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Question #1: 

Hello Bob,

Just checking in with you - I try not to bother with redundant questions and clicked on the Search button at the bottom of the page but it does not work.


This would be a great feature.


Response #1: 

That is what I used to have, but here is what I have written at the point where the link you note lands:

For security reasons, please search Ichthys directly through Google for the time being. To search only Ichthys (and not the entire web), prefix your search by pasting this code into the Google search box before entering your search term (n.b.: a blank space must follow the final colon and precede your search term for this to work):

Then I have the following code: site:ichthys.com:

It really does work, so please try it. It would be much more convenient to just type something into a search box at Ichthys, but as the explanation makes clear, Google penalizes this now and considers the entire site "NOT SECURE". At some point they may change policy. When they do, I will be sure to put the box back in.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Thanks so much, Bob! Your exegesis and perspective are extremely helpful!

I was thinking a few months ago of asking if you've ever considered making your writings available on Amazon. What prompted me is that I'm often too busy to read much until late in the evening. My Amazon Kindle is very convenient for that, and I thought how nice it would be to have the option to download your writings from Amazon. I did find a work-around, though - one can send any .pdf file to a Kindle device through email. The only catch is that the formatting (especially footnotes) is off a little, but I am able to read your essays on my Kindle now.

Many blessings to you,

Response #2: 

Great to hear back from you, my friend!

And thanks for this very valuable work-around! I'm always getting requests for print copies or other types of e-copies, Kindle in particular. There are reasons why I don't want to put these materials on Amazon (or anywhere else), but I'm thrilled to hear that you found a way to get this done. I'll let other readers know this is possible when I get around to posting something on Ichthys per se.

Hope all is going well!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Dear Bob my friend,

Many thanks again for your advice, wisdom and scriptural and spiritual guidance, it is much appreciated.

Yesterday I received an "Apologetics" book in the post entitled "Magnificent Obsession". The basis of the book are letters between a pastor and concerned Christians, curious atheists and deliberating agnostics (my words not his!). I was saying to my friend that your writing and analysis is really first rate and exemplary. You really ought to be published so that more people far and wide can appreciate your efforts. I am sorry if others have nagged you with this before (I'm sure they have) and I know there is a tremendous amount of work and effort to be put in to get published but the main part of the work has been done! You have done all the writing!

I'm sure that there are many, many Christian publishers out there who would be tripping over themselves to publish your work, especially your knockout series on the bible! Just think that your emails alone could fill up many books! Think of the soul winning potential!

Anyway I don't want to make you shy or blush and I'm not trying to fill you with hot air either, but I know I have a gift of seeing others' potential and talents. I leave it at that, it might be worthwhile directing some publishers or agents towards your site as a speculative step and then if nothing came of it, then at least some more Christians or even some none Christian agents and publishers will have read some of your work and seeds will have been planted.

I feel very honoured to be your friend and your writing and tutelage have helped me greatly with both my understanding and love of the good book.

Many blessings to you!

In our Perfect Saviour, Jesus Christ,

Response #3: 

Thanks for the encouragement, my friend!

However, there are very good reasons why I have never pursued this course (see the link: FAQ #1). I know something about the publishing industry and process (I do have two secular books published). First, I'm loath to have money change hands in the process of believers who are interested getting this information. After all, it's not as if it's "my" truth – it belongs to the Lord. If there were no other way to do this (as was true in the 15th century), then perhaps I would take another look at it. But we do have the internet now, after all, so it's possible to make these writings accessible without resorting to traditional publishers. Don't get me wrong: I LOVE books. But I love the Lord more. If I make a mistake (like the incorrect citation a reader noticed just today), or if I want to make a change or an addition, I only need to upload it without asking anyone's permission. And I'm not beholden to a publisher's whims, orphaning my books, for example (that happens quite often). So while I really do appreciate your good words, readers who want something to "hold in the hand" will continue to have to do their own printing (or send the file to a service that does that like Kinko's in this country). It's a bit of nuisance, I suppose – but also a bit of a test. It does help separate those who are really interested from those who are not. The Lord knows what He's doing!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

It is a pleasure for me that you have remembered me. I saw your e-mail at 5am this morning. Ichthys is always on my browser, ever since the HS led me to it more than a year ago; so I know about the MP3 files. One odd thing though - I cannot download them on my laptop, the "the save audio as" drop-down is greyed out. But I can download them through my tablet. I can't listen from the website itself because I have to buy small internet bundles and so ration my internet time (hard economic times). Your website is so full of good stuff; I have saved all the major works SR, CT, Peter series, etc. When I am able to, I will also save the audios as well. Its really true what the bible teaches, that the HS has to guide you as a Christian, because - to think that the website has been up since 1997!! And I was not aware of it! But I know how blessed I am to have found it; I am truly thankful to my Lord.

Yes, I have been in touch with our friend. I pray and hope the Lord heals him soon. He provides me with real fellowship (and of course you and Pastor Curtis as well, through your websites). Our friend has helped me otherwise as well when things have been really tough here ( I am still looking for work). He sends me all his texts once he completes them; great stuff. Thank you for bringing us together.

I have made some good progress since we corresponded last year; I started reading the bible (NIV). I am at 2Corinthians now; once I finish I will start again - this time reading both Testaments; good advice from you guys. I must say I have grown a lot from reading your work, and Omo's Bible Academy. Thank you again, God bless you, sir.

I do appreciate your prayers; I need them, I do hope and pray the Lord delivers me from this trial, it has been going on for long. But I know my Lord will remember me soon. Thank you so very much for your prayers.

Well I would love to go on, but I also know you are busy.

In Jesus Christ who is our salvation and deliverance,

Response #4: 

It's good to hear from you too, my friend. Thanks so much for the detailed update – I appreciate you taking the time.

As to your question about downloading, it apparently depends on 1) your laptop (i.e., is it Mac or PC?), and 2) the web browser you are using. If you are using a PC, you "right click" the link; if you are using a Mac, you "control click" the link. Either way there should then be an option to save the file to your laptop directly. I will say also that this didn't work with my Firefox web browser, but it did work when I tried it with Internet Explorer. So you might try an alternative browser. Here is a link I found that explains the process along the lines of what I just shared with you:  "Ask Dave" If none of this works, write me back and I'll try to find someone who knows more about these sorts of issues than I do.

I'm thrilled to hear of your spiritual progress, my friend, though I am sad to hear that things are still quite a struggle for you economically. I will continue to keep you in prayer.

Thanks also for your good and encouraging words about this ministry. They are greatly appreciated.

Feel free to write me any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Dear Ichthys,

Greetings from Uganda. Today, as I was doing my study and research I landed on your site and I must confess, it is a reflection of the great work in the Kingdom. I'm indeed very grateful.


