Digging Deeper: The Book Unlike Any Other

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education


Estimated Reading Time: 7 min., 44 sec

Did you know that there is one book in human history that is unlike any other?

Innumerable books have been written through the millennia of humankind’s existence. Solomon commented on this even in his time of the 900s B.C.: “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end“(Ecclesiastes 12:12 KJV). It is impossible to imagine how many more books have been written since his time. I remember hearing years ago that another book about the American Civil War is released every day! These volumes describe only one event of U.S. history. Uncountable books have been written on all aspects of human knowledge. However, this Digging Deeper will reveal the book unlike any other.

That incomparable book is the Holy Bible. You may own one or several copies of this volume. To this day, it still is one of the most purchased books every year. What is it about this book that draws people to it, even if they don’t read it? Many think of owning one as a kind of good luck charm. People know there is something special about it, even if they do not know much about what is inside. Look on the spine of your Bible. Commonly, it is called the Holy Bible (at least on older Bibles). What does the word bible mean in common usage? Additionally, why is this particular book called holy? There is good reason why it is thus entitled. 

The word bible simply means “book.” In common usage, the word bible is used in titles of handbooks or manuals, such as for hunters or fishermen. However, the word bible in the titles of these books is not preceded by the word holy. We need to explore these two words in greater depth to understand why the Scriptures are called the Holy Bible. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) in its article “The Bible” provides us the derivation of our word bible: “The word ‘Bible’ is the equivalent of the Greek word biblia (diminutive from bı́blos, the inner bark of the papyrus), meaning originally ‘books'” (e-Sword 12.1). 

Richard Watson’s Biblical and Theological Dictionary in its article “Bible” explains the origin of our word bible further: “The word Bible comes from the Greek Βιβλος, or Βιβλιον, and is used to denote any book; but is emphatically applied to the book of inspired Scripture, which is ‘the book’ as being superior in excellence to all other books. Βιβλιον again comes from Βιβλος, the Egyptian reed, from which the ancient paper was procured” (Bible Analyzer 5.4.1.22). The word has a humble origin, descending from the papyrus plant that grows in marshy areas. Reeds of this plant were cut, sliced, dried, and pounded at right angles onto another piece of papyrus to make a sheet – a sheet of paper. Our word paper descends from papyrus

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia provides further development of the term: “Jerome’s name for the Bible (4th century) was ‘the Divine Library’ (Bibliotheca Divina). Afterward came an important change from plural to singular meaning. ‘In process of time this name, with many others of Greek origin, passed into the vocabulary of the western church; and in the 13th century, by a happy solecism, the neuter plural came to be regarded as a feminine singular, and ‘’The Books’ became by common consent ‘The Book'(biblia, singular), in which form the word was passed into the languages of modern Europe’ (Westcott, Bible in the Church, 5). Its earliest occurrences in English are in Piers Plowman, Chaucer and Wycliffe” (e-Sword 12.1).  This constructive but unusual occurrence seems to have been providential since “The Books” became “The Book!” The ISBE continues: “This word designates the collection of the Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament recognized and in use in the Christian churches. Different religions (such as the Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist, Mohammedan) have their collections of sacred writings, sometimes spoken of as their ‘Bibles.’ The Jews acknowledge only the Scriptures of the Old Testament. Christians add the writings contained in the New Testament” (Ibid.). 

Christians refer to the Sacred Scriptures as the Holy Bible. Let us now focus on the word holyWebster’s 1828 Dictionary in its article “Holy” provides this second definition in its list: “Hallowed; consecrated or set apart to a sacred use, or to the service or worship of God; a sense frequent in Scripture; as the holy sabbath; holy oil; holy vessels; a holy nation; the holy temple; a holy priesthood” (e-Sword 12.1). Therefore, we may conclude that the Holy Bible is a volume inspired by God as hallowed, consecrated, and set apart for sacred use in the service and worship of Him. In this way, it is The Book unlike any other. When we refer to The Bible we need to capitalize the first b in the word Bible for this reason. This acknowledges the respect people afford to God’s Book. Smith’s Bible Dictionary elaborates on this term, “It is The Book as being superior to all other books. But the application of the word BIBLE to the collected books of the Old and New Testaments is not to be traced farther back than the fifth century of our era” (e-Sword 12.1). 

