Sunday, December 4, 2016

Promise

Gen 12:1–7

God Gave a Promise


Long after Noah’s death, God found another friend in Abraham (2 Chr 20:7; Jas 2:23). Although Abraham sometimes struggled with his faith, the overall record is that “Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Gen 15:6; Gal 3:6). As in the time of Noah, the people of Abraham’s time had grown very wicked. God wanted to protect Abraham and his promised offspring from this wickedness. So he promised to give them another land if Abraham would obey and move there.

The wicked nations had been busy with projects, saying, “Let us make a name for ourselves” (Gen 11:4 esv)—but it only made them infamous. God promised Abraham, obey me and “I will bless you and make your name great” (12:2 esv). God also promised Abraham and Sarah that their offspring would become “a great nation” (v. 2; 17:6; 18:18). He promised, “I will bless you” (v. 2) and “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt” (v. 3; 27:29; Num 24:9)

God Gave a Commission

The promise “I will bless you” entailed a commission, “and you will be a blessing to others” (v. 2), “all the families on earth will be blessed through you” (v. 3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Jer 4:2). That was Israel’s job description, the unchanging mandate for the people of God.

Sadly, Israel pretty much failed to deliver on that international commission during the Old Testament period. Just about the only times they blessed nations were when they were sent there in various forms of exile. I think of Joseph blessing Egypt and the surrounding nations with wise guidance that mitigated the deadly effects of famine (Gen 39–50), or the little slave girl guiding an Assyrian general to get healing from the Lord God of Israel (2Kgs 5), or Daniel and his friends in Babylonian exile (Dan 1–5). Of course, there was Jonah blessing Nineveh by warning of divine judgment, which implied God’s offer of forgiveness if they would repent—but he hated warning them, and he hated succeeding at eliciting their repentance so that God relented with his judgments (Jonah).

God Kept His Promise and Sustained His Commission

God kept the promise and made a great nation of Abraham’s offspring. Indeed, by the time of David and Solomon, Israel had become an empire. But even this imperial hope failed, because Israel’s sin led to exile and to the death of the Davidic dynasty. Nonetheless, God sustained the promise, if only because the commission could not be allowed to fail.

When Jesus was born, he became the most important descendant that Abraham and Sarah would ever have. And he fulfilled the mandate to bless the nations. He taught about God’s love not only for all Israel but also for all the nations. In an overly Jewish temple, he reminded his fellow-worshipers, of Isaiah’s proclamation that the Lord’s “Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations”(Mark 11:17; Isa 56:7).

And he made sure that this task became the church’s commission as well. The resurrected Jesus reminded his disciples of the Old Testament promise, “This message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent’” (Luke 24:47). Indeed, he said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”(Matt 28:18–19).

Questions, Reflections, and Commitments


  • Ask yourself this question: “What am I personally doing to see that the message of salvation in Jesus Christ is proclaimed to all the nations?”
  • If the answer is little or nothing, then find some way of responding to the rebuke implied in that unsatisfactory answer.
  • Discuss with your children what the family might do together to “bless the nations” with the Gospel promise of forgiveness for anyone who repents.
  • Perhaps you might like to calculate just how far you live from Jerusalem, where the Gospel started out. This will likely lead you to the conclusion that you live at “the end of the earth” as far as the gospel mandate goes (Acts 1:8; 13:47; Rom 10:18). So thank God that those who came before were faithful to the commission to take the Gospel to the end of the earth—where it reached even you.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Flood

Gen 6:11–14; 7:7; 9:8–13

Sin Spread So Judgment Came

Adam’s sin kicked off a downward spiral of sin and violence until “everyone on earth was corrupt” and “the earth was filled with violence (Gen 6:11). God’s patience grew thin (Gen 6:3) and he said,

I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them. (Gen 6:7)

God was bringing down the ruler and destroying the realm he had set up at creation when he said,
Let us make human beings in our image, to be like ourselves. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on earth, and the small creatures that scurry along the ground. (Gen 1:26)

God Provided Salvation in a Time of Judgment

But “Noah found favor with the Lord” (Gen 6:8), and his family would have a future—and through him humanity itself would have a future. In fact, the human realm would have a future. God promised:

Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you and be kept alive. (Gen 6:20, see Gen 7:8)

Noah “walked in close fellowship with God” (Gen 6:9), and he “did everything as God has commanded him” (Gen 6:22; 7:5, 9, 16). The flood rose and covered the earth, and “God wiped out every living thing on earth” (Gen 7:23). But the people and animals in the Ark that Noah built survived and lived on to re-fill the earth after the flood abated.

