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May 2005 Blog Archives

Monday, May 30

7:36 AM Today is the big day, beginning with our flight to and stop-over in Zurich, then our arrival in Addis Ababa about midnight on Wednesday. On Friday night we will attend the graduation banquet for the Evangelical Theological College, then on Saturday I will speak at their commencement service. The following Monday I begin teaching 3 weeks of Intermediate Greek at the Meserete Kristos College (Mennonite) and lecture at the University of Addis Ababa. The following week I begin teaching 6 weeks of Elementary Greek at ETC (which we will also be videotaping for anyone wishing to use it, including homeschoolers). Every Sunday is booked for preaching/teaching, as are several Saturdays. Becky Lynn will be launching our new CD ministry by meeting with church leaders throughout the capital. She also hopes to visit with Bereket in Gondar and to distribute the eyeglasses so many of you donated. I am taking with me 50 copies of Learn to Read New Testament Greek as well as numerous handouts and supplements. Becky will return in 4 weeks to harvest and can our vegetables, and Lord willing I will be back in Virginia on July 28. Well, there's not much more to say except to assure each and every one of you that your Savior loves you very, very much -- and, by the way, so does this writer. Fare thee well, my friend.

7:22 AM What a wonderful email to start our trip with:

Dear Dave,

I just read your Trial and Temptations letter. Today in our Home Church Fellowship ... ( which started after the Saint Louis conference) we studied Romans 8. Still being very convicted, I read from you "The flesh must be kept in the place of death." I plan on keeping this simple but profound truth close in my mind as I continue forward in my life long relationship with my Master who loves me.

Blessings,  J.  A.

Saturday, May 28

7:19 PM A belated Saturday shout out to our faithful readers. Apparently our server was down for much of the day, but I've been so busy I didn't have time to notice. A few dozen friends took a quick trip to Ethiopia with us today, which concluded with everyone sampling some genuine (and spicy!) Ethiopian food.

Earlier today my son and I tried to get some hay baled when our baler went ka-fluey. I think a belt needs replacing. Tomorrow Becky and I will say our farewells, first at Averett Baptist Church during the Sunday School hour, and then at Crystal Hill Baptist Church during their morning service. In the afternoon we will also be honoring our Mecklenburg war dead at a memorial service in town. About 60 percent of them were killed during the War of 1861-65. My bugler son will have the honor of playing taps in their memory.

Our CDs for Ethiopian pastors have gotten waylaid in Ohio and are now scheduled to arrive at Bradford Hall on Tuesday, a day after our departure. But the Lord is in control of this detail, as with every detail of our trip, and if necessary we will reroute the CDs to Addis. If we don't have them in time for the graduation banquet next Friday night we will just issue coupons which the students can trade in for the real deal.

(My wife just told everyone to look outside at the beautiful site, so I grabbed the camera and here's the result).

I managed somehow to complete all my grading yesterday right after our commencement, then was invited to two after-graduation celebrations (one with Chinese food, the other with Korean food), then enjoyed an Ethiopian dinner with my family in Raleigh. I feel rested for the trip, although today was a bit hectic. We have a very special family visiting with us for the weekend, and after we leave they will be touring Civil War sites in the area with Nathan as guide. They might even be asked to help Nate get up our hay next week.

Well, gotta go and cook supper for everybody. Tonight's menu: pancakes.

Friday, May 27

6:54 AM The latest addition to our home page is called A Boy and a Basket.

6:50 AM This email brought a big smile to my face:

Dear Mr. Black,

My name is Z. P. and I am 11 yrs old. I read about the score of the incoming Bible College students and I was appalled. I took the test and I got 100% correct in under ten minutes. I guess the reason is that my parents chose to homeschool my siblings and I. I am praying when I get older, I can go to a Bible College and be a pastor.

With Love, Z. P.

6:46 AM 4 days.

Thursday, May 26

6:58 AM Some food for thought from Darryl M. Erkel:

I can only say that my articles, though written on a popular level, have blown some serious holes in much of our inherited ecclesiology, and has exposed them for what they truly are -- traditions of men devoid of apostolic sanction. In my efforts, however, to expose such unbiblical traditions, my articles have consistently stressed the importance of qualified and well-trained leadership (even if I am not particularly supportive of the seminary system), order and structure within house-church meetings (as opposed to the “free-for-all” mindset in far too many of them), and I have consistently quoted evangelical scholars who happen to agree with a particular point under discussion (even though they would not necessarily endorse all of my positions). My purpose in doing so is to demonstrate that my interpretations are neither novel nor bizarre, but that many mainline New Testament scholars have reached similar conclusions.

6:54 AM A fellow agrarian is thinking about starting a calf naming contest. Here at Rosewood Farm we have devised a very simple system. We name our calves alphabetically. We started with Alfie and have reached George. In between we've acquired Bert, Charlie, Herr Detweiler, Ernie (as in Bert and Ernie), and Frank. After Alfie and Bert end up in our freezer, then we'll get "H" and "I." And on it goes....

6:50 AM Grow It, Don't Mow It.

6:45 AM "Ugly" tomatoes banned.

6:42 AM Last night my son and I enjoyed browsing Country Moments. Here's a sample:

We wouldn't trade country livin' fur nuthin'.  

6:37 AM Will the UK criminalize preachers?

6:35 AM Another homeschooler wins a national geography bee (thanks Icky). The winning question:

"Lake Gatun, an artificial lake that constitutes part of the Panama Canal system, was created by damming which river?"

Below: A view of Lake Gatun from the bridge of the Bulkizmir.

6:30 AM Please continue to pray for Eritrean believers.

Currently 16 full-time pastors and nearly 900 Eritrean Christians are known to be jailed in prisons, military confinement camps and shipping containers for meeting secretly for prayer and worship outside government-approved churches.

None of the prisoners have been charged in court or brought to trial by government authorities, who since May 2002 have refused to legalize religious groups outside the Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran and Muslim faiths.

6:24 AM Last night I had this photo taken of our Wednesday night prayer meeting group. I thank God for each and every one of these precious brothers and sisters. Becky and I will sorely miss them while we are gone.

Wednesday, May 25

5:11 PM Any family that drives a 15-passenger van has got my attention.

4:56 PM Rank these languages in order of their popularity among homeschooling families: German, Latin, French, and Spanish. Go here for the answer. Someday I'd like to see New Testament Greek in the top four.

4:51 PM Here's a map of Rosewood Farm, in case you are planning on attending our Ethiopia Day this Saturday from 2:00-4:00 pm.

4:48 PM Who said it?*

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.

* eeL. E. R. 

4:35 PM We have finally finished the garden fence (except for the gate hinges), thanks to some free cedar slabs from our neighbor's sawmill. Next project: Installing the tin roof on the horse barn.

9:03 AM In order to allow more students to be able to participate, our Reformation Tour has been shortened to 8 days and rescheduled for next May 27 - June 4, 2006. Please call Mrs. Rowena Drinkhouse at Reformation Tours for more information. Her number is 1-800-303-5534.

8:57 AM From time to time the Lord blesses me with wonderful emails such as the following:

I so appreciate you and your family and thank the Lord your ministry to us through SEBTS, your website, your books, and your example.  (I know all these are by His grace and for His glory!)

Official documents of the British Empire once bore the four letters O.H.M.S., meaning "On His Majesty's Service." Just so, we who are Christians are in the service of the King. What a blessed privilege to be partners together in this great task!  

8:50 AM Now on our home page: Trails and Temptations

8:43 AM Here's a very thoughtful response to a recent essay:

...concerning the article "Call Me a Biblicist If You Like" you couldn't be more accurate.  I believe this problem is one in which every culture faces.  How easy it is to regard some human exposition of the Word as authoritative as the Word itself.  Karl Barth did just this.  He believed that a sermon was the "spoken Word".  Catholicism does the same (according to Vatican II) by revering tradition as much as Scripture.  It is a trap that every student of the Word must avoid!

Tuesday, May 24

6:31 AM My hosts at the Evangelical Theological College in Addis Ababa will be Frew Tamrat (left) and Semeon Mulatu (right). Frew, the dean, is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell; Simeon, the principal, studied at Dallas Seminary. These are two great guys!

Last year I spoke on "How to Study the Bible for All It's Worth." This time around I'll be tackling first year Greek. I can't wait to get started.

Here Becky shares a wife's perspective in Hosanna. She likened biblical preaching to preparing healthy, well-balanced meals. During this trip she will be devoting two entire Saturdays to teaching pastors' wives. She is a phenomenal speaker.

6:27 AM I am currently finishing an essay called "Trails and Temptations." It's about what my equestrian friends have taught me about the Christian life through the years.

6:24 AM Spurgeon saw an analogy between rain and grace. Being a farmer makes me realize just how dependant I am upon God both to send and to withhold rain. We were hoping to bale today, but God has sent more rain overnight, and I think we'll have to wait a few days before raking and baling. We have absolutely NO control over the barometer, and this is how it should be.

6:20 AM Tuesday shout-out to those who have committed to praying for Becky and me as we leave for Africa. My sincerest and heartfelt appreciation!

6:16 AM There's an irony involved in this seeping of congregationalism into Anglicanism. The Congregationalist Church's emphasis on local autonomy for individual churches was A small photograph of Rowan Williamsonce the backbone of English Christian democracy. The church which nurtured Cromwell, Bunyan - and Tony Benn - hated bishops and kings in equal measure. It pointed out, rightly, that "episkope" in the New Testament simply means "oversight" - something which the early Christian communities exercised among themselves as a federation. It did not mean a career opportunity. Read more.

6:12 AM New York's Museum of Biblical Art opens. It boasts an original Erasmus 1516 Greek New Testament. When I was a doctoral student at the University of Basel, I had the privilege of actually handling a copy of this New Testament in the library's third sub-basement. What a treat. It almost beat riding a 25-footer at Sunset on a glassy day. At any rate:


Ad fontes!!