Response #5: 

Good to make your acquaintance and thank you so much for your kind words (Ps.115:1).

Feel free to "drop by" the site and write me any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #6: 

Thanks for letting me know about this new posting. Also, if you could summarize in a few sentences (that highlight its major points) the incredibly long piece of writing that you sent me, it might help to motivate me to read it.

Response #6: 

As to summarizing, it's not my strong suit. I can tell you that 6A is all about how to live the Christian life – how to walk the Christian walk. It's a practical guide to the most important techniques and perspectives which every mature Christian needs to master in order to draw closer to the Lord and please Him thereby. I can say that those who have read it so far report that it has been encouraging and helpful to them.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

This has been rolling around my brain so I couldn't wait until the other email is ready to go. I am curious about what translation you use, but I also have the idea that you have written your own translation of the bible...I see that you use the KJV and the ESV at certain times, but the majority of your writing seems to make reference from your own translation. Please fill me in.

Also, is all the written material on your website always being added to, or is it material that you wrote at some previous time (not sure I got this question right; hope you understand my respectful meaning)?

There are a lot of questions I want to ask you, some personal and some biblical, so that I can respectfully get to know who I am communicating with. Not sure if you are ok with that or not, or even if you want to continue with me in my aspirations to seek and present the truth of God’s word. I guess what I am trying to say is that I do not want to become overly demanding of your time. don’t want to wear out my welcome so to speak (proverbs 25:17).

1. Is ichthys a “one man show” for you?

2. Who is the target audience of your study and writing? It seems like the style and content of your writing is primarily for scholars, historians, etc.

3. Do you have published books in addition to the two on Thucydides?

Thank you so much and bye for now.

Response #7:

You're most welcome. Happy to answer your questions, my friend.

a) When there is no attribution to a quote (no KJV, e.g.), the translation is mine. I haven't come anywhere close to translating even the NT, let alone the OT, nor is that my purpose. I translate verses when it seems necessary for me to do so to bring out some point or emphasis which is not present in the standard versions, and I expand, explain, and footnote, so to speak, to a degree that would render such a translation on my part pretty unreadable (even if effective for teaching purposes). There's an index for the passages I have rendered (at the link). See also the link: How to use the Bible translations at Ichthys.

b) For the antecedents of the ministry see the link. Last month I posted a 250 pp. single-spaced new offering on the Christian Walk (at the link), but some of these materials go back to the early 80's. I add to the material at Ichthys pretty much weekly with a long selection of email questions and answers (at the link).

1) Yes – to the extent that it is me and not the Spirit (credit me with all the blemishes). Although recently I have been getting more and more help in proofreading and also in the production of audio files (the latter of which is entirely Chris' B's work) . . . and I wouldn't be able to do any of this without the prayer support I receive (Ps.115:1).

2) The ministry developed as a Bible study given for a pretty diverse group. Some folks do complain that these studies are too detailed or dense, but that probably has more to do with the way I write than anything else. I think, however, if you have a look at the email page above (here's a link to years of prior postings), you'll see that I try to communicate and help anyone who contacts this ministry, from the totally uneducated to those with many academic degrees, from those who can barely speak English as a second language to those who are articulate to a tee.

3) No, these are the only two traditional books I have ever published (as part of my secular job at the uni); I have also published a number of journal articles (see the link: "Current C.V."). There are good reasons for not putting the Bible materials out that way (see the link: FAQ #1).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

As an aside to what you have been discussing with me, this message pertains to 2 quotes from your previous message.

"I expand, explain, and footnote, so to speak, to a degree that would render such a translation on my part pretty unreadable (even if effective for teaching purposes)."

"Some folks do complain that these studies are too detailed or dense, but that probably has more to do with the way I write than anything else."

As authors, we try to convey our "messages" in a manner that can be easily understood by our readers. I say this not to be offensive, critical, or condescending because I have great respect for you. You may not even be interested, but I took the liberty to do some editing on the first paragraph of your newest installment on the Christian walk. This was a quick effort and could still use some refining. It is just a suggestion...again, I submit this with all due respect.

Response #8: 

Thanks for the kind thought! I've already changed around the intro several times and am happy with it. I can see your style is quite different from mine as well. I'm all for communication, but I have to keep content and tone where I am happy with them even if it makes some people have to read it twice.

However, I am ALWAYS grateful for the discovery of typos and/or incorrect citations. In works of this size, such things inevitably creep in.

Thanks again, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Hi Robert,

My wife (and family) have requested a simplified version of my Hopefulmartyr.com website. As much of this site draws on your writings, I feel that I need to consult you on this.

Ichthys.com has a great tone of authority because of your writing style and high academic standard. However, this style leads to long sentences and a vocabulary beyond the scope of us who have English as our second language.

Thus the reason for a simplified version of Hopefulmartyr.com. However, before commencing this task, I'd first like to ask your permission to 'translate' your work into a common language version. If I were to use the Bible translations as an analogy, it would be a converted into a 'The Message' -type style from the current 'NKJV' style.

I envisage to employ someone qualified to do this, and envisage to start with post '4.3 Pseudo-good' and '4.4 Distraction'. I then intend to then forward these two to you for your perusal and approval.

The domain I have registered for this version of the blog is 'preparetostand.com'.

I would be grateful to hear from you on this,


Response #9: 

Good to hear from you, my friend. I certainly appreciate the work you have done at Hopefulmartyr.com. Thank you! However, I'm not sure how "translating" would / could work. Simplifying things often changes the meaning; all translations are interpretations, after all, and a translation/interpretation is therefore necessarily limited by the actual understanding of the text to be translated on the part of the one doing the work. So I can't see how it would be possible to find anyone capable of doing this who is not already an Ichthys reader – and a very dedicated one at that; merely having skills in English and in writing would not make up for spiritual deficiencies here.

I do recognize the issue you are talking about. On the other hand, the Bible itself is not so simple to understand, and that is no accident. I'm not deliberately putting barriers in people's ways when I write the way I do; but it is true that even those who are challenged in reading for whatever reason can get something out of these materials . . . if they persevere. If "easier" meant "just as true" and "just as good", I guess I would be all for it. But while that sounds fine in theory, practical experience makes me very wary about the actual potential of achieving this ideal.

Do feel free to write me back about this, and thanks again for all you do!

Your fellow worker in the vineyard of our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your explanatory response. I must admit, when I had a go at 'simplifying' a post myself, that I ran into similar difficulties as you describe. I put it down to my lack of experience/talent in this area. The solution then seemed to simply get someone experienced in this.

However, what you say is true. It would need to be an exceptional someone who could both grasp the letter and the spirit. I have now asked the Lord to send someone like that, if that is where He wants to go.

As I agree with your sentiments, I'll leave the 'simplification' idea at that, and suffice with minor editing of Hopefulmartyr.com (e.g., replace words such as 'adduce' with 'mention/provide as evidence/proof').

Thanks for your encouragement and advice!

My final post was a citation on the Great Apostasy, that certainly was very readable. Hopefully I have not created the impression that all of your work is hard going!


Response #10: 

No Worries!

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Happy 2018 to you too Bob. Come visit us if you ever find yourself in Brisbane!

(good relief from icy USA)


Response #11: 

I'm not much of a traveler, but I'd love to visit down under some day – there are a number of avid Ichthys readers in your neck of the woods!

Thanks for the invite!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Dear Professor Luginbill,

I've enjoyed reading your work on the Satanic Rebellion as well as the Ichthys website. God richly bless you.

I would like to know which Bible version you use in your works. I'll be glad to know.

I realize whenever you quote from regular versions like the King James, you indicate. But not with the one you frequently quote from.

Thank you.

Yours in Christ,

Response #12: 

Dear Friend,

Thanks for your encouraging words.

As to your question, whenever there is no reference to the version, the translation is original to me (see the link: "FAQ #12: Where do the Bible translations at Ichthys come from?"; see also the link: "How to use the Bible translations at Ichthys"). There is also a complete listing of these original translations at the link: "Index to Original Bible Translations at Ichthys".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Many thanks Professor.

I'm thrilled. Thank Jesus for such insights. I pray I can make as much time to contribute valuable inspiration to society.

I'm currently a full time minister and team leader for the virtual Counselling office - www.thecounsellinghub.org

Yours in Christ

Response #13: 

You're most welcome, my friend!

Feel free to write any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Hi Robert,

Is there anyway we can communicate over the phone. I feel like it would be easier for me.

Thank you

Response #14: 

For a variety of reason, I only communicate over email.

Do feel free to write me though!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Good day Sir, I just want to know what religious affiliation are you connected. Cause I'm really seeking the truth on who is the right person to interpret the Bible. I'm not in anyway connected with any religious organization. But I'm searching the true commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ on whether to join any religious sect. I'm confused. I'm from the Philippines. Thanks and God Bless.

Response #15: 

Good to make your acquaintance. Here is what I have posted at the site (at the link: "About Ichthys") in regard to your question:

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 ventured on-line in October 1997.

General: Ichthys is an independently owned and operated, non-profit, personal ministry. All materials posted to this site are the sole property and responsibility of myself, its webmaster, Dr. Robert D. Luginbill. Although the Bible study materials found here are in the Protestant, Evangelical tradition, this site has no denominational affiliation – the Bible studies at Ichthys are intended to speak for themselves. It is my profound hope that these lessons will contribute to the spiritual growth and progress in the Christian life of those who make use of them.

And here are some additional links which will provide more background:

About the Author: Current curriculum vitae

Luginbill Biography FAQs

Regarding Ichthys

Antecedents of Ichthys

The Role of Ichthys and Traditional Christianity

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #16: 

Greetings once again Dr Bob

1 What's your comment about the site Creation concept ??

2 Have you come across it by any chance? Can you relate with any of the information posted on that site?

If by chance you can take a look at the site

God bless

Response #16: 

It would take me months to read the stuff on this site; it is by various and sundry individuals so they no doubt do not even all agree with each other.

I'm happy to answer specific questions about specific teaching / principles found here about which you may have questions. Ichthys is not a "traffic cop" for online Bible ministries. I'm only trying to make solid, orthodox teaching available to others and only ever weigh in on other ministries when asked to in order to try and keep "my sheep" from going astray.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

Hi Bob,

Hope the jury duty is a thing of the past?!

Just wondering if the Bible Academy link on your website is something you consider to be authentic doctrinal teaching?

There are so many bible studies out there and I want to point my family member in the right direction by suggesting a study that will put her on the right path and keep her there (I’m sure it must be something you trust as its on your website but just want to be sure).

I'm also amazed, as I read through some of the emails you receive, how troubled people are in this world of ours but also encouraged that they know where to turn in these times.

I also don’t know where you find the time to answer so promptly and so efficiently.

May God continue to bless you and your ministry.


Response #17:

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

Jury duty is over. It fouled up two weeks, but I did have some time off here and there so as to be able to get a jump ahead on all of the summer yard work.

Bible Academy is the ministry of my dear old friend, pastor-teacher Curtis Omo. Curt and I went to seminary together back in a previous century and have kept in touch over lo these many years. I like to think I had a small part in Bible Academy's current form. I had watched some Khan Academy videos and it struck me that this would be a great format for Bible teaching over the internet. In any case, Curt developed his own unique approach, and this is all "his baby". What I can do is vouch for him personally – a finer Christian man you'll not find – and can also vouch for the content of his teaching. I think you'd have to look pretty hard to find any substantive differences between his teaching and mine (which I hope is a "high recommendation" – that is how it is meant, in any case).

I'm keeping you and your family in my daily prayers.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18: 

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

I pastor in South Bend Indiana. We are launching a bible college through our ministry. I would like permission to use materials from your website. If this is in any way possible, or not, please reply. Thanks and many blessings

Response #18: 

Sounds fine to me, just as long as you abide by the restrictions on the site; here is what's posted on that:

Copy Policy: These materials are copyrighted, but visitors are free to download and utilize them with the following restrictions:

1) These materials may not be offered to others for a fee or otherwise sold under any circumstances. This is a grace ministry.

2) These materials may not be fundamentally changed or edited. I don't mind honest excerption, but alteration of meaning is not allowed.

3) These materials may not be represented as the work of others. You don't have to cite me; you may use these lessons anonymously, but please don't pass them off as your own materials.

In sum, this site is meant for the glory of God through the edification and growth of His children. Any use of its materials for personal profit, aggrandizement or other personal agendas is not authorized.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #19: 

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

Thanks for letting me know about the MP3 audio files. That will be a great help. Your materials are such a blessing and I've learned so much from them. I am next teaching a course at Harvest Bible University in Christian Anthropology. I would once again like your permission to use your "Biblical Study of the Nature of Man" as my outline for the students. The materials are notes I put together for the students to go along with my lecture and for their reading and are not sold, of course. Please let me know it that will be ok? My 40 or so students will be blessed.

Best regards,

Response #19: 

You're very welcome.

Sure, that would be fine!

Best wishes on a successful class.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20: 

Dear Sir

I prepared an article and posted on Facebook for how to use ichthys.com. I thought a guide may be in order and since I have read the Satanic Rebellion and Coming Tribulation series and am presently working through Peter's Epistles (I'll soon be done with that one too), I thought I could provide something like that for first time users.

