Questions and Answers

Have you ever wanted to ask a question at Bible study but didn’t because the question seemed stupid or even blasphemous? Is it ok to doubt what we confess to believe? Should a Christian question his religion (or parts of it)?

If we believe the Bible is the ultimate truth, that God sovereignly put this book together by the hands of believers and that therein lies all that God thought we ought to know, then we should not be afraid to ask questions. Instead we should continue to ask questions! When we ask questions we get answers. When we get answers we get to know God better. When we start to know God better we grow in hope.

Combine these two thoughts from these two great men and you end up with a similar conclusion:

“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without antibodies in it.  People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.”

Tim Keller, The Reason for God

“The ancients were afraid that if they went to the end of the earth they would fall off and be consumed by dragons. But once we understand that Christianity is true to what is there, true to the ultimate environment – the infinite, personal God who is really there – then our minds are freed. We can pursue any question and can be sure that we will not fall off the end of the earth.”

― Francis A. Schaeffer, Art and the Bible

 

We should be ready, wether it’s going great or awful, to give answers for the hope that is in us. (1 Pet 3:15)

Just Do It!

Nothing wrong with a fresh resolution at the start of a New Year to do things better, more effective, more thoroughly. A number of us, I’m sure, will include in the list of things to do better, a desire to be more frequent in our time of delving into, sitting under, drinking from the very words that the living God speaks into 2012.

Here’s a bit of inspiration to read your Bible. Whenever. Wherever. Any way whatsoever. Figure out something that works for you. And then, just do it!

And, in case you’re interested, here’s one tool (try the 2-year option (pg 4) that might help to make this resolution of yours, last beyond RAG 2012. It works well (apart from just the accountability bit) when you commit to do it in sync with mates. So get a partner and get going!

(HT: Tim Chester)

Theology Shmeology.. Love It!

Theology seems to be a bit unpopular these days. The idea that there is an absolute truth – as revealed in the Word of God – stands opposed to the postmodernist (objective truth) era in which we find ourselves. The mindset of objective truth is one popular in our culture and just the thought of someone telling someone else that they are wrong is seen as nothing more than a demonstration of self-righteousnous. This is especially true when it comes to religion! Oftentimes a church unashamedly teaching uncompromising theology is seen as archaic, legalistic and not seeker friendly. So why should we love theology?

Kevin DeYoung argues that the longing and pursuit of sound theology should be characteristic and central to the fibre of a God-glorifying church. Here are some of the reasons that Kevin DeYoung mentions (in his blog post Why We Must Be Unapologetically Theological) regarding the importance of being unapologetically theological:

  1. God has revealed himself to us in his word and given us his Spirit that we might understand the truth.
  2. The New Testament places a high value on discerning truth from error.
  3. The ethical commands of the New Testament are predicated on theological propositions.
  4. Theological categories enable us to more fully and more deeply rejoice in God’s glory.
  5. Theology helps us more fully and more deeply rejoice in the blessings that are ours in Christ.
  6. Even (or is it especially?) non-Christians need good theology.

Some pursue theological knowledge as nothing more than an intellectual exercise thus missing the whole point. We should not become arrogant  with our “superior” theology. The idea is not to recite all Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions or read Calvin’s Institutes every year just to impress your friends or church leader. The idea is to study theology to grow in your knowledge of God and the implications of that knowledge will not lead to forums of debate but to you serving God and sharing Jesus.

The truth is that there is an absolute truth and theology (def. the study of God) is the place where we find not only this absolute truth but also where we learn more of God as He has revealed Himself to us in the Bible. We should love studying God!

Die Bybel in Twee Weke

So wat is die vinnigste manier om ‘n goeie oorsig van die Bybel te kry? Hier is twee voorstelle:

1. The Sweep of the Bible in Two Weeks     

If a freshman in college or stay-at-home mom or aspiring deacon or friend from work or anyone else asked me how they might get a rough grasp of the macro-storyline of the Bible in a few weeks, I’d send them not to any secondary resource but to the Bible itself for a reading plan that might look something like this. 

