega" (Rev. 1:11), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. According to Hebrews 1:1-3, Jesus Christ is God's last Word to mankind, for He is the climax of divine revelation.
--Be Alive, page 20

1. As you read John 1:1-2, what stands out to you about the description of "the Word"? What does it mean that the Word was "with" God? That the Word "was" God? How does this opening contrast with that of the other three gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke)? What does this tell us about John, the writer of this gospel?

More to Consider: Why do you think John refers to Jesus as "the Son of God" so many times in his gospel? (See John 1:34, 49; 3:18; 5:25; 10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; 20:31.)

2. Choose one verse or phrase from John 1-2 that stands out to you. This could be something you're intrigued by, something that makes you uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.

Read more of Lesson One.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Is there geologic evidence of a world-wide Flood?

Is there geologic evidence that the world-wide Flood described in Genesis really did occur? Here's an overview by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D. To quote some of it:

So what evidence would we look for? Wouldn’t we expect to find billions of dead plants and animals buried and fossilized in sand, mud, and lime that were deposited rapidly by water in rock layers all over the earth? Of course! That’s exactly what we find. Indeed, based on the description of the Flood in Genesis 7–8, there are six main geologic evidences that testify to the Genesis Flood.

Six Evidences for the Genesis Flood

Evidence #1—Fossils of sea creatures high above sea level due to the ocean waters having flooded over the continents.

We find fossils of sea creatures in rock layers that cover all the continents. For example, most of the rock layers in the walls of Grand Canyon (more than a mile above sea level) contain marine fossils. Fossilized shellfish are even found in the Himalayas.

Evidence #2—Rapid burial of plants and animals.

We find extensive fossil “graveyards” and exquisitely preserved fossils. For example, billions of nautiloid fossils are found in a layer within the Redwall Limestone of Grand Canyon. This layer was deposited catastrophically by a massive flow of sediment (mostly lime sand). The chalk and coal beds of Europe and the United States, and the fish, ichthyosaurs, insects, and other fossils all around the world, testify of catastrophic destruction and burial.

Evidence #3—Rapidly deposited sediment layers spread across vast areas.

We find rock layers that can be traced all the way across continents—even between continents—and physical features in those strata indicate they were deposited rapidly. For example, the Tapeats Sandstone and Redwall Limestone of Grand Canyon can be traced across the entire United States, up into Canada, and even across the Atlantic Ocean to England. The chalk beds of England (the white cliffs of Dover) can be traced across Europe into the Middle East and are also found in the Midwest of the United States and in Western Australia. Inclined (sloping) layers within the Coconino Sandstone of Grand Canyon are testimony to 10,000 cubic miles of sand being deposited by huge water currents within days.

Evidence #4—Sediment transported long distances.

We find that the sediments in those widespread, rapidly deposited rock layers had to be eroded from distant sources and carried long distances by fast-moving water. For example, the sand for the Coconino Sandstone of Grand Canyon (Arizona) had to be eroded and transported from the northern portion of what is now the United States and Canada. Furthermore, water current indicators (such as ripple marks) preserved in rock layers show that for “300 million years” water currents were consistently flowing from northeast to southwest across all of North and South America, which, of course, is only possible over weeks during a global flood.

Evidence #5—Rapid or no erosion between strata.

We find evidence of rapid erosion, or even of no erosion, between rock layers. Flat, knife-edge boundaries between rock layers indicate continuous deposition of one layer after another, with no time for erosion. For example, there is no evidence of any “missing” millions of years (of erosion) in the flat boundary between two well-known layers of Grand Canyon—the Coconino Sandstone and the Hermit Formation. Another impressive example of flat boundaries at Grand Canyon is the Redwall Limestone and the strata beneath it.

Evidence #6—Many strata laid down in rapid succession.

Rocks do not normally bend; they break because they are hard and brittle. But in many places we find whole sequences of strata that were bent without fracturing, indicating that all the rock layers were rapidly deposited and folded while still wet and pliable before final hardening. For example, the Tapeats Sandstone in Grand Canyon is folded at a right angle (90°) without evidence of breaking. Yet this folding could only have occurred after the rest of the layers had been deposited, supposedly over “480 million years,” while the Tapeats Sandstone remained wet and pliable.

