Rob Bell, a Picture of a Heretical, New Age, Emergent Movement Guru.

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If the gospel isn’t good news for everybody, then it isn’t good news for anybody.” Rob Bell

This quote was presented to me without context as a standalone statement. First I will address it as is. Then I will address it in context to the entire quote.

As a direct answer to this ludicrous assertion I will simply reference the mind of God revealed in His Word.

“ 18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

19For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”

20Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (NASB)

To the person who is a friend of the world, the gospel is foolish, and they are enemies of God.


1What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:1-10 (NASB)

Only the people being saved will appreciate the gospel. Everyone else will hate it to varying degrees. Some will seem indifferent to it, while others hate for it will be evident. If two people are looking at Christ and His gospel, and one has a new nature that desires the things of God and hates sin, and the other person is not regenerate, they are still in the world, and their fleshly passions still rule them, the first one will see Christ and His gospel as exceedingly good news to be desired above all things. He will be like the man who sells all he owns to purchase the field with the precious pearl in it. The other man will think the first is a fool, and mock him. He will spend his life a slave to his own pleasures.

Now I will address the quote in context. I had to look it up, as I do not read Rob Bell’s works as he is a heretic and outside of orthodoxy. It was from his book, “Velvet Elvis.”

If the gospel isn’t good news for everybody, then it isn’t good news for anybody. And this is because the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display. To do this, the church must stop thinking about everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever. Besides the fact that these terms are offensive to those who are the “un” and “non”, they work against Jesus’ teachings about how we are to treat each other. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, and our neighbor can be anybody. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone. As the book of James says, “God shows no favoritism.” So we don’t either.” Rob Bell

Bell is attempting to relate his opening statement to a homogenous group called, “the church.” He tries to relate the two by claiming that, “the church” is wrong for, “trying to convert people and convince them to join.” He claims that instead, “It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display.”

Bell does not define what, “the church” is. His opening statement is not supported by the following sentences of the paragraph. As I demonstrated above, the Bible is clear about whom the gospel is good news to. It cannot be good news to those who are ultimately to perish outside of Christ. They will reject it, and continue on in rebellion to God. Using this statement to start his paragraph was not proper. I understand what he was attempting to say in his inaccurate use of language. First, let’s assume that when he references, “the church” that he means all of the people, past, present, and future, from all nations, and tribes, from all over the planet, who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, being brought to new life, who see how detestable their sins are, and are humbled by them in contrast to the holiness and righteousness of God, and have repented of their sins, and put their trust and faith in God incarnate, their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who suffered the penalty of their sins on the cross of His crucifixion, paying for them completely, dying, being buried, and resurrected on the third day, conquering death and sin on behalf of His elect. He would have been more accurate to say, “The Church should demonstrate the grace, and sacrificial love of Christ to the lost world, in their words, and deeds, motivated by their new natures, and renewed minds, by the will of God the Father, and the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through them.”

Words have meanings, and the imprecise language of Rob Bell and his ilk causes much misunderstanding and confusion. If he desires to be understood properly he should be more precise.

Another statement was presented along with the first, by the individual who presented the statement to me. They wrote, “Blessed are those who are more right than others.” Said Jesus never.”

First, this statement implies that the Jesus of this statement doesn’t care about being doctrinally accurate. It also implies that to be concerned with doctrinal accuracy is to be equated with un-Christ-like attitudes.

We know from reading the progressive revelation of scripture, which is the mind of the incarnate and eternal Word, who being God Himself, in the second person of the Trinity, revealed His will for us, and to us, in the scriptures, has explained true doctrines and refuted false ones, as well as condemned those who taught false doctrines as teachers of the devil’s doctrines. He called them, children of their father the devil.

43“Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45“But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46“Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47“He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” John 8:43-47 (NASB)

Jesus is the true and living way, and as we can see from what he said in John 8, He is definitely concerned with true doctrine about Him. If someone says they know Jesus, I would ask them questions about Jesus to see if we are talking about the same Jesus. What I know about my Savior is very important. It is the difference of knowing the true Jesus as He has expressed Himself in scripture, and knowing a cheap counterfeit that cannot save anyone. While it is true Jesus never specifically said the above quote, it is also true that contrary to the intent of the quote Jesus did always teach the truth, and require it of His followers. Don’t be fooled by slick sayings. As God said,

4I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. 5For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

6Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

      8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians 2:4-8 (NASB)

Call No Man Father, and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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In the Easter Orthodox Church’s pamphlet titled, “Call No Man Father” written by Fr.(Father) J. Richard Ballew, and published by Conciliar Press, the author presents a straw man argument to easily dispute. He claims that Protestants believe that we don’t call anyone Father because we don’t think any man should be recognized as our, “spiritual father.” Here is what he wrote …“They, of course, are interpreting “father” in this Scripture to mean, “spiritual father.” Therefore, they refuse to call their clergymen “father,” preferring instead such titles as “pastor,” “reverend,” or perhaps even “brother.”…

