The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.
A nonconformist, unifier, husband of three deceased wives, victim of religious persecution, and author of what has been collected into six volumes of reprinted Works, John Flavel (c.1630-1691) of Dartmouth, England not only had an immense following during his own lifetime, but deeply influenced those who would set the course as shapers of religion and culture in the generations to follow.
Flavel’s influence remained strong until the end of the nineteenth century, when (for various reasons) historiographical, philosophical, and Christian literature ceased to recognize his life or thought. However, over the last twenty-five years or so, John Flavel has enjoyed increasing popularity among academics, pastors, and laypeople alike, evidenced by the growing number of books and articles on Flavel as well as the number of students taking post-graduate courses of study on his life and thought. More than ever, people are asking, “Who was John Flavel?” And then they ask, “How do you pronounce his last name?”
John Flavel’s Legacy & Writing
Anthony á Wood (1632-1695), the Oxford historian, once (reportedly) noted that Flavel had “more disciples than ever John Owen the Independent, or Rich. Baxter the Presbyterian.” Increase Mather, himself a well-known New England Puritan and Harvard College president, once wrote shortly after Flavel’s death: “[Flavel’s] works, already published, have made his name precious in both Englands; and it will be so, as long as the earth shall endure.”
Flavel’s Works have been published and reprinted numerous times as a collected whole since their first publication in 1701–thirteen editions during the eighteenth century alone! Since Flavel’s first printed work in 1664, there have now been at least 721 printings of his roughly thirty-five treatises and sermons. His best-selling work, A Saint Indeed, went through forty-one printings from 1668 to 1800.
Flavel’s writing style may be compared to Richard Baxter or John Bunyan in both its variations of simplicity and density. It is not as technical as that of John Owen, nor is its content as difficult to understand. But, as Iain Murray once said, “Certainly if the sustained regard of Christian readers is any guide, Flavel belongs to the very front rank of evangelical authors.” Charles Spurgeon, commenting on Flavel’s writings, believed that “Master John Flavel”–as he liked to call him–deserved “an honorable place among the makers of metaphors, emblems, etc.” He adds that Flavel is “greatest in metaphor and allegory” and that “[Flavel] was popular in the highest degree both at home and abroad.”
In addition to the wide variety of topics that Flavel wrote about, he also quoted over 550 different authors. These included ancient philosophers, Greek and Latin church fathers, Roman Catholic theologians, Continental Reformers, and other Puritans. He was a pastor-theologian who sought to communicate the doctrines of the Protestant and Reformed faith in a clear and practical way, which is why his writings may appropriately be considered works of practical divinity.
Well-known Puritans, such as John Howe, Matthew Henry, and Thomas Boston knew of and appreciated Flavel as a pastor and writer, as well as poets and writers, such as Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe). John Eliot, the early missionary to the Native Americans, read and enjoyed Flavel’s writings as did Isaac Watts, the great hymn writer, who described Flavel as “that most excellent, practical and evangelical writer.” John Howe, with several other prominent ministers, penned the preface to Flavel’s The Occasions, Causes, Nature, Rise, Growth and Remedies of Mental Errors, writing that Flavel did not “need any letters of recommendation from us,” but rather the preface was simply an “expression of respect to him, a debt.” Almost one year after Flavel’s death, Increase Mather lamented, “Dartmouth will know, Devonshire will know, that there has been a prophet among them.”
“Holy Mr. Flavel,” as Jonathan Edwards called him, is quoted in his Religious Affectionsmore often than Richard Baxter, John Owen, Richard Sibbes, John Calvin, Francis Turretin, William Ames, and William Perkins combined. Historian Frank Mott notes, “The two most popular devotional essayists of the Colonial period [were] John Flavel and James Hervey… [Flavel] had an amazing following in America for a hundred and fifty years…. His Works appear in the lists of titles advertised by Colonial booksellers probably more often than any others except those of Dr. Watts, and they continued to be popular well into the nineteenth century.”
Archibald Alexander, one of the founders of Princeton Theological Seminary, was converted through reading Flavel. He later recounted: “To John Flavel I certainly owe more than to any uninspired author.” Alexander’s son, James–also a noted Presbyterian minister and theologian–once remarked: “To my taste, Flavel is the most uniformly interesting, engaging, and refreshing writer on religion, ancient or modern.” He adds, “A mix of Baxter and Flavel would be my highest wish as a preacher.”