Book Review: Be Available (Judges)

book cover

Be Available (Judges):
Accepting the Challenge to Confront the Enemy (OT Commentary)
by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe

Trade Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook
Released: 2nd ed., September 1, 2010

ISBN-10: 1434700488
ISBN-13: 978-1434700483
List Price: $12.99

Book on Amazon
Publisher's Book Page

Source: Special thanks to Karen Davis of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy. This post is part of the FIRST Wild Card Tour.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Picture a world where people live according to their own personal standards, where believers can't seem to agree, and where people are trapped in every kind of sin. Sound familiar? While this list hits close to home, these issues are found in the book of Judges. And it's during times like these where God is searching for those who are ready, willing, and available to confront the enemy.

Part of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe's best-selling "BE" commentary series, BE Available has now been updated with study questions and a new introduction by Ken Baugh. A respected pastor and Bible teacher, Dr. Wiersbe shares that God's kingdom advances through those who are available to Him. Based on the book of Judges, this study encourages us to stand for what's right, and step into what God is doing in our world.

BE Available is a commentary on Judges, but it's written more like a filled-in Bible study or interesting sermon series than a Bible reference book. As in, you could go to a certain chapter and verse reference and read the entry for more information, but the book was designed to be read from start to finish. The book was easy to understand and an enjoyable, quick read.

Each chapter in this book covered 1-3 chapter in Judges. The author tied in relevant Old and New Testament verses, pointed out the meanings of Hebrew words that don't fully translate into English, and explained background historical information that helped to bring out the full impact of the verses. There were 10 to 11 questions at the end of each chapter. Some tested to see if you remembered/understood what the author had said, but others were discussion/reflection questions about how you could apply what you had just learned.

I gained some new insights from reading this book. It's a good, solid study of Judges, especially for those who aren't very familiar with it. Overall, I'd recommend this book as a personal devotional/Bible study for those who want a deeper understanding of the Word.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

About the Author:

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. For ten years he was associated with the “Back to the Bible” radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. Dr. Wiersbe has written more than 160 books. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Excerpt from Chapter One
It Was the Worst of Times
(Judges 1—2)


Sensational headlines like these are usually found on the front page of supermarket tabloids, but the above headlines actually describe some of the events narrated in the book of Judges. What a contrast they are to the closing chapters of the book of Joshua, where you see a nation resting from war and enjoying the riches God had given them in the Promised Land. But the book of Judges pictures Israel suffering from invasion, slavery, poverty, and civil war. What happened?

The nation of Israel quickly decayed after a new generation took over, a generation that knew neither Joshua nor Joshua’s God. “And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that He did for Israel.… And there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel” (Judg. 2:7, 10; and see Josh. 24:31). Instead of exhibiting spiritual fervor, Israel sank into apathy; instead of obeying the Lord, the people moved into apostasy; and instead of the nation enjoying law and order, the land was filled with anarchy. Indeed, for Israel it was the worst of times.

One of the key verses in the book of Judges is 21:25: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (see 17:6; 18:1; 19:1). At Mount Sinai, the Lord had taken Israel to be His “kingdom of priests,” declaring that He alone would reign over them (Ex. 19:1–8). Moses reaffirmed the kingship of Jehovah when he explained the covenant to the new generation before they entered Canaan (Deut. 29ff.). After the conquest of Jericho and Ai, Joshua declared to Israel her kingdom responsibilities (Josh. 8:30–35), and he reminded the people of them again before his death (Josh. 24). Even Gideon, perhaps the greatest of the judges, refused to set up a royal dynasty. “I will not rule over you,” he said, “neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you” (Judg. 8:23).

Deuteronomy 6 outlined the nation’s basic responsibilities: Love and obey Jehovah as the only true God (vv. 1–5); teach your children God’s laws (vv. 6–9); be thankful for God’s blessings (vv. 10–15); and separate yourself from the worship of the pagan gods in the land of Canaan (vv. 16–25). Unfortunately, the new generation failed in each of those responsibilities. The people didn’t want to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33); they would rather experiment with the idolatry of the godless nations around them. As a result, Israel plunged into moral, spiritual, and political disaster.

One of two things was true: Either the older generation had failed to instruct their children and grandchildren in the ways of the Lord, or, if they had faithfully taught them, then the new generation had refused to submit to God’s law and follow God’s ways. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34 NKJV). The book of Judges is the record of that reproach, and the first two chapters describe four stages in Israel’s decline and fall.