He misrepresented our position either unintentionally erring, or intentionally lying. I don’t know, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he simply erred. Protestants don’t call their preaching elders, “Father” because we don’t have an authoritative titular role for leaders, or teachers in the Church. This is what is being condemned in Matthew 23:8-10. This is explained by the context of what Christ had said. Matthew 23:1-12, (NASB)

1Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4“They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5“But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9“Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10“Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”

As you can plainly see from the context provided, Jesus is explaining how the Pharisees had wrongly taken for themselves titles and positions of authority, while sinfully using them to hypocritically burden everyone else with rules. Jesus was instructing His followers to not recognize men like the Pharisees of the Jews as their authority, but instead to recognize God as the authority. Within the Church there are no authorities other than what God has revealed in His word. We don’t hold traditions of having a man called a Father as the head of our local Church body.

The Eastern Orthodox has conflated their preaching elders (πρεσβύτερος presbuteros) with a position of authority. They say they are calling the preaching elder of a church, “father” as a term of affection, but in practice it isn’t that way. Their practice demonstrates that they are doing that which Christ in scripture forbids. On the other hand, Protestants do have all kinds of elders in our body. We have men who preach, teach, evangelize, and administrate to name a few. There is not one that is more important than the other. We can even have more than one preaching elder in any one given local Church. Some teach and preach, others serve by administrating church affairs. 1 Corinthians 12:24-26 (NASB)

24whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

We also recognize that sometimes men are thought of as someone’s father in the faith, as a man who was their personal friend and helper. Paul is mentioned as being Timothy’s father in that sense. Timothy learned from Paul. In a sense he could be considered his spiritual father, not in a mystical way, but simply in the role of a mentor in the faith, the man who preached and taught the gospel of Christ to you. 1 Timothy 1:2 (NASB)

2To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The other types of elders are all under the same conditions. None of them are to be regarded as holding a position of authority over us in the same fashion the Pharisees did over the Jews.

Then Ballew goes into a self-refuting argument about traditions of the Rabbis and how they added their own ideas to them, of course the Eastern Orthodox aren’t guilty of that lol. I would find it quite laughable if it weren’t so sad to see so many people locked into a works righteousness religion akin to Roman Catholicism.

He did get some things right. In regards to the Rabbis exalting themselves and abusing their authority, he rightly condemns that and agrees with Christ.

In the end he uses the word father instead of elder. He still affirms in practice the wrong use of the word and has attributed it to a position of authority that is not warranted by scripture.  The bottom line is the same as my last article on the Eastern Orthodox Church.  They have a low view of scripture and a misplaced submission to their traditions.

A Snyder’s Soapbox Review of, “When my Ox Gores my Neighbor: Using Hermeneutics to Travel from Mt. Sinai to Mt. Zion” by Josiah Nichols.

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I was contacted by a mutual friend to do this review. Up until that point I had not heard of Josiah Nichols. This would be the first work that I have read of his. It might also be his first published work. It isn’t a long book, nor is it a book that requires a seminary education to read. The author’s purpose is to demonstrate how he employs hermeneutics to interpret, and derive applications from Exodus 21:28-32. The book is very evangelistic. I would say that it has been far more evangelistic than many theological books that I’ve recently read.

From reading the title, and the author’s intended goal treating the topic of hermeneutics, I expected a more in depth primer on hermeneutics, and a demonstration of the analytical methods of hermeneutics on the cited verses. While the author accomplished this goal, I think occasionally the author also got a little lost in some peripheral details.

It is also evident that the author is a big fan of Wretched Radio/TV and their work. Todd Friel is the host of the programs as well as the podcast. The people over there at Wretched have put out a number of very useful videos, and educational products. Josiah refers to, “Hermen Who?” numerous times throughout the book. Wretched should thank him for the plug 🙂 I liked both the book, and Wretched. I am a big fan of their work to, so I share that with the author.

The questions I consider for book purchases are, is it theologically accurate, and will it add value to the individual’s Christian library? That’s it. That’s how simple it is for me to decide, “yes” or “no” for a book. The answer to the first question is, yes this book is good and accurate if you are Reformed in your soteriology. If you are not, it is still accurate, and you are the one with the problem lol.  As far as value goes, it does add value to your library as a resource to loan out. This book is evangelistic. I would feel good handing this to someone who is new in the faith. It will teach them a bit about hermeneutics, and much more about other doctrines of God.

