The Bible In A Month

I am on course with the Bible in a month. I am following the Abraham Project Guys on this reading plan and I have found amazing. Although 39 chapters a day is not easy I am finding it BETTER than reading the bible in a year. This is because you very quickly see the pattern of how God works in history – something you miss when you read only a few chapters a day.

I think after May I might continue reading the Bible in a month – at the very least I will go to the 90 day plan (which will seem SO easy now!). Getting large overviews of scripture – seeing patterns and repetitions – is so important.

Anyway – one thing that has been slightly hindered in the rest of my reading – I am reading other books but a tad slower than usual, although I well into N.T Wright’s newest book Justification, as well as a couple of others.

John 8:12-29

READ John 8:12-20 

Jesus begins with his second great “I am” statement: 

Can anyone remember the first great I am statement? 6:35 – I am the Bread of life. 

If anyone can remember back over the past two weeks, especially to Matt’s session – why is Jesus’ statement “I am the Light of the world” so significant?

This is probably still during the Feast of Tabernacles – a feast which remembers the time when God took Israel out of Egypt and led them by a pillar of fire. Each day during the feast there was a lamp lighting ceremony in the evening. This is another statement that God had now inhabited the temple as prophesized. 

Also, John has a strong light / darkness comparison – 1:4-5 Life was in him and that life was the light of men That light shines in the darkness yet the darkness did not overcome it. 3:19-21 “This, then, is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.  But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”

What is the implication of Jesus’ words “anyone who follows me will never walk in darkness?” 

That the world is now in darkness and all who live in it will walk in darkness UNLESS they follow Jesus. We are not free to map out our own path in life if we want to walk in the light – we must walk in the light – and follow JESUS’ path – just as the Israelites had to follow the route taken by the pillar of light.

I find the Pharisees’ response intriguing – they do not condemn Jesus as a heretic – probably because they have missed his significant point – Why do they bring up the issue of testimony again.

Is Jesus contradicting himself in 5:31 where he says, “If I testify about Myself, My testimony is not valid.”

The Pharisees challenge is that no one else is making this claim with you Jesus – only YOU!! Hence his claim is invalid! Now the law calls for two witnesses in cases where there will be a judgment made against someone for an offence or for execution. You did not need two witnesses for everything. Also Jesus was not here to simply show himself – but to show and do the Fathers will – this was not Jesus’ mission – it was the Trinitarian mission.

What reason does Jesus give in support that his testimony is valid?

Because he knew where he had come from and where he was going. Jesus is the Son of God – second person of the Trinity – that is who he is from all eternity before the incarnation and will be true for all eternity after the incarnation. There is no authority higher than Jesus – no other place to appeal to for knowledge or understanding. His testimony is valid

What the Pharisees have done is judged from their perspective, from their expectations, from their rules, from their understanding and from their premise without EVER contemplating or suggesting that their starting point might be wrong – and hence their judgment is wrong.

What is ironic is that the Pharisees lack the necessary knowledge to judge Jesus and yet they constantly judge him.

The Pharisees want to know whom Jesus’ Father is – obviously to assess and probably question him.

Once again in v19 Jesus explicitly lays the serious charge before them – what is it?

To have rejected Jesus is to have rejected the one they claim to worship.

What is the implication in v20 “But no one seized him, because his hour had not come”

Every action is under the direction of the Father.

READ v21-29

V21 – where is Jesus going? What does it mean that they will look for him?

Commentators are divided over when the Jews will look for him – maybe its their continued search for Jesus because of the rumors of his resurrection; maybe it’s the continued search for the messiah – or as one commentator has suggested it refers to the time of their death – they will search for the comfort of God but will not find it – they will die in their sin – the consequence of rejecting Jesus.

How on earth do they get the idea that Jesus might commit suicide?

V22 shows how arrogant and ignorant these people were. They were so sure that they were heaven bound that for Jesus to go to a place where they could not go would have to mean he commits suicide and consigns himself to the outer regions of death forever.

What does Jesus mean by “You are from below?”

We have established that the world is n darkness – also who is the ruler of this world? The Prince of darkness. And in v44 Jesus explicitly tells the Jews that their father is the devil.

Their statement that surely Jesus is not considering suicide is, Jesus suggests, hell inspired. Hence they will die in their sins because they are rejecting the only remedy for their sins.

Does anyone see any significance in Jesus’ statement that “For if you do not believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

The word He is not in the original Greek – Jesus says literally, if you do not believe that I am – many take this as a reference to the divine – I am – Yahweh 

Do you find anything ironic is their question – Who are you?

