Patriotism is not the same as Christianity.

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Let’s be careful not to conflate patriotism with our faith.  While we understand the political ideals behind sayings like, “America first!” We must understand and realize that we are not primarily Americans.  We are Christians first.  We are citizens of God’s kingdom first.  It is a fine thing to want to strengthen our country’s moral fabric, economy, defenses, industry, agriculture, and infrastructure, but Let’s not lose sight of whose kingdom we truly should be serving.  God’s word says, “…“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.…”  Matthew 6:33 NASB  Don’t be worried or anxious about America’s position in the world, or its greatness.  Our needs are not provided for by being American.  They are provided by God.  Worrying about our status as Americans, at the expense of the truths of the Christian faith, is a serious detriment to both.  So go ahead and be patriotic, and remember to preach the gospel to everyone you can.  Live to seek God.  Seek what He has said is good, righteous, and just.

After all, A Christian America, is a great America!

25“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace,will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:25-34 NASB provided for context.

In context this is about worry and anxiety over the necessary things of life.  The verse cited above, is also about that.  We shouldn’t be so worried about America as to conflate patriotism with our faith.  Seek God’s kingdom first and He will provide for you.

Let’s take a closer look at the tradition of using icons, especially by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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I attended my Son-in-law’s baptism in to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was aware that they utilized icons, and relied heavily on extra-biblical traditions in the practice of their faith. If we are honest, very many Churches practice traditions that are not in the Bible. They aren’t necessarily wrong, but they are also not necessarily right. I am not a member of the E.O.C. I had some questions about some of the traditions I witnessed. I asked around, and everyone was quite eager to answer my questions. They were pleasant, and friendly. I had a nice time talking with several of the folks after the baptism and first communion. I also took some free booklets home with me for further reading.

One of the booklets I took was titled, “No Graven Image” by Jack Sparks, Ph.D. I figured that this would be geared towards a person who was not familiar with their traditions and should give at least a rudimentary explanation of their tradition of using icons. I was correct. Although I didn’t find any of the explanations very compelling.

A painted picture, of a Biblical scene, for people to appreciate, is different than bowing to, kneeling in front of, praying to/through, or kissing a picture, as if you are doing it to the person depicted. Christian themed art is not the same as venerated icons. I am not willing to say that every person in the E.O.C. views and understands icons the same. I am also not willing to say that all of them are idolaters. I am willing to say that I don’t agree with the blurring of lines that comes along with calling it, honoring, or veneration.

I want to make it simple. If you believe that you can pray to a dead person to have them pray for you, you are wrong. Christ is our intercessor. We pray to Him. We don’t need a Priest. The office of Priest is also fulfilled by Christ. Of course, that is a topic for another discussion. If you kiss the picture of Jesus, while thinking and feeling like you are kissing the real Jesus, you are wrong. I also don’t agree with their use of Mary icons. I didn’t get a booklet for that. I did ask about it though. They esteem Mary in excess. Not like the Roman Catholic’s do, but still more than I believe they should. If you think that looking at an artistic rendering of Jesus, is going to help you have a deeper experience of faith, I would posit that perhaps you don’t have a high enough view of scripture.

Jack Sparks argues that as Christians attempt to emulate Jesus, or Paul that they should also use icons to help them. I disagree. Sparks says, “When Orthodox Christians honor an icon of one of the saints by bowing before it, they are intent upon the godly example of that saint and upon following that example.” I don’t see any value in what he asserts. I think we should derive our knowledge of their character and behavior from scripture. We know of them from scripture. It is their character and behavior we emulate. We don’t use icons for that. We use the word of God.

There was no direct Biblical support provided to justify the tradition of icons. The scriptural support cited as evidence in the booklet had little to nothing to do with the topic of idolatry or in justifying the Eastern Orthodox position. Sparks also cited works of some early Christians as historical support for their traditions. I can always do the, “My church father can beat up your church father thing” but that would be counterproductive. Just because they did it in the past doesn’t mean we should still be doing it. I can understand how in a time before mass circulation of printed books, how they would rely more on pictures to tell a story. I get it, but it is not the same. It has taken on a ritual of its own. It has become idolatry, even if it didn’t start out that way. There are some within the E.O.C. who don’t use the icons in an idolatrous manner, but I think that it is a detriment to the faith. I think it is a tradition that needs to go away. We have the fullness of God’s word, given by progressive revelation over the years. It is the most printed book in the world. It is widely available in many languages, even for free from different ministries. We should be reading it, and regarding the content therein, as much higher and better than pictures.