6:08 AM Here's a sample of some simple Latin. I saw it at this website. I know many of you have studied this language. But studying it and knowing it are two different things. How easily can you translate this passage?

Pagina hac domestica certior fies, candide lector, de rebus classicis quas in aranea nostra mirabili totum Latin Textsorbem terrarum complectente invenias. Praeterea, si vis, haec pagina te ducet non solum ad bibliothecas huius paginae in quibus conduntur textus rerum scriptorum oratorum poetarum aliorumque auctorum Latinorum sed etiam ad vincula electronica ubique terrarum sita quae nonnullas res Graecas Romanasque tibi pandent.

6:05 AM Introducing the Jesus Diet.

Image of fish

6:01 AM You are cordially invited! This Saturday is Ethiopia Day at Bradford Hall. From 2:00 - 4:00 pm there will be continuous excitement, including a showing of "The Record of Redemption," an SIM film shot 50 years ago. See "Tex" Lapsley as a young missionary! See his little blond-headed daughter Becky playing with her Ethiopian friends! We will also be showing the video we took of our trip last fall. Last but not least, come and sample real Ethiopian food. The kids will love it because they have to eat it with their fingers! We are located at 2691 White House Road, Nelson, VA 24580. Email us if you need directions.


Come One, Come All!


Monday, May 23

8:39 AM During the winter months my wife makes the greatest home-made soups. I think my favorite is her corn chowder, which is out of this world. I see I am not the only soup lover out there.

8:34 AM CLOWNING AROUND AT CHURCH: "All are invited to come in clown dress, big hats, floppy shoes or some sort of foolish garb. Those watching on the Internet might even be foolish enough to put on some white face or a big grease-paint smile as we worship God and learn about the structure of the Eucharist by being the circus which came to town and to church on that day. I look forward to worshiping with you." Read more.


8:30 AM I think these blogging tips are very helpful. 

8:24 AM Here's our son cutting more hay in a field near his house. What would we ever do without his abilities and help? 

This is one of my favorite views of Nathan's farm house. The outbuilding in the left foreground dates to the late 1700s.

8:20 AM The latest addition to our home page is entitled Call Me a Biblicist If You Like

8:15 AM Digitizing the Gutenberg Bible.

8:12 AM Monday morning shout-out to our good friend Edwin Sineath, who traveled all the way from Winston-Salem to be with us at Crystal Hill Baptist Church. He later joined us for a delicious Sunday dinner at Bradford Hall. Doesn't Becky Lynn set a pretty table?

8:07 AM Deo volente, we leave for Ethiopia one week from today.

Saturday, May 21

5:48 PM It's been a busy day here at Rosewood Farm. Below is our first cutting of the year -- horse quality hay. Lord willing, and if it doesn't rain, we plan to bail on Wednesday.

Introducing the newest members of our ever-growing family: Frank and George. They are four days old and bottle-fed twice daily. Ain't they sweeeet?

Poles, poles, poles, yes we love our poles.  My wife calls this "Tomato Alley." I can already taste them "mater" sandwiches!

Rusty (with his harem in tow) says "Hi."  

5:28 PM Mr. Adam Valle linked to an essay of mine at his blog. Adam is a music student at Southern Seminary in Louisville. Thank you so much, Adam, and may God richly bless your studies.

9:43 AM The Shepherds are moving forward nicely with their house-building project on their beautiful property (pictured below). From what I can tell from their plans, it looks like they will have a large front porch like we do. Becky and I wish them well. It took us three years to build Bradford Hall, and before that we had to clear land, dig a pond, etc. There's so much work to do on a farm, but it's good, healthy work that you will never regret. God bless yall!

9:37 AM Tomorrow I'll be speaking at Crystal Hill Southern Baptist Church in Halifax, VA, at 11:00 a.m.

9:35 AM Don't forget our Ethiopian Day next Saturday. 

9:34 AM It's still not over in Ethiopia

9:33 AM A reader brings up a good question:  

Dr. Black:

I took the test:

And I missed two!  Should have only been one, though, considering how many times I've read "The Brothers Karamazov"!! NOW....which question should I have gotten right from my dozens of readings of Dostoevsky's great novel???

9:30 AM Yesterday we spent the evening shopping in Raleigh, mostly for Ethiopia: Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot. Glad it's over. Driving in Raleigh is like driving in L.A. The best part of the evening was dinner at the Olive Garden, where a genuine Italian server entertained us royally. What a blast!

Friday, May 20

2:23 PM If you live near Southside Virginia, please mark your calendars for Ethiopia Day here at the farm. It will be held a week from tomorrow on Saturday, May 28, from 2:00-4:00 pm. More details soon.

2:12 PM Today has been cloudy and rainy but during a brief spell of sunshine I snapped these pics. Below: Becky's plants are beginning to come up. Note how she planted her beans in a circle.