The Holy Bible contains the Old and New Testaments. Smith’s Bible Dictionary defines them this way, “The Bible consists of two great parts, called the Old and New Testaments, separated by an interval of nearly four hundred years. These Testaments are further divided into sixty-six books, thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New. These books are a library in themselves being written in every known form of old literature. Twenty-two of them are historical, five are poetical, eighteen are prophetical, twenty-one are epistolary” (e-Sword 12.1). There are within several different genres of literature, as Smith continues, “They contain logical arguments, poetry, songs and hymns, history, biography, stories, parables, fables [fictitous stories meant to teach a moral lesson], eloquence, law, letters and philosophy” (Ibid.). God inspired each genre in its unique purpose for conveying His message. Smith then describes the over 40 different human authors God inspired: “Among these authors were kings, farmers, mechanics, scientific men, lawyers, generals, fishermen, ministers and priests, a tax-collector, a doctor, some rich, some poor, some city bred, some country born — thus touching all the experiences of men extending over 1500 years” (Ibid.).

Our Holy Bible is God’s story in which He narrates His plan of salvation from creation (Genesis) to new creation (Revelation). Smith’s Bible Dictionary elaborates, “The Holy Bible is the name given to the revelation of God to man contained in sixty-six books or pamphlets, bound together and forming one book and only one, for it has in reality one author and one purpose and plan, and is the development of one scheme of the redemption of man” (e-Sword 12.1). Ancient books were written on long scrolls of papyrus or parchment (animal skins). A change was made centuries ago (that may be attributable to the early Christian church) of binding together several smaller sheets of paper on one common edge. This was called a codex. This enabled preachers a convenient way of transporting the Bible on their long journeys. 

This Bible’s story includes the coming of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to provide the necessary substitutionary atonement for human sin. Christians are blessed with four volumes about the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus. Even then, these four are only a summary of His remarkable life and times. One of the four authors, John, informs us, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25 KJV). However, these four volumes included in the 66 books of the Holy Bible provide Christians all they need to understand God’s magnificent plan of salvation.

Despite the various genres of literature, the many human authors, the vast separation of time between when these authors composed their books, God’s story contains one overarching theme: the redemption and salvation of those He made in His image. The next time you open your Bible, remind yourself that this is God’s Book and that He is communicating with you unlike in any other book. The Holy Bible is the Book of Books!


Ken Frank

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 3: Lección 7 “La re-creación de la humanidad”

Pasaje Destacado: Génesis 2:4–8, 15, 19–20.


Dios restauró la Tierra creando el ambiente perfecto para la humanidad. Él creó a un hombre, Adán, para empezar a reproducirse así mismo. Dios hizo a Adán del polvo de la Tierra a Su imagen, y sopló aliento de vida en él. Dios colocó a Adán en el Edén, un hermoso jardín creado solo para él, y le ordenó que mantuviera y cuidara el jardín. Todo árbol hermoso y toda planta con semillas estaban en el Edén. Eso fue un hermoso comienzo para la humanidad. Al contrario de lo que enseñan los evolucionistas, Dios literalmente creó a Adán y a Eva y los colocó en un jardín físico, y de estos dos seres humanos vinieron todas las personas que han existido.

Discusión:

  • Ayude a sus hijos a comprender que Adán fue el comienzo del plan de Dios para tener una familia.
  • Pregunte a sus hijos qué trabajo le dio Dios a Adán.
  • Platíqueles sobre el hermoso jardín y los animales.
  • Pregunte a sus hijos qué tipo de animal les gustaría tener de mascota si fuera posible. (Use esto como una oportunidad para hablar sobre el maravilloso mundo de mañana).
  • Platíqueles sobre el vínculo cercano y la relación amorosa que Adán tuvo con Dios.