The booklet compares people’s misplaced respect of Pastors, or the Bible, to the Eastern Orthodox treatment of icons. Just because people do something doesn’t make it Biblical. I don’t think people should venerate the Bible, but rather the contents of it. It contains the word of God. I don’t agree with respecting Pastors over any other brother. We don’t even have the title in the Church I attend. We have Elders. They are not held in any higher regard than anyone else. They are servants.

I realize many of the folks in the E.O.C. are probably very Bible literate and do in fact esteem the word of God highly. When I say that they don’t have a high enough view of scripture it is in comparison to their desire to experience their faith in some other manner. It is as if there is something they feel is missing from the practice of their faith. They find something about the traditions of the E.O.C. fulfilling. I think if God’s word were more to them, they wouldn’t have the desire to feel their faith. I could be completely wrong here. This is just my opinion.

Jesus, Prophet, Priest, and King!

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 Prophet, Priest, and King.
 
Jesus is the fulfillment of the office of Prophet. We need no more revelation other than the word of God made flesh. He has revealed God the Father to us. We have the mind of God in His word for us. The progressive revelation of scripture is Theopneustos θεόπνευστος or God breathed. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (NASB Strong’s) 2 Timothy 3:16-17 He is our Priest, making useless all human men who would claim to be Priests. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (NASB Strong’s) 1 Timothy 2:5 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was  raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (NASB Strong’s) Romans 8:34 He is our sovereign King who reigns over all for eternity from eternity past. which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (NASB Strong’s) Ephesians 1:20-23 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (NASB Strong’s) Revelation 19:16
 
1 Prophet
For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’  The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.  It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’  You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’  When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (NASB Strong’s) Deuteronomy 18:14-22
 
2. Priest
 The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn,
Your youth are to You as the dew.
 The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.” (NASB Strong’s) Psalms 110:1-4
 
3. King
Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His  Anointed, saying,
“Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”
He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
“But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
‘You shall  break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
 Worship the Lord with  reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (NASB Strong’s) Psalms 2

Some people wonder if Judas was really that bad, wonder no more.

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Judas was like a modern day prosperity preacher or a talent agent for a new star. He was along for the fame, fortune, and predominance. He knew Jesus was important, but he thought too horizontally. He was man centered. He liked the money and wanted everything that he thought would come along with following someone like Jesus, until he realized it wasn’t going where he wanted it to. Once he saw it was leading to the crucifixion of Jesus and the arrest of His followers, he was looking for a way to profit from even this situation.

But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. (NASB) John 12:4-6

The Greek word for, “thief” is “κλέπτης (kleptes) it looks familiar to you because it is where we get our word, “kleptomaniac” kleptes has no other meaning other than thief, and that’s is what he was. He was also the only man personally possessed by satan.

And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. They were glad and agreed to give him money. So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd. (NASB) Luke 22:3-6

Total Depravity, Sin, and You.

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Sin, harmartia (ἁμαρτία), missing the mark of God’s perfect holiness, this is why we suffer. We are born spiritually stillborn, under the curse of the fall. We are the descendants of Adam, and in Adam have inherited a sin nature. Due to the curse, we are under the noetic effect of sin. Sin has effected every aspect of our being. We don’t perceive rightly with our senses. We don’t reason rightly with our faculties, and we don’t communicate rightly with our expressions. We are not true. God is perfect in all of His ways. When a person says that they believe in the doctrine of Total Depravity, they aren’t saying, “I can do nothing good.” They are saying, “Everything about me, has been affected by sin. Through and through, my every attribute is perverted from what was communicated during the creation.” When God created us in His image, He communicated many of His attributes in a lesser way, consistent with our nature as creatures. Original sin broke that image. So God can use us to do good things, but we are not good. We can be altruistic, but even that is tainted, or colored by our pervasive sinfulness. So the next time you want to attack the doctrine of Total Depravity as Calvinist heresy, perhaps you should do a study in hamartiology. Maybe you’ll learn just how depraved you are, and hopefully, it will magnify how much you need the Savior. When the breech is impassable, you have no hope except that which the Savior Christ Jesus has wrought in His atoning sufferings on the cross. Soli Deo Gloria!

