The Biblearc Blog

Encouragements and Updates from Biblearc

Monthly Archives: December 2014

What is Biblearc?

Biblearc has been a ministry of Bethlehem College and Seminary since 2009. It was designed to serve those whose study of the Bible begins with a sharp focus on the text of scripture before reaching for a commentary. This includes both exegetical preachers and Bible students simply hungry for the Word.

what is barc

Biblearc is a cloud-based application for deep study of the scriptures. You will find an approachable and powerful integration of cross-references, study notes and the most advanced original language search available online. Biblearc’s specialty is graphical Bible study methods, giving you the world’s smoothest experience for Arcing, Bracketing and Sentence Diagramming. All your work is saved online in projects for future use.

Not familiar with Arcing, Bracketing or Sentence Diagramming? Enroll in one of our online courses, which include live discussion groups and the option for one-on-one time with the instructor.

Take the interactive tour of Biblearc to see more of what you can do.

App available for iPad in the App Store

God’s Special Callings

You might be surprised to find that nowhere do the scriptures instruct us to set aside time to seek a special calling from God. Nor will you find examples of biblical characters so doing.

This realization is new to me. For it has been my practice to periodically set aside a half day for prayer and fasting as I come to a new season. I ask God to show me what to do or where to go, and then open up the Bible and wait for a “sense” of his direction. But not anymore. For, simply put, the idea is not biblical.

But isn’t this what we find Jesus doing in Mark 1:35-38? Isn’t this what the church is doing in Acts 13:2-3? So I thought, but then I read a little closer. Yes, Jesus woke up early to pray. And yes, he knew it was time to continue on to the next town when his disciples found him. But what makes us assume that Jesus woke up early in order to seek such direction? Eisegesis might lead me to this conclusion, but exegesis will not. As for Acts, the Spirit speaks to the church “while they were worshipping the Lord and fasting.” It was not while they were seeking direction, but while they were worshipping—that is, seeking God’s face. And those are not the same thing.

We would do well to take note of Paul’s custom in decision-making.

As the book of Acts then follows Paul and Barnabas after they are sent out, we would do well to take note of their custom in decision-making. They pass from city to city without mention of special direction from God and then return to Antioch. After returning, Paul simply proposes to Barnabas to go back and visit the churches they planted, again without special direction from God to do so. As he goes (without Barnabas), we then do read of the Spirit directing. First He “forbids” Paul from speaking the word in Asia. Then the Spirit does not allow them to go to Bithynia. Finally, Paul has a vision at night which he interprets to be God’s call to preach in Macedonia. (Acts 13:13, 14:24, 15:36, 16:6-10) Now observe the following: (1) Paul was free to make big decisions without special guidance from God. (2) The Spirit does not speak to Paul in response to him asking for a special calling, and in fact he never asks. (3) The Spirit never guides Paul in the same fashion.

Paul was free to make big decisions without special guidance from God.

But wait, are we not to go to God for wisdom?! Yes, but this is totally different. A special calling says, “Go there” or “Do that.” Wisdom says, “Here is how to think and live.” See for yourself in James. In 1:4 we discover that God calls us to steadfastness that we might be “lacking in nothing.” Immediately following in 1:5 we read that God will give us wisdom if we lack it. What’s the point? God does not mean for us to ask, “Should I go left or right?” when we meet life’s crossroads. For that would not remove any lack in my character as it is relevant only for the moment. Rather God invites us to ask, “Please teach me how to live,” in order to fill us with wisdom. (See also James 3:13-18 for James’ definition of wisdom.)

Please do not misunderstand. We must “acknowledge [God] in all [our] ways.” We must “present [our] bodies as living sacrifices.” We live understanding that we belong to God, but that does not mean that God directs us with “left” and “right” commands. Rather, we “discern by testing what is the will of God” as he “make[s] straight [our] paths.” (Prov 3:5-6, Rom 12:1-2. Note also that in Isaiah 30:21, God is confirming the way of holiness, not giving person-specific guidance.)

