The Biblearc Blog

Encouragements and Updates from Biblearc

Monthly Archives: April 2015

Grounds for Service (Titus 1-2, part 1)

It is interesting to look at the opening statement in Paul’s letters. Many times, you will find a preview of the rest of the letter hidden in the first few verses. If you look close enough, you may just run into something as encouraging as this…

In his letter to Titus, Paul opens with a brief sentence on his service to Christ. What may appear to be a formal introduction is actually Paul telling Titus the purpose of his slavery to, and apostleship of, Christ. “I am what I am and I do what I do in order that the elect would be brought to saving faith, and to provide them with a clear and full knowledge of the truth that produces godliness”, Paul conveys Titus in verse 1. Through every obstacle or complication Paul had come across in ministry, he had one goal in mind: the salvation and sanctification of God’s people.

Now, Titus’ assignment in Crete was definitely a daunting one (as we will see in part 2 of this devotional series), and especially now that he is separated from his mentor. Titus may have been asking himself, “How am I going to work with ‘liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons’?” “How can I find qualified men to appoint as leaders in the churches throughout the island of Crete?” “What is my motivation for working with such a tough crowd?” “Why should I continue to serve the stiff-necked churches of this island?” Quite frankly, I find myself asking some of the same questions about my own ministry! Tell me Paul, what is the point and why should I keep going?!

Tell me Paul, what is the point and why should I keep going?!

Well, Paul, being a great mentor to Titus, lays out the best motivation for his work in Crete: because of our hope of eternal life (v. 2-3). Paul serves God and His people with a view to the sealed eternal life we will have with Christ; and he motivates Titus, if perhaps indirectly, as his “true child” to similarly serve with the same view in mind.

Now that’s a solid approach to service! Every sermon we prepare, every small group we participate in, every counseling session, every arc or bracket and every blog entry… it’s all done in expectation of an eternal life with Christ. It’s not wishful thinking, but rather a guarantee that we will one day reign with Him. We serve God and His people knowing that it is not in vain but instead one day it will culminate in an eternal abiding with Him. And it is because of that truth that we, like Titus, can serve faithfully and diligently. We know that whatever “island” God has placed us on, He has not left us without grounds for service!

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Continue on to part 2 of this series…

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Josh Reyna

Gift and Command: 2nd Peter 1, Part 3

“The Prophetic Word brings light in a world of darkness”

One of the great benefits of arcing is that it forces us to stop and consider relationships that could quite easily be glossed over–and doing so will help us to see things we might miss otherwise.

The present darkness makes the ugliness of sin look beautiful, and the beauty of Christ look homely; but the prophetic word shows all as it truly is.

Such happened for me in 2nd Peter 1:19 with a simple comparison – we are to pay attention to the prophetic word “as to a lamp shining in a dark place.” Why would Peter feel it necessary to stop the train of his thought and make this comparison? The following temporal clause helps explain–we are to pay attention until “the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” There will come a day when Christ returns (16b) and all is light. But that day has not yet come. We still live in a world in which darkness reigns, as evidenced by the false teachers in chapter 2, where sin and confusion and lies still assault us by the hour, and where the hope of enjoying Christ forever seems obscure, abstract, and far off. In all this, the word of God reminds us of God’s presence and His promise. He is still God and His promises are still true. The prophetic word can shine as light in the darkness because it is the word of God, and it alone is our sight until Jesus returns.

The prophetic word can shine as light in the darkness because it is the word of God, and it is our sight until Jesus returns.

Why is this important? The present darkness seems to mock hope (just as many in Peter’s day mocked the idea of Jesus’ return–cf 3:4); but the prophetic word instills and upholds hope. The present darkness speaks falsehood; the prophetic word displays God’s truth. The present darkness makes the ugliness of sin look beautiful, and the beauty of Christ look homely; but the prophetic word shows all as it truly is.

When the world says to me that I am powerless to defeat sin and so might as well just give in to it, the word of God tells me that all things pertaining to godliness have been granted to me by God’s divine power. Our continued perseverance in faith depends on us knowing, understanding, believing, and obeying the word of God. It is our only visible connection to the promised hope we have, and it is all we need.

