The church of Jesus Christ in every generation is given the weighty charge to proclaim and preserve the Word of Truth. What we believe about the Bible will shape how we live, how we worship, and how we seek to educate our children and grandchildren. Have you considered the lack of Bible reading in a typical worship service in our present day? Have you talked with your friends outside of your church about their family worship patterns? If you use the word “catechism” outside of a church or conference setting today, you may receive strange looks of complete confusion. The fact is, we are living in a day where the Bible has become the most popular book of history and yet the most irrelevant book among the culture.
The English Bible Throughout History
John Wycliffe labored to get the Bible into the English language and gave his life to that pursuit. It has been said that if Luther and Calvin were the fathers of the Reformation, Wycliffe would be its grandfather. Wycliffe was charged with heresy and despised by the Roman Catholic Church. Years after Wycliffe’s death, the Pope ordered that his bones were to be exhumed and taken out of consecrated ground. They dug up his bones, burned them, and then scattered them into the Swift River. Where did his charge of heresy arise? It was due to the fact that Wycliffe labored to get the Bible into the common man’s language and he was hated for it.
The followers of Wycliffe became known as Lollards (a derogatory term meaning “tongue wagger”). According to John Foxe, seven men (Lollards) were burned at the stake in 1519 for teaching their children the Lord’s prayer in English. John Bale (1495-1563) said that he had witnessed a boy in Norwich being burned for possessing the Lord’s prayer in English. When we consider the amount of blood that has been shed in order to get the Bible into the common language of the common man, it’s astounding.
In 1526, William Tyndale took his manuscript of the English New Testament to a printer in the city of Worms. It was the first English Bible to be translated directly from the Greek text. It was printed using a printing press and distributed into England in bales of cotton. After a season as a fugitive on the run, he was located and captured in 1535. In August of 1536, Tyndale stood trial for his translation of the Bible into the English language. On October 6th, 1536, Tyndale was taken to the place of execution. He was given just a brief moment to pray. They asked him to recant and he refused. The guards tied his feet to the bottom of a wooden beam and his neck was bound by a chain. They took straw and other small pieces of wood that would easily catch fire and positioned it beneath Tyndale’s body. As the guard pulled the chain and began to choke Tyndale, he cried aloud these famous words, “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.” They continued to choke Tyndale. Another man took a wax torch and set fire to the brush and straw. The body of Tyndale was consumed with a blaze of fire instantly. What was the charge? Tyndale was a rebel to the authority of Rome. He believed that the Bible should be in the common farmer’s language. He gave his life to that end. We today have become the direct beneficiaries of his labor.
The Bible – Today
As we survey church history, we should be reminded that the Bible matters. It has always mattered. Today is no different. We cannot live life disconnected from the Bible. The terror of ISIS and the decision of the Mayor of Atlanta to fire the chief of the Fire Department are both directly connected to the Bible. The political debates of homosexuality and abortion have their roots in the Bible. The attack of Kurt Eichenwald upon the Bible in his article published in Newsweek magazine at the end of 2014 is a clear reminder that the Bible matters today!
If the Bible is holy, inerrant, inspired, infallible, authoritative, sufficient, and clear – shouldn’t our life demonstrate that reality? How can a church claim to have a high view of the Bible while continuing to severely limit Bible reading in their weekly worship gatherings? If we believe the Bible and know it to be the very Word of God, it will determine how we preach it, read it, and obey it. The bookshelves of history are lined with books written by man. However, the Bible stands as King in the library of human history. The Bible is a book that remains relevant throughout the ages, transcends cultures, and remains the sufficient guide to light the paths of life (Psalm 119:105).
The war upon the Word today will continue to center upon the relevance and sufficiency of the Bible. Entertainers are eager to profit from God’s Word, but they are not interested in protecting the pure doctrines of the Bible when they make movies or write books. We must be reminded that Hollywood will always bow to the dollar. The entertainment industry as a whole must attract people’s attention, sell their products, and remain successful in the process. Honoring the truth of God’s Word will not be a priority for entertainers who remain positioned for success and profit.