Perhaps a final passage to note on this subject is James 4:13-17. There James rebukes the person who arrogantly makes plans without thought to the Lord, or his own frailty. Notice James’ instruction to this person. He does not say, “Instead you ought to set aside time to pray and fast for direction.” Why? Because that was not the planner’s problem. The problem was that his heart did not realize that his plans will only be established “if the Lord wills.” And then comes perhaps the most insightful verse for our subject. “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Do you know the holiness which God calls us all to pursue? To not run after it is sin. Do you know of the Great Commission? To not participate in it is sin. Do you have a special, personal calling from God? To ignore it is also sin. (Like Jonah, for example.)

God knows where to find you and he knows how to talk.

For God does indeed give special callings! The point of this article is not to deny that. The point being made is that you need not seek one. For God knows where to find you and he knows how to talk! How absurd it would be to think that God has a special calling for your life, or special direction for you in this season, which he is eager to tell you, but cannot because you have not set aside a day to fast and pray in order to ask him!


You are free! Go to the ends of the earth, pour yourself out for a gospel ambition, give your life away to serve. Through it all God will teach you how to make decisions (wisdom) and he will guide you through his providence. “If the Lord wills,” he will establish your plan. If not, he will close the door. And he may at times speak a special calling into your life. But do not stay up late coveting a special calling that you feel you must have. Rather wake up early to seek God’s face, and stay up late to do his work.

Helping Non-Western Pastors


that you are the pastor of a church somewhere in the non-western world. Like pastors everywhere, you want to see your flock grow in the grace of God and in wisdom. You want to equip them with sound teaching from the Word. You want to protect them from those who would twist the truth. You want to help them find biblical answers to the questions and challenges they encounter. In short, you want them to know, love and submit to God through the Bible he has given us.

This is no small task for any pastor, and especially for one in a place where resources are few. Concordances, training in exegesis and original language study are all incredible resources that unfortunately do not exist widely outside of the English-speaking world.

We want to help change that. Our goal at Biblearc is to help you dig into God’s Word, no matter where you are or what language you speak. That is why we’ve created the Biblearc Global Initiative.

Bible Study GlobalWhat is the Biblearc Global Initiative?

  1. Translations. With the help of volunteers from around the world, the Biblearc website has so far been translated into five different languages. Additionally, scholarly translations of the Bible have been added for each of these language.
  2. Free Subscriptions. For people in the non-western world, The Biblearc Subscription for advanced modules is free.
  3. Discounted/Free Courses. We now offer the online course Introduction to Arcing in Spanish! For those in the non-western world, this course is deeply discounted or even free, depending on the need of the student.

For pastors and lay-people alike we want to encourage deep study of the Word. Would you like to be a part? There is so much more we would like to do! Here are options of how you can help: Give a tax-deductible donation to Biblearc. Get the Biblearc Global subscription add-on to cover the subscription for someone in the non-western world. Volunteer your time to help translate.

Intro to Bracketing and Bible Sermons Open for Enrollment

Now Open for Enrollment!

Jan 19th – Feb 16th

This course lays out the foundational concepts and structures necessary to begin using the Bracketing Bible study method.

Time options for those interested in discussion enrollment
Tues at 9pm | Wed at Noon
(U.S. Central time):

Course details | Enrollment page

To participate in the Introduction to Bracketing course, you need not have any particular open slot of time available unless you choose discussion enrollment. Lectures are released twice per week, but are viewable at your convenience.


THE MAIN POINT OF BIBLE SERMONS (Advanced Arcing/Bracketing)
Jan 5 – Feb 11th

The sermons we find in the scriptures are incredibly powerful to read and often leave us with a sense that we have only begun to draw out their depths. Join us as we use Arcing and Bracketing to plunge deeper.