After the flood, God reinitiated the original human mandate. As he had told Adam and Eve, so he told Noah and his sons, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth.” As he had told Adam and Eve to rule over all the earth and every creature in it, so he told Noah, “I have placed them in your power” (Gen 1:28; Gen 9:1-2).

God’s Grace Assured Humanity of a Future

God confirmed a covenant with humanity and with the animal kingdom, promising never again to destroy all of the creation by flood (Gen 9:8–13). Just as we are all descend from Adam and Eve, so too we all descend from Noah and his sons.
  • We still have God’s promise that he won’t destroy the earth in a great flood.
  • We still have the creation mandate: be fruitful, fill, and rule the earth as God’s royal representatives.
Our days are no better than those of the flood. In fact, Jesus described the last days in those very terms (Matt 24:37–38; Luke 17:26–27). And a time of judgment is coming.

But God has already sent a “son of Adam” (Luke 3:23, 38) to fulfill that creation mandate perfectly. God had placed everything under the rule of Adam and his descendants, but they failed—and continue to fail. But where the descendants of Adam and Noah fail, Jesus perfectly fulfills the Father’s plans for a “Son of man” to rule over all creation. That was foretold in the Old Testament (Dan 7:13; 8:7; Ps 110:1). God is now placing everything under Jesus’ feet (Matt 22:44; Acts 2:34–36; 7:55; 1 Cor 15:25–26; Heb 1:13; 10:13; Rev 19:11–21; Rev 20:15).

And because we will reign with him (2 Tim 2:12; Rev 20:6), we will finally participate in a wholesome fulfillment of the creation mandate. The mandate given to Adam and renewed to Noah will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ—and by that means fulfilled in those of us who are “in Christ Jesus.”

Questions, Reflections, and Commitments

  • Do you ever see rainbows where you live? If so, make a mental note that you are going to remind yourself and your children of its meaning the next time you see one together. But remind them that judgment is coming, and the only safety is “in Christ Jesus.”
  • If you or your children use the Internet, set a contest for who can find the most awesome rainbow picture.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The First Sin

Gen 3:1–19

Sin Is Disobedience

God created everything perfect, and because of God’s common grace, much of the beauty of God’s creation still survives in spite of divine judgment on sin. It’s surprising to hear discussion of what the nature of Adam and Eve’s sin must have been. I’ve heard pride, lust of the eye, and so forth. The simple answer is that it was disobedience. God had given them broad latitude in the Garden of Eden, outlawing precisely one tree out of all his creation:

The Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die” (Gen 2:16–17).

Even the Tree of Life would have been a permitted tree before disobedience. But with Satanic enticement, Eve ate from the forbidden tree; then she became Satan’s agent and got Adam to eat from the forbidden tree. Adam should have stood at that tree and come to the knowledge of good and evil by judging the evil enticer rather than falling under the serpent’s enticement.

Sin Has Deadly Consequences

The Bible depicts an immediate loss of intimacy on two levels. (1) Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness before each other—something that never bothered them in their innocence before disobedience (Gen 2:25; 3:7). (2) Worse, they became ashamed and hid from God as well (Gen 3:8).

God made judicial inquires, asking what they had done. Instead of confessing their sins and repenting, they only made excuses. Adam blamed it all on his wife Eve: “I was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit.” Eve blamed the serpent for tricking her (Gen 3:12–13).

But God blamed them both for disobeying him. He told them that this sin would trouble them—and right at the point of the creation mandate. They were to fill the earth. For Eve and all her successive daughters, that would mean childbirth. The judgment on sin touched her right there. Adam was to rule and subdue the earth; however, the only crown the earth would bring him would be thorns and thistles (Gen 3:16–18).

But we can be so glad of divine grace, from the coverings God provided to Adam and Eve, to the promise that the woman’s offspring would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15).

Thank God the story continues with God’s gracious provision through Jesus Christ our Lord. When Jesus met with the same enticer in his wilderness temptations, he succeeded where Adam had failed. He overcame the serpentine enticer by obedience and reverence for God’s Word.

Adam’s sin brought sin into the world, and with it came death and judgment (Rom 5:12–21). But “Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come” (Rom 5:14). One man’s sin brought death, “But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ” (v. 15).

Questions, Reflections, and Commitments

  • What do you think might have been the result if Adam and Eve had gone straight to the Tree of Life and eaten from it while it was still a permitted tree, rather than heading for the forbidden tree and eating it?
  • Reflect on the double force of Paul’s argument in Romans 5:12–21, which is summarized as follows: “Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.”

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Creation

Gen 1:26–31

God created everything for his pleasure, but he created humanity in his own image and likeness. Speculative proposals for what this denotes multiply:

  • Maybe it’s that we have a spirit (Heb. ruach) or a soul (Heb. nepesh); however, animals are also said to have both nephesh (Gen 1:20, 24, 30) and ruach (Gen 6:17; 7:15).1
  • Some suggest that it’s the degree of human intelligence that constitutes the image; however, that explanation seems a recipe for humanitarian disasters of a Nazi-like order if it means failing to identify the fetus, infant, or mentally handicapped as fully human.
  • Some suggest that man’s use of tools constitutes the divine image in humanity; however, we now see that chimpanzees and even some sea creatures fashion and use what can fairly be called “tools.” And since I’m not very adept with tools myself, I’m not sure I like this explanation at all!
  • Others suggest the human desire and ability to create constitutes the image. If so, it’s a strange twist that this is the very aspect of human existence that’s turned so readily against God in the crafting of images to be used for idols!
  • Others suggest that the desire for fellowship with God constitutes the image and likeness; however; however, it’s more likely that this is not what constitutes image and likeness, but hat it’s a result of our bearing the divine image.

All these suggestions ignore the fact that the creation account itself gives us the answer to the question. It defines image-bearing in the functional terms of divine appointment: “They will reign” over all creation as God’s representatives (Gen 1:26), to “govern it” (v. 28). Being God’s image and likeness has to do with being God’s royal representatives ruling over his earth on his behalf.

God also gave humanity a mandate to fill the earth. That involved more than just expanding human population but also extending paradise, so that the whole of the earth would be a paradise-like realm for God’s presence and rule.

Sadly, the Genesis account quickly turns to humanity’s fall into sin. But just as quickly, God’s note of gracious hope returns. Right after God’s judgment on Adam and Eve, condemning them to death for sin, we read a human note of hope: “Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live” (Gen 3:20). And the very next verse we see a divine note of grace: “And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife” (v. 21). The line of God’s image and likeness would continue after all—and with divine protection and provision.

Lest we think that humanity no longer bore God’s image and likeness after the judgment for sin, the next great judgment (the flood) is also followed by a note of divine commitment to man serving as the divine image and likeness: “If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image” (Gen 9:6). This condemns violence against the very image of God. But it also reaffirms the authority of human beings to rule—even in capital cases.

Adam and Eve were created as prototypes of divine rule through human representatives. Later this pattern came to a degree of fulfillment in David and his dynasty.
Of course, all of this could only be a limited version of what will happen through the one who is “the visible image of the invisible God,” not as God’s creation, but as the one who “existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation” (Col 1:15).
“The Scriptures tell us, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living person.’ But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor 15:45). And when he comes forth from the grave, he will live and reign forever. God called on human beings to subdue the earth (Gen 1:28); and all things will be put under Jesus’ feet (1 Cor 15:27; Eph 1:22). And as renewed image of God (Col 3:10) the saints will share in that reign (2 Tim 2:12; Rev 20:6), for which humanity was created in the first place (Heb 2:8).