Before reading a book such as Heaven Is For Real, we should ask ourselves this probing question, “Why do we need books like Heaven Is For Real?” As long as we have books that insist upon giving new revelations, we will continue to doubt the sufficiency of God’s Word. We already know Heaven is real. We already know God exists. We already know that God exists in Trinitarian form. These are truths that we have come to know from God’s Word. Therefore, we don’t need a little boy’s account to reaffirm it. In the words of Abraham, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29).
The perspicuity of the Bible should encourage us. As believers, God will provide us clarity, wisdom, and knowledge as we read the Word. As the Bible is preached and explained, we should teach our children to cherish it. If our children are bored with God’s Word it’s likely due to the fact that we have become bored with it. Even in a digital age of moving symbols, smart phones, digital applications, and much more – we should lead by example. The Bible has one unified voice – the voice of God. The Bible has one purpose – the glory of God. The Bible has one hero – the Son of God. The Bible has one mission – the salvation of sinners. The Bible is not a boring old dusty book. It is the Word of God. Let us be reminded of David’s resolve about God’s Word. David was not bored with the Word of God or the God of the Word.
Psalm 19:7-11: The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;  the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;  the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.  Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
The most irrelevant thing we could say is that the Bible is irrelevant. History has proven beyond doubt that the Bible is relevant. What the Bible says matters to the church, the world of science, the academy, and national leaders around the world. Why does the Bible continue to turn heads? It goes back to what John Calvin once said years ago. He said, “When the Bible speaks, God speaks.” Therefore, for the Bible to be irrelevant is for God to be irrelevant.
May the Lord wake up His sleeping church with a resurgence of blazing hearts who earnestly desire to preach the good news of King Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Josh Buice
As I finish out each year, I typically do a missionary biography for our church in order to help us focus on the Great Commission and begin the new year standing upon the shoulders of those who have labored before us. For the 2014 missionary biography, I chose George Whitefield. While it may seem strange to view him as a missionary, in my biographical overview for our church, I sought to focus upon his work in the “new world” of America with the Wesley brothers, orphan care, and his relentless evangelistic preaching.
As we come to the close of 2014 and look over the precipice into 2015, I would like to consider the legacy of Whitefield. What made Whitefield great? According to Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “George Whitefield is beyond any question the greatest English preacher of all time.” When we consider the fact that Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers” referred to George Whitefield as the “Chief of Preachers” – we must pause to consider the depth and breadth of his preaching ministry. Those are big words from Lloyd-Jones and Spurgeon. What made the blazing evangelist tick? What pressed his soul toward God and his preaching toward greatness? As I spent a good portion of time in 2014 reading and thinking about George Whitefield, three specific things stand out to me. The greatness of Whitefield is directly connected to his holiness, his doctrine, and his evangelism.
Lesson #1 – Whitefield’s Pursuit of Holiness
George Whitefield was a man who labored to know God. After he was born again, he started reading his Bible on his knees. Whitefield was known for his preaching and his piety. As much as he was known for his thunder and lightning in the pulpit, he was likewise known for his quiet pursuit of God in the early hours of the morning. Born just over 50 years after the “Great Ejection” of the Puritan pastors from their pulpits in 1662, it was as if God planted another Puritan in the pulpit during an era of dry, cold, and lethargic preaching in England.