How the C.S.B. Renders the Names of God.

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I recently had someone ask, “Did they censored out the tetragrammaton?” on one youtube.  Sometimes folks get hung up on using Hebrew wherever it can be used.  Sometimes folks would just like the Hebrew names of God used so they can tell better what is being said.  For some it is a matter of heresy.  For others it is more scholastic.  I honestly don’t know anything about the person who asked the question.  I have no idea where they stand on translation philosophy, but they did ask a common question.  Here is the answer I gave him;

“They didn’t, “censor” it out. They used a standard translation convention of, “LORD.” I am in favor of them translating it into English. They could render it, “Self existent one.” Here is how they chose to translate the following words; Elohim=God, YHWH=LORD, Adonai=Lord, Adonai YHWH=Lord GOD, YHWH Sabaoth=LORD of Armies, El Shaddai=God Almighty. It is interesting to understand that in the New Testament the Greek words used for God are kurios=Lord, or Theos=God. When Jesus makes some statements identifying Himself as the, “self existent one” He says, “ego eimi”, or “I am” in English. He is also called, “Xpistos” which means anointed. Christos would have been the same as Messiah in Hebrew. So in the Greek if God, inspiring men to write His word was using generic names for Himself, I don’t think we have to get to overly critical of the translators doing the same thing.”

We might want them to just render the Hebrew words into English if they have a direct translation, but if they do not perhaps the conventions they employ are sufficient.  I’m going to give you an example of the difficulties in trying to find direct correlations from ancient Hebrew into modern English.  Here is what the word, “Elohim” means;

[466] אֱלֹהִים ʼelōhîm 2,602x God (plural of majesty: plural in form but singular in meaning, with a focus on great power); gods (true grammatical plural); any person characterized by greatness or power: mighty one, great one, judge [430] See angel; God; judge. (MED)

The first part of elohim is a prefix, “el” which means power.  It is often used for, “god” in Hebrew.

How would you render that in English?  Is there one English word that means all of that?  Would you just leave the Hebrew word, and expect people to know what it means, or would you make some sort of translation convention?

Here is another example,

h7706. שַׁדַּי šaḏay; from 7703; the Almighty: — Almighty.
AV (48) – Almighty 48;
almighty, most powerfulShaddai, the Almighty (of God) (Olive Tree Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary)

It is often prefixed with,

h0410. אֵל ’êl; shortened from 352; strength; as adjective, mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity): — God (god), x goodly, x great, idol, might(-y one), power, strong. Compare names in “-el.”
AV (245) – God 213, god 16, power 4, mighty 5, goodly 1, great 1, idols 1, Immanuel + h6005 2, might 1, strong 1;
god, god-like one, mighty onemighty men, men of rank, mighty heroesangelsgod, false god, (demons, imaginations)God, the one true God, Jehovah
mighty things in naturestrength, power

When you add the two together for El Shaddai, we render it, “all sufficient one.”  Translation isn’t a neat, tidy, word for word affair all of the time.  There are concepts that don’ t have direct translations into English.  We have to do some studying on our parts to make sure we aren’t too quick to judge.

Addiction, Compulsion, and Sin.

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We, knowing our own sin, and the power of temptation to keep drawing us in. We should be the first to have mercy, and demonstrate grace to others who don’t even know the Savior. Just like us, they know in their hearts, they don’t deserve mercy or grace from us or God.

The Word of God says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB) Romans 5:8”

Some of us know addiction. There is a compulsion to do something that goes against every intent of our minds, but is so overwhelming. With obese people it is the compulsion to overeat. With drug/alcohol addicts, they need the high/drunk. With adulterers they crave what they shouldn’t have. With the homosexual/porn addict/pervert, they want what is wrong. How can they know freedom from their sin, and the punishment of it? How can they fight against it? How can we preach the gospel if we are only condemning them?  How can they ever know forgiveness if we only act in as self-righteous hypocrites?  

” Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any  affection and compassion,  make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from  selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but  emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NASB) Philippians 2:1-11

So be like Christ to the world.  People are suffering in hopelessness, resigned to the notion that they will forever be a slave to their addictions, compulsions, and sins.  Do the most loving thing, and preach the gospel of Jesus to them.  

If they hear the gospel and get saved, what do they do if the temptations are still there? What does it mean if they sin again, and their hearts are being broken each time they give in to what the compulsion to sin is driving them to?

The gospel can set them free from their sinful compulsions. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but through repentance and faith, God will sanctify them, and give them victory over their sinful compulsions. His grace is sufficient. How long are you willing to stay in the fight against your sin? How many times are you willing to allow the shame and guilt to drive you to the feet of Christ to ask Him to forgive you?  Don’t give up on coming to Him.  Don’t let your loss of a battle, or many battles shake your faith in Jesus.  He has won the victory for us.  Trust in His victory.  

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. “(NASB) Philippians 1:6

God will forgive everyone who repents of their sin, and believes in the work of Jesus Christ alone. Don’t trust in your own righteousness, because it is filthy to God. Don’t trust in your good deeds, because they are tainted by your sin. Don’t trust in ceremony or rituals, they just tire you out. Trust in the God/Man Jesus Christ. He will demonstrate grace to you based on His love and goodness, not on any thing you might think deserves favor from Him.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (NASB) 1 John 1:9-10

May God grant you faith to believe in the work of the Savior, and repentance from sin. Put your faith in His finished work, and trust only in Jesus for your salvation. God will deal with you sins and justify you. He will keep dealing with your sins, and sanctify you. He will finally deal with your sins, and give you a glorified body to live with Him forever. In that eternal life you will never desire sin again. You will finally be free to only the will of God without temptation.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified  by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved  by His life.  And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (NASB) Romans 5:8-11

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (NASB) 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “ But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (NASB) Romans 1:16-17

So live by faith!  Believe that Jesus will do what He says.  Believe He is who the Bible says He is.  Believe the gospel, the good news preached in his name.  He will demonstrate His grace to you if you repent and put your faith in Him.

A Thinline Bible that Will Outlast You, the Crossway E.S.V. Thinline Bible , Heirloom Edition in Brown Cowhide Edge Lined Leather.

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I’ve handled quite a few different edge lined Bibles over the years.  Most of them have used something other than the same leather that was on the outside of the the Bible.  They use bonded leather, or some kind of synthetic polyurethane material.  The bonded leather concerns me because it is basically made from leather sawdust and glue.  The inner liner is also what makes the hinge on an edge lined Bible.  The repetitive opening and closing, over a long period of time, might cause the bonded leather to come apart.  The synthetics could stretch out of shape, or deteriorate at a different rate than the natural materials.

This Bible uses top grain cowhide leather for both the inner and outer cover.  Using the same materials ensures a uniform wear throughout.  The leather that Crossway chose for this Bible is not soft.  It doesn’t feel like it will snag and scratch easily like some of the goatskin leather covers.  What is the purpose of the cover after all?  It is to protect the text block and provide structure.  The cover on this Bible is very flexible, don’t get me wrong, but if you are looking for something soft like garment leather, you are looking in the wrong place.

The size of this Bible is another subjective quality.  Everyone has their own favorite size of Bible to read from.  I personally like smaller, personal sized Bibles, but I loathe the small font in most of them.  This Thinline is truly a Thinline Bible.  It measures in at approximately 3/4″ thick.
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This fact necessitates thinner paper and smaller font.  In most Bibles that translates to readability issues.  Not so much in this one.  Since Crossway always uses impeccable paper, and they employed an 8 pt. font, this Bible is very legible.

The size of this Heirloom Thinline lends itself to being held in several different ways to suite your comfort.  I prefer to fold one side over and hold it in one hand.  Other people might hold it at the bottom center.  While others might prefer to hold it in both hands, or rest it on the table.  Since the binding is sewn it will lay flat.