After reading it, I am still hard pressed to categorize this book, or write a more fitting title. The author does analyze Exodus 21:28-32. He does so accurately. He did not twist the scripture, or impose a meaning on it that was not intended by the author of scripture. It would be educational for a new Christian. I believe that was his intended audience. I look forward to seeing Josiah’s future projects. I think we will see bigger and better works from him. He was precise and nuanced without being rhetorical. Some theological books for laymen seem as if the authors had forgotten who their audience was. If Josiah reads this, “Keep up the good work.” You can pick up a copy of his book at Amazon, Christianbook, or Westbow to name a few. It can be purchased from many other online book retail sites.

ISBN-13: 978-1512782530

Have you ever felt like you are not an adult, like you are just pretending…

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Have you ever felt like you are not an adult, like you are just pretending to be your idea of what an adult is? Do you wonder if the others are going to see through your facade and know that you are just playing at being an adult? My standard of what a man should be has always been my Father. He has been dead for about 4 years now. I know he would tell me he is proud of me, and that I’ve become the man he hoped I would be. He never showed us any doubt. He was always so outwardly confident, or perhaps that is the way it seemed to a child’s perception. I know he did have doubts and fears. I know he confided in his Wife. I have done the same thing. I wonder though, if the strength he portrayed to us wasn’t there, what kind of man would I be? Because of my Father, I can safely say, I am a more godly man than I would have been without Him. Because of His example, I took several, I mean several leaps of faith to do what I thought would have been the right thing, the thing Dad would have done, or been proud of. Ladies, this can apply to you and your godly mothers as well. I know my Dad wasn’t perfect, and he made mistakes that he privately regretted, but he was as good a Father to me and my Brother as he could have been. Now that Dad is gone, I don’t feel alone, or on shaky ground. Why? Because I’ve got another Father. A perfect Father who is not flawed. I have a Father who gave me and my Brother, and our Mother, the perfect man to accomplish His will in our lives. Dad might not have been the adult that we saw with our little eyes, and thought of with our childish minds, but he was the man that God used to bring us to Him. Dad was strong and compassionate, he was hard and thoughtful, he was self-sacrificing and forgiving. It was so much easier for me to see the character of Christ in a man most people would have called marginally Christian, than in many who put on a good show of being an adult. God the Father, in His perfect knowledge and sovereignty, “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Because of who God the Father is, I had the human Father He wanted for me. He used my Dad to lead one of His elect to Him. I was so lost as a young man. I loved myself more than anything or anyone else. I loved my own pleasures, and hated those who would deny me. Now because of the memories of my Father, and the testimony of the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit, I am a partaker in God’s grace. I have been adopted by the true Father of all who are born again. I and my Dad, are brother’s in Christ. I hope to see him again in eternity, and worship the Lord Jesus, with him as well. I hope and pray that my Brother, and his family, my oldest Step-Son, my present, and future Grandchildren, and all of you will be with us to, as brothers and sister, unified in love, and the love of Christ Jesus. We all have doubts and fears in life. We are uncertain at times, but look to God, fix your eyes on Jesus, and what He did for you in His life, crucifixion, and resurrection. There is one God, and only one way of salvation, it is Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins, and believe. He will grant you new life and make you a new person, just like He did for me. I’m not always assured and confident in my position, but I am so confident and sure of God, and because He is good, I know that whatever I go through in life is for my sanctification. It is to shape me into the the adult man, that He wants me to be. I hope that when I am dead, the people whom God has given me to be with will be able to say the same about me that I have said about my Father.

PETA, Abortion, and Imago Dei.

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I am troubled by the unfettered, unrestrained, sentimentality, and emotionalism, being celebrated on modern television over animals, and their rescue. I don’t want to seem cold, or cruel, but this is beyond what should be morally, and ethically permitted in light of human poverty, abuse, and suffering, around our country. We’ve aborted approximately 70,000,000 babies since the not-so-Supreme Court invented a woman’s right to murder her, and the father’s child. Think about that number. Seventy million human children murdered in the womb, and everyone gets hysterical over the mistreatment of a puppy.

Many of you are familiar with PETA (the idolatrous animal rights terrorist group.) and their mantra of, “A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy.” This insanity has come from the void left by removing Christ, and Christian education from our country. It has allowed for this idolatrous transference of worship. Instead of worshiping God, they worship the creation. Christian teaching informs us to the intrinsic value of human life above all other life on the planet. For unlike the creatures of this world, God in His sovereign will, made man in His image, and made him a little lower than the angels. Man is the only being that God created who has a spirit. We are definitely not to be equated to a dog or any other animals. Only a godless heathen would equate human life to that of another animal. Anyone who is Christian cannot do so in a way that is consistent with scripture.