Arnold Dallimore describes Whitefield’s longing for God as he writes:
We can visualize him at 5 in the morning in his room over Harris’s bookstore. He is on his knees with his Bible, his Greek New Testament, and a volume of Matthew Henry spread before him. With intense concentration he reads a portion in English, studies its words and tenses in the Greek, and then considers Matthew Henry’s exposition of the whole. Finally comes his unique practice of “praying over every line and every word” in both the English and Greek, feasting his mind and his heart upon it till its essential meaning has become a part of his very person.1
As we prepare to welcome in 2015, we must consider our own pursuit of holiness. What does our Bible reading, meditation, and memorization look like? What can we learn from George Whitefield regarding Bible reading that may help us in this upcoming new year? I think from a pragmatic standpoint, Whitefield’s commitment to rise early and immerse himself in God’s Word is commendable. Additionally, a good reading plan can assist in this endeavor to read through the entire Bible in 365 days. You can locate the plan that I typically follow and that many in our church follow at the bottom of our church’s website (PraysMill.com). You may find another plan that works well for you linked here on the Ligonier site for your review. However, the point is quite obvious. Nobody can rise in holiness if he is unwilling to be immersed in God’s Word.
The reason that Whitefield’s pursuit of holiness stands out to me is likewise connected to his prayer life. It was not an uncommon thing for this great preacher to be completely exhausted from preaching (he preached approximately 1,000 sermons per year for 30 straight years), but stay up until midnight or 1am in prayer with God. Whitefield understood the importance of spending time with God. Whitefield recorded the following in his journal:
I give to Him my soul and body to be disposed and worn out in His labours as He shall think meet. I do hence resolve, by His assistance…to lead a stricter life than ever, to give my self to prayer and the study of the Scriptures…. God give me my health, if it be His blessed will…. I give myself wholly to Him.2
Lesson #2 – Whitefield’s Doctrine
Unfortunately most of us have heard of traveling evangelists who have majored on the minors, preached proof texts out of context, and left the congregants without adequate spiritual food. That was not to be said of George Whitefield. Although he was not the expositor that John Calvin was nor was he the theologian that Jonathan Edwards was, he was a deeply rooted doctrinal evangelist who had something to say. Whitefield understood that preaching was God’s intended means of awakening dead sinners to life and it was likewise God’s intended means of growing His church in spiritual maturity.
J. C. Ryle, the great preacher from church history describes Whitefield’s preaching:
Few men, perhaps, ever gave their hearers so much wheat and so little chaff. He did not get up to talk about his party, his cause, his interest or his office. He was perpetually telling you about your sins, your heart, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the absolute need of repentance, faith, and holiness, in the way that the Bible presents these mighty subjects. ”Oh, the righteousness of Jesus Christ!” he would often say: “I must be excused if I mention it in almost all my sermons.” Preaching of this kind is the preaching that God delights to honour. It must be pre-eminently a manifestation of truth.3
George Whitefield was a Calvinist before Calvinism was cool. He claimed that he had never even read John Calvin prior to embracing the doctrines of grace. He told people that he got them from Christ and His Word. The preaching and ministry of George Whitefield was saturated with the deep wells of sound doctrine. He was not satisfied with getting up before people and “talking” or “entertaining” from the sacred desk of God. His goal was to bring people to know God and to know Him more intimately.
Looking forward into 2015, we could learn from Whitefield. Doctrine matters. We live in a day of shallowness from the pulpit. Pragmatics overshadow doctrine in our church growth saturated culture. It really does matter what we use to attract people into the front door of our church building. Our appetite for God’s Word and sound doctrine is crucial to our personal growth and the growth of our church.
Lesson #3 – Whitefield’s Evangelism
History is replete with the thundering voice of Whitefield that continues to echo to us today. The pointed truth is clear. The world has not forgotten Whitfield. He possessed a powerful preaching voice that was once heard thundering down the river 2 miles from the field where he preached. He could preach to thousands without the aid of a microphone. In fact, once in Scotland, he preached to nearly 100,000 people and it’s believed that 10,000 of those people turned to Christ and were saved. To put that into perspective, 3,000 souls were saved when Peter preached at Pentecost! I was having lunch with Steven Lawson one day and he said to me, “If I could be anyone in church history, I would be George Whitefield.” As it turns out, he was working on his excellent book on Whitefield and it was the first sentence of his preface. However, it wasn’t just the preaching of Whitefield that caught the attention of Steven Lawson. He was likewise captivated by Whitefield’s evangelistic zeal.
