William MacDonald – Believers Bible Commentary

WilliamMacDonaldBelieversBibleCommentary.jpgI find bible commentaries are very helpful when studying the bible.
Naturally a good ‘study’ bible helps, but they’re a little bit different. A study bible is basically a bible with footnotes, endnotes, and references.
However a bible commentary generally covers nearly every verse in the bible. They might skip a few verses in spots, but generally they do a good job in covering the entire bible.
Some bible commentaries are one volume; others can be quite a few volumes. There are many 12-14 volume collections available. To a certain degree my Preacher’s Outline and Study Bible is a combination bible, study bible, and bible commentary all rolled into one.
To the left is William MacDonald one volume “Believer’s Bible Commentary”. It is over 2,400 pages with nice crisp text.
Here’s a blurb:
Written to give “the average Christian reader a basic knowledge of what the Holy Bible is all about,” the Believer’s Bible Commentary is a one-volume commentary on the entire Bible based on the New King James Version (NKJV). Author William MacDonald has compiled an insightful and applicable commentary, with introductions, notes, and bibliographies for each book of the Bible. This commentary is both a verse-by-verse exposition (in the New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes) and a paragraph-by-paragraph exposition (all other Old Testament books). Passages in the Old Testament which point toward Christ are given special attention.

Relics by Joan Carroll Cruz

RelicsJoanCarrollCruz.jpgAs stated yesterday, I’ve started reading Joan Carroll Cruz’s book on the Eucharist. I liked it so much I ordered two more of her books. Yesterday I wrote about ‘The Incorruptables’.
The second book I ordered is ‘Relics’.
Here is a blog about the book:
Since the early days of the Church, the remains of a saint or holy person were called relics (from the Latin Reliquiae, meaning remains).
The Veneration of relics is practiced by Christians and non-Christians alike. It is in no way restricted to the Catholic religion but is, to some extent, a primitive instinct with origins that predate Christianity. It is known that relics of Buddha were distributed soon after his death. The relics of Confucius have been venerated by the people of Asia since the year 195 B.C., and the relics of Mohammed, who died in A.D. 632, are similarly revered. In the Old Testament the relics of the prophet Elisha are mentioned (2 Kings 13:20-21), and the New Testament notes the relics of the Apostle Paul and the wonders the Lord worked through them (Acts 19:11-12).
From early Church history there was no extravagance or abuse in honoring relics and, indeed, the practice was taken for granted by writers such as St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom and other great doctors of the Church without exception.
In Relics, Joan Carroll Cruz, author of the bestseller The Incorruptibles, describes in vivid detail the stories, history, and theology of Catholic belief surrounding the veneration of many of the major and active relics that are revered by the Catholic ChurchÑthe Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, the Blood of Januarius, the relics of the Blessed Mother, and many more. The role of relics in Catholic life and what the Church teaches about them are revealed and carefully documented in this unique and engrossing account.<
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The Incorruptibles by Joan Carroll Cruz

TheIncorruptiblesJoanCarrollCruz.jpgA week or two ago I received a book by Joan Carroll Cruz about the Eucharest. I was so pleased with the book (I’ve just started to read it), that I went out and ordered two of her other books.
Here is a review that I found:
“The Incorruptibles” by Joan Carroll Cruz, Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford, Illinois,
On the very first page of her introduction, Joan Cruz specifies that she understands that she is treating a very special case in the preservation of the bodies of saints. First, she notes that there are three classifications of preserved bodies: (1) deliberately preserved, (2) accidentally preserved and (3) the incorruptibles. Ancient Egyptian mummies are probably the most familiar examples of deliberately preserved bodies; many of us have seen them in various museums. In her introduction, Ms. Cruz presents more details than most of us want to know about the modern techniques of embalming and its impact on the body of the deceased.
(Pages 27 to 32).
Accidentally preserved bodies include the more or less well known cases of bodies found in peat bogs in Denmark, Ireland and Scotland (page 32). Ms. Cruz presents the interesting case of Bremen Cathedral, Germany, where the cellar burial place tends to mummify any body left there. Experiments were run using the bodies of animals or fowls, hung in the open-windowed cellar, and the bodies of these animals became mummified.
The incorruptibles, however, are those bodies which have been preserved only since Christian times and their preservation is …”even more baffling…” since it “…seems to be neither dependent upon the manner of burial nor on the temperature or place of interment”. Joan Cruz makes a case for the intervention of God as a sign of favor to His saints. The mystery is “…further compounded … (with) …the observance of blood and clear oils” which flow from these incorruptibles. (Page 27). Her introduction to the book is a clear and pressing statement as to why the 100+ cases she presents are different from mummifying the bodies or from accidental preservation.
After her excellent introduction, Joan Cruz then presents, in chronological order, slightly more than a hundred documented cases of individuals whose bodies had been preserved from corruption after their death. In many of the cases, she provides photographs of the dead bodies, with, perhaps, the most striking and the most beautiful being that of the nun and saint, St. Bernadette Soubirous, (1844-1879), whose body has been preserved intact, “…without embalming or other artificial means”, since 1879. This is a wonderful book, which will make anyone think again on his mortality, if the book is read with an open mind.

The Fathers of the Church – Mike Aquilina

TheFathersOfTheChurchMikeAquilina.jpgHere’s another book I’ve recently added to my collection.
The Fathers of the Early Church (expanded edition) by Mike Aquilina serves as an introduction to the teachings of the first Christian teachers. I’ve only read a few pages, but can already tell I’m going to like this book. I’ve been looking forward to especially reading about Polycarp and Justin Martyr.
Here are some blurbs about this book:
Most Christians have at least a passing acquaintance with St. Augustine, but how many know much about Irenaeus, Cyprian, Origen, Polycarp, or Justin? These are just a few of the famous “Fathers of the Church” whose thoughts and teachings have influenced the entire history of Christianity. Now, in easy-to-read and understand language, Mike Aquilina offers “a first look” at the first Fathers.
Concentrating on the first centuries of the Church, this exciting historical overview of the formation of the Faith concentrates – not on the great movements and insights – but on the characters who gave voice to those ideas. From Clement, who was St. Peter’s successor, to John of Damascus, all the greatest names of the first millennium of Church history are present.
A must-read for all who seek to understand the Church’s past in order to prepare for her future.
“An ideal introduction to the early history of the Church” – Homiletic and Pastoral Review
“Simply a great read… a clear, compelling, accessible primer that’s a gem of readability for a popular audience. I highly reccomend it.” – Archbishop Charles Chaput
“Mike Aquilina has made the Fathers accessible, interesting, and – now and then at least – even fun.” – Russell Shaw in Lay Witness
“I am sure that the work in question will become a classic.” – Archimandrite Joseph Lee
“A very useful and well-written book, and a good addition to any library.” – Dave Yap, Greyfriars, Oxford
“A perceptive, well-written, and extremely useful introduction to the Church Fathers. The quotations from the Fathers themselves were chosen with care and will enlighten and inspire all serious Christians.” – Thomas Reeves, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin – Parkside, and author of The Empty Church”

The Catholic Catechism

TheCatholicCatechismJohnHardon.jpgWhile I’m on the subject of Catholic Catechism, I’d thought this would be a good time to introduce everyone to another Catholic classic book.
The Catholic Catechism by John A. Hardon is considered a major work.
Here is what ChristianBook.com says of this book:
This volume is intended to meet a widely felt need for an up-to-date and concise source book on the principal teachings of the Catholic Church. Since the close of the Second Vatican Council, there has been such an accumulation of ecclesiastical constitutions and decrees and so many changes they introduced in Catholic practice that few people have been able to keep up with all that has happened. A parallel purpose of this volume is to offer those who use it a handy guidebook of the Catholic tradition, whether formally documented in ecclesiastical sources or implicitly accepted by the faithful under the aegis of the Church’s hierarchial leaders.

Ripping Thru Today

I really wanted to get quite a few things accomplished this weekend. Nora leaves on Thursday night to head to West Virginia for a week. My mother and I will join her on Friday night.
I have been able to collect various items that I needed to take on vacation. While the WV home is almost fully stocked with everything, on every vacation there’s always a special project I want to work on.
This vacation I want to spend quite a bit of time studying my Liberty Home Bible Institute course and working on the website and blog.
I had a headcold that has really slowed me down to a crawl. I really started feeling bad on Friday afternoon and it has stayed with me for the last three days. I stayed in all day yesterday and will stay in today. Today is the first Sunday in over two months that I’ve missed church.
I’m struggling getting into setting up a study pattern for the Liberty Home Bible Institute, although I’ve received some good study hints from Clarence Ratliff. I do intend to really start concentrating on the course this week (before vacation).
When I purchased the course I had the option of getting the lectures on cassettes, CDs, or pre-loaded onto an mp3 player. Already having an mp3 player, I didn’t need another. Cassettes are outdated. Therefore CDs seemed the logical choice. However, having the lectures on mp3s is a fantastic way to go, as I enjoy listening to my mp3 player. The solution is to take all 120 CDs and rip every track into a mp3 format.
This is not a quick process. It takes quite a bit of time to rip each CD. Additionally, there are a few things that slows down the process. Disks 1 – 6 (OT) contains the lectures for the Creation Stage. However Disk 6 also begins the lessons for the Patriarchal Stage. This wouldn’t present much of a problem if each track on the CD was properly labeled such as 01Creation.mp3, 01 Creation.mp3, etc. No, that would be too easy. Rather they are just track1.mp3, etc.
That means after ripping to the computer I must go in and relabel each track properly. This is further compounded by the fact that sometimes study sections change midstream during an individual mp3.
I must therefore check each CD carefully where lesson sections change. From there I must make sure I have them properly divided into appropriately named folders on the hard drive. From there I must copy to my mp3 player, then create playlists. This takes a tremendous amount of time. I’ve been working at ripping everything for about 5 hours now and still only have done about 25% of the entire course. A few weeks ago I was able to rip through the first few course sections of the Old Testament.
I’ll be hard pressed to get everything ripped to the hard drive, then transferred to the mp3 player before the end of the week; however, I’m determined to do so. So for the rest of the day, I’ll be ripping thru today.

