A List of Helpful Online Bible Study Tools

Many solid Christian works are old enough to be in the public domain, leaving us with many free biblical study resources online, commentaries and more. Below are a handful of recommendations. Also listed below are a number of blogs.

Free Online Bible Study Tools

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/ gives a list of links to numerous commentary sets. Follow the links, and specifically recommended are Keil and Delitsch Old Testament Commentary, Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, Matthew Henry’s Concise or Full Commentary on the Whole Bible, and Calvin’s Commentaries.

For the New Testament, while not technically commentaries, John MacArthur’s sermons are nonetheless thorough and address every passage in the NT. They are all transcribed by Grace to You at www.gty.org/library/resources/sermons-library/scripture.

For digging into a passage itself, helpful Bible study sites are Bible Arc (https://biblearc.com/) and the Bible Web App (http://biblewebapp.com/study/).

Free Bible Software

E-Sword is a program that is free for download at www.e-sword.net. This program allows you to download multiple public domain commentary sets, Bible translations, lexicons, atlases, and more. The website provides training on how to use the program as well. It has been downloaded over 35,000,000 times and is used in 235 countries.

Recommended Christian Blogs

While I obviously cannot endorse every single thing that anyone might say, for those who enjoy Christian blogs that give solid answers to current topics, here are a few worth recommending:

Tim Challies (https://www.challies.com/)

The Cripplegate (http://thecripplegate.com/)

Religions Affections (http://religiousaffections.org/)

Rooted Thinking (http://rootedthinking.com/)

Proclaim and Defend (http://www.proclaimanddefend.org/)

Reformation 21 (http://www.reformation21.org/blog/)

Theologically Driven (www.dbts.edu/blog/)

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 16:1–11)

Passage Summary

A loud voice from the temple commanded the seven angels to pour God’s wrath onto the earth (16:1). The first angel poured out his bowl, resulting in sores upon the followers of the Antichrist (16:2). The second angel poured out his bowl, and the seawaters turned into blood, killing all life therein (16:3). The third angel poured out his bowl, doing the same to rivers and springs (16:4). The angel over the waters (cf. 7:1; 14:18) proclaimed God’s justice for these last two plagues because He gave blood to drink to those who had shed the blood of the saints and prophets (16:5–6). The altar confirmed this declaration (16:7; cf. 6:9). The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, bringing about torment through scorching and heat (16:8–9a). Those punished cursed God and refused to repent (16:9b). The fifth angel poured out his bowl, dealing a blow to the Antichrist’s kingdom by covering the world with darkness, accompanied by the followers’ pain from the previous plagues (16:10). Still, they did not repent (16:11).

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
16:1 Ps 79:6; Jer 10:25 Wrath is commanded to be poured out upon the nations.
16:2 Exod 9:9–11; Deut 28:35 Sores are God’s punishment in unique situations against those who reject Him.
16:3–4 Exod 7:17–25; Ps 78:44 Waters are turned into blood.
16:5 Ps 145:17 God is righteous in all His ways.
16:6 Isa 49:26 To be forced to drink is an act of judgment.
16:7 Ps 19:9; 145:17 What God decrees is true.
16:10 Exod 10:21–23 Darkness is given as judgment.

 A Parting Thought

Despite suffering these miraculous judgments by God, unbelievers do not repent and even curse Him. What saving grace it is to us that we were not left in our sin, deserving this same wrath!

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Taking Some Tips from Tychicus

The name Tychicus comes to us five times in Scripture. An examination of each mention gives us a picture of Christian service in the early church, which functions as an example for us today.

The first mention is in Acts 20:4, a list of Paul’s companions on his third missionary journey (AD 52–57), including “the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.”

The second and third mentions were written during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment, perhaps AD 60 or 61. To the Colossians, Paul stated, “Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord” (Col 4:7), and to the Ephesians, “So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything” (Eph 6:21). Willing to travel hundreds of miles by boat and foot from Rome to these congregations, Tychicus was a messenger to the churches, a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant.

