This weeks Book of the Week is, Michael Haykin, and Steve Weaver: Devoted To the Service of the Temple: Piety, Persecution, and Ministry in the Writings of Hercules Collins, (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books 2007).
Summary of the Piety, Persecution, and Ministry in the writings of Hercules Collins:
When seeing the name Hercules Collins, not many postmodern individuals even know who the man is. Collins lived during the later 1700s and early 1800s as one of the most profound Calvinistic Baptists in London, England. Being one of the greatest Baptist figures of all time, this short biography shows a life of piety that the believer today could only wish to experience personally. In this biography, Dr. Haykin and Steve Weaver outline the beginning of Collins’ life in England, his pastorate, his imprisonment, his popularity among the London Baptists, his piety in knowing God, and his persecution while building the Baptist faith in London. Although many have never heard of him and do not know anything about him, it was his gospel-centered ministry that helped redeem London from the cesspool of sin in his time. Despite the drunkards, the prideful, the profane, homosexuals, and adulterers, Collins’ dedication to the gospel was to preach the good news to all types of people. Collins truly knew how to preach, and one of the characteristics of his preaching was how he prepared for his sermons. In preparing and giving sermons, he aimed to be plain and simple so that even the unregenerate could easily see sound words that soon became light and fire to their hearts. If you are looking for an easy biography to read, there is nothing like that of Hercules Collins’.
Summary selected writings of Hercules Collins:
Dr. Haykin has closely selected 35 different sections from Collins’ writings to show the magnitude of his “plain Jane” writing that was so profound. These writings reveal the relationship he had with his Father, the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of these sections include writings from when he was in prison, and deal with topics such as how to submit to God’s will. Many people in the 21st Century often look at one of the most prolific speakers of our day, John Piper, because of how he speaks, writes and preaches. If there were a Reformed Baptist that was as insightful to the Scriptures, as vigorous in the pulpit, and as striking with their words as John Piper, it would have to be Collins in the early 18th Century. Writings like: God is the Gospel, The Christ-Finding Soul, Grace Sweetens the Music, and An Old Gospel are just some of the topics of which you can read when picking up Devoted to the Service of the Temple. Not only were his writings profound, but he was also known to be a pastor like no other. Included are articles on being a pastor, such as: The Art of Preaching, The Value of Pastoral Ministry, Interpreting Scripture, Plain Preaching, Sermon Preparation, Preaching the Whole Counsel of God, Advice about Preaching, The Use of Notes in Preaching, and The Believers Ultimate Comfort.
Recommendation: 9 out of 10
Having no clue who Hercules Collins was when I began this book, I was surprised that by the time I had read 125 pages I found out just how gospel-centered he was. These inspiring writings that Dr. Haykin and Steve Weaver compiled are tremendously valuable, and truly Christ-saturated. Although half of them seemed to be more geared towards pastoring, there was still a great amount of theological emphasis placed upon Collins’ writings. Whether about preaching or about the gospel, Collins’ focus was always centered on both the unregenerate and regenerate, to see the promises of God and to live a life of piety for Him.
Summary of the Piety of Horatius Bonar:
Volume 4 in the Profiles in Reformed Spirituality series was written and edited by Dr. Michael Haykin and Darrin R. Brooker (the latter being the editor and publisher of the Life and Works of Horatius Bonar CD-Rom).
This volume – entitled Christ is All – gives a biography of Horatius Bonar and picks many glorious writings that help reveal his piety. Bonar is greatly known for his preaching of the gospel, which in turn saved many souls. Throughout his biography, it is shown how many great theologians influenced his life. Dr. Haykin also provides a brief summary of some of Bonar’s early pastorates in Leith and Kelso, and tells about the many writings that created revivals in Scotland. This book summarizes what was clearly seen in Bonar’s life, pastorate, and writings: that Christ is all. Bonar’s whole life centered around Christ, in Whom he served.
Summary of the selected works of Horatius Bonar:
The second section of Christ is All includes 65 selected writings from Horatius Bonar. These writings clearly reveal Bonar’s love for Christ. It seems that on every page Bonar points to Christ… whether it is the way we read, the way we grow, the way we do our work, or the way we pray – every aspect points to Him. Bonar saw that Christians were to be above reproach, were to be a strong and bold witness, and were to stay true to their Christian walk until the end of their ministry. He placed emphasis on the way that Christians use their time – not in things of the world, but spending time in the Scriptures, which led to a life of piety. Bonar knew the trouble of sin, and that is why his writings made it clear that believers are to aim to glorify God and focus their faith on Christ. He believed that all of Christianity was to be summed up in the lives of believers in how they lived out their doctrines. One of my favorite sections of Bonar’s writings is found in section 41, entitled Christianity: Doctrine in Life, where he says, “Christianity is both a life and a dogma; quite as much the one as the other.”
Recommendation: 8 out 10
Christ is All is lengthier than the first 3 volumes in The Profiles of Reformed Spirituality. Where the others had 28-30 sections, Bonar’s selected writings include 65. For the sincere Christian that wants to see and know how to live a life in tune with Christ, Bonar is a great example. His spirituality is clearly shown throughout his life and throughout these particular sections of writings. No matter if you are young or old in age, or young or old in the faith, like Dr. David Murray says, “As Bonar would wish, every word points us to the Christ of all ages for all ages.” And the same goes for us in the 21st Century, as Christians need to be reading substantial theology and substantial writings that point us to Whom saved us. When we read such writings as this, the believer will truly see that Christ is all.
Undoubtedly, the most significant contribution of Buchanan’s Justification, is his theological clarity, finesse, and comprehensiveness. His arguments are as relevant today in light of the NPP as they were in the 19th century. We saw above that the NPP has supplanted the forensic and judicial with the participationistic and transformative. Buchanan furnishes three arguments for why Scripture requires the forensic or judicial sense of the term justification and righteousness. He calls these the antithetic, correlative, and equivalent arguments (229-233).
What is more, Buchanan shows the inextricability of the doctrine of justification to the doctrine of God, his holiness and justice, the spirituality and inflexibility of the moral law, the grand and crucial doctrine of Christ’s satisfactory and propitiatory atonement, and the sovereignty of grace. Each one of these doctrines is worthy of careful treatment, and is connected to the others, and the doctrine of justification, so that if any falls, so do the others, especially, the doctrine of justification. Allow one quote from Buchanan to suffice:
If they [the Reformers] held that God’s justice requires the punishment of disobedience for the vindication of His law and the manifestation of His glory, — that men are universally chargeable with the guilt of original and actual sin, — that they are alike unwilling to be subject to God’s law, and unable to yield perfect obedience to it, — that for them and their salvation, the Son of God became incarnate, and acted as Mediator between God and man, — that He executed the office of a Priest in offering Himself up as a sacrifice for sin, –that His sufferings were strictly penal, and properly vicarious, — and that they were both appointed and accepted by God as sufficient to render it consistent with His justice to extend mercy to the guilt, and to grant a full and free remission of their sins, — then, holding these views, they could hardly fail to believe that Christ’s work is the meritorious procuring cause, and the only, but all-sufficient, ground of a sinner’s justification (164).
It is here that Buchanan shows the NPP for what it truly is. It requires a different view of God, a different view of the law, a different view of the atonement, and a different view of grace and faith. The interconnectedness of these Scriptural doctrines with the Reformed understanding of justification is so entire, that the smallest reformulation of justification entails a thoroughly altered view of religion.
Extremely illuminating is Buchanan’s treatment of the history of the doctrine of justification, specifically the corruption of the doctrine by Catholicism, Socinianism, Neo-nominianism, and other movements. Particularly since much of modern-day liberalism espouses a Socinianism Revivus, particularly on the person of Christ and the nature of his atonement, it is not surprising that the Socinian view of justification would prevail in our current setting. Buchanan defines the Socinian view of justification as “sinners obtain[ing] pardon and acceptance with God through His mere mercy, on the ground of their own repentance and reformation” (162). It is notable that the Socinians would maintain speech such as “justification by faith,” “by grace,” etc., while in the meantime redefining each to include man’s personal repentance and reformation.