Memorizar y revisar:

Génesis 1:27 “Y creó Dios al hombre a su imagen, a imagen de Dios lo creó; varón y hembra los creó”.


Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 2: Lección 7 “Dios crea a Adán”

 

Pasaje Destacado: Génesis 2:4-8, 15, 19-20


Dios restauró la Tierra, creando el ambiente perfecto para la humanidad. Dios creó a un hombre, Adán, como el comienzo de Su familia. Dios hizo a Adán del polvo de la Tierra, a Su imagen y sopló la vida en él. Dios colocó a Adán en el Edén, un hermoso jardín, y le dijo que lo cuidara y lo mantuviera. Todo árbol hermoso y toda planta con semillas estaban en el Edén. Fue un hermoso comienzo para la humanidad. Contrario a lo que enseñan los evolucionistas, Dios literalmente creó a Adán y a Eva y los colocó en un jardín físico, y de estos dos seres humanos vinieron todas las personas que hayan vivido alguna vez.

Discusión:

  • Ayude a sus hijos a comprender que Adán fue el comienzo del plan de Dios para tener una familia.
  • Pregunte a sus hijos qué trabajo le dio Dios a Adán.
  • Hable sobre el hermoso jardín y los animales. Pregunte a sus hijos qué tipo de animal les gustaría tener como mascota si fuera posible. (Use esto como una oportunidad para hablar sobre el maravilloso mundo de mañana).
  • Hable sobre el vínculo cercano y la relación amorosa que Adán tuvo con Dios.

Memorizar y revisar:

Génesis 1:27 “Y creó Dios al hombre a su imagen, a imagen de Dios lo creó; varón y hembra los creó”.


Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 1: Lección 7 “La primera familia”

Pasaje Destacado: Génesis 1:26–28; 2:24


 

Dios creó al primer hombre, Adán, y luego creó a Eva, su compañera para toda la vida. La familia fue creada por Dios para el bien de la humanidad. Dios estableció la familia humana para reproducirse así mismo por medio de ella (Malaquías 2:15), permitiendo así que la humanidad participe en el plan de Dios de tener muchos hijos e hijas nacidas dentro de Su familia. Como se dijo anteriormente, Dios comenzó con una familia: un hombre y una mujer, Adán y Eva. Todos los seres humanos que alguna vez hayan vivido descienden de Adán y Eva.

Discusión:

  • Explique a sus hijos qué es una familia. Enfatice que una familia comienza con un hombre y una mujer. Es posible que desee aprovechar esta oportunidad para explicar los roles del padre, madre e hijos en la familia.
  • Pregunte a sus hijos quién creó la familia y quiénes fueron la primera familia en la Tierra.
  • Hable sobre el plan de Dios de tener una gran familia con hijos, seres humanos, que se verán como Él es. Diga a sus hijos que Dios quiere que ellos formen parte de Su familia.
  • Exprese a su hijo que Dios fue padre de Adán y Eva, que Él los amó y les enseñó lo que necesitaban saber para vivir una vida feliz.

Memorizar y revisar:

Génesis 1:27 “Y creó Dios al hombre a su imagen, a imagen de Dios lo creó; varón y hembra los creó”.


Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 3: Lección 6 “La re-creación: días 1 a 7”

Pasaje Destacado: Génesis 1:1 a 2:3; Salmos 104: 59, 30; Isaías 45:18.


