027: Ordinary People Extraordinary Faith Interview with Dema Grischuk, Ukraine Preacher


Ukraine-Map_(Renovated)Tensions remain high in eastern Ukraine.  In certain areas, like the Dontesk/Donbass region and the city of Donetsk itself, it’s particularly tense.  The new Ukrainian president has initiated an “anti-terrorist” military campaign intended to oust the pro-Russian insurgents in various locations.  The result has been much fighting and the disruption of daily life.  The city of Donetsk waits for these efforts to be brought there.

Dema Grischuk is a preacher, teacher, and ministry director who has taken a leading role in trying to minister to the suffering and hurting citizens of Ukraine.  His efforts extend beyond the local congregation. The Let’s Love ministry which he directs has long been reaching out to orphans, children at risk, and the poor and needy throughout the Donetsk region.  With many of their efforts suspended due to the unrest, much attention has now been directed to refugees; those leaving eastern Ukraine to escape the violence and danger.

In this “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith” interview, Dema shares his thoughts and experiences of trying to share the peace and comfort of God with his countrymen in a nation torn by aggression, violence, and turmoil.  Not only is Dema involved in addressing physical needs, but also the often-overlooked spiritual dimension of these troubled times through an active, public prayer grouped that has assembled every day since the first difficulties arose, over 100 days ago.



Dema's family

Dema’s family


Dema leading Donetsk prayer group













Prayer group meeting daily for prayer in Donetsk for over 100 days.

Prayer group meeting daily for prayer in Donetsk for over 100 days.

Former prisoner of insurgents being given aid

Former prisoner of insurgents being given aid










Burned out public transportation, Kramatorsk

Work with refugee children

Work with refugee children












Bible Passages:

These are the Scriptures that Dema shared that he has found most helpful, not only for himself but those to whom he ministers, all coming from Isaiah.

  • Isaiah 40
  • Isaiah 41:14
  • Isaiah 43:1-7
  • Isaiah 54:15-17

Prayer requests:

• For peace in Ukraine
• For the Vacation Bible School program to be conduced for refugees’ children (end of June)
• For the week of Bible camp for refugees’ children (end of July)

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ETL 005: Two Bible Questions; 5 Tips for Making Your Bible Reading More Effective; Bible Word–“Holy”


In this episodes we’ll be talking about: Reading Close up

Chapter 1: Bible Q & A

Today we’ll handle 2 questions:
1. What does it mean in Judges 3:24 when it says King Eglon “Surely he covereth his feet” (King James Version)?

This question comes directly from one of our recent Bible readings in the program we introduced in last week’s podcast (CLICK HERE) and is an example of why doing comparison readings in other translations can be very helpful.

2. What are the specific duties of elders in the church?
I’ve selected this question from my files as the news of the past couple of weeks has been dominated by the Catholic Church’s selection of a new pope.  The Bible does specifically address matters of church leadership and organization.  What we learn there may surprise some.
Scriptures referenced:

  • Acts 11:30; 14:23; 20:17, 28
  • 1 Timothy 3:1
  • Titus 1:5
  • 1 Peter 5:1-4

Chapter 2: 5 Tips for Making Bible Reading More Effective

1. Make it a habit

Same time

Same place

Same Bible

2. Write

Take notes
Write down questions
Write out reflections and observations

3. Think about it

Allow the Bible to shape our understanding and thinking, don’t impose our thoughts on the Bible.

4. Follow a reading plan
5. Get the big picture in mind
6. Bonus: Pray

Chapter 3: Bible Word

Related words: sanctify and saint
Scripture references:

  • Luke 1:49
  • Mark 8:38
  • Luke 1:70
  • Romans 1:2
  • 1 Peter 1:15
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3
  • Hebrews 12:14
  • Ephesians 1:2
  • Colossians 1:2


Links and items mentioned in this podcast:

Bible reading website:

Michal Hyatt’s blog post on “The Lost Art of Note Taking” (CLICK HERE)


Submit your own Bible question
These questions will be answered in an upcoming podcast. Send an email to:


Click below to subscribe to this podcast via:


Thank you for checking out this episode of The Enjoy True Living Podcast. Come back again to listen soon!

