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Wordwise Insight, Issue #062
December 14, 2009

WORDWISE INSIGHT is the free monthly newsletter of


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Some basics of Contemporary Christian Living

WORDWISE HYMNS: My Blog called Wordwise Hymns for you to check out!

MORE ARTICLES: A The Bethlehem Star; The Date of Christmas; A Christmas Bible Quiz; A Christmas Bible Study (in 2 Parts)

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION? See below for how to send it to us.


Are you finding Wordwise helpful? And do you have your own website? We would be delighted if you would provide a link on your site to ours. This will enable your friends to find us too! Check the page on the Wordwise website called "Link to Us," and follow the simple instructions. Click on Link to Us.

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LIKE TO ASK A QUESTION? On a Bible topic or passage of Scripture? Or one about a hymn or gospel song? Click on Questions from You.



Some of the Basics

Contemporary Christian living may have its special challenges, but there are some basics to consider, reflected in my answer to this recent question.

QUESTION: Joanne asks: "What are some aspects of living the Christian life that you would highlight for a contemporary believer?"

ANSWER: Thanks for your interesting question. I did smile at it a little, because of the word "contemporary." There is really no difference, at the most basic level, between what living the Christian life involved in the early church and what's called for today. Human nature and human needs remain the same. And God's provision for us is just as relevant now as it was back in apostolic times.

Below are five things each believer needs to do regularly. I'll try to make a few observations about each, as they occur to me. But realize that I don't know how new you are to the Christian life. If you've been on your spiritual pilgrimage for awhile, some of the things you may already be doing.

1. Study God's Word daily.
Just as the physical aspect of our beings needs regular nourishment, so it is with the spiritual. The Bible exhorts us, "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby" (I Pet. 2:2). And we are told, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Tim. 3:16-17). (Other Scriptures that relate: Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:1-3; Isa. 8:20; Matt. 4:4; II Tim. 2:15.)

It is good (and needful) to hear sermons on the Bible, or read books that explain it, but all of this is second hand. Each Christian needs to study and meditate on the Scriptures personally, and regularly for himself or herself.

Much more could be said here, but led me add a few tips:

A) Get a reliable Bible version for study, a version that represents the literal meaning of the text with clarity. I use the New King James Version, which is excellent. The New American Standard Bible is also good. Many use the New International Version (NIV). It is very readable, though I'm not always pleased with its loose paraphrasing of certain passages. In study, it is helpful to use these and other versions, but you need one accurate translation that becomes your basic Bible.

B) It is useful to have a reliable commentary and a concordance in your library. The Believer's Bible Commentary is a good one. So is the Bible Knowledge Commentary. The latter is based on the text of the NIV, but it is still reasonably easy to follow using other versions. Another option is to get a good "study Bible" that contains helpful notes on the text. Here, I would recommend the MacArthur Study Bible. Many excellent notes. As to a concordance, the best is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. It enables you to locate all the verses containing a particular word (prayer, faith, etc.), and also helps you to understand the Hebrew and Greek words behind our English translations....

To see the full article, click on Contemporary Christian Living.


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

In the spring I developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

A Special Feature
There is something unique about this blog that I don't believe has ever been done before. It contains what we could call a Hymn Almanac. If you want to know what happened in the history of hymn writing on any particular day, just click on the blog and you'll see!

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.


Christmas is fast approaching. Here are some materials that may prove helpful as you plan. Two articles--one about the nature of the Bethlehem star, and another about what is more likely the true date of Christmas. Then, there is an interesting quiz (with answers) that could be used in a social gathering, and a two-part Bible study on the Christmas story.

The Bethlehem Star

The Date of Christmas

A Christmas Bible Quiz

(Answers to Quiz)

A Christmas Bible Study (Pt. 1)

A Christmas Bible Study (Pt. 2)

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