Have they been listening to Jesus at all? The sense of this is “Who do you think you are?” They KNOW who Jesus has claimed to be. They just refuse to accept it or even to consider it. But the basis of Jesus’ messiah ship is not on their acceptance of him but on the Father – and Jesus has simply done the will of the Him.

V26 Jesus says I have many things to say and to judge you about, but the one who sent me is true and what I have heard from him – these things I tell the world. What does this mean?

Jesus’ mission, we know from John 3:16 is to reveal the gospel of God to the world – to show the world the offer of eternal life for all who believe. But Jesus will return, not with the message of salvation but to judge and the Jews and the Pharisees will be judged – not now, because Jesus’ role right now is to tell the world what the Father wants to the world to know.

V27 – Jesus utters a prophetic statement here – what does Jesus mean by “then you will know that I am [he].”

The cross is the clearest sign of who Jesus is – the sacrifice for sin – and for some it may be the time of recognition of who Jesus is – but for others it will be their condemnation as they ignore all Jesus has said and taught which pointed to this event. As one commentator said, Ironically at Jesus crucifixion, when they think they are passing judgment on Him, he is lifted up and becomes their judge.

Whose To Say You Can be Ordained…And What Are The Qualifications?

I have watched an interesting few blog posts last week on this topic. The guy at pomomusings wrote a post on when An MDiv from Princeton Is Not Enough. He is going through the ordination process for the PC(USA). He has moved across the country and his new Presbytery have said he needs MORE courses to qualify for ordination. If you check the comments section he has listed the courses he has taken.

A friend of his, Tony Jones, has responded HERE. I have read Tony’s books and while we are vastly different theologically as well as disagreeing with him on his comments on denominations, I can sympathize with him seeing a friend get caught up in denominational politics.

Now, having seen the courses taken by the guy at pomomusings and based just on that, I would not ordain him. He definitely needs to do Church History and a Biblical Studies / Exegesis course on say Romans or 1 Corinthians or The Gospel of John. HOWEVER, that should NOT be the only consideration. Experience and character are vital too. There are lots of biblically knowledgeable people in ministry who sailed through seminary but they are bad pastors. And I have seen some excellent pastors who have never been to seminary.

The inflexibility of many denominational ordination tracks is a weakness. There needs to be a biblical flexibility – taken from the pastoral epistles, which allow for the character, calling and gifting of a person above whether he simply has certain credits.

A Day Out…. Charles Towne Landings

Charles Towne Landing was the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Carolina province. Approximately 148 colonists, including men, women and children, landed at Albemarle Point the first Wednesday in April 1670.

Here are some of the pics from the day!!

Evangelism… More Encouragement!

‘In plain terms, wherever I see one or a thousand men running into hell, be it in England, Ireland, or France, yea, in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, I will stop them if I can: as a minister of Christ, I will beseech them, in his name, to turn back, and be reconciled to God. Were I to do otherwise, were I to let any soul drop into the pit, whom I might have saved from everlasting burnings, I am not satisfied that God would accept my plea, ‘Lord, he was not of my parish”.

John Wesley

AMEN, AMEN

Reading The Bible In A Month…

The Project Abraham guys are attempting to read the whole Bible through in a month. I am trying to follow that as well – the reading plan is below. Today we are reading Joshua and 17 chapters of Judges. Paul Blackham has a great comment on the book of Joshua – watch it HERE:

1. Genesis 1-39

2    Genesis 40-Exodus 28

3    Exodus 29-Leviticus 17

4    Leviticus 18-Numbers 29

5    Numbers 30-Deuteronomy 34

6    Joshua 1-Judges 16

7    Judges 17-1 Samuel 31

8    2 Samuel 1-1 KIngs 15

9    1 Kings 16-1 Chronicles 8

10    1 Chronicles 9-2 Chronicles 20

11    2 Chronicles 21-Nehemiah 13

12    Esther 1-Job 29

13    Job 30-Psalm 27

14    Psalm 28-67

15    Psalm 68-106

16    Psalm 107-120

17    Psalm 121-Proverbs 9

18    Proverbs 10-Ecclesiastes 12

19    Songs 1-Isaiah 32

20    Isaiah 33-Jeremiah 6

21    Jeremiah 7-45

22    Jeremiah 46-Ezekiel 28

23    Ezekiel 29-Daniel 12

24    Hosea 1-Micah 7

25    Nahum 1-Malachi 4

26    Matthew 1-Mark 16

27    Luke 1-John 21

28    Acts 1-Romans

29    1 Corinthians 1-Ephesians 6

30    Philippians 1-Hebrews 13

31    James 1-Revelation 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N.T Wright and John Piper 2

Justification:God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision is a very stimulating and enjoyable read. Wright, in the best tradition of academic debate, takes on Piper;

It is worrying to find Piper encouraging readers to go back not to the first century, but to the ‘Christian renewal movements of the sixteenth-century Europe.’ To describe that period as offering the ‘historic roots’ of evangelicalism is profoundly disturbing. Proper evangelicals are rooted in scripture, and above all in the Jesus Christ to whom scripture witnesses, and nowhere else.