Not only does Buchanan offer surveys of these views, but arguments against them as well. Therein lies a considerable portion of his current-day value. Since our age suffers from considerable historical amnesia, including and particularly in the area of theology, Buchanan’s treatment of the history of theological controversy is refreshing and illuminating.
The next four post will be given by Dr. Bilkes from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There at PRTS he is the one of the assisant Professor’s in Old and New Testament as well as one of the Academic Deans. His Ph.D. is from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his dissertation was done on the Ezra-Nehemiah corpus. These next few post will be a review of the book by James Buchanan titled, “The Doctrine of Justification.” These next four post will be broken down into sections in how Buchanan deals with Justification biblically, theologically, historically and experientially.
Buchanan treats the biblical foundation for the doctrine of justification in two steps: first, as it is found in the Old Testament, and secondly, as it was formulated during the age of the Apostles in the controversy with the Judaizers. Buchanan offers a lucid treatment of the controversy, which is rather relevant given the current debates. He traces the connection between the Judaizing controversy and the doctrine of justification.
Buchanan shows how this controversy was understandable given the times and the shift from the old, ceremonial economy to the new, spiritual economy. This controversy raised the important point whether obedience of any kind, both to the ceremonial and the moral law, can be part and parcel of a sinner’s merit before God. It occasioned the apostles’ clear delineation of justification without works of any kind, whether ceremonial or moral. Buchanan shows how this is clear not only from the explicit teaching of the apostles, but also from the insinuations of their detractors. Their charge, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Rom 6:1), shows, in the words of Buchanan, “that the Justification of which he [Paul] spoke was not understood on either side to be Sanctification, or to depend at all on Sanctification as its ground, — for there could be no room for the objection, if Paul was supposed to teach that men are justified by their infused or inherent righteousness” (74-75). This and many similar points show us the abiding value of Buchanan’s astute biblical analysis.
What did you find in the book that would help you preach Christ from the Old Testament?
Greidanus does an incredible job of not only giving the do’s on how to preach Christ and do it from the Old Testament, but goes as far as explaining the don’ts as well. He shows how the New Testament church in its apostolic preaching had already done this type of preaching. Greidanus gives the reasons behind the meaning of “preaching Christ,” but also tells and gives examples of what preaching Christ does not mean. Sometimes I think it is better to start off by telling people the way you don’t want things to happen, so that they know exactly what you do want to happen. From the person and work of Christ he gives a clear example of the reason for preaching Christ, specifically from the Old Testament. Near the end of the chapter, after giving his reasons on why to preach Christ, Greidanus gives the reasons for why people in today’s culture lack the preaching of Christ from the Old Testament.
Greidanus’s reasons on why we are not preaching give great help on keeping the focus pointed towards Christ and not man. Here he shows a way of not just mentioning Christ to make the messages Christ-centered, but actually showing Christ from the Scriptures. What helped me most from this chapter was a way of looking at what God is doing in Scripture and not merely at the work against man. Also he shows the way the Old Testament is often looked at and how it should be seen as the link of Christ bringing the oneness to the story of redemption. Christ is the same all throughout Scripture. Lastly, Greidanus goes deeper than the first chapter in explaining a fuller explanation of Christ.
This chapter was helpful because Greidanus showed a biblical view of the way messages should be preached. It is not to be preached with new methods, ways, or other approaches that might lead to another way of study. He deals with all of today’s movements and their beliefs that preaching ought to be from their perspectives; Greidanus shows the correct view of interpretation of the message throughout Scripture. I personally liked the fact that Greidanus goes back throughout history and the early church fathers and looks at the way they viewed Scripture. Giving allegorical and typological views and their different ways of viewing Scripture help one see the do’s and do not’s once again like he has already so many times done throughout his writings. Showing the short comings really made me think of how many people in today’s Reformed Theology branch have sometimes gone too far in their typology of the Scriptures.
In this chapter Greidanus starts off by explaining Luther’s hermeneutical method and its principle of sola scriptura. He goes on to explain Luther’s contrast of law and gospel. Once again he not only shows the upside of Luther’s view on interpretation, but the downside as well. He also reviews Calvin and his hermeneutical method dealing with all the areas in which Calvin would look at Scripture. He does this as well with Charles Spurgeon and Wilhelm Vischer. Personally my favorite is how he explains how Calvin would preach a text after many ways of studying it.
This chapter may show the major lacking theme of American Evangelical churches today. The lack of preaching Christ from the Old Testament is not because they lack knowledge of it, but how to do it. He shows exactly how to do this properly and how to exalt God in all of his glory by first preaching Christ. It is helpful to learn this when dealing with today’s culture which lacks this in so many ways. He does this in a way that does not separate individual stories or books, but makes everything fit together in the work and redemption of Christ.
Here Greidanus revels and shows how to use his method: the Christocentric method. This is a huge help in understanding a text in not only its individual story but in a whole of all of the stories. Looking at each individual story, message, and text and then putting them in the plan of God in His story of redemption presents the Old Testament as a clear picture and shows Scripture in a whole new correct lens. The best part of this chapter is his proper job in explaining typology and how to do it correctly. The end examples are key to helping see how this is done as well.
Starting off he gives ten ways to lead you in making the right Christocentric sermon from viewing the Scriptures. He gives several examples and how to do this from Genesis. This chapter is most useful to preachers and their ways or means that they don’t understand for making a Christ-centered sermon, or coming about one. With these proper steps of viewing the Scripture in light of the entire major theme of the Bible, pastors or anyone in study, will be helped in coming to correct God honoring sermons or speeches.
Here examples are given from Gen. 6, Ex. 15, 17, and Num. 19. These examples are ways of showing how this study would look and not look. He tries to clarify this method of studying Scripture. He uses these to go through their proper views like: redemptive history, fulfillments, typology, analogy, themes, New Testament, and looking at how to compare it with other passages. Examining the Scriptures through this lens seems hard to do but after reading Greidanus you can’t wait to get your first Old Testament text to work your way through and use all these study tools to search Scripture deeper, finding much more meat in all of the story that consists throughout all of the Bible.
What did you find to be unhelpful and even a negative influence upon the preaching of Christ from the Old Testament?
This might be a little nick picky. I found it hard after six chapters full of how to preach Christ-centered sermons, to then begin in the seventh chapter with his “ten steps from Old Testament text to Christocentric sermons.” His first step is to select a text from the congregational needs. Maybe this is why I am not, nor do I plan ever to be a shepherd of the Lord’s people. But I do find it very hard to sit down and look for a text to fit the needs of the hearers of the Word. I also find this mindset contrary to his view on Scripture. If one wants to keep Christ first in the sermon, then there should be no reason why to pick a text for the hearer. The influence of this then tends to lead me to believe that the preacher would then meet the needs of his people. I understand in some areas how this can be, but I do not preach the gospel for man’s sake, nor would I ever preach the gospel with my focus on the needs of the hearers. He says, “When church bells ring on Easter Sunday, people need to hear a word from the Lord about the resurrection.” To which I’d say, “Shouldn’t they hear the cross preached every week?!” I just do not see from my view how anyone could explain Christ-centered hermeneutics but then when coming to prepare a message, go to a man-centered way of thinking. I am by no means a preacher or a pastor nor do I have many of the skills to speak as a pastor would. I may be off on this area, but am willing to hear other opinions.
