Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index

My copy of Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index (BCI) bills itself as the "Best Bible Subject Index Ever".  I'm not sure I'm qualified to evaluate that claim, but I will say that this little volume came in mighty handy this evening as I prepared to write my weekly blog post at another site.  I needed verses to go with the theme of "changed lives" and while I did not find those exact terms, I did find plenty under "repent" and "repentance" with a pointer to "conversion". A search on "birth" led to "new birth" and "born again" and finally to the perfect verse in Titus to round out my column.

The BCI includes a collection of word studies from the Old and New Testaments: covenant, forgive, grace, etc. Most headings, unless a proper name or simple concept, contain a list of subheadings which make it useful for developing a Bible study or talk. For example: "Faith" is subdivided into topics such as "Nature of", "Obtained from", "Kinds of", "Described as", and "Examples of" in both the Old and New Testaments.   After each reference is a scripture reference that fits the topic.

Want to know all about the Moabites?  You'll find "History of", "Characteristics of", "Prophecies concerning their...."  Curious about the Jewish calendar?  There's a scriptural reference for every month.  Want some basics on the life of Paul?  You'll find 2 pages of references.

It's not perfect.  There's a really cool list of measurements not found under "measurement" but under "Jewish measures".  So you'll want to do some browsing, highlighting, and tabbing of interesting pages.  But I'm sure I'll use this reference as a go-to source for whatever topic I'm writing on each week.

The BCI is easy to use and small enough to slip into a tote bag and bring to Bible study (though I will need my glasses).  Highly recommended for personal use or as a gift for a Bible teacher or friend.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ready for Christmas?

Suddenly it's December 21st and we're well into the 4th week of Advent and it feels as though the pressure is on.  How do I not lose Christ at Christmas?  Here's my latest post over at the Jesus Boat Blog.


Ready for Christmas

Are you ready for Christmas?

The question hangs in the air as you review an internal checklist: gifts purchased? cards sent? menu planned? travel plans confirmed?

While the house may be clean and decorated to celebrate with friends and family, how have you prepared your heart to celebrate the birth of our Savior?

Christmas Day is preceded by the season of Advent, or “coming”: four weeks of preparation and waiting marked by reminders of our need for a savior and punctuated by joy that God has indeed redeemed us through his son, Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.

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Shalom, y'all!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Waiting for Christmas

I've been blogging this year over at The Jesus Boat Blog (affiliated with the Jesus Boat Museum in Israel).  The Advent season has me struggling, as always, with keeping my focus on Christ at Christmastime.  Having 2 young children has made me long for the days when the only distractions were work and school.

Here's an except from my latest post.  I've found that writing during Advent is a wonderful way to keep my focus where it should be.

Waiting for Christmas
They never heard him give a sermon, never listened to him tell a parable, never saw him perform a miracle. Long before his words and deeds would bring many to revere him and others to condemn him, two witnesses proclaimed Jesus as the long awaited Messiah.

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” (Luke 2:25-26)

When the Sprit led Simeon to the infant Jesus, he found the fulfillment of God’s promise and peace filled his soul. For, to see Jesus was to behold salvation.  

To read the rest, visit