Begin Here

➡ Average Reading Time: 15 minutes   When you click on a link below it will expand to show you the available studies. Have fun! 


↓ Not So Quick Reads ↑
Not So Quick Reads
The following are longer article(s) that will provide you variegated information on a different way of thinking about theological ideas. Enjoy!
A Brief Critique of Ephesians


↓ Cultivating Generosity As A LifeStyle ↑

Paul writes to the Corinthians some sharpening thoughts about giving. The sessions listed below will hopefully offer you a new set of glasses by which you can view the idea of money differently that you may have previously viewed it. What I hope will happen to you as a reader is that you will put away you old concepts about giving, rather you concept that tithing is God’s way for you to give. I trust that “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God (2 Cor. 9.11). Luke records in Acts the saying of Jesus, “it is more blessed to give that to receive.” What better authority and the one who brought to us the kingdom of God. His words should remind us about the ultimate character of God that is demonstrated time and time again in the story presented in Scripture: God is a generous giver. His character is to give abundantly. One of his highest goals is to have his children developed his characteristics of generosity giving in all area s of our lived. The sessons presented below will hopefully help you along the way of becoming generosity beyond your present lifestyle.

Session 1: Rethinking How You Think
Session 2: What’s All The Fuss About Money?
Session 3: Breaking Out Of Confinement
Session 4 How God Sees Money
Session 5: How Humankind Sees Money
Session 6: Giving in Genesis
Session 7: Giving from Exodus to Ezra-Nehemiah
Session 8: Giving in the Second Testament Forward (Required)
Session 9: Giving in the Second Testament Forward (Voluntary)


↓ Delivering God's Gracelets of Healing ↑

Can everyone Play? You bet! The Reformation reminded the church (ecclesiae), which had become extremely hierarchical, that the average “pew sitter” was just as much a priest as the “professional” priest was a priest. In short, it is called “the priesthood of all believers.” In protest to a sermon by John Tetzel, Martin Luther drew up ninety-five theses for debate and posted them on the door of the Castle Church on October 31, 1517. His refusal to be silenced about his understanding of justification by faith brought pressure to the existing structure of the Roman version of the ecclesia. During the 1520s he wrote “Sermon on the Mass,” which taught the concept of the “priesthood of all believers.” This call has been stated in many ways. The late John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard movement, once stated that in the Vineyard “everyone gets to play,” which restated for his generation the same idea that Luther had for his generation.

Everybody Gets To Play
You See What?
Why Doesn’t Everyone Get Healed?
The Roots of Healing
Wholeness is the Key
Values, Models, and Patterns
Gracelets of Healings
You Can Do It!
Becoming New
One Event: Many Views
God Cares About Healing Our Bodies
Breaking Demonic Influence
Practice, Practice, Practice!


↓ Life Perspectives. Seeing Life Thru God Colored Glasses ↑
Everyone is a theologian! The question is not whether you are a theologian or not, but whether you are a good one or a poor one. When we think about theology we are often mono-minded. Theology sounds stiff and boring. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be.

I Don’t Need No Theology

Theology! Not a word that many followers of Jesus like. “Don’t teach me theology,” I’ve been told. “Just tell me what the Bible says.” I find this to be an interesting statement when I hear it. In fact, when you come to understand the Bible’s teaching, you are at that moment understanding its theology! Theology is simply what an author of Scripture writes when presenting to an ecclesia or a person, as in Timothy, Titus, or Philemon about a problem in the ecclesiae as in Second Timothy chapters 2-3. Paul suggests a way of think therein that concludes with these words, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” Scripture is not a history book, nor a poetry book, it is a theological book. Its main intent is to share with its readers the insights about God that will make the reader want to be in a relationship with God. Theology is an activity in which one thinks and speaks about God. This process is often called theologizing. Thus the by-product of theologizing is theology. Theology includes many disciplines: exegesis, biblical theology, historical theology, ethics, apologetics, spirituality, liturgy, and practical theology. The end result of theology should be the praise of God that leads to God being honored and praised! An in the process giving its readers a perspective on life as viewed through God Colored Glasses.