I believe that the media makes it a point to distract us with these programs. The leftists in the media forward, and champion any cause that serves to denigrate God’s precepts. These programs are used to program the minds of the children, and twist the minds of those who are weak enough for them to be influenced. There is a large number of people who have become numb to human suffering, who will clamor for your incarceration, or outright execution if you are guilty of eating meat. If they were informed by the Christian faith, they would know Genesis 9:1-7,

“1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4 “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.

6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood,

By man his blood shall be shed,

For in the image of God

He made man.

7 “As for you, be fruitful and multiply;

Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.””

You see, it is evident in the word of God that we are to eat the other animals as food. He has given them to us as food just as He has given us the plants to eat. He has also elevated man above the other animals by saying in verse 6, ““Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” Do you see it? We are made in His image. Do you see that the murder of a man requires the execution of the murderer? It is a sin against God to steel a man’s life by killing him unjustly. The person who murders makes themselves out to be god. Not only are they guilty of murder, they are guilty of theft, idolatry, blasphemy, and hatred. By destroying an image bearer of God they have blasphemed. None of this is true of anyone who kills an animal. God has given us dominion over them, to use as He intends.

If you don’t believe me about how horrible this godless doctrine is, let’s examine the ethic in practice with a theoretical situation. For instance, a rat, pig, dog, and a boy, are all in a river about to drown. The rat is closest to the bank, and it is more likely that you would be able to successfully rescue it. The boy is the furthest out, and least likely to survive. The pig and the dog are between the rat, and the boy. According to the ethic, you should attempt to save the rat, because they are all equal in value to the atheist. To do anything else would be immoral according to their belief. I think most of you would agree, seeing a young child drowning and saving a rat is immoral. Whether you know it or not, you have been raised with a Christian ethic. That isn’t so for many of our children. They are being raised in a postmodern, secular, atheistic, world. Unless you can, in the limited time you have with them, negate the 8 hours a day the school spends with them, they are not going to share your morals.

You see, without God and His word as the foundation of our worldview, we will lose our collective minds and become a society in decay. The foundation of our freedom and prosperity has been faithful obedience to God and His gospel. As a nation, we were founded on the ideals exampled by Christianity. Without the example of divine grace, and the laws that made grace so sweet, we will necessarily vote for increasingly immoral things. Without moral absolutes determined by the immutable God, we will continue to abort babies. We will also begin to euthanize the ill and elderly. Pragmatism will override the fact that we are made in the image of God. When your medical system is based on pragmatically cutting costs and saving money, instead of attempting to cure illnesses, and heal people, the end result is murder by bureaucracy. I pray Lord that we will repent, and always value human life above that of mere animals. I pray Lord that you will give every person in this nation and around the world the knowledge that abortion and euthanasia are morally wrong.

What Does James Teach us About the Tongue?

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It should be evident through our human experience that what we say in passionate discourse, driven by our jealousies and self ambitions, is sinfully disordered. (James 3:13-18)  We can say, scream, or spitefully whisper, things that should not be said.  These things can destroy relationships, ruin opportunities, and discredit our witness.  The enemy is the father of lies.  When we allow our tongue to run unfettered it does the work of the devil.

Let’s take a look at what God says about the tongue in the book of James.  He says that it is, “tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity”  In this context, fire is destructive.  It destroys and consumes everything it touches.  It defiles the entire body.  It sets the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.  Wow, and ouch!  It sets the course for our life?  Yep, by the sinful, undisciplined, words that come out of your heart and mouth, your entire life’s course is changed.  Look at how many public figures careers have been ruined by something they said, or how many Evangelist who were caught by an open mic saying something unbecoming.  It is set on fire by hell.  That paints a very scary picture in my mind.  It is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.  How many times have you poisoned someone by saying words out of a selfish position?  How much hurt have you caused to those you love by expressing your sinful heart’s passion recklessly?  I know I am guilty of of it for sure.  I look back and regret the hurt and injury I inflicted with my words.

Like Jesus said, “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” (NASB) Matthew 15:17-20”

With it we curse men who are made in the image of God.  This indicates our elevation of ourselves.  It demonstrates how we see ourselves better than other men, more entitled, and deserving.  What did Paul say, “ It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (NASB) 1 Timothy 1:15

James quotes the psalmist when he says, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (NASB) James 4:6  So what instruction can we receive from the scripture?  Are we hopeless to control our tongues?  The scriptures are clear that we can have our sinful natures changed by the work of God.  Christ’s work justifies us, and the Holy Spirit brings us to new life.  As the new man learns and grows, he can, and will have more success battling against the destructive self-centered overflow of the heart.  This is due to the Holy Spirit’s work applying the truth of God and His word to our hearts.  We have new hearts, with new desires and affections.  As these begin to rule and dominate, we are conformed to the likeness of Christ our Savior.  We begin to speak wisely, and gently.  We aren’t perfect, but by God’s grace we are justified and sanctified.