The hinge plays a big part in how the Bible opens and lays when being read.  On top of having a sewn spine, Crossway didn’t go hog wild with the binding tape.  Many of your lower priced premium Bibles that are edge lined, employ a lot of binding tape, that is thick and covered in adhesive.  They use it along the hinge of the Bible to join the cover and text block.  Sometimes they use way too much, or too thick of a binding tape that actually makes what should be a very flexible Bible into a very awkward one.  The rest of the cover and text block could be nice and flexible, but the inch or inch and a half or so, right at the hinge is all rigid and thick.  It pretty much negates the purpose of doing an edge lined binding.  They might as well simply just have done a case bound Bible instead.

Since Crossway did the right thing here by not using too thick a gooey binding tape in the hinge, and instead used the real leather liner, they avoid problems with adhesion and can make a nice durable and flexible hinge.(albeit not so flexible right out of the box)  The hinge will take a bit of breaking in, because it is made of leather, but it should last much longer.
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The leather hinge might take a bit more work, but that is why you pay a premium price.  This Bible is made to outlast you.  Many Bibles come with a lifetime warranty, and the publishers never expect you to use them, while fully expecting the Bible to fall apart in a few years.  The Heirloom Thinline ESV from Crossway will not.  It is called, “Heirloom” for a reason.  It will hold up and become a family heirloom.  I love the idea of having a Bible passed down to me or one that I can pass down to my children.  There is a tremendous sense of a family Christian heritage that can be gifted to the next generations.  All it takes on our part is an effort to do better, to make better Bibles, and to show our kids how much God’s word really means to us.(You don’t have to have a premium Bible to do that so don’t feel bad if you can’t justify the expenditure.  Crossway makes durable Bibles in all price ranges.)

The ESV Heirloom Thinline Bible in brown calfskin leather arrived at my home in perfect condition.  It was packaged in a white cardboard box for shipping.

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Inside the shipping box, the Bible was inside a black, two piece, presentation box, that should be retained for storage, should you ever put this Bible away for a while.
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The Heirloom is also wrapped in paper. I believe that was done to protect it, as the hide cover is more flexible and has a larger yap than other Bibles.
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Another nice feature is the perimeter stitching of the cover. Some people don’t like this, but I do. I like to know there is more than just glue holding the cover together.
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It is evident when you examine the inside cover at the corners that Crossway did an excellent job paring the leather down thin enough to make a nice corner. The perimeter stitching can also be seen well from the inside.
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There is also an attractive looking gold gilt line around the perimeter of the inner cover.
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Usually on thin Bibles they don’t bother rounding the spine. On the Heirloom it appears they rounded the spine and the page corners. I think that shows a bit more attention to quality. So does the art gilt page edges. Extra attention to details and added features are what we’ve come to expect from Crossway’s premium models.
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The front and back, outside covers are blank. The inside back cover has, “calfskin leather” printed on it at the bottom.
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The spine is decorated with 6 spine hub lines, and the words, “Holy Bible” at the head, “ESV” under that, the ESV logo towards the middle, “English Standard Version” and then the Crossway logo at the tail, in gold stamping.
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When you open the Bible up, you’ll notice there is a page that is glued part of the way up.  That is to keep the text block and cover from falling apart.

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In the front of this Bible is a Presentation page,

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Marriages, Births/Adoptions,

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and Deaths.

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On the copyright page you’ll notice that this Bible is not printed in China. It is printed in the Netherlands, by Jongbloed. (not indicated, but verified.)  Jongbloed is the premier Bible bindery and printer.  They are the the people you go to if you want to print a top notch premium Bible.  That is why Crossway used them to print their Heirloom Thinline.  This is the 2011 ESV. After that you’ll notice a Table of Contents, List of the books in alphabetical order, Preface, and Features section.

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The Books of the Bible begin with the name of the book in bold large print at the head of the page aligned to the center. The text is laid out in a double column, paragraph format, with foot notes. The section headings are also in bold. The chapter numbers are in drop cap to set them apart. Page numbers are found at the top, center part of the page.

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The Heirloom Thinline also comes with head and tail bands, and two ribbon markers that match the color of the cover.

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This Bible is a black letter edition with 8 pt. Lexicon font.  It is printed uniformly with sharp contrast against the 28 g.s.m. PDL Indopaque European Bible paper.  The paper has an opacity rating of 79 which is pretty good considering the weight of the paper.
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In the back you’ll find, Weights and Measures, Abbreviations, Concordance, and Maps. The concordance is a three column format and pretty decent for a thinline edition.

