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Tag Archives: New Testament

An Embarrassment of Riches

How do we know that the New Testament has been reliably transmitted from the first century down to today? I lead a short seminar for HSC and Uni students today discussing this question in relation to the historicity of Jesus Christ. Some of the data, facts and figures on this topic are summarised in the below video by Dan Wallace.

Dan Wallace is Professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary and a highly regarded scholar on ancient manuscripts.

Have you read the New Testament recently? Here’s a good place to start.

 
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Posted by on 10/12/2012 in Apologetics, Bible

 

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What is the gospel?

It’s good news and if you have just 4 minutes, this video will tell you exactly what it is.

HT: St Ebbe’s

 
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Posted by on 27/09/2012 in Evangelism, Gospel, Jesus

 

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Because he built it, he will fill it

Is the world around us a mistake or an accident? If God made the world and everything in it, did Adam and Eve somehow upset everything and cause God to revert to “Plan B”?

The kingdom of God on earth started in Eden with the days of creation in Genesis 1. God sets the universe in motion and provides a template of forming and filling used during the entire Bible story.

The first stage of the 7 day pattern relates to new life. It starts with God speaking and his Word gives life. The way we receive faith and start our spiritual life is through God’s Word. (Rom 10:17, 1 Pet 1:23)

The seven day creation consists of 3 days of forming parallel to 3 days of filling*. In the same way you would build shelves in your house. First you erect the frame and then you fill the shelves with your belongings. The belongings don’t replace the shelves, they fill them. The New Testament did not replace the Old Testament, it filled it. (Matt 5:17-19, Heb 3:1-6)

The final day of Creation is a day of Rest, it anticipates our future and the rest that God desires to give us. (Matt 11:28-30, Heb 4:9-11)

Forming (by dividing)

Day 1 – Light & Dark

Day 2 – Firmament – Divided Waters (Sky & Sea)

Day 3 – Land & Sea, Grain & Fruit plants

Filling (with multitudes)

Day 4 – Sun, Moon & Stars

Day 5 – Swarms of Birds & Fish

Day 6 – Land Animals & Man

Future

Day 7 – Stop, Rest, Hallow & Enjoy

Note:
(*Bull, Bible Matrix, pp.46-47)

 
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Posted by on 10/04/2012 in Bible, Hermenutics

 

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Leviticus your neighbour

No, it’s not a naughty word, nor is it the title of a film about the life of Nelson Mandela. It’s the 3rd book of the Bible. You know, the one with all the gory sacrifices and (seemingly!) obsolete laws and rituals.

This time of year, many Christians make plans to read through the Bible in the coming year. It’s a commendable goal and regular bible reading ought to be part of the life of anyone who is serious about knowing, believing in, trusting and living for God. However in an average reading plan, say 3 or 4 chapters a day (8-15min) many people come unstuck somewhere around the end of January.

Why? Well there are many reasons; lack of discipline, lack of encouragement, overwhelmed by the task, or as is often the case… they hit the book of Leviticus and balk. The stories of the patriarchs in Genesis are great, they give the background to all those Sunday School and Children’s Spot lessons we’re so familiar with. The account of the plagues in Egypt and the amazing crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus is an easy read, because, after all, most of us have seen the movie and we know the story. Right?

But, blood, guts, more blood, weird definitions of cleanliness and did I mention blood? What on earth has that got to do with the ‘golden rule’ and loving my neighbour and all that stuff Jesus spoke about? Here’s the rub, the first time that is taught in the Bible is, you guessed of course, Leviticus 19:18, which says,

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (NIV84)

Leviticus tells what it means to be God’s holy people and how that is displayed in day to day life. More specifically though, blood is a divider and separator. It is through sacrifice that we move (or rather are moved by God) into worship. We are taken hold off, separated from what we were and established as something altogether new.

During my preaching at Grace Church in January, I am going to spend 2 Sunday mornings at Kogarah and 1 at Sutherland going through some of the highlights of Leviticus. We’ll have a look at some of those gory details and see how they connect to Jesus and the New Testament. As we do that, you might like to have another go at reading the book of Leviticus. There’s only 27 chapters, 3 a day and you’ll knock it over in 9 days. Give it a shot.

If you’re still thinking or wondering about a plan to read through the rest the of the Bible, here’s a couple of links that might help out.

Bible Reading by Spurgeon

Bible Gateway Reading Plans

 
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Posted by on 05/01/2012 in Bible, Jesus, Reading, worship

 

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How are you growing?

In a spiritual sense, as a Christian, how do you know if you or someone else is growing? For that matter, are you still growing or have you reached a plateau? What are the things you look for in your life to know whether it’s possible to grow any more or if it’s OK to not be growing?

A typical trajectory of Christian growth (as noted similarly by Andrew Hong) often looks something like:
New believers learn about Bible Stories, characters
Later: they study deeper doctrines, such as the trinity, predestination etc
Teacher: Then they get asked to lead a study, or have some regular involvement in a Sunday School or similar type of activity.
Leader: If they persist they might be asked to join a Committee or become a Coordinator of a Church ministry department.

At each stage, you acquire new skills and new information that need a kind of growth.

But, have you grown? Or have you instead, substituted information and skills for Spiritual growth?

In the region of ancient Galatia (near modern Turkey) some Christians in some Churches came to value external behaviour and theological knowledge more than internal Christ-like growth. This resulted in an elitism and exclusion of a sort that produced internal conflict and various expressions of arrogance in how they related to others that they didn’t consider to be on the same level.

After all, they reasoned, if you know more you must, of necessity, be more spiritual! To which the Apostle Paul replied, in the New Testament letter of Galatians – What a load of piffle! Well, actually he used much stronger language

You see, the idea that you can improve on the basics of the Christian gospel with superior knowledge or added religious behaviours was anathema. Paul considered it an abomination for any addition to the gospel, or anything that involved constructing a system that demanded people follow a particular process or behavioural code as the way to get God’s blessing and favour.

We don’t help God save us or change us. As soon as we do that, we despise and cancel out God’s grace and we are saying that Jesus died for no purpose whatsoever.

What’s all that got to do with growing?

Too often, too many defraud themselves by exchanging the life altering (& often painful) growth in holiness, Christ-likeness, and fruit of the Spirit for an educational experience. They are deceived into thinking that memorizing a few verses from the Bible or knowing a few fancy theological words somehow excuses them from a life of denying yourself and losing yourself to Christ and the gospel.

So, how are you growing?

 
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Posted by on 04/11/2011 in discipleship

 

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What is Biblical Spirituality

From Tim Chester via The Resurgence:

Spirituality has come to be about solitude, calm, silence.

In reality, though, this is spirituality for the well-off. It’s only for those who can afford to go on retreat or have space in their home where they can be quiet. It won’t work for the single mother in a small apartment. It won’t work for the migrant worker who goes to work at six in the morning. It’s not urban spirituality. And it’s not biblical spirituality

Biblical spirituality is about:

* Bible meditation, not mystical silence
* Passionate engagement, not rural retreat
* Growing together, not individual solitude

In other words, biblical spirituality, at its core, is about the word of God, the mission of God, and the community of God.

 
 

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