Author Archives for Cierra Loux

An Ancient Perspective on the Beatitudes

March 14, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Learning from ancient Christians is priceless (here’s why). But it can be difficult to find out what they each had to say about a specific passage of the Bible. Not only did they write A LOT, but their thoughts are scattered in commentaries, diaries, sermons, and even random fragments that we found over time. However, the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS) did the hard work for us! They compiled rich quotes from the most well-loved ancient Christians and organized them by book and verse. It looks like this: So, now we can easily go verse-by-verse through the Beatitudes and see what Augustine, Jerome, and Origen had to say! What a time-saver. Here are our favorite quotes from this resource, covering Matthew 5:3-7. MATTHEW 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” JEROME Free Humility, Not Forced Poverty, Is Blessed: This is what we read elsewhere: “He shall save the humble in spirit.” But do not imagine that poverty is bred by necessity. For he added “in spirit” so you would understand blessedness to be humility and not poverty. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” who on account of the Holy Spirit are poor... View Article


Why Should You Read Books by Ancient Christians?

March 13, 2018 7:00 am Published by 2 Comments

Not too many people loved reading Hamlet or Wuthering Heights in high school. Why? The language was confusing! Older literature takes time to understand due to cultural nuances, idioms, and unfamiliar vocabulary. This can be a huge deterrent for reading the works of ancient Christians. Reading translations of Augustine’s or Origen’s work will take a lot more time and care than reading this blog—but it’s worth it! Here’s are two reasons why. REASON #1: HERITAGE There’s a reason websites like ancestry.com exist: we love knowing where we came from. Our ancestors shape us (for better or worse) and it can be fascinating to uncover their pasts. Learning about conquered trials is inspirational. Discovering habitual sins is insightful. Listening to their advice is respectful. Through the past we learn to not make the same mistakes and instead, utilize our God-given strengths to keep growing. This is the same for the Church. We are one family! Paul makes this extremely clear. We are adopted into God’s family, heirs of His promises, and one body with other believers—and that includes believers from thousands of years ago. It would be foolish to neglect the rich history of Christianity, only studying works from the past... View Article


You’re Called to Be an Apologist [VIDEO]

March 12, 2018 7:00 am Published by 16 Comments

WHAT IS AN APOLOGIST? The words “apologist” and “apologetics” stem from the Greek word apologia. This word means “defense” or “answer.” It appears 17 times as either a noun or verb in the New Testament—including 1 Peter 3:15-16: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (NIV) Although we have made apologetics its own area of scholarly expertise, we are still held accountable to be prepared to give an answer. Not all of us will write lengthy books like Lee Strobel or give mind-blowing presentations like Ravi Zacharias. But, we can all do our part to soak up the knowledge of these apologists, learning to share this information with those we come in contact with. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be able to answer someone’s questions about the “reason for the hope that you have”? APOLOGETICS WITH DR. BILL MOUNCE 4 AREAS OF APOLOGETICS There are differing opinions of the... View Article


5 Common Inner Crises Christians Face

March 9, 2018 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[a] will worship God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:11-12 NKJV When Moses heard God call him to the task of liberating the Israelites from Egypt, he questioned his ability to carry out the assignment. Each of his excuses exposed an inner crisis: A CRISIS OF IDENTITY When Moses asked “Who am I?” (Ex. 3:11), it seems he had already settled on an answer: I’m a nobody. Though he was a Hebrew by birth, he had been rejected by his people forty years earlier (2:11-14) and he had no reason to believe they would now accept his help. And though he was an Egyptian by upbringing, Moses had a reputation for rebellion and murder, leaving him little or no influence among Egyptian royalty. Finally, he was a Midianite shepherd by vocation, and shepherds were considered an abomination by the Egyptians (Gen 46:34). Like many people today, Moses likely struggled due to his background... View Article


3 Time Management Tips

March 7, 2018 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

Here are 3 time management tips to help you be more efficient as you study the Bible. USE THE STUDY CENTER AT FULL-FORCE The Study Center has four tabs: Resource Guide, Parallel, Notes, and Lookup. Have you discovered how to take advantage of these tabs all at once? Here’s our tip: Use the Resource Guide as you normally do. Use it to jump between commentaries, maps, outlines, and more. But, use the Parallel tab to keep that other resource you know you REALLY want to use open. It could be a commentary or study notes. Or, you could use this tab the traditional way, keeping another translation available at all times. Then, open up a fresh note in the Notes tab and get to typing! You can quickly copy and paste what you find into a note to save for later. Also, you can search through your notes to remember what you learned in the past. Lastly, use Lookup to search for topics. You want to know more about Berea, so search for it! We’ll show you what information you have in your dictionaries and concordances. KEEP YOUR NOTES ORGANIZED Can’t stress this tip enough: stay organized! You can create... View Article