Christian Computing Magazine

ChristianComputingMagCoverMay2007.jpgMany years ago I used to subscribe to Christian Computing Magazine. I remember getting the magazine for several years. Then, for some reason, my subscription stopped.
I enjoyed the magazine as it was full of all sorts of bible related software.
Again, this was many years ago, long before computers reached their current state of speed and power.
I have just discovered the Christian Computing Magazine has returned. However this time, the subscription is free and the magazine is totally on line in PDF format.
You can go to http://www.ccmag.com/ to sign up for their newsletter.
Also you can download the back issues directly to your computer.

NASB – Giant Print Bible

NASBgiantPrint.jpgOn Thursday I received my giant print New American Standard Bible.
I had originally ordered it from ChristianBook.com; however, they were out of stock and it was backordered. I found another source for the bible at about the same price.
The style is $1333 and has a black leathertex cover.
I also paid a few dollars and had it engraved.
This is indeed a giant print bible with the text being about 13 point. Also, it is a red letter edition meaning that all the words of Christ are in red.
The NASB is considered a literal word for word translation. The bible also contains over 13,000 end of verse references.
I like the look and feel of the bible. The only thing I would have liked to have seen is a thumb index. The bible I had ordered with ChristianBook.com was supposed to be thumb indexed. The one I received from the other source was not. A thumb index is a nice feature.
I don’t think I’m going to add bible tabs on this bible. While it would make my look ups a little quicker, I don’t want to ruin the look and feel of the bible.
The NASB is currently a very popular translation. It is the translation that is used at my Baptist church.

Bible Books Listing – Updated

With the recent addition of several books to my bible library, I’ve updated my online excel spreadsheet.
You can go here for the spreadsheet: http://www.rebnora.com/BibleBooks.xls
You must either have Microsoft Excel or the Excel viewer on your local computer to view the document.
I’ve recently added The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther (7 Volumes), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (4 Volumes), The Westminster Pulpit (5 Volumes) and Spurgeon’s Sermons (5 Volumes).
Can you believe that these 21 hardback books only cost $128, plus about $12 shipping? Even counting shipping the average cost per book was under $7.00.
You just can’t beat the prices at ChristianBook.com.
I’ve been wanting to get the Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, 4 Volumes by J.C. Ryle for some time, so it was nice to add to my collection.
That will probably be the last ‘commentary’ purchased for a little bit. Having the Preacher’s Outline and Study Bible (both in print and electronic form), plus having several other printed commentaries, and many more electronic commentaries within E-Sword, I pretty much have a wide gambit of commentaries.
If you notice, the other three collections that I purchased were sermons and writings by well known ministers. I wanted to get some of the sermons from the ‘classic’ preachers in history.
Certainly everyone has heard of Martin Luther.
Charles H. Spurgeon was one of the best known preachers of his time (June 19, 1834 – January 31, 1892) was a British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential amongst Christians of different denominations.
The Westminster Pulpit sermons of G. Campbell Morgan (1863 – 1945). Ordained a minister of the Congregational Church in 1889, the young man became the leading preacher in England, holding several pastorates. Later he became widely known in the United States and Canada as a Bible conference speaker, lecturer, pastor and teacher before returning to England in 1935 to become the pastor of Westminster Congregational Church in London.

Liberty Home Bible Institute

There is one nice feature of the LHBI. Since the course is broken down into three different sections (Old Testament, New Testament, & Doctrine) with various lessons within each, you can jump around from lesson to lesson.
In other words, one method could be to do the first lesson of the Old Testament (Creation Stage), then do the first lesson of the New Testament (Gospels), then do any of the sections of the Doctrine section (since none of the doctrine sections actually build on one another).
I hope to finish up the Creation Stage this weekend. Then I’m thinking about moving on to a doctrine lesson, then go to the Gospel lesson in the New Testament.
I don’t want to get bogged down in the Old Testament. Since this is a huge part of the bible, this stage could get rather boring very fast. By mixing it up a bit and going from section to section, it should keep my interest up in the course.