Génesis 1:1 describe a Dios creando todo en el universo visible. Creó todo en un estado armonioso y hermoso. Pero Génesis 1:2 describe la Tierra como un lugar muy hostil e inhabitable. Entonces, ¿qué pasó entre los versículos 1 y 2? Este es un período de tiempo de posiblemente millones de años. Durante este tiempo Lucifer se rebeló contra Dios, y su nombre fue cambiado a Satanás. La destrucción en la Tierra fue el resultado de la guerra de Satanás contra Dios. Cuando Satanás fue derrotado, Dios “limpió” el desastre en los siete días de la re-creación! Luego, Dios rehabilitó la Tierra, volviéndola adecuada para la vida humana. Él restauró la hermosa atmósfera de la Tierra, hizo que apareciera la tierra seca, hizo que crecieran las plantas, creó las aves y los peces y, finalmente, los animales terrestres y los primeros humanos. Entonces, Dios creó el sábado en el séptimo día de la creación descansando en él, y dándole así ejemplo a la humanidad para que haga lo mismo.

Discusión:

  • Explique que “en el principio Dios creó los cielos y la Tierra” en Génesis 1:1 se refiere a Dios creando el universo físico en un estado de belleza y armonía.
  • Explique que “crear” en Génesis 1:1 significa literalmente “crear” de la nada.
  • Ayude a sus hijos a comprender que pudo haber pasado mucho tiempo entre los versículos 1 y 2del Génesis.
  • Explique que cuando Génesis 1:2 dice que los cielos y la Tierra estaban en un estado dedestrucción y caos, significa que “se volvieron” de esa manera debido a la rebelión de Satanás.
  • La palabra “era” en Génesis 1: 2 proviene de la palabra hebrea que significa “volverse, llegar a sero llegar a quedar”.
  • Las palabras “sin forma ni vacío” en Génesis 1:2 provienen de palabras hebreas que significan unestado de confusión o vacío.
  • Isaías 45:18 dice que Dios no creó la Tierra) en vano; es decir, en un estado de confusión o vacío.
  • Explique que por la rebelión de Satanás se dañó la superficie de la Tierra, y que Dios la “renovó”(Salmo 104:30) en la “semana de la re-creación” para hacerla habitable para los seres humanos.
  • Pregunte a sus hijos por qué Dios recreó la superficie de la Tierra. Recuérdeles la importancia dela familia humana para Dios.

Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 2: Lección 6 “La Re-Creación: Días 1 a 7”

Pasaje Destacado: Génesis 1:1–8,1: 9–19; Salmos 104:5–9; Génesis 1:20–2:3


La semana de la re-creación ocurrió quizás millones de años después de que Dios creó el universo en el principio. Algunos de los ángeles, cerca de un tercio de ellos, se rebelaron contra el gobierno de Dios y trajeron el caos a la creación, dejando devastada la Tierra. Fue en este entorno que Dios rehabilitó la Tierra, haciéndola adecuada para la vida humana. Lo primero que Dios hizo fue restaurar la luz en la Tierra y, en el día dos, preparó la expansión de los Cielos. El día tres de la semana de la re-creación, Dios hizo aparecer la Tierra separándola de los mares. Él hizo que las plantas crecieran. Todos los árboles frutales, los árboles que dan sombra, las plantas comestibles y las hermosas flores surgieron cuando Él lo ordenó. En el cuarto día el Sol, la Luna y las estrellas fueron establecidos como señales para las estaciones, los días y los años para que los humanos pudieran registrar el paso del tiempo. El saber cuándo ocurren las estaciones nos ayuda a planificar la siembra y la cosecha y, especialmente, para guardar los Días Santos de Dios. En el quinto día de la semana de la re-creación, Dios creó los pájaros y los peces. Pájaros cantores junto con aves más grandes volaron por el cielo; los peces poblaron los lagos, arroyos y océanos. Luego, en el sexto día, Dios creó los animales terrestres. Hacia el final del sexto día, Dios creó al primer hombre, Adán, en la propia imagen de Dios. Dios creó el sábado en el séptimo día de la re-creación y descansó, dándole ejemplo a la humanidad para que haga lo mismo.

