Category Archives: Bible Study

Old Testament Character Studies

I have the privilege of teaching through a study of Old Testament character to two different groups this summer.

As I prepare, it has become clear that too often we change our hermeneutical methodology when doing a character study.  So here is my short, but hopefully developing list of guidelines for studying Old Testament Characters:

  • Understand incremental revelation
    –what had God revealed about Himself when character being studied was living
  • Study the characters in context
    –as in all Bible study, context rules!  A text without a context is simply a pretext to say what we want to say, rather than what Scripture teaches.
  • Seek to understand what in the story is descriptive and what is prescriptive
    –not everything in Scripture is to be emulated.  Most often the goal is not to copy tactics.
  • Seek to understand what God affirms
  • Seek to understand what God revealed about himself
    –God didn’t dictate a systematic theology textbook, but communicated Himself through encounters with individuals. And it is in these encounters that God revealed His character.

A Few Tools for Bible Study



Yesterday at Calvary Church we demonstrated inductive Bible study.  It is something I do and model in classes room environments all the time, but we managed to do it in front of a large audience (I hope).

So as a follow-up, here are some tools.

First, a simply outline. I use the acronym ROADS as a reminder of the 5 steps of Bible Study–
Read Observe Analyse Do Share.
(Click on the image to the right to see my summary sheet).

Second, while I encourage you to spend most of your time in the biblical text, there are a few simple electronic resources that you might find helpful.

Bible Study Tools

net   The Net Bible ™ Study Environment offers the most comprehensive set of free resources available online, including commentaries, articles, word studies, original biblical languages and cross references all integrated into a system that empowers you to carefully study the Word of God and to prepare your teaching lessons quickly.

(In the right panel click on the tap “Grk/Heb” and the move your mouse over any word English (left) and watch.  Easy way to get a definition–hover over a Greek or Hebrew word and watch how fast the definition shows up.)  Bible study tools including a Bible concordance, a Biblebiblestudytools dictionary, 20 Bible versions, commentaries, and much more. Great for copy the text to a word processor so you can do your own structural rewrite.  A tool for reading and researching Scripture online — Biblegatewayall in the language or translation of your choice. It provides advanced searching capabilities, which allow readers to find and compare particular passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference. Includes resources in Spanish.

Bible Study Resources
netBiblical Studies Foundation:
 Biblical Studies Foundation web site with many articles and Bible book studies (some scholarly works), along with a helpful Bible translation, the NET Bible which has great translator notes.

They also have an app for iOS. For those whose heart language is Spanish.

Holy Land Photos
Free, hi-resolution images of the Holy Land

Additional Suggestions
English Standard Version Read, Listen, Take Notes

If you do not have a good internet connection or want to download free Bible Study software, check out e-Sword.esword

Apps for your electronic device or computer

Electronic options—great resource!

youversion_logoMore reading  options than I could count.   Youversion iconApps for virtually every device.


logo-betaThis resource is free for life if you register prior to March 2014 (you can purchase the ESV for $5)–good study Bible, great graphics–my app of choice for all my mobile study and teaching

     Get the iOS app         Get the Android app     Get the Kindle Fire app 

Or register online at


Please note: These sites are provided for your benefit, but this does not constitute an endorsement of all the material that might be found on these sites.

Contrast: Character Determines Influence

On Sunday at Calvary Church, Pastor Beau Eckert started our series, Contrast, with a look at Matthew 5:1-16.

The Beatitudes in the first section focus on the Character of the Righteous.


The list of characteristics together form a progressive picture of what those rightly related to the King look like.  And by correlation, they serve as an encouragement to us to pursue the characteristics God affirms.

Here is my attempt to show the progression:

  • The poor in spirit are those who understand their own lack of righteousness (bankruptcy) and need apart from God–they trust Him alone and His will–they experience the current reality of the kingdom
  • Because of their own lack of righteousness they mourn–but will be comforted with eternal riches
  • The clear understanding of who they are and sorrow causes them to be meek, not seeking their own–but shall inherit it all
  • Because they are meek, they are then able to take their eyes off themselves and hunger and thirst for righteousness–they will be satisfied with perfect righteousness in the kingdom
  • Those who desire to be righteous will develop mercy toward others, because they see their own need for mercy
  • This lack of a judgmental spirit leads to being pure in heart–they shall see their heart’s desire, God Himself
  • They then are peacemakers because they are not seeking their own benefit but that of others–God takes notice
  • Which will cause others to be convicted and persecute them–the ultimate Judge will reward them in the eternal kingdom with everlasting comfort

The second section challenges us with the reality that those rightly related to the King are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.”

So what kind of influence will we have?

Character Determines Influence


Pursuit of His Glory

Just completed a 9 part series–Pursuit of Glory: The story of the Bible in 9 Episodes.

This was a coordinated study–where sermon, ABF lesson and small groups could focus their learning on one main subject. Now that we are finished, I wanted to post my brief summary of each lesson as a review.

It may take a little time to load, if you don't see the presentation below, click this link to view, it will open in a new window or look below for a video version.


Video version


Faithlife Study Bible

Many know I'm a fan the the ESV Study Bible (and since it is too big to carry around, I take advantage of the online version).

Another resource that some might be interested–particularly if you are in an intentional relationship for growth (small group, accountability group, memtoring relationship or adult Bible class) is the new Faithlife Study Bible. It's free through 2014.

It is produced by the makes of the Bible study software that I have used for 20 years–

The iPad app is excellent.

The videos below lays out some of what it can do–but the exciting part is actually the interactive Study Bible.

Also see these features.

This video shows the functionality of the Study Bible.

We’re reinventing the study Bible for the digital age. While print study Bibles are limited to a few study notes per page, the digital FSB provides much, much more:

  • 3 layers of study notes (over 1.4 million words total)
  • Lexham Bible Dictionary (2,500+ articles)
  • Lexham English Bible Shared reading plans
  • Shared notes
  • About 400 photos, videos, and infographics
  • Access to Faithlife, the new Christian online community.







Daniel 7–Small Group Questions

In Daniel 7 we return to a prophetic section.

This chapter is parallel to chapter 2—both focus on a panorama of prophecy which concludes with the Kingdom of God, the Most High in total control.

Small Group Questions

Engage—connect with each other

1. What excites you about the future?

What worries you about the future?

2. How often do you think about the coming the end of time?

What do you anticipate most about the coming of Christ?

Examine and Explore—what the passage says before you decide what it means, then begin to discuss the implications of this passage

3. In the first half of the chapter, Daniel records his dream then seeks an interpretation.

What does he seem to focus on?

4. What elements of the dream worry Daniel? Why?

Encounter—read God’s Word to get to know Him

5. Notice the descriptions of God and His throne, Daniel 7:9-10. What is emphasized?

6. Notice the descriptions of Christ, Daniel 7:13-14. What is emphasized?

Embrace—What is the one thing you need to know or do?  What is your next step in response to this passage?

7. How does knowing that God will accomplish His plan in the end, encourage you?

8. What should our current attitude be and what should our current motivation and actions be, if we are on the winning side?