Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Quick Tip on Memorizing and Retaining God's Word
02/15/2013 - Alan KurschnerThrow away your index cards of Bible verses and start implementing orality in the memorization—and especially retention!—of God's Word. Listening to God's Word is the best way to memorize and retain Scripture. Everyone has smart phones today so this should be easy.
1. Download the Griffen iTalk Recorder app (or something comparable).
2. Before you throw away your index cards or Word Document filled with verses, record them into your phone—yes, with your own voice. I say the biblical reference first, then read the passage. And do it again, so you should have it recorded two times, back-to-back.
3. You can always go back another day and add verses to the audio file. This is a very convenient feature of iTalk; you do not have to create a single audio file for every passage! If the audio file reaches about an hour, then go ahead and create another file and transfer the previous one to your iTunes/ipod. I name my files "Mem 1", "Mem 2", and so on. Be sure to back up the audio files in different mediums, lest you lose your phone or computer.
4. In your devotional or down time of the day (brushing your teeth, driving, etc.) just play the audio files and before you know it, it will be effortless to immediately recall a biblical passage on any given occasion.
A Bible Course for Children (and Adults)
10/27/2012 - Jeff DownsThere are a lot of books and curriculum to help Christian parents with teaching our children the content of Bible and the doctrines found therein. And for quite some time, I've been looking for some resources that meet my expectations. For the most part, I have not been satisfied with what I've seen (perhaps I'm simply not looking in the right places). Some my say, just read the Bible. Well, yes, I agree. But I've looking for ways to help solidify the content of what we are reading. Again, I could do this on my own, and I have, but still, I've been looking for other resources.
Well, I do believe I have found what I've been looking for. Lately I have been using, and I'm very pleased with Claire Larsen's God's Great Covenant. At this point, two volumes on the OT have been published and one volume on the NT (the second is forthcoming).
Here is the publishers description of the series:
Teaching the Bible to young children can be a large task, and is often divided up into many small stories. However, if you would like to teach your students the truly big picture of the Bible, and show them how God has been at work in his people since before creation, you will find God’s Great Covenant to be a unique, surprising, and excellent Bible curriculum. The Bible, taught chronologically, by means of simple and direct stories, chants, and meditation on God’s character define God’s Great Covenant. Even many adults find themselves learning new facts, making surprising connections, and being blessed by reminder of God’s faithfulness, and how he always keeps his promises. Taught from a covenantal and reformed theological perspective, and rooted in Scripture, you will find this series to be a blessing to your classroom or family.
Here is a sample of the book on OT and here is a sample of the book on the NT. Other samples are available (e.g. teachers guide, and schedule). You can purchase Larsen's books here
One other resource I haven't spent a lot of time with, but like what I see is Starr Meade's The Most Important Thing You'll Every Study View sample pages of volume one by Clicking here.
Instead of Reading the Entire Bible in 2012, Read the Gospels Deeply
12/16/2011 - Alan Kurschner
It's about that time of the year when we are introduced to creative ways to read our Bible from cover to cover for the next calender year (did you do it this year?). I think this is my fourth year promoting the following reading plan. I would like to suggest that you take each day of next year to contemplate each unit of the gospels. Did you know there are conveniently about 365 units in the gospels?
In the past, I cited five good reasons to own a gospel synopsis. The fifth reason was,
Read a synopsis in one year by reading one pericope [a gospel unit] every day! By coincidence, the synopsis contains 367 pericopes (That is, all four gospels combined contain 367 units.). The edition that I recommend for English is the Synopsis of the Four Gospels Edited by Kurt Aland.
A Great Reminder: We are not alone in this
02/07/2011 - Mike PorterTracking down correspondence between the Reformers is quite a task, I have found. Nonetheless, it is useful to read the letters between the Reformers to get a sense of how they esteemed each other. Sometimes they were brutally honest with how they felt about each other. Sometimes they were more brutal than honest. But most times, they esteemed each other with the highest of respect.
I read a particular letter some time ago that reminded me of the men of God who work so diligently to present the Word of God with clarity and authority world wide. It also reminded me of the small band of brothers of the pen who write on this blog. This quote is from Calvin to Bullinger regarding, among other things, the receipt of Bullinger's fifth Decade:
I was met by a messenger bearing your letter, when lately on my way to Neuchatel. After my return home, I received another from a certain Italian, together with the fifth Decade. You say by way of apology for sending your books, that you do not do so in order that I may learn from you; for my part, as I am desirous to make my labors beneficial to all good men, so on the other hand, I am glad to profit by the writings of others. And indeed intercourse like this is brotherly, when we know that the gifts of the Spirit are so distributed among us, that no one individual is sufficient for himself. Your gift was, therefore, acceptable to me.
