Monday, 11 December 2017

Preaching and appreciating the Bible as Storytelling

How many of us love to listen to a good story? Have you ever considered how much of the Bible comes to us as storytelling? I am currently preaching on the book of First Samuel and despite snow disruptions yesterday, I preached on the 19th Chapter of 1 Samuel. I doubt that many could tell me what it is about, and yet I was greatly encouraged to hear people saying to me how much this chapter ministered to their soul.

I guess that if a preacher was considering to select a passage to minister to the church, that 1 Samuel Chapter 19 would not be an obvious "go-to" chapter. Incidentally this chapter is about Saul trying to kill David, who then flees for his life and it is full of unexpected twists and turns in the unfolding drama.

Some years ago a friend and fellow minister recommended a book to me called "Storytelling in the Bible" by Jacob Licht. He is Jewish, he is not a Christian, but he brings out many salient and exciting points about how the LORD has revealed so much truth through divinely inspired storytelling.

How many books come to us as storytelling in the Bible?

Genesis
Exodus
Numbers
Part of Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
Samuel
Kings
Chronicles
Esther
Ezra
Nehemiah
Job
Parts of Daniel
The Four Gospels
Acts

The use of repetition is a common tool in these stories, as well as a fourfold repetition in order to build to a climax. Have you ever appreciated that divine revelation communicates truth in such an aesthetically appealing and intriguing way?

What is more is that according to 1 Corinthians chapter 10, there are Old Testament Bible narratives which reveal types of Christ (water from the rock or the brazen serpent, king David), as well as instruction and admonition for the church today.

Over this Christmas period, why not take extra time to read Old Testament Bible narrative to search for Christ on shadow, to learn from the examples and admonitions and to grow in your understanding of the Living God by reading more widely and gleaning from "all of Scripture"?

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work".
2 Timothy 3:16-17

Monday, 4 December 2017

The Greek New Testament Produced by Tyndale House, Cambridge

Tyndale House in Cambridge have been working hard in recent years to produce an updated Greek New Testament. You may ask "Why?" if a New Testament is already available in Greek. Dirk Jongkind, Peter Williams, Peter Head and Patrick James have given their rationale at the back of this edition in their introduction. This work combines up to date scholarship and the publishers Crossway have made it into an attractive layout, which makes reading inviting and easy.

I have read the Preface and Introduction (which is interestingly at the back) and I am now working my way through Matthew's Gospel. It is too early for me to give my full thoughts thus far, but this edition is a welcome development and I am very thankful for the work of Tyndale House for their work on this project.

We need a recovery of the love of biblical languages by working pastors and ministers. We need to overcome the fear factor of Greek and Hebrew, to learn to persevere and to use the biblical languages daily and weekly to enhance the quality of our ministry and preaching. I hope that this Greek New Testament will help to this end.