Explore for Bible devotional - any good?

JoelH

Well-Known Member
Hi all,

I have been using Radio Bible Class's Our Daily Bread for some years but am aware the new ones are superficial at best and Emerging-leaning at worst. I tried Charles Stanley's In Touch but is is even less meaty than ODB.

Someone from church recommended Explore from the Good Book Company. It is produced in the UK primarily for UK evangelicals and also distributed in New Zealand and Australia. Looks quite good on the surface and they are selling this for $16.50 per year which sounds good.

Anyone know whether it is sound?

The URL is here:

Explore - 1 year subscription - Explore (adults) - Daily Bible Reading - Bible

Description

An Explore subscription will provide you with four issues of our daily Bible reading notes (one every three months). Each issue contains three months of daily readings with ideas for prayer and application, to help you understand clearly the message & challenge of God's word.

Many Christians find it difficult to regularly read the Bible. It can be quite a task to find one's way around such a large, diverse and ancient collection of writings. Some of the books in the Bible are historical, some are poetic, some are prophetic, some take the form of letters. The big question is - how does it all fit together?

The best way to find the answer is to adopt a pattern of daily Bible study and prayer. Not only does this give the reader more knowledge of the Bible but, more importantly, it offers a chance to listen and hear God speaking personally to them through His strongest medium - The Word.

Each daily Explore study uses questions and explanatory comments to get you digging into the passage. And it features three mini-sections:
• Apply, helping you think about the difference God’s word will make to your life
• Pray Thru, encouraging you to speak to the God who’s been speaking to you
• Time Out, linking to a different part of the Bible, or raising an interesting thought.

Explore gives you the opportunity to delve into areas of the Bible that have perhaps eluded you for years: the laws of Leviticus; the wisdom of Proverbs; the meaninglessness of Ecclesiastes; the pain and suffering of Job; the terrifying apocalyptic imagery of Revelation. Explore shows how the Old and New Testaments are linked and how God's promises of salvation for his people are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. It also challenges the reader every day to be more like Him.

Other information

Explore has daily readings that are:
• Reliable; clearly applied Bible teaching covering Old and New Testaments
• Manageable; a suggested 15 minutes per study with optional cross references for further reading
• Flexible; dated and numbered readings so you can go at your own pace
• Incisive; not a 'thought for the day' approach, but clear and careful teaching within the context of the whole of the Bible's revelation.

An inter-denominational team of contributors includes Tim Chester, Phil Crowter, CJ Davis, John Richardson and Tim Thornborough.


Thanks,

Joel
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
How about Spurgeon's Daily Devotionals? A Daily dose of Spurgeon They are not long, but they are exceedingly meaty. And they require no fee and no subscription.

Or for less than $15 you can purchase the awesome devotional written 100 or so years ago by that redoubtable man of God, Andrew Murray. You cannot go wrong with this man. http://www.ministryhelps.com/andrew-murray-devotional-p-971.html. In fact, if you want real devotions combined with in-depth exegesis of scripture, then take a look at any of Andrew Murrays books. He wrote more than 240, many of which are available free online. Some are complete studies of the Bible, by book. (For example, Into the Holy of Holies is an in depth study of Hebrews.) Others are expositions on well known verses, such as O Wretched Man That I Am (obviously a complete exegesis of Romans 7:24).
 

JoelH

Well-Known Member
How about Spurgeon's Daily Devotionals? A Daily dose of Spurgeon They are not long, but they are exceedingly meaty. And they require no fee and no subscription.

Or for less than $15 you can purchase the awesome devotional written 100 or so years ago by that redoubtable man of God, Andrew Murray. You cannot go wrong with this man. Andrew Murray Devotional - Andrew Murray. In fact, if you want real devotions combined with in-depth exegesis of scripture, then take a look at any of Andrew Murrays books. He wrote more than 240, many of which are available free online. Some are complete studies of the Bible, by book. (For example, Into the Holy of Holies[/U] is an in depth study of Hebrews.) Others are expositions on well known verses, such as O Wretched Man That I Am (obviously a complete exegesis of Romans 7:24).
FYI my apologies that my $16.50 figure refers to NZ dollars.

I checked Andrew Murray - he is also Calvinist and the book costs $14.39 US plus $6.00 shipment from the US to NZ.

OK, so I will keep looking, thanks.
 

JoelH

Well-Known Member
Another two recommedations from other believers I know recommend these devotional works:

1. For the Love of God, by Don Carson (more commonly known to most as D.A. Carson)

For the love of God vol 1 - D A Carson : Inter-Varsity Press

For the love of God vol 2 - D A Carson : Inter-Varsity Press


2. The J.I. Packer Classic Collection, by J.I. Packer

The J. I. Packer Classic Collection - J. I. Packer - Devotionals - Church & Ministry - NavPress


3. There is also a collection devotional by various authors. While it has Charles Spurgeon and A.W. Tozer among the list of contributing authors, it also has red flags like Henry Blackaby and Dallas Willard as well, so that's off limits fo me.


