D.A. Carson – Basics for Believers (2004)

[I am disposing of this book – for the general reason see the post on book preservation.]

There is one topic I had wanted to tackled earlier:

I am able to do all things through the help of Christ, which strengtheneth me. [Philippians 4:13 – New Testament, Geneva Bible 1599]

Carson wrote: “This verse is often wrenched out of its context.” (p.124) He expresses the need to see it in light of earlier verses from the letter like verse 11. Carson states Paul’s intent as – in whatever situations, he has trained himself to wholly rely and seek refuge in God and thus “be content.” This is a view supported by Matthew Poole’s Commentary (Biblehub entry):

we are not to understand it absolutely, but restrictively to the subject matter he had before mentioned in the precedent verses, intimating he could by the Lord’s help use well both prosperity and adversity: or, all those things the Lord called him to and put him upon

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (Biblehub entry):

13. I can do all things] More exactly, I have strength for all things; whether to do or to bear. The Latin versions, beautifully, render, omnia possum. The “all things” are, of course, not all things absolutely; he is not the Omnipotent. They are “all things” with which he has to do, as the will of God brings them to him

The dissenting view by Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:

(13) I can do all things.—Properly, I have strength in all things, rather (according to the context) to bear than to do. But the universal extension of the maxim beyond the immediate occasion and context is not inadmissible. It represents the ultimate and ideal consciousness of the Christian.

My conclusion is to take the conservative stance in the vein of Carson. The reason is logical inference, where ‘all things’ is simply not possible. Further,  the Greek rendering of: “I have strength for all things” and the context is unlikely to mean universal usage and application. 

I hope this is of value.


Healing Relations: 3 July 2005 [JH]

I remember a phrase along these lines: Christianity has been tried, and not found wanting, but merely impossible.

How tough it is to recognise that in any relationship, we actually fail to see our own flaws (however minute or small or concealed) that contribute to conflict or discomfort? (See 1 John 1:5-10, New Testament of the Bible)

How tough it is to restrain one’s mouth and to be “wholesome” and “edifying” in one’s speech. (Ephesians 4:29, New Testament of the Bible)

How difficult it is for us to avoid jumping to conclusions based on experience or our historical/ingrained worldview?

How many are willing to be peacemakers? (Matthew 5:9, New Testament of the Bible)

I should be repenting “in dust and ashes”. (Job 42:6, Old Testament of the Bible)

Note: All scripture from 1599 Geneva Bible.


Book Preservation

Upon the interpretation of advice and considering several factors, I have thrown away quite some books (less painfully than expected) and printed material. I have been digitising other works, and I hope to digitise my final university year Independent Study Module (ISM) on the historiography* of the August Revolution (Vietnam, 1945).

Some suggested references from the National Library Board/National Archives of Singapore (after seeking their counsel in Jan 2018):

  • The preservation management handbook : a 21st-century guide for libraries, archives, and museums / [edited by] Ross Harvey and Martha R. Mahard.

    Call No.:     R English R 025.84 PRE -[LIB]

    Description:        Includes bibliographical references and index.I. Fundamentals — Mapping the preservation landscape for the 21st century — Preservation principles — Managing preservation: policy, assessment, planning — II. Collections — Artifacts and information — The environment — III. Materials and objects — Creating preservation-friendly objects — IV. Media and material — Introduction — Holdings protection — Paper objects and books — Photographic materials — Sound materials — Moving image materials — Digital storage media and files — Textiles — Paintings. Availability:         Lee Kong Chian Reference Library Lvl 8-Reference

  • Preservation and conservation for libraries and archives / Nelly Balloffet and Jenny Hille ; Judith Reed, technical editor ; Jenny Hille, illustrator.

    Publisher:  Chicago : American Library Association, 2005.

    Call No.:     R English R q025.84 BAL -[LIB]

    Availability:         Lee Kong Chian Reference Library Lvl 8-Reference


Hope this is helpful  :  )

*Historiography = a critical examination of historical sources and products, including in this case Vietnamese magazines (hardcopies from the Yusof Ishak Institute, and online etc.)


Cheers快乐工作人杂志 May 2017-Issue 200

Another Taiwanese magazine review… had been reflecting on setbacks and found this. [All Mandarin/Chinese in Traditional Script. China uses the Simplified Script instead.]

Latisha Chan or 詹詠然 (doubles tennis partner of Martina Hingis) quoted 戴晨志 [Hanyu Pinyin – Dai(4) Chen(2) Zhi(4)], a writer:


“放棄,只要一句話; 成功,卻需要一輩子的堅持”. It means – giving up only needs one sentence; but success needs a lifetime of perseverance.


