Most Christians are okay with not really understanding how the different books of the Bible fit together. But it really is a big problem. To miss it can end up being to miss the gospel, or to radically change it in extremely unhelpful ways. Recently someone in my church gave me the book The First Idiot in Heaven. The basic premise of the book is that only Paul’s 13 epistles are really for non-Jewish Christians, Paul preaches a gospel of absolutely pure grace, and that leads to ultimate reconciliation for everyone – ultimate universalism. I don’t think that misrepresents book, though I didn’t read very much of it – 50 pages or so.
No doubt many people in ministries and leading small groups are wondering what’s coming next after missions month. For several months we have been planning to do a series called, “The Gospel Through The Bible.” The point of this series is twofold:
We want people to understand how to put their Bibles together.
We want people to see Jesus and the gospel in all of Scripture, which will also help us accomplish #1.
Are you ready to lead a discussion on Genesis 1? The answer to that question should depend on your goals. If you are prepared to integrate the best scientific knowledge concerning origins and the best biblical interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, please come teach at my house. I have been studying that myself for more than a decade and only sort of now feel like I have a basic knowledge that might be able to keep me from immediately embarrassing myself. But, the meaning and purpose of Genesis 1 in the unfolding revelation of God in the Scriptures is not particularly difficult.
Searches are funny things. They are like jobs, or marriage, or where you’re planning to live, or anything else – picturing it is both clarifying and confusing. In all these things, picturing what will be motivates you toward your goal. However, the goal is never like the picture, and at some point you realize, the picture was always too general to be real. The picture never existed. There is only the real job, actual man or woman, physical location, and best candidate. They are never what you pictured because the thing you pictured never was. And this is why real decision about big things are never easy to make, and even harder to live out.
One point of application I took away from Nic’s sermon yesterday came right off the bat- as he mentioned John G. Paton’s story and how reading about missionaries has encouraged and inspired him, I decided I wanted to do more of that myself. I suggested he put out a blog post with some recommendations…he responded by assigning me the work instead- well played. Here is the fruit of that discussion:
Why Read Biographies of Christians?
John Piper wrote a short chapter on why to read Christian biography in his book Brothers, We are Not Professionals. He points out that Hebrews 11, a summary of many of the greats of faith in the biblical story, is written to compel us to run the race of our faith well. If an author of Scripture sees value in sharing stories of faith lived out to spur his readers on, it makes sense for us to seek these too. Continue reading Learning the Stories of Christian Missionaries→