Greidanus mentions to make special sermons for the church year like Christmas, Easter, and the day of Pentecost. I would much rather teach the Scriptures and wait to see how the Lord’s plan will be carried out. Then shortly after this point he says, “Before selecting a text, we should decide which particular need should be addressed in this sermon.” This makes me wonder if in any way he is trying to say that we need to focus on the points and areas we must preach to our hearers before looking at what the Scriptures say. This would also make me believe that he will have assumptions of what “he wants to say” before he ever comes to the text and may allude to something different than what will be in the text. Lastly he states that this process will help us create sermons that are relevant from beginning to end. In no means would I disagree that we should be relevant to today’s church. I actually believe this is one of the largest problems in America. Preachers get behind their pulpit and preach about something that happened 25, 40, and even 50 years ago in culture, which has nothing to do with the man in the pew. It almost seems that the pastor wants to do something to keep the hearer awake or try to appeal to him. The gospel stands alone; the gospel flies alone. The gospel plays a one man band and needs nothing but itself to appeal to the hearer of it. I think that the point Greidanus is trying to make is just not as necessary as he makes it. It seems to defeat the purpose of Christ-centeredness.
1. The first impression I got from the book was, that sometimes we the person or in the book the parent starts giving up. Start saying things like, “to far gone”, or like “I tried enough” shows what’s really within us. Matt. 12:34 Jesus teaches us that the mouth speaks what is in our hearts. And if our true heart was solid enough like the character of Christ then we wouldn’t give in or up like that. Since when has Christ given up on the Jews, the Church? I think not!
2. A reaction I have is wow! In chapter 5 or word five whatever it may be. I see the point or another point of the church. Man how great is the church to have to help us in family life. To be a guide for the relationship between a woman and a man. We need the help of a institution that God created to nurture and support the family life!!! Families can not possibly live with out God’s word teaching them consistency! That and only that is the reason of Gods character and why the character or the church we have for.
3. I tend to get the impression that Love is a choice that continues to keep everything together. Love is protection, and never fails, nor falls part. Love even shows proof of a family and is so powerful on the way it is to be done and show to one another. Lastly he shows on how it’s a production that’s like a action you decide to take everyday. Not a one time decision better a renewing one every morning.
1. That I need to remember on no matter of a situation I can not give up! Not on my wife, nor kids, but continue like Christ did to the cross for us. My heart needs to always be in turn with the Lords will, and his ministry in my life so that my mouth and my actions show that I love not only Him first and far most but yet my wife, and children like he has shown us to.
2. Knowing that the church is there to help me, I need to rely on help from men and families in my church. I need to use what is post to be used in order to make it in a biblical marriage that God has called me to do. I need to focus on what Christ is doing now for the church and also what sacrifices he made and is making for the church. Then I can see what I am called to do and far to go for my wife.
3. Seeing how important the author talks about love and after seeing how the first six words flow into this one. I mean I really need to realize that a woman just needs it more then myself. Seeing how that its something I need to do every day and every hour cause it’s a choice you make yourself, I mean a lot has to ride on myself and my own shoulders and that’s hard to face cause I’m not the biggest lover in the world. But woman needs that and I need to give that in order to give back to God a Godly and biblically relationship that Gods has given me a chance to have.
1. His “doctorate” is from an un-accredited school. This is why over the years a number of his books have been published without the “Dr.” – apparently some of his publishers respected the title too much to let him fake it.
1. One thing I read and wonder if it really is true was the fact that women don’t measure what guys may do like big medium and small but yet everything means something and tallies I guess you could say all the same up.
2. Another idea or point that Gary makes in his book is that women don’t always understand that man sometimes needs space. I thought about this and agreed on this point because so many times I need my down time or alone time to think clear things up and think biblical on a situation and not be so fast to action and cause myself to sin.
3. My rebuke is that this is a man made program book. He makes up ideas, thinking and just where he has no conclusion for all of man kind with one program or one of his great ideas.
List how “you” plan to “specifically” respond to or incorporate into your present ministry each of the items you listed above:
1. I guess I need to remember that it is not in what or how I do something as much as I do that action with love and just as long as I do something for her to feel wanted.
2. I need to always think slower and not be fast to reaction and need time to think clearly and do things right and explain to my wife that I need time alone and away form the world so that I can think biblical and not in pressure situation.
3. I mean he has ideas and program like I had stated but in reality I think of God one program that is to fit us in marriage he gave us the church and himself and to use it and to see it and live life after that program which can fulfill all the needs of every marriage.
2. Olson’s faith is astounding. He didn’t want to be a missionary, but God told him and showed him otherwise. His life reminds me how God uses his weakest people to do his mightiest works.
3. Bruce Olson, only one year into college, then decides to go to South America! With a very long stay, and adventure after scary adventure but he still becomes a man. He becomes a broken, humble man. He surrenders his life and even his own fate over to God and offers the rest of his life in service, transforming a backwards, stone-age tribe into a powerful force, changing even the government that rules them. This shows an excellent example of the concept of the local church and how Christianity can transform culture into the most culturally, morally, and spiritually primitive.
1. After seeing what he does with out a wife almost makes me not even want to get married and just have his passion, going through all he has and doing everything I just need to maintain a great passion to serve Christ like him.
2. Showing me even though sometimes what I think and what I do is not always God best but its something that I have set in my mind, and head and become cold to the leading of the Lord. He I see what in order to have a successful ministry that I need to first give up all and everything on my own to God and let him leading with opening and closings here and there and show what is best for me in life so that I don’t make fleshly and human mistakes that the world does everyday.
3. I see here that decisions have a huge part to play even more then we know. And that our decisions that we might make for a time or for awhile might become more into Gods eternal plan and last longer then I’d ever guess. So I need to remember in ministry and most of all in family that decision that I make thinking might get by God or even when I make them for God can become changed by his will, and power to something I never saw coming or could have imaged.
This book starts out with a number of different examples of the way today’s world looks at scripture and how they interpret it. I’ve stared to see how others in today’s culture come to their conclusions, and how they receive their information other then scripture alone. Knowing that God is the ultimate authority, we should form that mind-set and remember that we do not need other writings, and other thoughts that contradict the Word. A proper interpretation does not include your own ideas and thoughts added to the text. A way of coming to wrong conclusions on text are, having a limited vision, making statements that are untrue, or sometimes making statements that are partially true. One of the best passages that the author Vern Poythress brings to attention is John 17. This passages usage two persons of the Trinity conversing with each other, helps show us the language used in scripture and also the communication that God maybe getting across through out His Word. In this passage we must differently remember that Christ is not only human in his nature but also divine. The context of the passage shows Jesus the son talking to His Father in Heaven, God, this helps us tie the knowledge of Jesus to the Bible. This knowledge gives us several parts of speech in its text and the surrounding text around 17.
When explaining what the Bible is, Poythress shows how God communicates to human through His covenants, and through these covenants God gives several elements to each one of them. All the covenants start with showing and explaining the Lord. From the beginning of all history, the past covenants are address to whoever it may be and then the Lord gives obligations to his people who the covenant may concern. After that, God tells his people about what blessings will become through their obedience, and what curses will come for their disobedience. Lastly, the Lord tells on how to pass on the covenant to their generations. Through this all, God makes a relationship with His chosen people.
When seeing that the word of God controls the sanctification of the disciples in John 17:17, the word that Jesus talks bout in this passage appear representative. Lastly this passage about the words spoken by God and the Father, are all personally present. Helping see these truths is what enables the transformation of his people. After developing this, comes a more detailed Christocentric character of the biblical truth. Some of the key passages that I found most important in studying this is Col 2:3, 2 Cor.1:20, 1 Tim.2:5, and far most importantly out all of them is the passage of Luke 24:25-27, 44-47. Because of the claim is right from Jesus it makes it so clear about a Christocentric view in the passage. Here Jesus refers to the Old Testament, in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings to all point to His fulfillment,which is leading to the conclusion that the Old testament is about Him.
