I wonder what you would say if I asked you which is your favourite (and also perhaps least favourite!) Book of the Bible.
If the Letters in the New Testament set out Christian truth in propositional form (as statements to accept and believe), much of the Old Testament uses narrative history to tell the story of God’s relationship with his people and his creation.
From the middle of July onwards we shall explore some of the incidents in the life of King David. David is described twice in the Bible as being “a man after God’s own heart”. He was highlighted as the most famous ancestor of Jesus, who was described as the ‘Son of David’. And yet David was a flawed character, almost as famous for the things he did wrong as for his exploits of faith!
How wonderful it is that scripture contains such a variety of material to teach us, to encourage us and to inspire us. And all of that so that we may fulfil our calling to be the people God wants us to be!
So go on then, what would you say are your favourite (and also perhaps least favourite) Books of the Bible?!
With my prayers and very best wishes
For about half of each year most of the Bible readings we hear in church come from the Four Gospels, the stories about what Jesus did, the things he said, and what happened to him at the end of his life – his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. The message of the Four Gospels can be best summed up in what is probably the most well-known verse in the whole Bible: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are undoubtedly the most important part of the Bible. But they are not the only part! And now from the beginning of June until Advent Sunday on the 28th November we get the opportunity to explore some of the other parts of the Bible and consider what they might mean for us today.
We shall start by looking at one of the Letters attributed to St Paul – his letter to the Ephesians. The Letters (or Epistles) build on and develop the teaching of Jesus. For example, Ephesians makes explicit what is less clear in the Gospels that Jesus’ death brings about not only the reconciliation of all human beings to God and to one another; but also that through Jesus’ death “all things in heaven and on earth will be gathered up and remade in Christ.” Older Bible commentaries assumed that this just refers to the uniting of all human beings under the headship of Christ. But in the light of what Paul says in Romans 8 about the “hope that creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of God”; and in the light of our current ecological and environmental concerns, it is a great reminder that God is concerned not just for humans but for the whole of his creation.
I know Desert Island Discs treats the Bible as just one book, but that’s only half true. Yes, the whole Bible does present a comprehensive and coherent story of God’s purposes for the world. But it does this by bringing together 66 very different books into one giant ‘compendium’ (over 1,200 pages in the New Revised Standard Version). And we do the Bible a disservice if we assume that all the books of the Bible are pretty much the same.