In December 2012, noted Puritan scholars Sinclair Ferguson, Carl Trueman, and Mark Dever overwhelmingly chose John Flavel’s The Mystery of Providence as their favorite Puritan paperback title. J. I. Packer agrees: “Flavel is clear-headed and eloquent in the plain Puritan style, orthodox, Christ-focused and life-centered in his subject-matter, with his mind always set on advancing true godliness, with peace and joy in the Lord.” The resurgence in Puritan literature in general and that of Flavel in particular among Reformed communities is starting to provide a healthy amount of helpful resources for further study on Flavel’s life and thought.
The current six-volume edition of Flavel’s Works (W. Baynes and Son, 1820; rpt. The Banner of Truth Trust, 1968) has faithfully served generations of believers and has remained a strong favorite of Puritan literature. However, it contains antiquated punctuation, typographical errors, content errors, and was based on eighteenth-century rather than seventeenth-century documents. These later editions of Flavel’s Works have even inserted errors into the text where Flavel originally had them correct. It is time for a new complete edition of Flavel’s Works.
In the spring of 2013, I approached The Banner of Truth Trust with a proposal to produce and edit a completely new edition of Flavel’s Works based on the original documents. After months of deliberation and narrowing our focus, the agreement was made, and the task began. I asked two other Flavel scholars to help with this enormous project, Nathan Parker and Cliff Boone, and they provided invaluable assistance, especially with tracking down the roughly thirty-five individual treatises and works that were published in the later 1600s. I also assembled an Advisory Board to guide me in the project, which includes noted Puritan scholars Joel Beeke, Derek Thomas, Gerald Bray, John Coffey, Stephen Yuille, and Adam Embry.
The project is currently underway without an exact publication date (but expect it sometime late 2020 or early 2021). As you might imagine, the work is rather tedious and involves careful attention to detail. And yet, the content makes my soul soar! My prayer is that this new edition of Flavel’s Works will provide many generations of believers spiritually-rich, Christ-exalting literature to spur affections for our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.
=====================================================================================================Dr. Brian H. Cosby serves as senior pastor of Wayside Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, visiting professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta, and author of over a dozen books, including John Flavel: Puritan Life and Thought in Stuart England.
There’s been a lot of chatter about “fake news” this year. Some stories, even though they have no basis in fact, are told so often, and with such conviction, that large numbers of people end up believing them anyway.
Some of these fake news stories even dupe legitimate political figures who repeat the story without realizing it’s false. And once a mainstream political figure repeats a story, it becomes even more entrenched in the national psyche.
While some fake news stories are rather harmless, others are dangerous. Most famous perhaps is the 2016 “Pizza Gate” incident, where a man falsely believed a pizza place was host to a child sex-trafficking ring, so he shot it up (thankfully, no one was hurt).
“Fake news” isn’t a new phenomenon, though. There’s quite a bit of fake news out there regarding the person of Jesus, the origins of the church, and the development of the Bible. Even though such “news” has no factual basis, it’s believed by an uncomfortably large number of people.
Here’s a sampling of five leading stories.
1. Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
Perhaps there’s no conspiracy theory about early Christianity more sensational and captivating than the claim that Jesus was married and had children. It’s not only fodder for books like The Da Vinci Code, but it seems to pop up again and again in the mainstream media (see a recent example here).
The problem, of course, is that this belief is patently false. There’s no evidence Jesus was married.
(For a fuller critique of this idea, see my article here.)
2. The deity of Jesus wasn’t decided until the Council of Nicea in the fourth century.
Another widespread conviction is that Jesus was merely an ordinary human who was exalted to divine status by the council of Nicea. They then suppressed (and oppressed) all who insisted otherwise.
Again, however, the evidence for an early belief in Jesus’s divinity is overwhelming. As early as the 50s of the first century, Paul applies the monotheistic creed of Israel to the person of Jesus, declaring: “For us there is one God, the Father from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Cor. 8:6). There’s good evidence Paul is drawing on earlier tradition in this passage, indicating that such a belief was present at the beginning of the Christian movement.
