Four Little Words

jesus

What is the likelihood you’ll be at church on Sunday? 50%? 75%? Recently, I heard an experienced urban minister reflecting on the reality that in most urban contexts, among most young Christians — even reformed evangelicals — church attendance peaks at around 2-3 Sundays per month. Before you judge, honestly evaluate your own attendance over the past little while. I say that because for most of these young people, if you were to ask them, they would indicate that they are very committed. In their own perception, they are more likely to be there than not, whether or not the facts Continue reading

Be Addicted, Not Intimidated

The Bible is awesome. So Christians love it. Unfortunately, the Bible is also huge compared to blog posts, tweets, and most other things we read these days. So Christians fear it. About a month and a half ago I decided that I wanted to start a new Bible reading plan. From the list of thousands available, one stuck out to me: The Bible in 90 Days. Read through the Bible in 90 days? I wondered what kind of an insane idea this was, so I looked into it a little bit. Surely, it must be impossible, right? Here’s what I found out: To Continue reading

Don’t Be Okay with Not Reading Your Bible

Bible in Pew

I’m a part of a bi-weekly Bible study that I love. Rather than working through a specific text together, we each come ready to talk about what we’ve been reading on our own. It’s nice because each time we meet is very different. Also, it adds accountability. And no matter how many good reasons to read the Bible I have in theory, it’s easy to let it slip in practice. But if I show up and haven’t been reading my Bible, I’ll have to answer to the group as to why I’m not able to share with them. But more Continue reading

Some Guidelines for Reading New Testament Narrative

interpreting gospels

Everyone loves a good story, right? And they’re always easy to understand, too… right? Or maybe not so much. When we move into New Testament Narrative as a genre (basically consisting of the Gospels and Acts) we move into some of the most familiar and most beloved portions of Scripture. But we must not mistake ‘familiar’ and ‘beloved’ with ‘rightly understood.’ The Gospels & Acts New Testament Narrative may best be described as ‘Theological History’ or perhaps ‘Historical Theology.’ The term Gospel simply refers to the proclamation of good news and was typically associated with things like military conquest or Continue reading

Some Guidelines for Reading Prophetic Literature

hebrew-Scroll-Torah

Back in the summer I began a series giving some ‘Guidelines for Reading the Bible.’ At that time I covered Old Testament Narrative and Wisdom Literature. Today I’d like to move on and cover the Prophetic Literature. These books may be divided up into their three main redemptive-historical categories of pre-exilic, exilic, and post-exilic (all referring to the Babylonian exile of 605-536 BC). All of the writing prophets have their ministry span falling between about 760 and 460 BC. Just like your pastor’s message to your church this coming Sunday will be different than the message preached to our people Continue reading

Some Guidelines for Reading Wisdom Literature

hebrew-Scroll-Torah

Who doesn’t want to be wise? Everyone wants to be wise! No one wants to make foolish decisions that they will later regret. And Christians especially want to know how to make decisions that are pleasing to the Lord. That’s why we have the wisdom literature in our Bible (for my purposes here, I’m lumping in Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, all in this category). These books are given specifically so that we could know how to live wisely. But the problem is that when we pick up these books, we’re often filled with more questions than answers: Continue reading

Some Guidelines for Reading Old Testament Narrative

hebrew-Scroll-Torah

If you’ve ever begun to read through the Old Testament and been filled with more questions than answers, you’re not alone. Many of the stories of the OT are hard to understand and hard to apply. We know that narratives are inspired and ‘useful’ for us (2 Tim 3.16-17), but how? Are we really supposed to cheer on Samson? Are we always supposed to take Abraham as a positive example? Are we really supposed to take the admonitions of God to Joshua as personal words of exhortation & promise to us? Here are ten hopefully helpful principles for interpreting Old Continue reading