Questions, Reflections, and Commitments


  1. How might you and your family be more faithful to the mandate to live and reign over creation as God’s image and likeness? Remember that ruling, subduing, and filling was not just about making a paradise, it was about extending the realm of God’s presence and power in the earth through representative rule.
  2. Today when you pray, “May your Kingdom come son,” may you continue with the words of that prayer which constitute both an explicit request and an implied commitment: “May you will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). Make it a request, “O God, manifest your rule through my life.”

_______________

1. Depending upon the context, ruach means everything from “spirit” or “Spirit” to “wind” or “breath.” Similarly, nephesh, refers to means to the “soul,” the “self,” a “life,” or a “being/creature,” or even the “throat.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Introduction to the Jesse Tree

Isaiah 11:1–10

The Bible says, “God chose [Jesus] as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last day” (1 Pet 1:20 NLT). In fact, God says, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Eph 1:4 NLT). God was working his plan of salvation long before Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Jesse had seven sons. Some of them may have seemed impressive sorts to Samuel, whom God had sent to anoint one as king. But God told Samuel, “Don’t judge by [their] appearance or height…. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7 NLT). In fact, God had chosen Jesse’s youngest son to become Israel’s greatest king. David was the first royal branch from “the Jesse tree.”

This family tree held great messianic promise, through thick and thin. The promise of an eternal Davidic dynasty stood true whether Israel and the Davidic dynasty measured up to God’s expectations or not. Even when the Davidic kings broke covenant with God, God’s promise to David and his descendants still stood. So Isaiah could promise, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit…. In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious” (Isa 11:1, 10 ESV).

This figurative language about stumps, shoots, and branches promised renewal of the Davidic dynasty. Out of the apparently dead “stump of Jesse” there would sprout a new shoot (Isa 11:1). This new branch would bear “fruit from the old root,” that is the promise to David’s family would yet come to fruition in a “Son of David” (e.g., Matt 1:1). He would rule well because God’s Spirit would rest on him, enduing him with all the attributes of a righteous king: “the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord” (Isa 11:2 NLT). Much later, the apostle Paul looked on that promise and found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ (Rom 15:12).

Just as God would not look on outward appearances when appointing his chosen king (1 Sam 16:7), this Davidic king would “not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay” (Isa 11:3). Rather, the Spirit’s anointing would enable him to “make fair decisions” (v. 4). He would rule like God himself rules over his people (vv. 3–6). A righteous king should “Fear the Lord and judge with integrity, for the Lord our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes” (2 Chr 19:7).

And that just rule will establish a kingdom of perfect peace—indeed heavenly peace (Isa 11:7–9). Animals that now fight or fear each other will live in peace (v. 7), babies will be safe even “near the hole of a cobra” (v. 8). “Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain” (v. 9a), which was the site of the ancient Davidic throne.

More importantly, it was God’s own throne, upon which God’s anointed king would rule over God’s people. Under the Old Testament arrangement, that meant divine rule over Israel. But even then, it included others who joined Israel in worshiping the one true God. That might be David’s own great-grandmother Ruth the Moabitess, or a resident alien who came to be a disciple of the Lord God. The ultimate goal of this kingdom was not just to bless Israel alone with peace and righteous rule. No, God’s goal was to bless all nations. That was why he called Abraham in the first place (Gen 12:1–3), and it was why he raised up the Davidic dynasty. So the days of fulfillment for the Davidic promise are described this way: “In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place” (Isa 11:10 NLT).

From now until Christmas, the Jesse tree lessons will keep reminding us that God keeps his promises, especially his greatest promise. The Bible stories in the Jesse tree book show how God kept on reminding his people that a “Son of David” would come and fulfill every promise God ever made. When we celebrate Christmas, it ought to be with this note: “All of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ, our ‘Amen’ (which means ‘Yes’) ascends to God for his glory” (2 Cor 1:20 NLT). That should be the underlying motivation for our Christmas shouts, “Glory to God in the highest heaven!”

Questions, Reflections, and Commitments

  • Meditate on the linkage between the Jesse “tree” and our contemporary notion of a “family tree.” We tend to look backwards when we’re talking about the family tree; however, the family tree of Jesse was very much a forward-looking genealogy.
  • As you read the description of the messianic kingdom that Isaiah gave us (Isa 11:1–11), refresh your contribution to the prayers of saints in all the ages: “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10).