Discusión:

  • Ayude a su hijo a comprender que podría haber transcurrido mucho tiempo entre lo que se dice en los versículos 1 y 2 de Génesis.
  • Pregunte cómo debió haber sido la Tierra cuando todo estaba oscura y cubierta de espesas nubes y agua.
  • Explique que Dios hace las cosas en etapas, y cuando re-creó la Tierra ¡Comenzó por “encender las luces” (despejando la oscuridad) primero!
  • Pregunte por qué Dios hizo la Tierra. ¿Para qué sirve la Tierra a los humanos y a los animales?
  • Ayude a sus hijos a hacer una lista de todas las cosas que las personas y los animales hacen con las plantas.
  • Pregunte a quién se parecen los humanos y qué dijo Dios sobre Su creación.
  • Pregunte a sus hijos qué le gusta del sábado y por qué es especial.
  • Recuérdele a sus hijos que Dios hizo el sábado y lo apartó para uso santo.

Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 1: Lección 6 “Dios crea una ayuda idónea para Adán”

Pasaje Destacado: Génesis 2:18, 21–23; 3:20


Dios creó un paraíso perfecto y dijo que era muy bueno (Génesis 1:31). Adán disfrutó viendo los animales. Vio que cada uno tenía una compañera; sin embargo, él no tenía una compañera. Dios esperó hasta el momento justo para crearle una compañera a Adán, una que fuera como él. La versión Reina Valera de la Biblia dice que Dios creó una “ayuda idónea” para Adán (Génesis 2:18), en otras palabras, una ayudante adecuada para Adán. Adán fue creado del polvo de la tierra, pero su ayudante fue creada a partir de la costilla de Adán. Adán llamó a su compañera mujer o “Varona”, que significa “tomada del hombre”, el nombre de ella fue Eva. Tanto Adán como Eva, hombre y mujer, fueron creados a imagen de Dios, y tanto los hombres como las mujeres tienen el potencial de ser parte de la familia de Dios.

Discusión:

  • Pregunte a sus hijos cómo creen que se sintió Adán al ser el único ser humano en el planeta.
  • Pregunte cómo piensan que se sintió Adán cuando Dios le presentó una compañera.
  • Explique a sus hijos lo que significa “ayuda idónea”.
  • Enfatice el hecho de que Adán fue creado primero del polvo de la tierra y luego Eva fue creada a partir de Adán.
  • Hable con sus hijos sobre cómo debió haber sido la vida de Adán y Eva en el hermoso jardín. Pregúnteles qué piensan de esto.

Memorizar y revisar:

Génesis 1:27 “Y creó Dios al hombre a su imagen, a imagen de Dios lo creó; varón y hembra los creó”.


LivingEd-Charlotte 2020 Begins!

Last week, the new students arrived for the 2020 Living Education Charlotte program.

To kick off the new year, the students and a few members of the faculty headed up to Blowing Rock, North Carolina for an overnight orientation trip which included meetings and an exciting whitewater rafting trip on the Watauga River. For the remainder of the orientation week, the students returned to Charlotte where they met the HQ department managers and learned about their work-study positions. Orientation was a beneficial experience for everyone involved. The students were able to familiarize themselves with the program expectations and had plenty of time to settle into their new homes, and everyone could begin to get to know each other and lay the groundwork for our 2020 Living Education family. The students are bustling with energy and enthusiasm for their 9-month experience, and the faculty look forward to helping them make the most of this wonderful opportunity to develop various life skills, dig into the Bible, and strengthen their relationships with God.

Digging Deeper: Something Better Than Life

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education


Estimated Reading Time: 6 min., 25 sec.

Did you know that there is something better than life itself?

It is only natural to treasure and protect our lives because they are so precious and relatively short. We try to take good care of ourselves and live safely to preserve life. To us, it is one of the most precious things of our earthly existence. However, one biblical writer asserted that there was something in his life that was even better than life itself. Most people would find this hard to believe. Nonetheless, this is what the Holy Bible states. In my daily Bible reading, occasionally I come across an intriguing phrase that arouses my interest. Researching some of them has lead to several of my Digging Deeper articles. This topic is another one.  Today’s Digging Deeper will disclose this superior blessing that is better than life.