So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by  hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?  Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. (NASB) James 3:5-12

Wisdom from Above
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly,  natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the  seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (NASB) James 3:13-18

What Does James Chapter 2 Teach us About Faith, and Works?

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In James 2:14-26 we learn that what a person does as works is driven by their beliefs. Their works are a manifestation of what they believe. If one believes in being made right with God by doing works, they demonstrate that they don’t understand the gospel. They don’t understand the work that Jesus did on the cross to atone for their sins. The example of Abraham and Isaac is given. Abraham would not have went to sacrifice his son Isaac if he didn’t truly believe God told him to do it. By obeying God, he demonstrated his true belief in God. When we do God’s will because we believe Him, and His word, it demonstrates the kind of faith that separates us from demons who believe in God and tremble, as well as those who attempt to attain righteousness by their works. The believing heart and mind agree that there is nothing worthy in them, and entirely rely on Christ, and in so doing rejoice in Christ and His grace. This moves them to do works that are pleasing to Him because of His great love, and mercy, true believers demonstrate grace to the lost world of suffering sinners for the glory of Him who saved them.
James 2:14-26
Faith and Works
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (NASB) James 2:14-26

What Should We Learn From Jeremiah 12?

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What should we learn from Jeremiah 12?

First, let’s read Jeremiah 12.

Jeremiah’s Prayer
​ Righteous are You, O Lord, that I would plead my case with You;
Indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You:
Why has the way of the wicked prospered?
Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease?
You have planted them, they have also taken root;
They grow, they have even produced fruit.
You are near to their lips
But far from their mind.
But You know me, O Lord;
You see me;
And You examine my heart’s attitude toward You.
Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter
And set them apart for a day of carnage!
How long is the land to mourn
And the vegetation of the countryside to wither?
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it,
Animals and birds have been snatched away,
Because men have said, “He will not see our latter ending.”
“If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out,
Then how can you compete with horses?
If you fall down in a land of peace,
How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
“For even your brothers and the household of your father,
Even they have dealt treacherously with you,
Even they have cried aloud after you.
Do not believe them, although they may say nice things to you.”
God’s Answer
“I have forsaken My house,
I have abandoned My inheritance;
I have given the beloved of My soul
Into the hand of her enemies.
“My inheritance has become to Me
Like a lion in the forest;
She has roared against Me;
Therefore I have come to hate her.
“Is My inheritance like a speckled bird of prey to Me?
Are the birds of prey against her on every side?
Go, gather all the beasts of the field,
Bring them to devour!
“Many shepherds have ruined My vineyard,
They have trampled down My field;
They have made My pleasant field
A desolate wilderness.
“It has been made a desolation,
Desolate, it mourns before Me;
The whole land has been made desolate,
Because no man lays it to heart.
“On all the bare heights in the wilderness
Destroyers have come,
For a sword of the Lord is devouring
From one end of the land even to the other;
There is no peace for anyone.
“They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns,
They have strained themselves to no profit.
But be ashamed of your harvest
Because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”
Thus says the Lord concerning all My wicked neighbors who strike at the inheritance with which I have endowed My people Israel, “Behold I am about to uproot them from their land and will uproot the house of Judah from among them. And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land. Then if they will really learn the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught My people to swear by Baal, they will be built up in the midst of My people. But if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord. (NASB) Jeremiah 12

Let’s ask ourselves some questions before we get going. Who or what is this passage about? When did it happen? Considering that the entire Bible is about Jesus and the gospel, what does this passage have to say about God?

This passage is about the prophet Jeremiah, his appeal to God, and God’s answer. It was written between 680-530 BC. Judah was guilty of idolatry. Jeremiah was to warn them of God’s impending discipline if they didn’t repent. In this passage Jeremiah is making a plea to God for the wicked to be punished, and for relief from them. God answers by telling Jeremiah that He will uproot the nation of Judah. In other words His discipline and justice is coming. He also tells Jeremiah if they repent He will build them up, but if they don’t, He will destroy them. In the first couple verses it seems like Jeremiah is angry about how the wicked are enjoying wealth and prosperity. If you look at the next section of scripture I think you’ll see that he is truly angry at their lack of love for God and His will. They are giving their love and worship to idols and Jeremiah is upset by this because he himself truly worships God. That is why in verse 3 his prayer becomes imprecatory.

