King James Version Study Bible

Reformation Heritage Books is excited to announce the planned publication of a new study Bible. Amid the vast array of study Bibles written in the past century, there has not been a single Study Bible using the beloved and trusted King James Version written from a sound Reformed perspective. The KJV Study Bible for Personal and Family Worship (KJVSB) will promote the preservation and use of the KJV while leading the reader into a deeper and richer understanding of the Word of God.

One of its unique strengths will be its focus on personal and family worship. Each book will begin with an introduction that will give not only a clear synopsis of the book, but also will explain how the book fits in the redemptive history of Scripture. In addition to highlighting key interpretational issues and explaining archaic words, the KJVSB will strongly emphasize the application of the Scripture to the heart and life. This “head-heart-hand” focus will speak to both the intellectual as well as the experiential needs of the reader. Unique to the KJVSB are the recommendations and pointers for personal and family worship at the conclusion of every chapter.

For more information on this project and how you can help, please see the KJV Study Bible ad.

Ministry in Ireland (IV)

Mrs. Eileen Paisley, Dr. Ian Paisley, and Me

On Wednesday, September 12, Paul Thompson and I had a private, two-and-one-half hour lunch with Dr. Ian and Eileen Paisley, now both of the House of Lords (hence their official titles are Lord Bannside and Baronness Paisley). At first, it was a rather surreal experience as the Paisleys pulled up with their security guards, but what a delightful time we had. Dr. Paisley, now 86 and feeble (last February he nearly died in the hospital), came across as being open, honest, thoughtful, spiritual, and humorous. His wife is quite a lady as well—like her husband, she also has served in Parliament, is an author, and articulates well and in detail their past experiences.

While Dr. Paisley was still enjoying his fish and chips, he willingly answered some questions I prepared for him. Here they are together with his answers:

1. After many decades of experience in ministry, what two major pieces of advice would you give a theological student who is about to enter a lifetime of ministry?

Know your Scriptures and be a man of prayer. These are the two most important things in the ministry. If ministers are strong in the Scriptures and strong at the throne of grace, well, they are nearly in heaven already.

2. In the midst of an incredibly busy life, how does one manage to stay close to God in terms of personal experiential fellowship with Him and His Son by His Spirit?

You must not let anything break into your personal prayer and devotional life. The first book I reached for all my life is the Bible. As a minister and a politician, it is essential to be grounded in the Scriptures well since you’re engaging in spiritual warfare. You need to be instructed from the book, and you must remain on speaking terms with the Lord.

Communion with God, as you well know, is a scarce thing today. The prayers of many Christians are far too shallow, and mostly selfish. We need to rise above these things as leaders.

Another important thing to maintain is family worship. We kept up family worship from our earliest days. We all prayed together on our knees and the Lord has blessed that for ourselves and for our children. Our one son is now a minister and the other is in Parliament.

3. You have been a major leader in both the ecclesiastical and political spheres. In terms of exercising leadership in these spheres, do you see any difference between them? Are the same skills needed in both?

In both professions it is all about getting your orders from above and obeying them. No one in public life should leave home in the morning prayerless and careless. Leaders must remember that they are constantly going out into deep combat, so they need to know God’s will and then do it.

4. You and I have a common love—great Christian books. You have a great and a tremendous library which you are presently opening up as a reading room so that others can greatly benefit from the tens of thousands of books you have collected over a lifetime. What has your library meant to you throughout your life? What two books have most impacted your thinking? What is your favorite book? 

Let me say first that in homiletics and church history and the exposition of Scriptures, we have been left a great treasury. Through books in your hands, you can benefit greatly from godly men who were guided by God and spoke with God. A minister or even a lay Christian who doesn’t unlock this treasury, is a poor man.

Second, the big problem of many Christians today is that they don’t read the books they should read. They read largely trash. They could better burn most of those books.

Third, it is important for ministers not to become merely the echo of what they have read. But ministers do need to know what others have said. Our big problem today is that television has destroyed the nation in terms of reading and study. Another big problem is that people are not consistent in their Bible reading. They act as if when they do read that they are obliging God, but don’t realize that God is actually obliging you by giving you His word.

Finally, in terms of books that have transformed me, the first book that touched me deeply as a child was Pilgrim’s Progress. It is amazing that in Bunyan’s own day some did not want him to publish it—and actually warned him not to do so, but it is pure gold. As for a second book, I would just like to say that all of the Puritan works as a whole have greatly impacted me. The Puritans are the finest of the wheat. If a man owns Puritan writings, he has all the finest of the wheat and doesn’t need much else. These great Puritan works, when brought together, make a superb treasury when all brought together.

(In the next post I will share the rest of my conversation with Dr. Paisley.)

The Legacy of My God-Fearing Mother (II)

This blog continues my reflections on the piety of my mother, Johanna Beeke (d. July 23, 2012).

2. Lover of Scripture. Mother loved to read the Bible. That became all the more apparent in her declining years. Near the end, she would sleep twenty hours a day; her four hours awake were entirely devoted to eating and reading the Bible. What a witness she was to all who took care of her! Once I was thinking, “Why does the Lord still keep her alive?” Then, I heard one of the great-grandchildren said, “Grandma is such a witness to me. All she does is read her Bible.”

About a month before she passed on to her Savior and Lord, I said to her, “Mother, can you understand what you are reading?” “Oh yes, dear,” she said, with a knowing smile. “Do you still profit from it—does it still help you to read the Bible?” “Oh yes, dear,” she said with another knowing smile.

That same night, I read Revelation 21:1–9 to her. When I arrived at verse 6, I said to her, “Mother, do you know what Jesus means when He says, ‘I am Alpha and Omega’?” As soon as I asked this, I thought, “How foolish to ask her a question you know she can’t answer because of her memory loss,” but she responded immediately. “Doesn’t that mean,” she said, “that Jesus is both the first and the last in our lives?” “Yes, Mother; yes, that’s it—that’s everything!” I said.

Mother could not talk to us as freely as Dad could about the work of the Holy Spirit in her soul. But her love for the Word and her godly walk of life made that unnecessary. We all learned about experiential theology from Dad and about practical theology from Mother. Not until I was in the ministry did I realize what an extraordinary combination this was and what special parents we were blessed with.

Because Mother couldn’t talk as freely with us as Dad could, she would read Bible-based literature—especially Christ-exalting stories to us, every Sunday afternoon. Sometimes she would break down as she read these wonderful stories about how God exalts His own name in the hearts of sinners. Someone at the visiting hours yesterday told me that his oldest memory of Mother is when his family came from Ontario to stay with our family when he was six years old. “All I remember,” he said, “is that she read Christian stories to us so sincerely on Sunday afternoon.”

Mother’s love for the Word was also evident in her conscientious church attendance. We were raised with the understanding that hearing God’s Word in the house of God was life’s top priority. No matter how much homework we had, we never thought about asking if we could stay home when Rev. W. C. Lamain, pastor of the Grand Rapids NRC, would come to preach for us every Wednesday evening. When God’s Word was being expounded, we were there. Our parents believed that we were not only responsible for what we heard in God’s house, but if we chose to absent ourselves, we were also responsible for what we could have heard but chose not to hear.

Let us thank God that by His grace, He gave us a mother who loved the Word.