George Whitefield’s heart was broken for broken people. George Whitefield once said, “O Lord, give me souls or take my soul!” He was not searching for the high class of society or merely those who could help fund his ministry endeavors. He trusted God in those matters. His heart was fixated upon the depravity of humanity and the need for Jesus in England, across Europe, and across the sea to America.
Whitefield would travel across the Atlantic Ocean from England to America 7 times. This would result in 13 voyages across the Atlantic. He would die in America during his final preaching tour. The sacrifice of time for souls is apparent in Whitefield’s commitment. At a time when his popularity was reaching a high point in England, he did the unthinkable. He got on a ship and sailed across the sea to America to evangelize the eastern coast of the new world. He would spend 3 to 4 months on the ship each time he crossed the Atlantic. This was no Disney cruise ship. His time on the boat would be tiresome and dangerous.
Whitefield was perhaps the greatest English preacher in church history, but with the notoriety came opposition. When Whitefield entered the fields to preach, it was common for people to throw stones, slanderous phrases, and dead cats upon him. Nevertheless he would press on to preach Christ. He would make his way through the field to a wooden structure or platform. He would look into the faces of the people and say, “I have come today to talk to you about your soul.” His voice would thunder across the fields to thousands. In a manner that did not involve manipulation, gimmicks, or pulpit trickery, Whitefield called sinners to repentance in Jesus Christ without giving an alter call. Hundreds of thousands of sinners were saved through his preaching. God blew the winds of the Great Awakening through this man’s powerful preaching.
Whitefield was once recorded as saying the following:
I offer you salvation this day; the door of mercy is not yet shut, there does yet remain a sacrifice for sin, for all that will accept of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will embrace you in the arms of his love. O turn to him, turn in a sense of your own unworthiness; tell him how polluted you are, how vile, and be not faithless, but believing. Why fear ye that the Lord Jesus Christ will not accept you? Your sins will be no hindrance, your unworthiness no hindrance; if your own corrupt hearts do not keep you back nothing will hinder Christ from receiving of you.4
As we plan ahead for 2015, let us plan to be zealous in our evangelistic efforts. Too often Arminians criticize Calvinists for not being evangelistic enough and zealous enough for lost souls. While that may be an unfair criticism, Arminians and Calvinists alike should look to the Calvinistic evangelist George Whitefield as a worthy example to follow in our desire to reach unbelievers with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Whitefield is dead. His voice is but a soft echo from the pages of history. God has placed us here at the end of 2014 and perhaps God will grant us more time in 2015. What will we do with it? Will we strive for greater holiness? Will we search the Scriptures and seek to know God more intimately? Will we weep for the lostness of our city, our neighborhood, and the nations? Let us look back at Whitefield and look onward toward Christ.
For His eternal glory,
Pastor Josh Buice
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1. Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival Vol. 2, (Westchester, Illinois: Cornerstone Books, 1979), p. 22.
2. George Whitefield, George Whitefield’s Journals, (PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1998), p. 60.
3. J. C. Ryle, Five Christian Leaders. “Estimation of Whitefield’s Ministry.” (PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1960).
4. Ernest Reisinger, “What Should We Think of Evangelism and Calvinism.” The Founder’s Journal, Issue 19/20.
We live in a complex world surrounded by cell towers that provide high speed Internet access to super fast handheld computers that look and operate like a phone. According to a PewResearch study, “Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind.” The age of social media has consumed us. At times, the social media culture benefits us. Too often this technological world constrains us.
When was the last time you had to literally stop talking because the people in the room were in another room (or world depending on how you view it) through their phone? Some people are taking strides to overcome such challenges. Baskets are appearing at the door where party hosts are requesting that you drop off your smart phone upon arrival in order to stay engaged in real conversations during your time in their home. Some business owners are requesting that you disengage the tech world during their business hours and meeting times in order to stay on track and remain efficient.
