Category Archives: Bible Reading

THE DEEP THINGS OF SATAN

Yes, you read that correctly.  It is actually what John says in the book of Revelation.  I am currently reading the book of Revelation for my devotions. 

Here is Rev. 2:24 from the New American Standard Version of the Bible:

“But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you.

According to Gary Burge in his terrific work on John’s gospel, John likes to allow for double meanings at times.

It seems that the “deep things of Satan” could both be a sort of mockery, and it seems to describe a Gnostic-like (Gnosticism does not kick in this early, more of second century reality) idea of special knowledge for certain, select folks.

Either way, the deep things of Satan are unimpressive in light of the riches of the true gospel!

A COMMON OCCURRENCE IN PREACHING

The following is not an uncommon occurrence for me while preparing to preach…

Not always, but there are certainly times of struggle either to make sense of the text and/or to make sure I really believe it.  As the Puritans liked to say, make sure to preach to yourself before you preach to others.  Really believing the Word of God is more difficult than determining its proper meaning.

Then God brings light, many times much light, and I can’t write fast enough.

It is one reason I don’t like to preach every week.  The process of preparation is best if I have months to mull and consider a text.  I want to stew on it for a long time.

I take many notes and ask many questions.  Commentaries come at the end to make sure I am in the ballpark of sound exegesis.

All this is one reason why I wish lead pastors preached less frequently.  It would be better for them and for the congregation.

 

MY FELLOW AMERICANS…READ THIS BOOK!

 

Image result for misreading scripture with western eyes

I am coming to this terrific book about five years after its publication, so no long review here.  I will say it is an extremely well done piece of work, both witty and wise, entertaining and educational.  You will learn a lot about Scripture and yourself by reading it!

American Christians are especially in dire need of reckoning with this fine book.

https://www.amazon.com/Misreading-Scripture-Western-Eyes-Understand/dp/0830837825/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

READ (SOME) COMMENTARIES LIKE REGULAR BOOKS

https://www.amazon.com/Message-Jeremiah-Bible-Speaks-Today/dp/0830824391

Commentaries on books of the Bible are not created equally.  You have to be shrewd in what you consult.  The better ones come in all different types from the devotional to the technical. 

My favorite ones are those who combine great care with the text of Scripture, are well-written, and offer many connections to our own time and day.  Right now, I am reading one of these kinds of commentaries: Christopher Wright’s terrific work on Jeremiah.  It is part of The Bible Speaks Today series (InterVarsity Press).  Here is something I pondered today:

“The reign of King Josiah was a time of great religious fervent and national resurgence.  It was all very impressive.  But what was God’s point of view?  According to Jeremiah God sees a people who are a disappointment to God, who are being disloyal to their covenant relationship with God, who are already feeling the shock of disasters that foreshadow worse to come, and who are living in brazen denial and delusion.  It is a frightening mirror to hold up to the people of God in any generation, with stark relevance to our own.”  (Emphasis added)

 

STOP READING BITS OF THE BIBLE!

From Richard Hays:

“The Bible is just not a collection of little verses or tidbits of wisdom. When we’re reading the Gospel of Luke, for example, we’re reading a text that has a narrative shape to it. To see what’s going on in the text, you have to read the thing whole and see how the parts relate to the whole.

And the same thing applies not only to individual gospels but also, analogously, to the Bible as a whole. It has a deep and subtle narrative unity—not because unity has been superimposed by ecclesial fiat or by some clever editorial design, but because the diverse biblical witnesses bear common witness to God’s grace-filled action in the story of Israel. The emergence of the biblical writings themselves, in their complexity and diversity, is itself part of God’s mysterious “authorial” action. That’s why I believe that the Old Testament and the New have an underlying narrative unity that can be discerned only in retrospect, when we read the whole thing together.”

The rest is here:http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/2016/novdec/deep-and-subtle-unity-of-bible.html?paging=off