The word better appears 7 times in the Book of Psalms. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible Notes provides a list of them entitled “Seven Better Things In Psalms”:

1. A little with righteousness is better than the riches of many wicked (Psa 37:16).

2. God’s lovingkindness is better than life itself (Psa 63:3).

3. Praise is better than sacrifices (Psa 69:31).

4. One day in God’s house is better than a thousand other days (Psa 84:10).

5. Trust in God is better than confidence in man (Psa 118:8).

6. Trust in God is better than confidence in princes (Psa 118:9).

7. Truth is better than gold and silver (Psa 119:72). (Bible Analyzer 5.4.1.22)

Our focus for this article will be on just one: “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee”  (Psalm 63:3 KJV). The superscription in this psalm’s first verse tells us it is “A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.”  David spent much time outdoors in his younger years, first as a shepherd boy, later when he was on the run from his persecutor, King Saul, and even later when he as a warrior-king leading his army against their enemies. He knew many dangers and developed a special bond with his God that enabled him to trust Him and fully appreciate the Almighty’s lovingkindness. 

The English word lovingkindess appears 30 times in our Authorized Version (KJV) of the Bible, all in the Old Testament. The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), Vol. 1 defines it as, “Affectionate tenderness and consideration; kindness arising from a deep personal love, as the active love of God for his creatures” (Oxford University Press, 1986, Letter L, p.470). Years ago, I read that when the English translators came to the original Hebrew word, hesed, they did not have an exact English equivalent. Stephen D. Renn’s Expository Dictionary of Bible Words explains: “Concerning the translation of hesed with reference to the character of Yahweh, it is difficult, if not impossible, to precisely convey the full meaning of the term with just one English word or phrase. The semantic range of the term is rich and complex” (Hendrickson Publishers, 2006, p. 634). Therefore, the English translators created a new word by combining loving and kindness to express the meaning of the Hebrew word. The OED reports that The Coverdale Bible, the first complete Modern English translation of the Bible, first introduced lovingkindness in 1535 (Ibid.). The Coverdale Bible was also the first printed complete English Bible. English Bibles produced after the Coverdale Bible followed its example by translating the Hebrew word as lovingkindness.

 Hesed appears about 250 times in the Hebrew Bible and is usually translated today as “mercy,” “kindness,” or “steadfast love.” Renn gives this initial definition: “…hesed constitutes one of the most significant theological terms in the Hebrew Scriptures. The right understanding of the term is bound up with its relationship to the divine covenant with Israel. When applied to Yahweh, hesed is fundamentally the expression of his loyalty and devotion to the solemn promises attached to the covenant. It is most commonly applied to God, but it is also used to describe a human quality, as well as expressing human commitment to the covenant” (Ibid., p. 633).

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) also connects this Hebrew word to God’s forgiveness: “When used of God hesed denotes, in general, ‘the Divine Love condescending to His creatures, more especially to sinners, in unmerited kindness’” (Delitzsch). It is frequently associated with forgiveness, and is practically equivalent to ‘mercy’ or ‘mercifulness’ (Exodus 20:6)…” (e-Sword 12.1). David certainly needed God’s forgiveness, for example after his affair with Bathsheba and his ordering of her husband Uriah’s death. David deserved death, but God forgave him because of His lovingkindness (2 Samuel 12:13). Notice this cross-reference: “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba. HAVE mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions”  (Psalm 51:1 KJV).

We all need such divine forgiveness! The ISBE article continues: “Cheyne (Encyclopedia Biblica) regards hesed as denoting paternal affection on God’s part, answered by filial and loyal affection and brotherly love on man’s part (philadelphia in the New Testament). The word ‘lovingkindness’ does not occur in the New Testament, but as its equivalents we have such terms as ‘mercy,’ ‘goodness,’ ‘kindness,’ ‘brotherly love’” (e-Sword 12.1).