The book of Judges begins with a series of victories and defeats that took place after the death of Joshua. The boundary lines for the twelve tribes had been determined years before (Josh. 13–22), but the people had not yet fully claimed their inheritance by defeating and dislodging the entrenched inhabitants of the land. When Joshua was an old man, the Lord said to him, “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed” (Josh. 13:1 NKJV). The people of Israel owned all the land, but they didn’t possess all of it, and therefore they couldn’t enjoy all of it.

The victories of Judah (vv. 1–20). Initially the people of Israel wisely sought God’s guidance and asked the Lord which tribe was to engage the enemy first. Perhaps God told Judah to go first because Judah was the kingly tribe (Gen. 49:8–9). Judah believed God’s promise, obeyed God’s counsel, and even asked the people of the tribe of Simeon to go to battle with them. Since Leah had given birth to Judah and Simeon, these tribes were blood brothers (Gen. 35:23). Incidentally, Simeon actually had its inheritance within the tribe of Judah (Josh. 19:1).

When Joshua was Israel’s leader, all the tribes worked together in obeying the will of God. In the book of Judges, however, you don’t find the nation working together as a unit. When God needed someone to deliver His people, He called that person out of one of the tribes and told him or her what to do. In obedience to the Lord, Moses had appointed Joshua as his successor, but later God didn’t command Joshua to name a successor. These circumstances somewhat parallel the situation of the church in the world today. Unfortunately, God’s people aren’t working together to defeat the enemy, but here and there, God is raising up men and women of faith who are experiencing His blessing and power and are leading His people to victory.

With God’s help, the two tribes conquered the Canaanites at Bezek (Judg. 1:4–7), captured, humiliated, and incapacitated one of their kings by cutting off his thumbs and big toes. (See Judg. 16:21; 1 Sam. 11:2; and 2 Kings 25:7 for further instances about being disabled.) With those handicaps, he wouldn’t be able to run easily or use a weapon successfully. Thus the “lord of Bezek” was paid back for what he had done to seventy other kings, although he may have been exaggerating a bit when he made this claim.

Those seventy kings illustrate the sad plight of anybody who has given in to the enemy: They couldn’t walk or run correctly; they couldn’t use a sword effectively; they were in the place of humiliation instead of on the throne; and they were living on scraps and leftovers instead of feasting at the table. What a difference it makes when you live by faith and reign in life through Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:17).

Jerusalem (v. 8) was Israel’s next trophy, but though the Israelites conquered the city, they didn’t occupy it (v. 21). That wasn’t done until the time of David (2 Sam. 5:7). Judah and Benjamin were neighboring tribes, and since the city was located on their border, both tribes were involved in attacking it. Later, Jerusalem would become “the city of David” and the capital of Israel.

They next attacked the area south and west of Jerusalem, which included Hebron (Judg. 1:9–10, 20). This meant fighting in the hill country, the south (Negev), and the foothills. Joshua had promised Hebron to Caleb because of his faithfulness to the Lord at Kadesh Barnea (Num. 13–14; Josh. 14:6–15; Deut. 1:34–36). Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai were descendants of the giant Anak whose people had frightened ten of the twelve Jewish spies who first explored the land (Num. 13:22, 28). Even though Caleb and Joshua, the other two spies, had the faith needed to overcome the enemy, the people wouldn’t listen to them.

Faith must have run in Caleb’s family, because the city of Debir (Judg. 1:11–16)3 was taken by Othniel, Caleb’s nephew (3:9, Josh. 15:17). For a reward, he received Caleb’s daughter Achsah as his wife. Othniel later was called to serve as Israel’s first judge (Judg. 3:7–11). Since water was a precious commodity, and land was almost useless without it, Achsah urged her husband to ask her father to give them the land containing the springs that they needed. Apparently Othniel was better at capturing cities than he was at asking favors from his father-in-law, so Achsah had to do it herself. Her father then gave her the upper and lower springs. Perhaps this extra gift was related in some way to her dowry.

