On this page, I want to record a heartfelt thank you to people I'm indebted to for my salvation and for insights into the Word of God.
My Salvation and Initial Growth in Grace and Bible Insight
Alan Vincent led me to the Lord in April 1973, and I sat under his ministry and was personally taught much by him till around April 1976. I regard him as my father in the faith, and in the ministry. He (along with others from the UK) ordained me and two other elders in late November or early December 1977. (As I matured in character and Bible knowledge, I began to be a Berean, scrutinizing everything I had learned in the light of personal scripture study, instead of accepting doctrines because an authority figure had taught them. I firmly believe that to adhere to teachings on the basis of who taught them is a very shaky foundation indeed. I have seen too many teachers who started right and ended up very far from the truths of the Bible. As a result of this conviction, I have had to painfully revise my acceptance of much that I learned from my father in the faith. My first loyalty is, as it has to be, to my Father in Heaven.)
Jean Brand was an extraordinary Bible teacher of whom it can be said that she sharpened me "as iron sharpeneth". She had many discussions with my wife and me in our home over dinner, and sometimes the discussions went on so long that she was forced to sleep in our home in our spare bedroom, so we could renew the discussion over breakfast next morning, until it was time for me to leave for my (secular) work, and she decided to call it a day!
Frank Arthur (founder of Media Serve, a Bible publishing and distribution ministry) and his wife Leena who set an example of dedicated missionary work, and who encouraged my reading of many books, some of them inspiring testimonies, and others books on faith and doctrine. It was Frank who brought me a Greek-English Bible Dictionary one amazing day in 1977. I wished to study Biblical Greek, and keenly felt the need for a Greek Dictionary. I scoured the bookstores (Christian and secular), and contacted the Greek consulate hoping to be guided where to get a book or a tutor. It was to no avail. Finally, I prayed. I told God that if He wanted me to study Greek, He would need to send me a dictionary. Frank, who lived and worked out of Bangkok, knew nothing of my desire and prayer. It happened that he visited Tokyo on official business as Bible production head for Asia. There he saw a Bible dictionary in a local Christian bookstore, and was impressed by God to buy it and bring it to me in India as a gift. One day soon after, the office boy told me that I had a visitor, one Frank. I told him to send him in. Within a few minutes there was a soft knock at my cabin door, and in came a fat book, closely followed by the man. He marched up to my table and with obvious satisfaction placed the book on my table. I almost fell of my chair. It was Thayer's Bible Dictionary. That's when he (a man then living in Thailand where he supervised the production of the Thai Bible) told me that God had impressed him in Japan that I needed to have this dictionary in India! Truly the Lord reacheth from end to end mightily and ordereth all things sweetly. As one who emphasizes Israel and the Jewish people, I particularly admire Frank for their faith ministry to the Jewish people in Russia (and also elsewhere, for instance Ethiopia)
Alan, Jean and Frank were the three individuals I owed the most to under God.
And then there were the books they encouraged me to read.
The Bible and Other Books
In the last 35 years, I accumulated a huge library. At some point in 1990, I began the process of passing on some of these precious books to others who could benefit, which of course made room for many more books that took their place.
When I moved house in 1993, it took me just a day to move my furniture, and another whole night and day to go through my books, say goodbye to many of them, and take the rest to my new home, where, of course, new arrivals took the place of the ones I gave away or sold to the second-hand book dealers.
The books that most influenced my thinking, apart from my personal Bible, which I read daily till I was familiar with every word and verse and with how they fit together were these:
- The Bible in several translations (the KJV (the one I use preferentially in this website), the NKJV, the NEB, the Amp, the TEV, the Confraternity Bible, the Jerusalem Bible, the RSV).
- Thomson's Chain Reference Bible (KJV)
- The Bible in several study editions (the NIV Study Bible, the Christian Family Bible (NKJV))
- Bible Dictionaries (the Zondervan Bible Dictionary, the New English Bible Dictionary, the Intervarsity Bible Dictionary)
- Bible Commentaries (the Jamieson, Faucet and Brown, the Zondervan Commentary, the Intervarsity Bible Commentary)
- Cross-reference books (the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge)
- Bible Maps
- Bible Surveys (chief and most precious among them being The Unfolding Drama of Redemption by Scroggie)
- A variety of "charismatic" books, and "anti-charismatic" books.