“But You know me, O Lord;
You see me;
And You examine my heart’s attitude toward You.
Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter
And set them apart for a day of carnage!” (NASB Strong’s) Jeremiah 12:3


This is not the only place in the Bible where someone who loves God prays for the destruction of the wicked. David did as well for example. It is not uncommon for someone who loves God to feel this way. Today as Christians we can feel like this when we see evil being celebrated in the world. I pray for God to save them, but if it is not His will to save them, I pray for God to remove them from influence, or take them out of this world. We have learned that God is just and good. He is longsuffering and will give nations/peoples time and opportunity to repent and worship Him. He is just and will punish the wicked in His time. Prophets of God spoke difficult things to the wicked people that got them in hot water with them. If they love God, they will preach His word regardless of the personal consequences, and when they are concerned about them, they come to Him in prayer.

The Much Anticipated Schuyler Personal Size Quentel NASB Bible!

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I know you’ve heard me extol the virtues of a few different Bibles in the past.  I know there are a lot of truly great editions out there.  I’m not trying to take anything away from them when I say this.  This is the perfect Bible. (for me.)  Keep in mind that the features/attributes of any edition are appreciated subjectively by the individual.  We all like different things.

I have been looking for a Bible like this for a very long time.  Like you, I’ve purchased several Bibles looking for the one that satisfy most of my desired features.  It never fails, I use them for a while and get irritated with one of the design, “flaws.”  They aren’t really flaws folks, just features I didn’t like, or missing ones I do like.  Bible design is difficult.  You have to work with different finite attributes.  I think it is impossible to make one edition that everyone will think is perfect for them.

This of course, is a modern problem.  In the past you didn’t have much choice.  You were blessed to have one.  Go back far enough and it was illegal for you to own one.  Thanks to God and the men of the Protestant Reformation we have God’s word available for almost anyone who wants a copy.  Count your blessings folks if you have one Bible and appreciate the providence of God that you were born in a time and place such as things are where you can get picky about what features you would prefer.  I know I do.

The Personal Size Quentel is just the right size to hold for long reading sessions.  The font is 8.5 pt.  It is a bit small for people with eye problems who don’t want to wear reading glasses or their prescription lenses, but for people like me, or folks who do wear corrective lenses, the font is clear, sharp, uniform, and overall well done.  It is very legible without being too small.  If they had made the font any larger they would have had to increase either the page size or number of pages.  If they wanted to keep the Bible the same thickness they would have had to decrease the paper thickness.  This would have made the paper less opaque.  Everything is tied together.

If you are like me, the full size Quentel is just too large to drag around everywhere.  Compact Bibles are too small, and their font is too small.  Usually 6 pt for them.  The Ultrathins and Thinlines are nice, but their length and widths are too much for holding in one hand unless you fold the cover completely over.  When I saw the dimensions for this edition listed on evangelicalBible.com I was excited and hopeful.  I had been waiting for a Bible with all the stats that they were posting, and it was coming out in NASB to boot!  I was like, “Take my money!” All that was left now was for them to get them and ship them out.

Here are the vital stats from evangelicalBible.com the ones responsible for Schuyler. Natural Grain Firebrick Red Goatskin with Dark Red Calfskin Liner
Same Pagination as the Quentel Series – (all page numbers and format will be identical)
Approximate font size: 8.5
4.7″ x 7.1″ x 1″ (120 mm x 180 mm x 25 mm)
Line Matching
28 GSM Indopaque paper
2 Ribbon Markers (Dark Red)
Art-Gilt edging (red under gold)
9mm yapp
Smyth Sewn
Black letter text (chapter numbers, headers and page number in red)
More than 95,000 entry cross references
Presentation page
Lined note paper
Extensive Schuyler Bible Maps

The Personal Size NASB Quentel arrived undamaged from evangelicalbible.com  There was a small dent in the cardboard box, but the Bible inside was packaged in a bubble wrap.  The retail two piece presentation box was not dented.

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The Bible was wrapped in two pieces of paper to help the Bible keep its shape, and protect it during shipping.  There was a business card from evangelicalbible.com in the box as well as a warranty card.  I’ve never had any problems with a Bible from evangelicalbible.com, but I know people who have had some experience with them.  I’ve heard they are always kind, and ready to replace a Bible you are not happy with.

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As you can see, I ordered the firebrick red.  I like it a lot.  It is a bit darker than my R. L. Allan NASB Reader’s edition, but I think they make a lovely couple.  I find the crosses stamped into the front cover to be a pleasing feature.  I don’t know how well gold stamped lettering would hold up in a cover so flexible, so the stamped crosses make sense.  The perimeter stitching is executed flawlessly.  There are no missed stitches, or mistakes.

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Wow, look at the size of that Bible!  My hand almost covers it.  Just the right size for me.  You might also think that, if you are like me in your tastes.

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Here is an NASB Cambridge Clarion in black edge lined goatskin next to the Personal Size Quentel.  The Clarion is a bit wider across.  This makes it a little harder for me to hold onto with one hand, while reading.

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The Clarion is also quite a bit more thick when compared to the Quentel.

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The head and tail bands are white.  They are understated and clean.

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The spine has five raised spine hubs.  They are all straight and parallel to each other.  The gold stamping on the spine is not too busy.  It gives you the information without putting too many decorations on it.  As usual, Jongbloed has done a great job with this edition.

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The grain of the goatskin along with the red cover is visually striking and attractive.  I think it is something special.

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Here is another picture of the inside cover and corner.  You can see up close the stitching, gilt line, and even pores of the cowhide liner.  The darker maroon color of the inner liner accentuates the firebrick red of the outside.

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Where the text block is attached to the cover the hearty card page stock in the front and back of the Bible are glued up further than needed to strengthen the connection.  This will help your Bible last a long time.  It is not a defect. 🙂

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The stamp on the front cover is barely visible through the inner liner.  This picture gives you a better look at it.

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I think Schuyler did the right thing by keeping the presentation page clean and simple.  I would leave the family record pages to Bibles with more room.

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The copyright information page shows that this bible was made in the Netherlands by Jongbloed.

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Here is a shot of one page singled out with direct light from behind it.  If they had gone thicker it would have ruined the hand feel if you ask me.  I am glad they didn’t.  If they had gone thinner it would have been to transparent and the ghosting would have been a problem.  As it is, I have not had a problem 🙂

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I mean, come on!  Look at that page.  For a Bible this small and paper this thin, for the font to be so good is a rare thing.

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Looks like line matching to me folks.  Gorgeous pages and setting.  I love the use of the page by this layout.  It is the same as the full size Quentel.  The pagination is the same as well.  It would make a terrific companion to a full size Quentel in the same color.

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Just like its big brother, it has some red highlights on the page numbers, book and chapter information, chapter numbers, and cross references at the bottom.

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Brand new right out of the box it stays open.  Not perfectly, but it does.  I’m sure once it is broken in it will be better to.

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The two red ribbons are wider than what you might be accustomed to.  They are also higher quality.  The ends are cut and seared so as to not fray.  I like them much better than the ribbons on the Clarion.

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I love the way the red ribbon looks across the white page.  It looks the way it should.

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There are some pages of ruled paper in the back for limited note taking.  You don’t see this that often in Bibles.  It is a great feature for people who are concerned that there isn’t enough room in the margins.

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Schuyler has a set of high quality maps as well.  They are printed on paper that feels to be about double the thickness of the bible paper without being card paper.  The maps use multiple colors and are printed nicely.

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There are some card papers in the back as well.  You could take some notes on it if you wanted to.

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Mysterious floating Bible, oooh ahh…

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As you can see the Clarion is a bit shorter than the PSQ.  That necessitates it being thicker.  The Clarion is a bit too thick to fold one side over and hold in one hand.  The PSQ does it easily.

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I spilled water on my Clarion shortly after I got it a few years ago.  So the page edges are not a flaw from the publisher it was my fault.

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Prerequisite Bible bending…

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Here it is in its natural environment.

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I would highly recommend purchasing this edition if you are looking for an New American Standard Bible in a size that is between compact and full size.  There aren’t very many out there in that niche.  Bottom line, get one. (If you can responsibly afford it.)

As usual make sure to check out my Flickr.com page for all the pictures!

The Crossway ESV Omega Thinline Reference Bible in Black Edge Lined Goatskin Leather. A Premium Bible at a Bargain Price.

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I know that not too many people are aware of the premium Bible market. For those that are, they appreciate the natural hide, edge lined covers, sewn bindings, premium papers, and aesthetics. The price can be the main prohibitive factor for someone seeking to buy their first premium Bible. The Bibles in the premium category usually start out at $150 to $250 price range. The suggested retail price of this Bible is $250. This Bible can be purchased from Christianbook.com for the dramatically discounted price of $169.99 and from evangelicalbible.com for even less at $149.99 Just let that sink in. You can get one of the best quality, best translations, from Crossway printed and bound by Jongbloed, the premiere Bible bindery for the price of a concert ticket.

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In the world of premium Bibles there isn’t much room for error or variance. If you want to publish a premium Bible, you go to Jongbloed of the Netherlands. When Crossway wanted to publish the Omega, they didn’t skimp. They also went to Jongbloed. There are numerous reasons why publishers utilize them for their premium editions. Paper choices, cover choices, binding methods, printing equipment and methods, overall professionalism and standards, you get the idea. Cambridge, Schuyler, Allan, all have made use of Jongbloed for their top notch Bibles.  The E.S.V. Omega Reference Bible in black, edge lined goatskin leather, is one of the best Bibles available today. It belongs in the premium Bible category.

