Friday, July 31, 2015


Two more parables of Safed the Sage,

The Women and their Carfare, and,
The Doughnut,

I also share a recording from October 9, 2014, when I was in Papua, Indonesia.

Check out this episode!

2015DBRP_213 Jer23 Ps149 1Cor6

In yesterday's reading, we heard how the very priest who earlier put Jeremiah in stocks and beat him was sent by the king to him, along with others. They were to ask Jeremiah's help to pray for a miracle. And God made it ever so clear that no miracle of deliverance would be given. Jeremiah repeatedly tells the king what he needs to do, but Zedekiah  just couldn’t manage to do it. The area of giving justice was especially prominent in yesterday's reading.

Translation notes:

There is a play on words here that is really hard to translate, and NLT doesn’t show that in a way that makes sense to me. So I am basing the reading more on the NLT

33The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, when one of these people, or a prophet, or a priest asks you, ‘What [burden/burdensome message] do you have from the Lord?’ [(meaning a message from me,)] Tell them, ‘You are the burden, and I will cast you away. I, the Lord, affirm it! 34I will punish any prophet, priest, or other person who [refers to a message from me as a burden//says “The Lord’s message is burdensome].” I will punish both that person and his whole family.’”

35So I, Jeremiah, tell you, “Each of you people should say to his friend or his relative, ‘How did the Lord answer? Or what did the Lord say?’ 36You must no longer [refer to a message from the Lord as a “burden”.//say that the Lord’s message is burdensome.] [NLT: For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.//For what is ‘burdensome’ really pertains to what a person himself says. You are misrepresenting the words of our God, the living God, the Lord who rules over all.] 37Each of you should merely ask the prophet, ‘What answer did the Lord give you? Or what did the Lord say?’ 38But just suppose you continue to [call the Lord’s message “a burden”.//say, ‘The message of the Lord is burdensome.’] Here is what the Lord says will happen: ‘I sent word to you that you must not [call my message a ‘burden’.//say, “The Lord’s message is burdensome.”] But you [continued to say that anyway.//used the words “The Lord’s message is burdensome” anyway.] 39So I will carry you far off and throw you away. I will send both you and the city I gave to you and to your ancestors out of my sight.40I will bring on you lasting shame and lasting disgrace which will never be forgotten!’”

We old saints should not despise all of the new songs of the young saints. Yet I totally understand the desire to avoid change.  Here we see that Scripture commands that we sing new songs. And this whole psalm can be taken as a prelude to what we will see in the book of Revelation.

Here we have a chapter break at the right place. Paul starts a new topic here.

Translation notes:

11Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on [0//the name of] the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

This is a figure of speech called metonymy. ‘The name’ stands for the whole person. First of all, even though it sounds natural to us who have been around Bibles all our lives, it really is not natural English. One never would say, “Call on the name of Obama.” We would simply call Obama, or call to Obama. Secondly, calling on a name sounds as if we are given magic words. It would be idolatry to worship a thing (even a name) rather than the Person himself.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

2015DBRP_212 Jer21-22 Ps148 1Cor5

These verses from Jeremiah 20 have been often quoted as a reason for memorizing Scripture:

9But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD
or speak in his name,
his word burns in my heart like a fire.
It’s like a fire in my bones!
I am worn out trying to hold it in!
I can’t do it!

The ending psalms just keep getting more and more exuberant in praise!

Let’s read the last few verses of chapter 4, because Paul is about to drop a bombshell in chapter 5, and it is good to see the transition.

Translation notes:

2You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove [that/this] man from your fellowship.

3Even though I am not with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit.b And as though I were there, I have already passed judgment on [that/this] man

5Then you must throw [that/this] man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyedd and he himselfe will be saved on the day the Lordf returns.

6[Given that situation] Your boasting [0//about this] is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?

There is no “about this” in the Greek, and this is a place where one would not want to claim this as added implicit information. They were boasting about other things and sweeping this under the rug. And I find it very silly to use ‘person’ instead of ‘man’ a little further on. Gender sensitivity has become a bit too sensitive.

7Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing [that wicked man//this wicked person] from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.

10But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid [everyone/people] like that.

12It isn’t [our/my] responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.

Paul uses a rhetorical question here, “What have I to do with judging outsiders?” It is a good idea to translate this as a statement. I think that Paul’s intent is not just about himself judging, and the change of pronouns in the next sentence seems jarring to me as I read the NLT.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015DBRP_211 Jer19-20 Ps147 1Cor4

In yesterday’s reading, we again heard some often-quoted verses. These verses come just after Jeremiah beautifully paraphrases Psalm 1:

9“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?
10But I, the LORD, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve.”

Then in chapter 18, we also heard the famous passage about the Lord being like a potter, which Paul refers to in Romans 9.

This is our second Hallelujah psalm. And that has been translated according to its meaning here as “Praise the LORD.” This psalm has incredible depth.

Paul is still ‘on about’ the same thing. He is going to return to the subject of himself and Apollos in this chapter (which summarizes the division in the Corinthian church). To give the connection, I will start reading at chapter 3 verse 10.

Translation notes:

7For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t [just] given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?

