Posts Tagged 'Bible study'

Thoughts on Scripture study

Because it did strike me that I had been wanting to interrogate the Bible, I was a literary critic by training, and what literary critics do is they interrogate things. And so it struck me that I was in the posture of the interrogator. It did make me wonder though. The whole premise of an inerrant and inspired Bible – the premise of it is that the Bible then interrogates you. You don’t interrogate it. And the justification for that is that the Bible is written by a holy God. And I had to stop and think for a moment because, you know, if God did create the heavens and the earth and everything, and if God did set apart a people for himself before he made the stars and the sand, you know every little leaf on a tree, then nothing is higher than God. And therefore, God does have the authority to interrogate me.” (The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith, by Dr. Rosaria Butterfield)

I’m posting this quote here because:

  1. I thought it was really insightful – we read the Bible… and the Bible reads us.
  2. I’m going to want to use this in a sermon someday, but it doesn’t really fit for anything I’m preaching soon.
  3. Because it doesn’t YET fit — but it’s too good to not use — I want to remember that I read it, and my blog is a good spot for these kinds of things.

So, I’ll tag this under “sermon fodder” so I’ll know to return to it someday. It will be interesting to see how long this will take before it’s used. Hopefully, I’ll remember to update this post whenever I use this quote.

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BASHing the Bible

Hello, readers. Before any of you get up in arms about the title of this post, relax, take a deep breath, and read on if you’re interested in inserting Scripture into documents, because that’s all this post is about.

The church I serve recently got a new laptop for my use (yay, thank you trustees!), and while it already had Windows 8 pre-installed, I carved out some space on the hard drive, and installed Linux, because that’s what I actually use.

So, that means a new installation for me. I *thought* I had transferred all of my favorite little tools and scripts that I put together from my old laptop, but apparently, I had forgotten a couple, including some BASH scripts that I used every single week in my sermon preparation. BASH means “Bourne Again SHell”, a scripting language for Linux and OSX (and yes, it’s also available on Windows). A script, for those of you who are Windows users, is like a batch file. You put a bunch of commands that you want run in sequence in it, and then just run that script. (Anyone remember AUTOEXEC.BAT?)

What I want to do is insert Scriptures into my text documents. How I’ve ended up doing this is by using a couple of tools, and chaining them together. This is done on an Ubuntu Linux system – your milage may vary. Frankly, I’m writing this post so that if I ever have to do this again, I won’t have to do it from scratch. Again.

Tools you’ll need:

  • diatheke – a command-line tool that uses the Crosswire Bible libraries. All of my Linux Bible programs are in this format, so this is what I use.
  • gtkdialog – a neat little tool that allows me to make fancy GUI front ends for scripts.
  • xclip – this command-line program allows me to specifically insert things from the command-line into the clipboard for use in GUI programs.

So, the workflow is this:

  1. Select the Bible references you want to use in your document.
  2. Tell the bible retrieval program (diatheke) which verses you want.
  3. Capture the results from the retrieval program in the clipboard.
  4. Paste the contents of the clipboard into your document.

If this seems a *lot* like ZipScript from the old WordSearch programs, you’ll know where I got the idea! Here’s the actual script itself.

#! /bin/bash

export MAIN_DIALOG='
<window title="Scripture Grab-O-Matic" icon-name="gtk-preferences" resizable="true" decorated="true" width_request="225">
 <vbox>
  <text><label>What NIV Scripture do you want?</label></text>
   <entry activates_default="true">
    <default>John 3:16</default>
     <variable>ENTRY</variable>
      <action>diatheke -b NIV -k $ENTRY | sed "s/^:.*//g" | sed "/^(NIV)/d" | xclip -selection c</action>	   
    </entry>
   <hbox>
    <button can-default="true" has-default="true" use-stock="true"></button>
   </hbox>
  </vbox>
</window>'

gtkdialog --program MAIN_DIALOG

UPDATE: in the middle of the action tag, there’s a couple of extra sed entries. These are placed here because diatheke keeps repeating the last line of whatever verses were requested. These sed commands remove the extra data, and the version label.