1. Session 1: Life Perspectives. Seeing Life Thru God Colored Glasses
2. Session 2: Is Theology Really Dull?
3. Session 3: Grasping the Acts of Jesus
4. Session 4: Grasping the Acts of the Spirit
5. Session 5: Grasping the Kingdom of God
6. Session 6: Grasping the Metaphors of Salvation
7. Session 7: Grasping The Ecclesiae
8. Session 8: Grasping the Second Coming
9. Session 9: Grasping the Scripture


↓ Understanding Second Testament Theology ↑

The subject of Second Testament Theology is a big one. There are several massive volumes that share great insights on the subject. I have listed four of these for you in a short bibliography below. These sessions are built as a primer to help the student to begin his or her journey into the world of Second Testament Theology. There are several grids through which one can view the information that the authors of the Second Testament present. I have chosen the kingdom of God grid. It appears to me to be the focus of the writers of the Second Testament books and makes the most sense out of those books. The late Dr. George Eldon Ladd (d. 1982) and Dr. James Kallas have been my mentors in my own journey. Ladd presents the kingdom of God theology in A Theology of the New Testament that serves as the text for this course. James Kallas inspired me to understand how this theological mindset played itself out on the pages of the Second Testament and in the practical dealing of daily life. My first introduction to Kallas was The Significance of the Synoptic Miracles: Taking the Worldview of Jesus Seriously. Over the years, Jim became a friend and I had the honor to republish “Significance” and also publish two other books for him: Biblical Chaos: Holding Opposites Together in Tension (2012) and The Bible Twice Denied: A Cure of the Continuing Collapse of Christian Influence (2013). To each one, I owe an enormous debt. I trust that you will find the information, which we cover, somewhat stimulating in your own kingdom journey.

1. Understanding the Kingdom of God
2. Understanding the Cosmic Conflict on Earth
3. Understanding the Kingdom of God and the Ecclesiae
4. Understanding The Works of Jesus
5. AD 49-51: Understanding the Theology of Galatians, James, 1 & 2 Thessalonians
6. AD 53-57: Understanding the Theology of 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans
7. AD 60-61: Understanding the Theology of Mark, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, Luke, Acts, Philippians
8. AD 63-80: Understanding the Theology of 1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy, 1 & 2 Peter
9. AD 63-80: Understanding the Theology of Matthew, Hebrews, Jude
10. AD 80-100: Understanding the Theology of John, 1, 2, 3 John, Revelation


↓ Understanding First Testament Theology
Understanding the Old (First) Testament is an important task for followers of Jesus. God has been gracious and kind in providing for his children a group of books, sixty-six in all, which we call the Bible. These sixty-six books carry a life-changing message. In order to receive this message God intends, we must be good readers and interpreters of these books. Every time we pick up the Bible and begin reading one of its books we begin the process of interpretation. There are many contemporary ideas to which we have been exposed that cause us to pollute the message as we interpret. The Bible is inspired, but the way we often interpret it is uninspired. It would be silly for a person who smokes to be more concerned about the pollution in the atmosphere of the earth than he or she is about the pollution of the air in his or her lungs. The same folly is apparent when Jesus followers spend more time concerned about Scripture’s inspiration than the number of contaminants they ingest as they interpret. Can you trust the Bible? Yes! Does its message get polluted as it is transmitted from its pages as you read and it enters into your head, heart, and life? Probably so! Can you limit the number of pollutants that you allow into your interpretation? Certainly! Can you seal off some of these by employing some simple interpretive safeguards? You bet! or as my daddy used to say “yessiree bob!” I hope that as you spend time with this material, you will begin the process of eradicating the reading pollutants that you have acquired over the years so that Scripture can illuminate you in a fresh and dynamic way.

1 | Understanding That Reading Is Interpreting
2 | Understanding What Thinking Like A Hebrew Means
3 | Understanding What the First Hearer Heard
4 | Understanding First Testament Literature
5 | Understanding What the Present Hearer Hears Now
6 | Understanding What a Narrative Is
7 | Understanding What Covenant Law Is
8 | Understanding What Poetry Is
9 | Understanding the Prophets
10 | Understanding What Wisdom Is


↓ James: Works that Demonstrate your Faith ↑
James: Works that Demonstrate you Faith
James is a collection of proverbial sayings and stories in the form of aphorisms, which a tersely phrased statements of a truth or opinion. James uses about sixty imperatives in his book. An imperative in the Greek language offers the reader/listener a place to make a decision. There is a similarity between James and the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospels James 1.2 cp. Matthew 5.10-12; James 1.5-7 cp. Matthew 5.48). Some of the sayings in James have a resemblance to the wisdom found in Ecclesiasticus in the Apocrypha. [Winn Griffin. God’s EPIC Adventure. Harmon Press. 279.]

1. James: Works that Demonstrate your Faith
2. Attacks Will Come, Welcome Them
3. Welcome Attacks Because…
4. Since You Lack Wisdom…Ask God
5. The Full Circle


↓ Genesis | The Story Begins ↑
The story presented in Genesis 1-11 is known by many but not understood by many. We have substituted the modern Western rational mind and its pushing of Creation-Science and Secularism to mislead and misguide us in our understanding of these foundational chapters. does have a word that is extremely relevant for present readers that has absolutely nothing to do with modern science or the creeping in of secular understandings. The meaning that its first hearers/readers would have understood is still a powerful word for us today.

