Monday, August 19, 2013

Reading the Bible Wrong

I remember reading the Bible for the first time as a teenager. It was not the easiest task. The book is big (1,104 pages in my personal copy) with many chapters and verses that are supposed to make it easier to read somehow.

One of the most common problems with the Bible is that people can read it the wrong way. I’m positive that I have done this countless times. Thankfully, the more you read it the better Bible reader you become.

I came across an example this morning where a verse can be read wrongly:

“Cursed is he who does the work of the LORD with slackness…” (Jeremiah 48:10a ESV).

I can almost picture the young man eager to go into ministry. This would sound like a great visionary verse for his calling right? Or maybe it’s a warning for pastors who are prone to take some short cuts or who have lost their zeal? Can we use this verse to encourage any of these situations? No.

This verse has nothing to do with pastoral ministry or church leadership. If you read the rest of the verse you see what the “work of the LORD” really is:

“…and cursed is he who keeps back his sword from bloodshed” (Jeremiah 48:10b ESV).

In this context the work of the Lord is executing judgment on Moab. So it’s probably not the best verse to take and apply to pastoral ministry or any other work that God has called you to…unless it is executing judgment on an idolatrous nation perhaps.

This is simply a reminder that Bible reading and understanding the Bible well take a lot of hard work and effort. It takes reading through books of the Bible over long periods of time, often years again and again.  

D.A. Carson has said it well: “At their best, Christians have saturated themselves in the Bible.” This means more than a verse here and there, and takes real effort and elbow grease over long periods of time.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to the Blog Again

I took a couple of months off from the blog since my daughter, Karis, was born in May. Not that I was a consistent blogger by any means but the break was helpful. After returning from vacation I’m back at it again.

Since the fall season marks times of change, like kids going back to school, harvest time approaching, and football season beginning, here are a few changes in my blog.

First, my purpose has been modified a bit. My new purpose behind the blog is to record personal thoughts on gospel living, marriage, parenting and ministry. These themes will guide my posting for the most part. Not that I have much to offer on these topics compared to those much further down the path of Christian maturity. But we are all on this journey by His grace, aren't we?

Second, the blog will have more of a pastoral focus. I know at least a couple of folks in my church check out my blog so I also want to see it as an extension of ministry.  Hopefully it provides a glimpse into what is going on in my heart and mind from time to time, which may be quite scary I admit, like a disengaged dad confessing.

Third, I do hope to be a more regular blogger. I have set out to do this before, only to have other things take over my time, like crying babies and a son who wants to play catch.  These are good things I don’t want to neglect. But since I am viewing the blog now as an extension of ministry, hopefully I will be able to work it into my schedule like other important things I do in ministry, such as prayer and sermon preparation.

Anyhow, I look forward to writing more and appreciate all of you who take time to read my thoughts! 
A child of God living by His grace,