Today I have a guest post over at New Leaf Press Titled, “Teaching, Feelings, Opinions, or the Inerrancy of the Bible.” Here’s the first sentence in the post, “Friedrich Schleiermacher, a German theologian, philosopher, and biblical scholar was born November 21, 1768 and died February 12, 1834.” To read the whole post please click on: http://nlpgblogs.com/2012/08/30/teaching-feelings-opinions-or-the-inerrancy-of-the-bible/
Recent years have seen an increase in writing and speaking about how Christians are to have a biblical worldview and the importance of a biblical worldview. A biblical worldview that is the idea that Christians are to base what they believe on the Bible isn’t a new idea but a very old one. Jesus taught us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) The heart, mind and strength are overlapping categories, and the idea is that we must have an integrated love, loving God with everything we are and everything we have, giving our whole selves to Him. In the helpful new book Christian Contours How A Biblical Worldview Shapes the Mind and Heart edited by Dr. Douglas S. Huffman helps to advance the discussion on what a biblical worldview is and why it matters.
The purpose of the book is to “reacquaint all Christians with the basic of life claims that the historic Christian faith has about all of life in every era” (17). In other words, the approach of the authors in this book is to take an integrated approach to theology. In recent days, I’ve come to view theology this way myself as I’ve seen that we can become so focused on systematic or biblical theology that we neglect how theology should be integrated in every area of our lives. The fact that the authors take an integrated approach in this book is one that I greatly appreciate, and one I believe that readers of this book will find very helpful.
The authors contend that “the goal of every Christian, and the reason for continued Bible study and theological reflection, is to move closer to God’s view of things, i.e. the biblical worldview” (69). The biblical worldview according to the authors “encompasses five areas, theology, anthropology, ethics, soteriology, and epistemology” (70). Understanding our Christian worldview is important because it helps us to think biblically about the world we encounter every day as we seek to be in the world but not of the world.
The biblical worldview is not a mere add-on of religious ideas or simply affirming pleasant virtues or the collective expression of the fine sentiments about love and good deeds. As important as such matters might be the biblical worldview is more central and must be at the center of how a Christian thinks, speaks, and acts every moment of everyday. The biblical worldview shapes the mind and the heart in regard to everything.
Christian Contours will help the new Christian to understand what a biblical worldview is. This book will help the seasoned Christian, ministry leader, or Professor to equip people to think in a distinctly Christian way. I think going over the material in this book in a Sunday school class or perhaps even using some of the material in this book in a sermon series will help God’s people to understand what the biblical worldview is and why it is important. Wherever your at in your Christian journey, reading this book will help you to heed the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Author: Douglas S. Huffman Editor
Publisher: Kregel (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Kregel book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Don’t Be a Jezebel
Lastly dear heart, as important as it is that you should not marry an Ahab, it is just as important that you should not be a Jezebel.
Jezebel – Even the mere mention of the name conjures up images of a woman who is morally-loose. As a culture we associate Jezebel with the temptress, the sorceress, the seductress. There are vague impressions of too much makeup, of muslin veils and dimly-lit palaces. But, when it comes right down to it, Jezebel is really much simpler than that. Jezebel is probably a very nice girl to hang out with and it’s quite likely she goes to church. She has a normal family, and given time she will almost certainly marry, or at least date a good deal, because she is the kind of woman for which the Ahabs of the world are looking.
First, Jezebel attains her self-worth and self-identity through idolatry. In ancient times, a person’s name carried great power and significance. It told you something about that person, and in a very real way it was their identity. Jezebel’s name, literally-translated from her native tongue, means “The Prince Baal Lives,” or “The Prince Baal Exists.” As I’m sure you know by now, Baal is a Canaanite fertility and weather god, worshiped by the same Syro-Phoenicean religion of which Jezebel’s own father was high priest before he became king of Sidon.
But in Hebrew, and this is a most unfortunate play on words, Jezebel’s name can mean, “There is no nobility.” The point, whether or not you put stock in the meaning of Biblical names, is that Jezebel was a woman who found her identity and her fulfillment in promoting her false religion – in promoting idolatry. In this way, she is not so different from the Jezebels of our own time, who seek for their fulfillment and self-worth on all of the pagan altars of the world: On Facebook, in their career, in their physical appearance, in ministry, and in men.