As we unravel the complexities of the technology world, one thing is abundantly clear – Facebook cannot replace your church. Although Facebook and other social media outlets provide a point of connection for friends and family, Facebook is unable to become a replacement tool for the local church.
Peter preached his famous sermon, about 3,000 souls were saved. God’s church was founded, established, and was experiencing rapid growth. Acts 2:42-47 gives us a glimpse into the practices of the early church:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.  And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.  And all who believed were together and had all things in common.  And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.  And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved (ESV).
As we read about the interaction of the early church in the New Testament, we see a common “togetherness” that permeated the church. They were together for worship and for fellowship. They enjoyed time together. They spent time together. They prayed together. They shared meals together. They were a together people.
Facebook Lacks Genuine Connectivity
We pride ourselves on being a connected culture through social media and Internet advancement. However, the question remains – are we really that connected? There are 152 million active users of Facebook in the US and Canada. Facebook users spend about 21 minutes of each day on the social media site. With all of this time speng on social media websites, why do so many people feel disconnected in life and the church?
When you first login to Facebook, you can be overwhelmed with faces that you haven’t seen since high school. Facebook offers you a point of connectivity to rekindle old friendships and stay connected with distant family members. However, after a season of using Facebook, you may find that you really don’t connect with the people through the screen. Sifting through a list of typed status updates and instant messages beneath profile pictures is simply not enough.
The church is more than a campus or a building. If you’ve been a follower of Christ for any length of time, you certainly have come to realize that the church consists of the people. People in our world are longing for real depth and personal intimacy in their relationships, and this is certainly true within the church. Facebook may allow you to see a person’s chosen image, but it lacks a realness that transcends status updates and profile pictures. Most people don’t want their intimate life placed on display through social media, so an obvious barrier prevents depth in Facebook friendships.
The church is a group of people who have been brought together by Jesus Christ. The church assembles together for worship. The church lives life together away from the church campus. Therefore, assembling together for worship and fellowship outside of the weekly gatherings is essential for the health and vitality of relationships. This will not happen through the world of Facebook. Status updates cannot replace late night conversations over coffee.
It’s “normal” to be connected to someone through Facebook while remaining extremely disconnected from them in reality. It’s time to stop using Facebook to replace the genuine connectivity that God intends for His church to experience together. Facebook can be useful for evangelism, marketing, or outreach in general, but it lacks in building genuine community.
Facebook Lacks the Reality of Prayer Support
I rarely post prayer requests on Facebook. There is a reason for that. It’s really quite simple. Facebook isn’t my church. I have posted updates and prayer requests on Facebook, but that’s merely a means to get a more broad group of Christian friends to pray. I did this when my daughter was hospitalized earlier this year with her diabetes diagnosis. However, on a regular basis, I communicate my prayer needs and requests to my church. Facebook is a means of collecting and sharing information, but real prayer is done with my church family.
I often read status updates where people post information and I see statements in response that read, “prayers going up now….” I’m really not trying to be cynical, but I often ask myself how much real prayer is being offered up through Facebook? We are really good at saying, “I’m praying for you” when in reality we aren’t praying at all.
Facebook has literally thousands of prayer related pages and online communities. In fact, the “Prayer” page on Facebook has over 1.4 million likes. It’s highly probable that many people who are members in your church but rarely attend the prayer meeting are among that 1.4 million people who “like” and visit the prayer page on Facebook.
Facebook lacks a real voice behind the prayers. Facebook cannot replace a group of people gathered together during a mid-week prayer service weeping over an unrepentant brother. Facebook cannot provide an intimate prayer circle of real friends who are helping you with substance abuse or porn addiction. Facebook can provide you with information. You can provide people with information. However, God designed His church to be together rather than connected through screens.