(For more on the early divinity of Jesus, see Richard Bauckham’s book Jesus and the God of Israel.)
3. Christians didn’t have a ‘Bible’ until the time of Constantine.
Also making our top-five list is the oft-repeated claim that early Christians, at least for the first four centuries, didn’t have a Bible. They were reliant merely on ever-changing oral tradition. And this problem wasn’t resolved until Constantine commissioned the production of a Bible in the fourth century (containing only the books he preferred).
While this is yet another intriguing conspiracy theory, it lacks any historical foundation. The earliest Christians had a “Bible” from day one—what we now call the Old Testament. For them, the Old Testament was the undisputed Word of God, and they were deeply committed to its authority. Moreover, from an early point Christians regarded their own books as scriptural, and a core New Testament canon is evident by the early to middle second century.
4. The ‘Gnostic’ Gospels like Thomas were just as popular as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Ever since the discovery of the so-called Gnostic Gospels at Nag Hammadi in 1945, it’s been popular to insist that these “lost” Gospels were once more popular than our canonical ones. During the first few centuries, we’re told, Christians read the Gospel of Thomas with equal (if not more) regularity than the books that made it into our Bibles.
This whole narrative has a clear purpose behind it: to convince people that all Gospels are pretty much the same, and no Gospel is more valid than another.
But this narrative quickly evaporates when one looks at the historical data. When it comes to nearly every line of evidence—frequency of citation, use as Scripture, number of manuscripts—it’s clear these apocryphal Gospels weren’t very popular after all. Indeed, all historical indicators show our four Gospels were, far and away, the most popular ones in the early church.
5. The words of the New Testament were radically changed and corrupted in the earliest centuries.
Rounding out our top-five fake news stories is the claim that the text of the New Testament has been so radically corrupted, edited, and changed that we can’t really know what the original authors said. Made famous by Bart Ehrman’s bestseller Misquoting Jesus, this story has been repeated ad infinitum.
But there’s no evidence for this level of radical corruption. Can we see scribal changes and mistakes in our New Testament manuscripts? Of course, but that’s true for every document of antiquity. The New Testament is no different.
And if there is a difference, it’s that the New Testament seems even more well-preserved than comparable documents in the ancient world. After generations of careful scholarship, and a wealth of manuscripts at our disposal, we can have great confidence in the words of the New Testament.
These five examples of “fake news” about early Christianity get repeated so often people believe they must be true. Just like in the political world, however, we need to carefully examine the facts before we repeat the claims.
Editors’ note: A version of this article appeared at Canon Fodder.
Getting God Off the Hook?
When bad things happen and tragedies occur, many people feel like they need to get God off the hook. One of the ways they try to do that is by saying things like, “God didn’t have anything to do with this tragedy,” or “the devil is still the prince of this world.”
I remember after the 9/11 attacks a pastor was on the radio, and the host was asking him for some answers and explanations to help us make sense of such evil, death, and tragedy. The pastor explained that we need to remember that Satan is still the prince of this world. I think he had good intentions, but the reality is that teaching like this is not helpful to those who are encountering tragedy.
If God is limited in the bad things, that means God is limited in his ability to heal and redeem you.
What you’re saying with that kind of teaching is that God is limited. And if God is limited in the bad things, that means God is limited in his ability to heal and redeem you. You’re saying that his arm only stretches so long. So it may not stretch all the way to your heart, to your sorrow, and to your brokenness.
The Comfort of God’s Absolute Sovereignty
For me, one of the most comforting things in surviving and recovering from the death of my child was knowing that God was completely and fully in control in his death. Before he created the world, my God had marked the number of days that my son would live.
This book considers 12 life-giving truths that Christians can cling to in the midst of tragedy—truths that brought vital hope and comfort to the author when grieving the sudden loss of his 3-year-old son.
That means that his life was complete. That means that his death was not random; it was not accidental. That means that it has meaning and purpose.
And it also means that God is in control of my redemption and my healing.
No matter which way my mind turns these days, I cannot escape the absolutely unique and essential role that the Bible plays in God’s purpose for the universe, and for history, and for the church, and for Christian schools, and for our personal lives, both now and in eternity.