Week 1

Sunday – Genesis 1-3 
Monday – Genesis 12-17
Tuesday – Exodus 1-3, 12
Wednesday – Exodus 14, 19-20 
Thursday – Joshua 23-24; Judges 1-2
Friday – 1 Samuel 8, 16; 2 Samuel 7, 11; Psalm 105 
Saturday – Isaiah 7, 9, 11, 35, 52-53, 65

Week 2

Sunday – Jeremiah 30-33; Ezekiel 36-37, Zechariah 9; Malachi 3-4 
Monday – Matt. 1:1; Mark 1:1-15; John 1:1-18; 5:39-46; Luke 24 
Tuesday – Mark 14:1-16:8 
Wednesday – Acts 1-2; 13:13-49 
Thursday – Rom. 1:1-6; 16-17; 3:9-31; 5:12-21; 8:18-23; 1 Cor. 15:1-23 
Friday – Heb. 1:1-4; 10:19-12:2 
Saturday – Revelation 1; 20-22

 – vanaf Strawberry-Rhurbarb Theology, Dane Ortlund)

 

2. God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible, Vaughan Roberts       


– Op Amazon hier.

Preface to Living Pages

 

“On these pages you will find the living Christ, and you will see Him more fully and more clearly than if He stood before you, before your very eyes.”

-Erasmus’ preface to his Greek New Testament, quoted in Earl D. Radmacher, editor, Can We Trust The Bible? (Wheaton, 1979), page 92.

-From Ray Ortlund’s blog

The Grace of God – The Whole Bible

A post by Dane Ortlund on his blog Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology highlights the presence of the Grace of God in each book of the Bible. As he puts it:

“But while the Bible is not uniform, it is unified. The many books of the one Bible are not like the many pennies in the one jar. The pennies in the jar look the same, yet are disconnected; the books of the Bible (like the organs of a body) look different, yet are interconnected. As the past two generations’ recovery of biblical theology has shown time and again, certain motifs course through the Scripture from start to end, tying the whole thing together into a coherent tapestry..”

Here follows the description of the motif concerning the Grace of God in each respective book of the Bible:

Genesis shows God’s grace to a universally wicked world as he enters into relationship with a sinful family line (Abraham) and promises to bless the world through him.

Exodus shows God’s grace to his enslaved people in bringing them out of Egyptian bondage.

Leviticus shows God’s grace in providing his people with a sacrificial system to atone for their sins.

Numbers shows God’s grace in patiently sustaining his grumbling people in the wilderness and bringing them to the border of the promised land not because of them but in spite of them.

Deuteronomy shows God’s grace in giving the people the new land ‘not because of your righteousness’ (ch. 9).

Joshua shows God’s grace in giving Israel victory after victory in their conquest of the land with neither superior numbers nor superior obedience on Israel’s part.

Judges shows God’s grace in taking sinful, weak Israelites as leaders and using them to purge the land, time and again, of foreign incursion and idolatry.

Ruth shows God’s grace in incorporating a poverty-stricken, desolate, foreign woman into the line of Christ.

1 and 2 Samuel show God’s grace in establishing the throne (forever—2 Sam 7) of an adulterous murderer.

1 and 2 Kings show God’s grace in repeatedly prolonging the exacting of justice and judgment for kingly sin ‘for the sake of’ David. (And remember: by the ancient hermeneutical presupposition of corporate solidarity, by which the one stands for the many and the many for the one, the king represented the people; the people were in their king; as the king went, so went they.)

1 and 2 Chronicles show God’s grace by continually reassuring the returning exiles of God’s self-initiated promises to David and his sons.

Ezra shows God’s grace to Israel in working through the most powerful pagan ruler of the time (Cyrus) to bring his people back home to a rebuilt temple.

Nehemiah shows God’s grace in providing for the rebuilding of the walls of the city that represented the heart of God’s promises to his people.

Esther shows God’s grace in protecting his people from a Persian plot to eradicate them through a string of ‘fortuitous’ events.

Job shows God’s grace in vindicating the sufferer’s cry that his redeemer lives (19:25), who will put all things right in this world or the next.

Psalms shows God’s grace by reminding us of, and leading us in expressing, the hesed (relentless covenant love) God has for his people and the refuge that he is for them.

Proverbs shows us God’s grace by opening up to us a world of wisdom in leading a life of happy godliness.

Ecclesiastes shows God’s grace in its earthy reminder that the good things of life can never be pursued as the ultimate things of life and that it is God who in his mercy satisfies sinners (note 7:20; 8:11).

Song of Songs shows God’s grace and love for his bride by giving us a faint echo of it in the pleasures of faithful human sexuality.

Isaiah shows God’s grace by reassuring us of his presence with and restoration of contrite sinners.

Jeremiah shows God’s grace in promising a new and better covenant, one in which knowledge of God will be universally internalized.

Lamentations shows God’s grace in his unfailing faithfulness in the midst of sadness.

Ezekiel shows God’s grace in the divine heart surgery that cleansingly replaces stony hearts with fleshy ones.

Daniel shows God’s grace in its repeated miraculous preservation of his servants.