The Bible shows us that human beings were created in a way that they could speak and understand language. Human beings use language that imitate God, who also uses a type of language but human speaking is just an image or a mirror of the divine speaking of the trinity. If we know that Jesus is the truth of God the Father and that his truth is manifested through the holy spirit, it helps teach us humans whatever truth we know. Proythress explains the truth in the trinity like this: “Truth in the father is original reality, truth in the son is the manifestation in reality, and the truth and the spirit is the harmony:”, between the Father and the Son through their mutual indwelling. A great way to illustrate the unity of the triune character in truth and speaking is the diversity in the four gospels. There is unity to the four gospels but there is also diversity in these books and an example is in Matthew, Jesus is prominently the Davidic king whereas in John, he is the son of the Father. In Luke he is the one bringing salvation, and then in Mark he is the son of man that will destroy the kingdom of Satan. The diversity in the four gospels is the difference of interest and personalities of the four human authors. The trinity provides an answer for relativism through its coherence, for God is one and doesn’t contradict himself in any way we should learn to appreciate the difference of the gospels but never forget about the unity and over all picture of all four. In the character of God we should never question truth because of the way it is spoken or what type of literature it is. Whether it is analogical or metaphorical it is the divine language of the true God, which speaks only truth.
The last area of content I would like to go over is the chapter written on History. God created history. The events in history took place in God’s plan of redemption. Understanding history and its lay out, helps us understand the lay out through-out in the Bible. History and the art of God speaking, have a lot in common. It is the most common in where God is speaking to the Holy Spirit and then the Holy Sprit carries out what to do, which shows events in history (Gen1:3). One of the most important parts to understanding history through out the Bible is history’s unity and diversity. In this the author explained the accordance with the classification aspects, like the fact that each historical event is classifiable. The next step in this process is to consider each instantiation aspect. This helps show how each event is special in its own history. Lastly is the associational aspect. This I find very important in studying scripture and how historical events fit along with all other historical events that take place or will take place.
The first “key insight” that came out to myself while reading this book was, remembering that God is the encyclopedia of all knowledge. I am sure I have been told this many times, but when reading this Poythress brought out that God does not always just give that knowledge out in words or spoken to people. Seeing what we do have in scripture makes everything much more meaningful and places so much more depth to them. A good example is in John 17:5, where Jesus ask God to “Glorify me”. This is a absolute great example of redemption. This being the complete plan of God then seeing Him the father and His son, Christ, talk in a conversion, and say a remark as to that, brings the climax of my salvation.
When I came to chapter four I was most excited. With the readings of pervious books on the meaning and interpretation of the Bible, I was “pumped” to read Poythress’s view. For myself, I found this the most enjoyable chapter of his book. It was very simple but something that it seems so easily misconstrued, especially in the circle that I have learned in. so many people today make the purpose of the Bible something they think or something that they’ve missed in scripture. Mostly I have see how many people do what exactly they do. What this is I am talking about is that many theology students, or even scholars today lessen Christ in their purpose. I think that is because they sometimes become scared of another system of theology, or other sides of the spectrum. What I am getting at is, many times dispensational theology many times lessen Christ in any way of being a part of their purpose that the bible is over. I like how easily and clear in scripture Poythress shows Christ being the centrality of the Word of God. I would also say the purpose of the Bible is to reveal Gods glory, but I would add in the work of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ. I would say next being Christocentric is not a “reformed system”. Christocentric is being biblical in your hermeneutic. If you are not you will miss the meaning and the correct interpretation of the Old Testament. I am sure that many people in today’s Christian realm would have no problem saying that the New Testament is all about Jesus. But I wonder how many people would say, that the Old testament is all about Him. I would say to that not being Christocentric in your Old Testament is not what Christ intended for you to interpret the Old. Testament. The book of Hebrews does such a wonderful job of this showing the Christ of the New Testament and how all of the shadows of the Old Testament have lead and only guided the way for the ultimate Jesus.
Another insight that I found when reading was the creativity in the meaning of the scripture. When understanding and remembering that God is the creator, we see God’s way of communication of the important passage and its context. The creator made his message to be made known in a creative way, making it almost like a scientific study that we must do to look and see the context of the text. In this there are many diversities in the body of Christ. Applications come in many different ways because of the different members in the body of Christ. Understanding that many applications can be taken but remembering the interpretation must remain the same. This shows another example of how there is diversity but unity as well in the body of Christ.
I found that being a believer and studying the scripture, and doing it in a “godly fashion” helps the church. I thought about the unbelievers in today’s world make so many mistakes when studying the Bible. How the unbeliever neglects that facts of keeping humility, and spiritual discernment in which I struggle myself with so much. How can a unregenerate man renew his mind when studying the scriptures make it all in vain (Rom.12:2). Studying the Bible and being a believer and a born again Christian helps us stay in subject to Christ. It also helps purify the whole body of believers. Teaching the Bible and seeing it actually be lived out is the reason for scripture. We see examples of this in the Reformation. Jonathan Edwards and how he gave the scriptures to be taught to help the process of stanification. As well as Charles Spurgeon and seeing what a proper study of the Bible can do, in bringing more to Christ and growing them in the scriptures makes the reason out of studying so much more glorifying to God and not man.
Many individuals have different perspectives on history and how it can or will effect their study. When we understanding history better we then can better understand the perspectives on hermeneutics. Seeing how each individual events takes place in order to make a process and show the rest of history to come helps see the value of the Bible. Another way Poythress uses to explain history is looking at it like, how history develops time. This is showing how each events can make the future and make that future event. Then lastly is the perspective of all history takes place now. That the past of history is in the present. Looking at history the way Poythress shows in his book, helps see the events that take place in history are always related to one another in some type of way. Seeing history in a plan that God has panned out and constantly revealed in and through out history better explains the work of redemption and what His plans were for humankind. Looking through history and seeing the typological and symbolical patterns that constantly occur over long stretches of history lead always to and form the cross of Christ. The death and resurrection of Christ is the very center of history. that’s that is what is the pivotal pin point in and through-out all of history no matter before or after.
When first starting to read this book what came into mind was, “man this is so simple”. As I continued to read through chapters one and two and going over understanding the Bible and the interpretation of the Bible. I understood very easily to say the least. Easy and explanatory would be the keys words that came to mind over those chapters. Going into to chapter three and seeing his view of how the Bible is something spoken by God almost reminded of the beginning of Hebrews class and how Gods langue is something that we image form Him. The beginning of this book is very easy to read. Then I hit the chapters in the back dealing with history, which I understood, after that is when trouble began. The idols, global distortion, and of terms lost me. I have to read the book another time with a dictionary to understand his terms.
At first when reading the dialogues of individuals and their views I found it annoying and just easy reading. Latter through the book and reading it a second time I found questions that many of them ask, in which the bible answers. I also found their views help to asking questions that we should be answering in and throughout the text. Also questions that you could name a sermon or a speech. These questions have helped me in studying the scriptures and how scripture can and does answer everything that man makes up. What I mean by this is that man tries to think of ways that the Bible does not add up to. They also try to ask questions such as some of the ones in this book to go against the Bible. Poythress does a great job in using his mind and his hermeneutic to defend the case of God center biblical interpretation. Asking the question he does about the text his goes through has given me examples that can help me not only in my own study, but also in everyday life,through out my work field, and one day teaching either in the church setting or class room.
I also enjoyed the way Poythress explained history and how it leads to Christ. After reading the book “Beginning at Moses”, by Michael Barrett Poythress’ chapter on history made so much sense to me, even more than I knew before. Seeing how little events through out all of history lead to the point of the cross and then even thinking for myself about the events after the cross that stem from that pivotal point in all of history, I started to think how can one not be gospel centered. How can someone not be Christ centered? Each individual event in the Old Testament leads towards the cross of Christ.