Can you find it on Facebook? I'll try to copy and paste it here or probably post a link in another email if you can't.

If you think it's genuinely helpful, you could use it on the website.

Yours in our priceless Lord Jesus Christ

This is the article:

How To Use Ichthys.com

Read the series, Peter's Epistles, first. General overview on the Walk of Faith and the Christian Calling. Foundational to the rest.

Read Bible Basics next. I haven't read this one yet but it is a snapshot of important theological subjects that Christianity is concerned with. I suspect that they give you a wider and more deepened appreciation of the things that Peter's Epistles begins to say.

Read the Satanic Rebellion next. This prepares you for the ultimate voyage through the hope of the Christian Faith. Suffice it to say that you need some strong appreciation of the truths of the Bible to read this.

Read The Coming Tribulation last. Chances are it's all you'll be wanting to talk about after reading it. There is a reason that eschatology grips human imagination with a fever. We all know that this world is not perfect and we yearn for something better. For Christians, we know that this world is cursed and under divine condemnation and there is something inestimably blessed yet to come. This series educates you in-depth about the Christian hope and calling.

Read sundry articles and email conversations. They touch on different subjects without any specific pattern or method. I discovered ichthys.com through one such article. I was researching competition from the Christian perspective when I found a link to one article on the website. You'll sample different applications and meanings of general principles you have already learned.

For the above, use the Special Topics tab, the Emails button, the Exodus 14 button, the Special Top 10 button, the Subject Index and the FAQ's buttons on the home page to find articles. You'll also find a link to Curtis Omo's Bible Academy.

Peter's Epistles maxes out at 23 pages for two lessons. With the exception of one or two, all the other lessons are less than 15 pages with some ranging between 2 and 7 pages. The other series are significantly larger sometimes running over a hundred pages long in some installments.

Thus, if you will do ichthys.com, you will need to make time specifically for it.

Remember to keep your Bibles close to check and confirm what you read.

Buy the truth and sell it not.

Yours in our priceless Lord Jesus Christ

Response #20:

Nice synopsis of the Ichthys offerings! Thanks very much for doing this and also for posting it. I also appreciate you sending it to me in an email. While I do have a Facebook account, I only very rarely "check in" and not a very adept user of that medium.  I have linked this now to the FAQ page Q #8: Recommended sequence of study.

Question #21: 

 I noticed that some people whom you contacted get dismissed as "too hardened" or "left to their own devices." Well... I don't want that to happen to me, even if due to error or a trial on my part I become lost.

"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’"

Everyone whose heart is not right with God...except for Antichrist...could be a lost coin.

Response #21: 

Neither of these quotes sound like anything I would ever say.

I try never to cut anyone of from fellowship; occasionally I am forced to cease exchanging emails with individuals who become abusive or stop even pretending to engage with what I am saying in return.

I pray for you and your family daily, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22: 

Dear Bob,

I am really enjoying your newest release, Peripateology the Christian walk!! It came at a perfect time for me.

I have noticed a few word placement errors but they are not that significant and I wouldn’t know how to report them anyway. However, in #3 GROOMING segment there is a wrong Bible reference on baptism. You have Acts 1:6 but you meant to use verse 5. You know the Bible WAY better than I do, I just found this by “accident” because most churches today are still practicing water baptism and I was checking your rebuttal scriptures.

I love, appreciate, and depend on, you and Ichthys for my spiritual growth more than you will ever know this side of heaven. Jesus is the love of my life; the Bible it’s foundation; and you my “church”. Thank You!!!

Response #22: 

Thanks for catching this, my friend! There will be typos. Especially when it comes to numbers. I am SO bad with numbers. They seem to flip around on me in a dyslexic way. So thanks for catching this! As I always say, I'm grateful to have these things pointed out to me so they can be fixed. Fixed now! So about the "word placement" errors you noticed, I would be happy to hear about these as well.

Always good to hear from you, and thanks as ever for your wonderfully encouraging words.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23: 

Hi Bob and family,

I’ve taken another excerpt from the END OF DAYS article, concentrating on sin and the results of it. This is something so many today, if not all, and I have to include ourselves (believers) in that, knowing that there is not one without sin in varying degrees. I didn’t want to focus on any specific sin but encompass all sins that affect everyone. I also didn’t want to sound condescending in any way but to simply to address sin as an issue and not to be as a blame – I hope I have done that.

I am hoping too, that I’m not overstepping the bounds of manners in asking again if you would consider posting this article in your special topics page. If you would like to post it, before you do that, would you be so kind as to cast your eye over it – be as critical as you like, and if there is anything you don’t agree with or you would like me to add, I will gladly do that as I don’t want to be saying the wrong thing.

Always enjoying your Saturday’s postings, good food for all and I pray that more will find ichthys in the coming days.

I don’t know where you find the time to do what you do – I’m flat out with the little I do.

As always dear Bob, with brotherly love,

Response #23: 

Another excellent effort on your part! I have no suggestions to make and have already linked the page under "Special Topics" (see "Wages of Sin").

Thanks for all your good words (and prayers), my friend (praying for you and your family too). And let me assure you: "not I but the grace of God which was with me" (1Cor.15:10).

Keep up the great work for Jesus Christ, my friend – I'm praying for continued response for your postings.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:  

Dear Professor,

You are most welcome! I am delighted to hear that it has helped alleviate some of the symptoms. Once you get used to the exercises it should not take any longer than 10-15 mins and they would be great to serve as an intermediary prior to your run (vs. going straight from sitting to running).

Re walking - as long as it doesn’t aggravate it, walking should be fine in moderation. In fact, prolonged sitting might actually be as bad. So anything in the sweet spot between the two should be OK.

Professor, I have been meaning to congratulate you on the 20 year anniversary of Ichthys. This is wonderful, what a landmark. I am sure you must recognise all the more the Lord’s hand in this ministry and how it has grown over the years. The Lord has blessed us in marvelous ways through the exegesis of truth that your ministry so eloquently provides through the power of the Spirit. Speaking of websites - the 20th anniversary of Ichthys has coincided with the launch of my own (professional) website. I design this myself with the intention being to have an online presence through which I can gain more consultancy work and move away from my full-time work environment - www.vassalloconditioning.com. Please do feel free to have a look. Our good friend was kind enough to also write me a testimonial on there. The Lord has already provided on this front with regular work with two clients that I am committing to on my day off from my full-time job.