I don’t know if this will help anyone but me, but it’s a handy little script.

dialog box for Bible text

Scripture Grab-O-Matic dialog box

And here’s the code snippet that is inserted into Libreoffice. This simply calls a bash script to run. I made my script listed above executable, put it in my /usr/local/bin/ directory (where I put all my local stuff), and when I run the macro in Libreoffice, the bash script is launched.

Sub NIV
Shell "bash -c NIV"
End Sub

Infant Baptism Scripture

baptismal font We celebrated the baptism of a beautiful little girl yesterday. I was asked by a church member for the Biblical support for this particular action, and I really enjoyed the resulting Bible study. I’m posting these verses here in case anyone else would be interested in the fruits of that request.

Matthew 28:19-20 – Jesus talks about the need to make disciples, not converts
Ephesians 6:1-4 – And here’s the reminder that children are to be included in this process of discipleship (esp. verse 4)
Acts 16:15 – Baptism applied to members of a household (you’ll note that ages are simply not mentioned)
Galatians 3:29 – Here’s the New Testament idea of the Abrahamic Covenant – note especially the last phrase, “heirs according to promise”.
Here are the references for parts of the Abrahamic covenant:
Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-7; 17:1-14 – made between God and Abraham
Genesis 26:1-5, 23-24 – includes Issac, Abraham’s son
Genesis 28:10-15; cf. 48:15-16; 50:24 – includes Jacob, Abraham’s grandson
Exodus 2:24; 6:2-8 – includes all of Israel, descendants of Abraham
Genesis 17:9-14 – signs that accompanied biblical covenant
– please notice that the sign includes children – babies are circumcised before they understand being brought under the covenant

We are not justified by the covenant of works, but by the covenant of grace. And since the covenant of grace has fulfilled the requirements of the covenant of works, a new sign to reflect the new covenant is appropriate. That sign is baptism.
Acts 8:12 – notice both men and women participate in the new sign of the new covenant
Colossians 2:11-12 – notice that baptism has REPLACED circumcision THROUGH Christ (the bridge between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace)
Galatians 3:7 – The promise that God made to Abraham in the covenant is still in effect; Christians are, by faith, still ‘children of Abraham’

Since that covenant is still working (Romans 9:8) but its sign has been changed from circumcision to baptism (Colossians 2:11-12), it is reasonable to understand that children are included in that covenant of grace (Acts 16:15). If children are included, then children are able to be baptized.

Since parental faith was exercised in the Abrahamic covenant on behalf of children (Genesis 17), it is reasonable for parental faith to apply in the new covenant, since faith by the father is counted to the children (Romans 4:11).

Consider all of the “household belief” Scriptures in the book of Acts:
Acts: 1:14; 3:4; 4:27; 5:1; 10:2; 14:13; 15:22; 21:5

I hope this blesses you as much as it blessed me!
KFJ – Ed

Devotionals Online: 01

Okay, Outreach Team…

THIS is where you upload your devotionals. Just post them as replies to this blog, and that way, we’ll be able to collect them easier at the end of the year.

Hear me on this: I’m really encouraging you to not just “phone it in”… don’t treat this like a homework assignment from school. That’s not the point at all.

What I’m really wanting for each of us (myself included) is that as we interact with God’s Word, we’ll be shaped to be more like Jesus. When Christ was here, he spent much significant time studying the Scriptures and extended time in prayer with the Father… so that he would be tuned to listen to his Father’s will.

THAT’s what I want for us as well: to spend time in God’s Word, so that we tune our hearts to listen for God speaking to us, too.

Keep Following Jesus… Ed

Title of the Devotion:
Verses to Read:
Opening Thought / Illustrative Story – 1 paragraph:
What is the bible author saying to you in this verse? – 1 paragraph:

How can I apply this to my life? – 1 paragraph:

Closing Prayer:

Ending Thought – a short, one line thought to end the Devotional


Pastor Ed Backell

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