Issue #33

Bible Translation, Evolution of Worship, Reporting Abuse, and more...

Issue #33
Photo by Ben White / Unsplash

Bible Study: Psalm 2 — The Chosen Son Inherits All

While studying the Book of Hebrews, we will encounter many quotes from Old Testament passages. Usually, these quotes are between one and three verses, but the author seems to expect that the reader knows and understands the context of the passage. Knowing the Old Testament context can fill in important details. And, they’re often just really interesting.

So occasionally we are going to step out of Hebrews and look at the context of a quote. Our first comes from Hebrews 1:5, which is pulled from Psalm 2:7.

The Psalm is anonymous, though in Acts 4:25 it’s ascribed to David.

It has four movements. The Psalm writes of the futility and stupidity of rebelling against God. But not just God, also his Misyah (Messiah) — his anointed one, a king who is also God’s son.

Keep Reading→

Listen and Learn 🎧

Q&A: A Bible Translator Answers Your Questions about the ESV (with Dr. Paul House) | Crossway Podcast 🎧 →

I like the ESV. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s a good translation. I’m not highlighting this podcast episode as an endorsement of the translation but as an interesting look into the translation process itself. It really is quite fascinating.

Explore the Scriptures 📖

Nehemiah's Deeper Concern for Building Up God's People | Wallace P. Benn 📃 →

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are not something that I have gone deep into, but Dr. Benn has. He’s the author of the Preaching the Word commentary volume on Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.

An important question for all of us to ask is, How does the work of God get done? The book of Nehemiah answers that question. It lays out for us the foundational principles for any work of God.

It is important for us to realize that Nehemiah was, in the words of J. I. Packer, “a church builder.”1 Without the restoration of the walls of the city of Jerusalem, there could have been no normal or healthy city life. But the restoration of the walls was a means to an end—the restoration of the people of God in the city where God had promised to be especially present.

The covenant of grace recorded in the Old Testament often visualizes for us the spiritual principles spelled out in the New Testament. God is a God of consistent covenant (i.e., promise-keeping) grace in how he deals with his people, and the lessons they learned under the old covenant are beneficial to those of us blessed by the new covenant, won for us by the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

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Have Some Fun 👾

Evolution of Worship Music - A Cappella Medley | David Wesley 📽 →

A cappella medley filled with songs still in use today, but with connections to almost 1500 years of Christian worship. It's all crammed into 7.5 minutes, so strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride!
c. 560 (Original Old Irish poem) – Be Thou My Vision (Dallan Forgaill)
1225 (original poem) All Creatures of Our God and King (St. Francis of Assisi)
1529 – A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Martin Luther)
1668 – Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Joachim Neander)
1779 – Amazing Grace (John Newton, Edwin Excell)
1863 – The Solid Rock (Edward Mote / William Bradbury)
1922 – Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Helen Lemmel)
1939 – Victory in Jesus (E.M. Bartlett) - Full version:
1952 – Burdens are Lifted at Calvary (John M. Moore)
1969 – Pass It On (Kurt Kaiser)
1978 – Soon and Very Soon (Andraé Crouch)
1988 – Awesome God (Rich Mullins)
1993 – Shout to the Lord (Darlene Zschech)
1998 – Trading My Sorrows (Darrell Evans)
2000 – God of Wonders (Marc Byrd & Steve Hindalong)
2004 – Revelation Song (Jennie Lee Riddle)
2010 – One Thing Remains (Brian Johnson, Christa Black, Jeremy Riddle)
2012 – Oceans (Joel Houston, Matt Crocker, Salomon Ligthelm)
2014 – Good Good Father (Anthony Brown, Pat Barrett)
2015 – Lion and the Lamb (Brenton Brown, Brian Johnson, Leeland Mooring)
2017 – Do It Again (Chris Brown, Mack Brock, Matt Redman, Steven Furtick)

This is so fun.

Family Focus 🏡

Explaining Miracles to Kids with Matthew Mittelberg | Mama Bear Apologetics (Amy Davison) 🎧 →

Talking about miracles with kids and teenagers can certainly be tricky. While younger kids may believe in miracles more easily, teenagers tend to be more skeptical, especially if they’ve never seen a miracle themselves. In this modern age, teenagers are more exposed to skeptics than ever. On the other hand, we have more available evidence for the resurrection of Jesus and modern miracles than ever too.