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Read Parts 1 and 2 of this series:
Gift and Command: 2nd Peter 1, Part 1
Gift and Command: 2nd Peter 1, Part 2

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Andrew Bywaters

Online Course: Introduction to Phrasing | Tracing the Argument of 1 Peter

May 25th – July 13th

1024px-Sea-of-Galilee-1900New course! This course serves to introduce Biblearc’s Phrasing module by walking through the text of 1 Peter. Students will learn all of the facets of phrasing and draw theological insights from 1 Peter. Phrasing is an excellent tool for determining a biblical author’s main point and how he supports it. The course is designed for everyone from pastors to interested lay-people. Our study will also include insights from commentaries and the Greek text. (Knowledge of Greek not required.)

Tuition

Basic enrollment $109 ($99 with early enrollment)
Discussion enrollment $169 ($159 with early enrollment)  recommended

Enrollment page

Interactive lectures A two-hour, recorded lecture will be released each Monday. You may watch this lecture at your convenience. Discussion groups (see below) will be invited to present their work and interact in the recording of two course lectures via online video chat. Lecture recording times will be scheduled with the discussion groups during the first week of the course.

Discussion enrollment In addition to lectures and feedback, discussion enrollment gives you a one-hour group discussion time each week with the instructor of the course. Groups are made up of 5-9 students. Discussion groups will also be invited to participate in the lectures (see above).

Group time options Tues at 9pm | Wed at 9am | Wed at 9pm
(All times are in CDT. Click to view them in your local time.)

Assignments This course includes a weekly assignment which will be promptly corrected by the instructor and returned each week. In addition, assignments will include optional advanced tasks and questions for your consideration. The course assignments will cover the entire book of 1 Peter.

Course length This is a 8-week course.

Prerequisites None.

JD HettemaInstructor JD Hettema is in the M.Div program at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis. He is originally from the Los Angeles area, but he and his wife Lauren (and now baby, Audrey) have lived in Minneapolis for the past three years. JD has also taught Greek I and II for The Bethlehem Institute.

Grading While participants will receive lots of feedback on course assignments, there will be no official grading of this course.

Enrollment page

Additional information: What is Phrasing | Request a Scholarship | Give a Scholarship | Refund Policy

Curso en línea: Introducción al Arcing en Español

This is the course description page for the Spanish Introduction to Arcing course. For information on the English course, see here. If you are interested in learning how you can support efforts to enable and encourage deep Bible Study where resources are few, see our post on Biblearc Global.

1 – 29 de Junio

Este curso interactivo presenta los conceptos fundamentales y las estructuras necesarias para comenzar a utilizar el método de estudio llamado Arcing (Arqueo Bíblico). Cuenta con retroalimentación personal y amplia sobre ocho asignaciones diferentes. Tomaremos un enfoque práctico para el aprendizaje a medida que trabajamos juntos en el primer capítulo de Santiago.

Matrícula

Inscripción Básica US$ 25
Inscripción con tiempo de discusión US$ 49
Inscripción Básica Gratuita US$ 0    Para los que no tienen medios

De Flickr, por Ken y Nyetta

Página de inscripción

Formato Se impartirán nueve conferencias de 30 minutos, que serán publicadas dos veces por semana. Cada conferencia será seguida de una asignación para la cual se tendrán tres días para entregarla. Las asignaciones entregadas a tiempo serán corregidas y devueltas antes del lanzamiento de la próxima conferencia. Las asignaciones que se entreguen tarde, antes del final del curso, serán corregidas y devueltas tres días después. Las conferencias estarán disponibles indefinidamente para los participantes.

Duración Este es un curso de 4 semanas.

Prerrequisitos Ninguno

Inscripción con tiempo de discusión Además de las conferencias y la retroalimentación, la inscripción con tiempo de discusión proporciona un tiempo de discusión en grupo de una hora cada semana con el instructor del curso. Los grupos se componen de 5-9 estudiantes.

Opciones de Tiempo para los grupos Martes 7pm | Miércoles 7pm

PinedaInstructor Josué Pineda es pastor y plantador de iglesias en Honduras. Josué también es maestro de SEMBRAR, el programa de formación de pastores y plantadores de Iglesias de la Iglesia Impacto. Utiliza Biblearc casi a diario desde hace casi 4 años.

