IBTM Newsletter
10 May 2023

Good morning from sunny Scotland.

We have a king. Long live the king! I can say those words, because my wife is English. I’m a British resident, not a citizen, so technically speaking Charles III isn’t my sovereign. But Scotland is still part of the United Kingdom, despite continued rumors of secession.

This past weekend London was full of parades, festivities, and solemn rituals. Yet of course for Christ-followers, there can be but one King, the King of King and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16). We render earthly rulers their due (Rom 13:7), obeying them as long as they don’t require us to disobey our heavenly King.

Yesterday I was with friends in Edinburgh Castle and St Giles Cathedral, both dating back to the 1100s. Talk about tradition, royalty, and history! America’s (European) history is relatively short. In Scotland, history is all around us. None of it holds a candle, however, to the majesty and sovereignty of our God, and the amazing ways in which he has worked among his people (under both Old and New Covenants).

This week:

  • A paper on assisted suicide, written by a bioethicist
  • iFaith Sermon on the Mount (audio)—complete
  • A new Bible recommendation—the LSB

Assisted Suicide

In the previous two bulletins, we focused on two important bioethical issues: euthanasia and gender dysphoria. Today we turn our attention to a variation on the first issue, assisted suicide. The scientist who penned this article is Dr. Calum MacKellar (Edinburgh).

“We recognise that some persons may wish for assistance to end their lives which they find unbearable. We understand that these are very difficult situations where a lot of compassion and sympathy is required. However… ” CONTINUE READING

Next week: a thoughtful look at Abortion.

New iFaith series now available on audio

There are currently two iFaith series. The first comprises 120 messages from every book of the Bible. The second is a deep dive into the Sermon on the Mount, a total of 26 messages.

For the audio-only version of iFaith Sermon on the Mount, please click here. (For the video version of these 26 messages, visit the main iFaith page and scroll down.) Thanks to Cristian Paduraru (Romania) for his technical help with both these series.

Legacy Standard Bible

Changing versions of your Bible is a good practice. It’s helpful in stimulating new thoughts, getting out of a rut, and noticing aspects of the biblical text that we would otherwise likely have missed.

The English versions I have read the most in my life are the NASB, NIV, and ESV. A new version (2021) I stumbled across just a few weeks ago is the LSB—The Legacy Standard Bible. This translation is especially suitable for serious study. Whereas versions like the NIV and NLT contain a lot of paraphrasing, the NRSV, NASB, and others like them are stricter translations.

When I’m preaching, I usually use the ESV, CSB, or NIV. But for close study—when I’m concerned about the original text—Bibles like the LSB are ideal. Here are some pluses and minuses:

  • The LSB stands in the tradition of the NASB—very accurate.
  • It avoids the grammatical confusion engendered by gender-neutral pronouns.
  • It uses the original words for God in the Old Testament. For example, in most English versions, Yahweh is rendered LORD—yet Adonai is also Lord. Confusing!
  • It’s a single-column Bible, easy for taking notes in margins.
  • I find only two minuses. There are no paragraphs; each verse starts a new line. (Normally paragraphs are units of thought, so the reader has to work a bit harder.)
  • Also, the translation is somewhat wooden—yet that’s because it’s a highly accurate rendering of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. A general translation principle is that the stricter the translation, the stiffer the wording. The looser the translation, the easier to understand—often at the cost of accuracy. Yet the stiffness of LSB is in my opinion worth the gain in accuracy.

Until next week…

Vicki and I are glad to be able to offer solid biblical resources. Her podcast, Women of Worth, continues to flourish. Mine is now focused on Leadership, followed by Last Things (rapture, tribulation, etc).

Next week’s newsletter, besides the ongoing bioethics exploration, will highlight the work of David Bercot (author of Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up?—photo above). He and his wife Deborah are our house guests this week as they explore Scotland. We first connected in 1995, and have developed a friendship ever since. Few scholars have challenged my theology as much as David, who is an expert on the early church (esp. 33-325 AD).

Until next week,
Yours in Christ,