HCSB Apologetic Study Bible – Review

Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Pub. Date: October 2007
ISBN 10: 158640024X
ISBN 13: 9781586400248
Product #: 005040119
Translation: Holman Christian Standard
Description: Complete Without Apocrypha
Concordance: No
Pages: 2240
Print size: 9.5 pts
Red Letter: No
Binding: Paper Over Board
Weight: 2.98 lbs
Trim Size: 7 X 9.4 X 1.71
Price: $39.99

Big thanks to Drew Van Huss from B&H Publishing for sending me a review copy!

This new study bible from B&H Publishing uses the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB, CSB) as its bible text. You all know what a fan I am of this translation!

The great feature of this study bible are the more than 100 concise articles that are written by a who’s who of well known Apologist. They cover everything from demons to the Trinity. It also contains these sections title Twisting Scriptures through out the bible that detail how these portion of verses have been misinterpreted (Twisted) by cults. It also contains some really nice color charts in the back with various Apologist through out history. I find this study bible very useful for those that are starting out in Apologetics. As you read through the articles it will introduce you to many great writers in this field to pursue further.

I took some time to compare it to few other study bibles (The Believers Study Bible – BSB & Ryrie Study Bible -RSB) that I own, and overall it compares well. I did find that the commentary notes were not as extensive as the RSB, or the BSB. Also, the introductory notes for Genesis could have been a bit more in-depth (i.e. did not explain the meaning of Genesis) as BSB & RSB, however they are written with an apologetics emphasis. The strength of this study bible truly is in its unique approach. Since it’s focus is on Apologetics it places it in a class by itself as there is no other study bible that I know of today that has taken this approach.

I would highly recommend this bible for anyone looking for a different approach in study bibles, or anyone that has an interest in Apologetics. For further information:

Theological Education – is it possible on the Net for free?

I was thinking about this the other day. Is it possible to get a Theological Education for free between the resources on the Internet and through the reading of books that would be equivalent to a B.A in Biblical Studies, or Theology? What about at a Master’s Degree level?

I am constantly looking for new sites that offer serious studies, with outlines, notes, and mp3’s.

Here are the sites that I have found so far that I think can make it happen:

  • Biblical Training
    • Mostly MP3’s
  • The Theology Program
    • Outlines, syllabus and MP3’s
    • Recommended reading assignments
    • You can also enroll and turn in assignments (no college credit)
  • Covenant Worldwide
    • Selected courses from their Seminary
    • Outlines, syllabus & MP3
  • Sonic Light
    • Extensive study notes and MP3’s on every book of the bible.
  • That’s my list tell me what you think. If you know of other great sites that offer at least this level of training feel free to share.

Bibles I Own

I have been meaning to get around and show the bibles I currently own. Always interested in what bible collections people have, so I thought I would take the time and share mine.

What Bible am I reading now a days? I have recently switched over to the Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB), as I find it literal enough, but yet has a nice modern English to it. I would love to own a premium leather version of this bible, but at this point I am going to wait as there are plans to release an updated version in 2009. I do find much use out of using various translations when I am doing my studies the NLT, and The Message for example sometimes help in drawing out the meaning of some difficult passages.

I just got my Revised English Bible (REB) in the mail last week and started to read it a bit, but have not spend enough time on it to comment. Although my purpose is not to post reviews on these bibles, I may on the Study Bibles that I own, but there are some really good reviews already done by some respected bloggers.

  1. Rick Mansfiled – Top Ten Bible Versions: The Complete Boxed Set
  2. ElShaddai Edwards – he is sufficient

I have broken them down into 6 categories.

  1. Leather Bibles (including study bibles):
    1. New King James Version (NKJV)
    2. Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB) – Ultra Thin Reference
    3. English Standard Version (ESV) – Cordovan (Antique Burgundy) Premium Calfskin
    4. CSB – The Ministers Bible
    5. NKJV – The Believers Study Bible – W.A. Criswell

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  1. Bounded or TruTone Bibles:
    1. CSB – Compact
    2. The Message – New Testament
    3. ESV
    4. The NET Bible – Reader’s Edition
    5. The NET Bible – First Edition

  1. Hard & Paper Back Bibles:
    1. The New Testament in Modern English – J. B. Phillips
    2. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
    3. The New Livining Translation (NLT) – First Edition
    4. The Revised English Bible (REB)
    5. NKJV
    6. ESV Classic Reference

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  1. Greek English Interlinear Bibles:
    1. The NKJV Interlinear Bible
    2. Zondervan NIV Interlinear Bible
    3. ESV Reverse Interlinear Bible
    4. KJV Interlinear Bible

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  1. Parallel Bibles
    1. The Evangelical Parallel New Testament (NKJV, NIV, ESV, HCSB, TNIV, NLT, NCV, The Message)
    2. The Comparative Study Bible Old & New Testaments (NIV, NASB, Amplified Bible, KJV)

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  1. Study Bibles (various covers)
    1. Scofield Study Bible KJV
    2. The Believers Study Bible – W.A. Criswell NKJV (This is one is really good)
    3. Scofield Study Bible ESV
    4. Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible NASB
    5. Thompson Chain Study Bible KJV
    6. Ryrie Study Bible NASB Updated Edition
    7. Thompson Chain Study Bible NIV

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A Brief Study on the Law & Promise – Part one

Galatians

A Brief Study on the Law & Promise
by
Robert Jimenez
Scriptures quoted are from the ESV bible, unless otherwise noted

Key words in this study are:

  • Purpose
  • Faith
  • Redemption (redeem)
  • Guardian
  • Promise

First off there is one message, one Gospel, and one way to redemption:
Galatians 6:6-9
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Only faith in Christ can Justify us, and no one will be justified by the works of the law.
Galatians 2:15-16
15We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

If justification is possible through the Law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Galatians 2:21
21 I do not nullify (or set aside) the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Abraham precedes the Law. Clearly even Abraham was justified by faith (he believed), before the Law ever came into existences. Now we begin to see that the Law, and Promise have a different purpose.

Galatians 3:6
Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.. HCSB

7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify[c] the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

The Law is incapable to justify or declare us righteous. The righteous will live by faith. Faith means: trust, to trust in God, to hang yourself on the promises, the Law refers to books of Moses beginning with Exodus through Deut. Also, it can have it’s meaning in the Covenant sense, God came into agreement with Moses.

God’s ultimate purpose is that we would receive the promise through faith. What is the promise? That Christ would come and redeem us.

Galatians 3:10-14 HCSB
10 For all who [rely on] the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law. 11 Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. 12 But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them. 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. 14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The next verses in Galatians goes into detail regarding the Law and Promise.

Galatians 3:15-18 HCSB
15 Brothers, I’m using a human illustration. No one sets aside even a human covenant that has been ratified (or established), or makes additions to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but and to your seed, referring to one, who is Christ. 17 And I say this: the law, which came 430 years later, does not revoke a covenant that was previously ratified (or established) by God, so as to cancel the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is from the law, it is no longer from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

This promise was given 430 years before the Law, and Paul argues that you do not nullify, or set aside a promise or covenant (that is what God did when he made the promise, He entered into a covenant with Abraham, before he made a covenant with Moses) just because you create a law for a different purpose. The purpose of the Promise was to declare us justified through faith in Christ, and the purpose of the Law was to declare us dead, sinful, incapable to live or be redeemed by it.

We know from verse 7, that we are Sons of Abraham, and we are the ones that will inherit the promise through faith in Christ.

So Paul says that just because the Law came into affect it does not revoke the Promise made to Abraham.

So why even give the Law (I already hinted at that)? What is the purpose of the Law?
Galatians 3:19a TNIV
What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.

So is the Law opposed to the Promise? This question arises out of confusion in what the purpose of the Promise is for, and what the purpose of the Law is for. Paul addresses it as he realized that those of the Circumcision Party did not fully comprehend the Promise made to Abraham, and thought that the Law nullified all other agreements. They were confused, as are most people today in regards to the Law and Promise. They fail to recognize that each was given to serve a different purpose. I am getting ahead of myself, but the Law was meant to lead us to Christ, and the Promise was meant to redeem us.

Galatians 3:19b (the next section is taken out of the HCSB)
It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise was made would come.
So… (Galatians 3:21)
21 Is the law therefore contrary to God’s promises?

Absolutely not!

They cannot be in opposition to each other because they serve a different purpose. Once you understand this, then you realize that there is no conflict or opposition between the two. Understanding this is very crucial, otherwise you will continue to find conflict because you think they are intended for the same purpose.

Here is where Paul once again defines the purpose of the Law:

For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly be by the law.


The Law was NOT given so that it can give life. What then was the purpose of the Law?

22 But the Scripture (or the Law) has imprisoned everything under sin’s power, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed.

We were imprisoned under sin’s power, and confined under the law, until the Promise was fulfilled.