Lastly, the chapters over how God communicates with us today are a huge in helping understand ones hermeneutic. Poythress does an amazing job of showing in examples of the trinity and also other scripture passages that he helps bring out the communication process of God and how we his created beings image that in our everyday talk. This helps make the Bible more easily to comprehend and also to see in God is trying to get out through history.
After reading this book I have come to the conclusion that you can not get what Christ has intended for out of his word, without having a Christocenic view, and interpretation of scripture. Throughout history, and in scripture Christ is the center of it all. Realizing this helps see the biblical truth in which God has intended it for. Becoming more detailed in the Old Testament and looking for history events that lead to the major history event of Christ help reveal its biblical truth. Like Poythress stated, “few would challenge the idea of Christ in the Old Testament”, but understand a correct view of the New Testament must include finding Christ within the Old Testament. Christ told his disciples this in Luke 24:44-47, and that all of scripture leads, and tells about Him. In no way do I think Poythress is taking any scripture out of context with saying these values of the Bible. He is opening a door in which we can find the true and correct view of our Bible, our theology, but far most important our Christ.
Not that i do or do not agree with the system of dispensationalism, this is only a book review of what Charles Ryrie has stated or believes.
In reading this book and writing this paper, I really do not know what to exactly say or get across. So I figured I would go over and hit some of the main issues that were talked about by Dr. Ryrie and show you that I read the book, and understood it the best that I could. I will be briefly going over some of the main views and beliefs of dispensationalism, and explaining the views that Dr. Ryrie takes in his book. Ryrie defines a dispensation as “a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God’s purpose”. Ryrie clearly gives the definition of his view on dispensationalism and take on scripture in the word. In a dispensation God places people under a stewardship, people invariably failing the test, with a judgment and change. Dr. Ryrie clarifies many of the misunderstandings that opponents of premillennialism and dispensationalism have tried to show. So through out the book I found two main factors I believed that different dispensationalist from others. The first factor is a simple realization that there are differences in Scripture. The biggest difference is between the Old Testament and the New Testament, but there are also other differences. We read of a future Millennial kingdom in which Christ will reign on earth. Surely, things will be different during the Millennium. So the first issue that led to Dispensational thought is the realization that at different periods, God has dealt with man in different ways. Then is the second reason we are different I think from all other interpretations. Is because the reason that led to the progress of dispensational thought was a couple of verses in Ephesians, (Eph.1:9+10).
Dispensationalism forms a solid ground to how many Christians read and understand the Bible. One of the first points I seen reading the book was Ryrie clearly delineates dispensationalism keeps Israel and the church distinct which is the most basic fact of it today. Secondly, that the distinction between Israel and the church is a system of hermeneutics that is literal interpretation. Also something we teach here at BBC. One thing that Dr. Ryrie points out is that dispensationalism does not spiritualize or allegorize the text. Lastly the third main point seem to be a conception of the purpose of God as His own glory, rather than only one purpose and that being on salvation. Along with those issues there are a lot more that I had read about. One area I noticed was that Dr. Ryrie was worried about others thinking that God saved different ways in different times. Dispensationalism does not carry with it the idea of different ways of salvation. Dispensationalism has to do with God’s testing, not God’s redeeming. Dr. Ryrie pointed out a verse John 14:6, where Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”, which goes to show that salvation comes always through the complete work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Some of the beliefs derived from these principles or main points I have went over are six to seven main issues that was talked about in Dr. Ryrie’s book. So instead of talking at ends of all them, I’ll list them and give a brief description on each of the points he had talked about.
1. The Old Testament prophecies of the restoration of Israel to the land in the end time will be literally fulfilled.
2. The millennial kingdom will be literally fulfilled at Christ’s return after which Christ will reign on the earth for 1000 years.
3. The 70 weeks of Daniel refers to a period of 490 years and apply only to Israel. The first 69 weeks have been fulfilled historically, ending at the first coming of Christ. When the Jews rejected the Messiah, the 70 weeks were suspended and the Church age began. The Last or 70th week of Daniel, which is the last seven years, has yet to be fulfilled. This last week will immediately follow the second coming of Christ.
4. The book of Revelation after chapters one through five is a prophecy concerning some events that will happen during the last seven years before the 70th week. This 70th week is called the tribulation period. The last half of this week which is the last 3 and half years is the Great Tribulation spoken of in Dan. 9. This tribulation period is a time when God will pour out his wrath on a sinful world.
5. The coming of Christ will occur in two stages. The first stage will occur at the start of the seventh week. This will be Christ’s return for His saints to “rapture” his church. All of the Christians will be resurrected and taken to heaven and in which God has prepared for us. The church will not be here during the tribulation period because God has ended the Church age and resumed dealing with Israel. The second stage is Christ’s second coming at the end of the 7 year tribulation period with His saints to begin the millennial Kingdom age.
6. After the rapture and during the tribulation period we will see a return of the fourth worldly kingdom spoken of in Daniel. This fourth kingdom was the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire will be restored in time for the tribulation and will consist of a confederation of 10 kings or kingdoms headed by the little horn of Daniel also known as the son of perdition. The falling away is the rapture that which restrains is the Holy Spirit whose taking away implies the absence of the church from the earth. The son of perdition who is the Anti-Christ; makes all who live on the earth that time being receives the mark of the beast.
7. So through out all these points time shows any where from five to seven dispensations. One definition of dispensation is a period of time during which a man is tested in respect of obedience to some revelation of the will of God.
These dispensations are:
Innocence Creation – Sin
Conscience Sin – Flood
Human Flood – Abraham
Promise Abraham – Moses
Law Moses – Jesus
A new period or dispensation starts when God begins a change in the ordinances valid up to that time. For example a number of ordinances are brought into the period at the time of Noah. At the coming of Christ many of the Mosiac Laws are canceled. The purpose of God in each dispensation is to have His own glory shown.
Also, in my reading I saw practical ways I could use dispensationlism to better myself in ministry and in my very own life:
Dispensationalism protects us from wrong or bad doctrine that is corrupt and could hurt our practice of the word.
Our understanding of dispensationalism helps us out with our church practice and ministry that we carry out in church today.
We as dispensationalists understand the distinction between the church and Israel. And were we fit into it and how we fit into it and when we fit into it.
We are saved from the problems of trying to hold fast to the Old Testament promises for ourselves or to assume that if we are faithful to God, He will give us what we want.
If we follow Covenant Theology, and believe that the church has replaced Israel, one is free to show the respect to a Jews or persecute a Jews as one wants to. Although we the dispensationalist sees that God was working with the Jews, is now working with the church, and will one day again work with the Jews again.
Lastly our worship is likely to be very different if we assume God’s highest purpose is to save us, rather than realizing like a dispensationalist does, that God’s highest purpose is to Glorify Himself. (you talked about this in class on Dec.1st)
I have seen how dispensationalism has come to be discovered and through noticeable differences in how God dealt with man. I have seen the 3 distinctions of dispensationalism. From different reasons on why we dispensationlist are different then covenant, to the different dispensations God has spent with man in order to Glorify Himself in and through people like me. Seeing how and when Christians get a solid foundation down to our theology and doctrine using it better helps me and helps me in ministry. More I have read and take classes is the more that I realize that its not about programs and ministries that will work but in the end but it is who are to live out the word correctly with our house, family, and church. And in that do what all I can to glorify Him everyday, and see and know that it is not about Gentiles or the Jews, but Him the lord, our creator and judge, Lord Jesus Christ.
