Blog Posts

Make Me A Footnote

More than a half dozen years ago, a friend called me with some exciting news.  He wanted me to know that I was cited in a book listed on the New York Times best-seller list!  I pretended to act suave and unaffected, but after his call, I immediately went looking for the book at the…

Read More »

Seven Myths about Bible Translation

Bible translation can be a tricky business. Because we believe that the text of scripture is the very Word of God, we want to be especially carefull as we work to translate it from one language to another. Clear and Simple Media has now been involved in the translation of our “little book”, Simple Truths,…

Read More »

Missions and Social Media: A Personal Journey

I must admit that I am not an avid social media guy. Some years ago, when moving to Vietnam, I was encouraged to start a blog – which I did. The title, The Reluctant Blogger, wasn’t just selected to be cute. It expressed a sentiment. Through the years, I have overcome that attitude to a…

Read More »

Thomas Edison and “the failure phase”

One of the goals (and challenges) of the work we are doing is to produce writing that is accurate to the teaching of Scripture, and simple to read at the same time – targeting an audience of new English readers with little previous exposure to the Bible. That, it turns out, is much harder than…

Read More »

Adding a tool to the global English toolbox

For a number of years, I have been trying to find ways to write for a global English audience. My target has been people who are new English speakers/readers and people who have little or no previous exposure to the Bible. As I have stumbled along in the writing and rewriting process, I have come…

Read More »

Sometimes you just have to stop

Every year in Winnipeg, several dozen authors descend on the city for The International Writer’s Festival. For two weekends and the week between, they do workshops, public readings, and sessions in schools, bookstores, coffee shops, and performance venues all about town. (This year, the festival, for years now called Thin Air, is Sept 22 –…

Read More »

Blind, Deaf, Dead: Taking the Metaphor Too Far?

Here are two recent direct quotes I’ve read from otherwise wonderful, gospel-centered, reformed resources:  “It doesn’t make any sense to get mad at somebody who is lost. It doesn’t make any sense to make it a matter of personal offense against you. It doesn’t make any sense to condemn a lost person with words or…

Read More »

What does it mean to say that the Bible is God’s word?

This article is an excerpt from the CSM book, “A Travel Guide to the Bible”. The book is in pre-press proofs and should be in distribution by July 1, 2017. The full text of the book can be found at www.asimpleword.org. THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD The Bible is like other books in…

Read More »

What is the Bible?

This article is an excerpt from the CSM book, “A Travel Guide to the Bible”. The book is in pre-press proofs and should be in distribution by July 1, 2017. The full text of the book can be found at www.asimpleword.org. WHAT IS THE BIBLE? What is the Bible?  The Bible is a book. In…

Read More »

Prepositions Revisited

In the last post, I shared a few thoughts on prepositions as words to hang a prayer life on. Turns out, asking three questions is working well for me in keeping my prayer life on track (albeit, still not all I wish it were). “What do I want God to do THROUGH me?” What do I…

Read More »

7 Ways to do a Bad Word Study

This week has been a fascinating walk through the world of “Word-Studies”. My guess is, you’ve encountered some sort of word story in the last couple of months: a Bible study, a sermon, a commentary, a quip about agape love or a defense of a biblical viewpoint you’re not sure of. But sometimes it’s hard…

Read More »

Prepositions of Prayer

It’s been a long time, but somewhere in those first few years of my education, I came across – prepositions. Prepositions, I was told, are the “hardware” of a language. Like fasteners and hinges and door knobs, sentences wouldn’t hang together without them. Good literature just doesn’t happen without prepositions. As a student, they were…

Read More »

narrative: the ingeniously subversive tool in our scriptures

So the Lord sent Nathan to David. Nathan came to him and said, “’There were two men in a certain city. One was rich, and the other was poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cows, but the poor man had only one little female lamb that he had bought. He raised her, and…

Read More »

A Way to Pray (Part Five)

This excerpt from Matthew Henry’s (1662-1714) A Method of Prayer is quoted here to assist you in your own prayer for “missions”. Look [here] for a more complete introduction. Pray for the Relief of Suffering Churches and Persecuted Christians For the relief of suffering churches and the support, comfort, and deliverance of all who are persecuted for…

Read More »

A Way to Pray (Part Four)

This excerpt from Matthew Henry’s (1662-1714) A Method of Prayer is quoted here to assist you in your own prayer for “missions”. Look [here] for a more complete introduction. Pray for the Health, Purity, and Holiness of the Church For the amending of everything that is amiss in the church, the reviving of primitive Christianity and the…

Read More »

A Way to Pray (Part Three)

This excerpt from Matthew Henry’s (1662-1714) A Method of Prayer is quoted here to assist you in your own prayer for “missions”. Look [here] for a more complete introduction. Pray for the Universal Church For the universal church, wherever dispersed, and for all the interests of it. Our heart’s desire and prayer to God for the gospel-Israel…

Read More »

A Way to Pray (Part Two)

This excerpt from Matthew Henry’s (1662-1714) A Method of Prayer is quoted here to assist you in your own prayer for “missions”. Look [here] for a more complete introduction. Pray for Jewish Conversions, Churches Threatened by Islam, and Churches on the Mission Field For the conversion of the Jews. Let the branches which are broken off not…

Read More »

A Way to Pray (Part One)

There is a fallacy (Chronological Snobbery) that claims that an idea is better or worse because it is either older or more modern than the opposing idea. But, older is not necessarily better, nor is it true that “only what is recent is decent”. There is, however, something to be said for a book that…

Read More »

Grace Grows Best In Winter

Unless you have been walking about with eyes and ears closed all of your life, you are familiar with suffering. Of the 30 top stories on a major U.S. television network, the majority are stories of people facing war, disease, famine, displacement or natural disaster. This is the “stuff of life” in our broken world….

Read More »

The Everlasting God Does Not Change

I have written in other places [here] about the challenges of writing theology in simple English. Here is an example that will appear soon on the A Simple Word website (www.asimpleword.org). Take a look. The article uses limited grammatical structures and vocabulary options are limited to a word list of only 1600 words.   Q.10…

Read More »

6 Ways to Abuse the Sufficiency of Scripture

Twice in the last few months, I’ve encountered the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture touted as a remedy against using illustrations, humor or contextualization in sermons. I’ve also encountered using this doctrine as a support for the word-for-word ESV Bible, in Jon Nielson’s “How to Study the Bible” (which I heartily recommend otherwise). Now,…

Read More »

Why Must Paul Preach (Write) With Clarity?

“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:4 How can Paul say he “ought” to speak…

Read More »

Buy the book

If you have not read the book Knowing God, by J. I. Packer, you have missed one of the most influential books of the past 40 years. I have read it more often and given it away more frequently than any other book. Here is a quote to whet your appetite. Take 30 seconds to…

Read More »

Fragile. Resilient. Broken. Indestructible. Helpless. Indomitable.

In 2013, I was living in Vietnam and wrote a piece that I never published. Although now a bit dated, the subject matter speaks to some universal questions. Now, it is January 2017 and I am in Ho Chi Minh City once again. I remembered the article and decided that now was a good time to post it….

Read More »

Why a Second Edition? (PART 2)

What follows is part 2 of the answer. This post was written some time ago, so the language may reflect that perspective. As we approach the tenth anniversary (2016) of the publication of Simple Truths, we believe it is time to integrate these lessons into the text and create a second edition. This piece will…

Read More »