Frequently Asked Questions
1. Books: Are these studies available in printed format?
You may download these studies in a variety of formats and print them off for your own personal use (see Ichthys Archives). For two major reasons these studies are not available in traditional print format (i.e., as "books" or "booklets": 1) It is important to me to continue to make this information available exclusively on a free, grace basis; 2) I am unwilling to assign any rights to these works to any third party (editor, publisher, distributor, retailer, etc.). For more: "A question about Ichthys books", "Availability of Materials", and "Are these materials available for purchase?". Please exercise caution in attempting to print out the longer studies directly from your browser in HTML (as this will use much more paper than printing from Adobe PDF, RTF -MSWord, or WordPerfect). If you are determined to print from HTML anyway, consider using your browser's "print preview" option and 1) reduce left and right margins to zero, 2) set "scale" to around 70-80 % (this will save quite a bit of paper).
2. Download: What options are available for downloading these studies?
In addition to the HTML display, other formats accessible from the individual series home pages and from the Ichthys Archive page include Adobe PDF, RTF -MSWord, and WordPerfect. All three of these formats are also available by download of a complete archive of all studies (see Ichthys Archives: Complete).
3. Churches: Can you recommend a church to attend?
As an unaffiliated ministry, it is my policy generally not to recommend specific local churches. It is my hope and a major purpose of this ministry that the materials available here will prove helpful in supporting your personal Christian spiritual growth (and in the process both help to inform your decisions about church choice as well to as provide solid spiritual food to assist in your spiritual growth where this is lacking in the churches available to you). For more: "Can you recommend a church?" and "Can you help me choose a church?". Please also see the "Bible Study Links" pages for helpful information.
4. Affiliation: Is this ministry affiliated with any particular denomination?
This is a personal ministry with no church or denominational affiliation. The studies at Ichthys are, generally speaking, in the mainstream Protestant and Evangelical tradition, but do not look to any denominational subdivision of that tradition for their authority or validation. The Bible is authoritative standard by which it is my hope these studies will be measured rather than any derivative creeds. When compared to scripture, it is also my hope that they will be found to speak for themselves as to their validity.
5. Fonts: I am having trouble with the display of some of the fonts in these studies. Can you help?
All of the pages on the Ichthys site are deliberately simple in terms of their layout. However, Greek and Hebrew fonts are of necessity occasionally used. These are both Windows fonts ("Symbol" and "Hebrew Regular" respectively). You may not have these fonts on your computer (or you may have them but they may yet need to be installed). If you lack these fonts or if they are not installed, English equivalent characters will be displayed. One fix available to all users is to view the file in question via the Adobe PDF option (see FAQ 2 above). The Adobe files will display the proper font regardless of which browser you use since, unlike the HTML display, the fonts' characters are physically embedded in the files themselves.
6. Navigation: I am having trouble finding what I need on this site. Can you help?
There are a variety of methods available for navigating the well over a million words of material in these studies: 1) a Search Feature (Google and a number of other engines can be used to search the site directly); 2) a Subject Index (where you may search by topic); 3) a Translation Index (where original translations are listed by passage). In the event that you are still having trouble finding what you are looking for, please feel free to e-mail me and I will do my best to assist you: Questions2@ichthys.com
7. Recommended Use: How can I best benefit from these studies?
These materials are intended to support your individual Christian spiritual growth. They are not meant to replace prayer, Bible reading, worship, Christian fellowship, or personal ministry. Given the dearth of substantive Bible teaching in the contemporary "church visible", however, I encourage you to seek the solid food of the Word of God somewhere - if not in face to face teaching or from this ministry, then from some sound, reliable, and orthodox source - for there can be no serious spiritual growth without the critical ingredient of the Word of God taught in depth. If Ichthys is your source of choice (or one of them), I recommend at a minimum reading the e-mail responses which are posted on a weekly basis, and developing a personal plan for working your way through the already available studies and postings (while keeping up with new ones). Please keep in mind that much of the material in this work is presented in depth and may require re-reading several times in order to master thoroughly. I also suggest you make a habit of reading the footnotes and especially of looking up the verses cited to see for yourself the scriptural basis for the point being taught. As always, I remain available to answer more specific questions: Questions2@ichthys.com
8. Recommended Sequence: Which of these studies should I read first?
As these studies all reinforce and complement one another, a variety of approaches will work equally well. I do recommend the study Read Your Bible as a good place to start in order to understand the methodology of this ministry. The Peter Series then provides a good general introduction to many basic doctrines. The Bible Basics series is not yet complete, but the available studies (Theology, Angelology, Anthropology, Hamartiology, Christology, Soteriology) provide comprehensive treatments of the subject matter they contain. The completed Satanic Rebellion series and the nearly complete Coming Tribulation series, while primarily focused on eschatology, contain much additional doctrinal information on a variety of subjects and can thus also be very profitable for general spiritual growth. Making a habit of reading the weekly e-mail response postings is also recommended: E-mails at Ichthys.