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In the back there are 8 color maps.

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Here are some pictures highlighting the flexibility of this Bible.

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There is no reason this Bible should wear out in your lifetime, but if it does fail due to materials or workmanship, it has a lifetime warranty from Crossway.  I doubt you’ll have to use it.  This is a high quality, premium Bible.  The cover is flexible and so is the text block, due to the sewn spine.  Whether you are holding it, or reading it while it lays on a desk or table you won’t have to fight against the cover. (after the hinge is broken in.)  It is comfortable to hold due to it’s size and weight.  The font is big enough to read without undue eyestrain.  The opacity of the paper aids in the legibility as well.  The bottom line, if you are looking for a high quality, edge lined, thinline Bible look no more.  You can pick up a copy direct from Crossway, or purchase one from any of these online retailers, Amazon, Christianbook, or Evangelicalbible.  Make sure to check out the rest of the pictures on my Flickr page.

ISBN-13: 9781433541602

 

 

Socialism/Communism are anti-Christ.

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Socialism/Communism are anti-Christ.  Wherever they have been, they have either completely criminalized faith in Christ, or have severely persecuted the Church to the point of forcing them to pervert their faiths, or hide them altogether.  There can be no free expression of faith in the one true God of the Bible under those man/satan-centered systems.  The State is the highest authority.  They can have no other gods besides the State.  Don’t they know that Christ must not be held under any authority except that of the Father.  No government should ever attempt to subjugate Him or His Church!

For all of you young secular millennials, remember, what you do to us one day, someone could do to you the next.  God is just, and you will pay for your sins in Hell, where He will pour out His wrath on you for all eternity, if you don’t repent and put your faith in Him.  No government is the answer, except the eternal King’s government!  Bow your knee to Him now and hail Him as King, Lord of all, Jesus the Christ, who was crucified and raised from the dead, who rules on high, and will judge the quick and the dead!

Communism destroys human life.  It kills image bearers of God.  It robs God and perverts what He has made.  It is satanic!  Here is an excerpt from an article on how many HUMAN BEINGS have been killed by communism.

“Communist regimes killed 60 million in the 20th century through genocide, according to Le Monde, more than 100 million people[2] according to The Black Book of Communism (Courtois, Stéphane, et al., 1997).[3] and according to Cleon Skousen[4] in his best-selling book The Naked Communist.[5]

It is estimated that in the past 100 years, governments under the banner of atheistic communism have caused the death of somewhere between 40,472,000 and 259,432,000 human lives.[6] Dr. R. J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii, is the scholar who first coined the term democide (death by government). Dr. R. J. Rummel’s mid estimate regarding the loss of life due to communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110,286,000 people between 1917 and 1987.[7]”  If you want to review the sources cited by the author the wiki link is here.  He listed his source material.  Here is another short little article on how great of a killer communism is.

Ask this question, “Where in the world does the most horrendous human rights violations happen?”  Answer, where there is rule by Communism/socialism, Islam, or atheism.  Human flourishing happens most and best under Christian rule.  Capitalism, when done by Christians is far better than any other method of running economies.

A Review of the TBS Compact Westminster Reference Bible, Reformation Commemorative Edition in Brown Meriva Calfskin.

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Trinitarian Bible Society really hit it out of the park on this one folks.  It is by far, one of my most favorite personal size reference Bibles, regardless of all the different translations out there.  This is a Reformation Commemorative edition.  It is in celebration of the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. (1517-2017) It utilizes a compact version of the Westminster Reference Bible typesetting, including notes, and layout.  I loved the full size Westminster Reference Bible from TBS.  You can read my review of that Bible here.

As usual, T.B.S. did a wonderful job of packaging the Bible for shipping.  It was well protected.  The retail/presentation box is a clamshell, one piece design.  It is decorated with a picture of Wittenberg Market Square, home to St. Mary’s, where Luther posted his 95 Thesis demarking the start of the Reformation.

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This wonderful little Bible is about the same size as a Clarion, but a bit more narrow.  It is 6.5″x4.5″ and the Clarion is 7″x5″.  The T.B.S. is about 1.2″ thick and the Clarion is 1.5″ thick.  So if you have handled a Clarion you can get an idea of the size of this Bible.  I find it to be a bit easier to hold as it is slightly more narrow.