The fourth mention was to Titus in AD 64 or 65. Titus was told by Paul, “When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there” (Titus 3:12). Tychicus was one of the men that Paul, from wherever he wrote Titus, was possibly sending to Crete to free Titus to join Paul at Nicopolis, about 400 miles away from Rome, roughly halfway between Rome and Ephesus.

Written just a year or so after Titus (AD 66), the fifth and final mention of Tychicus comes in 2 Timothy in which, similar to Titus 3:12, Paul planned to replace one of his delegates (Timothy) with Tychicus: “Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus” (2 Tim 4:12). Paul was writing to Timothy in Ephesus and asking him to come to him during this second Roman imprisonment (2 Tim 4:9, 21; cf. 1:8, 16–17). Reading between the lines, Tychicus may have carried this letter or was coming later to replace Timothy for him to be able to join Paul. Either way, Tychicus, now ten years later from our first mention in Acts 20:4, is still traveling about for the sake of the churches and assisting Paul’s missionary endeavors.

Looking at the ministry of Tychicus, we can learn some lessons for ourselves today.

First, we should be enduringly faithful to the gospel. As best we know, from the dates given above, the ministry of Tychicus spanned at least the course of ten years.

Second, we should be willing to work hard for the sake of the gospel. In each reference above, Tychicus is actually or potentially traveling, going great distances for the sake of ministering to the churches by Paul’s orders. Given the frequency and length of these travels, it is not improbable that he shared in Paul’s travel sufferings to some degree, whether by shipwreck, robbers, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, etc. (cf. 2 Cor 11:23–28).

Third, we should expect God to give us tasks that are fitted to who we are. When sent to Asia Minor to minister to various congregations, Tychicus the Asian was native to this general region. He was a welcome servant to the Jewish missionary Paul. Ironically, the name Tychicus may mean “by chance,” stemming from the Greek verb tugchanō, meaning some like “to happen,” perhaps by chance. Whether his birth was expected by his earthly parents or not, God’s plan for the ministry of Tychicus was fitted to who he was and no random matter, making him all the more effective for it.

Fourth, we should be ready to go wherever the body of Christ most needs us. While not everyone has the set of gifts and resolve that Tychicus had in serving the early churches, sometimes God moves Christians from one congregation to another to use their unique gifts to meet unique needs. Discernment is key when it comes to making such moves. “In an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Prov 11:14), and committing these plans to the Lord generally brings clarity in time (cf. Prov 16:1, 3, 9, 33).

These are some tips that we can take from Tychicus in serving as Christians today. May God give us grace as we learn from this example and serve Him all the better.

The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 15:5–8)

Passage Summary 

John looked again and saw the scene continue as the sanctuary of the heavenly tabernacle was opened (15:5). Seven angels came out, clothed to symbolize their task―purifying and conquering the world through seven plagues for the Lamb to take His throne (15:6; cf. 1:13; 19:8). One of the four living creatures gave the angels the bowls, full of wrath, to complete the final acts of anger by God against unbelieving mankind (15:7). His burning indignation filled the sanctuary with smoke to anticipate and initiate this final, coming wrath and would not dissipate until it was finished (15:8).

 

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
15:5 Exod 38:21 The earthly tabernacle of testimony was patterned after the heavenly one (cf. Heb 8:5).
15:7 Isa 51:17, 22; Jer 25:15 Some kind of container holds the wrath of God to be drunk or poured out upon recipients.
15:8 Exod 40:34–35; 1 Kgs 8:10–11; 2 Chr 5:13–14; Isa 6:1–4 In both positive and negative contexts, God sometimes manifests His presence with smoke.

 A Parting Thought

God’s tabernacle cannot be entered until His wrath is over at this time. While upholding all things, His attention is primarily directed towards this judgment. The bowls are full and can be filled no more. What a frightening thing it will be for those who bear the final wrath of God at this time, and may we persevere to be assured that such wrath is not for us.

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 15:1–4)

Passage Summary

John saw another sign (cf. 12:1, 3), great and amazing, consisting of the last plagues that will finish the wrath of God (15:1). Martyrs who overcame the beast, its image, and its number stood with harps to worship beside or even on a sea of glass (15:2). Indicating God’s victory in advance, they sang the songs of Moses and the Lamb, recorded in one set of words that praised God for His deliverance, sovereignty, justice, and unique holiness, all of which will provoke the nations to come and worship Him (15:3–4).