Here's one of several fields we planted this year. It contains mostly corn, peas, and beans.  

I always enjoy a walk along the farm paths on my day off. Here Alfie and the goats come to greet me and Miss Sheba. In the background you can just make out our new horse barn (still under construction).

I'm so glad my son planted these flowers after we completed building our house. Bradford Hall is completely encircled with these lovelies.

11:53 AM The latest entry on our home page is called The Fashion of the Christ.

9:35 AM Tomorrow I will be addressing my pastor friends of the Beulah Baptist Association at their annual meeting at Providence Baptist Church in Roxboro, NC. My topic: "Beyond Mediocrity." Last week I spoke at Hebron Christian Church, where our neighbor Mr. Vaughan attended until he passed away two months ago. For years, he and only one other person met faithfully in this beautiful old clapboard church building, but in recent months the Lord Jesus has been enlarging the flock. I praise God for the 30 who were in attendance last week (a 10 year record), all of them eager to grow in the Lord.

9:33 AM Friday shout-out to Jared Henson and a hearty "Thank You" for the glasses he donated for Ethiopian pastors.

9:31 AM Have you seen this excellent series on Shepherding a Child's Heart?

9:26 AM The "Library CD" that we have prepared for Ethiopian pastors contains 100 books (72 English, 27 Amharic, 1 Greek). This amounts to 18,985 pages of material that my father-in-law personally scanned. The disk contains 693 megabytes, which can either be downloaded to one's hard drive or retained on the CD. The CDs will be sold for 20 birr each ($2.00 USD).  

In exactly two weeks we will be presenting a complimentary Library CD to each of the 90 graduates of the Evangelical Theological College in Addis Ababa. If you'd like to learn more about ETC, here's their website.

9:14 AM This email from an "eStudent" warmed my heart:

Dear Dr. Black, 
I briefly met you last year during the Uniting Church and Home Conference in St. Louis.  Your book and teaching on "The Myth of Adolescence" was the right message at the right time in our lives.... 
Well I just wanted to drop you a note saying thank you for your teaching and encouraging words.  Your website has been a great blessing to us.  
Your eStudent in Christ, 
E. E.

9:10 AM 10 days.

Thursday, May 19

6:40 AM Nearly 1 in 6 of our active troops are female, and some are on the front lines. Here's what Michael Peroutka thinks:

But, when women are killed and maimed-for-life in combat this is no laughing matter. To believe, as I do, that our wives, daughters and/or sisters ought not to be in the military where, in combat, they can be killed and maimed-for-life is no "little thing" about which to disagree.

6:34 AM Lately we have been discussing whether to get a donkey for our farm. We had one named Hosanna when we lived in California. She would bray every time someone pulled into the driveway even though she couldn't see the front of the house. She quickly became the best "watch dog" we ever had. Here are some facts about donkey senses I found very interesting.

6:25 AM Another good reason not to watch TV.

6:20 AM From the BBC: Kelly Slater makes surfing history by scoring a perfect 20 out of 20 to clinch the Billabong Pro Tahiti title. Here he's about to get tubed royally.

Association of Surfing Professionals world champion Kelly Slater at the Billabong Pro Tahiti title in Teahupoo, Tahiti

6:15 AM Thanks, Jay, for the update on Kyle's surgery. Praise the Lord that everything went so well. And thanks to the Austins for linking to our essay on Ethiopia.

6:13 AM Terri Gross interviews D. James Kennedy.

6:11 AM Here's a nearby beauty in need of restoration.

6:09 AM Quote of the Day (Jean Leclercq):

According to a comparison which the medieval monks owe to St. Augustine, who was himself indebted for it to Plato,

"Holy Scripture is a mirror. In it one sees the picture he should reproduce. As one reads he can compare himself with what he ought to be and try to acquire what the picture needs so that it can resemble the model."

I love this metaphor, don't you? It is against the mirror of the Scriptures that I seek daily to measure myself, though I continue to fall short of the ideal, both as a man, husband, father, and servant of Christ. I'm glad the mirror is perfect, even if I am not.

6:07 AM Missionaries seeking prayer.

6:03 AM How we got the word "filibuster."

6:00 AM The value of kudzu.

Sunset Over Kudzu

Wednesday, May 18

8:13 AM Sister Gabriel Herbers said she wore a sash to show sympathy for the gay and lesbian community. Their sexual orientation "is a gift from God just as much as my gift of being a female is," she said. Read more about rainbow sashed Catholics.

8:11 AM Harvard's humanist chaplaincy.

8:06 AM My wife prepared the yummiest Mexican food the other evening, complete with guacamole made from avocados my mother-in-law sent Becky for her birthday. They were shipped from the left coast. Scrumptious! Reminded me of the fresh avocados we used to pick from our backyard trees in California. Did I say California? Seems like eons ago when we lived in the erstwhile Golden State.

The books on the table are still being sorted through. Most will be going to Ethiopia with us for use in one of their Bible schools.