Before you leave the church for Facebook, I would encourage you to think about leaving Facebook for the church.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Josh Buice
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You may be interested in the book by Tim Challies - The Next Story
I have viewed two movies in two weeks, and that’s not a regular pattern for me. I’m more for books than films, but I was keenly interested in these two movies for obvious reasons. One was Exodus: Gods and Kings by Ridley Scott. The second was Battle of Five Armies, the final installment in The Hobbit trilogy produced by Peter Jackson. Exodus was originally written by Moses. The Hobbit was originally written by J.R.R. Tolkien. I went to see Exodus with my wife on a much needed date night last Friday. I went last night to the 10:30pm showing of The Hobbit with a group of young men from our church (our third year in a row). I enjoyed both movies, but perhaps The Hobbit more due to the theological train wreck of the theophanies in Ridley Scott’s rendition of Exodus.
The Exodus is a nonfictional story that contains sudden twists and turns of the miraculous. However, it was reduced in many ways to a fictional tale with naturalistic phenomenon. The Hobbit is a fictional story that in many ways communicates the truths of the most heart gripping nonfictional story the world has ever known. I left the theater after watching Exodus with a yearning to read the real story found in the second book of the Bible. I was reminded that all of the power and graphics of Hollywood can’t compete with the heart pounding story of redemption recorded in Exodus. I walked away from the theater early this morning with the reminder that imaginary tales of elves, wizards, orcs, dwarves, a fire breathing dragon, a mountain of gold, and a hobbit can purposely entice the heart and mind to search out the deeper meaning of life. This deeper meaning is filled with sudden providences, miracles, and the happy ending. Although this deeper meaning surrounds us, often it remains hidden in plain view begging to be discovered.
As we think critically about these stories, we must be reminded that we long for a good story. Our heart yearns for the happy ending. It is by nature that we want to experience what Tolkien coined as “eucatastrophe” – the “good catastrophe.” Tolkien explains eucatastrophe in “On Fairy Stories” as
the sudden joyous “turn” (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially “escapist,” nor “fugitive.” In its fairy-tale—or otherworld—setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium [gospel], giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.
In many ways, Exodus and The Hobbit provide that for us. The record of the Exodus was written by Moses over 3,000 years ago. The story of The Hobbit was written in the 1930s as a children’s book. Yet, both stories have a modern relevance that appeals to children and adults. The relevance is centered in the message. Both contain the message of hope. Moses is the prophet that points us to Christ in the Exodus. The twists and turns of The Hobbit point us to the overarching providence of God to bring about the sudden and often veiled happy ending that seemed impossible. This is the message of the gospel. This is our hope. True hope transcends luck.
In the narrative of the Exodus, it wasn’t luck that brought the nation of Israel across the Red Sea on dry land. It was something far greater! God rules this world and the worlds that exist beyond the walls of this world. R. C. Sproul has accurately described the power of God, “There is no maverick molecule if God is sovereign.” Every drop of water in the Red Sea was under the transcendent sovereign control of YHWH. Although Ridley Scott appealed to luck, it was God who brought about the happy ending. In The Hobbit, Tolkien weaves into the story the theme of luck. However, he is merely using it as a teaching tool to bring home the heart of his message. Peter Jackson does a good job of capturing this in the final scene that came from the final page of the book as Bilbo and Gandalf converse.
“You don’t really suppose, do you,” the wizard asks the hobbit, “that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit?” Gandalf continues, “You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!” To this Bilbo replies with happiness and humility, “Thank goodness!”
We can learn much from a reluctant prophet deliverer named Moses. God intends for us to learn the story of redemption. God has also given us an imagination and gifted people such as J.R.R. Tolkien with an ability to harness this imagination in “fairy stories” to teach us lessons that far transcend the graphics of a movie screen or the pages of a fictional tale involving a strange footed short standing hobbit. Perhaps we can learn poignant lessons about “dragon sickness” or the importance of perseverance as we follow the story. The most important thing we can learn is the nearness of our ubiquitous God who exists in perfect strength and is able to bring about the happy ending, to vanquish the foe, to defeat the dragon, and to do that which seemed impossible such as parting the Red Sea. That is exactly what He did with His Son Jesus Christ. When darkness prevailed, the resurrected Christ burst forth with gospel saving light!