This, in addition to completing my MSc. studies will hopefully allow me to transition away from the hostile environment that I find myself in. The more I spend time there, the more I realise I do not belong there. Nowhere is perfect - it is the devil’s world after all. But this definitely seems to withhold a concentration of his minions. The prospect of an alternative career more conducive to preparation for ministry through consulting one-to-one and some lecturing at universities is where my heart seems to be at. Above all, I am willing to be led by the Lord on this, Professor. For doors to open, sometimes we need to be empty handed. The prospect of not being so much of a slave to my work organisation, but rather a slave to Christ, by dedicating a consistent period of concentrated study to the Word, and growing at a rate that leads me to discover the ministry Christ has prepared for me, is something that I know is ‘me’. The professional ‘me’ that you will see portrayed on the website is how most people know me. I have spent six years in this industry now, and have ‘climbed’ relatively quickly. The Lord has blessed me abundantly with positions I am hardly worthy of. It is through His grace that I have also received favour from people in established positions. But in these 6 years, we have approached ever closer to the tribulation. I have discerned the futility of any professional endeavour - apart from God, nothing truly satisfies.

There is probably the biggest decision of my life (both physical and spiritual) to be made come the summer. My focus for the time being is to do my job as unto the Lord and prepare my heart through a deepening understanding of the Word and application of it through the Spirit. I trust the Lord will guide me and provide me with the discernment I need. It will certainly be a test of faith.

I apologise for this lengthy email. I have wanted to share this with you for a while and would most definitely appreciate any prayer on this front.

I shall continue to pray for your healing and for your strength and perseverance in the continuation of this ministry.

In Jesus Christ, our Lord whom we serve,

Response #24: 

Thanks for the additional advice – I will definitely follow it as best I can. Again, I am most grateful for your help. You have encouraged me greatly and saved me a lot of time and trouble; I have been to physical therapy before and it is not so easy as doing appropriate stretching and conditioning at home.

The hardest thing about the program you gave me is getting down onto and up off of the floor! I'm not sure if you have ever heard of the American humorist, Dave Barry, but he is quite entertaining and demonstrates that clean humor can still be very amusing. I saw an lengthy interview with him wherein he was asked whether or not life was at all different for him once he turned 70; he replied to the effect that nothing had changed at all – except that he used to be able to get up off of the floor but now he no longer could. I'm not 70 yet, but I don't bounce back up like I used to in days of yore!

I've added a couple of links to your wonderful website on my Ichthys at: 1) "Other resources" and 2) "Special topics", and I plan to recommend it whenever the opportunity comes up. I have to say that I am most impressed by the professionalism of your site. If you did the coding yourself, you are quite the accomplished webmaster!

I will most definitely continue to keep you and your family and your personal and professional situation as well your spiritual growth in my prayers, my friend. I know that the Lord honors your desire and your efforts to put Him first even as you honor Him by earning the living as we all have to do by working. The balance is never easy, but that is a big part of the test of our faith and our of resolve. You most definitely "have it", and I know that you will get through, the Lord helping you.

Any update on your friend, by the way?

Your grateful (and healing) friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25: 

Hello Professor,

Hopefully installing the search box won't be too difficult and this temporary solution should suffice in the mean time.

I came back on Monday and I have resumed my normal rhythm. Holidays at home are spiritually challenging and intense at the same time. On the one hand, keeping my normal routine is hard and that often results in some spiritual disorder and greater vulnerability. On the other hand, it is also a time of witnessing and conversations about the truth. Over the years there has been a tendency for the number of such conversations to increase and this time the Lord has provided me with more of them than ever before.

I saw both those close to my heart and a few others in need of truth and that is something I normally don't experience in my solitary life. My father, my mother, and one who is like a brother to me, and another good friend and one of few who has showed openness of heart. And there's been several others too, as I mentioned to you in previous messages. I haven't been home for a year and seeing all these people and speaking with them reminded me of my responsibility as a shepherd and this task which the Lord has given me and for feeding those I love. Time home reminded me of this love also. I came back very motivated.

I feel more and more that I should begin the undertaking of translating your resources. I don't believe it's a task I should do myself, but, as mentioned previously, I would be able to supervise that. Even if I have a good day with writing I may at best prepare a few pages of text, but that will never be enough for believers at home to get all they need.

I will appreciate your prayer on this. I know it would be a hard task, but how much would it help to have some of your studies translated, for example Peter's Series and Bible Basics for a start. Curt's lessons could also be translated once the content of each one is written down in a clear and structured manner. Then such a plan could just be rendered into a helpful resource. And then I haven't seen absolutely anything of good quality when it comes to study Bibles and commentaries, there is almost only dead catholic teaching available. Just to have the NIV SB translated would make such a huge difference - and it is not an insurmountable challenge. I have now been using Unger for a few months and I can see why you recommended it. In fact, I regret getting it so late. It is perhaps one of the best and most accessible commentaries I have seen - to the point, clear, concise, written with a high view of inspiration.

Professor - Peter's Epistles, Bible Basics, Satanic Rebellion and perhaps a few Specials for a start, some of Curt's Lessons, NIV SB and Unger - what a dream set. Then I would also know that alongside my own work there is a growing body of resources available for believers and those with open hearts. I could start making enquiries to professional interpreters even now, I have just thought that ideally it should perhaps be someone's ministry. I would be happy to finance that in any case, also if it was to be someone's service for the Lord - that's not the issue and I would happily commit to such an undertaking also financially as much as I am able. It is just that I would like it to be done diligently, with the care that is needed. I see this also being a part of my own ministry.

Professor, I wish you a productive year in your wonderful ministry. I know you are working on new studies and I eagerly await all of them. I also hope that none of the logistical problems will be a hindrance any more. I also hope and will continue to pray that the Lord helps you with all your health problems and that things go well professionally.

It also eluded me to congratulate you on the twentieth anniversary of your ministry. This is something I can only dream about - twenty years of such fruitful production. It seems I may only get a few.

Response #25: 

I'm happy to hear that you are back safe and sound, and that it was a wonderful trip for you.

As I have often remarked, it really doesn't make the slightest bit of difference what we may think about ourselves, our efforts, or our production – unless being over-critical hurts them by damaging our morale, or being over-confident hurts them by encouraging lassitude. Christ is the Judge. If we are doing well, well, that is what we should be doing (Lk.17:10); if we are not doing well, well, it's time to be up and doing (1Chron.22:16). But, honestly, spending an inordinate amount of time or emotional effort in the process of self-evaluation is always counterproductive . . . and contrary to scripture:

(4) My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. (5) Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
1st Corinthians 4:4-5 NIV

On the topic of translations and your own ministry, I am certainly keeping this in prayer. I think I've told you many times that I never envisioned anything like Ichthys when I set off for seminary many years ago (with everything I owned of any value packed into a little Datsun B210 heading across country to California) – there wasn't even an internet at that time. The Lord has the perfect ministry for you, and He will lead you into it. Your job is to do just what you are doing, namely, to keep preparing and to keep engaging in the ministry opportunities He brings your way.

