Are you a Bible class teacher wanting fresh ideas and encouragement in the important work you do? Check out this toolkit by CEI Books on sale now!
I had the chance to meet Dan Wallace in Dublin this summer while viewing the Chester Beatty papyri, and I greatly appreciate his desire to make high-quality digital images of manuscripts available online. He and his team have taken photos of all of the Chester Beatty papyri (and other significant manuscripts) and posted them online here. Uncharacteristically for the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, they have also photographed and published the images of the Chester Beatty Septuagint papyri (961-968, 2149, 2150). Thanks to the CS(NT)M for posting these images!
Some of the folks over at Stanford have created ORBIS, “The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World.” Of interest to the Bible student will be ability to calculate distances between various points via various modes of travel and transportation. Check it out and let me know what you think. What kinds of applications can Bible students make from this app?
h/t Clay Gentry
Did he ever make it to Spain?
Did he ever do any more evangelistic work?
Join us Thursday, 10 October 2013, as we discuss what happened to Paul after the close of the book of Acts.
When: 19.00 (7.00p) Moldova time | 12.00p (noon) Eastern | 11.00a Central
Lord willing, we’ll begin at 7.00p Moldova time (12.00 noon Eastern | 11.00a Central).
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Also, the ‘About Us’ section links to another site, HebrewBooks.og, that claims to have “51,434 Classical Hebrew Books for Free Download.” I haven’t had a chance to look at anything on this site, but it looks promising.
I just used NewOCR.com to convert several pages of .TIFF files containing Russian text to .DOC files. It worked GREAT! There are no limits to the number of files you can analyze and convert. And they can read many different formats and languages. If you need some quick, online, FREE OCR work, try them.
What other online and FREE OCR services have you found helpful?
Here’s another opportunity to get introduced to the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible.) The HCSB is an excellent, independent,* modern translation of the Bible that should be included in everyone’s group of comparative Bibles, if not as your main Bible. Like all Bibles with study notes, the notes are not inspired by God and should always be held to the test of the truth of God’s word. However, this Bible will, no doubt, provide a good opportunity to read through the word and the notes could very well provide some valuable insight.
Who are the orphans? Really. Think about it. Are they the blond-haired, blue-eyed, caucasian babies with above average intelligence and a clean bill of health? Were their biological parents perfect specimens of health (as were their grandparents for several generations) who were active in bettering society and gentrifying their communities? Did the parents of these perfect little babies die in a tragic car accident leaving them for some lucky set of parents to adopt? Ok, I hope most people are not this naïve, but I’m afraid many of us are still pretty close. Admittedly, I was. That is, until I visited my first orphanage in Eastern Europe. Since then my eyes continue to be opened more and more to the reality that orphans are the rejects of society. They are not the babies that all parents everywhere desire to have. The very reason why many of them are orphans is because they have been rejected by their parents and/or family. Many, if not most, of the world’s millions of orphans actually have biological parents, grandparents, or other close family members still living, but they were either not wanted by their parents or their parents refused to take responsibility for them due to their own problems associated with drugs, alcohol, or some other debased lifestyle. Or, sadly and heart-wrenchingly, the babies are the product of the world’s most profitable business—sex slavery. Orphans often have many problems and health issues such as Down Syndrome, HIV, mental handicaps, heart defects, or other defects and deformities. ALL orphans come with emotional and mental scars. Or, brace yourself, many orphans are classified as “special needs” because their skin is a darker shade of brown than yours … gasp!
What does all of this have to do with a Pharisee and a tax collector? Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18.9–14 because there were “some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt” (v9), or as the NIV reads, there were “some who … looked down on everyone else.” As was typical of the world’s greatest teacher, Jesus turned the thinking of the original audience on its head. The Pharisees were perceived, portrayed, and even praised as the epitome of righteousness. The Pharisee in the parable told the truth when he said, “I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” And the tax collector told the truth when he said, “[I am] a sinner!” So, who was justified in the sight of Jesus? Who was accepted by God? Or to bring it over into the language of the “Christian age,” who would be adopted by God? The righteous man who had “no need of a physician” (Matt 9.10–13) or the reject who greatly needed mercy and healing because he was a sickly sinner? Jesus plainly proclaims that the reject was the one who was justified, the one who would be adopted by God! Ok, so what was the point of this parable? To teach us to be humble and not to trust in ourselves, right? Yes, but that’s not the only point. Remember Jesus told the parable because some “trusted in themselves” AND because they “looked down on everyone else.” The other primary point of this parable is to teach us not to look down on the rejects of society.
I know you know where I’m going with this, but before I make the application to orphans and adoption I want to come back to the point about being adopted by God. Paul perceived the Christian’s relationship with God the Father as one of adoption in Romans 8.14–17 and Galatians 4.4–7. A few verses before this latter passage, Paul said we become children of God when “through faith” we are “baptized into Christ” (Gal 3.26–27). It is at this point, then, that we are adopted by God in order to be his children and heirs to the promised eternal inheritance of eternal life (Gal 3.29; Titus 1.2; Heb 9.15). Ok then, who does God adopt as his children? Those “who are well” who “have no need of a physician” or “those who are sick” (Matt 9.10–13)? I THANK GOD that he adopted me—a sickly, sinful scoundrel, a pathetic, pitiable pervert, a rogue, rebellious reprobate, and a degenerate, depraved debauchee doomed for damnation! What about you? Have you been adopted by God? If so, was it because you were so pretty and perfect? Because you’re the kind of person who was just soooo gooood and appealing that God couldn’t help but adopt you? Be honest. One of the wonderful things about being adopted by God is that by coming into his home as one of his children, we go from being “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” to rich, clothed and covered, healed, and able to see again (Rev 3.17–18)!
Ok, now to the point. Who are the orphans? The rejects. Those with problems. Those with issues. Those who aren’t perfect little children. The sick and suffering. In following in the example of God, who adopted someone like me, these rejects are the very ones, then, who need to be adopted by us and brought into our homes! It is true that not every family is able or needs to literally adopt an orphan, but every Christian must do something to help the orphans in some way and to help those who are adopting orphans. Christians who continue “to look down on” (Luke 18.9 NIV) the orphans, especially those with special needs, which is the vast majority of them, or who continue “to look down on” those who adopt orphans with special needs need to realize that such an attitude means they will not be numbered among the sheep who spend eternity with God (Matt 25.31–46), they are not “doers of the word” and do not practice “pure and undefiled religion” (James 1.22–27), they do not possess a saving faith (James 2.14–26), they are in reality children of the devil and not children of God (1 John 3), and they are like the Pharisee in the parable of Luke 18.9–14.
Please, open your eyes and your hearts. Realize that there are millions of children who are sick and suffering and who desperately need your help.
I thank God for adopting me. Now I pray he will help me to “go, and do likewise” (Luke 10.25–37), to adopt children who are not perfect, children who have serious problems and who need my help, my heart, my home, and my hope in the Lord.