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jesus Has No Father... I Have No Heavenly Father?

Some who work to evangelize Muslims suggest dropping the language of "Father" and "Son" to refer the _________ and the _________ of the godhead. The need for blanks to write the second clause of that sentence might suffice as a tidy illustration of the problems that arise in doing that: (1) It makes it clear that we really have no other clear way of talking about their distinct existence and eternal relationship. (2) It hints that loosing these two expressions means losing the Trinity. (3) It means we lose "our Father" who is the giver of every good gift. (4) It means we lose our elder brother, to whom we are joined as co-heirs of all God offers.

It makes it clear that we really have no other clear way of talking about their distinct existence and eternal relationship. The people proposing that we avoid this language suggest that we must use another expression, so we avoid the stumbling stone of Muslims getting the offensive notion that God the Father sired the Son by sexual relations with a goddess or woman. This is indeed an offensive and deeply pagan notion. But it's not Christian doctrine. And what other language does God's self-revelation allow us but Father and Son for this?

Would we move to the sub-Christian position of Adoptionism? Would we suggest that Yahweh God adopted either a human or a secondary "god" as his "son" and then conferred upon him some measure of divinity? Dropping the Father-Son language seems like the fast track to Christological heresy of one form or another.

Would we forsake familial language entirely?If so, we would at that point begin speaking of something other than what the Scriptures speaks of. That's not even acceptable as exposition--let alone translation. What other relational terms do we have that would convey this eternal relation in the godhead? At best, any substitute suggested might convey a limited aspect of what the relation is. Drop "Father" for "The Almighty"--and then distinguish that title what? Jesus Christ the Lord is The Everlasting Almighty God. Drop "Son" for some expression of messianic royalty? But any legitimate member of the Davidic dynasty carried a messianic title, and that title came by being called "my son" by Yahweh (Ps 2:7; 2Sam 7:14; Ps 89:26-27). Throughout the Old Testament, that title came by divine adoption at their coronation; in Christ, that title came by ontology, he is eternally "the Son."

It hints that loosing these two expressions means losing the Trinity. Really, I fear that losing these two expressions means abandoning orthodox trinitarian theology. Nowhere in the Scriptures does any writer explicitly spell out the trinitarian distinctions and mutual divinity of the three members of the Godhead. We arrive at "the Trinity" from clear and necessary implications deriving from how the members of the Godhead refer to each other. Jesus says, "my Father" (Matt 10:32-33; Matt 11:27); the Father says, "This is my Son" (Matt 3:17). Abandoning familial language means losing the Trinity--and the Church rightly calls that heresy.

It means we lose "our Father" who is the giver of every good gift. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he taught the "Our Father" (Matt 6:9). When Jesus taught on prayer, he told his disciples to trust God to give good gifts--like a father does (Matt 11:9-13). In spite of all the titles that a Muslim learns for God, one beloved relational title is missing, "our Father." and oh what a loss that is! Oh what a comfort an assurance that provides believers. Oh what robbery to deny, forgo, or hold off telling the lost that their Father awaits them with open arms.

It means we lose our elder brother, to whom we are joined as co-heirs of all God offers. We gain nothing from God, except in Christ; we're heirs of heaven and earth in Christ. Jesus, the eternal Son, is the inheriting Son (Heb 1:2). Indeed, we become fellow heirs with Jesus the Christ (Rom 8:17). "For every one of Godʼs promises are 'Yes' in him; therefore also through him the 'Amen' is spoken, to the glory we give to God" (2 Cor 1:20).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 22, 2012

Biblical Studies Resources

I've recently joined the Tyndale House project called STEP - Scripture Tools for Every Person - in Cambridge, U.K. I am now the project's Director of Distance Research.  

I'll continue my travels to lecture all over Eurasia for our Bible schools and seminaries, and I'll continue writing courses for Global University's graduate program. But the Assemblies of God World Missions has seconded me to that project, so I can devote considerable time to it. I'll be recruiting and supervising volunteer researchers, writers, and editors. I'll also likely do a lot of final editing.

