Category : Theology: Scripture

(Authority & Interpretation of Scripture)

From the Morning Scripture Readings

To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

–Psalm 25:1-4

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream, for it is a lie which they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord.

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart….

–Jeremiah 29:4-13

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.

–1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved….Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore

Psalm 16:7-8;11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now Shephati′ah the son of Mattan, Gedali′ah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemi′ah, and Pashhur the son of Malchi′ah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out to the Chalde′ans shall live; he shall have his life as a prize of war, and live. Thus says the Lord, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken.” Then the princes said to the king, “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” King Zedeki′ah said, “Behold, he is in your hands; for the king can do nothing against you.” So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchi′ah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire.

When E′bed-mel′ech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern—the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate— E′bed-mel′ech went from the king’s house and said to the king, “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern; and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” Then the king commanded E′bed-mel′ech, the Ethiopian, “Take three men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” So E′bed-mel′ech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe of the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. Then E′bed-mel′ech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Jeremiah did so. Then they drew Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

–Jeremiah 38:1-13

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

King Zedeki′ah sent Jehu′cal the son of Shelemi′ah, and Zephani′ah the priest, the son of Ma-asei′ah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Pray for us to the Lord our God.” Now Jeremiah was still going in and out among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison. The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt; and when the Chalde′ans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they withdrew from Jerusalem.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “Thus says the Lord, God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who sent you to me to inquire of me, ‘Behold, Pharaoh’s army which came to help you is about to return to Egypt, to its own land. And the Chalde′ans shall come back and fight against this city; they shall take it and burn it with fire. Thus says the Lord, Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chalde′ans will surely stay away from us,” for they will not stay away. For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chalde′ans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.’”

Now when the Chalde′an army had withdrawn from Jerusalem at the approach of Pharaoh’s army, Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to receive his portion there among the people.

–Jeremiah 37:3-21

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless some one interprets, so that the church may be edified.

Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how shall I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will any one know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if you in a tongue utter speech that is not intelligible, how will any one know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning; but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

–1 Corinthians 14:1-12

Posted in Theology: Scripture

James Jordan–“..We should sing the Bible in worship. When I found out that the Church used to do it, and then stopped, I was amazed. “

I was speaking with a minister in the Reformed Episcopal Church a while back, and he told me a revealing incident that happened during his ordination examination. An older clergyman asked him if the psalter were an important part of prayer, and thus of counseling and worship. When my friend replied in the affirmative, the older clergyman asked him to give the theme and gist of every psalm, starting with the first and ending with the 150th. My friend, who had spent some years in Episcopalianism and thus knew some of the psalms, struggled for a while, but finally had to give up. The older clergyman opposed his ordination, maintaining that my friend should master the psalter before presuming to lead God’s people.

Amazing? Surprising? I think not. In fact, I think that the older gentleman’s position is absolutely correct. I think this is a great ordination question – though I confess that I would fail it. After all, I’ve spent twenty years in hard-core, Bible-believing, tough-as-nails, Reformed, evangelical Presbyterian churches, so I barely know the psalter. I only know what I’ve studied on my own.

Here’s a question for you: Given that our theological seminaries have chapel services daily, or at least several times a week, how many of them teach the students to sing all 150 psalms during chapel? How would you like to have a pastor who went to seminary where the psalms were taken seriously? A pastor who was taught to sing the psalms, and who was familiar with all of them?

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

–Psalm 1:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish. Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith for ever…

–Psalm 146:1-3 (my emphasis)

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(CT) Mark Galli–Whatever Became of Repentance?

To honor the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we Christians might insist anew that the whole life of the Christian is indeed about repentance. Jesus began his ministry with such a call: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matt. 4:17), and repentance is the key note in the early church’s preaching (Acts 2:38, 3:19, 5:31, 8:22, 11:18, 13:24, 17:30, 19:4, 20:21, 26:20).

And this should include not just others’ repentance but our own. Not just confessing sins against God but also sins against neighbor. We have recently learned how to prophetically speak truth to power but have lost the nerve to speak prophetically to ourselves. The problem is always out there, in an unjust institution or a careless or evil person.

We avoid repentance because we remain addicted to the drug of self-justification. “I don’t need to repent because I’m the one righteously calling out the social and personal sins of others.” Or “If I say I am complicit, it will give my political and social enemies leverage against me and my cause.” Or even more to the point, “If I were to really look at and then acknowledge how much self-centeredness and pride infects even my most righteous actions, I would have to admit I’m a hypocrite and a moral failure.”

Well, yes. Aren’t we all? That’s precisely why Jesus came, to save the world from itself and to save us from ourselves. That’s why the word repentance is usually connected to the phrase “good news,” as Mark highlights in his summary of Jesus’ early preaching: “Repent and believe the good news!” (1:15).

Repentance is the means by which we experience the forgiveness of sins, for one. This alone changes everything, of course. And thus it is also the means by which we can change the temperature of the angry debates in church, online, and in our culture.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) First edition of King James Bible from 1611 found in church cupboard

A vicar clearing out a cupboard at his church found a forgotten first edition King James Bible dating back to 1611.

There are believed to be fewer than 200 such Bibles still in existence.

The Rev Dr Jason Bray stumbled upon it as he was taking stock at St Giles Parish Church in Wrexham town centre.

He said: “We basically found it when we were going through the cupboards.

“We didn’t know it was a first edition, but we sent photographs to the National Library of Wales and they confirmed that it was, dating back to 1611.

“It has been authenticated, and as far as we know, has always been here.”

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Church History, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction and listen to my words? says the LORD. The command which Jon’adab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept; and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. I have spoken to you persistently, but you have not listened to me. I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, ‘Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land which I gave to you and your fathers.’ But you did not incline your ear or listen to me. The sons of Jon’adab the son of Rechab have kept the command which their father gave them, but this people has not obeyed me. Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing on Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them and they have not listened, I have called to them and they have not answered.” But to the house of the Re’chabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jon’adab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jon’adab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.”

–Jeremiah 35:12-19

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Surely the righteous shall give thanks to thy name; the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

–Psalm 140:13

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–Jeremiah and the challenge of False Confidence, False Prophets+true Hope (Jer. 7, 23+29)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture