August 2017 Update

Hey everyone, I want to be better about posting updates here. We’re looking for volunteers currently in a number of places; not just here but also at BOG Ministries. If you would like to get involved in our ministry here, we have a multitude of positions we would love to fill. We are looking at expanding our scope a little bit and we would love your help as we do so.

We are moving forward with so many things. I do plan on having the next episode of the BSB Vidcast/Podcast out this month – most likely very close to the end of the month. I am continuing work on the Believe Something Better Commentary series and I think we are on track for the first volume (though in actuality it looks as though it will be the 55th volume in order of Biblical layout) to be finished by November with subsequent publish in December or January. I am currently finishing up Second John and will be moving on to work on Third John soon. I am rather excited about this whole thing. It always feels good to have some fruit from your labors.

I am hoping to actually put out the eBook of the of the Psalms by RB and I hope to be putting out the second set soon. I enjoy poetry and write it as my mind wanders. I hope you enjoy it too.

All in all, I am hard at work and the BOG team is hard at work. Currently the work for the BOG team is the Gospel of John and after I am finished working on 1 John – Jude I will be putting together a short amount of info to go along with John in order to have an outreach book available. This would be BOG Ministries’ first piece of work in print and we have the same feeling as I stated above, fruits from our labor.

Pray for us as we continue down the road, running the race which is laid before us. We look forward to hearing from any of you who wish to get in touch. Our e-mail lines are always open. Feel free to e-mail us when ever you want!


RB

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Update – July 2017

Hello everyone, I am just wanting to give a quick update. We’ve been rather sparse this year on the number of updates. I have to admit I have been really busy so far this season and I’ve been rather preoccupied. This does not mean I am doing nothing. We are hoping to bring out the first official volume of the Believe Something Better Commentary Series this Fall/Winter. This Volume will encompass 1 John – Jude. I believe in actual numbers, though being the first one published once everything is said and done it will be the 53rd volume in the series.

I am hoping to move onto James, or 1 & 2 Peter after 1 John – Jude is finished. We will have to wait and see what the Lord provides in this. I am currently reading my NIV Study Bible which my parents gave me years ago.

Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, or send us an e-mail. We look forward to hearing from everyone! As always prayer requests are welcome and keep us in your prayers!

Review of the CSB

I was graciously given a copy of the new Christian Standard Bible (CSB). I’ve gone through it now and appreciate the translation highly. I’m the sort of person who uses multiple translations in my study of the Word. I had purchased a copy of the HCSB (the previous revision of what is now called the CSB) two years ago, on the reference of a brother. I read through several portions of it immediately and had a thorough appreciation for the translation. I like a little more literal version than the CSB/HCSB, but sometimes I know the literalness obfuscates the matter.

This Is the same reason we have consistently made new translations of the Bible since the original King James Version came out. We need updates to language and contextual understanding. This is the very appreciation I have for the CSB. It has a mediating style between literal (formal equivalence – word-for-word) and idiomatic (dynamic equivalence – thought-for-thought) translation which the translators have called “optimal equivalence”. It allows them to put meanings and/or words on the page which while implied by the Greek would not be part of a literal translation.

This allows the CSB translators to give a clearer translation than some of the literal translations may be able to. As someone who favors literal translations, my first thought is to discount the CSB because of their chosen translation philosophy. However, I ha e been edified time and time again by translation whose philosophy was a balancing between literal and idiomatic. NIV, HCSB, NET, and others have all been used by me to great effect and edification.

I have specifically enjoyed the CSB as a they also chose wording which are different from the traditional. This really makes you think about what you are reading rather than letting verses go by just because you’ve read them a hundred times before. John 3:16 is one of the best examples:

King James Version
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

English Standard Version
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

New International Version
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Christian Standard Bible
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

You can see even the NIV which isn’t supposed to follow the traditional translation dogma and is supposed to be a completely new translation follows the traditional reading of John 3:16. It is only the CSB (and the HCSB before it) which broke from the tradition and finally did something new.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this thought: Never discount something because it is new. As Christians we are to give every faithful rendering of Scripture a chance. The Lord will bless us for being faithful to His Word.

Episode 0 – Believe Something Better Podcast

Click Here to download this Episode of the Believe Something Better Podcast

This is a simultaneous release of this episode in audio and video. If you would like to watch this episode please feel free to click here.

This is the first episode of the Believe Something Better Podcast. It is an introduction to myself (Ray “RB” May IV) and my beliefs. It is also an introduction to the show itself. You can read the thought on relationships here.

We also look forward to hearing from you! If you would like to get in touch with us you can send us an e-mail here. Thank you for listening!

If you would like more information about the Willamette Bible Chapel click here.
More info on the Plymouth Brethren here.
More info on the Open Brethren here.

Just a side note it’s fitting this first episode is posted on my (RB’s) birthday.

Update and 2016 Prayer Challenge Final

Well everyone, today I am bringing you the final update on my 2016 Prayer Challenge which I undertook last year. It was 366 days which taught me so much. The Lord really showed me so much through out my days of prayer. The very fist thing I learned is the blessings which come from being proactive in our relationship with God rather than reactive. This was so important because most of the time our relationship with God is reactive, something happened so we pray about it.

When this dynamic changes and we enter a paradigm where we are being proactive (actively seeking God first) we start to see how this relationship edifies every part of our lives. I am hoping to scan the 366 days worth of prayer journal entries, but am not making any promises. I’ve also apologize I know in the original post about the challenge I am supposed to type up the entries and post them as a PDF, but after trying I have come to realize I just really don’t have the time.