8:02 AM Wednesday morning shout-out to the MacNutt family for sending us some more eyeglasses for Ethiopia. They arrived yesterday safe and sound. A hearty "Exerstalin!"

Tuesday, May 17

6:28 AM Again, Hawaii is number one. (By the way, can you pronounce Humuhumunukunukuapuaa?)

6:25 AM Where is this natural wonder located? The only hint I'll give you is that it's in the US.

Daytime in the summer

6:19 AM This has got to be one of the worst wipe-out sequences I've ever seen. It was taken at Waimea's shorebreak and, no, the surfer is NOT standing on his board in frame three. And to think that on a good day like that he could have been riding some pretty clean breaks at Pupukea or Pipeline.

6:15 AM Have you checked the Dow lately?

6:12 AM The Thoroughbred Horse was made to run and to run fast, and at greater lengths than its famous rival, the Quarter Horse. And, like any race horse, it is used to running anti-clockwise. As I aired out my Thoroughbred yesterday evening after a long day of working on the barn, I decided to begin training him to gallop in a clockwise direction. I could tell he was eager to slay dragons by the way he was constantly pounding the ground with his foreleg while being saddled. It took him, maybe, three minutes to figure out what I was asking for, and off we went, afterburners blazing. After several laps in a clockwise direction I slowed him down and walked him back to the pasture. As I praised him to high heaven, you could tell he was pleased with himself. How eager to work! How quick to learn! Yet how gentle an animal! In fact, gentleness is the horse's greatest quality. Let us, then, do nothing to despoil it.

Traveler gets oats every day to keep him in top shape, even when he hasn't been ridden. Yesterday he proved again that he deserves every mouthful.

6:10 AM Are Baptists a confessional people?

6:08 AM Covenant News now has a helpful commentary index.

6:05 AM The latest on the Ethiopian elections.

6:03 AM 13 days. Here's one currency we won't be using in Zurich:

6:00 AM A former student sent me this heartwarming email from Colorado:

Dr. Black,
I only have a few moments before I must leave the office. But with this moment, let me tell you just how much your thoughts and writings mean to this disciple of Christ. I appreciate them, because they point me to the Truth (with a capital "T"). Thank you, oh servant of the Lord, for guiding others back to Jesus. He is the answer.

I have no greater joy than to see my students (past, present, and future) walking in the Truth. I thank the Lord Jesus for all of my academic charges through 29 years of teaching. I sure don't deserve them, but I sure do appreciate them!

Monday, May 16

8:49 AM Here's a nice email I received:

Dr. Black-

We are taking one step more on a journey to learn Greek.  A friend said his seminary professor claimed learning a little Greek is dangerous.  But I'm hoping to start and maybe my kids will carry on beyond what I can learn.  My 5 yr old son can now call me Abba.  The kids will learn quicker than I can.

I may not be master plumber but I can fix a leak, solder a joint and change a wax seal on the toilet.   Time to start fixing the leaks and unplugging the blockages on my study of the texts.

Thanks for the links on your site.  But could you provide some coaching?

1) I am confused by the appearance that there are at least 3 versions of
the Greek NT.   Which one to buy to start with?  Have you heard of
Nathaniel Bowditch?  He learned languages by reading the Gospels in
parallel to what he knew.

2) Which of your Greek books should I start reading?

Looking forward to your DVD course.  We'd be happy to buy a "beta" version to test drive if you need.

Here's the gist of my reply:

When just beginning to learn Greek it really doesn't matter which Greek New Testament you use. Later on you will learn that there are significant differences between these texts - but that's for later. If you are just starting out, you might want to consider using Learn to Read New Testament Greek. It's suitable for self-study and has a key to all of the exercises in the back of the book, along with a fold-out chart of the entire Greek verb system. If you do use this book, I would be happy to send you an additional workbook along with a cassette tape for pronunciation practice - gratis. After you have completed one year of Greek, you can read my intermediate grammar called It's Still Greek to Me, as well as my basic introduction to Greek linguistics: Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek. If you are interested in learning the differences between the various Greek texts, then New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide will be of help. All of these books (and other Greek texts) are linked in my Book Box.

8:45 AM World's Easiest Quiz (via Charles Porter):

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get catgut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

Done? Check your answers below.

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years 
2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador 
3) From which animal do we get catgut? Sheep and Horses 
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November 
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of? Squirrel fur 
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs 
7) What was King George VI's first name? Albert 
8) What color is a purple finch? Crimson 
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand 
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange, of course. 

8:34 AM DBO is honored to be included in Sallie's Online Reads.

8:30 AM From Mercy at the Heart's Door:

Charles Spurgeon once said “The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of the heart upon the black horse of affliction.” I know of no other affliction in someone’s life where this is more true than the burden of carrying a past abortion.