Longing for the happy ending on the final page of history – already accomplished by the Son and recorded by the Spirit in a book – the Bible!
Pastor Josh Buice
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Resources and Reviews:
I love books. I enjoy the texture of the pages and the smell of the pages. I enjoy reading and holding in my hand a good book. I like to sit in my study surrounded by books and research a passage in preparation to preach. However, in my attempt to grow my library and resources in our present digital age, a few years ago I decided to make a leap into the digital world to expand my tools and resources. Before I took that important leap, I researched and used different tools to determine what “pool” I would jump into. After using several other digital tools, I decided that Logos Bible Software worked best for my reading and research needs. I would like to take you on a tour of how I presently use Logos Bible Software and why I think that Logos 6 is a major home run for home Bible study and ministry research needs.
Cloud Based Software
One thing I really enjoy about using my Logos 6 software is that it’s a cloud based operation that allows me to be more efficient. Often I will be reading in a particular commentary on my Logos iPad app, and when I highlight a statement by the author, when I arrive back in my office the highlight is already there and it allows me to find it easily and use it in my sermon preparation. The same thing is true for bookmarks and notes which appear in the resource when I open it on my desktop. This saves a great deal of time, especially when I’m using multiple resources for one sermon.
Visual Tools and Resources
Logos 6 has really increased productivity possibilities through the use of visual resources. The library of visual resources has been dramatically increased by professional artistic rendering of historic places, biblical scenes, and historic biblical structures (such as the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle). When simply reading or researching, these tools are great to give you a better glimpse into the landscape of the biblical text. How many times have you heard someone say that their visit to Jerusalem helped them “see” what is going on in the biblical text in a more insightful way? In a similar manner, this is what the visual tools of Logos 6 attempts to provide for you and the people who experience it as you teach or preach the Bible.
For example, I will be preaching Mark 1:9-11 this Sunday. As I study, if I see something I want to bring to the attention of the church, I can highlight it on my iPad. When I arrive at the office, I can pull up the resource and quickly find the highlighted quote. I can right click with my mouse and an options window appears where I can quickly select “visual copy” and immediately the quote is embedded on a professional visual aid that can be easily saved and imported into a PowerPoint file for the presentation.
I really like the flexibility of Logos 6 and how it allows me to arrange my resources in the best method for my research needs. I setup my desktop to allow me to maximize screen capability when preparing a sermon. I start with Logos 6 on the right and my Word document on the left. This allows me the option to read, research, and study with my resources while never losing sight of my manuscript on the left side of the screen. I constantly know where I am in my research. An example of what my screen looks like can be seen below.
This optional arrangement allows me to highlight, copy, and paste all while never losing sight of my Word document or Logos 6. The automatically formatted footnotes when pasting text into Word is another plus that Logos has provided in their technology for many years. In short, this allows me the flexibility and the productivity tools necessary to increase efficiency when writing a sermon manuscript and preparing my other tools such as a PowerPoint file at the end of my manuscript preparation.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend Logos 6 to you for your personal Bible study or ministry resource needs. With flexible payment options and specifically designed library choices, Logos 6 is the Bible study software that will help you reach goals, become productive, and efficiently complete your work.
After using Logos 6 for several weeks now, I am impressed not only with the functionality but the impressive new tools and resources that have been added to my software tools. The only thing that still remains unclear is how Logos Bible Software would like for you to pronounce it. Is it “Low-Gos” or “La-Gas”? I have heard some people use a middle ground option – “Low-Gas” in order to cover both pronunciations. For now, I will stick with “Low-Gos” when talking about my favorite Bible study software – Logos 6.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Josh Buice