As to translating the materials at Ichthys into other languages, as you also know, I have some mixed feelings about that. In a perfect world, sure, why not? But this is not a perfect world, and translation is not a perfect exercise. On the one hand, I would be concerned about accuracy – of meaning and intent rather than issues of a qualitative nature. On the other hand, even translating one of the major studies into any other language would be an immense undertaking – like translating a book. Translating a work of fiction is difficult because like the exemplar so also the translation is a work of art. Translating one of the Ichthys studies would be very hard, I should think, because 1) my prose is pretty dense; 2) the subject matter is so important that getting something wrong is likely to give the reader a false impression.

Reason number two above is what leads me to be very resistant to the idea of paying someone to do the work. I'm not sure that a person who doesn't believe the truth of what they are reading and, more to the point, is not approaching it as a labor of love for the Lord as I hope I have done, would be able to do a creditable job of translating – even if competent and truly trying and not just putting in the time. So I would be very reluctant to "OK" any paid translation.

Finally, there is also the issue of true need for the audience in question. I greatly appreciate your ardor on behalf of this ministry and these materials, but it is the case that not every Christian is willing to receive them – not even every Christian who has a good heart for the Lord and is wanting and willing to grow. Different times, different cultures, different generations, different life-experiences – all these factors lead to different likes and dislikes and abilities to assimilate information depending on presentation. Put another way, there is a reason why there are multifarious ministries and a great number of teachers in the Body of Christ – because the Lord is giving the right spiritual food to match the willingness and receptiveness and particularness of those receiving it.

I have only a glimmer of an idea of what it must be like to have grown up in eastern Europe in a Roman Catholic environment; but I am sure that when one adds in a language barrier too, there are a lot of hurdles that would have to be overcome for Ichthys to "make sense", even in translation. I'm not saying it's impossible – you have clearly benefitted from them – or that I'm not fond of these materials personally; I am saying that there is a right teacher and a right ministry for each and every Christian. What you personally have to offer to those for whom you feel burdened is immense, and it is proper to understand that those "offerings" would be your own presentation of the truth. I'm thrilled that these materials at Ichthys will have been helped along, but your materials coming from yourself are likely to be more effective and powerful in the end (in my opinion).

Looking forward to witnessing the continuing development of your ministry, my friend!

And thanks for all your good wishes!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26: 

Hello Professor,

Your points about over-focusing on self-evaluation are all taken.

As for translations, I agree that it would be a very big undertaking. I am also aware of the difficulties you mention - both your writing being, as you said, dense and correctly translating all the subject being so important here. I still think this task could be achieved, even if it would be difficult and time consuming. Although it would be very hard for me to commit to doing all the translating myself, I would be able to ensure that the subject matter is rendered correctly. So someone would be needed to do a good job from linguistic perspective. It is true that it is unlikely that anyone should produce a text as excellent in translation as the original is in English. But if the content was all correct and the language clear and precise, then I thought it would still be worth pursuing.

It is hard for me to say to what degree this is Spirit's guidance and to what degree these are my own mistaken considerations, but I know it would be wonderful to be able to keep writing my own studies whilst supervising such an undertaking. This would mean that there would be a steady influx of sound biblical teaching regardless of how quickly I would produce.

Your point about the audience is also a valid one. It is impossible for me to say how those I know would respond to translated ichthys studies, but, to be perfectly honest with you, Professor - and this is no empty flattery - regardless of that I would want them to get what's best. And that does mean ichthys studies. And then although I'm no Bible scholar and have only been studying for about 6 years, I know there is so little good teaching around. There is very little to choose from. Apart from ichthys it is only Curt's ministry that has become an important part of my own Christian walk, as through listening it allows me to use the time when I'm not reading or writing. Apart from that, NIV SB is useful, Unger has been helpful and a very good addition, I occasionally still consult Keil and Delitzsch, and for the New Testament - Mayer and sporadically a couple of other original language based commentaries. But no other teaching ministries.

Professor - I think you should know that I understand your concern and whatever was to happen and whoever would do the translations, I would take responsibility for it. I will keep praying about it and hope that something does materialise. I still hope that apart from my own writing it will be possible to get this second strand of production going. The same goes for the NIV SB and Unger, since as far as I know there are no useful Bible study tools available either. It's hard for me to even think how I would do my own study if not for the fact that I speak English.

A very welcome piece of news from another front. A letter from our friend who is now redoubling his efforts for ministry preparation. He writes: "This experience has caused quite a bit of emotion and my discernment is practically occurring moments after. But above all, I don't think there could have been a more powerful message for me to push to ministry. Time to take my spiritual preparation to the next level. Time is truly short. And for some, it may be shorter than others.

My experience was similar, as seeing my loved ones stirred me in my heart also and helped me realise that I need to fulfil my task of tending Lord's sheep. Sometimes these experiences can in a moment restore the right perspective and help us see things with greater clarity. I have hopes and continue to pray for our friend.

In the grace of our Lord,

Response #26: 

As I say, my friend, I'm keeping you in prayer on this. The Lord – I have no doubt at all – will make clear to you in good time the precise direction your ministry should take. He understands both the perceived need on your part and the actual need and actual willingness to respond (whether greater or lesser than perceived) as well. He will put you into the right place for the right use of your gifts and willingness to employ them.

It's wonderful news about our friend – he just emailed me a similar report. As I shared with Him, the Lord certainly got my attention when the time came. Too bad it took two major "shakings" for me to get with it rather than only one. But I read this in scripture and take heart:

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you."
Matthew 21:28-31 NIV

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27: 

Hello Dr Luginbill, I pray all is well with you and the ministry

1) A bit of a general question here, but what is a good amount of time for a beginner to read the Bible daily?

2) Is a chapter a day a good start ?

3) Which order would you recommend ie (chronological, Genesis to Revelation, OT and NT combined, historical, Bible in a year...)

Thanks as always

Response #27:

Hello Friend,

Good to hear from you – and thanks much for your prayers!

As to your questions, there is no set time or set amount or set order. As I say at the link where these issues are discussed ("Read your Bible!"), the important thing is to "do it", that is, read your Bible regularly and consistently. I would say in general terms that a Christian should not bite off more than can be comfortably done in the early going. It should be seen as the enjoyable activity it ought to be, not a drudgery that is sometimes impossible because a person has set the bar too high. I would also say that it is generally a good idea to do some from both Testaments daily. The entire Bible is important, but the truth in the NT is much more concentrated so that it would be a tragedy to wait, say, a year or more before getting to it (and then reading the NT for a couple of months before going back to the OT and again lacking NT input for a long time).

