2 Timothy 2 Published

August 29th, 2008


2 Timothy 2 has finally been published!

I have spent the last two days updating the program that converts the export from my Bible software into web pages. I wrote the program in Visual Basic 6 years ago, and have made improvements almost every time I have published a new chapter. This time required a lot more work because I had redesigned the web site in the interim, and I needed to incorporate those changes into the software.

I had run the conversion program from my laptop in the past, but my new laptop has Vista on it, which is incompatible with VB6. I installed Visual Basic 2008 on Vista, but when I converted the program, there were a lot of errors resulting from many fundamental incompatibilities between VB6 and VB2008. Oh well. I doubt I will want to take the time to reprogram this for an upgrade. For now, I have Windows XP on my desktop, and will run the conversions from there.

I look forward to working on the next chapter: 2 Timothy 3!

Enjoy, and God bless,

Daily Bible Reading iCalendar Fixed & Improved

August 16th, 2008

The old iCalendar feed I had available was really difficult to work with. The most important change I made was to convert the old iCalendar from a static file that had all the readings for the entire year in it, and having each appointment repeat each year, to a dynamic file that delivers only three weeks of readings surrounding the current day. I had set up a database for the RSS feed, and was able to reuse that table for the iCalendar, which allows the application to choose the current readings easily and account for Leap Year.

The iCalendar format makes it easy to add these reminders to Outlook, Google Calendar, and AirSet.

Features include:

  • Only populates calendar for two weeks ahead and one week past, instead of putting in the whole year of readings
  • Reading schedule now accounts for Leap Years
  • Links back to MBC Daily Reading page if you would like to read the Bible online
  • Visitors can subscribe anonymously
  • Uses iCalendar v2, which should work with most iCalendar applications

Add “Read the Bible in a Year” to your iCalendar Add daily readings to your iCalendar client

Daily Bible Reading RSS Feed Added

August 16th, 2008

I have added an RSS feed that will allow people to subscribe to daily reminders with their favorite news aggregator (my personal favorite is Google Reader)!

Features include:

  • Always has seven days of readings available
  • Reading schedule now accounts for Leap Years
  • Links back to MBC Daily Reading page if you would like to read the Bible online
  • Visitors can subscribe anonymously
  • Uses RSS v2, which should work with all modern RSS readers

You can subscribe to the “Read the Bible in a Year” RSS feed by clicking on this link: RSS Daily Bible Reading Feed

Daily Bible Reading E-mail Reminders are Working Again!

August 13th, 2008

The Bible reading e-mail reminder subscription has been broken since 2007-07-22. I do not remember the circumstances, but I must have been in a rush to move the site to a new host. I did not even have a backup of the database from the old server! I have reconstructed the database, updated the code, and moved the daily reading pages to their own, higher-profile, location. For those who had previously signed up for daily reminders, I regret that your subscriptions were lost. I will develop a better system to both back this up while keeping your e-mail addresses confidential. Thank you for your patience.

Subscribe to Daily Bible Reading Reminders Receive daily e-mail reminders

Read the Bible in a Year page

Sabbatical At An End

August 10th, 2008

As some of you have noticed, I have been on a sabbatical from writing the Marsh Bible Commentary for several years. I am happy to announce that I have started writing again. I am also going to try leveraging tools like this blog, which were not available when I was writing before. I am most of the way through 2 Timothy now, and anticipate that I will be publishing again in a week or two. I have not run through my export process in years, so I am not sure what debugging I might need to do with the application.

I hope you find this site informative, useful, and inspiring.

God bless,


Re: Polygamy Questions

June 13th, 2006

Question from Will:

David and Solomon (for example) had many wives and concubines (all legally I presume). And my question is are we limited to one wife only because the law of the US limits that number to one? If I lived in another country where there is no such law limiting how many I can marry, and I marry 10 wives, then would this be ok Biblically speaking?

My reply:

Hi Will,

In the Old Testament, God did not specifically say anything about polygamy being a sin, although He did provide some rules (for example, not marrying two sisters, mother and daughter, close relatives, etc.). In the New Testament, Paul specifically said that a man with more than one wife should not be allowed to serve in a church role. Paul tended to discourage marriage if the people could resist, because the extra responsibilities could easily distract people from their faith.

Polygamy was not illegal in the United States until 1822. If I recall correctly, it was in response to the spread of Mormonism, which strongly encouraged polygamy. The Mormon church later reversed its stance, but those who still wanted to practice it either moved to other countries or continue to practice in secret.

So legally, yes, it is based on the country you are in. Biblically, it is allowed with some restrictions. Practically, one should assess his emotional ability to handle the many complicated relationships that can result (Jacob’s story is quite enlightening), and his physical ability to support the large families that tend to result from such marriages (the Patriarchs tended to be wealthy men).

Hope that helps,


Re: Marijuana and Alcohol Questions

September 5th, 2004

Question from an anonymous e-mail:

I was just wondering.. what does the Lord think of people who use Marijuana? Does he shun it? What about alcohol?