In reading this book and writing this paper, I really do not know what to exactly say or get across. So I figured I would go over and hit some of the main issues that were talked about. Looking into each chapter and hitting what was talked about and went over just so I show you that I had read the book (I wanted some extra credit). I enjoyed the book and learned from it. I most accepted is the sense that the writers of this book are demanding common sense in this issue. I fully understand with them. This book’s brief layout takes the reader through the history of the KJV-only debate and delves into all the hot spots without resorting to putting down of making fun of like most Pro-KJV authors do. The truth of God’s inerrant Word shines through the book as we see the transnational process and preservation of our bibles today. So with out any more talking about what I had read or how I had read it, I will now list the chapters and the main points talked about in each of them.
1. Back ground and Origin of the Version Debate
In this chapter the writers begin to show how unalterable perfection had gathered around the Septuagint (LXX) by the year 100 B.C. Different authors like Philo of Alexandria (20 B.C. to 45 A.D.), Flavius Josephus (37-100 A.D.), and Justin Martyr (100-145 A.D. who was killed for his faith, all adding some work to the translations. Such as verbs, and self-same nouns so that things would work better for them. Other translations that were fixed to fit what the writer wanted are, the Latin Vulgate, Luther’s German bible, and believe it or not but the King James version. The impact of the King James only movement has influenced a view point that has become wide spread and very strong. Unfortunately the effects of this movement have often been very destructive. The King James movement has spilled over into mission fields, churches, ministries, and even schools. Accepting the tenets of the King James only movement has become a standard of orthodoxy for many people. This movement has been more destructive and distracted among Baptist than any controversy since the 19th century. The truth about the King James only movement has not created any new doctrines. All of the idea’s were exposed in the past for Bible versions such as: Greek, Aramaic, Latin, Syricaic and, German. Applying these old errors to any modern day English Version does not make them any less erroneous. One of the unsupported assumptions of some of the modern King James only movement is the claim that the LXX dates after the time of Christ and is the work of the origin of Alexander. Both Philo and Josephus are aware of and do not dispute an account of the origin of a Greek translation of the law as related in the letter of Aristeas.
2. O.T. Text
The great deal of debate about the Bible’s versions centers around the text of the New Testament. Not much is said about the Old Testament text. Chapter 2 focused on the development of the Old Testament text and the effect of the development of our English versions today. After 68 A.D. with the continued decline in the ability of the general populace to speak Hebrew and the factors such as the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the rise of Christianity, Jewish people became concerned about the Old Testament text. First the Masoeretic should not be perceived as a perfect copy of the original’s because it is late in recession. Because of the evidence of evolution in script spelling and vocabulary and the evidence of updating and smoothing of the text vocabulary it is impossible to suppose that the Jewish scholars in the first century restore all of the words in the original writings. Secondly one must remember the Masoertic family of texts, that family associated with the standardization of the Old Testament text. The King James version translators disclaimed perfect nation in any copied text including their own. In fact these translators ascribed perfection to the original text. The original being from Heaven and the author being God and not man. God by the process of inspiration produced through human agents a inerrant and complete text of truth.
3. N.T. Text
One of the reasons for confusion about the Bible translations is people fail to explain some of the terms used in the discussion about King James only. Some of the most important aspects of the New Testament were as addressed in this chapter. In comparison of books in the ancient world, we have an abundance of manuscripts in the New Testament text. Papyri refers to manuscripts of made of the papyrus plant they are in unical script. Because papyrus does not stand up as well as vellum, only about one hundred of these manuscripts have survived, most of them from Egypt. Unicals are manuscripts made up of animal skins and are written in capital letter script. Minuscules are written in a cursive script that has smaller connected letters. This script began to be used in the ninth century to save time and because the letters take less space than do unical letters.
Modern textual critics classify manuscripts in at least three text types: Majority, Alexandrian, and Western.
The Majority text type is the basis of the recently published Majority Text and the text type from which the Textus Receptus comes.
The Western text type is the least clearly defined of the three types. Evidence of this text type existed as early as A.D. 200, and it is the text type reflected in the earliest Christian writers in Palestine and Asia Minor.
The Alexandrian is the text type that is generally found in the earliest manuscripts, including most of the papyri. Some papyri with this text type date as early as the second century.
Since the invention of the printing press in the middle of the fifteenth century, hundreds of different text of the Greek New Testament have been published Three of them are at the center of the discussion of translations and texts today. The first one is the Electric Text. The Second is the Majority Text, and the Last one is the Textus Receptus.
The electric text is called electric because it is based on and uses all of the manuscripts and text types, and all important textual variants and displayed in the textual apparatus. It reflects a broader textual base than the Majority Text or the Textus Receptus and is based on the theory that the date and quality of manuscripts is more important than the number of manuscripts. The Majority Text, in 1982 the first Greek New Testament based on the Majority text type was published. The Textus Receptus is the title given to the 1633 version of the Greek text edited and first published by Erasmus in 1516. The translation from the Textus Recptus and the Hebrew to the King James version was not a simple and direct as some people might imagine.
In Conclusion the Greek texts, and the King James Version is intended to help answer some of the questions that honest readers have about the King James-Only position. One purpose of this chapter was to help the reader understand the difference between the Majority Text and the Textus Receptus. Another purpose of this chapter was to help those who are seeking the truth on this issue to see the false claims of anyone who says that King James version of the Textus Receptus is inspired or would argue that one of these texts is always better to all other and therefore must always be the closest to the originals.
4. Preservation of Scripture
Some of the Historical Problems are the proponents of the Textus Receptus/ Majority Text make the doctrine of preservation a necessary corollary of inspiration, and they seek to establish textual purity and public accessibility as necessary corollaries of preservation. In other words, preservation does not mean anything if the text is not accessible, and inspiration does not mean anything if the text is not purely preserved accessibly. The evidence from history, however, does not support their theory. If the Textus Receptus/Majority Text is God’s inspired Word, then according to their theory one would expect that is has been preserved in the majority of manuscripts throughout the history of the church. To argue that God has preserved His inspired Word through the ages only in the Majority/Byzantine text type is more realistic. However, this line of reasoning also has several problems. There are major gaps of history from which there is no evidence that the Majority text type even existed!. The historical evidence does not indicate that God has been supernaturally preserving the traditional text in every age. As we already mentioned, King James-Only advocates assume that preservation is a necessary corollary of inspiration and that for inspiration to be true, God must have perfectly preserved the New Testament text. Another unsupported assumption of the Textus Receptus/Majority Text advocates is the pursuit of “certainty” is identical to the pursuit of “truth.” Many Textus Receptus/Majority text advocates have given up hope of finding absolute textual certainty by means of the standard methods of textual criticism; therefore, they have opted for a simplistic methodology that will give them a settled and certain text, the Textus Receptus/Majority text. This argument has several problems, and several of the facts mentioned already in this chapter contradict it. First, if they are talking about the Textus Receptus then what edition is inspired? Second, how can it be the perfectly preserved Word of God if even a few of the readings in it never existed before 1516? Several logical problems arise in the arguments for the perfect preservation of God’s Word in the Textus Receptus text type. The first problem is the false assumption that perfect preservation is a necessary corollary of inspiration. A second false assumption is the belief that divine preservation must be found in the majority of manuscripts.
Historical evidence makes Biblical preservation abundantly clear. God has preserved His Word. The argument with King James-Only, Textus Receptus, and Majority Text proponents concerns two subsidiary issues. The first issue is that of God’s method of preserving His Word. We have addressed this topic already. The second issue is that of the Bible’s own teaching with regard to the preservation of God’s Word. Another group of passages sometimes used to support the doctrine of the perfect preservation of Scripture consists of verses that, in their context, speak of God’s infallible decrees and moral laws. The Scriptures do not teach that God has perfectly preserved every word of the original autographs in one manuscripts or text type. A proper understanding of the doctrine of preservation is a belief that God has providentially preserved His Word in and through all of the extant manuscripts, versions, and other copies of Scriptures. The how can we be sure that our Bibles are reliable? How can we maintain the authority of God’s Hold Word if we do not have a promise from God that He will preserve it perfectly? For several reasons we can have absolute confidence in the Bibles we have today. Let me summarize one of them. God has given us 5,656 manuscripts containing all or parts of the Greek New Testament. Obvious from the evidence of history is the fact that God has providentially preserved His Word for the present generation.
