Monthly Archives: January 2016

  • Read through the Bible, Part 4

    Exodus 11 – 28, Matthew 14:22 – 18:20

    For many protestants salvation is solely an individual experience; a transaction that takes place somewhere in the Ethernet between them and God alone and involves nothing beside. I think it’s safe to guess that it was probably a protestant who first applied the phrase, “personal relationship” to salvation. At a mere linguistic level one cannot help but notice that the phrase is tautologous. It is equally troubling theologically as well.

    In Matthew’s gospel we find two of the most important statements about the church and her role in salvation. The first, in Matthew 16:19. In the previous verse Jesus gave Peter that most famous promise, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church…” And then he goes on to explain the function, role, and importance of … Read More »

  • Read through the Bible, Part 3

    Genesis 44-Ex. 10; Matthew 11.16-14.21

    By the time we ended our reading in the OT this week we were wading with Israel in the depths of Egyptian bondage. Originally Egypt looked promising. Funny, how that is. Egypt always looks promising. It always looks like the promised land but never actually makes good on its promises.

    Originally in the new land it was God’s man who was number two in command and the people of God were flourishing. So much so that the opening lines of Exodus almost sound like God is up to a new creation again. The same language echoed to Adam and Noah is reiterated here: But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them (Ex. 1:7). Unfortunately, however, everything changes on a dime. In … Read More »

  • Read through the Bible, Part 2

    Genesis 28-43 and Matthew 8-11:15

    Genesis 1-11 records primeval history with the original creation and God’s re-creative work during and after the flood. Chapters 12-50 describe patriarchal history with Abraham at the center. In and through Abraham and his descendants God will remake the world. God’s covenant with Abraham is progressively expanded in chapters 12, 15, and 17. It’s for this reason that Jesus is specifically highlighted by the NT writers as the son of Abraham (Matt. 1:1) and that we, as those who have been united with Christ, as Abraham’s offspring too.

    We invite people to come into a new kingdom with a different set of affections and with an abundance of joys.

    Matthew reveals the good news (gospel) of Jesus by toggling back and forth between narratives and discourses.  Five discourses stand out and are central to his presentation of Jesus: … Read More »

  • Read through the Bible – Part 1

    Genesis 1-27 and Matthew 1-7

    In an effort to encourage study and memorization of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, last year I led us through it, offering explanation and exposition along the way. It’s with a similar goal in mind that I will lead us through the entire Bible this year, offering insights, application and explanation here from the previous week’s reading.

    I am amazed at how many Bible reading plans are out there. Maybe that says something about you. Maybe it says something about how creative we have to be to get people to read their Bibles. Frankly, I find most of the plans to be too scattered for me. I have a hard time reading from four different books at the same time and only for a very small amount and then keeping track of all of it. I find it … Read More »

  • Westminster Shorter Catechism, Week 52

    Q. 107. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
    A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen, teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power and glory to him. And in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.

    It’s over. This year. And our exposition—and hopefully memorization—of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. For the last several weeks we have been thinking about prayer, and specifically the Lord’s Prayer. Of this prayer Luther said it better than I can.

    This in short is the way I use the Lord’s Prayer when I pray it. To this day I suckle at the Lord’s Prayer like a child, and … Read More »

  • Understanding Scripture

    The concept of the covenant is highly important for understanding Scripture.  It is the key to interpreting and appreciating the Scriptures. When we understand the covenants and what their purpose, design and functions are then it helps us understand what is happening in the big picture of the Bible. Covenants are often compared to marriage. However, this is one type of covenant that is not the type of covenant upon which all of Scripture is built. In Redemptive History there are three major covenants (Covenant of Redemption, Covenant of Works, and the Covenant of Grace). These covenants are not all alike. Marriage is a parity covenant. A covenant of two equal parties coming together. This is not the type of covenant Adam was in nor is it the type of covenant Abram entered into. This was more in the form … Read More »

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