God bless!


How To Choose a Bible

Have you ever been to a bookstore or even a Bible or Christian bookstore and looked at the Bible section?  Talk about overwhelming!  How in the world does a person go about picking out a Bible?  It’s not as difficult as one might think.  There are a few questions you need to ask yourself and from there the decision becomes very manageable.  And depending on your answer to the first question, it could be a very brief process.

Digital or Hardcopy?

Like virtually everything else, the Bible is also available in digital format.  The Bible text is available for smart phones, tablet devices, e-book readers, etc.  There are obviously going to be more considerations and concerns if you are getting a physical Bible rather than a digital format.  The next question applies to both, but after that it’s all questions for hardcopy Bibles.

Which Translation?

This is actually the biggest question in selecting your Bible.  Be sure and give this some thought.  All translations are not the same.  If you would like to read what is behind translations CLICK HERE.  My basic translation recommendation is the English Standard Version.

Which Cover/Binding?

Do you want a hardback or a soft cover?  The most inexpensive ones will be paperback editions, of course.  They are also the least durable.  The most durable cover is genuine leather.  They’re also more expensive.  Stay away from bonded leather.  It looks really nice in the store and is inexpensive, but it breaks down very quickly and begins looking ratty soon.  Another fairly recent alternative is a durable synthetic called “TruTone®” (by Crossway, publishers of the ESV, other publishers have different names).  This seems to be a durable soft cover that also features a wide range of colors and designs, just in case you’d like a more artful cover on your Bible.

What Size?

Bibles do come in all kinds of sizes.  The two things that affect a Bible’s size more than anything else is the letter font size and the paper thickness.  If your eyes are good and can read small print, you can use a pretty small Bible if you want.  If you need larger print to read comfortably, the smaller Bibles just wouldn’t be a good option.

Paper thickness may or may not be an issue for you.  The Bible is a big book.  To cut down on its physical printed size, publishers have traditionally printed Bibles on thin paper.  To make them even smaller–some publishers print a “Thinline” Bible–they have used even thinner paper.  I’ve known people for whom that very thin paper was just too much.  They had trouble turning the pages.

Study Notes?

Study Bibles are very popular.   These Bibles include a lot of information in addition to the Bible text.  There is background and historical information in addition to commentary and explanatory notes.  Study Bibles tend to be large just because of the additional material they contain.  The extra information can be helpful and useful. Some Bibles with notes, though, are explicitly intended to promote one particular theological viewpoint.  Just remember, particularly with commentary and explanatory notes, these are men’s ideas and not God’s word itself.

A man who is credited with the notes in two Old Testament books in the NIV Study Bible tells of the editor’s disagreement with him on a couple of points in the notes he wrote.  This illustrates what you are dealing with in the notes of a Study Bible.  They may or may not be correct.

I’ve also know people who have failed to make the distinction between the text of Scripture and provided study notes.  They thought that if it is found within the cover a book with “Bible” on the front cover, then it was Scripture.  I typically recommend that people shy away from study Bibles.

Selling Bibles is big business.  There are lots of options available and Bible publishers and sellers market their product just like anybody else does.   So, decide what you’re after before you go looking and find what you want.

Do you have any comments or suggestion?  Go to the comments below and share them with us.

God bless,

The Best English Bible Translation (5)

I have heard it said, and I tend to agree, that the best translation is one somebody will actually read.  A person could be in possession of the finest, most accurate Bible translation ever made, but if they never read it, what difference would it make?

It would make about as much sense as a person insisting on carrying an original language Bible–a Hebrew Old Testament and a Greek New Testament–because they wanted the most accurate biblical text to the originals, yet they didn’t know biblical Greek or Hebrew.   They may have the assurance of the text’s accuracy, but would be totally ignorant of its content.

