Tools of the Trade: Accordance — First Impressions

Accordance Bible SoftwareI am very fortunate to have received, some years ago, review copies of Logos and BibleWorks, and so I’ve periodically posted articles regarding my experiences with those two Bible study programs.

Every time I’ve posted such an article, readers have asked for my views on Accordance, the Apple competitor to these products. And since I don’t use computers that charge a 100% premium for a fruit-shaped logo, I’ve never been able to answer the question. Until now.

Accordance has finally released a Windows version, and the good people at Oak Tree Software were kind enough to let me try out the Advanced version (or module). This costs $999.99 normally, but is presently on sale for $749.00 through July 31. This is the next-to-best bundle they sell, and is closest to the packages I have from Logos and BibleWorks. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 4:1-21 (On Arrogance and Humility)


(1 Cor 4:1-5 ESV) This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

Paul will explain in v. 6 that he is using himself as an example of how the Corinthians should perceive themselves. And, first, they should think of themselves as “stewards of the mysteries of God.” A steward is a business manager or trustee — someone who manages someone else’s property. The mysteries belong to God, but he has given them to the Christians in Corinth to be invested for the benefit of God. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 3:1-23 (You are God’s temple)


(1Cor. 3:1 ESV) But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

Paul now makes clear his point from chapter 2. While God has revealed in Christ the mysteries of the ages, the Corinthians are not spiritual enough to accept the deep wisdom of God.

In v.3, “of the flesh” means “dominated by your unredeemed, sinful natures.” Their fights — evidently over who is the wisest — demonstrated their foolishness and weakness. The mature don’t divide. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 2:1-14 (Spiritual things discerned by the spiritual)


(1Co 2:1-2 ESV) And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

QUESTION: How well does this passage characterize our preaching? What would happen if this were a fair description of our own preaching today?

QUESTION: What does Paul mean by “Jesus Christ and him crucified”? How might such a sermon sound today?

(1Co 2:3-5 ESV) 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

QUESTION: Why weakness, fear, and trembling? Read the account of Paul’s stay in Corinth in Acts 18. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (the Wisdom of the World)


(1Co 1:18-21 ESV) 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

The cross makes no sense to those with a secular worldview. The Greeks knew that the cross was for rebels and criminals. And yet the early church reveled in the shame of the cross. They found the irony compelling. After all, if the Son of God could lower himself to be among the most contemptible, he could surely understand them in their poverty and low social station. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 1:11-17 (the Gospel)


(1Co 1:11-13 ESV) 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Evidently, Paul had received a visit from a member in Corinth, Chloe, who reported on division within the congregation. And this leads to a four-chapter discussion on congregational unity — a theme that Paul returns to at least in chapter 12 (with respect to gifts). And it may be that other passages are also about the disputes that led to the divisions, but we have no way of knowing for sure. Continue reading

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Apologetics: July 13, 2014 Class: Introduction to Science and the Bible

lapelmicSunday morning’s class.

You can download the file to play as a Podcast or on an MP3 player –

Download m4a sound file (28 MB)

or as an MP3 –

Download mp3 sound file (51 MB)

or you can stream the audio here:

Posted in Apologetics, Christian Evidences/Apologetics, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Gospel Advocate: “That Liberalism Among Us”


Not the July 2014 issue, which actually has a typewriter on the cover. Young readers: We used typewriters back before computers were invented. They were made out of T Rex bones.

I subscribe to the Gospel Advocate. I just like keeping up with the more conservative wing of the Churches of Christ, and the Gospel Advocate is pretty typical of the “mainstream” conservative Churches.

In a very interesting turn, the July 2014 issue includes a reprint of a 1968 article by Batsell Barrett Baxter. Baxter was the face of the Churches of Christ in the “Herald of Truth” TV broadcasts of the 1960s and chairman of the Lipscomb Bible department. That is, he was as prominent as one could get in Church of Christ circles.

At the top of the page, this text is quoted in a large font–

Real liberalism is a denial of the existence of God or the denial of the inspiration of the authority of the Bible.

Continue reading

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Atonement: In Reply to Hank

workforsalvationMy last post regarding the eternal fate of Gentiles before the time of Jesus was overly long, and Hank — whose questions and comments prompted that post — has responded in detail. The quoted materials are from his response in the comments. (I’ve corrected typos.) And this is going to run long, too.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I must admit, I don’t believe I had ever heard of the position that argued that the pre Christ Gentiles all just died, never to be raised again. No resurrection, no judgment, no reward, no condemnation. Is that what you really believe?

Since the late Second Century, Greek Platonic thought entered into Christian thought. Contrary to the Scriptures, Plato taught that each human has a soul that is innately immortal. If this is so, then we must find a place for the soul of every deceased person, either heaven or hell. The Catholic Church later modified this to add Limbo and Purgatory. Continue reading

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Atonement: The Fate of Ancient Gentiles (and a Few Other Things)

workforsalvation[This is a little long. Anyway, it all leads to a question at the end and, I hope, demonstrates the importance of remembering the historical narrative of the Scriptures as we seek to interpret them.]

In comments, long-time reader Hank and I have been trading theories about the salvation of the Gentiles before Jesus. Hank’s theory is agreed with by a few commenters, including one of my favorites – Continue reading

Posted in Atonement, Uncategorized | 15 Comments