As I say, there is much more about this in the link – and do feel free to write back.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28: 

I am looking for the best version of the bible to read without out losing God's meaning and word. I am looking for the most accurate version that is also not to hard to read in the English language. Multiple versions are okay as well. As I understand that there is no perfect translation found in one place.

Response #28: 

Good to make your acquaintance. You are correct: no translation is perfect. Even the best are in error sometimes (which is why you will find many of the passages cited at Ichthys translated directly from the original; see the link). So for those without personal access to Greek and Hebrew, I always recommend making use of multiple versions, and checking other versions when your "favorite" says something that seem to be off kilter. Also of course, regular attention to a teaching ministry (such as Ichthys) where the Bible is carefully and lovingly treated is really important for continued spiritual growth – in fact it's essential inasmuch as there is a pretty low ceiling for growth for anyone without the gift of teacher and without the requisite preparation trying to do it all oneself (or relying on a church where not much serious teaching is going on which amounts to the same thing).

For my specific comments on various versions please see the link: "Read your Bible!"; you might also check the subject index for postings which include comments and analysis of many different versions (see the link).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #29: 

Hi Bob,

I have a friend who is an unbeliever that I have been having discussions with. He wants me to read a certain book that he likes, and I agreed so long as I got to choose something for him to read in return. Then, we'll talk about both things.

I thought I'd have him read scripture directly rather than some Christian writings, even things from Ichthys. Hopefully God can powerfully use scripture to talk to him and open his heart.

I was thinking of having him go through the gospels of Matthew and John at the very least, and perhaps some other things. What other parts of scripture do you think I should have him read? I thought perhaps it would be best to stick with the clear gospel message and avoid overly complex theological books (like Romans). Maybe I'll just have him read both of those gospels a couple times through. What do you think?

In Christ,

Response #29: 

You know your friend better than I, and you also know yourself and how you would plan to interact with him after the fact. But since you ask my advice on this, I would tell him to read the Gospel of John one time carefully. Here's why:

1) Making it less of a chore is gracious and it is at least possible that the reading will be less adversarial and more pleasurable as a result.

2) John presents the truths of life eternal and how to receive it (as well as the alternative) more clearly to the uninitiated reader than probably any other book in the Bible. Also for that very reason, when you get around to discussing it, you can ask you friend what he thinks about any one of dozens of verses that put the matter starkly and thus cut through any possible dissembling or obfuscation.

It's good of you to do this! I'll say a prayer for your friend's salvation.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30: 

How do you do word phrase comparison in your studies? For instance if I want to look up verses that have : spirit and please or obedience and spirit or faith and spirit, etc. how would you do with a concordance? Would you look up instances of both words and do a cross reference? When I am doing these studies even when I am working ad hoc with yours, looking up phrases or combinations is challenging because I don't know how to do it apart from looking at concordances and individual words.

Response #30:

There is no set procedure. Every situation is different. So for example the word "spirit": I have done a 160 single-spaced study on the Holy Spirit alone (BB 5), and it certainly could have been much longer. It could take months or even years to carefully track down, translate and analyze all passages in Greek and Hebrew which have the word spirit (since along with Holy Spirit the terms also mean "wind" and "angel" and "human spirit" – among other things), and that is just dealing with the main vocabulary without considering synonyms, phrases in passages which might illuminate the biblical concepts, and without investigating (in the case of Greek mainly) extra-biblical evidence for word meanings.

So taking this approach to extremes is counterproductive. On the other hand, just assuming "I know" what "it" means without research is likewise a poor approach. An example of the former mistake is the massive Kittel's "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament" which does just such in-depth word studies of all "major" NT concepts/words. I bought this during my second B.A. many years ago and it was a colossal waste of money (at a time when I was very broke); I seldom ever use it and I almost never have gotten anything good out of it.

An example on the other extreme are the VERY many pastors, "theologians" and opinionated Christians who find a definition in Strong's concordance they like (for whatever reason) and misapply it to all manner of other passages. In between, I would advise staying objective-focused. What are you trying to discover? It is very true that in trying to find the answer to one thing we often find the answer to other things too, and also that seemingly easy investigations can turn into large ones. But if we keep the main idea in focus, we will not spend inordinate time in chasing down every rabbit.

If we are teaching "verse by verse", that will to some extent take care of itself; the occupational hazard in "verse by verse" teaching is that we will not do justice to the concepts/ideas/doctrines that are packed into the words and phrases the author uses (especially in the NT epistles). If we are doing topical studies, then we will need to exercise discipline and not try to chase down everything.

So if I use my Greek and Hebrew concordances to look for words related to "sanctification", for example, I first have to collect up all the Greek and Hebrew terms which relate to this idea (i.e., not just the noun but verbs, adjectives, compounds, derivatives etc.), and in many cases there will be related ways of expressing the idea but in different phraseology and with different words which might not at first occur to us as being related – and ofttimes the passages in which these alternative occur are absolute critical to the topic. English concordances can help with the above, as can cross-references in study and topical Bibles.

Most importantly, the more a person reads the Bible, the more such critical and important passages will automatically occur to him as he weighs the topic and runs down references. It is important therefore for every would-be Bible teacher to get familiar enough with scripture so as "to know" the outlines of every major truth and the passages connected with it, and also get to know "enough to be right" about the truth. Trying to collect every single piece of potential evidence is in the end unworkable and a questionable endeavor at that, especially when we get to the point where what remains is not critical or is duplicative.

We don't have 100 years to prepare every lesson. This is always the dilemma. We want to do a very good job – we also want to do it in a timely enough fashion to be able to feed the sheep when they show up to be fed. Just as in combat, it won't be a perfect process and there will be mistakes made. But someone who has the right heart, is diligent in trying to do an excellent job, and perseveres in getting better at knowing the Bible and everything that contributes to learning about it as well as the work of ministry day by day will be pleasing the Lord and will be earning a good reward. I realize that this is a general sort of answer. I am happy to answer any specific questions about it you may have.

(13) Until I come, devote yourself to [public] reading [of the scriptures], to encouragement [through the Word], to the teaching [of the Word]. (14) Do not neglect the [spiritual] gift [of pastor-teacher] which belongs to you and which was given to you [by the Spirit], [and which was proclaimed] through prophecy [and recognized] by the laying on of the hands of the elders. (15) Be diligent in these things (i.e., studying and teaching the Word). Make them your primary concern so that your spiritual progress may be evident to all. (16) Apply them (i.e., the truths you learn) to yourself and to your teaching. Stick [faithfully] to them. For in so doing you will bring yourself and those who heed you safely home.
1st Timothy 4:13-16

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.
2nd Timothy 2:15 NIV

But as for you – model yourself on my teaching, my methodology, my plan of action, my faith, my endurance, my love, my perseverance . . .
2nd Timothy 3:10

Proclaim the Word! Keep at it, whether circumstances are favorable or not! Reprove, rebuke, [and] encourage with all patience [in your] teaching!
2nd Timothy 4:2

(7) In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness (8) and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Titus 2:7-8 NIV

(10) As each one has received a [particular spiritual] gift, [so let us be] ministering it to each other as good stewards of the multi-faceted grace of God. (11) If anyone communicates, let him do so as if he were speaking words directly from God.
1st Peter 4:10-11a

Question #31: 

Thanks Dr. for the feedback. I will put it back until further notice. What about this book: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament by Kenneth S. Wuest.