During the years I have spent listening to men and women tell their abortion stories, the one thing that I have noticed is the pervasive nature of abortion. The cloud of it seems to hang over ever area of life. It is the invisible elephant in every room of the house, always present, always in the way, always there to stumble upon, though never mentioned. While other sins are forgiven and forgotten, the sin of abortion, even when confessed and forgiven, seems to cast a shadow that brings a quality of sadness and grief over its owner. How often I have wept over this fact.

8:26 AM Thank you for praying for the Ethiopian elections.

8:20 AM We love residing in Mecklenburg County, VA. It's a great place to live, especially for antiquarians like us. For some wonderful photos of our county, including historic Prestwould Plantation (below), go here.

8:12 AM The latest addition to our home page is called Hidden in Christ.

Saturday, May 14

7:02 PM Take the South Asia quiz

6:59 PM This Sunday is fasting and prayer day for India. Our family will also be praying for the Ethiopian elections.

[Country map of India]

6:40 PM FARM UPDATE: Here's a photo of the "farm project du jour." The basic framing of the horse barn is now completed, and we've started the external walls. To the left is the tack room; to the right is Becky's turkey coop.

This morning our son surprised us with Becky's favorite, yellow roses which he grows in front of his big barn.  (Austins and Hames, do you see your drawings on the cupboard doors?)

We think our puppy Sheba has finally decided to wear her ears in the "down" position. We think. 

Not only has she been busy arranging her ears, she's also learning "wife" skills, one of which is to "love on" and tend to her husband.  (Another reason why we call her the "Proverbs 31 Doggie").

6:38 PM Tonight's menu, prepared by yours truly: Chinese food. Yes, I used my special "secret" ingredient. We also used our own goat meat, by the way.

9:27 AM THE project for the day is to finish the framing for the horse barn. Will there be a photo of it posted this evening to this blog? Stay tuned....!

9:25 AM An alert reader pointed out a dead link to Scribes and Scriptures: New Testament Essays in Honor of J. Harold Greenlee. You can access the book at Amazon or Eisenbrauns. F. F. Bruce, Bruce Metzger, Keith Elliott, and other scholars join me in saluting the author of several important works on New Testament Greek.

9:20 AM A hearty shout-out to all who took the Bible Test. Thus far, no one has scored lower than 80 percent.

9:16 AM A warm welcome to Bilbo's Babblings, which has just posted a Forum Linguae. May the Lord Jesus richly bless your efforts, young man!

Friday, May 13

8:37 AM Missions opportunities in Ethiopia abound. Would you prayerfully consider them?

8:28 AM I've been re-reading a delightful little book that my friend Harold Greenlee gave me. It's called With Two Suitcases and a Carry-On and recounts Harold and Ruth Greenlee's adventures as missionaries to Colombia. Harold also taught Greek at Asbury Theological Seminary for years. You can perhaps see why I feel such a close affinity to him.

In 1992 it was my privilege to edit a book in Harold's honor entitled Scribes and Scriptures: New Testament Essays in Honor of J. Harold Greenlee. As I wrote in the preface to that book, "It would be difficult to imagine one in whom the erudition of the university and the gentleness of the Spirit more closely cohere than in the life and ministry of this doctor of the church." It is this very same balance between mind and heart that I strive to emulate and to produce in the lives of my precious students.

Scribes and Scripture

8:22 AM Friday shout-out to the saints at Hebron Christian Church in Nelson, VA and Hitesburg Baptist Church in Hitesburg, VA, where I will be speaking this Sunday at 9:45 and 11:00 respectively. 

8:18 AM 17 days.

7:58 AM A friend from Texas sends this response to our essay Take the Bible Test!


I took the Bible test you had online today.  While I consider myself pretty well schooled in the Word, I often am lax on my ability to give people exact book, chapter and verse.  Still, I scored a 90 on the test (I messed up questions 13 and 16).  The questions weren't that hard, and I consider myself to be a good student, but not great student.  My score, based on the questions asked, should be average.  If it isn't, then you are right.  Our fellow Christians are ignorant about items they should know about their own faith.  We are truly in a post-Christian America, and folks should wake up to this fact.

Just because a U.S. Supreme Court Justice once described America as a Christian nation once, doesn't mean it's true for all time.  Like the test; it was good to check myself.  I've got a lot of work to do, as I'm a work in progress.

J. A.

7:50 AM Here's the latest on Sunday's parliamentary elections in Ethiopia. Please keep the situation in your prayers.

7:45 AM Praise the Lord God for the rain He sent last night, along with a magnificent lightening storm. We had been praying fervently for precipitation ever since we planted our crops. Here's a list of what we've sown so far this year:

  • potatoes

  • onions

  • carrots

  • beets

  • sweet corn

  • tomatoes (3 kinds)

  • bell peppers

  • field peas

  • purple hull peas

  • bush snap beans (4 kinds)

  • watermelons

  • cantaloupe

  • squash

  • cucumbers

  • okra (2 Kinds)

  • PLUS: alfalfa, clover, orchard grass, wheat, and fescue hay

How's your garden doing thus far? 

Thursday, May 12

7:11 AM The latest addition to our home page is called Take the Bible Test!