I could go on and on about the great qualities of this edition, but instead I think it would be better if I just show you.  Without further delay, some high resolution pictures with comments.

The Omega was shipped from Crossway in a white box. It arrived undamaged.
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Inside the shipping package, was the Bible in it’s black, two piece, presentation box. Retain it for storage. The Omega is too flexible as an edge lined Bible for you to stand it on a bookshelf without a box.

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Inside the presentation box, the Omega is wrapped in two bands of paper to protect the page edges and keep it from shifting around during shipping.

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The black goatskin cover is perimeter stitched to the inner liner. It has a pleasing natural grain, and is very supple.  
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The inner cover/liner is also leather.  It has a gold perimeter line and the corners are finished well.  The hinge will take a bit to break in, but once you do it will last a long time.

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The spine is smyth sewn and very flexible.  You can see the signatures bend around it rather than the pages bending around a glued spine.  This is a, “must have” feature for a Bible.  They should all have sewn spines.  I wouldn’t even purchase a value line Bible without a sewn spine unless I had to.  The sewn spine is a major factor in how long the Bible will last and how well it will open and lay flat.

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As you can see from the pictures, the cover is supple and has a lovely textured grain to it.  It is a pleasure to hold.  The light weight and dimensions of the Omega equate to hours of easy reading, as well as long evenings of deep study.

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You can see the lovely grain of the leather in this close up picture.

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The corners of the cover are very well executed as are the corners of the text block. They have been rounded, as well as the spine. The page edges are beautifully art gilt. Also, take note of the use of four ribbon markers. That is almost unheard of. I know it is the first time I have heard of it, and I like it. The color of the ribbons is complimentary to the cover, and each other. I am actually using all four of them. I use one for my Old Testament reading, one for the proverbs and devotional reading, one for my New Testament reading, and one to mark where I am at in my study with a couple of my brothers in Christ.

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The gold and brown head and tail bands match the ribbons and inner liner.

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The spine is decorated with four raised hubs. It has, “Holy Bible” at the head, the ESV logo, “English Standard Version” above the foot, where the Crossway logo sits, all hot stamped into the goatskin leather.
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The text block is joined to the cover like all edge lined Bibles, by gluing the leather tab from the inner liner to the block and then covering it with a vinyl coated card paper.  This one is glued further up the paper to make it more durable.

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At the front you’ll find a presentation page and some family records pages.

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The Omega Heirloom Bible employs a 28gsm PDL paper that has a opacity rating of 79. The Omega uses a 10-pt. Lexicon font for the main text.

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With one page singled out and help up with light showing through from behind you can see how well the line matching was used.  It is exceedingly effective in reducing eye strain, and making this Bible a pleasure to read.  This coupled with the high quality print job that Jongbloed did makes this a most legible Bible.

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It is a double column, paragraph format layout with drop cap style numbers for the chapters.  The book titles appear at the top of the first page of each book.  Page numbers are placed at the top and justified to the center of the head.  The text is some of the boldest I’ve seen and is very sharp.  It contrasts well against the paper and also is a tremendous feature making the Omega a great Bible.

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To make space for the text, the cross references and notes are printed at the bottom of the page.  This layout is becoming more and more popular because of its effect on text real estate on the page.

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For you note takers who dare to write in such a lovely Bible 🙂 there is about a half inch margin available.  I don’t see much note taking going on here, but if you must…

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As you’ve come to expect on premium Bibles, the page edges are art gilt with red under gold.

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There is a useful 41 page, 3 column concordance in the back of the Omega.  Make sure to take advantage of it.  It can be a helpful tool.

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You’ll find the obligatory maps from Crossway in the back.  Their’s are some of the best.

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With the sewn spine, and edge lined binding this Bible is nice and flexible.  Notice how well it drapes over my hand.

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Here it is compared to my R. L. Allan NASB Reader’s Edition.  The Omega is a bit shorter, thinner, and more narrow.  It is much easier for me to handle than the Allan.

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Below you’ll see on the left a page from the Omega, and on the right the Allan.  The Allan doesn’t use line matching.  Even though it is a great paper, there still is a bit of ghosting.  This makes the Omega the winner.

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Here we have the Thinline Heirloom, Omega, and Study Bible from Crossway.

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I think you’ll be very happy should you decide to purchase an Omega Reference Bible from Crossway.  I don’t think there are very many Bibles out there that are any better.  It is one of the best.  This Bible would make an excellent gift to a person graduating from seminary, a Preacher in your Church, or anyone who enjoys well built Bibles.  Make sure to check out the rest of the pictures on my flickr page.