About the Pentateuch
About Genesis
About  || Genesis 1.1-11.26
About the Background of  || Genesis 1.1-11.26
Story 1:  Only One God  || (Genesis 1.1-2.4a)

Story 2:  Freedom: The Creation of Humankind  || (Genesis 2.4b-25)
Story 3:  Bondage: The  Fall of Humankind  || (Genesis 3.1-24)
Story 4:  The Fruit of the Fall (Murder) || (Genesis 4.1-16)
Story 5:  Coming to Grips with Genealogies  || (Genesis 4.17-5.32)
Story 6:  Sons of God and Daughters of Men  || (Genesis 6.1-8)
Story 7: When It Rains, It Pours: The Flood  || (Genesis 6.9-7.24)
Story 8:  A New Beginning  || (Genesis 8.1-9.17)
Story 9: The Cursing of Canaan || (Gen.18-20.32)
Story 10: The Tower of Babel || (Genesis 11.1-26)


↓ Matthew: An Informative Story That Can Transform Jesus Followers ↑

When you receive a letter from someone you know, it is easy for you to read it. However, when you receive a letter from someone you don’t know, it may be difficult because you don’t know how the author of the letter uses words, figures of speech, etc. Reading and understanding Scripture is no different. To know the author is to get a step closer to the meaning. It is always helpful to know something about the books in Scripture you are reading.

Matthew | An Introduction
Matthew | The Story of the Gospels

Matthew | Birth And Infancy Narratives (1-2)

Matthew | Book One: Show and Tell Discipleship (3.1-7.29)
Matthew | Book Two: The Words and Works of the Kingdom (8.1-11.1)

Matthew | Interlude: An Introduction to Parables

Matthew | Book Three: Kingdom Opposition and Parables (11.2-13.53)
Matthew | Book Four: Discipleship and Kingdom Lifestyle (13.54-18.35)
Matthew | Book Five: Kingdom Coming and Kingdom Future (19.1-25.46)

Matthew | Conclusion: Death, Resurrection, and Final Instructions (26-28)


Jude: Confronting Fake News
Jude: Confronting Fake News! Jude is one of the shortest books in the New Testament. Its primary purpose is to provide a wake-up call to Jesus followers concerning false teachers, what we are calling in this series: Purveyors of Fake News! In a world full of error, Jude speaks a clear word about how to keep a community of faith from being deceived about the information that they hear and read.

It is the intent of this series to provide a learning environment in which you (community and individual) as a reader of Scripture can discover meaning as well as a few possible thoughts about how to live into this material from the words of this mostly overlooked book.

1 What Do You Do with What the Biblical Teachers Taught?
2 A Powerful Message Against Fake News!
3 Purveyors of Fake News!
4 Contenders Against Fake News!
5 Confronting Fake News!
6 Fake News! Content Delivered by Deception
7 Condemning Fake News!
8 A Graphic Description of Fake News! Reporters
9 Fake News! Pundits: Your 15 Minutes of Fame Is Up!
10 Fake News! Pundits, Your Fate Is Sealed
11 Fake News! Pundits Exposed in Five Sharp Words
12 Resisting Fake News! By Remembering
13 Resisting Fake News! by Thinking, Building, Praying, Keeping, Waiting, and Being Merciful
14 Final Words To Folks Captivated by Fake News!


↓ Reading the Story of Ruth ↑
Reading the Book of Ruth The story of Ruth is a part of the Scrolls under the section called The Writings in the Hebrew Bible. The first words of Ruth invite the reader to read it in association with the period of the Judges. The story of Ruth is about an Israelite family who moves from Israel to Moab. All the males in the family die leaving the mother and two daughters-in-law. Ruth, one daughter-in-law, follows her mother-in-law, Naomi, back to Israel. This action in the story demonstrates the welcoming of those who are not in the story, Ruth meets and marries Boaz and becomes a direct ancestor of King David Ruth 4.17b). God’s EPIC Adventure, 154-155.