Regarding God’s Righteousness and the Law court image, Wright says:

It makes no sense to suggest, with Piper, that for both defendant and judge ‘righteousness’ means ‘an unwavering allegiance to treasure and uphold the glory of God’, and that ‘in this law court it is indeed conceivable for the judge’s righteousness to be shared by the defendant’. Anticipating his later argument for the imputation of God’s/Christ’s righteousness (why else would he want to make this strange argument?), Piper suggests that ‘it may be that when the defendant lacks moral righteousness’ (where did moral righteousness come from all of a sudden?), ‘the judge, who is also creator and redeemer, may find a way to make his righteousness count for the defendant, since it is exactly the righteousness he needs – namely, an unwavering and flawless and acted -out allegiance to the glory of the judge.’ This, to be frank, looks suspiciously like a deus ex machina kind of theological exegesis: ‘I know this is impossible and illogical, but because God is God he can do it!’ The trouble is that this, as we shall see, is not how the language actually works. The result piper is really after – or rather, its proper Pauline equivalent – can be obtained without recourse to such tortuous argumentation.

This is what I meant in my previous post about Wright exposing Piper’s scholarship. Piper may win the argument (although that remains to be seen for me – I have not finished the book!) but Wright is exposing a ton of weaknesses in Piper’s book. Hence, it must be a little frightening to have a guy like Wright critique your work.

Radical, Inspiring and Biblical – The Abraham Project

I can’t explain how excited I am about a friend of mine who has recently planted a church in the North of England. I was at seminary with him. He spent the past 11 years as an Associate Minister for Theology at All Souls Langham Place london, but about two years ago he left to be involved with a small church plant. He is probably the best theologian I know – a phenomenal preacher – and frankly a hero of mine.

His church, for the month of May are doing The Abraham Project. The key to my friends theology is simple – live as Jesus told us to live – and that is what this Abraham Project is about. For one month many in the church are going to live in tents. Why? Hebrews 11:8-10 – which says

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

The aim? To sell as many possessions as possible and give it away to the poor. Are they mad?  i think its totally awesome! Check out the website HERE.  Check out Paul Blackham’s video diary podcast – HERE

Also, check out Liz Blackham as she explains what its all about HERE

 

 

 

 

 

What Would Jesus Say…

… to a Pastor who earns a base salary of $250,000; a monthly housing allowance of $11,500; pension and life insurance benefits; entertainment, travel and “professional development” expenses; an equity allowance for the future purchase of a home; money for a full-time maid; and private school tuition for his 3-year-old daughter – amounting to $600,000. See Here

Journals and Genesis…

bibliothecasacraTheological Journals are helpful. They tend to more up to date with research and ideas – a book can take 18 months to write, proof and publish – in journals you can read and hear about what will be in a book much earlier. One of my favorite journals is Bibliotheca Sacra which comes out of Dallas Seminary. While the articles are substantial they are also readable. They also have a GREAT book review section. The latest issue has the following articles:

 

 

 

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Toward a Trinitarian Worldview J. Scott Horrell
Identity Crisis: Assessing Samson’s Birth and Career Robert B. Chisholm Jr
The Enigmatic Genre and Structure of the Song of Songs, Part 2 Gordon H. Johnston
Is 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 a Prohibition against Homosexuality? Kirk R. MacGregor
Forgiveness and Cleansing according to 1 John 1:9 Ed Glasscock

One of the older articles (about a year ago) which I re-read recently was Genesis 1 and Ancient Egyptian Creation by Gordon Johnston. A fascinating study of the parallels between the Egyptian creation myth and Genesis 1. There has been a lot of work done on the comparison between the Babylonian myths and Genesis but relatively little on Egyptian. It is a great article with the stimulating conclusion. Johnston says that Genesis 1 was originally composed not as a scientific treatise but as a theological polemic against the ancient Egyptian models of creation which competed against Yahweh for the loyalty of the ancient Israelites. Wow!

So, consider a subscription to Bib Sac.