For a long time I've wished that my students and colleagues had access to the same quality of biblical studies tools that I generally take for granted. We aim to make that happen. We aim to produce the highest quality biblical studies tools and distribute them on the widest possible basis, totally without cost to the user. 

All of these tools will be accessible at three different levels: an entry level, an intermediate level, and an advanced level.
  • To see what we're up to Facebook users can just search there for "Tyndale STEP," or anyone can look here.
  • Check here if you would like to watch the actual program while it's in progress. It will be like peeking through the safety barrier at a construction site: It may look messy, parts will be missing, some parts won't work on the first try, and so forth. But you can play around with it and see where we're heading with some of it.
  • Why don't you volunteer to help us. We're recruiting volunteers with a variety of skill sets to work as volunteers, so we can produce this for free and distribute it without cost. We would especially solicit help producing the Interlinears module, which is a priority right now. You can see what's involved with that and all the other modules on a slide show here. Of course, some of the work requires pretty high-level biblical studies or programming skills, but people with a good knowledge of the English Bible and a desire to help out can make a big contribution as well.
If you would like some really high-quality moderated collections of web resources for biblical and theological studies, I would point you three sources:
  • Tyndale House has Biblical Weblinks, which you can actually include on your own personal or college web site if you like.
  • And Rob Bradshaw has a wonderful classified collection at Theology on the Web, which STEP will incorporate.
  • And if you want a plethora (an excessive amount or number, an abundance) of biblical studies resources available right on your browser's toolbar, get the Tyndale Toolbar. On this, you can do a wide range of things like these: (1) Search for books and articles, (2) find a host of online Bibles in various languages, (3) check an interlinear Bible, (4) translate short phrases from German, Latin, French, and so forth, (5) get free fonts for the biblical languages, (6) find a lexicon for Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Coptic, Latin, and so forth--and much more.

I've also been recommending some free desktop Bible software.
  • For a long time I've recommended and distributed e-Sword to my students and colleagues who cannot afford to buy expensive commercial Bible software. 
  • Recently I've discovered TheWORD, which I may start recommending and distributing. I'll have to check it out some more and see if I like it better than e-Sword.
Of course, if you can actually afford to buy pricey biblical studies software, I can only give you some choices and characterize them briefly:
  • I use BibleWorks, which is the ultimate in Windows based high-end academic Bible software. People do sometimes run it on Apple computers, using Parallels or some other approach to running Windows software.
  • Mac, iPad, and iPhone users will more likely prefer AcCordance, the equally high-end academic Bible software. And if you own the desktop AcCordance software, you can use it and any of its modules on your iPhone and/or iPad without any extra cost.
  • Another choice, which runs on nearly all platforms is Logos software. This is not the most powerful original languages study environment, pride of place goes to BibleWorks and AcCordance for that; however, if you want to build a thoroughly integrated biblical studies electronic library, this may be the way to go.
  • For use on the iPhone and iPad, I really like two free apps, one called BibleReader from Olive Tree software and the other called Blue Letter Bible. I think both BibleReader and Blue Letter Bible are available for Android devices as well.
One final note about academic word processing, or just getting a good word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager and so forth if you can't afford to buy Microsoft Office.
  • For just raw power as an academic word processing environment, I use Note Bene, which does it all from automated footnotes to finding resources on the web to handling all the biblical languages beautifully. Doubt if I would actually recommend it to most people who read my blog, but if you're into academic writing, maybe you want to check it out.
  • If you can't afford Microsoft Office and need an office package that doesn't cost anything, I've recommended OpenOffice for a long time, but now I definitely would recommend LibreOffice, it's great!
  • And whether you use MS Word, OpenOffice, or LibreOffice, you people writing academic stuff need to quit fighting with the footnotes and bibliography content and style. Let the free software from Zotero do it for you. It is really amazing software, and you'll be stunned at what a labor saver it will be if you write a lot of stuff with footnotes or embedded citations and bibliographies. Take a tour of Zotero here.