 

 Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
15:1 Lev 26:21 Deliberate sin meets the sevenfold wrath of God.
15:2 Dan 7:10 A mass of watery-looking fire sits before the Father’s throne.
15:3 Exod 15:1 Both texts speak of the song of Moses.
15:3 Deut. 32:3–4; Ps 92:5; 111:2; 139:14 God is just, and His works are great.
15:4 Ps 86:9–10; Isa 66:23; Jer 10:7 The nations will fear and worship God and glorify His name.

 A Parting Thought

“Who will not” and “all nations”―these final acts of wrath are exhaustive among the earth’s inhabitants. Not one who remains and enters the kingdom will have opposed the Father or the Lamb. God’s mighty deeds, justice, and holiness in this judgment should provoke us to likewise fear and glorify Him.

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Lessons from the Life of Nathan the Prophet

There is great benefit in studying the lives of key figures in the Bible. While the greater lessons of the passages below involve the greater themes of promise of the Davidic covenant and continuing the Davidic line, and while Christ is our greatest example, we find many practical lessons from men of old as well (cf. Heb 11; 1 Cor 10:6, 11; Phil 3:17), including Nathan the prophet. There is certainly more to be learned from the life of Nathan than what is found below, but these practical lessons were beneficial to me and hopefully are to you as well.

If you have time, I would encourage you to read each passage along with the points that follow―2 Samuel 7:1–17, 2 Samuel 12:1–25, and 1 Kings 1:5–30.

Be ready to be confronted with God’s Word (2 Samuel 7:1–17; cf. 1 Chron 17:1–15). 

In 2 Sam 7:1–3, David consulted Nathan about with a grand plan—to replace the mobile tabernacle with a permanent temple. As was true (cf. 1 Sam 16:18; 18:12; 2 Sam 7:9), the Lord was with David, blessing him in his efforts as a king. So, on that basis, Nathan told David to “God, do all that is in your heart” (2 Sam 7:3). After all, David was a man after God’s own heart and would seem to carry out God’s desires (1 Sam 13:14; 16:7; Acts 13:22)

However, that very night God spoke to Nathan in a vision and commanded him to tell David of a greater house that God would build for him, an eternal dynasty (2 Sam 7:17).

We also find out later that the reason God did not let David build the temple is because he was a man of blood, war, and unrest (1 Chron 22:7–9; 28:3; 1 Kgs 5:3). Though God was with David to win these wars, God wanted a man of peace to build His house. Nathan either did not think through or was simply ignorant of God’s thinking on the matter. That “the word of the Lord came” (1 Chron 22:8) and “God said” (1 Chron 28:3) to David to not build the temple likely assumes Nathan as the means of bringing God’s Word to David.

Nobody wants to tell somebody not to carry out his dreams, especially when one has just done so. But, when God leads us to change our minds on significant matters, we must be willing to follow His leading and even lead others in doing the same.

Be ready to confront with God’s Word (2 Samuel 12:1–23).

In response to God’s bidding to confront David for his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and murdering her husband Uriah, Nathan artfully told the shepherd-king about a story involving family’s pet lamb, slain by a rich man who selfishly chose not to kill his own (2 Sam 12:1–4). Arousing David’s anger, Nathan showed how David had aroused God’s anger just the same and forcefully stated, “You are the man!” (2 Sam 12:5–7).

Nathan did not give a broad accusation. He specified the details of what David did and gave specific consequences by the Lord’s Word as to what would befall David, some of which took place right away (2 Sam 12:8–23).

Psalm 51, David’s psalm of repentance for his sins involving Bathsheba and Uriah shows how God can do a mighty work in one of His own that leads to repentance, in part through the confrontation by another one of His people.

Be ready to comfort with God’s Word (2 Sam 12:24–25).

After the first child of Bathsheba died, Solomon was born. By Nathan’s message, David gave him an additional name as the Lord commanded, Jedidiah, “beloved of the Lord” (2 Sam 12:24–25).