The paper looks similar to the Clarion as well.  This is not a surprise as Jongbloed produces both of these Bibles.  There is some slight page curling.  To me that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It makes it easier to turn the pages.  Some people really hate page curling, not a big deal to me unless it is extreme.  According to T.B.S. the paper is 32 g.s.m.  That is pretty heavy and thick compared to many similarly sized Bibles.  The paper has a smooth texture to it.  The pages are combined into signatures and smyth-sewn into the spine.

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I am impressed with all of the aspects of this Bible.  The printing, binding, paper, cover, and references are all terrific!  The only drawback is the smallish 7.3 pt. font.  The references are 4.5 pt.  That being said, since Jongbloed did such an exemplary job with the printing, the text isn’t that hard to read.  The type is clear, sharp, and boldly printed on the off white paper.  This makes it easier for the old eyes to focus on.  If you have bad eyesight this is NOT the Bible for you.  Keep in mind that while it is of the highest quality, the font is still on the small side for many people.

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If you are not familiar with the Westminster Reference edition, it is a black letter, dual column, verse format Bible with the cross references in the gutter and margin of the page.  There is a vertical line bordering the dual column text from the references.  The Book and Chapter numbers are at the top outside corner of the pages, with the page numbers on the bottom outside corners.  New paragraphs are denoted with a pilcrow.  One of the most helpful features of the Westminster is that the archaic words are marked with an asterisk in the text.  If you look in the margin for the asterisk, you will find the word and a modern word or short definition that explains it.

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This edition is covered in a supple brown Meriva calfskin leather.  It has a slight natural grain, that is soft to the touch.  This Bible is case bound with standard vinyl covered paper that is brown, to match the leather cover.  The corners are well done, as you would expect from Jongbloed.  T.B.S. made the right decision having them do the job.  The spine of the Bible is ornamented with, “Holy Bible” at the head, “1517-2017 Reformation Commemorative Edition” in the middle, and the T.B.S. logo at the foot.  The front cover has, “HOLY BIBLE” at the top and, “The just shall live by faith” offset to the bottom right corner.  The page edges are gold gilt.  There are four ribbon markers.  Two are brown like the cover.  They are first.  The last two are gold colored.  The decorative head and tail bands match the ribbon colors of brown and gold.

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In the front of this Bible you’ll find a Gift presentation page and The Epistle Dedicatory.  After the presentation page is a short history of the Reformation, and Bible translations that came out of it.  There is also a section on how to utilize the features of this Bible.  In the back you won’t find a concordance, but there is a table of weights and measures, a word list, and two year daily reading plan.  After those features you’ll find some usefull colored maps as well as several pages of blank paper for notes.

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If you are a fan of the KJV, and are looking for a high quality, personal sized compact reference Bible look no further.  You can’t go wrong with this Bible for the price.  I’ve rarely seen this quality of work done for less than $100.00, but you can purchase this Bible from T.B.S. for $64.00  That is an amazing deal in this reviewer’s opinion.  If you’d like to have it for even less, you can order it from Reformation Heritage Books for $44.00, but remember that T.B.S. uses the money they make to provide Bibles to people all over the world who can’t otherwise get them.  Make sure to check out the pictures I took of this Bible on my Flickr page.

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Here is an excerpt from the product page on the T.B.S. site;

Reformation Compact Westminster Reference Bible Brown premium leather

Reformation Compact Westminster Reference Bible, premium brown leather. This Bible contains over two hundred thousand cross-references, information regarding the Reformation and also features 8 full-colour maps, with presentation box.

Features:
Genuine leather cover
Gift presentation box
Good clear print
Cross references
Black text throughout
Quality sewn binding
Four marker ribbons
Bible paper
Gilt page edges
Semi-yapp page protection
Decorative head & tail bands

Additional Contents:
Gift presentation page
The Epistle Dedicatory
List of pronunciation of words and proper names
References
Word list on page
Tables of weights and measures
Daily Bible reading plan
Colour maps

Page Size: 6.5″ x 4.6″
Thickness: 1.2″
Print Size: 7.3 point

Product Code: 60UCB/BR

ISBN 13: 9781862284470