Bullinger presented his gift to Calvin with the greatest of humility, acknowledging that he did not think Calvin to be in need of such instruction. Calvin, for his part, gratefully accepted this gift from Bullinger expressing his gratitude that the Spirit had distributed among the Reformers great gifts of intellect and insight. In this, we know that great and mighty men were used of God all throughout Europe to establish and maintain Reform. But, what they were doing amounted to preaching God's Word with power and authority.
And truly, it is good be reminded of the privilege of being part of God's church, knowing that the Spirit uses us in different ways to spread the Gospel and glorify God.
The Power of Christ's Resurrection
02/07/2011 - Mike PorterThe Power of Christ's Resurrection
This then is what the apostle means by the "Power of Christ's resurrection," and this is what we are as much concerned experimentally to know, as that He rose at all.
Without this, though we may be moralists, though we may be civilized, good-natured people, yet we are no Christians. For he is not a true Christian, who is only one outwardly; nor have we therefore a right, because we daily profess to believe that Christ rose again the third day from the dead. But he is a true Christian who is one inwardly; and then only can we be stiled true believers, when we not only profess to believe, but have felt the power of our blessed Lord's rising from the dead, by being quickened and raised by his Spirit, when dead in trespasses and sins, to a thorough newness both of heart and life.
The devils themselves cannot but believe the doctrine of the resurrection, and tremble; but yet they continue devils, because the benefits of this resurrection have not been applied to them, nor have they received a renovating power from it, to change and put off their diabolical nature. And so, unless we not only profess to know, but also feel that Christ is risen indeed, by being born again from above, we shall be as far from the kingdom of God as they: our faith will be as ineffectual as the faith of devils.
- George Whitefield
Behind Enemy Lines
01/30/2011 - Mike PorterCharles Spurgeon reminds us that we must always be mindful of our surroundings:
She is the church militant here below, and both in suffering and in service she is made to prove that she is in an enemy's country. She is contending for the truth against error, for the light against darkness: till the day break and the shadows flee away, she must maintain her sentinels and kindle her watch fires; for all around her there is cause to guard against the enemy, and to descend the royal treasure of gospel truth against its deadly foes.
--C. H. Spurgeon
01/28/2011 - Mike PorterIn contrast to the modern Church's ever increasingly fad-driven, relevancy-craving, world acceptance-seeking, thirst for impressive numbers of people even at the cost of truth and genuine shepherding of the flock, Martyn Lloyd-Jones understood long ago that our ambition should be to be pleasing to Christ:
"The glory of the gospel is that when the Church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first. That is how revival comes. That must also be true of us as individuals. It should not be our ambition to be as much like everybody else as we can, though we happen to be Christian, but rather to be as different from everybody who is not a Christian as we can possibly be. Our ambition should be to be like Christ; the more like Him the better. And the more like Him we become, the more we shall be unlike everybody who is not a Christian."
-D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
01/27/2011 - Mike Porter
Our obligation to love, honor, and obey any being, is in proportion to his loveliness, honorableness, and authority; for that is the very meaning of the words. When we say any one is very lovely, it is the same as to say, that he is one very much to be loved. Or if we say such a one is more honorable than another, the meaning of the words is, that he is one that we are more obliged to honor. If we say any one has great authority over us, it is the same as to say, that he has great right to our subjection and obedience.
But God is a being infinitely lovely, because He has infinite Excellency and beauty. To have infinite Excellency and beauty, is the same thing as to have infinite loveliness. He is a being of infinite greatness, majesty, and glory; and therefore He is infinitely honorable. He is infinitely exalted above the greatest potentates of the earth, and highest angels in heaven; and therefore He is infinitely more honorable than they. His authority over us is infinite; and the ground of His right to our obedience is infinitely strong; for He is infinitely worthy to be obeyed Himself, and we have an absolute, universal, and infinite dependence upon Him.
--Jonathan Edwards: The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners
May Today Be Blessed by God's Presence With You and Yours
12/25/2010 - James WhiteThe gift of God Himself in the Person of His Son is the greatest gift mankind will ever know. May the recognition of that gift cause us all to desire to be pleasing to Him today, and every day of our lives.
Instead of Reading the Entire Bible in 2011, Read the Gospels Deeply
12/20/2010 - Alan KurschnerIt's about that time of the year when we are introduced to creative ways to read our Bible from cover to cover for the next calender year (did you do it this year?). Instead, I would like to suggest that you take each day of next year to contemplate each unit of the gospels. Did you know there are conveniently about 365 units in the gospels?
In the past, I cited five good reasons to own a gospel synopsis. The fifth reason was,
Read a synopsis in one year by reading one pericope [a gospel unit] every day! By coincidence, the synopsis contains 367 pericopes (That is, all four gospels combined contain 367 units.). The edition that I recommend for English is the Synopsis of the Four Gospels Edited by Kurt Aland.In 2011, immerse yourself daily in Jesus' words and deeds.