The next verses 24-25 are not translated correctly in the KJV. It incorrectly translates the Greek word paidagogos as schoolmaster” and the ESV and TNIV translate it as “put in charge of us“, and the HCSB translates it “garudian

Galatians 3:24-26 – HCSB
24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. 25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

According to the Expositor’s Bible Commentary:

Paidagogos means “a child-custodian” or “child- attendant.” The pedagogue was a slave employed by wealthy Greeks or Romans to have responsibility for one of the children of the family. He had charge of the child from about the years six to sixteen and was responsible for watching over his behavior wherever he went and for conducting him to and from school. The pedagogue did not teach. Therefore the translation “schoolmaster” is wrong; if Paul had meant this, he would have used didaskalos (which means teacher) rather than paidagogos. Paul’s point is that this responsibility ceased when the child entered into the fullness of his position as a son, becoming an acknowledged adult by the formal rite of adoption by his father.

John MacArthur Jr says this:

The role of the paidagōgos was never permanent, and it was a great day of deliverance when a boy finally gained freedom from his paidagōgos. His purpose was to take care of the child only until he grew into adulthood. At that time the relationship was changed. Though the two of them might remain close and friendly, the paidagōgos, having completed his assignment, had no more authority or control over the child, now a young man, and the young man had no more responsibility to be directly under the paidagōgos.

The sole purpose of
the Law, God’s divinely appointed paidagōgos, was to lead men to Christ, that they might be justified. After a person comes to Him, there is no longer need for the external ceremonies and rituals to act as guides and disciplinarians, because the new inner principles operate through the indwelling Christ, in whom is “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). The law in the ceremonial sense is done away with, though in the moral sense it remains always an intimate friend that one seeks to love and favor. Before Christ came, the law of external ritual and ceremony, especially the sacrificial system, pictured the once-for-all, perfect, and effective sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. When the perfect Christ comes into the believer’s heart, those imperfect pictures of Him have no more purpose or significance.

Now that we are grown up and Sons of Christ, we no longer have a need for a guardian. Since we are Sons, we are heirs to the promise. That is the exact point that Paul is making by the careful choice of the word Paidagogos. The analogy is that the Law was our custodian/guardian until we were full adults. Once we were full adults (i.e. grown up sons in Christ, through faith according to the promise), we no longer have a need for a guardian (Law).

Galatians 3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

To Tithe or Not to Tithe that is the question

I recently had an opportunity to minister on the tithe at my home church. I thought I would post some further thoughts that I did not get to fully explore – limited amount of time to teach on this subject.

I am hoping to engage you in some deep thinking regarding this matter. What I don’t want is hostility. Whether you believe in the tithe or not, it’s not a bad principle for one to follow in this life.

I understand that there is a danger to only give a tenth, but based on the statistics that are out there concerning giving, it appears that is something we don’t need to worry about. Some of the statistics that I read stated that church goers give less than 3% of their income.

The basic argument against tithing is that it is part of the Law. However, if we take a closer look at the scriptures tithing predates the Law. Not only does it predate the Law, but it is associated with Abraham, or Abram since his name has not been changed just yet.

Lets read the text and then we can proceed.
Text: Genesis 14:17-24

17After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer (Che-do-lo-a-mar) and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19And he blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Let’s look at another verse Hebrews 6:20

where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek

Let’s keep reading further in Hebrews chapter 7

1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 3He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.

4See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils!

Why is there an exclamation point here? There is some excitement going on here regarding the tithe that Abraham gave to this great man. Also, no where are we told in the text (or anywhere in Hebrews not to give a tenth).

5And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. 6But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.

The Levities were obligated to collect the tithe, as they were commanded to do so. But Abraham was under no obligation to give a tenth. Melchizedek accepted the tenth from the man who was blessed and possessed the promise.

7It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 9One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

This verse is most interesting. What exactly is being said here? Is the implication being stated that the tenth given by Abraham was given to the one that lives forever more? Is it implying that by faith Abraham gave the tenth to Christ? Apparently this point is so great, that it states the even Levi himself gave the tithe through Abraham (Levi is a great grandchild of Abraham) to this Priest that Lives.

Again stressing the tenth in a positive manner, and showing the importance that this order of priest were greater than the Levitcal priest, in that they even tithed to Melchizedek. If Abraham, and the Levites all tithed to Melchizedek, what is they trying to tell us? Maybe that we should also give a tenth to the Priest after the order of Melechizedek? Again, shades of faith being displayed by Abraham, if he had given because it was mandated, then fine case closed. But Abraham gave of his own free will, by faith. It is interesting that this event transpired right before Abraham was declared righteous by God.

11Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

This almost sounds like the sort of reasoning that Paul would use. If perfection could be achieved through the Levitical priesthood, then why would we need another priest to rise up? It’s the same argument “because by works of the law no one will be justified” Galatians 2:16

15This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is witnessed of him,

“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.

18On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19(for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

The new priest is not of the order of the Levitical Priesthood, but rather after the order of Melchizedek, and yes the Levites had to collect tithes, but in Christ we are free, and like Abraham we can give to this New Order of Priest (Christ our Perfect Priest who lives forever) a free will tenth. If Abraham is our example of faith, why not our example of giving?

It is easy to make some big jumps here, but all I am trying to do is connect the dots. No where in the New Testament are we told not to give a tenth. Unlike circumcision, which Paul was against, never do we read that Paul was against the tithe. I think that if we look at the tenth from the perspective of freedom, and of our own free will given to the Perfect Priest, and following an example that Abraham gave for us, then I think we at least have a precedent to follow.

I think that there is plenty of room here for some consideration, reconsideration for those of you who have abandon the tenth completely. I pray that Holy Spirit will guide each of you as you study the Scriptures.

Blessings,
Robert Jimenez
robtjimenez@gmail.com

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Shadow Lands – Part Two

Matthew 11:12From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence,[a] and the violent take it by force.

The primary meaning of the verb paratz is, ‘to break or tear down…e.g. a wall…to break asunder, to break forth, as a child from the womb, Gen. 38:29; of water, to burst forth…a torrent bursts forth…also to break out, act with violence, Hos. 4:2’.

…the Kingdom of the Heavens is being breached (The Messiah) and the breachers (us) are possessing it.’

The Messiah the Shepherd has breached or teared open a section of the fence or wall of the Sheepfold (the earthly existence). The Sheep (believers; breachers), would then continue to break down and break through the fence of the sheep-pen into greener pastures.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (esv) For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

The scriptures are clear that there is a war waging, and it is not according to the flesh. Another way of saying this would be:

“There is a spiritual war going on, and it will only be won in a spiritual way, through divine powers”

If we think that we will combat this present evil buy human efforts alone (i.e. wars), we are hugely mistaken. I believe that this present evil in the world today is driven by a greater hostile spiritual evil.

How do we wage this spiritual war? The scriptures say that we have “divine power to destroy strongholds”. When I read verses like this I can’t help but think what does this mean? It is clear that it is telling me that I have a Divine Power. It is also clear that it is telling me how I should use this power – “To Destroy Strongholds”

Maybe if I read it from the New Living Translation it might shed a bit more light and maybe be more specific.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (nlt) We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. 4We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.

In the Greek the word strongholds means:

  1. A castle, stronghold, fortress, fastness
  2. Anything on which one relies
  3. Of the arguments and reasoning’s by which a disputant endeavors to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent

Satan and his evil minions have built this evil spiritual castle, a fortress that has declared war upon humanity. I believe that this evil or shadow has manifested itself in the destruction of the World Trade Center (9/11)[i].

 

Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

We must not allow fear to grip and control our lives. We must remind ourselves that we have Divine Powers to destroy these strongholds. How do we wage war with our divine powers?


[i] The USA defended itself in the flesh, or in a human way or manner. I am not here to discuss on how the USA or any sovereign country chooses to defend it self, Sovereign countries in my opinion have the right to defend it’s borders, and to defend against any hostile evil force that would invade or threaten it’s people.

Shadow Lands – Part One

Hebrews 8:4-5 (ESV) Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.

Colossians 2:16-18 (ESV) Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

As I read these scriptures I am amazed at these profound phrases “shadow of the things to come” and “a copy and shadow of the heavenly things

When I stop to think about the meaning of these verses I cannot help to wonder what other things are copies and shadows of things to come? I don’t want to read into these verses, and I am not by any means injecting what is not there.

I am just wondering…


I wonder if the evil and war that we see in the world today is just a copy and a shadow of a greater spiritual evil and warfare that is happening in the heavens.

I wonder if these evil spiritual forces have declared a war upon humanity.

I wonder if this is just a precursor of a greater evil to come.

If the evil that we are seeing today is just a copy and a shadow of a greater spiritual evil, then I think we better start praying to a greater degree than we ever have before.