Group time options, included in all enrollment types:
Wed at 7am | Wed at 9pm | Thurs at 9am | Thurs at 7pm
(U.S. Central time)

Course details | Enrollment page

To participate in The Main Point of Bible Sermons, you must have one of the group times available (listed above and below in the U.S. Central timezone). If you use Google Calendar, you can see how those times line-up with your timezone by clicking the “+ Google Calendar” button below and adding these calendars. Live lectures can be viewed after their recording if you are unavailable at those times.

Online Course: The Main Point of Bible Sermons (Advanced Arcing/Bracketing)

This course serves to strengthen one’s Arcing or Bracketing skills, particularly in the genre of Bible sermons. The sermons we find in the scriptures are incredibly powerful to read and often leave us with a sense that we have only begun to draw out their depths. Arcing and Bracketing serve as wonderful tools for plunging deeper into the glories of Bible sermons and discovering the main point that they declare. In this course, we will work our way through a selection of biblical sermons via live and interactive lectures, organized group discussions and thoughtful feedback on assignments.


Standard enrollment  $149 ($139 with early enrollment)
One-on-one enrollment  $249 ($239 with early enrollment)

Enrollment page

Areopagus from the Acropolis.jpg

Mars Hill, where Paul preached his famous sermon in Acts 17 

Format  Students will each choose a discussion group time from the options below. The first week of the course will begin with a recorded introduction video, followed by five live, interactive, 2-hour lectures which will rotate between these discussion groups. In other words, the lecture will visit your discussion group once during the course, at which time you will be a participant in the interactive lecture via Google “Hangouts On Air.” For weeks in which the live lecture is visiting other groups, you will still be able to participate by submitting your thoughts and questions via Google Hangout’s text chat feature. For those who are unable to view some of the lectures live, lecture archives will be indefinitely available. The course includes five group assignments and five individual assignments. The individual assignments will be promptly corrected and returned each week.

Length  This is a 6-week course.

Prerequisites  Completion of Introduction to ArcingIntroduction to Bracketing or Arcing 101

One-on-one enrollment  One-on-one enrollment allows you to enjoy a half hour of one-on-one time with the instructor each week, in addition to the standard provisions of the course. Up to the time of this post, 100% of one-on-one enrollees gave their one-on-one time the highest possible rating in the post-course survey.

Instructor  Andy Hubert is the creator of Biblearc and lecturer of Greek at Israel College of the Bible. Andy holds a Masters of Pastoral and Biblical Studies from Bethlehem College and Seminary.

Work load  Between the lectures (2 hr/wk), group time (1 hr/wk) and assignments (~4 hrs/wk), participants should expect to spend approximately 7 hours per week on this course.

Grading  Students who complete this course with a display of proficiency in Arcing or Bracketing can receive an increased star rating on their Biblearc account. Star ratings (still in development) will allow people searching shared work the ability to find the arcs and brackets of those users who have had training in these methods.

Live Lectures  This course use Google’s Hangouts on Air to facilitate the live lectures. All participants will be required to register for a free Google+ account. (We will provide you information on how to do so.)

Additional information: Request a Scholarship | Give a Scholarship | Refund Policy

Enrollment page

Photo credit: “Areopagus from the Acropolis” by ajbear AKA KiltBear Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Biblearc and Bethlehem College and Seminary

Our goal at Biblearc is to serve the worldwide Church with Bible study tools. We think it very fitting, then, that Biblearc is a part of Bethlehem College and Seminary (BCS), which equips leaders to serve the same worldwide Church.

Bethlehem College and Seminary is a part of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. The seminary started in the 1980’s as “a lay institute and training center,” and included programs for those hoping to go into full time ministry and/or missions. From there it grew and evolved, adding seminary level and undergraduate programs until 2009, when it began the transition into an accredited college and seminary.

Under the authority of God’s inerrant Word, we exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ by equipping men and women to treasure Christ above all things, to grow in wisdom and knowledge over a lifetime, and to glorify God in every sphere of life.from the Mission and Vision Statement of Bethlehem College and Seminary

For more information on Bethlehem College and Seminary, see their website.