Reading Levels

One of the goals of Bible translation, as we’ve discussed elsewhere (and can be read HERE) is to be readable.  In the effort to achieve greater readability some translations have aimed for lower and lower grade reading levels.  Here is a list of a few translations and their grade reading levels:

King James Version                                 12th

New King James Version                        7-8th

New International Version                     7-8th

New American Standard Bible               11th

English Standard Version                       10th  (though I have seen it listed as low as 8th)

Revised Standard Version                       12th

New Revised Standard Version              11th

Still other translations have aimed for even lower reading levels.

New Century Version                                       3rd

New International Reader’s Version             3rd

New Living Translation                                    6th

The Living Bible                                                 4th

The Message                                                        3rd

I have known people whose reading and comprehension levels were such that if they were to read and understand the Bible they needed something on a very simple reading level.  This was true for some of them by virtue of their young age, for others it was a lack of learning or lack of a capacity to learn.

So, it may be, that in given circumstances a simpler reading translation may be necessary.  But remember that accuracy is what is being sacrificed for readability.  If a person begins with an easy-to-read translation, then as their capacity to comprehend increases, they should move on to a more accurate translation.

One Last Recommendation

Here is one other important recommendation: do comparison readings from a variety of translations.  As you become more serious in your Bible reading and study, referring to others translations can be very helpful.

Quite frankly, some translations do a better job of translating and communicating a given text than do others.  So, don’t get too “married” to one translation.  You may have one that is for your primary use (as the English Standard Version is for me), but then also read a number of others as well.

While we’ve been concerned with the best translation, it might be that you are ready to purchase a Bible.  Maybe you have never had one or you’ve decided it’s time to change translations.  Believe it or not, deciding which translation you want is just the beginning.  Some thoughts on how to choose a Bible can be found HERE.

What are your thoughts?  Why not leave a comment below?

God Bless,

The Best English Bible Translation (4)

Finding the best English translation of the Bible means dealing with a challenging issue: effectively honoring the need for a translation to be accurate as well as understandable.  In case you missed it, the underlying concerns were introduced in the previous post, found HERE.

Translation Philosophy?

So, translation philosophy has to do with where a translation gives its emphasis in the whole readability/accuracy scenario.  Some translations have as a stated purpose to be more readable and some to be more accurate.  You get this idea when you sometimes run across a discussion debating “word-for-word” versus “thought-for-thought” approaches.

How does a person learn each translation’s philosophy?  Virtually every translation gives at least some explanation of their approach to translation.  For instance, to learn the philosophy and approach of the translators of the English Standard Version you can CLICK HERE.

There you will find, in part, these words:

The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. As such, its emphasis is on “word-for-word” correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages. Thus it seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original.

In contrast to the ESV, some Bible versions have followed a “thought-for-thought” rather than “word-for-word” translation philosophy, emphasizing “dynamic equivalence” rather than the “essentially literal” meaning of the original. A “thought-for-thought” translation is of necessity more inclined to reflect the interpretive opinions of the translator and the influences of contemporary culture.

How well the ESV fulfills its stated purpose is, of course, open to judgment.  And mine is that they do reasonably well.  That is why I offer this translation as one of my recommendations as one of the best.  (The other, in case you missed it previously, is the New American Standard Bible.)

Why Not The Most Popular?

This is also why I don’t recommend the most popular translation, the New International Version (NIV).  It has a stated intent of using a more “thought-for-thought” approach.  Though this achieves greater “readability” (as its popularity bears out), I believe it to be a step in the wrong direction.  In my personal judgment it has done more interpreting and explaining than it should.

We must remember that the Bible gives its readers and students the responsibility of “rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).   While I may be dependent on Bible translators to provide for me a Bible text in my native language, I still have responsibility for understanding and applying God’s word for myself.

I realize my recommendations do “go against the flow” somewhat when it comes to popular opinion on the best Bible translation.  You may have thoughts or comments you would like to share, so please be sure to do that in the comments below.

We still have one more quick consideration to make; one last qualification on this recommendation in the final post of this series.

God bless,

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