D.A. Carson seems good, down side is I have read his other books and he is famous for being convoluted in prose. (I find his writing hard is like at the other extreme from, say, Tim LaHaye. But he is at least premillennial, while J.I. Packer is a classic amillennial.

My minister strongly recommends Explore above, but it is more like Bible study tool than devotional.

More thoughts?
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Murray was NOT a Calvinist (unless there is such a thing as a 1 or 2-point Calvinist!) in our sense of the word today.

In 1876 He wrote in a letter to his wife:
"In travelling the last three or four days, I have met ever so many people who appear willing to accept Christ; but [they] have not the
needful knowledge or help. I have felt so deeply that if one had a divine enthusiasm, the warmth
of faith and love, to compel them to come in -- one might be a blessing from home to home.

"I have this day sought to lay myself afresh upon the altar, and to look to the great High Priest
presenting me to the Father -- [as] an acceptable and accepted sacrifice. How, I know not fully.
"The want, the universal want, of a dealing with souls in the fervency and joy of a living faith,
rests heavy on me. But whether there is any prospect of my doing the work, I cannot say. Or
whether by training workers, teachers and missionaries the Lord will permit me to do more -- I
know not. But it is sad to see souls by multitudes seeking and not finding; sighing, and not [
being] helped -- apparently because there is none to show them the way of the Lord. Oh! Why
should not our hearts verily be filled to overflowing with that love which wrestles for souls unto
the death?"
Does that sound predestinarian Calvinist to you? How about these paragraphs that he wrote in his book God's Will:

"After Paul urged that supplications, prayers, and intercessions should be made for all men, he reminded us that we may do so in confident assurance that it is good and acceptable to God. He wills that all men should be saved. The knowledge and faith of God's will for all is to be the motivation and the measure of our prayer for all.

" ...His relationship to mankind is regulated to make men partakers of His blessedness. His will is nothing but His love in its infinite patience and tenderness delighting to win and bless every heart into which it can gain access.

"If we only knew God and His love, how we would look on every man we see as one upon whom that love rests and for whom it longs. We would begin to wonder about the mystery of grace that has taken up the Church, as the body of Christ, as a partner in the great work of making that love known, and rendered itself dependent upon its faithfulness. And, we would see that all who live to do God's will must believe this to be its central glory: our doing the will that wills that all men should be saved.

"God will have all men to be saved. This truth is a supernatural mystery. It can only be understood by a spiritual mind through the teaching of the Holy Spirit. It is in itself so Divine and beyond our apprehension-the difficulties that surround it are so many and so real-that it needs so much time and sacrifice to master its teaching. To very many who do not possess a humble, loving heart, the words carry little meaning.

"To the believer, who in very deed seeks to know and to do all God's will, God's words give a new meaning to life. He begins to see that this call to love and to save his fellow men is not something accidental or additional. He begins to realize that, along with the other things that make up his life, he can devote as much time and thought to this as he sees fit. He learns that just as this loving, saving will of God is the secret source of all His will and rules it all, so this loving, saving will is to be the chief thing that he lives for, too. I have been redeemed, organically united to, and made a member of the saving Christ, who came to do this will of the Father."
That is definitely not Calvinist in teaching.

Yet Dr. Murray definitely was not Arminian. He was probably closer to what we call Proportion Theology (Proportion Theology).

Obviously you must make the choices you are comfortable with. But to deprive yourself of the marvelous works of Andrew Murray because of his denominational background, imo, is to deprive yourself of much powerful and accurate teaching.
 
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ShilohRose

Well-Known Member
How about Spurgeon's Daily Devotionals? A Daily dose of Spurgeon They are not long, but they are exceedingly meaty. And they require no fee and no subscription.

Or for less than $15 you can purchase the awesome devotional written 100 or so years ago by that redoubtable man of God, Andrew Murray. You cannot go wrong with this man. Andrew Murray Devotional - Andrew Murray. In fact, if you want real devotions combined with in-depth exegesis of scripture, then take a look at any of Andrew Murrays books. He wrote more than 240, many of which are available free online. Some are complete studies of the Bible, by book. (For example, Into the Holy of Holies is an in depth study of Hebrews.) Others are expositions on well known verses, such as O Wretched Man That I Am (obviously a complete exegesis of Romans 7:24).
I have read Andrew Murray's The True Vine and thought it was excellent. I will look into his other writings. Thank you for this information.
 

JoelH

Well-Known Member
Thanks guys for more information, although I have since found reputable Bible teachers that I respect has caution over certain teachings of Andrew Murray.


For example, D.A. Carson has a mixed view over Murray's teachings.