Carga de trabajo Entre conferencias (1 hora/semana) y asignaciones (~5 horas/semana), los participantes deben estar dispuestos a invertir aproximadamente 6 horas a la semana para este curso.

Calificación Aunque los participantes recibirán muchos comentarios sobre las asignaciones del curso, no habrá una calificación oficial para este curso.

Lo que dicen algunos ex alumnos

“Muy buen recurso, aprendemos cómo encontrar la lógica y la aplicación de un pasaje. Lo recomiendo.”   Anderson Caviedes

“Nos introduce a la maravillosa experiencia de escudriñar la Palabra de Dios de forma cuidadosa, teniendo en cuenta el contexto y el flujo del pensamiento de los autores humanos de la Escritura. Lo recomiendo ampliamente.”   Rodolfo Noé Quiñones Figueroa

“El Arcing promueve un estudio cauteloso de las Escrituras, lo que nos permite crecer en el conocimiento de nuestro Salvador Jesucristo.”   Jacqueline Vizcaino

El 100% de los estudiantes encuestados recomiendan este curso.

Información adicional: Acerca de Biblearc | ¿Qué es el Arcing? (Inglés) | Política de Rembolso (Inglés)

Página de inscripción

Gift and Command: 2nd Peter 1, Part 2

Take Hold of What God has Given us Through the Word of God

In 2nd Peter 1:3-11, Peter argues that God has granted to us everything we need to live a godly life, and that therefore we must pursue everything we need to live a godly life. God grants us the internal resources to obey His commands.

In verse 12, Peter shifts his attention to the external resources God grants us in order to walk in holiness. Just as we need to make every effort to possess the virtues of godliness, so we evidently need an external reminder – Peter’s written word (which he will imply in verses 16-21 is actually God’s written word). The full reason for Peter’s urgency won’t be made clear until chapter 2–faced with false teachers, Peter needs to remind his readers that a godly life is the necessary evidence of true salvation so that they not be led into licentiousness and thus prove to be false believers.

We must diligently pay attention to the word of God, for it is through the word that we are stirred up to practice that which God has already given us

The upshot of this is that Peter is providing his readers (and today that means us) with a chain that moves us from justification to glorification: God’s divine power gives all the qualities necessary to persevere in faith; the word of God, which reminds us of both our possession and the necessity of acting on these qualities; and our “making every effort” to possess and practice these qualities, which demonstrate the genuineness of our faith and bring us to receive our final inheritance. And therefore as believers we must diligently pay attention to the word of God, for it is through the word that we are stirred up to practice that which God has already given us.

So let us not neglect the reminder that Peter (with all the prophets and apostles) has left us in scripture; let us study and meditate on it continually, that we might always recall who we are, what God has given, and what God promises to those who make every effort to persevere in faith.

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Read Part 1 of this series: Gift and Command: 2nd Peter 1

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Andrew Bywaters

New Read Module: Pages and My Divisions

Introducing two new features that are taking the Read module to the next level.

Pages

  1. Now you can change the way you visualize the Read module, via pages or endless scroll.
  2. In pages mode, the text is automatically broken up into columns so that you can read shorter lines.
  3. You can also hide the verse numbers to study the text as the original readers did. (This works great with “My Divisions” below.)

Pages

My Divisions

  1. There is a new button on the top-right of the Read module which gives you the ability to create your own text divisions and headings.
  2. As you begin making your own divisions, new options icons appear at the beginning of each paragraph you have identified.
  3. Click this icon to create a heading, choosing the appropriate level it belongs to.
  4. Now the text will have your own divisions and headings, with the easy ability to switch between this and the standard pericope headings provided with each Bible version.My DivisionsOutline 5
  5. Once your divisions are complete, you may view, copy and print your own outline of the text.

Note: your custom divisions are available across all your projects.

Gift and Command: 2nd Peter 1

“O Lord, command what you will, and give what you command” – Augustine

One of the most difficult things for us as believers to understand and embrace is that God’s absolute, unshakeable promise to work His will in our lives means we need to exert ourselves in working out God’s will in our lives.

God’s absolute, unshakeable promise to work His will in our lives means we need to exert ourselves in working out God’s will in our lives.