5. Translation Theory and Twentieth Century
The Textus Receptus as a Textual Bases, One position in reality, rejects any contemporary textual criticism. This view holds, in essence, that the first and last legitimate textual critic was Erasmus, who complied a Greek text from seven manuscripts in 1516. The final approach to textual criticism is the electric approach. The eclectic textual critic, using all of the available manuscripts, judges each instance of textual variation. The eclectic approach to textual criticism has become the most predominant text-critical method employed in recent history. In the opinion of many people, it is the most reasonable way to reconstruct, with confidence, the original text of the Bible. Formal Equivalence is a literal translation where one in which the translator seeks to reproduce, in the receptor language, the word order, sentence structure, and grammar of the source language. A literalistic, word-for-word translation has a distinct advantage over other translations on the spectrum. One must affirm, however, the no Bible translator holds to a strict application of the literal method of translation. Where do twentieth-century translations fit on the spectrum of translation theories, with formal equivalence on one end of the scale and paraphrases on the other? Beginning with the formal or literal end of the spectrum, the first prominent, modern translation, a revision of the King James Version, was the American Standard Version. Some of the concerns with the Revised Standard Version, both theological and linguistic, were addressed in the major revision of the RSV, the New Revised Standard Version. The NASB, like the RSV, was a revision of the ASV. The NASB is a literal translation produced by evangelical translators. Like the RSV, it is not nearly as literalistic as the ASV. The final literal translation to be considered is the New King James Version. The NIV is the first prominent modern version that is not a revision connected to the KJV. It was produced by an international team of English-speaking, evangelical scholars and its copyright is held by the International Bible Society. The American Bible Society has been and continues to be a proponent of dynamic equivalent translations. A significant indicant indication of this commitment was its publication of Today’s English Version, also marketed as the Good News Bible.
No sound argument exists for objecting to the individual who desires to use the KJV because of its beauty or for some equally important reason, However before one chooses a particular Bible to recommend to another person, especially a new believer, it might be wise to take this test. If a literal translation were the version of choice for serious study, the choice for evangelism and initial instruction in the Bible would probably be a dynamic equivalent translation. Paraphrases also have a place in the Christian’s library. These are excellent tools for introducing inquiring people to the Bible. They also provide a useful, running commentary on the text.
if you would like to purchase this book click here: http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Moses-Finding-Christ-Testament/dp/1889893390/sr=1-1/qid=1165931791/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-8665217-7421524?ie=UTF8&s=books
A book review of Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Graeme
Graeme Goldsworthy begins “Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture” by explaining the importance of preaching, and how it is the very act of what the local church lives to do in the hearts of people. He starts by using the text of 1 Corinthians 2:2 to show how Paul constantly addresses the main issue of his letters always being Christ first. He then continues to argue how it is easily miss interrupted when preaching the stories of men in the Old Testament. Christians today do not understand that Christ is the center of the New Testament as well Old Testament. What most Christian do today is live like the Gospel was an event, and they do not actually see its whole role through-out Scriptures. When we believe that the Gospel is an event, it does not become a lifestyle as it was meant to be. This means that the gospel must be the center of our own thinking. We must remember as Christians that the Gospel is central not only to our minds and thinking but central to the Bible and theology as well. The Bible brings this to a climax when it points Christ on the cross because that is when freedom comes from the Law.
Also I understand the meaning of what an evangelical person is. It is a Gospel person. A Gospel person is someone who accepts biblical authority in all areas of life. The Bible started from the beginning when God said “let there be” (Genesis 1:3) and there was light. What His Word says has always been and will always be final in a Christian’s life.
The Bible has been under attack since the Enlightenment with the rejection of God. That is when a change in a man’s mind start to question the Word of God. They question the truth and unity of God‘s Word and even God Himself. With this they have started to treat individuals in the Bible as examples of how to live, missing the true mark of the work of God. The center of the Bible is Christ and not individual’s writings or stories. This is where many theologians and pastors have taken God’s Word out of context and have mislead congregations.
Then I see how God calls His people to live and serve Him. It is never the man going to do a work for God because they want to, but God doing the work in the man. God called Abraham and Moses to do His will and work in order that they may serve Him because He wants His Glory. The only way men found God was first set with God calling them out of Egypt. The example of Egypt shows that God is first and not something we think of after our story of the wilderness.
The question in chapter three is “what is biblical theology?” It is about the quest for the big picture, or what is the main focus of the Bible through its’ revelation. Preaching with a purpose should always bring people back to that focus. Today liberal theology has made it seem that God was not up to the task of saying and showing what He wanted in ways humans today can understand. This destroys the message of the Word of God. We look at the Old Testament not as theology but as some historical record. This is critical because we must look at the Bible as a whole historical event and not merely a number of them just thrown together. Through this we must remember Scripture stands alone. This is only when biblical theology works in understanding that we do not need man’s presumptions, theory, or methods that fragment the Word.
This is where we look for the starting point of the message the Bible is trying to show to us. The message is Christ with the work in the New Testament and fulfilling the Old Testament while waiting for His kingdom. Jesus is the goal of the Old Testament and is fulfilling the goal in the New. So why not would this not be the key message of scripture? We cannot take the message as meanings or reasons how we want to but must see what the writers understood from their own historical context. We must be concerned with how God’s character is reveled at the given time, not what we want to say. This is the function of biblical theology. We must watch the still shots of what put all together show the message of God’s Word.
The last content in this chapter shows the story of redemption throughout the Word. Man looks at history as events and does not place them together unlike Scripture which is a series of events divinely ordered for a purpose. With this it is seen how God fulfills past events and placed them together to make known His message. This is were salvation is shown. Redemption is shown theological, historical, and liturgical in God’s Word. The literature of God’s Word works to convey His message. This is the very important aspect of the context of any biblical text.
The very act of preaching from the beginning has never been to give a new opinion or creative way but to proclaim the Word of God. No matter what the form that was used the gospel was always proclaimed which was the reason for the numbers of people added to the church. Seeing how Jesus Christ preached and taught the Scriptures helps us understand the way we need to study for ourselves, and the way we need to get across the message of the Scriptures. One of the ways in doing this is to become sensitive to the Christology in the New Testament. The key point is that Christ did not come to wipe out the Old Testament or even start something all together different, but He came to fulfill the teaching and the leading up of what there was in the Scriptures of Him. In this we see how Jesus is a biblical theologian, and that the Old Testament is needed to enable us to interpret the New Testament. Seeing the gospel in the New Testament shows us what the Old Testament was all about and give reasoning more then just itself.
My last concern from reading this text is knowing the context in which the Bible was written. How the Word God leads and then shows the redemptive work of Christ. How can one teach, study, preach, and learn the bible without explaining the gospel of Christ? It seems to me that sometimes man makes the focus on some kind of emphasis and misses the mark of the true meaning in Scripture. This is due to man’s mindset of Scripture. Without great bible theology, there is always a misinterpreting of the Scriptures. Making sermons and devotions to fit one’s mind or for an emphasis that you want to get across is dangerous. There needs to always be a clear exposition of the gospel throughout any text. Although there is much in the Bible that is not strictly speaking of the gospel there is not anything in the Bible that can be understood without the gospel.
The biggest insight that I first came to was how so many preachers today miss the mark. The mark of the Bible started out with Christ. During the writing of the books and of the Bible, the focus was Christ, so with this question I ask “why would Christ not be the focus now?” I see how we rob Christ of His glory when we preach about Moses, David, or Peter without referring to what was behind these men. What was the focus of the men when they wrote. These men are used to be illustrations to direct us to the glory of the reason the Bible was written, the glory being Christ.