Quote Carson, "At the popular and sometimes devotional level, one may still purchase the much-reprinted book by Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All...Despite (or perhaps because of) the doctrinal bias toward "higher life" tradition, the book remains a collection of marvellously pious and spiritually-minded gems strung out on a string of abysmal exegesis.", New Testament Commentary Survey, 6th edition (page 131).




While Miles J. Stanford is more charitable towards Murray,

Dr. A. W. Tozer

"We are happy to say that, basically, Dr. Murray was scripturally sound in what he taught concerning the filling with the Spirit. And all of his writing in the realm of growth was clearly grounded in the work of the Cross and the identification truths in the life of the believer. This cannot be said of any of the writers thus far considered.

Although a Covenant theologian who kept the Cross and identification principles central, an anomaly in itself, Dr. Murray did tend toward Arminianism in his terminology regarding the filling with the Spirit. He also set forth a number of Arminian conditions for the filling. He used the term "baptism" instead of "filling" in books such as Back to Pentecost, The Full Blessing of Pentecost, and his almost classic The Spirit of Christ. Had he used the scriptural terms it would have been a true classic, instead of controversial.

His use of the term "Pentecost" in the above titles was inaccurate. It is these books that the Pentecostals have promoted, plus his even more inaccurate book entitled Divine Healing. In his later years Dr. Murray repudiated his former teaching on the subject of healing but failed to withdraw the book, still a favorite in Pentecostal book stores.[Editor's Note: Miles Stanford's comment regarding Dr. Murray's repudiation of his former position on divine healing was anecdotal, and based on correspondence with believers who sat directly under Murray's ministry. Miles mother-in-law (de Villiers Schwab) attended a secondary school in Wellington, South Africa, founded by Dr. Murray and heard him preach on several occasions. For a comprehensive refutation of Pentecostal/charismatic errors, including "faith healing," read THE LINE DRAWN. DRS]



I think he is fundamentally on the right side, but given there are so many concerns concerning his theological terms I've decided not to consider Murray's works.
 

JC1949

Well-Known Member
How about Spurgeon's Daily Devotionals? A Daily dose of Spurgeon They are not long, but they are exceedingly meaty. And they require no fee and no subscription.

Or for less than $15 you can purchase the awesome devotional written 100 or so years ago by that redoubtable man of God, Andrew Murray. You cannot go wrong with this man. Andrew Murray Devotional - Andrew Murray. In fact, if you want real devotions combined with in-depth exegesis of scripture, then take a look at any of Andrew Murrays books. He wrote more than 240, many of which are available free online. Some are complete studies of the Bible, by book. (For example, Into the Holy of Holies is an in depth study of Hebrews.) Others are expositions on well known verses, such as O Wretched Man That I Am (obviously a complete exegesis of Romans 7:24).
Spurgeon....pretty good...
Faiths's checkbook,Devotional 1.6.1 it is free for Android
and also Morning and Evening Free,app made by timie.co.uk
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Of course, Joel, Don Carson himself has a number of question marks about him. After all he holds to Schopenhauer's theory on free will. And also claims to be a Calvinist.

I personally have found Murray's exegeses quite sound. However, I am not commenting on your decision not to read him. That is, of course, up to you. And requires no input from another once your mind has been made up. My only purpose for comment at this point is to note that you are relying on one man or group of men to comment on another. Who is to say either is correct? Which is why I tend to read the works and judge them against the bible for myself. Doing so I have tossed a lot of works that some have applauded and found some delightfully faith-building, walk-enhancing works that others have trashed.

BTW, if you like Carson, you might give his two volume devotional work For The Love of God a try. They'll set you back close to $30 US, plus shipping. OR, you can find them free online --one day at a time-- at http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/. It is certainly the sort of in-depth devotional I believe you were looking for.
 

SteveJM

Well-Known Member
Murray was NOT a Calvinist (unless there is such a thing as a 1 or 2-point Calvinist!) in our sense of the word today.

In 1876 He wrote in a letter to his wife:

Does that sound predestinarian Calvinist to you? How about these paragraphs that he wrote in his book God's Will:



That is definitely not Calvinist in teaching.

Yet Dr. Murray definitely was not Arminian. He was probably closer to what we call Proportion Theology (Proportion Theology).

Obviously you must make the choices you are comfortable with. But to deprive yourself of the marvelous works of Andrew Murray because of his denominational background, imo, is to deprive yourself of much powerful and accurate teaching.
Here is a quote from Prof. Johan Malan, University of Limpopo, South Africa in an article titled "Calvinism Refuted from the Bible."

"However, there were times when the gospel message was proclaimed from some of the Reformed pulpits in such a way that many people were saved. An appeal was made to church members to commit their lives to Christ for salvation, without assigning special significance to infant baptism other than a pledge by the parents to raise their children in the fear of the Lord. The preachers in this category were so-called one-point Calvinists (see below). Some of them, like Andrew Murray, admitted they were strongly influenced by John Wesley and other revival preachers on the subject of sanctification."
 
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