A Deeper Look Into Genesis from a Scholarly Point of View

Mentor Mama:

Today we are going to be talking about the people that were there at the very beginning of creation and we’re going to hear a fresh account of how they fit into God’s unfolding plan of redemption. You know, most Christians are familiar with the opening words of Genesis that say, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, but beyond those iconic words, sometimes things can seem to get a little hazy. Our guest today, Dan Darling, author of the book, “The Characters of Creation,” will be talking about the men and women present at the beginning of the world and help clear up some of the questions that may arise when we read through this beautiful book of beginnings, Genesis.

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Mentor Mama:

Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and leader. He is the director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dan is a bestselling author of several books, including The Characters of Creation, The Characters of Easter, and The Characters of Christmas. Dan is a columnist for World magazine and a regular contributor to USA Today. Dan speaks and preaches around the country and is regularly interviewed on radio and television, including MSNBC’s Morning Joe, CNN, and Fox. He is the host of the popular podcast, The Way Home, as well as a weekly show What do you think with Dan Darling. Dan and his wife, Angela reside in Texas with their four children. Please welcome Dan.

Dan Darling:

Hey, it’s great to be here with you.

Mentor Mama:

Thank you so much for joining us today. When I received your book about The Characters of Creation, I knew that this was going to be good because there are so many interesting details. I think that a lot of people may just never take the time to kind of sink their teeth into it. Let’s start by talking about how at the beginning of this book, you introduce a very lengthy description of God as the Supreme character in the story of Genesis. And you write this, “but before we can understand the characters of creation, we must first bow ourselves before the author of creation. God is not just another actor in this drama, a figure we mold and massage into a deity of our liking. Instead, the Bible opens by describing the formation of the world as an act that begins with the One who had no beginning, who is always there.” So tell us, why is this chapter so important to you and why do you encourage folks to read it before they read about the characters of creation?

Dan Darling:

I think it’s important because you know, I’ve written this character series: Characters of Christmas, Characters of Easter, but when you’re writing characters of Genesis you know the Supreme character at the beginning of the Bible is God. I had a teacher in seminary that said the Bible doesn’t begin with what we think about God, but it begins with what God declares about himself and I think it’s really important that Genesis makes a statement that in the beginning, God. It’s a profound statement and so, I think before we try to understand Adam and Eve and Cane and Abel and Noah and his sons, and all the characters that we find, we have to understand God, that God is the source of all of this and I really didn’t want to make it another chapter because I didn’t want to reduce God to just another character like he’s one of these ten people. So, I really felt like in the intro, in the opening statement, it was important to do that. I also think in some ways in the American church, sometimes we’re guilty of domesticating God, making him safe, making him on our level. I mean, it’s true in a sense, that Jesus is God in the flesh and so Jesus is God among us so we can see and understand God in the person of Jesus, who is fully human, and yet, God is awesome, he’s holy, he’s transcendent, and I try to make the case that this is the kind of God we want and need. We don’t need a God who’s like us. We don’t need a God who is easily manipulated. We need a God who is all-powerful, and all-knowing. And so, hopefully, I set the tone in those first opening pages.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, definitely. You know, my brain, when I start to think about all those things, kind of starts going because God is so amazing to think about. Most people read God’s call of Adam, “where are you?” as God catching Adam. But you see this more as an act of grace of God toward Adam and by extension to us. Help us understand that.

Dan Darling:

Yeah, it really is. I’ve read Genesis three, a lot in my life. Just my whole life I’ve read that passage where Adam and Eve were caught red-handed and they’ve disobeyed God, and I don’t quite think we grasp the entrance of sin into the world, how devastating it is for the world, how terrible sin is. You know, sometimes, we sort of laugh about sin. We talk about our favorite desserts that are sinfully delicious or something like that. But sin, when it came into the world, brings forth death and everything we see around us, the brokenness, the violence, the taking of innocent life, division, all kinds of evil around us that we’re exposed to that’s all because sin has sort of marveled its way through the human experience. It’s even cursed the planet in the sense that we have earthquakes and wildfires and all these things. So, it was devastating, and yet when you read God asking after Adam, he says, “Adam, where are you?” Obviously, God knew where Adam was because he was on a mission. God wasn’t trying to find something that he had misplaced. He really was seeking after Adam and I see those words, where are you, as words of grace that God is pursuing Adam and this is the story of Christianity, that God is pursuing sinners, that God is going after sinners. He has not left us in our sin, but he’s coming after us and all of us in some ways can say that at some point in our lives, the father came after us and said, where are you? Those are words of grace. Adam was caught in his sin, trying to cover his sin himself was inadequate. He needed God to cover his sin, and of course, that’s the picture of salvation, that God has sent Jesus to cover our sin for us. He’s come after us. When I think of that image of God coming after Adam, I think of the father of the prodigal son running after his son, you know, hiking up his garments so he could run faster and go see his son. This is the God we serve and so even in the opening pages of Genesis, even in Genesis three, with the weight of all that has happened there with the fall, you see a God of grace.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, that’s a beautiful way of interpreting it. I think it is profound just that God like you said, searched them out immediately and so lovingly. A lot of scholars, even some evangelicals, doubt whether or not Adam was a real person, but you go to great lengths in this book to make the argument that he has to be. Why is this important?

Dan Darling:

Yeah, there there’s a lot of debate among scholars about the nature of Adam or if Adam and Eve were real people. Were they really the head, the fountainhead of the human race, the first people? Some people suggest that maybe there were humans before Adam and Eve and God sort of appropriated Adam and Eve as an example of the human race, or others have said, perhaps that, there were kind of lesser forms of humans or something that comes along, or maybe Adam and Eve didn’t actually exist. And there’s a lot of debate about that, but I really think there’s a lot of things about Genesis that Christians do debate and have debated for 2000 years. You know, how exactly old the earth is and some of those things. But, when it comes to Adam and Eve, I really feel like you have to accept the fact that they were real human beings for a few reasons. I think number one, the whole storyline of the Bible depends on it. Here you have Paul in the New Testament, he is assuming that Adam and Eve are real people, as in, Adam all die, you know, by one man, sin came into the world. He’s not talking about Adam as a figurehead. He’s not talking about Adam as a symbol. He’s saying this actually happened. And then Jesus refers back to Adam in the Gospels and as real people and Paul says in Acts 17, from one man came all nations, so I don’t think we know more than Jesus and Paul. Paul is a Hebrew scholar. He was steeped in Hebrew Scriptures. So, Paul understood all the arguments and everything. And of course, Jesus is the Son of God. I don’t think we’re more sophisticated than they are and so, I think we can believe it. It takes faith to believe it because there are some scientists and scholars that feel like maybe if you look at natural evidence, that doesn’t point that way. I also think the idea that we all came from one couple really is a part of the way that the Bible can unify us in our diversity. As different as we are from other people, whether it’s ethnically different or any other way, we’re really not that different. We’re human beings at the end of the day, made in the image of God, fallen sinners who’ve sinned against God and who need salvation in Christ. And so, I think the idea that we all come from one person is a comforting thing. And so, I think we can believe what the Bible says. I would think we can trust it. If Jesus believed it, if Moses believed it, if Paul believed it, it should be good enough for us to believe.

Mentor Mama:

Yeah, it sure should. Since Adam was this first human being, you ask readers what it must have been like to wake up as the first human in history. Tell us, what do you imagine this would be like?

Dan Darling:

You know, it’s interesting, we read Genesis and one of the things I do when I try to write these character books is that I really try to understand what was it been like to be him? You know, Adam’s a symbol of the Fall, the first Adam and second Adam, and all that is really important in the Bible storyline. But we also have to think of him as an actual human being and to be the first human being, there was no template for him to copy. He sort of, was shaped and formed and thrust into this new world. He didn’t have parents to sort of model this for him. What would it have been like to be him to walk with God in the cool of the day? The Bible does say that initially, he was lonely. It was only him and it does speak to the fact that we were born for community. It’s not good for humans to be alone, God says and sort of pausing his creation, making a statement that we were born for community, but then also what would it have been like to be Adam to bear the weight of the sin in the sense that you, because of his decision to disobey God, sin now enters and it’s corrupted the human race and to bear the weight that every human being after him will be born into sin? That violence and death, mayhem, and sexual perversion and every other kind of sin, abuse, all the result of his decision, what would it be like to bear that weight? And yet, Adam didn’t have to bear the weight of his sin because there would be a second Adam who would come along who would bear the weight of his sin and in some ways, all of us in a sense, feel like Adam at times where we’re bearing the weight of our sin on our shoulders. We look around and see the decisions we’ve made, the sins we’ve committed, the mess we’ve made of our lives, and it’s too much to bear, and the truth is that it is too much to bear, but Jesus came and he bore that sin. The second Adam bore the sin that the first Adam could not bear so that we could have freedom. And so, I think there’s a lot there when you think about Adam as an actual real person.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, absolutely. What comes to my mind as well, is that Adam, unlike us, saw what perfection was in the Garden of Eden and how beautiful and amazing and glorious it was and to see then what it was like after, when they were put out of the garden. I can only imagine how it would just be intensified all that much more. Well, let’s talk a little bit about Eve. In the chapter on Eve, you write about temptation and this is one of your quotes. It says, “because Adam and Eve sinned, we live with this lie embedded in our hearts, embedded in the world around us. The advice that tells us to just follow our hearts, to throw off the shackles of God’s good design. As a result, so many sons and daughters of Eve live enslaved to desire.” So tell us, what is this lie that is embedded in our hearts?

Dan Darling:

Sin initially begins, I think, with this idea that God, the Father, is holding out on us, that he’s not a good Father, that there’s something more. That was what Satan was whispering to Eve, are you really sure God is giving you all that’s good for you? He’s holding out on you, there are things he’s holding back from you. The lie is that the only way to really experience life is to sin, then you’ll really know good and evil. Well, there’s a knowing about good and evil that’s healthy. A discernment to know, here’s good, here’s evil, but then there’s a knowing that the Bible talks about that’s more of an experience of entering in, and that kind of knowledge, that kind of experience, is not ultimately for our good, you don’t have to experience sin to understand its devastation. I also think the lie is that you can be like God. This idea that you can bear the weight that only God can bear. We were created as finite creatures; we are created as humans made to worship God. A lie that the serpent whispered to Eve was that you can be all-knowing you can be Omniscient. You can be all of these things. And the truth is, in tempting Eve to sin, the serpent made the promise that Eve would be kind of superhuman, more like God. But actually, when we sin, we become less than human. Sometimes we’ll say, well, I’m only human, when we do sin. Actually, sin is a distortion of humanity. We actually become more animalistic. You know, Eve and Adam had dominion over the serpent. They had dominion over the animal kingdom, and yet here they were taking orders from animals and so, everything was sort of upside down and distorted.

Mentor Mama:

Yes. Oh, that’s so interesting. Eve is both the one who was deceived and also the mother of all living and you write that through the woman, God’s promise of redemption was delivered. So explain why this matters.

Dan Darling:

It does matter. I mean, childbirth obviously is kind of mixed, right? There is pain in childbirth, but then it’s also a real joy to be able to bring life into the world. And when God is telling Eve that she is the mother of all living, he’s talking about this violent clash between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. It would be through women that God’s promise would be fulfilled if you think about not just Eve giving birth to the next generation, which is a sign that even in a fallen world, God wanted human beings to continue, that was part of his plan but also think of the miraculous birth throughout the Bible narrative. Abraham and Sarah have a miraculous birth and through that birth, God’s promise of a nation and a Redeemer comes through. Think of Hannah, who prayed for God to give her a child, and through her child we got Samuel who’s a judge and a priest and a ruler in Israel. And then of course it was through the birth of Jesus, the miraculous birth of Jesus, the virgin birth of Jesus through a woman. Again, God’s promise is delivered. And so, there’s a storyline throughout Scripture, and Paul refers to this in Timothy that he was saved yet through childbirth. Through women, God’s plan of redemption was enacted and so Christianity, the story of Christianity actually, elevates women. It elevates the status of women and if you’re reading this in the ancient near east, this was radical. The idea that women were as fully human as men, that actually God, through women, would enact his promise of redemption. If you’re reading this in the Greco-Roman culture, at the time of Jesus, in the time of the early church, this was also radical. The idea that God would use women in such a way if you look at the genealogy of Jesus and Matthew mentions four women, which is kind of unusual for genealogies (of that time) to mention that, so I think it’s really important to the storyline of the Gospel that through women, God has brought about redemption and through childbirth, that it’s a sign that God is always birthing something new in the world, God is in the business of creation and re-creation, and this is what he is doing in us. Each of us, when we become Christians, God is birthing something new. There’s a new birth happening in us, so I think all that fits together.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, it does. Oh, that’s a super cool way to look at it. Having given birth to three children and seeing just how miraculous it truly, it’s something only God can do and it’s just mind-blowing. You give a chapter to both Cain and Abel and you even see in Cain’s story, examples of God’s grace and yet Cain’s rejection of grace. Why is Cain such a warning about the dangers of self-worship?