Reading 1. Read the Book of Ruth with No Chapters and Verse Additives
Reading 2: Reading the Story of Ruth: An Introduction
Reading 3: Desperation and Dedication
Reading 4: So What’s a Nice Moabitist Girl Like You Doing Living In Judah?
Reading 5. Asking for Help at the Right Time
Reading 6: Death and Emptiness to Life and Fullness


↓ Reading the Bible with Both Eyes Open ↑

The Bible is meant to be read and understood by everyone. These readings provide some essential insights that can help you clear up some of the misconceptions and help you grasp a clearer meaning of how to live into its story in this present century.
Reading 1. It’s Not the Book That’s Dull!
Reading 2. What Did God Say?
Reading 3. God-Breathed Human Words!
Reading 4. The Word of God in the Words of Humankind
Reading 5. How the Bible Came to Us
Reading 6. Ten Reasons Why it is Difficult to Read the Bible
Reading 7: An Overview of Old Testament Literature
Reading 8. An Overview of New Testament Literature

↓ Kingdom of God: A Reading Guide ↑

The Bible is meant to be read and understood by everyone. These readings provide some essential insights that can help you clear up some of the misconceptions and help you grasp a clearer meaning of how to live into its story in this present century.

The kingdom of God is the rule of God on earth. Jesus brought the future rule of God into the present. We now live in the presence of the future, between the first coming and the second coming of Jesus. These readings will help you grasp the concept of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God: Introduction to Using this Reading Guide
1. What’s All This Kingdom Stuff: An Introduction to Kingdom of God Theology
2. There’s a War Going On! The Kingdom in the New Testament
3. The Church Is Not the Kingdom!
4. Kingdom Warfare. Part One: Attack and Counterattack
5. Kingdom Warfare. Part Two: Suit Up!
6. Kingdom Prayer. Learning to Talk to God
7. Kingdom Proclamation. Learning to Speak for God
8. Kingdom Metaphors. The Kingdom of God is Like…
9. Kingdom Power & Authority. Learning How God Flows Through Us
10. Kingdom Power Over Demons. Learning About Demons
11. Kingdom Power over Disease. Is Sickness A Work of Satan?
12. Kingdom Power Over Nature & Death. Learning About Nature Miracles and Resuscitation
13. Kingdom Living. Living Between The Times. The Consummation of the Kingdom


↓ Mark's Story of Jesus: A Reader's Guide ↑
Reading the text of Scripture is becoming or maybe more firmly “has become” a lost art. We read the Bible in fragments. The internet to some degree has expedited that notion. In the sacred text, we fight an uphill battle because it has been fragmented for as long as we have been alive and many more years before. The addition of chapters and verses in the 1500s, which was originally meant to help find ideas in the text, has become the way in which we are taught to read the text. I’m sure that the ancient authors would be somewhat perturbed that their material has been treated in such a way, not to mention the frustration that God must feel when his kids seem to claim that he only speaks in fragmented thoughts.

In these guides, we will read and reflect on the Mark’s Story of Jesus as the first telling of his story in the sacred text.
Setting the Stage
Who’s That Guy Mark?
The Story Opens: 1.1-13

First Act: Presentation of Jesus 1.14-8.30
Scene 1: The Authority of Jesus: 1.14-45
Scene 2. Mounting Opposition: 2-1-3.6
Scene 3. Counter Opposition: 3.7-35
Scene 4. More Stories about God’s Rule: 4.1-34
Scene 5. More Stories about the Rule of God: 4.35-5.43
Scene 6. Show and Tell: 6.1-56
Scene 7. Darkness to Light: 7.1-8.30

Second Act: Passion Predictions: I Am Going
to Jerusalem to Die: 8.31-10.52

  • Scene 1. Passion Prediction 1 (8.31-9.1)
  • Scene 2. Passion Prediction 2 (9.30-50)
  • Scene 3. Passion Prediction 3 (10.32-52)

Third Act: Passion of Jesus 11.1-15.47
Scene 1. Questions, Questions, Questions! 11.1-12.44
Scene 2. When is the End?: 13.1-37
Scene 3. It is Finished!: 14.1-15.47
The Story Continues: 16.1-8


↓ God Has Spoken, But What Has He Said? ↑
God has spoken; we can read what he has said in the Bible. The question is not if he has spoken, but when he did, what did he say? And more to the point, if he can be heard in the sacred text, is anyone listening? This study shares three (3) reasons why interpretation is necessary and three (3) approaches to hearing God’s voice from the pages of the Bible.

The reader will surely be able to read with fresh eyes and hear with fresh ears after reading this short study.
When You Are Reading You Are Interpreting
Three Reasons Why Interpretation Is Necessary?
Three Approaches to Reading
1. A Historical Approach
2. An Individual Devotional Approach
2A. The Plain Meaning Approach
2B. Three Deadly Scripture Reading Diseases Approach
2C. An Anti-intellectualism Approach
2D. A Pneumatic Interpretation Approach
2E. Pneumatic Epistemology Approach
2F. Pneumatic and Cognitive Approach
2G. A Bizarre Interpretation Approach
3. The Best of Both Interpretative Approaches
Bibliography: God Has Spoken


↓ Decoding the Apocalypse | What the Left Behind Folks Never Told You ↑

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)