We tend to see the gift and the promise in tension with the command, and more often we believe one trumps the other. Many hear the promise and “rest in it,” making no great effort to grow in holiness. Others hear the command and believe (and fear) that obedience is our unaided duty – perhaps in response to grace, but never fully empowered by it. But 2nd Peter 1:3-11, like many other passages, proclaims both these to be true, consistent, and in harmony with one another.

God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness…For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith…” The “all things that pertain to life and godliness” must include virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love, since Peter clearly sees that these “pertain to life and godliness.” These have been granted to us. “For this very reason”-–that is, because these things have been granted to us-–we must go and get these things.

The command is built on grace…and the grace implies a command…

The command is built on grace–God gives, and in fact has already given, that which He commands. And the grace implies a command–God has given them to us, and therefore we need to go and get them. Our entrance into the Kingdom, the confirmation of our calling and election, and our ultimate effectiveness and fruitfulness in our knowledge of Christ, are conditional on us possessing the virtues Peter lists. We must “make every effort” to combine these with our faith. This is the command. And they have all been granted to us. So every born-again believer will indeed demonstrate these qualities.

Our effort is guaranteed to succeed. Our perseverance is dependent upon our effort, and it is granted as a gift by God. Therefore, let us be diligent in pursuit of our final salvation, not because it is in doubt, but because our very pursuit proves that it is not in doubt.

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Read Part 2 of this series: Gift and Command: 2nd Peter 1, Part 2

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Andrew Bywaters

Summer Courses 2015

Open for Enrollment

Announcing the five 2015 summer courses on Biblearc—three in English and two in Spanish. May they help you dig deeper into the inexhaustible riches of God’s Word.

From Flickr, by Ken & Nyetta

INTRODUCTION TO ARCING
June 1st – 29th

This course lays out the foundational concepts and structures necessary to begin using the Arcing Bible study method. This will be the first offering of this course with the new, soon-to-be-released arcing module, built to make arcing easier for you to learn.

Instructor: Andy Hubert

Course details | Enrollment page

1024px-Sea-of-Galilee-1900INTRODUCTION TO PHRASING
Tracing the Argument of 1 Peter

May 25th – July 13th

This course serves to introduce Biblearc’s Phrasing module by walking through the text of 1 Peter. Phrasing is an excellent tool for determining a biblical author’s main point and also how he supports it. The class is designed for everyone from pastors to interested lay-people.

Instructor: JD Hettema

Course details | Enrollment page

Biblical Poetry

From Flickr, by Kreuk1.

THE THEOLOGY OF BIBLICAL POETRY
Advanced Arcing/Bracketing

July 13th – August 17th

This course will guide you through the study of Biblical Poetry. We will consider the figurative elements and forms of speech in Hebrew, along with the flow and structure of the text, to unlock treasures in God’s word—one proposition at a time.

Instructor: Andy Hubert

Course details | Enrollment page


The following two courses, Introduction to Arcing (Spanish) and The Flow of Thought of Bible Prayers (Spanish) are part of the Biblearc Global initiative to enable and encourage deep study of the Word in parts of the world where theological and financial resources are scarce. These courses will be taught by Josué Pineda, a pastor and skilled arcer from Honduras. Spanish speakers living in the non-Western world have the opportunity to take these courses for free.

Abiertos para Inscripción

INTRODUCCIÓN AL ARCING (Spanish course)
1 – 29 de Junio

Este curso interactivo presenta los conceptos fundamentales y las estructuras necesarias para comenzar a utilizar el método de estudio llamado Arcing.

Instructor: Josué Pineda

Detalles del curso | Página de inscripción

Prayers

From Flickr, by Keith Riley-Whittingham

EL FLUJO DE PENSAMIENTO DE LAS ORACIONES EN LA BIBLIA (Advanced Arcing)
13 de Julio – 17 de Agosto

El propósito de este curso es el de fortalecer las habilidades del Arcing usando como tema principal oraciones de varios personajes que encontramos en la Biblia.

Instructor: Josué Pineda

Detalles del curso | Página de inscripción

El Flujo de Pensamiento de las Oraciones de la Biblia (Arcing Avanzado)

13 de Julio – 17 de Agosto

Prayers

From Flickr, by Keith Riley-Whittingham

El propósito de este curso es el de fortalecer las habilidades del Arcing usando como tema principal oraciones de varios personajes que encontramos en la Biblia. Se desarrollará a través de conferencias interactivas en vivo, organizadas por grupos de discusión. Las tareas de grupo se comentarán en las conferencias con el propósito de aclarar conceptos y técnicas en el uso de esta herramienta. Además de esto estaremos disfrutando de algunas nuevas características que se estrenarán próximamente en algunos módulos de Biblearc.