“Without rightly discerning what’s revealed only in the Bible, we cannot know the most important realities in life.”
Our way of thinking and feeling and acting toward the Bible, and with the Bible, and from the Bible is decisive in whether our lives, schools, and churches conform to God’s saving, Christ-exalting purposes for history and for all of creation.
Think of the staggering implications for the billions of people around the world, including most of the highest and lowest educated, most of the rich and most of the poor — people of every tongue and tribe and nation, men and women, young and old, who virtually never orient what they think or feel or do around what God has revealed in the Bible.
Without the Bible
This is staggering because, without rightly discerning what is revealed only in the Bible, we cannot know the most important realities in life.
Without the Bible, we cannot know the true nature of God and the beauty of his holiness.
Without the Bible, we cannot know that magnifying God’s glory is the ultimate purpose of the universe.
Without the Bible, we cannot know that the way God has appointed for his glory to be most fully magnified is through a people who are supremely and eternally happy in him.
Without the Bible, we cannot know the eternal divinity of Christ, the Son of God, and that all things were made through him and for him.
Without the Bible, we cannot know that all things that exist — from galaxies to molecules — are held in existence by the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God.
Without the Bible, we cannot know that the Son of God became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ.
“If we are embarrassed by parts of the Bible, the love of human approval over God’s approval has begun to take root.”
Without the Bible, we cannot know the unsearchable riches of Christ’s achievements on the cross — his propitiation of the wrath of God, his enduring the curse of the law, his bearing the condemnation of the elect, his becoming sin though he knew no sin, his bearing the weight of the iniquities of all his people, his purchasing forgiveness, acceptance, adoption, escape from hell, entrance into eternal life, and God’s yes to all the promises of Scripture for his people.
Without the Bible, we cannot know the way of salvation by grace through faith as a gift of God apart from works of the law.
Without the Bible, we cannot know the almighty power of the Holy Spirit raising us from spiritual death, and granting us new birth, and giving us new hearts, and sealing us for God’s possession through faith, and preserving us to the day of Christ and forever.
Without the Bible, we cannot know the true path of holiness and how the Holy Spirit by faith works in us the fruits of righteousness that come through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Without the Bible, we cannot know the meaning of the church with Christ as the head of the body, and all the hosts of heaven watching as the wisdom of God is played out in the gathering of the redeemed from all the peoples of the world.
Without the Bible, we cannot know the meaning of marriage as a God-designed drama of the covenant love between Christ and his church.
Without the Bible, we cannot know the meaning of our own physical bodies as bought with Christ’s blood for the housing of the Spirit of God.
Without the Bible, we cannot know the dimensions of literature and art which approximate ultimate truth.
Without the Bible, we cannot know the source and goal of science.
And without the Bible, we cannot know how to love anyone fully — that is, in a way that does them everlasting good.
We can know none of these things in a saving way — that is, in a way that does anyone, ourselves or others, any lasting good — apart from rightly discerning what is revealed in the Bible. And therefore, all the aims of communication, apart from a right handling of the Bible, come to naught.
Therefore, more and more, it has seemed to me that the future God-glorifying faithfulness, and Spirit-dependent obedience, and Christ-exalting fruitfulness in our churches, and in our schools and institutions, and in our lives, depend on a certain way of thinking and feeling about the Bible.
So my ten aspirations for Christian communicators, whether pastors, preachers, writers, teachers, editors, parents, or friends, are all formulated in relation to that — our thinking and our feeling about the Bible.
Hearts That Hear
Someone may ask — indeed I ask — “But don’t deep heart realities of humility, and spiritual life, and submission to God, and sensitivity to spiritual reality precede and enable a right handling of the Bible? And shouldn’t that be the goal of Christian schools and ministries — to cultivate a kind of heart and mind that creates the humility and submissiveness that then is yielded to everything the Bible teaches?”
“We cannot escape the absolutely unique and essential role that the Bible plays in God’s purpose for the universe.”
Certainly, we should have a commitment to those deeper realities. But here’s the catch: the only reason we know that such realities must exist before the Bible can be known and loved and handled as it ought to be is that the Bible teaches us that they must.
The Bible teaches us that something deeper than the Bible makes it possible for the human heart to submit to the Bible. Therefore, how will we ever articulate and justify the goal to pursue something in the heart deeper than the Bible without using the Bible?