Sometimes faithfully confronting a another’s sin may allow you to be the one to minister to him later as he recovers and walks again with the Lord.

Be ready to ask others questions about God’s Word (1 Kings 1:5–30).

As commanded by God, Solomon was expected to be king (1 Chron 22:9). Adonijah, however, attempted to take advantage of his father David’s lack of declaration on the matter and exalted himself as king before the people (1 Kgs 1:5–10; cf. 1:17, 30). Nathan was assumed to be loyal to David and not even invited to be part of this process.

Nathan moved David to action by instructing Bathsheba to ask questions about the matter and followed her in doing the same (1 Kings 1:15–31). David had not sinned yet in this matter, and Nathan’s wisdom in asking questions allowed the Spirit to prompt David to actions that were based upon God’s earlier promises in the Davidic Covenant (cf. 2 Sam 7:12–13 with 1 Chron 22:8–9).

Sometimes all one needs to do is be quick to listen by asking some questions and be slow to speak before casting any accusations (cf. James 1:19). Sometimes all one needs is a question from a friend that the Spirit can use to prompt a person to action.

Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow

In his “last will and testament” in 2 Tim 4:6–8, Paul (1) sees his impending death, (2) looks back at his life, and (3) considers his future. In light of his words, we could ask ourselves the three questions that you find below.

What is your “today”?

While still alive, Paul realized his end was near: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come” (2 Tim 4:6). Paul was a prisoner and apparently about to die (cf. 2 Tim 1:8, 16–17). As drink offerings were things poured out (e.g., Num 15:5–10), so Paul’s blood was about to be poured out in martyrdom (cf. Phil 2:17). Paul was likely beheaded under Emperor Nero in AD 67 or 68.

We must remember that our lives are like soon-vanishing mist (James 4:14). We know not what a day will bring forth (Prov 27:1). Our soul may be required by God tonight (cf. Luke 12:20). Then comes the judgment (Heb 9:27). Whatever today for us may be, let us live so that, like Paul in 2 Tim 4:7–8, we might be assured by our past faithfulness that we will be in heaven.

What was your “yesterday”?

Paul soberly reflected, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7). The articles give a sense of finality―it is the fight, the race, the faith. The rhythm and variety of life descriptions adds to the sobriety. After his two metaphors (fight, race), Paul plainly says of his 35-year ministry, “I have kept the faith.” His belief, his exercise thereof, its content, its imperatives and implications―Paul kept it all.

May we live so that we can look back at our lives at any point and certainly at its end and be able to say that we have done the same.

What will be your “tomorrow”?

“Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim 4:8).

Looking to the future, Paul anticipates the full experience of righteousness (i.e., the crown is righteousness, being the thing it is “of”; cf. 1 Thess 2:19; James 1:12; 1 Pet 5:4; Rev 2:10). This is not righteousness earned but awarded by the Lord, his righteous Judge. It comes through faith and by God’s declaration through His Son (cf. 2 Cor 5:21). This award is given “on that day” when Christ appears. Christians love this appearing in that they hope for it and find their affections what will be through Christ and not in what is passing away.

Christians today are included in “all who have loved His appearing.” May we find hope both now and in life’s dying moments that the full experience of our righteousness will be granted to us by our Savior at His appearing.

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What Is an Evangelist?

Only three verses in the NT in use the title “evangelist”: “On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him” (Acts 21:8 ESV); “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers” (Eph 4:11 ESV); “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim 4:5 ESV).

From 2 Tim 4:5, in following Timothy’s example, we see that we are to do the work of an evangelist, though we might not be called as evangelists ourselves. From Eph 4:11, we see that Christ gave evangelists to the church. Were we to read on in Eph 4:12, we would see that the purpose for their giving was “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12). From Acts 21:8, we have an illustration of an evangelist in Philip. Looking back at his life, he was “one of the seven,” one who was “of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (Acts 6:3). As an evangelist, he proclaimed the gospel to crowds in Samaria (Acts 8:5–6), the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26–38), and to all the towns within his roughly 55-mile trek from Azotus to Caesarea (Acts 8:40).

