Love God with all your mind!
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” – Matthew 22:37 KJV
According to neurologist, Paul Reber, our brains have a storage capacity of approximately 2.5 petabytes (a million gigabytes). That’s the equivalent of recording three hundred million hours of high-definition television! Simply put, we have the capacity to learn something new every second of every minute of every hour of every day for thousands of lifetimes! We won’t run out of hardware space anytime soon. And the three-pound supercomputer inside our craniums runs on less power than a twenty-watt lightbulb. How is that for being ecologically friendly?
In one of my Bible studies a young man asked me three questions:
• who are your favorite authors?
• what are your favorite books?
• why are they your favorites?
What great questions!
At the end of Paul’s epistles, we find many little human tidbits about his life experiences. Here is one:
“Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come–and the books, especially the parchments.” – 2 Timothy 4:13 NKJV
Note the remarkable example set by the apostle. Awaiting execution in a dark prison cell, he still wanted to keep reading and studying! He never gave up serving the Lord, preparing in season and out, knowing that he would soon meet him face-to-face.
No verse is a throw away verse, of course, and this little tidbit really does speak volumes about Paul. He was one of the most learned men of the first century and the author of much of the New Testament. Paul could have coasted to the intellectual finish line but instead, chose to be a lifelong learner! We don’t know what his reading list consisted of, but he turned his jail cell into a reading room.
It might seem like a stretch, but I think it’s reasonable to take a book with you wherever you go. I know I do. There really are no excuses. Especially when we can fit so many books on the digital device of our choosing!
Below you’ll find my answers to the young man’s questions, as well as a few summary statements highlighting why I found these particular authors and books so impactful.
1 & 2
The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch and The Shaping of Things to Come by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost. Hirsch gives keen clarification about the difference between Hellenistic (Greek) thought and Hebraic (Hebrew) thought. Hellenistic mentality generally means that a person thinks his way into action. The Hebraic mentality, on the other hand, generally means a person acts his way into thinking.
American Christianity needs a whole lot more of the way our Lord Jesus Christ (our Jewish Rabbi) orchestrated His ministry of discipleship! He taught His disciples to act their way into correct thinking. Thus, He took them on field trips☺!
3 & 4
All In and Play the Man, by Mark Batterson. Batterson has been my favorite author of 2018 because of his unique ability to put ideas into simple, repeatable, and memorable expressions. He is unparalleled in his ability to take particular biblical characters and translate their experiences into functional practices for us. He is also a genius when it comes to presenting scientific and sociological ideas and then integrating them in with biblical truth. I have read five of his titles.
Exodus: God, Slavery, and Freedom, The Rational Bible by Dennis Prager. Because I love the Torah so much, this commentary on the Book of Exodus was transformative for me. Prager’s insights are illuminating. Some of the topics are: indentured servitude (Exodus 21:2), when lying is acceptable (20:13), romanticizing past repressive regimes or pagan ideologies (Exodus 20:2), and the righteous influence of God-fearing people (18:21). In regard to this subject, Prager states that sometimes God has to use God-fearing people to advance His purposes because Christians can be too domesticated. Torah addresses the education of four types of children (12:26). Prager teaches about the uniqueness and profoundness of the Ten Commandments compared to other pagan cultures. He also gives a superior explanation of kidnaping, which is American Slavery (Exodus 21:2) compared to indentured servitude (Exodus 21:2). He explains the principle of an “eye for an eye” (21:24), insulting ones parents (21:17), sanctuary cities (21:14), leadership corruption, which destroys a society (23:6,7,8,9), linking love to morality, living in our “unconditional love” culture (19:5, 6), and why compassion is not a listed characteristic for judges (18:21). There is so much more!
I have read his commentary, underlined, marked it up and listened to the whole book on Audible. The richness of Torah has enlightened me to the degree that I have communicated each of the above truths from Exodus to my non-Christian friends as well as my Marxist antagonist neighbor and, of course, to our Christian friends. I listen while I am driving and while working out.
The Founders’ Bible. General Editor, David Barton. This Bible has impacted hundreds of people we minister to in a most enlightening way! Why? It provides Biblical insight about subjects that we are facing in the broader culture. If you want to learn how to speak to cultural issues like: gun control (Exodus 32:2), the role of judges (Isaiah 1:26), what type of leaders should be elected to our government (Exodus 18:21), the clarification of the different types of law (Exodus 20:1-17), socialism compared to the Free-Market System, (1 Thessalonians 3:10, and 1 Timothy 5:8), the value of War (1 Chronicles 5:22; Exodus 15:3; Psalm 144:1), who and how should we care for the poor (Deuteronomy 24; 15:11;) and about 200 more germane subjects, this is the Bible for you, your family, and friends. If you have a family Bible on your coffee table replace it with this one ☺! I have spent hours talking to our grandchildren about these subjects from this Bible. We actually pay them to read the articles!
The Henry Morris Study Bible. Edited and articles by Henry Morris. This is the best Bible in print if you desire to understand how science and Scripture confirm each other. No other Bible today will address in its notes such subjects as: the creation of the space, time, and matter continuum (Genesis 1:1), the law of causality, which states that no effect can be greater than its cause (Genesis 1:1), and the laws of thermodynamics.
The first law states that no matter is being created or destroyed (Genesis 2:2) and the second law states that all existing matter and energy is proceeding irreversibly toward equilibrium and cessation of all processes (Genesis 3:17 and Romans 8:21). He explains “light” (in its most basic form is energy) mentioned in Genesis 1:2 prior to the creation of the sun, moon and stars, he explains the process of the “genetic code” from the phrase “after its kind” which is the complex information program in the DNA molecule (Genesis 1:11). Morris also describes dinosaurs, “behemoth” found in Job 40:15-24 and “leviathan” in Job 41.
His extensive notes throughout the Bible are rich in Christology (the study of Christ), Ecclesiology (study of the church), Eschatology (the study of the end-times) with profound accuracy by interpreting the text, literally, historically, grammatically, and with common sense. This is a must Bible for all generations and should be found in every Christ-follower’s library. Your college kids should not leave home without one!
According to the Pew Research Institute, half of adults read fewer than five books per year. And men read 13% fewer books than women. Look to Kathryn Zickhur and Lee Rainie, “A Snapshot of Reading in America in 2013.” To be an intelligent, intentional Christ Follower five books a year does not cut it. Most men average 20 hours of ESPN a week. Yikes!!
In a few days I will finish my list of my favorite authors, books and bibles.
If one of them strikes your interest purchase it and begin to integrate these truths in your personal walk with our Lord and your conversations with your friends…both Christians and Non-Christians.