Dan Darling:

We don’t know the exact details of how often Cain and Abel would bring their sacrifices. We just know that there’s that one moment where Abel brought a sacrifice, an animal sacrifice, and Cain brought the fruits of the ground and God rejected Cain’s sacrifice. Clearly, there was a pattern there and God had probably given them direction, but we don’t know that, all we know is that God rejected it. But even in Cain’s story, you see grace. God’s rejection of Cain’s sacrifice was judgment, but it was also an act of grace to say, Cain, there is a way. God rejected Cain’s way, but there’s God’s way. Cain has kind of symbolic of wanting to approach God on our own terms. God has made a way for us to approach him and those of us who understand the Bible, on this side of Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has made a way for us to approach him and that’s through Jesus. The Bible says that if you have the Son, you have life. Jesus said, “I’m the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” God has made a way to be approached. If he’s God and if he’s truly transcendent and all-powerful. But we typically want to come on our own way and Cain symbolizes this false religion that says I could work my way to God. I can do it my way. Well, God rejected it, but Cain had an opportunity. And God also warned Cain and said, sin lies at the door of your heart. In other words, if you don’t take care of this sin, it’s going to grow and fester and we all know that when we let sin grow and we nurture it James says that sin, when it conceives brings forth death, and we see that out of jealousy, Cain slays his brother, God sees what he’s done. It says Abel’s blood cries to him from the ground, that no act of violence goes unnoticed by God and yet God gives him grace. Instead of destroying him at the moment, he puts a mark on him of some kind, maybe a physical mark or something else to protect him, and yet, Cain we see in his life, goes further and further away. He moves geographically further and further away from his parents, further away from God. He’s a symbol in some ways of what theologians call common grace, that God protects even those who don’t acknowledge him. And you wonder with Cain, was there ever a moment where he said, I want to repent and I want to come back to God, I want to be right with God? But his heart hardens and he moves away from God. So, I think he’s a warning for us to not ignore the warnings that God sends into our lives. If you’re a young person God’s giving you warnings through your parents or your church, you’ve been exposed to the message of grace, of the Gospel. The more you ignore it, the more you reject it, the more your heart can get hardened away from God. And yet I think there’s also hope for the Cain’s out there, that as long as you have life there’s an opportunity to repent and come back to faith.

Mentor Mama:

Oh, absolutely. I think one of the most powerful exercises I ever did in a Bible study was just to chart out from my birth until now and just see how before I was even a believer, God was extending me grace, over and over and over again. Your message there about Cain and God’s grace is so powerful. You describe Abel as the world’s first martyr and Hebrews laud him as a hero of faith, what can we learn from his short life?

Dan Darling:

We don’t know much about Abel other than he was faithful in the moment that he was called. He brought his sacrifice to God in the way that God had asked him to do. You know, Cain’s sacrifice was much more spectacular. It was much more beautiful. Abel’s sacrifice was the one that God required and shows us that faithfulness is more important to God than spectacular achievements and all of those things. But the Book of Hebrews kind of says that he is a martyr. By faith, he approached God and he was martyred for his faith. He was killed simply because he obeyed God and did what God asked him to do and sometimes when you follow God, there are going to be people that oppose you. Sometimes people who are close to you, sometimes people that are related to you, sometimes people that you think are your friends are going to be mad that you are following God. There’s going to be jealousy and envy of the joy and relationship you have with God. Abel was martyred for his faith, but God saw it. Cain thought he got away with it. He killed Abel and thought, no one’s going to see this. My parents don’t see this. Nobody around me will see it, but God saw it, and it just shows us that we have a God of justice that every drop of innocent blood that is shed, God sees it. It calls to him from the ground. Every life is precious to him. And you think about around the world, so many Christians are martyred for the faith. So many Christians are persecuted, they’re imprisoned, and some are killed simply for naming the name of Jesus, simply for going to God in the way that God asked to be approached. And this was Abel, Abel approached God in the way he has to be approached. And so, I think we should pray for the martyrs. Those of us who have freedom, religious freedom, should pray for those around the world. I am a big fan of Voice of the Martyrs and they just do great work, highlighting our brothers and sisters around the world who today are meeting in caves and underground and in secret in order to live out their faith. God sees them and hears them and Abel is a great symbol of that, I think.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, we’ll put a link to the Voice of the Martyrs here, because I agree with you, that is an excellent organization and something that we can actually do is be praying for those people.

Mentor Mama:

Well, the Bible is full of some very interesting and crazy stories. I know right now I’ve been reading through the Book of the Ezekiel and there’s some crazy stuff in there. Let’s talk about the mystery of the Nephilim. What are we to make of this story of the sons of God coming to the children of men and what some think to be superhuman creatures?

Dan Darling:

It’s a fascinating story and it’s hard to make sense of it in Genesis. I’ve read it my whole life and tried to make sense of what it is and really Christians have debated this throughout church history. You have this where the Bible talks about the sons of God visiting the daughters of men and this was one of the signs that God was going to judge the world. The signs that evil had reached a fever pitch. So, I think there’s a lot for us to think about. There are one of two things, some Christians throughout church history have felt like this was symbolic. The idea of sons of God is symbolic. You have the line of Seth and you have the line of Cain and it’s showing that the seed of the woman, the seed of the serpent are taking two different courses and God is going to preserve a righteous line through which comes the nation of Israel through which comes the Messiah. Then you have this unrighteous line and I think you see that throughout Genesis. Others say, well, the language is pretty descriptive and it’s hard to come to any other conclusion other than that it’s angels and women cohabitating. And so, the reformers, Luther and Calvin, insisted, no, it’s not these superhuman creatures, angels and humans cohabitating having these super creatures, the Nephilim. Others have said, yes, it has to be, you know, some of the early church fathers like Augustin. And then, in modern days, I have probably listened to it and read almost every sermon or lecture or thing on this to try to make sense of it and I came away saying, I’m not really sure. I do think the one thing we can draw from this is that there is a sense of spiritual warfare that the sin in the world and the evil in the world had gotten so bad that God had to judge the world, but it’s a sense of spiritual warfare that we’re not fighting flesh and blood, but principalities and powers. So, these Nephilim, these superhuman creatures, interesting, they show up again in the story of Israel and the Land of Canaan. They show up in Jude and Second Peter, when they’re talking about God’s judgment of the wicked world, we don’t quite know what’s going on here and I’ll love to go to Heaven, when we go to heaven and figure out, were these angels and humans cohabitating, creating superhuman creatures, or was this just symbolic? We don’t know, but we do know that we are fighting a spiritual battle, that we don’t fight flesh and blood, but principalities and powers and we got to take it seriously, take this as a lesson that we got to take sincerely and take seriously that there is a spiritual battle going on, but Christ defeated sin and death in the grave and he has defeated the enemy powers.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, he sure has and I think as you said, it’s just one of those stories in the Bible that are just very complex and difficult to really wrap your mind around it. Let’s talk about your chapter on Noah. You described the faith of Noah who was unlike his contemporaries, followed God. And we forget how hard this must have been day after day, obeying God and enduring mockery and all. Tell us more about Noah and what we can learn from his faith.