10Our dedication to Christ [paradoxically] makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed.

13We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. [0/Yet] we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.

Check out this episode!


Time to make clarifications, repeat info, and give news!

  • Some have asked, and I am sorry I didn’t make this clear earlier: In the 2014-2015 podcasts I am reading from the NLT (New Living Translation), which is my all-time favorite translation. In future years and as long as someone pays the monthly fee, our publisher will keep the 2015 podcasts available for any who would like to use the NLT when following Digging Deeper Daily reading plan.

  • For the 2016 podcasts, we’ll use the same reading plan, but I will be reading all the way through the GNT (Good News Translation). I will share more about that later.

  • Let me give you some prayer requests for our Bible translation work in Indonesia:

    • Praise the Lord! A Bible teacher in Jakarta recently ordered 300 copies of our Plain Indonesian New Testament.

    • It is always timely to pray for wisdom for each of our 4 translation team members plus me— for how to translate the Old Testament. Recently we have worked on our first easy books: Jonah, Esther, and not so easy: Genesis and Psalms 1-25.


    • Our organization in Indonesia is growing too fast! Please pray for the Lord to supply PEOPLE who can help us manage our growth. We need someone experienced in the organizational development of a Christian non-profit org, and 2-3 people with expertise in Bible translation, or with experience in leading Bible translation programs in ethnic languages. These people need to be Indonesian speakers or be willing to learn that language. As you might imagine, such people are not easy to find.

    • Please pray for the new semester starting on August 1 in our on-line Bible translation course. Most of those taking the course will be seminary students. Pray that all would catch a vision for supporting and promoting Bible translation for many ethnic groups in Indonesia, and that some will feel called to translate the Bible for those languages, or help us in translating the OT into plain Indonesian.

    • Pray for me. I can’t keep up with 4 team members translating the OT, so how can I keep up if we add more members from those who graduate from the course?

    • Gale and I will be traveling to Indiana and New York in the second half of August and the first part of September. Travel is always hard on Gale because of her health situation. Thank your for your prayers!

  • Some 600 people are faithfully visiting the web site every day! I praise the Lord for each of you! These are web browser visits, not people using our listening apps. A few months ago I changed the landing page of the site, hoping to make it easier for you to find what you are coming for. I think you all are coming from Youversion (or, where you are reading the DDD plan. From the download statistics, it seems that around 100 people are using web browsers to listen to the podcasts, while 500 are just visiting in order to read the introductory material. You people who are using the DBR site, please tell me how I can improve it! And please remember: When searching for a podcast by the day number, include the underscore character before the day number. The large majority of our listeners are using apps for smart devices instead of the web site.

  • How many people do you think are signed up for Digging Deeper Daily reading plan at Youversion? Not, podcast listeners, but readers of the plan. Before I tell you the number, I want you to know that only a tiny fraction of the people registered at Youversion are listening to the podcasts. But I find this number mind-boggling: Three months ago the number of people following our reading calendar was approaching 16,000!

  • The number of DBRP listeners is … (drum roll)— nearing 700 per episode, and increasing about 50 people per month. I give that statistic in order that you can share in the joy of what the Lord is doing.

  • There might be some of you who are saying, “I also would like to leave a recording of God’s Word for my grandkids. Maybe I could do a similar podcast.” And I say, “Go for it! Come on in; the water is fine.” Let me know what you want to do, and I will be glad to answer questions or give pointers on how to start.

  • If some of you have been blessed by the podcasts and would like others to find them, here are ways you can help:

    • Tell your friends about it. Word of mouth is by far the best promotion.

    • Go back to where you originally found the podcast (such as iTunes). Find a Like button, click it. Or please use the little box available there to write a short review. Your Like vote will increase our visibility in search results.

    • Another way to spread the word is to Like the dailybiblereading page on Facebook (linked here). Feel free to write something on our Facebook wall. And sharing Facebook posts about the DBRP will also really help.

  • The forum is still up at Not much happening there. But I want to leave it open, because it is a place where some of you may want to ask questions.

  • I hope you have tried out the extra series called JoySightings. We are up now to edition _009. I played one of the episodes for a friend in her late 20s, and she said it was hard to understand the King James English that Safed uses in his parables. I would like to know how many of you have trouble understanding them because of the antique language. Please join the forum linked above and tell me!

  • Some of you read our prayer letter that I linked to in my last news post. We shared that we needed a different car. We found one that we liked, but we didn’t have the $8000 price. Some dear friends gave us $2,500, and we had $1000 that was a gift from a church where we recently made a presentation. After waiting a week and finding out that the car was still available, we decided buy it and carry a loan for the remainder. But now, through a collection of unrelated special gifts, we have enough to pay off that debt. Praise the Lord for the way He provides at the right time! One touching way God provided this time was through the memorial gifts from the funeral of a precious friend. Nancy faithfully supported our work and prayed for us for over 30 years, originally starting when her husband George was still alive.

