An Introduction to the Old Testament

Short introduction to the Old Testament from an OT scholar……….

Dr. Claude Mariottini - Professor of Old Testament

Today I begin a series of studies on the Old Testament. The purpose of these studies is to introduce the Old Testament and provide an overview that will help readers gain a better understanding of the first section of the Bible.

The Old Testament

The Old Testament is an integral part of the Bible. The Bible is the book of the Church. Christians everywhere recognize that the Bible is the word of God. To believers, the Bible is authoritative in matters of faith and the guide to the daily life of the believer.

For Christians, this book of revelation contains the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the story of a people who lived in a period defined in universal history. The Old Testament narrates the events that happened in the history of Israel. For its authors, this story was the result of God’s direct intervention…

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Short but very encouraging article!……………….

Earlier this week, my heart was enriched by the teaching of Stephen Yuille at the ACBC conference in Memphis. Dr. Yuille observes that there seems to be an increased level of despair among God’s people, which led him to open the book of Romans to us. He defines hope this way: Hope is the life-changing…

via 5 Truths from Romans that Help Us to Abound in Hope — Paul Tautges

I have sometimes wondered why the Letter to Philemon is included in the New Testament.  Isn’t it just a letter to one man about his slave?  But as the following article and quotes from a recent commentary illustrates, this small personal letter has so much to say about our position in Christ, and how we should relate to our brothers and sisters……….

David Pao’s commentary on Philemon has been helpful for me as I’ve preached through this letter Paul wrote to Philemon and the church that met in his (Philemon’s) house. Today I read Pao’s concluding application remarks and found some good and appropriate points based on Paul’s appeal to Philemon to receive Onesimus back as a brother […]

via The Theme of Conversion in Paul’s Letter to Philemon (Pao) — The Reformed Reader

God’s Eternal Love – When you see a rainbow, remember there is love, eternal love, the love of God.

I love rainbows!…………….

Learning From God's Word

Here, we pick up on the words of Genesis 7:16 – ‘the Lord closed the door behind them’. What was going on outside of the ark is contrasted with the haven of salvation inside the ark. What was it that made the ark a place of salvation? – The Lord. What is it that makes Jesus Christ the Source of our salvation? – God has given Him the Name that is above every name, the Name of our salvation (Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 4:12). From the ark, we learn of (a) the one way of salvation – The ark had only one door. Jesus is ‘the Door’ which leads to salvation (John 10:9); (b) the eternal security of salvation – All were safe inside the ark. In Christ there is eternal security (John 10:28); (c) the absolute necessity of salvation – Outside of the ark, there was certain death. Refusal to…

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DOUBLE BLESSING: A Book Review

Double Blessing: How to Get It. How to Give It by Mark Batterson (Multnomah/Random House; 2019)

This is the latest book by Pastor Mark Batterson, who has written several bestsellers, such as The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper.  As evidenced by the title, this book is about blessing — both the kind that we receive from God and the kind believers can pass on to others. Starting with the premise that blessing is God’s default nature toward us, Batterson splits the book into two parts — to describe what the blessing of God is and how we can perceive and receive His blessings. And the second part hammers home the real point of this book: That blessings are lavishly given to believers as God’s children, but after receiving blessings, we are to take our blessings and use them to bless others.

In the first section, the author starts with the story of Elijah and Elisha, and how Elisha had the audacity (and faith!) to ask for a double portion of the blessing that Elijah had received from God. And then he was granted his request by God and did many mighty and gracious blessings to people inside and even outside ancient Israel. From here, Batterson takes readers on a quick journey through the Old and New Testaments to highlight how the blessings of God are a thread found throughout Scripture. Batterson offers a beneficial description of how to think about God’s blessings — “Blessings are like an umbrella. An umbrella doesn’t change the forecast. Life will rain pain…But the blessing of God does provide covering of sorts, an extra layer of protection from the elements.”

The author then goes on in the rest of this first section with a word study of the meanings and applications for the Hebrew word for “blessing,” along with providing examples of characters in the Bible — like Jacob and Zerubbabel; and historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and Charles Spurgeon. He chose these characters to illustrate that blessings from God do not deliver us from all evil, for all of these men suffered in some catastrophic ways in their lives, but the blessings came later after wisdom and faith were matured through these difficulties.

In Part Two, Batterson focuses on our giving of blessings to others. He summarizes that this way: “God has blessings for us in categories we cannot even conceive of. [And]… it is our job to steward those blessings by flipping them for others!” So, using examples from the founding of his church in Washington, DC — National Community Church — as well as stories and applications drawn from real-life events and biographies (along with neat scientific facts and trivia, which I find fascinating), Batterson shows how God means for His blessings to us are to be given for the sake of others. The author impresses on his readers that as we learn to grow in gratitude from the blessings we have received, God will also enable us to become more generous in giving to others in three categories — time, talents, and treasure.

Batterson’s writing is sincere and positive, and his lessons and encouragements are both engaging and entertaining. In reading this book, I certainly learned a lot about God’s desire to bless, what blessings really are, and how to maximize our blessings by sharing them with others. And as we do so, God blesses even more! I highly recommend this book!