9. Contributions: Can I make a contribution to this ministry?
This is a grace ministry. I do not accept monetary contributions (please see the link: Policy on donations). However, I greatly appreciate your prayers. I am also very pleased to accept editorial help for any typos, incorrect citations, or link and display problems you may encounter. E-mail me at Questions2@ichthys.com
10. RSS: Do you have an RSS/XML feed available? How do I sign up?
Yes. To sign up, merely click on the RSS link on the email response page, or click on the RSS subscription button on your browser. If you encounter difficulty, please let me know and I will do my best to assist you: Questions2@ichthys.com
11. Notification: How can I find out when new studies are posted?
I do maintain an e-mail notification list to announce major new postings. This list generates only a handful of e-mails per year (it is not used to announce the weekly e-mail postings; for this see FAQ 10 on RSS). If interested, contact me by e-mail and I will be happy to add you to the list: Questions2@ichthys.com
12. Translations: Where do the translations of scripture that appear at Ichthys come from?
Most of the translations given at Ichthys are my original work. For those that are not, the version's abbreviated name (e.g., KJV = King James; NIV = New International; NASB = New American Standard) appears just to the right of the verse citation. An index of original translations currently available may be found at the following link: Ichthys Translations. See also FAQ #20 and How to use the Bible translations at Ichthys.
13. History: What is the origin of the Ichthys ministry?
This ministry originated with a face-to-face Bible study at the University of California Irvine during the late 1980's. When friends graduated or otherwise moved on, I felt the need to make these materials available in written form. This process was greatly facilitated by the internet, and Ichthys first became available on-line in October 1997.
14. Biography: What are your background and qualifications?
My current curriculum vitae, including educational credentials and [secular] publications, is available at the following link: Author's C.V. For more: "A Bit of Autobiography" and "Antecedents of Ichthys".
15. Ichthys: What is the meaning of the word Ichthys?
The name "Ichthys", a word meaning "fish" in Greek, is an acronym which stands for "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior" (see "The Ichthys Acronym").
16. Dot.Com: Why do you use the "dot.com" designation if this is a non-commercial ministry?
When the internet was younger, there was a very real possibility that restrictions for site content based upon domain name suffixes would gradually become more rather than less restrictive. With that in mind, since Ichthys is not a part of any formal organization, organizational restrictions that might apply to a ".org" domain were deliberately avoided by offering Ichthys as a ".com" instead. The rational was (and is) that since Ichthys has no commercial content, and since all future ".com" restrictions would doubtless be directed at commercial enterprise, this designation would be more likely to avoid restrictions that might limit the content provided at Ichthys. At time of writing, free speech in cyber-space has temporarily rendered the problem moot. However, as all developers are aware, there is no guarantee that this will continue to hold true in the future (e.g., the question of who will eventually govern ICAAN remains problematic). So I continue to be happy with the choice of ".com". For one thing, countries around the globe with strict censorship policies are arguably somewhat less likely to pay close attention to .com's when screening for religious content.
17. E-mails: What is your policy regarding the posting of e-mail correspondence?
It is my policy to retain copies of all e-mail correspondence. Questions and answers which I deem generally helpful for any Christian are more likely than not to be posted at Ichthys E-mails at some point, however, at time of writing, the lag is running at about two years and growing. All questions and responses are posted anonymously, with specific identifying features removed. Requests by correspondents that their e-mails not be posted in spite of anonymity are always honored.
18. Use Policy: How may I use the materials found at Ichthys?
In general terms, you are free to make any honorable use of these materials you wish, provided that you abide by a few reasonable restrictions: Do not profit from them; do not alter their meaning; do not pass them off as your own. For more: Ichthys Use Policy
19. Strategic Plan: What is your plan for the production of new materials and studies?
I am presently working on the Bible Basics series. It is my hope that part 5, "Pneumatology", will be available some time next year (2013). This will be followed in sequence by 6A, 6B and 7 of Bible Basics. Part 2B of Bible Basics, "Eschatology", will, reasonably, be the last of this series (since The Satanic Rebellion and Coming Tribulation already contain essentially the same information and in much greater detail). Following this (several years hence at present pace of production), it is my intention to renew the Peter's Epistles series.
20. Sigla: Would you explain the abbreviations and symbols used in the translations at Ichthys?
Put simply, square brackets indicate words supplied by me which are added to the text to bring out the full meaning of what the original Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic is actually saying (i.e., square brackets contain interpretive information). The King James version, for example, uses italics for this same purpose (although much more sparingly than I do). On the other end of the spectrum, the New International Version, for example, only explains such things via footnotes (and is not consistent in doing so): in the NIV it is usually unclear that words or phrases have been added for the sake of interpretation. Parentheses, on the other hand, when they are followed by explanatory abbreviations (such as cf., e.g., i.e., lit., etc.) are used to provide explanatory information, such as the Greek or Hebrew word being translated, parallel passages, etc. Where no such abbreviation follows, the words in the parenthesis are a part of the text. You can find out more about this and other information about the sigla and about how to understand and use these translations generally at the following link: How to use the Bible translations at Ichthys.
21. How can I make the hover-over references show up in a different Bible version?
Use the following control panel to change the display options for the current page (note: this box is also to be found at the bottom of each page / file). First, select the version you prefer. Next, click save. The version selected will then appear in the hover-over boxes for all pages unless and until you switch back.