Hosea shows God’s grace in a real-live depiction of God’s unstoppable love toward his whoring wife.

Joel shows God’s grace in the promise to pour out his Spirit on all flesh.

Amos shows God’s grace in the Lord’s climactic promise of restoration in spite of rampant corruption.

Obadiah shows God’s grace by promising judgment on Edom, Israel’s oppressor, and restoration of Israel to the land in spite of current Babylonian captivity.

Jonah shows God’s grace toward both immoral Nineveh and moral Jonah, irreligious pagans and a religious prophet, both of whom need and both of whom receive the grace of God.

Micah shows God’s grace in the prophecy’s repeated wonder at God’s strange insistence on ‘pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression’ (7:18).

Nahum shows God’s grace in assuring Israel of good news’ and ‘peace,’ promising that the Assyrians have tormented them for the last time.

Habakkuk shows God’s grace that requires nothing but trusting faith amid insurmountable opposition, freeing us to rejoice in God even in desolation.

Zephaniah shows God’s grace in the Lord’s exultant singing over his recalcitrant yet beloved people.

Haggai shows God’s grace in promising a wayward people that the latter glory of God’s (temple-ing) presence with them will far surpass its former glory.

Zechariah shows God’s grace in the divine pledge to open up a fountain for God’s people to ‘cleanse them from sin and uncleanness’ (13:1).

Malachi shows God’s grace by declaring the Lord’s no-strings-attached love for his people.

Matthew shows God’s grace in fulfilling the Old Testament promises of a coming king. (5:17)

Mark shows God’s grace as this coming king suffers the fate of a common criminal to buy back sinners. (10:45)

Luke shows that God’s grace extends to all the people one would not expect: hookers, the poor, tax collectors, sinners, Gentiles (‘younger sons’). (19:10)

John shows God’s grace in becoming one of us, flesh and blood (1:14), and dying and rising again so that by believing we might have life in his name. (20:31)

Acts shows God’s grace flooding out to all the world–starting in Jerusalem, ending in Rome; starting with Peter, apostle to the Jews, ending with Paul, apostle to the Gentiles. (1:8)

Romans shows God’s grace in Christ to the ungodly (4:5) while they were still sinners (5:8) that washes over both Jew and Gentile.

1 Corinthians shows God’s grace in favoring what is lowly and foolish in the world. (1:27)

2 Corinthians shows God’s grace in channeling his power through weakness rather than strength. (12:9)

Galatians shows God’s grace in justifying both Jew and Gentile by Christ-directed faith rather than self-directed performance. (2:16)

Ephesians shows God’s grace in the divine resolution to unite us to his Son before time began. (1:4)

Philippians shows God’s grace in Christ’s humiliating death on an instrument of torture—for us. (2:8)

Colossians shows God’s grace in nailing to the cross the record of debt that stood against us. (2:14)

1 Thessalonians shows God’s grace in providing the hope-igniting guarantee that Christ will return again. (4:13)

2 Thessalonians shows God’s grace in choosing us before time, that we might withstand Christ’s greatest enemy. (2:13)

1 Timothy shows God’s grace in the radical mercy shown to ‘the chief of sinners.’ (1:15)

2 Timothy shows God’s grace to be that which began (1:9) and that which fuels (2:1) the Christian life.

Titus shows God’s grace in saving us by his own cleansing mercy when we were most mired in sinful passions. (3:5)

Philemon shows God’s grace in transcending socially hierarchical structures with the deeper bond of Christ-won Christian brotherhood. (v. 16)

Hebrews shows God’s grace in giving his Son to be both our sacrifice to atone for us once and for all as well as our high priest to intercede for us forever. (9:12)

James shows us God’s grace by giving to those who have been born again ‘of his own will’ (1:18) ‘wisdom from above’ for meaningful godly living. (3:17)

1 Peter shows God’s grace in securing for us an unfading, imperishable inheritance no matter what we suffer in this life. (1:4)

2 Peter shows God’s grace in guaranteeing the inevitability that one day all will be put right as the evil that has masqueraded as good will be unmasked at the coming Day of the Lord. (3:10)

1 John shows God’s grace in adopting us as his children. (3:1)

2 and 3 John show God’s grace in reminding specific individuals of ‘the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever.’ (2 Jn 2)

Jude shows God’s grace in the Christ who presents us blameless before God in a world rife with moral chaos. (v. 24)

Revelation shows God’s grace in preserving his people through cataclysmic suffering, a preservation founded on the shed blood of the lamb. (12:11)


# Naam Gebruik In Die Bybel

-Chris Harrison, Visualising the Bible