The Kenites (1:16) were an ancient people (Gen. 15:19) who are thought to have been nomadic metal workers. (The Hebrew word qayin means “a metalworker, a smith.”) According to Judges 4:11, the Kenites were descended from Moses’ brother-in-law Hobab, and thus were allies of Israel. The city of palms was Jericho, a deserted and condemned city (Josh. 6:26), so the Kenites moved to another part of the land under the protection of the tribe of Judah.

After Judah and Simeon destroyed Hormah (Judg. 1:17), the army of Judah turned its attention to the Philistine cities of Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron (vv. 18–19). Because the Philistines had iron chariots, the Jews couldn’t easily defeat them on level ground, but they did claim the hill country.

What is important about the military history is that “the LORD was with Judah” (v. 19), and that’s what gave them victory. (See Num. 14:42–43; Josh. 1:5 and 6:27; and Judg. 6:16.) “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

The victory of Joseph (vv. 22–26). The tribe of Ephraim joined with the western section of the tribe of Manasseh and, with the Lord’s help, they took the city of Bethel. This city was important to the Jews because of its connection with the patriarchs (Gen. 12:8; 13:3; 28:10–12; 35:1–7). Apparently it hadn’t been taken during the conquest under Joshua, or if it had been, the Jews must have lost control. The saving of the informer’s family reminds us of the salvation of Rahab’s family when Jericho was destroyed (Josh. 2, 6). How foolish of this rescued people not to stay with the Israelites, where they were safe and could learn about the true and living God.

2. SPARING THE ENEMY (1:21, 27–36)
Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan all failed to overcome the enemy and had to allow these godless nations to continue living in their tribal territories. The enemy even chased the tribe of Dan out of the plains into the mountains! The Jebusites remained in Jerusalem (v. 21), and the Canaanites who remained were finally pressed “into forced labor” when the Jews became stronger (v. 28 NIV). Eventually Solomon conscripted these Canaanite peoples to build the temple (1 Kings 9:20–22; 2 Chron. 8:7–8), but this was no compensation for the problems the Canaanites caused the Jews. This series of tribal defeats was the first indication that Israel was no longer walking by faith and trusting God to give them victory.

The priests possessed a copy of the book of Deuteronomy and were commanded to read it publicly to the nation every sabbatical year during the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 31:9–13). Had they been faithful to do their job, the spiritual leaders would have read Deuteronomy 7 and warned the Israelites not to spare their pagan neighbors. The priests also would have reminded the people of God’s promises that He would help them defeat their enemies (Deut. 31:1–8). It was by receiving and obeying the book of the law that Joshua had grown in faith and courage (Josh. 1:1–9; Rom. 10:17), and that same Word would have enabled the new generation to overcome their enemies and claim their inheritance.

The first step the new generation took toward defeat and slavery was neglecting the Word of God, and generations ever since have made that same mistake. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3–4 NKJV). I fear that too many believers today are trying to live on religious fast food dispensed for easy consumption (no chewing necessary) by entertaining teachers who give people what they want, not what they need. Is it any wonder many churches aren’t experiencing God’s power at work in their ministries?

But wasn’t it cruel and unjust for God to command Israel to exterminate the nations in Canaan? Not in the least! To begin with, He had been patient with these nations for centuries and had mercifully withheld His judgment (Gen. 15:16; 2 Peter 3:9). Their society, and especially their religion, was unspeakably wicked (Rom. 1:18ff.) and should have been wiped out years before Israel appeared on the scene.

Something else is true: These nations had been warned by the judgments God had inflicted on others, especially on Egypt and the nations east of the Jordan (Josh. 2:8–13). Rahab and her family had sufficient information to be able to repent and believe, and God saved them (Josh. 2; 6:22–25). Therefore, we have every right to conclude that God would have saved anybody who had turned to Him. These nations were sinning against a flood of light in rejecting God’s truth and going their own way.

God didn’t want the filth of the Canaanite society and religion to contaminate His people Israel. Israel was God’s special people, chosen to fulfill divine purposes in this world. Israel would give the world the knowledge of the true God, the Holy Scriptures, and the Savior. In order to accomplish God’s purposes, the nation had to be separated from all other nations, for if Israel was polluted, how could the Holy Son of God come into the world? “God is perpetually at war with sin,” wrote G. Campbell Morgan. “That is the whole explanation of the extermination of the Canaanites.”