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains why David considered God’s lovingkindess better than life: “Life is the most valued and valuable thing pertaining to this world which we can possess … But, above this, David valued the favor and friendship of God. If one or the other was to be sacrificed, he preferred that it should be his life; he would be willing to exchange that for the favor of God. Life was not desirable, life furnished no comforts – no joys – without the divine favor” (e-Sword 12.1). David had a change of heart that today we call “repentance.” Once he surrendered to God, he had a different set of values. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible illustrates: “This is the language of every regenerate soul. But O how few prefer the approbation of God to the blessings of life, or even to life itself in any circumstances” (e-Sword 12.1). So many today live for themselves apart from God’s lovingkindness with the philosophy, “Eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19). 

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible takes this understanding a step further: “For life without the love of God is nothing else than death: a man that has no share in the love of God is dead while he lives; all the enjoyments of life, health, riches, honour, friends, & c. are nothing without the love of God; the meanest temporal blessings with it are preferable to the greatest without it, Proverbs 15:17; it lasts longer than life, and therefore must be better than that; death cannot separate from it; it continues to all eternity” (e-Sword 12.1). Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible provides a further consideration: “God’s lovingkindness is in itself, and in the account of all the saints, better than life. It is our spiritual life, and that is better than temporal life, Psalm 30:5. It is better, a thousand times, to die in God’s favour than to live under his wrath” (e-Sword 12.1).

Our focus verse came from the Book of Psalms, which was Israel’s hymnbook and praise literature. It displays “true values” in a world that has lost its way through sin. Our world’s sense of “values” are often corrupt and ungodly. By contrast, God’s people strive for godly virtues. David was inspired to write about many of these virtues in his psalms. Now that Christ has come, Christians have even more reason to consider God’s lovingkindness better than life!


Ken Frank

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Life to Lessons: Think Aloud

Estimated Reading Time: 2 min. 23 sec.

Johnny’s mother is sitting with Johnny on the living room sofa.

She is holding a Bible in her lap, while Johnny looks at the picture on the printed Bible lesson in his hand. Johnny’s mother is trying to read the recommended verses out loud, but though her voice is full of enthusiasm and animation, Johnny keeps interrupting her with questions. “How did Adam pick names for all the animals? Why did God make fish before giraffes? Why did God make people with five fingers?”

Johnny’s mother, attempting to make it through the rest of the readings, shushes and dismisses his seemingly irrelevant questions. But as Johnny persistently repeats his questions, and his mother continues to ignore them and plow through the readings, both become more and more frustrated. What should Johnny’s mother do? Should she stop to answer Johnny’s random questions, or continue to struggle to keep him quiet while she reads the rest of the passages, or is there another possible solution?

Reading the Bible out loud should be more than an exercise in theatrical reading, and attentive listening. While there are times for children to sit and listen quietly, sharing the Bible with your child can be an excellent opportunity to allow them to “think aloud”. A tried and true strategy used by teachers around the world, the “Think Aloud” reading strategy creates a methodical and accessible approach to engage children in the content. To implement this strategy in your Bible reading lessons is simple! First, make sure you are stopping to think aloud as you read. Verbalizing your thoughts as you read out loud will give you the opportunity to guide your child’s understanding of the passage, to model types of questions which can be considered, and to keep your child engaged in the reading. Second, give your child the opportunity to verbalize their thoughts at appropriate times. Allowing them to do so will help you gauge what they are taking away from the passage, give you the opportunity to answer any questions they have (sometimes even questions which may not seem relevant, may be important to your child’s overall understanding of the passage), and give them important processing time that children need as they take in new material.

Think Aloud Example:

(modeling “Think Aloud” strategy): “Now the LORD said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred”…that means family…“and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee”…Wow! Imagine! God told Abram to leave his home, his family, and to go somewhere else. He didn’t even tell him where his new home would be, but He said, “and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing”…God was saying, if Abram left his home and followed God, God was going to bless him greatly.