Audrey Tang or 唐鳳 [Hanyu Pinyin – Tang(2) Feng(4)], a government minister in Taiwan (plausibly still the youngest in Taiwanese politics at 35; and the first transgender official) spoke in another interview:


今天做不好,明天做好就是了 – If you did poorly today, just do well tomorrow


She has a different take on failure and success, and enjoys relating/responding to criticism and doubts. There is an interesting divide between the concepts 合作 and 協作 given. I translate the former as ‘cooperation’ and the latter as ‘collaboration’.  合作 probably has a smaller group size with greater expectations; hence more likelihood of failure. 協作, by inference is looser, with a group of people gathering – let’s say an online forum – where people speak openly about their goals, where they need help, and what they had completed so far. Thus, the expectations according to her are limited.


避開3地雷 小薪水3年存百萬 (SGD) $44k – Smart Mag – One

Save Singapore Dollar (SGD) $44k* in 3 years despite a low salary; this Taiwanese header caught my eye. [But perhaps too optimistic?]

It reminded me of Joshua Sheats (Episode 163, Radical Personal Finance and his thoughts on savings rates).

The $44k sum stems (greatly but not solely) from:

  • good house buying practices
  • efficient insurance practices
  • wise investment

I shall touch on insurance here. There were 2 examples given. One a negative demonstration with 16% of income going to insurance. The positive role model spent a mere 2.95% – amazing!

But this takes alot of work. The positive case study centred on a family of 4. The vast majority of their policies are term insurance. [See post from Monetary Authority of Singapore’s MoneySENSE] The husband of the family would frequently review those policies as such. 4 of their term policies have yearly/annual durations. They have 13 in total. Only 1 is for life (wife).

A general rule offered by the recommended Taiwanese financial planner is: the sum assured should be 10 times the yearly income, while the insurance premiums should be 10% or less of one’s yearly income. (p.129)

Some interesting points from the negative example (again Taiwanese context). They bought cancer insurance and surgery insurance. The latter was for life. But the magazine opined that surgery in old age was not always advisable. Hence, such premiums was cost inefficient, and of much less use in old age.


* approximately

The sum is based on Taiwan New Dollar/New Taiwan Dollar to Singapore Dollar exchange rate http://www.xe.com/, accessed this week.

避開3地雷 小薪水3年存百萬. (Oct 2016). http://smart.businessweekly.com.tw/Magazine/list_each_detail.aspx?id=2503. Volume 218. Smart Magazine. Business Weekly, division of Cite Publishing Ltd. [Smart = 智富 = Smart Wealth. It sounds the same as 致智 = result in wealth] – I borrowed the hardcopy from one NLB branch, Singapore.

[Linked through Joshua Sheats] The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement. (13 Jan 2012). http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/. Mr. Money Mustache.]


Shame – Two Perspectives

General similarities between two articles by Jon Bloom and Joseph (Joe) Beckham

In Breaking the Power of Shame (15 Jul 2016), it seems that Bloom does not refer to the elimination of shame but rather its management. Shame (according to him) is usually the interaction of human failings and defensive pride. We therefore exert control through hiding (resulting in some form of false front). The antidote is to seek refuge and resolution through Jesus Christ.

Beckham in The Three-Headed Monster: Shame, Fear & Control (12 Jun 2014), points similarly to shame; as well as Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden.


In contrast however, shame is a sense of being “hopelessly flawed” (this is in line with Restoring the Foundations’ perspective – information is found in Beckham’s article).  The application of the concept(s) seem to take different paths. But I shall restrict my focus to the term ‘stronghold’ found in Verse 4.

There is reference to 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (New Testament, English Standard Version below); absent from Bloom’s piece.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Beckham’s citation:

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of stronghold [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”

Based on Biblehub’s commentary section, it seems Beckham’s interpretation of the term is inaccurate in the sense that it is too wide; being conflated with fear and control. [The biblical Greek for the word is unique in the New Testament. See Vincent’s Word Studies and Pulpit Commentary on the same webpage.]

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible: “all that opposes itself to Christ; the learning, and eloquence, and philosophical subtleties on which the Corinthians prided themselves.

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers: “possibly … the great system of idolatry and impurity enthroned at Corinth and throughout the Empire, possibly of those of pride and obstinate rebellion in the hearts of his individual opponents. The context favours the latter interpretation.

Barnes’ Notes: “strongholds (ὀχύρωμα ochurōma) means properly a fastness, fortress, or strong fortification. It … denote the various obstacles resembling a fortress … designed and adapted to oppose the truth and the triumph of the Christian’s cause. All those obstacles are strongly fortified. The sins of his heart are fortified by long indulgence and by the hold which they have on his soul. The wickedness of the world which he opposes is strongly fortified by the fact that it has seized on strong human passions; that one point strengthens another; that great numbers are united. The idolatry of the world was strongly fortified by prejudice, and long establishment, and the protection of laws, and the power of the priesthood; and the opinions of the world are entrenched behind false philosophy and the power of subtle argumentation.

To conclude (at this juncture), the strongholds appear to be built on “arguments and every lofty opinion” (Verse 5) of reasoning and arrogance/self-importance/condescension which is probably supported by Satan/Devil (to a degree).