Consider the ravens

A miscellany of helpful skills

Watchwords of the Reformation

Salvation is in Christ alone

by grace alone

through faith alone

according to Scripture alone

to the glory of God alone.


In essential things, unity.

In doubtful things, liberty.

In all things charity.


(Beware (1) the false doctrine of transubstantiation and (2) the denial of the true doctrine of predestination.

To answer (1):  Jesus is bodily in heaven, so He cannot be bodily in the Lord’s Supper; neither is He spiritually in the bread and cup, but He is spiritually in those who worthily partake of the bread and cup. His sacrifice on the cross was sufficient:  there is no need for any further sacrifice, nor can any further sacrifice take away sins. The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of that one perfect sacrifice. (See the epistle to the Hebrews and 1 Corinthians 11.)

To answer (2):  In salvation, man’s will (free will) responds through faith to God’s will (predestination), so that salvation is by grace through faith, not of works lest any man should boast. If man could save his own self from sin, then he wouldn’t need Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross, and salvation would be by works, not by grace through faith; and man would be glorified, not God. (See Ephesians 1 & 2 and the epistle to the Romans.))


A Multitude of Counsellors


In multitude of counsellors there is safety, and there are a multitude of helps available for understanding the Bible. Websites and apps, such as Biblegateway, can be great resources. The website Biblehub gives you free access to all of the commentaries below (and more), and in a format that allows you the option to compare them verse-by-verse.


(Commentaries expound the Bible, explaining the sense and meaning.)

• Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible

• Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers

• Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

• Matthew Poole’s Commentary

• Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

• Joseph Benson’s Commentary

• Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

• Pulpit Commentary


(Concordances match the word in an English Bible translation with the original Hebrew or Greek word and its dictionary definition. Check to see which translation the concordance is keyed to (e.g., KJV, NIV).)

• Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

Hebrew/Greek Interlinear Bible:

(An interlinear Bible gives the original Hebrew or Greek text (along with the Strong’s Concordance number for each word), accompanied line-by-line with a literal English translation.)

• The Interlinear Bible, by Jay P. Green, Sr.

Bible-Teaching Prep


(1) Pray.

(2) Read the passage several times throughout the week, keeping an eye on the context before and after.

(3) Write out the English text by hand, which is helpful for slowing down and paying attention to every word.

(4) Read through the passage again, English and Hebrew or Greek, in order to sight-translate and see any words that need extra attention and study.

(5) Make observational notes for insights that jump off the page.

(6) Organize an outline and identify themes, etc.

(7) Only after all this, open up commentaries for additional study.



If you have trouble getting a machine to accept your cash, crease the bill length-wise, and try again.

Seeing Bartimaeus

Notes on Mark 10:46-52

(1) The blind man doesn’t have a name. He is called Bartimaeus, which is literally, the son of Timaeus. We know his father’s name but not his. Likewise when he hears that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by, he begins crying out, addressing Jesus by His ancestry, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”

(2) Remember the parable of the good Samaritan? “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30). A priest passed by, a Levite passed by, but a good Samaritan “came where he was:  and when he saw him, he had compassion on him” (Luke 10:33). At the end of the parable, Jesus asked the lawyer who had been tempting Him, “‘Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?’ And he said, ‘He that shewed mercy on him.’ Then said Jesus unto him, ‘Go, and do thou likewise'” (Luke 10:36-37). Now here is Bartimaeus outside Jericho crying, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”

(3) We see also the application of the earlier Scripture passage (Mark 10:35-45), where Jesus had contrasted worldly leadership with kingdom leadership. Many in the crowd told the blind man to be quiet:  surely Jesus is too important to be troubled, too busy to attend to a blind beggar by the roadside. But Jesus — who had just taught, “Whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all” — stood still and commanded him to be called. Jesus served. Suddenly the people who had been ordering Bartimaeus to be silent are telling him to be of good comfort. What an influence one person’s example has on others.

(4) The blind man asked for a miracle. “Lord, that I might receive my sight.” His faith was already evident in his recognition of Jesus as the Son of David, that is, the Christ — and as Lord.

Sometimes the physical lags behind the spiritual:  Bartimaeus could not yet see with his physical eyes his Messiah whom he could already see with the eyes of faith. Can we see Riley Shadle walking? (Riley recently suffered a spinal cord injury while playing in a high school football game.) Do we believe Jesus came “to open the blind eyes” (Isaiah 42:7)? Do we believe that “with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5)? Do we then have the faith to ask for a miracle? Isaiah 53:1-5. Do we have the faith to break through the roof, like the people in Mark 2:1-4, and carry Riley Shadle to Jesus?

(5) “And Jesus said unto him, ‘Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.'” I love how Jesus sets him at liberty:  “Go thy way.” Christianity is not a have-to but a get-to religion, not a religion rooted in man’s works but in God’s grace. “And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”

(6) An alternate translation is, “Go thy way; thy faith hath saved thee.” Jesus still saves whosoever repents of their sins and puts their faith in Him as the only begotten Son of God. He saves His people from their sins and gives them eternal life. He paid the ransom for sin on the cross at Calvary, and He proved His power over death when He rose from the grave three days later.

The Gospel invitation still stands:  “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” If you have not yet received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, and you believe God has raised Him from the dead, now is the time to give your heart to Him, put your trust in Him, confess Him. Now is the time for you to pray,  “Hosanna”:  “Save now.”

If you have already received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, please pray for Riley Shadle to walk again.

Cowboy Coffee

To make cowboy coffee, first identify the recommended ratio of water to ground coffee that’s printed on your coffee’s label. Also, be aware that coffee made from arabica beans tends to taste better than coffee made from robusta beans. In a stainless steel pot, bring the water to a boil, and then add the ground coffee, boiling it for precisely four minutes. Done. You have cowboy coffee.

Now slowly pour off the coffee into cups or another container to separate it from the grounds. (If you don’t separate the grounds after four minutes of boiling, they will impart bitterness to the coffee.

Careful:  it’s boiling hot. Compare the flavor to the coffee you’ve been drinking.

This method of coffee making could come in handy the next time you’re “roughing it.” You can make cowboy coffee when camping, or you can still make coffee on a gas stove at home if a winter storm knocks out your electrical power.

A Harmony of 1 Corinthians 12


(1) apostles — the word of wisdom

(2) prophets — prophecy

(3) teachers — the word of knowledge

(4) miracles — the working of miracles

(5) gifts of healings — the gifts of healing

(6) helps — faith

(7) governments — discerning of spirits

(8) diversities of tongues — divers kinds of tongues; interpretation of tongues