The main deity in Canaan was Baal, god of rainfall and fertility, and Ashtoreth was his spouse. If you wanted to have fruitful orchards and vineyards, flourishing crops, and increasing flocks and herds, you worshipped Baal by visiting a temple prostitute. This combination of idolatry, immorality, and agricultural success was difficult for men to resist, which explains why God told Israel to wipe out the Canaanite religion completely (Num. 33:51–56; Deut. 7:1–5).

The danger. In this day of “pluralism,” when society contains people of opposing beliefs and lifestyles, it’s easy to get confused and start thinking that tolerance is the same as approval. It isn’t. In a democracy, the law gives people the freedom to worship as they please, and I must exercise patience and tolerance with those who believe and practice things that I feel God has condemned in His Word. The church today doesn’t wield the sword (Rom. 13) and therefore it has no authority to eliminate people who disagree with the Christian faith. But we do have the obligation before God to maintain a separate walk so we won’t become defiled by those who disagree with us (2 Cor. 6:14—7:1). We must seek by prayer, witness, and loving persuasion to win those to Christ who as yet haven’t trusted Him.

The Jews eventually became so accustomed to the sinful ways of their pagan neighbors that those ways didn’t seem sinful anymore. The Jews then became interested in how their neighbors worshipped, until finally Israel started to live like their enemies and imitate their ways. For believers today, the first step away from the Lord is “friendship with the world” (James 4:4 NKJV), which then leads to our being “unspotted from the world” (1:27). The next step is to “love the world” (1 John 2:15) and gradually become “conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). This can lead to being “condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:32), the kind of judgment that came to Lot (Gen. 19), Samson (Judg. 16), and Saul (1 Sam. 15, 31).

The disobedience (vv. 1–5). In the Old Testament, the “angel of the Lord” is generally interpreted to be the Lord Himself, who occasionally came to earth (a theophany) to deliver an important message. It was probably the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, in a temporary preincarnation appearance (Gen. 16:9; 22:11; 48:16; Ex. 3:2; Judg. 6:11 and 13:3; 2 Kings 19:35). The fact that God Himself came to give the message shows how serious things had become in Israel.

The tabernacle was originally located at Gilgal (Josh. 4:19–20), and it was there that the men of Israel were circumcised and “rolled away the reproach of Egypt” (Josh. 5:2–9). It was also there that the Lord appeared to Joshua and assured him of victory as he began his campaign to conquer Canaan (Josh. 5:13–15). To Joshua, the angel of the Lord brought a message of encouragement; but to the new generation described in the book of Judges, He brought a message of punishment.

The Lord had kept His covenant with Israel; not one word of His promises had failed (Josh. 23:5, 10, 15; 1 Kings 8:56). He had asked them to keep their covenant with Him by obeying His law and destroying the Canaanite religious system—their altars, temples, and idols. (In Ex. 23:20–25, note the association between the angel of the Lord and the command to destroy the false religion; and see also Ex. 34:10–17 and Deut. 7:1–11.) But Israel disobeyed the Lord and not only spared the Canaanites and their godless religious system but also began to follow the enemy’s lifestyle themselves.

In His covenant, God promised to bless Israel if the people obeyed Him and to discipline them if they disobeyed Him (Deut. 27–28). God is always faithful to His Word, whether in blessing us or chastening us, for in both He displays His integrity and His love (Heb. 12:1–11). God would prefer to bestow the positive blessings of life that bring us enjoyment, but He doesn’t hesitate to remove those blessings if our suffering will motivate us to return to Him in repentance.

By their disobedience, the nation of Israel made it clear that they wanted the Canaanites to remain in the land. God let them have their way (Ps. 106:15), but He warned them of the tragic consequences. The nations in the land of Canaan would become thorns that would afflict Israel and traps that would ensnare them. Israel would look to the Canaanites for pleasures but would only experience pain; they would rejoice in their freedom only to see that freedom turn into their bondage.

No wonder the people wept when they heard the message! (The Hebrew word bochim means “weepers.”) However, their sorrow was because of the consequences of their sins and not because the wickedness of their sins had convicted them. It was a shallow and temporary sorrow that never led them to true repentance (2 Cor. 7:8–11).

4. OBE YING THE ENEMY (2:6–23)
The sin in our lives that we fail to conquer will eventually conquer us. The people of Israel found themselves enslaved to one pagan nation after another as the Lord kept His word and chastened His people. Consider the sins of that new generation.

