Bible Study

Q & A with Dr. Warren Vanhetloo

Compiled from Dr. Warren VanHetloo’s “Cogitations,” October, 2010.

Question

Dr. Van, I have a question about the origin of Baptism. I’ve always been taught it pictured the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. But according to Matthew 3, John was baptizing before Jesus died, even before he had even met Jesus. It then appears that believers (Jews?) displayed their faith in God by getting baptized. Any conjecture on why John seemed to come up with this idea at a time when it doesn’t mean what it means today?

Answer

No need for conjecture, there is enough in Scripture. There are several answers, and all are important.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight . and all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Luke 3:4-6).

First, God chose John to introduce something entirely new and different from the nation-centered dispensation of the Old Testament era. “The kingdom of God is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). John was sent to bear advance witness of a once-for-all-time revelation of the Light which lights every man who enters this world (John 1:3-9). Second, his water immersion was intended to prepare for a spiritual immersion to follow shortly (John 1:25-27): “I immerse with water, but…the same is He who immerses with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:26, 33).

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“When there is wide divergence among Bible translations, readers have no way of knowing what the original text really says...”

“…It’s like being given four different scores for the same football game or three contradictory directions for getting to a town in the middle of the state.” - Leland Ryken
How many versions of the Bible do we need?

680 reads

Book Review - Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God's Word

Image of Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God's Word
by Nigel Beynon, Andrew Sach
Crossway Books 2010
Paperback 158

My maternal grandfather never finished the eighth grade. But like many of his generation, what he lacked in book smarts he made up in practical skills. He was a jack-of-all-trades. His garage looked like a hardware store. When the Lord called him home, he had more than enough tools to spread around to his three grandsons. In fact, in the twenty-five years since he died, I have had to buy very few tools. Unfortunately I don’t know what to do with most of the tools in my toolbox. A handyman I am not.

Thankfully I am a little handier with the sixteen tools in Beynon & Sach’s toolbox. Regardless of your interpretive skills, this book is worth reading. The authors, both of whom minister in Great Britain, have written an easy to read, practical manual on how to better understand the Bible. They sharpened these tools while working with college students, but I believe Bible readers of all ages will profit from this book.

The authors demonstrate their high view of Scripture in portions such as the following:

    Some of the joys of understanding the Bible correctly:
  • You hear the voice of your heavenly Father speaking to you in the Bible
  • You learn what he is really like from his own lips …
  • You discover the wonderful truth of salvation and how to be sure of heaven
  • You find out things that are on God’s heart …
  • The truth actually changes you. Get this: it doesn’t just inform you of things, it does things in you. (p. 12)
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Logos 4 - Another Perspective

It was with great fear and trepidation that I boxed up all my books in December, as my wife and I prepared to move roughly forty five minutes to the south of our then current location. While I will not bore you with all the details, we had found out that we would have to move suddenly, and then we lost more precious time struggling to find a suitable apartment just a few weeks before Christmas. What added to my consternation was the fact that now I was charged with shepherding a small church in our original town, and I was concerned about trying to do sermon preparation without my books. Fortunately, I had received a copy of Logos 4’s Leaders Library program for Christmas, and I expected it to be a godsend and blessing. Although it is a very powerful program, and there is a lot of potential with the program’s abilities, I have to confess that I am disappointed in it.

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Q & A with Dr. Warren Vanhetloo

Compiled from Dr. Warren VanHetloo’s “Cogitations” April 2010.

Question

I have a question involving church names in light of 1 Corinthians 1:10-13: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

While I agree with you that having a denominational name is certainly expedient in terms of resolving confusion, and to allow outsiders to have some idea of where a congregation is coming from, it would seem to be contrary to the spirit of what Paul is saying in this passage, because having a denominational name obviously sets forth the divisions among us, and that rather than minimize or heal them, we are actually defining them. Hopefully for a good purpose, but defining them nonetheless. Is there a solution? Is there any way that we can edify outsiders (or insiders) without being contrary to the spirit of Paul’s admonition? Or would you say that denominations are not contrary to what Paul has written? And if so, how?

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I Love My Logos: A Review of Logos 4 Bible Study Software

Full disclosure: Logos and I go way back. During seminary, in the early 1990’s, my dream was to be able to run a word processor and some sort of Bible software at the same time and quickly paste text from the Bible software into the word processor. Doesn’t sound like much. Today we can do that on our phones. But at the time, it was the holy grail.

My first Bible software explorations were DOS programs—and they consistently disappointed. All that changed, though, when I scraped together my pennies and bought Windows 3.1, Microsoft Word for Windows and Logos 1.6. I’ve been a “Logos guy” ever since.

So when I write about Logos, I’m writing about an old friend I love, warts and all.

And there have always been warts. From the start, the company has had a bad case of Microsoft-think, which says (among other things) that new software will always be operated on new PCs. The result is that the software tends to be hard to afford and hardware-hungry—designed to run well on PCs that few pastors and teachers own yet.

Version 4 is no exception to Logos’ history in that department. Though many of us saw the arrival of version 3 for the Macintosh as a great ray of hope, Logos 4 for the PC is still dependent on more layers of Microsoft code than ever. (If you install it on XP, you can see this clearly as “prerequisites” install and install and install.)

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Basic Facts Every Christian Should Know

One of our young people and his friend from another church interviewed a number of pastors in the Kokomo (IN) area. To their surprise, a number of them could not recite the Ten Commandments.

Another one of our young people participated in an after-school Christian ministry where the leader asked if anyone could recite the Ten Commandments. She was the only one who could do so (the leader was surprised, because on other occasions, no one was able to perform that feat). You would think the leader would have changed his lesson plan and taught the kids the commandments then and there (I wonder if he knew them), but his question was merely a jumping point for a lesson about the loss of absolute truth.

We live in a day and age where speakers complain about believers not knowing the basic facts, yet these leaders do nothing to remedy the problem. Complaining about the problem, or revealing it, is not enough: we should, instead, fix the problem. And we should not move on until we have done so.

In the past, I’ve taught the Ten Commandments and Persons of the Trinity during our morning service, conducted a combined Sunday school for grades 1-8 to teach these basics and more, and offered similar material during our Sunday evening service. I have taught much of this material during AWANA or, in recent years, to our summer youth group.

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