January Resource of the Month

Don’t think of it as rushing things. Yes, I know we still have a few days left in December. And we still do have a copy of December’s resource of the month left in our resource center for anyone still needing to snag John Piper’s Momentary Marriage for a measly $5. Think of this post as a way to get a jump on the New Year with another great read.

January’s resource costs twice as much at $10 per copy, but I assure you it is worth the cost. I selected How to Read to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart (Zondervan, third edition, 2003, 275 pages) for a time-sensitive reason. Beginning January 7 during the 9:30 AM Equipping Hour at OGC, we will commence three new classes in our discipleship scope and sequence. For more information on all three check your insert in tomorrow’s worship bulletin. Also, look for future blog posts on this site by all the instructors.

As we heard last week however, during the announcements, Ted Herrbach will teach the class called How to Study the Bible. Let me suggest that this handbook by Fee and Stuart would make an excellent companion text for Ted’s class for anyone intending to take it. Billed as “a practical approach to Bible study in an easy-to-understand style” the authors build most of the book (chapters 3-13) around the different genres of the Bible (Epistles, Old Testament narratives, Acts, the Gospels, Parables, Law, Prophets, Psalms, Wisdom, and Revelation). They explain why this particular approach in the introduction:

What we do hope to achieve is to heighten the reader’s sensitivity to specific problems inherent in each genre, to help the reader know why different options exist and how to make commonsense judgments, and especially to enable the reader to discern between good and not-so-good interpretations–and to know what makes them one or the other (p. 21).

They open with an informative chapter on choosing a good translation. While I would differ with their recommendation to favor the TNIV, they do make several good arguments for why consulting multiple translations makes sense for solid Bible study determined to get at the commonsense meanings of a text. Why they have so little to say about the ESV, given its widespread popularity in evangelical circles these days, puzzles me, but that does little to detract from the helpfulness of this resource. They close with an appendix on the evaluation and use of commentaries that includes suggested volumes for various books of the Bible.

Starting tomorrow we will have over twenty copies of this book for purchase in our resource center for $10 each. Why not get a head start on this important subject by picking up a copy to read over the New Year’s holiday, especially if you intend to take Ted’s class? If you want to avoid bad interpretation of the Bible and recognize that not bothering to learn interpretation skills is not the answer but rather doing good interpretation based on commonsense guidelines is a nonnegotiable, then this book is for you.

Precept Ministries Is Coming, Hurrah!

Amazing!

Today I actually  had a quiet time, studied for my next sermon in John, exercised (a little too painful after the two-month layoff), and now I sit before my laptop writing a blog post. Perhaps after two months of hectic Project Occupy the New Building, life has started to get back to more of the routine and regular disciplines, including the occasional spot on the blog.

Why am I so excited, you may ask, about Precept Ministries? Easy. The aim of Precepts in teaching women in particular how to study the Bible book-by-book through solid inductive Bible study methods matches up perfectly with our values, mission and vision as a church. Kay Arthur, founder of Precept Ministries and gifted Bible teacher (her videos make up a core part of the weekly study process), longs to see women grow in their intimate relationship with God. She wants them to know God better. That’s what our elders want for all our folks at OGC. So launching a Precepts Bible study this fall in our new facility makes all the sense in the world to us, especially since God has sent us a certified instructor in the form of soon-to-become-a-member Joyce Jacobs. Hurrah again!

Starting September 4 Joyce will lead part one in a study of  2 Timothy: A Study in Discipleship. (Note: this is a change from the earlier post this week that advertised Revelation (Part One). Please forgive any confusion this causes!) The class will meet on Tuesday mornings at the church (an evening “mirror” class will be offered for women as well, interest pending). As a bonus, during August Joyce will offer a 4-week study (each class only one hour) for women who might be new to Precepts using Kay Arthur’s book Lord, Teach Me To Study the Bible in 28 Days ($13).

Let me commend that 28 day journey to you even if you never take one of the more demanding but oh-so-rewarding extended Precepts studies like the one coming up in 2 Timothy this fall. In this little resource you will get a fine introduction to Bible study methods. Kay Arthur makes studying the Bible not only manageable but delightful as she takes you over the course of month through studies in the Old Testament book of Jonah and the New Testament book of Jude. You will likely catch her fever for a desire to know God better, an even higher view of Scripture than you already possess, and get equipped with the tools to study the Bible for yourself in such a way that your spiritual life will profit in ways you can hardly imagine. How sweet is all of that?

If you would like more info, contact Joyce by phone at 407.365.2266 or by email at jacobsjr@bellsouth.net.

I can’t wait to see what God does in the lives of the women of OGC as the search the Scriptures together and in them engage their beloved Lord Jesus in ever increasing degrees of soul-satisfying delight!

Triple hurrah!

Camping in Tampa for OGC's & My Joy

I know what some of you are thinking. Camping and joy don’t belong in the same sentence. I’ve had some of those experiences. I feel your pain.

My post comes from Tampa this evening. Camp Logos brought me here. That’s what Libronix calls it. Two days of intensive seminar training on the lastest version of their Bible study software, Logos 4. You know, the package I purchased in Minneapolis a few weeks ago spurred on by the promise of doing exegesis 10,000 times faster!

So this is camping of a different kind. Frankly, I’m nestled in at a cost effective hotel near the training site, getting ready to retire soon in hopes of awaking fresh tomorrow morning for another go around of mastering this incredible computer resource.

Why do this? What’s the point? Always a good question. Answer? Our mutual joy. Everything comes down to that when it comes to a pastor’s job description, if I read 2 Cor. 1:24 right.

Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith (emphasis added).

I’ve actually got the software up and running as I write this piece. The literal Greek reads: sunergoi we are of your faith. We get our word synergy from the Greek word. It’s a noun, not a verb. Spiritual leaders are workers together with their people (this is synergy at the highest level) for their mutual joy in Jesus. Another way of saying it is that we work together for that which brings us the greatest pleasure. Who would argue with the notion that joy comes as a direct result of the experience of pleasure?

Where might we find greater pleasure than at the right hand of God (Psalm 16:11)? What reveals the God who gives such extreme pleasure more than the Scriptures (Psalm 19:7-11)?

I read today in my devotions a segment of J. C. Ryle’s book, Holiness, with this thought about pleasure:

Millions live for pleasure. Hedonism is the great spirit that knows no boundaries, whether economical, social, political or cultural—pleasure is an idol enslaving the great majority of the world. The schoolboy looks for pleasure in his summer vacation, the young man in independence and business; the small business owner looks for it in retirement, and the poor man in the small comforts of home. Pleasure and fresh excitement in politics, travel, amusement, in company, in books, in several vices too dark to mention, pleasure is the shadow which all alike are hunting; each, perhaps, pretending to despise his neighbor for seeking it, each in his own way seeking it for himself, each wondering why he does not find it, each firmly persuaded that somewhere or other it is to be found.

Oh my, it is indeed to be found and nowhere more intensely than at God’s right hand in His word. I’m camping out in Tampa these two days in hopes of gaining greater proficiency in my study of the Bible for our mutually exceeding joy and intense pleasure.