Matrícula

Inscripción Estándar US$ 49
Inscripción uno-a-uno US$ 99
Si necesitas asistencia financiera para tomar este curso contáctanos.

Página de inscripción

Conferencias interactivas Todos los lunes se publicará una conferencia de dos horas. Podrás ver esta conferencia a tu conveniencia. Se invitará a tu grupo de discusión (ver más abajo) para presentar su trabajo e interactuar en la grabación de una o dos de las conferencias del curso a través de video chat en línea. Los tiempos de grabación de conferencias serán programados con los grupos de discusión durante la primera semana del curso.

Opciones para tiempo de grupo Martes 8am | Martes 6pm | Miércoles 7pm | Jueves 7pm

Duración Este es un curso de 6 semanas.

Prerrequisitos Haber completado Introducción al Arcing o Arcing 101.

Inscripción con tiempo de discusión Además de las conferencias y la retroalimentación, la inscripción con tiempo de discusión proporciona un tiempo de discusión en grupo de una hora cada semana con el instructor del curso. Los grupos se componen de 5-9 estudiantes.

PinedaInstructor Josué Pineda es pastor y plantador de iglesias en Honduras. Josué también es maestro de SEMBRAR, el programa de formación de pastores y plantadores de Iglesias de la Iglesia Impacto. Utiliza Biblearc casi a diario desde hace casi 4 años.

Carga de trabajo Entre las conferencias (2 horas / semana), el tiempo de grupo (1-2 horas / semana) y las asignaciones (~ 4 horas / semana), los participantes deben esperar invertir aproximadamente 8 horas a la semana en este curso.

Calificación Aunque los participantes recibirán muchos comentarios sobre las asignaciones del curso, no habrá una calificación oficial para este curso.

Información adicional: Acerca de Biblearc | ¿Qué es el Arcing? (Inglés) | Política de Rembolso (Inglés)

Página de inscripción

The Hope of Comfort in Affliction

One of the most difficult realities about life in a fallen world is that it is inevitably filled with trials and afflictions (James 1:2). We suffer, and as long as we are on this earth, we can expect to continue to suffer. Trials and afflictions take many different forms and vary in degree, but they will be a part of our lives.

…I will fear no evil, for you are with me…

Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us without hope, even in the midst of trials! God has promised to be with us as we face them. In perhaps the most famous Psalm we read these words, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”. (Psalm 23:4) God has promised to be near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) and has promised deliverance from our afflictions (Psalm 34:19). As God’s children, we also have His promised Holy Spirit, who is our Helper (John 14:26; 16:7) and Jesus even promised His disciples that He would always be with them. (Matthew 28:20) We have reason to hope in our afflictions because we are never alone during them!

Another reason we have hope in affliction is that God has promised to use our them for our good. Romans 8:28 reminds us that God causes all things to work together for good. James 1:2-4 helps us to see that God uses trials to sanctify us, conforming us into the image of Christ. Afflictions are never meaningless. While painful, they help us. Afflictions grow us into Christ-likeness. As painful as it may sound, trials are an integral part of our sanctification.

But there is yet another reality that will give us hope in the midst of our trials. In 2 Corinthians 2:3-7, God gives us a simple truth: my trials are not only about me. Our afflictions do not serve only us, but also others.

It is a tremendous encouragement to know that our trials are not being wasted.

In typical fashion, Paul urges the Corinthians to praise God (verse 3), then he gives us the reason why we ought to praise him: Because God is faithful to comfort his children in the midst of affliction so that we may be able to extend that same comfort to others in affliction. Therefore, my trials are not about only me, they are for the comfort and salvation of others.

It is a tremendous encouragement to know that our trials are not being wasted. God is at work through them. One of the ways He wants to work through affliction is to enable us to fulfill His great command, that we would love Him and love one another. Take heart, suffering saint. God is at work in you, both for you and for others.

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Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Chadwick Haygood