Another insight is how God used Christ as the center of the New Testament doing what we could not, which is bring us depraved humans to God. Stories like Moses leading the Jews out of the wilderness are not meant to look at the work of the depraved man, but to see the story that starts with Christ leading His people with great redemption. This salvation in the Old Testament is the same salvation that Christ would live out in paying for our debt to His Father. These works of Noah, Moses, and others are not the work of man but of God’s sovereign work to bring man back to Him through redemption. With this thought, we see God always at the beginning of any task, situation, or trial we are given and not to let our minds run wild with focus on our human minds.
The first insight in chapter two is the fact that I will not rob the God that sent His Son of what is His. His work, the Bible, is meaningful, and this was all done for the glory and honor of God. It is not for me to lift up a sinner like Noah or a sinner like Moses, but to see how God is in control and what the work of His design and will has been and is today. Not one of these men would lift themselves up and say “live after me.” They would always direct their work(s) back to God who had place all things.
My favorite idea I learned in this chapter is preaching from the Bible without the gospel makes life become a legalistic reasoning. How and why we do things for Christ should be true love from our hearts behind what we do. A message without the gospel brings no relief to life. How can a man bring a message without the reasoning of it being grace. Without grace it leaves no hope for the hearers of the Word.
One thing I noticed right away was how much we as Christians miss the message of the Bible because our focus is a story or event we like to read. When I teach a message or a piece of Scripture I must always remember what its meaning was for the purpose of God’s Word. Without the riches of Christ shown in a message leaves the reasoning behind any message without hope and the true meaning of joy. We must show the relationship between passages to have properly preached Christ. This is were the enrichment comes to the listener knowing the reasoning of how a passage has hope, victory, and grace. Knowing these things show a proper view of what God meant for His Word to show, that is His Son.
Another key insight I have done much thinking about was the fact that Christ declares Himself the goal of the sovereign work of His Father. Thinking about this made me think about how much we Christians really tend to miss that mark and especially in our Christian educations. I see an extreme need for a course of correct biblical theology and not some light, simple, feel good class that allows the hearer to be perverse in their own thinking about Jesus Christ. Most schools and even churches today have a weak understanding of the Old Testament, and with this comes a weak understanding of the gospel. Therefore, both schools and churches need proper biblical theology.
The Bible is primarily about God, not man, and about Jesus and his saving act. The key is to take the focus on Christ and not man, then a sermon that has been enriched with the depths of the fullness of Jesus and His true redemption work and not merely some mind set upon a sinner that can never have hope in himself when focused on nothing but himself. To preach, speak, and even teach about man’s problems, situations, life, and so on without the significance of the gospel is to take God’s Word way out of understanding and completely go against it by saying that we must not understand the humanity in Scripture. To preach a message or study the Word focused toward humans and their nature without hope, joy, and the gospel is like perverting one’s mind and not giving one’s problems, trails, and life theology correctly.
Preachers and studiers must be careful not to try to be relevant to humans just because they think they need it. A sermon that is made for entertainment for church or class is wrong in every way. This takes a mindset that must have already formed ideas and is prejudice towards something or even maybe someone. In that mindset of studying and relaying the Scripture is not the reasoning we should teach the Word. Preach the Word being as pure in mind and in life as possible with and open mind set and heart that will allow yourself to even learn more than the audience.
When studying a passage or book of the Bible, it must in some way testify to Christ and His gospel as God meant it for salvation. So therefore we must not go into the Scripture looking for text that makes one feel good or be on the “outlook” for a phase of something that will help man, but we must dig deep into theology and then see that Jesus has gave us victory and redeemed us from hell, there realizing that stories within the Story will help one find the true meanings of Scripture and life changes and not fuzzies nor changes that do not last, but the gospel changes lives.
Some more insights that have made me think for my own personal use as far as preaching and teaching is how we make teaching and preaching to sound simple. This hurts the hears ears to get a wrong view of what it is supposed to be. By making a message sound simple for a audience is making one’s message fit for your own self. Who are we to pick and choose how to make something “sound good” or to fit for ones ears. We should never lessen any bit of the Word to entertain ones wants or likes, but preach the Word with fullness and richness that it has.
I found in reading this book telling one that they need to choose from heaven or hell is not giving the gospel. One must explain that true repentance and faith go hand in hand. This is a free gift from the Holy Spirit that God has given us through his Son Jesus Christ. Without being given a true gospel it might be as if I have lessened the gospel and made it sound like a free gift that anyone could have. Only if they have repented and turned from sin, knowing that their faith they now have in Christ was only given to them from Christ by which God has done and not any man’s message or decision.
Lastly, I see and hear preachers today preach a message so lawful in teaching what we must do. They never explain about what God has done but rather explain how we can get ourselves right before the eyes of the Lord, yet seems like we can without Christ. A message that never explains where our hope lies, and where we can find a Savior that has already gave grace in order to change our lives for him. A message without Christ always shows law. Preaching lawful sermons undermines the thinking of a congregation and not revealing the true mystery of the Gospel which lead them to God.
This might have been the hardest and longest book I have read in a long time. I have never learned so much from one book in my life. I can not thanks Mr. Goldsworthy enough for his time and his thought and mindset upon the Scriptures for showing my eye, mind, and heart things in the Word of God I have never seen. What I love most about this book was that fact that my own messages, devotions, and studies have changed more in depth with the intellection on Scriptures that I can only start to use in my life to turn it into a loving relationship my own personal Savior Jesus Christ.
The book knowledge has helped me so well that I may now get a more correct view on what the Gospel truly is and has done already in my life, not to mention what it will continue to do in my life from this day on. From seeing how to make a better interpretation of Scripture from different areas in the Word I now see that the Bible is not merely stories of individuals. A story of people that make thee story of Christ so much richer and so much more meaningful in my own life. When I read I can see for myself the divine plan that God had set out for my own soul. I can only try to grasp the grace of God’s glory that is shown throughout the Bible and actually know with a more in-depth understanding the reasoning behind Christ’s payment on the cross. Now knowing that one must have an understanding of the Old Testament to see what the New Testament is about and get a grip of it, I see how little I even know about the Old Testament. I need to start to know and learn more about what God made known to the writer and hearer of the Word in the Old Testament so that I can see even more than I do now about what the New Testament has for my life.
As for my preaching and speaking on the Word, it will never be the same! I have just started to realize how much it means to preach the Word. Just how much it means to make it clear but make it correct in the eyes of the Lord and not man. It is not meant for entertainment but to correct one mind and view of just what God has set it for in order to make my own and my audience’s pursuit of holiness even more pure till the day we meet Christ. I know can see how the stories in the Old Testament lead up to thee story, and how the books of the Bible go hand and hand in order to show Christ amazing love for his people. When seeing this preaching is never the same. In your preaching want to actually show the hope in a message and give hope in what happened in my own life giving the giver of grace the glory and not myself in any decision or preaching of what I would do. I want others to after a message see how that Christ is our ability to find hope and our giver in our faith that we might actually be able to see just in order what is the purpose of the bible.
In ending this I want to show how to see the big picture in small pictures throughout the book of thee book helps me see just how amazing redemption is. I can see even now one can preach or even study a story without seeing what its’ reasoning behind the story was for. From Noah to Abraham, Moses to David, and to the decline of the Lord’s people there after all I can now say is that I do not want to lose sight of what the Lord is doing in the world with his people. Nor do I ever want to think for a moment that I can not explain or teach this to others. I want others to have a correct view on His word. I want others to see His grace. I want others to have His faith, and not just for their entertainment. I do not want man to be happy with milk every time they study or hear the word, but I want them to taste the meat God has given so they can fall more in love with Him. He is their Messiah who has laid out His life and His purposes throughout His Word for his chosen people.