Wednesday, May 11

6:23 AM My wife and I visited the Cairo Museum partly to see the King Tut exhibition. Now scholars believe they can reconstruct his face.

Model of King Tutankhamun

6:18 AM Calling all WWII buffs. Click on this link then scroll down to listen to an actual interview with Colonel von Lindeiner of Stalag Luft 3, the camp from which the "Great Escape" took place. Below: Faces of the 50 shot by the Gestapo after escaping from Hitler's "escape proof" camp.

6:15 AM The value of aphorisms.

6:12 AM Urgent Prayer Request: The Ethiopian Elections are this Sunday, and there is a possibility of civil unrest. Please pray for this watershed event in Ethiopian history. 

6:08 AM It's official. I fully support this vitally important measure. One of the resolution's co-sponsors is Dr. Voddie Baucham, a homeschooling father.

6:02 AM The latest essay on our home page is called Our Delinquent Generation.

Tuesday, May 10

6:21 AM Today is chicken' pickin' day at the farm.

6:19 AM Why NOT a weekly meal?

6:15 AM A big Tuesday shout-out to my Korean students who brought me two jars of Kim Chi last weekend. I have just over a jar left. Phenomenal stuff!

6:12 AM Arianna launches her blog.

6:08 AM After my son and I worked on the horse barn yesterday, Traveler and I went for a ride, but not before my wife snapped this photo. Ain't he a crack up? (The horse, silly!) I took him to an oval-shaped field and away we went. Man, that horse loves to run. He must have thought he was back on the track in California. I figure, with my current busy schedule, I can get in maybe 10 more rides before Ethiopia. Boy, am I gonna miss Trav.

Monday, May 9

9:07 AM The latest addition to our home page is called Our Country Home.

9:04 AM Up goes the horse barn.

9:00 AM 21 days.

8:57 AM We enjoyed the prime rib buffet at a local restaurant on the lake for Mother's Day. I never tire of Becky's beautiful hats.

8:52 AM A reader notified me about his Bible study website.

8:34 AM Here's a nice email I received:

I just wish to express my appreciation for you and your ministry.  I discovered your name associated with one of your books yesterday in the Bible book store here in my home town, so I decided to look you up on the Internet.  What I found out about you in regards to your Christian faith and your political persuasion was quite pleasing to me.  I intend on reading more of your works, which I believe will add to the depth of my understanding of God's Word and our present political scene here in America.

8:30 AM Monday shout-out to my Thoroughbred Traveler. It took two of us to saddle him on Saturday, but he sure gave me a great ride. (Maybe he had the Derby on his mind?) He is a very talented horse, a great companion, and smart as a whip. I thank God for him.

Saturday, May 7

9:18 AM Believe it or not, the Swiss are into surfing too.

9:15 AM Why blogs are like slinkies.

Image hosted by

9:12 AM I just finished reading my good friend Voddie Baucham's latest book, The Ever-Loving Truth. I highly recommend it.

9:05 AM Missionary martyr Jim Elliott on "extremism":

For you, brother, I pray that the Lord might crown this year with His goodness and in the coming one give you a hallowed dare-devil spirit in lifting the biting sword of Truth, consuming you with a passion that is called by the cultured citizen of Christendom "fanaticism," but known to God as that saintly madness that led His Son through bloody sweat and hot tears to agony on a rude Cross -- and Glory!

For a brief biography of this man of God, go here.  

8:55 AM Pat Buchanan once called them the two wings of the same bird of prey. Chuck Baldwin would agree.

8:50 AM Tonight I'll be speaking at the Triangle Youth Fellowship in Raleigh. Topic: The myth of adolescence. TYF attendance includes students from the following churches:

8:45 AM I love this photo of Zurich. In just three and a half weeks we'll be there on our way to Ethiopia.

Fraumunster and St Peter's

Friday, May 6

6:30 PM The latest addition to our home page is called With a Mother's Love.

11:07 AM A warm welcome to Ashley and Jonathan Erdman, who are celebrating their second wedding anniversary by spending a few days with us at Bradford Hall. Ashley is a registered nurse and Jonathan is earning his M.Div. at Southeastern Seminary.

11:03 AM Once again it's time to get caught up on emails. Here's a response to our essay called Club Med Christians:

Dr. Black,

I could not agree more that Christ calls us to do more than shout praises. We have to stand for our belief in Him no matter what the cost or consequence. My question is, to what level do Bible-believing Christians go to in order to "infiltrate" the governments that are moving their people away from Christ? Do we evangelize in private, and effect change from the bottom up, or do we move directly into government and change law? I do not think it is our duty to withdraw from the world. We can't be salt and light if no one can taste or see Christ in us.

Peace and Grace to you

C. E.

And several readers shared their thoughts about Laura Bush's humor. Here are two letters:

I watched Laura Bush's performance live---it was an embarrassment...and a revelation. Totally inappropriate comments...trying to show the pagan world she is "with it."