Of course the problem with this is that looking to any of these things for the fulfillment that you can only attain via a personal and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ is the very essence of idolatry, not less than Jezebel’s altars and asherim. A woman who does this is not just rejecting her God-given purpose as a woman, she is rejecting what it means to be a Christian. Such a woman I hope and pray that you will not be, and such a woman is not ready or fit to be a helpmeet.
Secondly, Jezebels will cater to a man’s selfishness. Going back to 1 Kings 21, we see Ahab sulking because Naboth would not violate the Mosaic law and sell his ancestral inheritance out of his tribe. Jezebel, perhaps history’s worst example of an enabler, took matters into her own hands and had Naboth brought up on trumped-up charges and promptly executed.
Tirza, if you remember nothing else of this little talk, remember this: A woman who will cater to her husband’s selfish impulses will be the single most destructive influence in his life.
One of the things that I have always admired about your mother, and one of the things which first endeared her to me, was the fact that she has quite simply never put up with my crap. Lovingly, gently, she has maintained high expectations of the man I ought to be, and she is ever holding me to them. I think it is something that she does unconsciously, and frankly I find it unnerving at times. But she expects manhood of me, and that affects my behavior because I love her and want her to be happy.
I don’t mean to sound as though your mother somehow bullies me into Christianity, because that is not the case. But you need to understand that very much of how a man behaves is based upon the expectations that people have for him. If people will tolerate or reward his selfishness and unrestrained ego, then that is how he will behave. But if you treat your man like a Man, and lay upon him all the commensurate responsibilities and rewards, he will very quickly grow into them. If he doesn’t, then he’s not the man you are looking for.
There are several book giveaways going on throughout the blogosphere right now, and I wanted to highlight a few for your consideration.
My friend Todd Gragg is giving away the ESV Single Column Journaling Bible over at his blog at http://pastortodd78.com/2012/08/27/the-esv-single-column-journaling-bible-a-giveaway/
Servants of Grace contributor and my friend Aaron Armstrong is giving away a personal library (two prize packs) over at his blog at http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2012/08/27/im-giving-away-a-personal-library-and-some-other-keen-stuff-too/
I graduated from seminary on May 11, 2012, and, since then, friends have asked me:
“What’s the biggest transition you’ve had since graduating?”
Before I go into my answer to that question, I need to give a little background. I graduated high school in June 2000 (I’m thirty-one years old) and ever since graduating high school I’ve either been a full or part time student. The past two months have been the first time in my life where I wasn’t taking one or more classes at a community college, university or graduate school. So when my friends ask what the greatest transition has been for me, my consistent answer has been I’ve been enjoying my Bible reading a lot more. Depending on your own experiences, my answer may or may not surprise you.
In school, I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading the Bible over and over again. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy reading the Bible during this season of life; I’ve always enjoyed reading it. But after reading it academically for five years, I got to the point where I was reading more out of obligation than delight.
In the months since graduating, my passion for reading the Bible has only increased as I spend quality time every morning read the Word. If you’ve ever lost your passion, I hope the following helps you find it again, too.
First, grow in a love relationship with the Author of Scripture.
If a young woman received a love letter from her fiancée, she would eagerly read it since she is in love with the letter’s author. She would read and re-read those precious words, reading “between the lines” to discover the full richness of her lover’s message. Similarly, if we love God, we will find delight in the inspired words of God. Psalm 119:10-11, “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Love God and love His “love letter” to you—the Bible.
Second, have a personal relationship with God.
Even more basic than this loving God, the author of Scripture, the reader and interpreter of Scripture should strive to truly know God through Jesus Christ the Lord. You should have a deep and intimate relationship with God who inspired Scripture through the Holy Spirit (John 17:3; 2 Timothy 3:16). It is vital to remember that joy comes through the work of the Holy comes in our lives (Galatians 5:22). If you truly know God, in Christ Jesus and through the Spirit, you will be more prepared to rejoice in your Bible study.