  • Perhaps you would like to give a one-time gift to help with the cost of publishing these podcasts, or even give on a recurring basis to support our Bible translation work like Nancy did. The four different ways to send gifts to support us are explained in a PDF document that is attached to this podcast, also linked here in the episode notes, and linked at the bottom of the Our Story page at People who support us enjoy the letters that Gale sends along with the tax deductible receipts.


Thanks for listening. The Southern blessing that I use often in the podcasts was one I remember Billy Graham using when I was listening to his radio programs in high school. And I’ll close with that. May the Lord bless you ‘real good’!

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015DBRP_210 Jer17-18 Ps146 1Cor3

One catches so clearly how trapped Jeremiah is in the time of God’s judgment. What the Lord told Jeremiah in yesterday’s reading is repeated in Revelation:

“‘Those who are destined for death, will die;
those who are destined for war, [will die in//to] war;
those who are destined for famine, [will die in//to] famine;
those who are destined for captivity, [will die in//to] captivity.’

There are times when no amount of ‘good living’ will give you health, wealth, and prosperity.

Here is the first of five Hallelujah psalms. Our friends, Tom and Judi Oas, visited us from Arizona. They have just retired from Wycliffe. Judi reads this psalm for us.

The topic of this chapter is still related to that verse from Jeremiah that Paul quoted about boasting. And this chapter builds on what Paul has just said about wisdom.

Translation note:

17God will destroy anyone who destroys [his/this] temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Check out this episode!

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015DBRP_209 Jer15-16 Ps145 1Cor2

Yesterday the dialog between the Lord and Jeremiah continued. We heard of the drought. And the Lord forbid Jeremiah to pray for the people of Judah.

Translation note:

2And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says:

“‘Those who are destined for death, will die;
those who are destined for war, [will die in//to] war;
those who are destined for famine, [will die in//to] famine;
those who are destined for captivity, [will die in//to] captivity.’

This is an acrostic psalm, and it gives us a great place to start when praising God.

The chapter division breaks up what Paul was teaching about God’s wisdom, so let’s start today in chapter 1 verse 18.

Translation notes:

2For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, [and the fact that He//he one who] was crucified.

6Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who [will quickly pass away//are soon forgotten].

Check out this episode!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015DBRP_208 Jer13-14 Ps144 1Cor1

In yesterday’s reading, Jeremiah complained to the Lord,

LORD, you always give me justice
when I bring a case before you.
So let me bring you this complaint:
Why are the wicked so prosperous?

And the Lord replied,

“If racing against mere men makes you tired,
how will you race against horses?
If you stumble and fall on open ground,
what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?

Psalm 144 is quite a contrast with what we have just heard in Jeremiah. This is the joyful prayer of a king who is leading his people according to the will of God.

Corinth was a metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea with a population of between 150,000 and 300,000 Roman citizens and about 460,000 slaves. There was evidently a healthy criminal population, and the city was a center of banking, so there were incredibly wealthy people there also. The city was full of idol shrines of deities from Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and there was cult prostitution.

Some commentators claim that 1 Corinthians contains parts of two letters from Paul, so that 2nd Corinthians might actually be a third or fourth letter. I don’t buy that, by the way.

Key topics of the letter include the divisions in the church, the obstacles to sharing the Gospel— God’s wisdom, to Greeks and Jews, partnership among apostles of Christ, vice in the church, various instructions about marriage, the Lord’s supper, food sacrificed to idols, Paul not caching in on his rights as an apostle, spiritual gifts and the spiritual fruit of love, and the resurrection of Christ.

Translation notes:

12Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,d” or [even] “I follow only Christ.”

17For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, [so//for fear] that the cross of Christ would lose its power.

22It is [foolishness/foolish] to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is [foolishness/foolish] to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom.

27Instead, God chose things [and people] the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

30God has [joined you as one//united you] with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.


Check out this episode!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

2015DBRP_207 Jer11-12 Ps143 John21

Yesterday we heard important verses in chapter 9:23-24, verses that Paul quotes more than once:

“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches.
But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD …

It seems that prayer is very neglected these days. Every church has trouble keeping a prayer meeting going. I myself have trouble keeping my prayer life going. If only I could be like David!

This is one of my favorite chapters. John again tells us important information not given in the other gospels. Note that there is a famous exegetical fallacy here. John does use two different words for ‘love’ in the dialog between Jesus and Peter. But this should NOT be taken, as has been so frequently taught— as showing a play on words. This is instead a feature of John’s style in writing. John’s style is seen in this same passage in the variation of ‘little lambs’ and ‘sheep’.

Translation notes:

7 Then [I—//0] the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore.

Although John has thinly concealed his identity since chapter 1, it becomes clear in this chapter that he wants to make it clear that the eyewitness he has referred to as ‘the disciple Jesus loved’ was himself. (John did not want to boast of having been a disciple of Jesus, yet at the same time he wanted to show that this book is an eyewitness account.) Using this literary device is odd enough in English. In some languages of the world, translating this device literally would be so confusing that it is better to rephrase these passages so that John speaks in the first person. Translators who do this will add a footnote explaining why John used the third person instead of the first person. In my opinion, for a podcast like this, it will be much clearer for listeners to use the same technique, and this is my footnote explaining my changes to the NLT text.

Check out this episode!