- Faith-building books (by which I mean books that inspired me to believe God for life, and health, for a home, for a family, for ministry). Some of these were the "Word of Faith" type, and, as I understood the falsity of such teachings, I discarded them.
- Hope-building books (by which I mean books that discussed the future plans of God, the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Rapture (pre, mid, and post tribulation), the Millennium (pre-mill, post-mill, a-mill), Heaven and Hell, the Eternal Age to come, etc. (I had to sort out my views on the Rapture, and now identify with the pre-trib, pre-mill viewpoint.
- Love-building books (about family, about relationships, about serving one another and the world outside)
- Holiness-building books
- Books that encouraged witnessing and evangelism and witnessing in and through a secular career
- Books that encouraged inner transformation and inner healing
Many of these I found "flaky" and I had to discard their teaching.
- Books on the nature of the church
- Books on apologetics
- Books on Israel, on "Messianic Judaism", etc.
Studying the Books
I had a number of ways to organize my study of these books: the card index was the chief method I used - I developed boxes and boxes of cards. Then there were specialized filing systems for papers, library cataloguing for the books, etc.
Then came my first computer in 1984 (all of 32kb RAM, and storage on an audio-tape). This was replaced by an IBM PC XT, then an AT, then a Pentium. With each advance in technology came the ability to store and catalogue my notes in better and better ways, using word processors and data base software.
Studying on the Net
Then came the internet and the worldwide web. The internet brought a lot of confusion, as I began to see the sheer diversity of thinking (Christian and non-Christian), worldviews, doctrines, brands of Christianity, clashing interpretations of passages that I naively thought could have only one interpretation. There were also opposing views on which original Biblical texts were acceptable. Truly, the modern version of the endless making of many books (Ecclesiastes 12:12) is the endless making of many websites.
Through the years, from 1998 when I got my first dial-up internet connection to now when I can surf at "blazing speed", I have been teaching in a local church and finding the need to do my own study, to know where God stands, what the Bible actually teaches on a number of issues, and to align myself with the thoughts of God.
Avoiding the Flashy, Standing on the Rock
I tried to steer clear of the flashy and the spectacular and tried to anchor myself and my then flock - after four years of teaching them, I wound down that ministry to be available to a wider ministry in the body of Christ - on the solidity of the Word of God, rather than on selected passages "favorited" by televangelists and pastors of mega-churches. As a result, I had to abandon many of the favorite teachings of the charismatic churches, and if I were to identify a ministry that better represents where I stand today, it would be the ministry of another Alan Vincent. After all that I have seen in the churches, I have to reserve the right to be a Berean and test everything that Alan Vincent Prophetic Alert says. I urge you to do the same for my website.
Recently, a couple who have, in their words, been blessed by my ministry, urged me to leave for them and my family and the church at large a "legacy" of accurate balanced teaching which could be delivered to succeeding generations until Yeshua returns and establishes His Millennial Kingdom.
This website, Bibloscope, is an attempt to answer their plea.
At the end of this page, you have learned something about where I come from, but very little about my identity. Those who know me may recognize me from autobiographical snippets above. But for the rest, the question remains: Who exactly am I?
How does it matter? He must increase, and I must decrease. My teaching will stand or fall on its faithfulness to God's Word, and not on any scholarship or authority that resides in me personally, and certainly my teaching does not stand or fall based on the number of those who accept me. Large numbers of followers is not a criterion by which to assess the truth of teaching. God ever deals with and uses a "remnant".
May you be blessed and enriched as you go through the various facets of this website. If I can help some to find and study for themselves and build their lives on the solidity of the Word of God in the Bible, that will be the best legacy I can leave.
Receive that legacy.
In Yeshua's name. Amen.