Jesus’ Leadership Mantra

March 5, 2018 7:00 am Published by 2 Comments

The Bible has a lot to say about leadership—especially in the Gospels. So, resources like the NIV Leadership Bible Notes are great tools for helping you process these passages and apply them to your own leadership style. In Matthew 20:20-26, Jesus makes one of the most profound statements on being a great leader, clearly defining his view of power. The four steps below, taken directly from the NIV Leadership Bible Notes, will assist you in this effort: MATTHEW 20:17-19 “Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!'” QUESTION ONE Reread the passage and envision the scene. Imagine the disciples and Jesus walking along on their way to Jerusalem. What mood does the paragraph in verses 17–19 cast on the scene? MATTHEW 20:20-23 “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her... View Article


Be Noble: Studying Scripture Like the Bereans

March 2, 2018 7:00 am Published by 6 Comments

“As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.” — Acts 17:10-12, NIV It can be very difficult to know what is true and what isn’t. I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all the fact checking that is required of us in 2018. We are CONSTANTLY receiving new information: articles shared on Facebook, opinions on Twitter, advertisements on Instagram, books, movies, app notifications… the list goes on and on. The Bereans weren’t unaware of the pressure to have correct information. With the news Paul and Silas were spreading about Jesus, everyone was on edge. The Gospel challenged the current thought trends on religion, politics, socioeconomics, and more. So, choosing sides was a lot more threatening than picking Democrat or Republican. This decision was Religious Rulers versus Jesus, Rome versus... View Article


Never Miss a Detail in Your Bible Study

February 28, 2018 7:00 am Published by 11 Comments

Have you ever been listening to a sermon, chatting at small group, or even doing your own Bible study, and wondered if you were missing an important, insightful piece of information? It’s one thing to have a great collection of Biblical resources, but that doesn’t mean you know there’s a map of Jerusalem on page 203. At least, not without thumbing through an index or table of contents for five minutes. Digital Bible resources solve this problem. They can be enhanced to show you the most important information when you need it. If you by a product from our store, and “Maps” is listed under features, then we’re going to let you know when any of those maps pertain to your Bible study. It’s that simple. We have other features that work the same way: charts, introductions, outlines, and more. Here are some screenshots and explanations of how these tools can bring new knowledge and insight to what you’re studying—within seconds. MAPS Let’s talk about maps. Maps are great when you have them. However, they are usually tucked into the back of resources, and you might not be aware of which ones you have. Now, if your pastor starts talking... View Article


God Can Show Up Where You Don’t Expect or Deserve

February 26, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The following is an excerpt from the For Everyone Commentary Series by John Goldingay and N.T. Wright. WE DON’T ALWAYS GET WHAT WE DESERVE I’ve remembered why I had that visit from the man I mentioned in connection with Lamentations 5. I’d talked in class about a pastor who ignored a call from God to go and serve him abroad as a missionary. His subsequent ministry in England had been greatly blessed, even though he was not in the place where God had wanted him. One failure in obedience to God doesn’t have to ruin your whole life. The man who came to see me had been told that persisting with his new relationship and divorcing his wife so he could marry this other woman would mean God would never bless his new marriage. I told him you could never make such predictions because God is always having to decide afresh whether to be merciful or disciplinary. Our calling is to do the right thing because it’s the right thing, not because we might forfeit God’s blessing. LEARNING FROM EZEKIEL 1:1-28 Ezekiel’s community is people who were transported to Babylon in 597; five years have now passed. Anyone with religious... View Article


A Feature to Keep You Focused

February 23, 2018 7:00 am Published by 7 Comments

When I was in Bible college, my homiletics professor said that for every minute you preach, you should spend one hour studying. I would sit down, ready to put a few good hours of research in… and I would get distracted. The worst part is that I wasn’t primarily distracted by people, or noise, or daydreaming. I was distracted by all the resources. Maybe you’ve experienced this, too. Your table is full of commentaries. You’re unsure which one to crack open first. Will it have the type of information you’re looking for? Before you know it, you opened four more commentaries, went down six rabbit holes, and spent most of your time flipping pages. You’ve lost focus on your sermon. And you’re drowning in all the information. At least, that’s how I always felt by the end of it! GAIN FOCUS Imagine that you’re sitting at that table full of commentaries. As you flip through your Bible, all the commentaries automatically turn their pages as well. You can stand up and get a bird’s eye view of all the content you have on a passage at once. Then, you can easily focus on what’s vital and relevant to your study.... View Article