Dear Mr. Black,

As always, most eloquently said. Excellent commentary. The Book of Isaiah clearly states that we will be judged for continuing to tolerate and appoint those that are in rebellion to God's Word to rule over us. We either follow the Laws of God or the dictates of man. There is no middle ground.

God be with you.

M. G.

10:58 AM Friday morning shout-out to my former assistant Mr. Abidan Shah and heartiest congratulations on becoming the new headmaster at Norlina Christian School.

10:49 AM With Mother's Day approaching, here's a testimony you won't want to miss. 

10:40 AM Did you know that ancient ostraca have much to tell us about biblical culture and the biblical languages? Here's an example.

Heshbon Ostracon #2

Thursday, May 5

6:49 AM The latest essay on our home page is called Club Med Christianity.

6:43 AM 25 days.

6:30 AM "Warning: the following will contain positive praise of my husband, if this is hard for you to swallow, please do not read on." Read more.

Wednesday, May 4

7:17 AM Just posted to our home page: Let Pastors Teach.

6:39 AM My carpenter son is most patient with his unskilled partner, but I have been learning to hone my limited carpentry skills by watching him. Among the lessons learned? Nothing is random.

6:35 AM "In many ways, today’s 'Christianity' is no different than an orphanage. The well being of the children is secondary to the maintenance of the institution, and the children know it."

Read more.

6:29 AM Because she is a puppy and still has "accidents," Sheba is permitted in the breakfast room only, though she has begun to test her boundaries. Here she is waiting to lick last night's supper dishes -- and exercising tremendous self-discipline by not straying too far into the dining room. Ain't she the sweetest pup?

Here's Shiloh during the same meal. He is a most polite beggar, as you can see.  

6:20 AM Phil Newton of South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis just sent me a copy of his latest book, Elders in Congregational Life. Judging from the title of the first chapter -- "Why Baptist Elders Is Not an Oxymoron" -- I know I'm going to like this book. Phil has also produced an excellent series on the Book of Hebrews that I highly recommend.

6:14 AM One of the problems we have occasionally with our goats is foot rot, a very serious disease that requires immediate attention. Spiritual foot rot is just as pandemic, it seems.

Tuesday, May 3

7:29 PM The latest addition to our home page is called We Ought To Be Ashamed.

6:36 AM A reader sent me this interesting link to The Homeschool Torch

6:32 AM And here's a great guide to New Testament Greek grammars.

6:19 AM My good friend Lewis Goldberg is no longer publishing The Patriotist, but you can still find some great essays in its archives.

6:14 AM And I thought surfing in New York City was zany!  How do you say cowabunga in Gaelic?

6:12 AM Here are some good blogging tips.

6:08 AM Christian hackers?

6:02 AM I'm in a nostalgic mood again today. It was a year ago that we had wonderful vacation camping out west. We drove to our old stomping grounds that we used to visit when we lived in California, including Mesa Verde, Bryce, Zion, the Grand Canyon, and Fort Davis in Texas. Here my beautiful bride is enjoying the ancient caves at Mesa Verde National Park in Mew Mexico.

How would you like to stand in four states at the same time -- actually five if you count the state of "confusion."

Here we are at the Petrified Forest in Arizona, still in love after 28 years. (We met, by the way, in the cafeteria line in college. I had just received a box of chocolate-covered Macadamia nuts from Hawaii and offered one to this nice young lady behind me in line. Needless to say, I've been nuts about her ever since.)

We always like to visit Bryce Canyon National Park. The scenery there is absolutely spectacular, wouldn't you agree?  

I just want to say to everyone reading these lines that I am married to the most wonderful woman in the world. She has brought so much beauty and love into my life and has been my steady companion on bright and cloudy days. Thanks, honey, for such wonderful memories of our vacation last year. Te iubescu.  

Monday, May 2

6:14 PM I am so glad that Kyle's surgery was a success, and I am praying for a compete and speedy recovery. Hang in there, young man!

6:06 PM Just received this response to our link to Mrs. Bush's "humorous" comments about her husband. 

The comments made by the First Lady literally make me want to cry.  Will we ever see the return of true statesmen accompanied by first ladies who honor their husbands?

There is no excuse for any wife making jokes about her husband like that.  It doesn't matter what the occasion.  Her remarks sadden and anger me.

5:14 PM FARM UPDATE: The horse barn posts have been set (16 of them) with heavy cedars we cut and trimmed. Next step: put up the pine rafters and framing.

7:59 AM The First Lady said what?

7:55 AM From the mailbag:

I am becoming a more regular visitor to DBO with the articles you are putting up about the church and I love the Unleashing the Church section. I want you to know that I am almost 100% down the line with you on these church principles.

7:48 AM The New Directions in New Testament Textual Criticism website has just been retooled. You can test your skills at resolving textual variants by examining these twelve textual trouble spots.

7:46 AM The latest addition to our home page is called Every Member a Missionary.

7:40 AM Only 28 days to go until our departure for Ethiopia.

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