Tag Archives: Bible

Devotions vs. Study: The False Dichotomy

I have, since I was quite young, spent significant time among many different traditions of Christian faith: first Lutheran, then Methodist, then several Anabaptist varieties from Mennonite to Baptist to Christian Church/Churches of Christ, to Assemblies of God, to several independent churches, to Presbyterian. I’ve spent some time exposed to and working with the Roman Catholic church, and have worshipped with, at some time or another, nearly every variety of protestant faith, including some in which, as a caucasian, I was a very small minority ethnically and culturally. I’ve even worshiped with a Russian Orthodox congregation, twice attended a synagogue, and had significant dialogue with communions that would be considered cultic by most Christians, and with those from other faiths like Jews and Muslims.

All of them seek and claim to be anchored in the word of God written—for Christians, the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.

Bible Coffee.jpgIn virtually every variety of Christian faith, we are taught to revere the word of God written, as the only inspired, authoritative witness to what the Gospel of John calls the Word (Logos) of God, Jesus Christ. And ever since the Protestant Reformation, our own individual responsibility and privilege to read, study, and know it has been emphasized, taught, and vigorously defended.

So, what is our calling and responsibility in relation to our scriptures? Continue reading


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Come to the Feast!

As a pastor I am often invited to the reception for couples I marry. And you’d better believe, if I’m invited, I’m there! Of course I want to share in the joy of the happy couple and their families, and of course I’m happy to pray for the meal. But i’m not going to lie: I love food!  barbeque-hero-02
And of course, good food is best enjoyed with good people. I love getting to know the people I’m sat with, the family members, etc. I enjoy the joy! As does everyone there. That’s the definition of a feast: not just the food, but the people and the joy with it.

When was the last time you were invited to attend a posh banquet for free? Perhaps a super nice wedding reception, or an appreciation event or anniversary party? How likely would you be to turn down that invitation because you need to mow the lawn, or had a day trip with some friends planned? Would not any of us, barring the truly unusual or tragic, re-arrange our schedules to accept that invitation?

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Living Hope

This fall I will be resuming what has become a “pastor’s study” of sorts. As I was deciding what to do this fall, I knew I wanted to do a direct bible study this round. And as I contemplated and prayed, I kept coming back to 1 Peter, though I wasn’t sure why. Of course I was familiar with some of thsnell07e more well-known passages from the book, but I have never studied it as a complete unit as I have some other letters. So, I opened up to chapter one, because I believe that those first few verses are key to any letter in order to identify its core theme and frame whatever follows. And here’s what I found after the first two verses of standard salutation:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…” 1 Peter 1:3 (NRSV)

There’s a lot packed in that little verse, and it’s not even the complete thought! But what grabbed me is the term “living hope.” And as soon as that grabbed me, the very next thing was its direct grammatical connection to “the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Continue reading


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