I know the Greek new testament lexical book but I was looking for a book that has the Greek bible with the English translations. In case I want to dive into the Greek meaning of a word, I can have a reference to go by. The concordance helps but doesn't provide in-depth definitions, etc.

Thanks for your feedback.

Response #31: 

As to Wuest, I made the mistake of buying this rather expensive series. It was of no use to me whatsoever. This a good example of how for those who don't know Greek it is possible to make the product look very exciting with the promise of unlocking all manner of wonderful things; that is never the case. The wonder is in the Word and the Word is available in English, illuminated by the actual Greek (or Hebrew). As to a "Greek Bible with the English translation", here is one possibility (n.b., I do not have nor have I ever used this book take that into consideration before buying): ISBN-13: 978-3438051622. Please note also that there are very many variations of the Nestle-Aland series so it would be best to go straight from the ISBN – if they don't match, it's not the same book.

If you are thinking about an "interlinear" translation, that is, a Greek text with the English translation directly below the line, that is something that is out there but I never recommend them (see the link), because 1) they make it impossible to actually learn Greek for those who are trying to do so, and 2) they give a very false sense of security of understanding to those who are merely dabbling. They do exist, however (in fact, they are more popular than ever these days since nowadays no one wants to do the actual, difficult work of learning Greek and Hebrew).

Wishing and praying for 2018 to be the year of deliverance for you, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #32: 

Dear Bob,

Sorry to burden you with another question. Meant to ask you this before.

I have "Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible," an encyclopedia, really, which I think is a very mixed volume; some Bible based descriptions and some very secular/academic responses to contemporary beliefs. Relative to our last exchange on baptism, the entry seems to correspond to our understanding.

Question is: are you familiar with this book and, if so, can you share your opinions?


Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #32: 

I'm not familiar with this particular book/tool. I can tell you that there are many such things. When it comes to an encyclopedia of this sort (such as Interpreter's or ISBE), the person who wrote the article is usually the operative fact. If the volume doesn't distinguish, that is problematic. In any case, all such works are of limited utility. They tend to be better at historical matters and much worse at doctrinal matters, regardless of who put them together. I use them occasionally but only with a cellar of salt.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #33: 

Good afternoon Dr Luginbill,

Thinking of you, truly, and praying with you in heavenly places often. As I use your material almost daily in study as well as devotion...I always keep you in mind.

Wanted to get a recommendation from you on a full bible commentary that you have found to be most consistent with the exposition you provide in your writings on Scripture. I have honestly found most to be negligible, even those “time-honored”. I use JFB probably most frequently, but have also found them to be inconsistent at points, and frankly not as original & spirit-filled - or manifesting a real and vital Relationship amidst the scholarship - even as the character of your commentary I believe does. So, other than your own, what might you suggest as a whole bible commentary that serves well as a daily or almost daily companion reference to my bible reading.

Thank you...

In His Love,

Response #33: 

Good to hear from you, my friend, and thanks for your encouraging comments.

Your request is "hard lift", I'm afraid. The absence of sound commentaries which are both biblically accurate and actually helpful is well-known to anyone who has advanced beyond a very basic stage in spiritual growth.

Most commentaries are either secular in nature (meaning that they proceed from a skeptical scholarly point of view) or else designed to read like Sunday sermons (meaning that they are devoid of any true solid food) – and almost all of them are flawed by way of being incorrect more often than not in the interpretations they do offer (and there are a variety of reasons for that).

The best things I've ever seen are in both cases marginalia commentaries on physical Bibles: 1) the Scofield Reference Bible (original and "new" both have their strengths and weaknesses) and the NIV Study Bible by K. Barker (associated with a number of other versions now as well; the one I use is to the 1984 [note the date] NIV version). These both have their significant problems, but when it comes to cross-references and historical matters, they both proceed from a high view of inspiration (that is, they take the Bible for what it is – the Word of God; cf. 1Thes.2:13), and they both avoid the "devotional" trap (so as to usually actually say something useful).

As I say, I would use a grain of salt with anything found in either, but the latter in particular has been of great help to me over the years. As to anything else, my study is filled with all manner of commentaries, and to be honest not only do I rarely ever consult them but I rarely if ever have gotten much useful out of any of them. And I also have to say that the limited utility they provide seems to be in inverse proportion to the recentness of their publication dates – meaning that some older stuff is of some small use, but newer stuff is worse and worse. For a link on this issue generally which will lead to other postings which may prove helpful, see "Commentaries on Romans".

Sorry not to be able to be of more help!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #34:  

Good evening Dr Luginbill,

Thank you for your time & response.

It is of great help indeed. Your words bear witness with my spirit and my mind over the years, and are thus an indirect encouragement, as your less than enthusiastic endorsement of any resource in particular serves to strengthen my resolve to stir up that gift that is within me.

Talk again soon I trust.

Response #34: 

You're more than welcome, my friend.

Please feel free to write any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #35: 

Hello Bob,

This is a quick yes or no answer, I was watching a video on line and I asked them what version of the bible they were using and they replied this to me, I am wondering are you in agreement about the interpretation he /she is giving?

"It's the "esv". I know some people are sketchy about newer translations but they really do learn new things about the languages and better manuscripts of the Scripture. When it comes to John 1:18 they have recently found out the word there is "mono genias theos" which is literally translated "the one unique God". If you believe in the Trinity this is actually an awesome proof of it. God the Father is unique from God the Son but yet they are the same essence and the same God"

Thanks Bob

Response #35: 

ESV is not a bad translation, but in all honesty it's not much different in meaning from the RSV it replaced (it does read somewhat better). I like the ESV and sometimes quote it, but I've never bumped into a passage where "new things" were reflected by it. The example cited I suppose could be considered one – for those who were previously mistranslating monogenes: that word does mean "unique", but we knew that from a comparison of the Greek word with the Hebrew word being translates in the NT; the Hebrew word yachidh, likewise means something more like "special", "one and only", "unique", and so it's always been an obvious mistake based on ignorance to translate monogenes "only born" – at least without an explanation. Here's a link: "Only Begotten".

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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