Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Bible...and hope

The Bible.  According to my dictionary it is "The sacred scriptures of Christians comprising the Old Testament and the New Testament."  It is an old book, seemingly written by and about a small, obscure group of people living in a time and place very different than ours.  We stumble over their names and struggle to follow the storylines of their lives.  We read their stories and everything seems to be so obvious to us.  What on earth is their problem?  Why can't they seem to get things right?

And yet as Christians we hold the words of this book dearer to our hearts and minds than the words written anywhere else.  Why is that?  What is it that makes this one particular book so special?  Over the next few weeks we are going to take a closer look at the Bible, asking questions and seeking answers about this book, this one book whose words are so essential to our faith. 

The basic questions are What, Who, Where, When, How and Why?  Each Sunday we will look at questions about the Bible that follow from the basic questions, such as:

·         What is the Bible?
·         Who wrote the Bible?
·         Where does the Bible speak today
·         When should we read the Bible?
·         How should we apply the Bible to our lives?
·         Why does the Bible matter?

It is my hope and my prayer that as we dig into these questions we will find answers that strengthen our faith.  That we will find answers that deepen or understanding of God and His love for us.  And that we will find answers that deepen our love of God. 

On the one hand the Bible is a very old book, a book that for many people is out-of touch with the culture of our time.  But on the other hand I am certain that the Bible, while indeed old, continues to be relevant, and the message in its pages is one that is urgently needed in the times in which we live. 

I look forward to exploring some Bible basics as a congregation.  I welcome any questions you might have that would add to our understanding.  And I pray that God would lead us, through His Word in the Bible, to more fully love and serve Him in the world.

Addendum:  I wrote the body of this post a few days ago.  This morning in worship our basic question was "What?"  The questions that came out of that basic question were these:

What is the Bible?
What does the Bible contain?
What is the purpose of the Bible?
What ties the Bible together?
What relevance does the Bible have today?

Here is a brief look at the continuing relevance of the Bible.

There are many ways in which the Bible is relevant today.  This morning I focused on hope.  In Romans 15:4 the apostle Paul writes,

"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the scripture we might have hope."

This last week was a fairly ordinary one for me in ministry here in Dulce, which means that there were a number of people and life situations that came to my attention as pastor.  Some of these situations were expected in some way, and others were completely new.  And as a pastor there is little direct help that I can provide to people in need.  I can’t "fix the problem."  But what I can do is listen, and pray.  And in prayer I can turn the person I am with and their situation over to God. 

As we pray we remember that all things are in God's hands, all the time.  And we remember that it is God whom we hope in. All the time.  We don't hope in some lesser thing, and there are any number of lesser things in which people hope.

We place our hope in the God of the universe, the Lord of heaven and earth, the One through whom all things were created, and for whom all things were created.  And the only place we have to turn to in order to learn about this God in whom we hope is in His word, the Bible. 

The Bible is relevant because it teaches us, fully and reliably, about God and thereby encourages us to seek Him, to find and know true hope in all things.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Preaching from the Bible? About the Bible? Applying the Bible? Wow....novel !
    Our family has recently made the difficult decision to leave our church. Among other things, they are launching yet another church wide Rick Warren campaign (we have done them all). No disrespect to his convictions and theories, but I want a good exegetical Bible based time in the Word. I applaud you for getting back to foundational truth.

    1. Not too tech savvy! My comments below are in response to your comments above.

  2. Thanks for your encouraging words Cynthia. My first year in ministry I bounced around a bit in choosing texts to preach. In the past year I have preached through, i.e. verse-by-verse, beginning to end, 1 Peter, Colossians and Ruth. I believe that the sermon must be inextricably bound to the text, that the text drives the bus, so to speak. My current "series" skirts that sentiment a bit, but I think we need to consider some basics that underlie the text, so that in the end we hear God speaking more clearly through it. After this we are embarking on Mark, which may take a year. I think understand your sentiment about changing churches. I've faced that issue twice, once leaving and once staying. May God lead you and your family to that place where you are fed on His word.