My reply:


Thanks for writing me. I hope to help you with your questions.

The Bible does speak about alcohol use. People in the Bible, including Jesus, drank alcoholic beverages. Wine was a very common drink both at celebrations and in everyday life – especially when potable water was unavailable. Jesus turned water into a fine wine at a wedding celebration at the beginning of His ministry and shared wine with His disciples at the Last Supper. So God does not shun people for drinking alcohol. What He prohibits is becoming inebriated. God made us to be reasonable and intelligent beings, but when we are intoxicated, our judgment becomes impaired, our inhibitions to do bad things is lowered, and we are more likely to harm others and ourselves. In the United States, many churches take a strong stand against alcohol because in our culture drinking is practically equated with getting drunk. This is generally reinforced by the apostle Paul’s admonition not to do something that might hinder others from seeking God. In short, consuming alcohol is fine before God as long as one does not become impaired. Under some circumstances, however, it is wise to refrain from drinking altogether if it will help someone else.

Marijuana and other drugs are not explicitly dealt with in the Bible, but it is reasonable to apply the same reasoning process to it. If a substance is going to impair your thinking abilities, then do not do it. There is another aspect of this issue, though. Marijuana and several other drugs are generally illegal to own or use. Christians are expected to follow the laws of the land, and should not participate in illegal activities of any sort, including drug abuse.

However, the overarching principle of salvation has little to do with alcohol and drug use. There are many people who have not consumed either of these substances, but that does not mean that they will go to heaven. There are also people who have abused both, but will be with God forever. This is because we do not earn heaven by our behavior. Heaven is a gift we receive from God when we trust in Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for all our sins, whether they include substance abuse, sexual misconduct, robbery, or any number of other things. When a person admits he has sinned (that is, he has done things that God does not approve of) and asks Jesus to forgive him, the guilt and eternal consequences of our sins are taken away. God then begins to live inside the believer in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works with our conscious to improve our behavior and overcome our addictions. Our focus turns away from pleasing ourselves all the time and toward pleasing God and loving people. No one will ever be perfect in this life, but Jesus already paid the penalty for the believer’s sins. The believer establishes an ongoing and growing relationship with God through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers.

I am not sure what your particular situation is, but if you would like to know more about becoming a Christian (I am assuming from your note that you are not – please pardon me if I am mistaken) there are probably many local resources for you to look into. If you want to talk with a minister, you could call a local church and make an appointment (I am partial to the Baptist denomination). If you are in high school or college, there are probably some Christian groups on campus in which you could find someone to talk with. Of course, you can ask me more questions, but I feel that personal contact is more effective. Also, remember that people you might talk to are going to be imperfect. Some may try to pressure you or "scare" you into accepting Jesus. If that is the case, see if you can find someone else who will be able to reason with you and love you where you are. I hope that you will know that God loves you very much and wants you to be with Him forever.

Take care, and God bless,


P.S. I do have Bible verses that relate to these things, but I did not want to confuse you with references to it if you are not familiar with it. I can provide them for you if you like.


Prov 20:1; Prov 21:17; Prov 23:20-21; Prov 23:29-35; Prov 31:4-7; Isa 5:11-12; Isa 5:22; Isa 28:7-8; Hos 4:11; Luke 21:34; Rom 13:13; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:18; 1 Thess 5:6-7; John 2:1-11; Luke 22:17-20; Rom 13:1; 1 Cor 8

Important Things

June 6th, 2002

The most important time:


The most important person:

The one you’re with

The most important thing to do:


Rules of E-mail

June 6th, 2002

I have these taped to my monitor at work. These were helpful when I was doing computer support.

  1. Does your e-mail indicate that you really care about the person and solving their problem?
  2. Have you researched the problem? Have you checked the available resources before bothering other people or implying that others might be at fault — which you should not do anyway?
  3. Do you have permission from the proper authorities to do what you have promised?
  4. Does everyone need to be CC:ed? Has anyone been left off that should be included?
  5. Can anything you have said be misconstrued as an insult? If you are numberswiki.com

    feeling hostile, have you prayed about this? Perhaps you had better send it later. Do not say anything about anyone that you would not say to their face.

  6. Check your pride in at the door. There is no need to build yourself up — just do a good job. If you need to apologize, then do it. Even if you don’t think so, pretend that the person knows what they are saying. Perhaps they do!
  7. Remember that God is watching. Is what you are doing pleasing to Him? Is what you are doing helping others to see that God is good?

A Promise to Reflect

June 6th, 2002

I promise to take time each day to think about my thoughts and actions and judge them
in the light of God’s Word. If I have done something right I will attempt to keep doing it
and give thanks to God. If more info

I have done something wrong, I will ask for forgiveness, make
restitution, and take steps to prevent future errors I will seek God’s help in these
matters through His speaking to my spirit, through His Word, and through the counsel of
godly people.