This means that among our aspirations for Christian writing and preaching and teaching must be that we would handle the Bible in ways that make it likely for us to find in the Bible everything we need to find there in order to use the Bible rightly.
So let me suggest ten aspirations, or aims, for Christian communicators as they relate to how we think and feel and act toward the Bible.
1. Embrace Inerrancy
Let us make it our aim that every pastor and teacher, every faculty member and administrator, every writer and speaker will give joyful and hearty assent to the complete truthfulness — that is, inerrancy — of the Bible in all that it teaches.
2. Be Unashamed
Let us make it our aim that we will be unashamed of everything that the Bible describes as the will of God as it was or is to be done when God appointed for it to be done. For example, unashamed of God’s command in the book of Joshua that all the Canaanites be killed. Unashamed of his permission of polygamy and divorce and slavery in the Old Testament. Unashamed of his command that Isaiah walk around naked. Unashamed of the inspired writers’ holy hatred of wicked people — in the Psalms, for example. Unashamed of the creation of the world six thousand years ago, if that’s what the text teaches. Unashamed of the command that spiritually qualified men, rather than women, be the elders of churches and the heads of two-parent families. Unashamed that there is only one way of salvation — through knowing and believing the gospel of Christ. Unashamed of the teaching that those who practice homosexuality or greed or drunkenness or reviling or swindling, and are unrepentant, will suffer eternally in hell.
For if we are embarrassed by parts of the Bible, the love of human approval over God’s approval has begun to take root. And this root is the source of much defection from biblical truth, especially in the academic life (John 5:44).
3. Pursue the Authors’ Intentions
Let us aim to be committed to all the teaching of the Bible in such a way that congregants and readers and students are equipped to pay detailed attention to its words and phrases and clauses and logic, and to penetrate through these human instruments to the authors’ mental, emotional, and behavioral intentions, and to the great realities that they are trying to communicate.
4. Build a Biblical Vision of Reality
Let us aim to build teams that reflect so deeply on the realities of Scripture in relationship to all other observations in all other disciplines that students and readers are enabled to see the profound relevance of the biblical vision of reality for everything they think and study, so that there will be no embarrassment whatsoever that we relate everything to Scripture, and test everything by Scripture, because we have discovered that God’s revelation about the world can never be superficial or irrelevant.
5. Speak with Precision
Let us aim to handle the Scriptures with such precision, and care, and insight, and spiritual illumination, and experiential authenticity, that we do not default to speaking in vague generalities about God’s will and God’s way, but actually are able to point to specific verses in the Bible where glorious reality is revealed and where the will of God and the ways of God are made explicit, and can do so in such a way that we happily cite the very words of Scripture with little concern whether we are criticized of proof texting. In other words, let it stand as a continual warning that for the last hundred years those who reject the reality behind Scripture have done so while continuing to use Christian language, but avoiding precise textual citations.
6. Love the Languages
Let us aim to put a high premium in our pastoral training on the mastering of Greek and Hebrew to the extent that future preachers have sufficient confidence that when they interpret the Greek and Hebrew text of the Old and New Testaments, they are extracting the author’s intention, and are in touch with the reality God is revealing behind and through the text. Let us never allow the pragmatic pressure for pastors to be more immediately helpful to diminish our confidence that the teaching of Greek and Hebrew will, in fact, make them even more helpful in the long run in the church of Christ.
7. Cultivate Habits of Heart
“The Bible teaches us that something deeper than the Bible makes it possible for the heart to submit to the Bible.”
Let us aim to make the Bible so foundational and so pervasive in all aspects of our college and seminary curricula that it is never seen to be the purview of only one department, like biblical studies, rather than being essential to every department, such that students really do perceive that the serious study of Scripture deepens their capacities in six habits of heart: observation, understanding, evaluation, feeling, application, and expressing. Let us seek to make the Bible so prominent and so pervasive and so profoundly relevant in dealing with every kind of subject matter that students grow in their confidence that what can be known only through the Bible enhances and deepens and clarifies and empowers everything they learn from other sources.
