My mother-in-law gave me a belated birthday present yesterday, an ESV Study Bible. I love it!

I'm becoming more and more fond of the ESV every day. It helps that some of my favorite Bible teachers (e.g. John Piper) are passionate about the version, and that it truly does seem to be very readable, yet more on the literal side.

For various reasons I think the NKJV is far and away the best translation on the market, and I'll still use the NKJV as my primary Bible for study and memorization. I do plan, though, to use the ESV for a lot of general reading, and I'm looking forward to delving into all that the ESV Study Bible has to offer.

Time to go read.


From Psalm 31:

My eye wastes away with grief,
Yes, my soul and my body!
For my life is spent with grief,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my iniquity,
And my bones waste away.
I am a reproach among all my enemies,
But especially among my neighbors,
And am repulsive to my acquaintances;
Those who see me outside flee from me.
I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel. . . .
Blessed be Yahweh,
For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
For I said in my haste,
"I am cut off from before Your eyes";
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications,
When I cried out to you.
Oh, love Yahweh, all you saints!


For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life itself. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many. -- 2 Corinthians 1:8-11


Everyone approaches exegesis and Bible study with presuppositions. For example, one of my presuppositions is that the sacrament of water baptism is not salvific, and that influences my interpretation of Acts 2:38:

Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of JESUS Christ for the remission of sins ..." (NKJV)

Many Evangelical commentators say that "for" in that case, actually means "because of," or "due to," even though I can't locate a single popular English translation the renders the Greek in that way. (That's not to say that a minority English translation like that doesn't exist.) Just about every translation I can find seems to indicate that, in Acts 2:38, the forgiveness of sins is linked to baptism.

On a related note, if you were to go with the baptism=forgiveness route, then you'd have to concede that John's baptism had the same effect:

John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
-- Mark 1:4 (NKJV)

Despite some exegetical ambiguity, my presupposition on this matter remains intact.

John 3:16



I like the little ESV Scripture of the Day on my sidebar. Today it says:

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
-- Romans 6:22

Here's that passage in my beloved NKJV:

But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
-- Romans 6:22

And, although it's not inspired Scripture, here's a snippet from 1 Clement:

And giving heed to His words, you stored them up diligently in your hearts, and kept His sufferings before your eyes. Thus a profound and rich peace was given to all, together with an insatiable desire to do good, and an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit fell upon everyone as well.
-- 1 Clement 2:1 & 2

I like the phrase in 1 Clement, "an insatiable desire to do good." To me, that's a concise, yet effective, way to describe the Holy Spirit at work in a believer.

I also take note of the order of things in the aforementioned passages. First comes being set free from sin and being slaves of God (or giving heed to His words, et cetera), then comes the fruit to sanctification/holiness, and, ultimately, eternal life.

That Special Book

I've got more Bibles than I can count, and, much to Jack T. Chick's chagrin, I've got multiple translations.

My primary Bible is a genuine leather NKJV New Geneva Study Bible. The Thinklings might recall an email exchange, circa 1999, when we discussed the purchase of Bibles and all that goes along with such an endeavor. The end result was me purchasing the Bible I use today.

I like the feel of the genuine leather in my hands (as opposed to the ubiquitous bonded leather). I like the familiarity of knowing where all of my favorite passages are, and accessing them with the flick of a wrist.

Even during the height of my rebellion, I always read scripture. The inspired word always resonated with me, convicted me, wooed me. I often think how fortunate we are that most of us can read, and that Bibles (at least in America) are cheap and universal.

I imagine I'll start looking to replace my primary Bible when it's about ten years old, and that'll be in about two years. My plan is to use a Bible for about ten years, pack it away somewhere, and then, one day, give it to one of my kids or grandchildren.

(A few words of advice, if you're looking to have a Bible that'll last for years, you'll want to buy a genuine leather Bible, not a bonded leather Bible. Something like calfskin leather might even be better. Also, the leather stays oiled by frequent use. The oils in your hand keep the leather of your Bible nice and hydrated. If you store a genuine leather Bible away, you might want to break it out every six months or so and oil it up with some sort of leather lotion.)

Sola scriptura.

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