They forgot what the Lord had done (vv. 6–10). At that point in Israel’s history, Joshua stood next to Moses as a great hero, and yet the new generation didn’t recognize who he was or what he had done. In his popular novel 1984, George Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” Once they got in control of the present, both Hitler and Stalin rewrote past history so they could control future events, and for a time it worked. How important it is for each new generation to recognize and appreciate the great men and women who helped to build and protect their nation! It’s disturbing when “revisionist” historians debunk the heroes and heroines of the past and almost make them criminals.

They forsook what the Lord had said (vv. 11–13). Had they remembered Joshua, they would have known his “farewell speeches” given to the leaders and the people of Israel (Josh. 23–24). Had they known those speeches, they would have known the law of Moses, for in his final messages, Joshua emphasized the covenant God had made with Israel and the responsibility Israel had to keep it. When you forget the Word of God, you are in danger of forsaking the God of the Word, which explains why Israel turned to the vile and vicious worship of Baal.

They forfeited what the Lord had promised (vv. 14–15). When they went out to fight their enemies, Israel was defeated, because the Lord wasn’t with His people. This is what Moses had said would happen (Deut. 28:25–26), but that isn’t all: Israel’s enemies eventually became their masters! God permitted one nation after another to invade the Promised Land and enslave His people, making life so miserable for them that they cried out for help. Had the Jews obeyed the Lord, their armies would have been victorious, but left to themselves they were defeated and humiliated.

They failed to learn from what the Lord did (vv. 16–23). Whenever Israel turned away from the Lord to worship idols, He chastened them severely, and when in their misery they turned back to Him, He liberated them. But just as soon as they were free and their situation was comfortable again, Israel went right back into the same old sins. “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD.… Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of …” is the oft-repeated statement that records the sad, cyclical nature of Israel’s sins (3:7–8, see also v. 12; 4:1–4; 6:1; 10:6–7; 13:1). The people wasted their suffering. They didn’t learn the lessons God wanted them to learn and profit from His chastening.

God delivered His people by raising up judges, who defeated the enemy and set Israel free. The Hebrew word translated “judge” means “to save, to rescue.” The judges were deliverers who won great military victories with the help of the Lord. But the judges were also leaders who helped the people settle their disputes (4:4–5). The judges came from different tribes and functioned locally rather than nationally, and in some cases, their terms of office overlapped. The word “judge” is applied to only eight of the twelve people we commonly call “judges,” but all of them functioned as counselors and deliverers. The eight men are: Othniel (3:9), Tola (10:1–2), Jair (10:3–5), Jephthah (11), Ibzan (12:8–10), Elon (12:11–12), Abdon (12:13–15), and Samson (15:20; 16:30–31).

The cycle of disobedience, discipline, despair, and deliverance is seen today whenever God’s people turn away from His Word and go their own way. If disobedience isn’t followed by divine discipline, then the person is not truly a child of God; for God chastens all of His children (Heb. 12:3–13). God has great compassion for His people, but He is angry at their sins.

The book of Judges is the inspired record of Israel’s failures and God’s faithfulness. But if we study this book only as past history, we’ll miss the message completely. This book is about God’s people today. When the psalmist reviewed the period of the judges (Ps. 106:40–46), he concluded with a prayer that we need to pray today: “Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise” (Ps. 106:47 NIV).


1. When is it hard for you to obey God? Why?

2. Read Joshua 24:23–31 and Judges 1:1—2:13. Why did Israel end up obeying her enemies instead of God?

3. Read Deuteronomy 7:1–6. What was God’s plan for the people of Israel when they entered the Promised Land? Why?

4. How well did the Israelites obey this plan?

5. What was the key to their victory over their enemies? (See Judg. 1:19 and Rom. 8:31.)

6. What happened when they failed to overtake their enemies?

7. Review Judges 2:11–23. The Israelites repeatedly went through a cycle during the days of the judges. What were the steps of this cycle?

8. How is our society like the days of the judges?

9. How is today’s church like those days?

10. What temptations do God’s people face today that cause them to serve other gods?

11. How can we avoid these temptations so we don’t get caught in this type of cycle?

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Be Available by Warren Wiersbe. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.