That I am a serious student of the history of Christianity is clear. A significant part of my print and digital libraries consist of many varied texts and works on the subject. I presently teach a “Christian History and Doctrine” course at Sunset International Bible Institute. I often tell stories from Christian history as illustrations in my sermons and Bible classes. One of my study guides available in this website’s store is entitled, “Pictures from Christian History.” And reading earlier posts on this website shows a real bias in this same direction.Continue Reading
Pick of the Week
The masthead of this monthly publication says, “The Christian Chronicle® – An international newspaper for Churches of Christ.” On its editorial page the paper describes itself as “A subsidiary of Oklahoma Christian University,” with “Our mission: inform, inspire, unite.”
Further down on that page we read, “The Christian Chronicle is not a teaching or doctrinal publication, but a newspaper with news and opinion content in sections clearly labeled. Signed columns and reviews reflect the opinions of the authors.” The current issue in my hand (February, 2020) is Vol. 77, No. 2. From that I would gather this is its 77th year of publication. In one place on their website they claim over 330,000 monthly readers.Continue Reading
In 2012 I preached a 14-lesson series called The Dark Kingdom examining what the Scriptures say about Satan and his work from Creation until the end of time. This was very well received by the Tanglewood congregation in Odessa, and inspired me to organize my material better and do even more study to teach a similar 12-lesson series, Satan and His Dark Kingdom, at the Sunset Church of Christ in 2014. This latter series and accompanying study guide is available in my Store if you wish to have a copy of that study.
One of the resources I discovered and used in the above study was a pair of books written by Dennis McCallum. I want to recommend the smaller of his two books entitled, Unlocking the Mysteries of Satan. It is only available as a Kindle ebook (not in print or on Apple Books). The price varies over time between $1.99 to $2.99, but it is a bargain at either price! Different than many other books, it is not written as sensational, light and fluffy approach to the subject, but is a serious and scriptural study of a key Bible doctrine.Continue Reading
The favorite video series in my personal library is the series produced by Ray Vander Laan entitled, That the World May Know. The series now consists of 16 volumes plus two special videos.
Mr. Vander Laan is a Christian educator as well as minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Since about 1992 he has taken over 10,000 people on tours of Israel, Turkey and Egypt. These videos are shot on location during some of these tours. Not simply a tourist video of the locations, Vander Laan takes the time to explain what is being viewed and what are some of the Biblical lessons to be gained.Continue Reading
One of the many great benefits of living in the Information Age is the accessibility of materials from others who have sought to preach the Gospel of Christ. By this I mean there are many books available of the sermons and writings of men of earlier generations who were effective proclaimers of the Biblical message. Of course, for those who lived more recently or are contemporaneous with us, we also may also have audio or video recordings.
Being a teacher of Christian history, I always value reading after the Apostolic and Early Church Fathers. This is no endorsement of some of their teachings, but there is still much to be gained by listening to those who lived much closer in both time and culture to the New Testament period. Men such as Ignatius, Origin, Justin the Martyr, and others still speak today through writings which have survived for 1700+ years.Continue Reading
I recently recommended a resource for free Bible land photographs in my article, “Free Images of Bible Lands.” These free photographs are available from www.BiblePlaces.com. Now I want to follow up by heartily recommended their paid resources!
Josh McDowell is legendary among writers on Christian Apologetics – defending the historical reliability of the New Testament and deity of Jesus Christ. In his 50+ years of teaching and writing, McDowell has fulfilled much the same role that Second and Third Century apologists like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origin, Cyprian and others did for the Early Church.
Author or co-author of over 150 books, Josh McDowell’s most popular book continues to be Evidence That Demands a Verdict. This was one of the first books on Christian apologetics I purchased early in my ministry, and one I continue to use regularly.Continue Reading
UPDATE ON PRICING: Illumination Publishers is offering holiday pricing until about December 13, 2019 – the 3-volume print set is only $15 (regular $45); digital ebook volumes are $7 each (regular $13.99).
For the past three years I have been the instructor for the “Christian History and Doctrine” course at Sunset International Bible Institute. But my love and study of Christian history (often called church history) goes back to my own Bible college days at Florida College in 1969-70. There for the first time I took a course on church history which was taught by Harry Payne, Sr. I can’t say it was my favorite class (Hermeneutics by Roy Cogdill and Minor Prophets by Homer Hailey were in that category), but the seed was planted.Continue Reading
I was taught early on in my ministry to consult the commentaries about a passage only after doing all my own research and study, and have followed this pattern almost without fail. This includes studying the historical and cultural background of a Bible book or passage, doing word studies of the key words, outlining to discern the biblical author’s flow of thought, and seeking to fully understand the meaning and application to the original audience. Only then do I feel the need to access those who have studied the text before me, particularly widely respected, (usually) conservative commentators. Those writers which I consult or read after most often include the older College Press series (i.e., “green commentaries”), Warren Wiersbe’s “Be Series,” Albert Barnes, Baker’s New Testament Commentary Series (Hendrikson & Kistemaker), and William Barclay’s original Daily Study Bible.
To this list I have added over the last few years the John MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series. This is a 33-volume, 13,080 page set available in printed hardback as well digital formats for Kindle, Apple Books, and Bible software by companies like Logos, Wordsearch Bible, Accordance, and Olive Tree.Continue Reading
Modern technology has made it possible for any Christian in western culture to have an extensive Bible library and resources on their smartphone, tablet or computer. Being something of a computer geek (I work in IT support at SIBI), I am no exception.
The software packages I own and use on my devices include Logos, Olive Tree, Laridian PocketBible, and WordSearch Bible. But the one I use the most and find the easiest to use is the one that costs the least – e-Sword. There are a few other Bible software packages also on the market beyond those listed above which I do not own. And each of the first four I listed above definitely have specific things to commend them, which is why I continue to invest in them and their libraries of resources.Continue Reading
I am a fervent believer in listening to podcasts. These free online video and audio series allow me to learn, grow and even be entertained by listening while driving. My favorite podcasts include those by good Bible teachers, on technology, and other topics I have a particular interest in. One I always listen to without fail comes out every Wednesday, entitled, “5 Minutes in Church History.” It can be found through the podcast apps on iPhone, iPad, Google Play store, etc. It can also be accessed through Dr. Nichols’ website, www.5minutesinchurchhistory.com.Continue Reading
World Video Bible School is a ministry in Maxwell, Texas serving the churches of Christ since 1986. They provide a large number of online video courses, DVDs, books, charts, audio files and other teaching materials. Many videos and courses are available free of charge through their website, with most of their physical media like books and DVDs, while not free, very reasonably priced. Thousands of individuals and congregations have been using their excellent materials for evangelism, Bible classes and small group studies for years.Continue Reading