The other things which I learned was how vast the chasm is between the trials we go through and how we view those trials. I went through some hard times with friends this last year and through the prayer life I had with the Lord this last year I was able to thank Him for the blessings I was receiving as I grew through these trials. My friends were viewing the problems totally as negative, but I was able to look at the positive, because the Lord opened my eyes.

I have a few updates on the projects which I am working on: Breath of God Ministries is coming under the leadership of Believe Better Ministries. This does not mean the goal for BOG Ministries is going to change any, but rather it will just be under the headship of Believe Better Ministries, who will hold the publishing rights to the BOGV.

I am continuing hard at work with my study of the word and the production of the BSB Commentary series and am hoping to finish 1 – 3 John this year. This would finish off the first volume in the series. (1 John – Jude).

We are also still collecting stories from those who wish to participate in the Experiencing Something Better. We look forward to hearing from you all.

That is all for now we hope you all had a good January and February!


RB

A Few Finished Items

Well as we are working on new projects. I am have specifically moved onto working on 1 John and am working on the study notes and commentary of this epistle. With that happening we are looking back at a few of our projects which have already finished (at least as far as the extent of the project was concerned). The first was Jude. You can see our post about Jude here, but there is also a part of this project which you may not know about. The second is Obadiah. We have made a commentary and study notes of these two books. These study notes which were made available as part of the Commentary Project were also given to Breath of God Ministries which were added to the BOGV (and here Paraphrase) as part of the Breath of God Study Bible.  You can get a taste of this Study Bible in both Old and New Testaments (with Obadiah and Jude, respectively) in BOG Ministries’ most recent post.

We hope you enjoy.
RB

The Epistle of Jude – Believe Something Better Commentary Series

Well we are excited to announce the first commentary in the Believe Something Better Commentary Series has been finished. (It is important for you to understand this is not the first volume of the series but rather the first commentary of the series.) The commentary on the Epistle of Jude is finished.

We are posting three things on this blog here today for you to see. The first is the commentary which has recently been finished. We are always open to hearing feedback on anything we post here and you can give us your feedback through e-mail or comments here on the blog. The second thing we’re posting is a set of study notes and an outline for Jude (as you will see the outline is in the commentary as well). These notes are based on the commentary and a set very similar will be made available for each book of the Bible. They are meant to be supplementary to the commentary. These study notes would allow you to have notes available while you study the Bible. The third and final thing we are posting is a complimentary copy of the Epistle of Jude (from the Breath of God Version). This will allow you to refer to this version of the Epistle as you go through the commentary or notes.

These three things are the first in many posts you will see in the future (Lord willing) giving you similar announcements. We do not plan on posting the commentary every time we finish one, but rather just giving a general announcement. We also have the books lumped together to allow for publishing.

We hope you enjoy this and we look forward to seeing feedback from you. Please not this is not the final layout for the commentaries, just an easy layout for it to be presented here on our website for you.

Jude to Come

So the Believe Something Better Commentary Series is about to have its first entry finished. The commentary on Jude is going through its final round of editing then it will be read to be unveiled as the inaugural entry in the series. We will be posting a version of it here under a creative commons license. We also plan on recording it as a free audio teaching here. We plan on putting Jude up here for you to see what things are going to look like.

As far as the rest of the series goes we will only be publishing the audio for free as well as notes and outlines. We plan on having these study aids available for free for everyone to download and use. The commentary series will be available for purchase as an ebook or hardcopy book with all proceeds going back into the ministry to help produce more content and upgrade the website.

All in all this update is here to let everyone know to keep your eyes peeled to see Jude coming out. We have a plan in place as far as getting through the rest of the Bible as well. We look forward to putting this forward soon.

Daily Bible Reading Adventure

Well today I started an adventure, with my wife. We are reading The Daily Bible published by Harvest House. The layout was designed and a devotional commentary was written by F. Lagard Smith. I’ve my copy of it for a while and I read a good portion of it. The actual text of the Bible is NIV (1984 ed.) which I have read several times and had used (as it was the translation of my main Bible for a time before I started using the ESV more). So as far as the text of the Bible itself it is using a solid translation and I am not here to debate translation.

What I am here to write about is the journey of the way that this Bible is laid out. It is laid out without verse and chapter numbers in the text, as it is trying to encourage reading, and it is laid out in chronological order. This means that some books appear in different locations or the text of some books appears one after the other. This is most apparent in Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles where we have many books being woven together. The Prophets are placed at the time at which their prophecies were given and many of the Psalms are placed at the time that they were written.

It is also very apparent in the Gospels and Acts. In the Gospels we have the four Gospels being woven together into a Harmony (for more on Gospel Harmony click here). A Gospel Harmony is something that the Church has been trying to put together since the early days (about the second century with the Diatessaron) and this Bible presents one version of a harmony. Acts is a very interesting versions with the Epistles of Paul being laid out in their place in Paul’s life.

All of that really is beyond the point that I’m trying to make. I enjoy reading. I read a lot! This Bible lends itself to that very much. In the margins of next to the text it gives the references of the text that you are reading so that you can easily reference any passage that you are reading. The commentary devotional doesn’t take you out of the passage but it helps to bring your focus to what you are reading. Personally I really like the layout. I’m really enjoy the experience of reading this Bible and the experience is different. The books aren’t laid out in the typical manner (for any tradition) and so it makes a very good way to make the text new and fresh again.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to make the Bible new again or to anyone who is just looking for a way to read the Bible and keep at it. As the title says the readings are broken up by day and it makes it easy to read through the Bible in a year. This is a great addition to anyone’s library and will reinvigorate anyone’s reading experience. I recommend it for anyone and everyone.