8. Celebrate the Relevance
Let us aim to handle the Bible in such a way that the Bible will always stand out to those who read what we write, and hear what we say, as a source of utterly timely, relevant, and indispensable divine revelation concerning the world we live in. Let us never give the impression that this Book is somehow dated, or passé, or irrelevant, but in fact is brimming with the kind of human, historical, cultural, social, psychological, relational wisdom that goes deeper, and lasts longer, than the passing trends of all the humanities and social and physical sciences.
9. Display Contagious Esteem
Let us aim to teach and explain the Bible in such a way, and live the Bible in such a way, as to encourage and equip and empower future pastors and teachers and writers to communicate in a way that those who hear them will recognize their highest esteem for the authority and wisdom and value of the Bible, and will be thankful, and even amazed, at the treasures that they share from Scripture for the living of the Christian life with all its joys and sorrows.
10. Pray Earnestly and Continually
Let us aim to cultivate an ethos of earnest and continual prayer for the God-given humility and illumination that not only opens us to the deepest and richest meaning of what the Bible teaches, but also enables us to see the self-authenticating glory of God in and through the text, which provides the foundation of our unshakable confidence in the divine origin and authority and universal relevance of the Bible.
If God would be pleased, in his mercy and power, to fulfill these aims in the years to come, I believe that the God-glorifying faithfulness, and Spirit-dependent obedience, and Christ-exalting fruitfulness of our churches and ministries and academic institutions would exceed all our expectations.
Proverbs has always been one of my favourite books. When as a young man it was called to my attention that there’s a chapter for each of the thirty-one days in a month, I began the habit of daily reading the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month. After doing so now for over forty years, I was astonished to realise that means I’ve read through the book of Proverbs more than five hundred times. And I plan to continue the practice for the rest of my life, for I never outgrow the need for the practical wisdom of this divinely-inspired book.
But I must admit there are places in the Proverbs where I’m sometimes tempted to think, ‘Why do I need to read this again?’ When I come to chapter seven, for example, I’m so familiar with the story that I know exactly what’s going to happen when the foolish young man decides to walk down the street where the adulteress lurks. I want to say to the guy, ‘Don’t go down there this month! You’ve gone down there every month for forty years and it always ends badly. For once could you take a different route?’ But every month he heads down there, and he always ends up ‘going down to the chambers of death’ (7:27).
WHY READ IT AGAIN AND AGAIN?
Since I know the passage by heart, why read it again? Then a few years ago I awakened to the reality that when the beginnings of such temptations inevitably come my way, I’m never more than thirty days away from a fresh warning of the ruin that comes from yielding so seduction. I don’t think I’ll ever reach the point where I don’t need that warning — frequently.
‘Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall,’ (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Because of my love for the Proverbs and the perpetual value the wisdom of the book has been for my life, I wanted to instil its counsel early in the life of my daughter. So from the time she was very young, I began incorporating the book of Proverbs into our family worship routine.
A SIMPLE, EFFECTIVE EXERCISE
Here’s how I did it. In the beginning I would read a third of a chapter to her every night. During the first month of every quarter (that is, January, April, July, and October) I would read the first third of the chapter that corresponds with the day of each month.
On the second month of each quarter I read the middle third of the chapter for the day. And on the last month of the quarter I read the last third of the chapter. So on January 1 I read Proverbs 1:1-11 (or thereabouts). On February 1 I read Proverbs 1:12-22. And on March 1 I read Proverbs 1:23-33.
After a few years, I started reading half a chapter each night, alternating every other month. So on January 1 I read Proverbs 1:1-17 or so, and on February 1 I read Proverbs 1:18-33. Then when she was old enough, I began reading the entire chapter each evening, covering all of chapter one on the first of every month, all of chapter two on the second of each month, and so forth.
After these few minutes in the Proverbs, I would turn to wherever else we were reading in the Bible at that time.
Somewhere along the way I stumbled upon a practice that dramatically increased her listening and understanding. Before I started reading I said, ‘I want you to pick a verse and explain it to me, and one for me to explain to you.’ This made a huge difference. Often, of course, her explanation of a verse was off base or unclear. That gave me another occasion to make the Bible clearer to her. I commend this simple, but effective, exercise to you.
BANNER OF TRUTH ONLINE; This article was originally published at BiblicalSpirituality.org