Added to this, we could remind ourselves that the verb evangelizō is used over 50 times in the NT, meaning “to bring or announce good news.” For the Christian, it is to preach the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to unbelievers (e.g., Acts 8:40). Along this line of thought, other words are used for preaching, specifying the content to be the evangelion, that is, the gospel (e.g,. Mark 1:15).

From this terribly brief survey, we could at least say that an evangelist is someone who takes the gospel to those who have not heard it before, whether it be to one person at a time, or large crowds within a given city. It is someone who does not stay long in one place, likely leaving behind planted churches so that he can take the gospel to new places that have never heard it before. And yet, he is also someone who ministers to the saints by equipping them for the work of the ministry, likely teaching them to do what he himself is specially gifted to do, namely, persuasively giving the good news of the gospel to unbelievers.

May we all do the work of an evangelist, and may God bless the evangelists who take the gospel to where it has not been heard.

The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 14:14–20)

Passage Summary

John again looked and saw Christ (cf. 1:13) with a sickle, sharpened for the painful judgment to follow (14:14). Relaying orders from the Father, another angel (a fourth; cf. 14:6, 8, 9) instructed Christ to reap the earth of its harvest, wicked man in the prime of his evil (14:15). So, Christ did so and was joined by an angel (a fifth) with another sharp sickle (14:16–17). Yet another angel (a sixth), designated as the one with authority over the fire (cf. 8:3–5; 16:8–9), commanded the fifth angel to join the harvest and reap the earth’s vineyard with his sickle (14:18). He did so, bringing about a sea of blood as high as a horse’s bridle and as far as 200 miles long (14:19–20).

 Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
14:14 Dan 7:13 One like a son of man is pictured on the clouds.
14:18 Joel 3:13 There is a command to use the sickle to harvest  evil in its ripeness and put it in the winepress, both pictures of the wrath of God.
14:19 Isa 63:1–6 God tramples the wicked, leaving much blood as the result of trampling upon them in the winepress of His wrath.
14:20 Joel 3:13 The winepress, now full, is trodden.

 A Parting Thought

Christ Himself is active with His angels in administering divine wrath upon mankind, now at its full with sin. May we be grateful that this wrath is not for us and that the world is not yet as wicked as it one day shall be.

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2 Timothy 3:16–17 – Part 4 of 4: The Sufficiency of Scripture

Click here to read part 1, part 2, and part 3 of this series.

The emphasis in the second clause of 2 Tim 3:17 is to clarify for what and to what the extent the man of God has become “complete.” Specifically, Scripture has “equipped” him for good works, the extent of which is “every good work.” If a man of God ever wonders what it is that he should do, he need only to look in Scripture and find instruction as to “every good work.”

Here we find something of the sufficiency of Scripture. Wayne Grudem defines this phrase in this way: “The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly”1.

As to Scripture giving us everything we need for salvation, 2 Tim 3:15 states that “the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Likewise, James reminded his readers that God “brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18). Peter, too, says to his readers that they had “been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet 1:23).

From 2 Tim 3:17, every good work is possible when Scripture profits us through its teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Though this text was from Paul to Timothy, a man of God, it was to be read before all with Timothy in Ephesus (“you” is plural in 2 Tim 4:22). And, insomuch as Timothy or any Christian leader is to be an example for all Christians (cf. 1 Pet 5:3), so also must all Christians strive to imitate this faith (cf. Heb 13:7). What equips men of God for every good work equips every Christian just the same. As David said to God’s people long ago, those “who walk in the law of the Lord” are “blameless” (Ps 119:1). Scripture is sufficient to guide us in obeying God perfectly.

Certainly, our obedience is not apart from the power of the Spirit of God. Peter implies the Spirit’s role when speaking of God’s “divine power” as that which “has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” but only does so “through the knowledge of Him who called us,” which for us, comes from God’s Word (2 Pet 1:3). As in 2 Tim 3:17, all-inclusive language is used (“all things”) to describe what is possible through God’s Word (“the knowledge of Him”).

  1. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), p. 127 []