Third, approach your Bible reading with worshipful awe.
It is vital that you have a proper attitude and frame of mind and heart as you open the pages of Scripture. For example, God says “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2b). Here we see that the one who comes to the Word should have a humble, contrite, and fearful (or respectful) attitude. You should approach it with a worshipful attitude, a fearful and respectful attitude, a submissive and yielding attitude, and a love for the God of Scripture.
Fourth, consider it an amazing privilege to read and study Scripture.
Until about the year 1500, the common person didn’t have the Scriptures in his or her own language. It took centuries before the Bible was translated and circulated in many of the world languages. Today, you have a priceless gift in your hands! You can read the Word of the living God and understand the Scriptures yourself, apart from false religious leaders censoring what you read! With this privilege comes tremendous responsibility.
Fifth, develop a real interest as you read a portion of Scripture.
Some people complain that their reading is dry and boring. It need not be this way. Develop a captivating interest in what you are reading. Ask yourself: “Why did Peter deny Jesus in this passage?” “Why did the Pharisees react so vehemently against Jesus as He declared His relationship with the Father?” “What was the nature of Judaizers that Paul seems to regularly combat?” Also, notice the choice of vocabulary, the connection between sentences, and the development of the argument in each book. This will arouse your curiosity, awaken your interest, and give you the joy of Bible discovery!
Sixth, ask the Lord to give you true joy as you read the Scriptures.
We know that spiritual joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Acts 13:52) that comes through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:1). Ask God to stimulate this joy in your heart as you open yourself to His divine Word.
Seventh, find a quiet place and time to spend quality time reading the Scriptures.
You should be undisturbed in your reading so that you can think through the text as you read it. Don’t allow background noise, music, TV programs, or conversations to disturb your concentration. Even a crying baby can interfere with your focus on the text. Find a time when you can be alone and also a time when you are most awake and alert in your reading. For some, this may be at 5 AM and for others it may be 10 PM, while for others it may be lunchtime or some other time during the day.
Eighth, begin your time in the Bible with prayer.
Before you begin to read verses or chapters for the day, pause to ask God’s blessing on your reading, the clarity of your thought, and the conviction that the Spirit brings through the Word that He inspired. The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18). Don’t just rely on your reading ability; depend on God to enlighten you as you prayerfully read.
Ninth, examine the Bible portion carefully and prayerfully.
Don’t read the Bible as you would cursory read the newspaper. Recognize that the Scriptures are God’s inspired revelation of His will. Every word has been inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and should be scrutinized with intensity. “One who looks intensely at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). Read to see and understand what the Bible writers wrote.
Tenth, determine to read for spiritual benefit from the Lord.
Paul writes, “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). The Bible gives encouragement, but it also gives us warnings (1 Corinthians 10:11), all of which are profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). Scripture gives us wisdom that leads to salvation (v. 15). The Word of God nourishes us (1 Timothy 4:6) and helps us to grow (1 Peter 2:2). If you keep the spiritual benefits of your Bible reading in mind, you can develop an unquenchable appetite for the Word. This will bring true joy!
Finally, always remember that you are seeking to know God’s will and obey it.
You should always bear in mind that you are not reading for mere curiosity, or to “do your duty,” or to compete with others. Instead, you are earnestly seeking to know what pleases God! We will be judged by Christ’s words (John 12:48), thus we should intently study that word to know it thoroughly. The Scriptures will keep us from sin: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). One time, someone wrote inside a Bible: “This Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.”
At times, every Christian goes through periods where reading the Bible becomes a duty instead of a delight. But I believe that by applying some of the above suggestions, you’ll find a fresh interest and passion for reading and studying the Word of God.
As you continue to grow in the Scriptures and the grace of God, you will come to have a burning desire to read, study, learn and meditate on His Word. A.W. Tozer said, “The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.” As this happens, you will come to have a real enjoyment of His Word, a genuine delight in searching the Scriptures, and delight to understand and obey the Word of God.
This post first appeared at Blogging Theologically