What I read in 2018 – Just the Highlights!

By “Highlights” I do not mean the kids’ magazine, that staple of my dentist’s office as a kid, but rather my favorite reads of the year. I read 104 books in 2018 as I pursued my goal of two books a week; this does not include daily Bible reading or magazines. One happy turn was that in 2018 I spent 7 months in the States, a short distance from the Ronks Public Library and also from the library in Lancaster Bible College. Karen and I also listened to a number of these titles as Audible books as we traveled around the Northeast.

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Unless I indicate otherwise, I would recommend all of these books.

THEOLOGY

Septuagint: Every year I form a group of Bible students on Facebook, where we push each other to read the Scriptures in the original languages. In 2019-2020 we are, Heaven willing, reading the entire Septuagint (known as the LXX) from cover to cover. This was the massive writing project of the rabbis, who between the 3rd-1st centuries BC rendered the Bible from a Semitic language, Hebrew, into Greek – they were apparently the first to undertake such a leap. We began the first week of 2019, and to prepare I read A Handbook to the Septuagint by Ottley; The Septuagint by Jennifer Dines.

Image result for septuagint text

Devotional: C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, is a series of sermons. One of them contains his famous statement, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. (more…)

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What Would a Mother Do? [Studies in Thessalonians]

mom2013(please feel free to use this for a sermon on Mother’s Day, adding in stories of mothers you know)

Let’s take a stroll past the Mother’s Day card rack:

For Mother
For Mother, Sentimental
For Mother, Loving
For Mother, Humorous (that category is potentially hazardous)
For Mother, Respectful (these seem to be very carefully worded)
For Mother with a recorded message on digital chip.

Then in an effort to sell more cards, we run across a section: “for someone who is like a mother to me.” It’s a great idea: there are literal mothers, then there is a whole world of aunts, grandmothers, cousins, in-laws, dear friends, mentors, an army of women. (more…)

‘Dad, are you my priest?’ The role of the father in the Christian home

They keep telling me that the Christian father is the priest of the family. On the other hand, I search the Scriptures and I can’t find any command for him to be a priest; any indication that the father performs the essential duties of a priest; any hint that Dad is a priest in some way that Mom is not. Preachers and bloggers have a few verses to back up the Father-as-Priest teaching, but when I look them up, the doctrine strikes me as imported into the Scripture.

Here are a few blogs, chosen at random:

The most important role of a husband or a father, one that predominated in ancient days and is neglected today, is that of family priest. In Ephesians 6:25-29 [sic; it’s Eph 5], we are told that the husband, is to the wife what Christ is to the Church. [One] important role is that of the priest. A husband becomes the priest of the home…There is no doubt about the priestly role of the wife in a family (specially for the children), but the husband becomes the ‘Chief Priest’ (or High Priest as Christ was).

Now, I’ve read Ephesians 5, and see no reference to any priest. While the husband in some ways is like Christ to his wife, the parallel is by no means absolute: he does not give her salvation, forgive her sins, fill her with the Spirit, or a host of other roles that belong to Jesus only – including, mediating between her and the Father. (more…)

Do you really “preach the Word”?

It is no simple thing to preach the Word of God. Powerful dark forces are arrayed to draw us away from our task. They regularly succeed in doing so.

I bring this up because this week I saw several FB references to “what [famous North American preacher] Rob Bell said in his book Love Wins” and it took me a while to track down who was Rob Bell and what it was he said. (more…)