Dan Darling:

Noah is a great example of faithfulness. The Bible says he’s the only righteous man. This is someone who is willing to live against the culture even though he was the only one with courage enough to say, I’m going to live according to what God says, even though everyone else is going a different way. We need this kind of courage today, both in our young people, and Christians everywhere. Not in a way that I’m just going to be angry all the time and be contrary just for the sake of it. We should show kindness and civility in the way we act, but to follow God is to be against the world in many ways. And Noah was willing to do that, he and his family, and imagine what it would have been like for him to say to everyone else, I’ve got this special word from God that God is going to judge the world with rain. It had never rained before this, so they thought he was crazy. And then, God told me to build this boat and they think, you’ve really lost it. But day after day, he’s building that boat. And you know, when we think of the Ark, we think of this big, massive structure, but it was built a day at a time. It was built a piece of wood and a nail at a time and this is how a faithful life is built. It’s built one day at a time, one step at a time, a passage of Scripture at a time, a conversation with someone at a time, one at a time. That adds up to a life at the end of faithfulness. And Noah is a great example of that kind of faithfulness, that it’s not often in the big splashy things, but it’s showing up every day. Noah showed up every day for a hundred years, preaching faithfully, building faithfully, and leading his family in that way and God blessed his faithfulness. We also see the Ark as a sign of God’s promise. It’s a sign and Jesus referred back to it and so did Paul and others, it’s a sign of God’s faithfulness and the Ark is a symbol of Christ and that in Christ, we are saved from the wrath of God. We are saved from God’s righteous judgment against sin and I think it reminds us again of that. God is right to judge sin and judge the world, but there’s also a way of escape. You know, all those people, there was room on the Ark for them and they resisted God’s saving grace. We look at the Ark and say, man, how could God flood the world like that? Well, God warned the world for a hundred years and there was room on the Ark and I think it’s the same way today. We say that God’s judgment is coming for people, but there’s a way of escape through Christ. You could know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can have forgiveness and escape God’s wrath against sin.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, absolutely. I just want to sort of wrap up this discussion on your chapter on Satan. What are some common myths that people have about the enemy of God?

Dan Darling:

I think it’s a couple of common myths. I think one myth is that we just forget that he’s there and we live in a very secular world so any idea of talk of Satan and devils is like, oh, you’re just crazy. We live in a world where we want to measure things and see things, but the Bible does say that there’s a spiritual battle out there, that Satan is seeking whom he can devour. Paul said we don’t fight flesh and blood, but principalities and powers. So, Satan is behind a lot of these things and we have to be aware. The other myth is that we can take on Satan on our own. As human beings, Satan is more powerful than us. The idea is that we can just take him on, take on temptation in our own strength, we will fail, but we can resist temptation in the power of the Spirit of God. But the most important truth to understand that combats, I think one of the biggest myths about Satan is that the battle between God and Satan is an equal match. That it’s, kind of, these two equals duking it out and God won in the end when Jesus cried, it is finished and he defeated Satan and sin and death in the grave. The truth is Satan is a created being, and Satan is only able to do what God allows him to do. He’s on a leash. God is more powerful than Satan. Satan is no match for God. We should understand that when Paul says, if God is for us, who can be against us, he really means it, that if God is for us, Satan can’t touch us. Now he could harm us. We can lose our health, we could lose our resources, but we can’t lose our status as children of God. When Jesus cried, it is finished on the cross, he defeated sin and death in the grave. He defeated the enemy powers. So, Satan does seek whom he may devour, but he’s a toothless lion. If you’re a follower of Jesus, we don’t have to be subject to his whims and his things. We can flee Satan and flee temptation and flee all those things and live in the power and Spirit of God. That’s the great news from Genesis.

Mentor Mama:

It sure is. It sure is. Amen. The victory is Jesus. Dan, your book is just so interesting and obviously packed with way more details than we can discuss here. How can people find out more information about you and your book?

Dan Darling:

They can go to my website, danieldarling.com. They can also go to Amazon or christianbook.com or Barnes and Noble or Independent Books or anywhere you get books, moodypublishers.com,, and find it. You can order it there and encourage folks to get that. It’s available in Kindle, hard copy, and audible, anyway you prefer to get your books. You can follow me. You could go to my website, danieldarling.com and you can sign up for my newsletter, you can also follow me on social media there. I would love to interact with you.

Mentor Mama:

That’s awesome. Before we go, I want to ask you some of our favorite questions. What Bible do you use and which translation is it?

Dan Darling:

I grew up with the King James Version and there are still a lot of verses that I memorized as a child that I think of those lyrics and there are some that I just can’t escape the King James language. But for a long time, I was an ESV person. I love the English Standard Version. I still think it’s a great version, but lately, I’ve been using the Christian Standard Bible published by Broadman and Holman. I just like it for both its accuracy and its readability, but I really like the ESV too, so I sort of go back and forth, but I kind of write and preach out of the CSB at this point. I like to read a lot of translations, especially when there are hard passages to see, okay, how did this translation do it versus this one? You know, I went to seminary and taking the first year of Greek really made me honor and respect those who do the hard work of translation, because it’s really a difficult thing to go from Greek, which is a dead language, into English. So, I really respect those folks, but I really like the CSB. It’s been a great Bible to read and preach and write from.

Mentor Mama:

Both of those are excellent translations and I can sympathize with you, not personally, but watching my daughter take Greek at Moody. She said it was just so hard, but obviously, it does lend itself to a much deeper understanding. Do you have any favorite journaling supplies or anything that you like to use to enhance your Bible study experience?

Dan Darling:

So it’s interesting. I’m not much of a journaler. About 10 years ago, 15 years ago, I used to beat myself up because I don’t journal. Like I have friends that really do this well, and I just realize, for me, I think my version of journaling is all my writing, you know, articles and books and all that. That’s what I tell myself. But when I do my Bible reading, I do really like to shake it up. For several years in a row, I did read through the Bible in a year, which I just love, and I had this little short checkoff thing and just getting the content of Scripture into me, even if every day it’s not like this aha moment where you’re walking forward and in tears and all that. You do have some of those days, but some days it’s getting it in you and then you can draw from it. What’s the Bible say? You hide God’s Word in your heart that you won’t sin against him? I think you draw from that. And then some years I’ve just focused on one book, you know, the Psalms, and just going through it in a deep way. And so, I kind of have different things that I do every year, but I do like to get up in the morning early, have my coffee, and start my day out with the Lord and it’s just really important for me. And, I think my prayer life has changed a little bit. The pressures of life, I have four kids. I find myself praying in the morning, obviously, but also sometimes late at night, you know, when you’re thinking about all these things you have to do and just praying, that is a good time to pray, as well, so that’s kind of my method. It’s not that great. Now, if I’m going through a book, sometimes I like to have a commentary to help me walk through and say like, what am I missing here? Things like that.

Mentor Mama:

Awesome. Everybody does it differently and each of us has our own way. Lastly, what is your favorite app or website for Bible study tools?

Dan Darling:

That’s a great question. I like to use Logos for some things to look up. Also, there are a lot of online tools that are great, especially when I’m writing and looking up Bible verses and looking up commentaries. I like a good study Bible. I kind of collect study Bibles and I found them enormously helpful when I’m doing research. I have a lot of commentaries as well, and those can be really helpful if I’m going through a particular book, I may buy one or two commentaries on that book just to really dive in deep. But I found study Bibles to be helpful. The ESV Study Bible, The CSB, The Zondervan, there’s an archeological study Bible. There are a number of them that I have and I’m always collecting them. I find those helpful, not just with the commentaries, but a lot of them have really helpful charts to figure out the timeline of what’s happening or different characters, or trying to figure out some of those things like some of the background information, about some of the times in which the Books of the Bible are written, so, I really encourage folks to have a few good study Bibles. They could really enhance your knowledge of Scripture.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, I completely concur and I would also mention the Moody Bible Commentary, as well. That’s one that I have, it’s kind of nice because it’s all in one big book, but it is a great resource as well. Dan, thank you so much for being here today to share about your book and your fresh insights into the beginning of the Bible story and for our readers, I just want to encourage you to pick up a copy of Dan’s book called, “The Characters of Creation.” You can find the link in our show notes, and please also head over to our blog where you can interact with us about this podcast and share your comments, and finally head over to the Coffee and Bible Time website for our prayer journals that will help guide and document your prayer life at coffeeandbibletime.com. We also have two new courses on how to pray using our prayer journal and prayer binder. Thank you for joining us today. We love you all. Have a blessed day.

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