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Watch and Wonder 📽

4 Complex Bible “Contradictions” in David’s Census of Israel | BibleThinker (Mike Winger) 📽 →

Pastor Mike Winger is asked questions from the community on the problem of David’s census.

1. Was it God or Satan who incited David to take the census?2. How many troops were counted? 2 Sam and 1 Chron have different numbers.3. The book of James says God doesn't tempt anyone, how can that be reconciled with him inciting David?4. Why are Israel and Judah talked about as different groups before the kingdom split into those groups?

Read and Reflect 📖

The Racial Justice Debate Needs Civil Discourse, Not Straw Men | Esau McCaulley 📃 →

The words critical race theory, systemic racism, woke, and social justice are case studies in language confusion. People define these terms in radically different ways and use those definitions to distort the views of others.

To some, systemic racism means that discrimination exists in different social, political, and legal structures to varying degrees and intensities. Others think of systemic racism as the idea that all of society is irredeemably racist.

McCaulley’s point is that we are often talking past one another. One Christian talks of “systemic racism” as non-existent because they don’t see all white people as guilty of the sins of their ancestors, or because they don’t see any explicitly racist laws on the books. Another talks of “systemic racism” as the ongoing effects of laws that used to exist or experiences of their own.

When Christians discuss justice, some interlocuters have a tendency to go and find all the worst and least helpful definitions of justice or systemic racism and then download those definitions into the use of the term.

But words do not work that way. They have meaning in context that derives from an author’s own use. We are simply not allowed to go and find a definition that we dislike and attribute it to a fellow believer…

When we open the Word, we see biblical accounts of oppressors and the oppressed. We see biblical discussions of systems. And we see biblical definitions of justice, injustice, and liberation. So when we claim to be building upon these definitions and accounts, Christian charity demands that our opponents meet us on the ground where we have chosen to fight, not somewhere else.

Sadly, this fair-minded form of debate is rarely practiced.

Let us be different than the tribal politics of the world.

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Best with a Cup of Tea ☕️

Reporting Abuse Shouldn’t Be Controversial. It’s Biblical. | Jennifer Greenberg 📃 →

Since my early 20s, I’d been under the impression that my church leaders had obeyed Texas state law and reported my dad and other child abusers to law enforcement. However, as my publisher and I worked on editing my book about my experiences, we fact-checked everything I’d been told…

In response, a PCA presbytery launched an investigation. It found that around 15 pastors had indeed violated Texas state law by neglecting to report my father. Decade-old emails describing sins and crimes had been swept under the rug. In a long-overdue answer to prayer, a pastor filed a police report against the man who had terrorized my family for over 30 years.

Then, I received a letter from my OPC session:
Dear Jennifer, In April 2020, your session warned you more than once to cease making public, unsubstantiated accusations against others…Whereas, you, Jennifer Greenburg, are convicted by sufficient proof of the sin of repeated violations of the 9th commandment…in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, do now declare you suspended indefinitely from the Sacraments of the Church…Jennifer, you are in great danger with the Lord.

Despite the Bible being full of righteous reports of evil, my experience is far from unique. Many survivors face opposition and censure when speaking the truth to the church. It’s my hope that by studying a few scriptural examples, we can learn to do better than assume their reports are gossip or slander. We can learn to take such reports seriously and address them responsibly.

Her story is heartbreaking. God’s heart for the oppressed and abused shines throughout scripture. Neglecting justice, no matter the cost to ourselves is to break with the very heart of God.

While abusers may claim to love God with their mouths, their actions tell a different story. Subsequently, we do not shelter or enable abusers in the name of Jesus. Rather, we reject their fruitless deeds of darkness and expose them to the light (Eph. 5:11).

This may seem obvious, but throughout the centuries, the organized church has consistently failed to protect the abused and instead protected powerful abusers. We cannot be afraid to investigate friends, family, and the influential. God’s heart is for the oppressed, and so must ours.

Keep Your Mind on Things Above

I will be praying for you this week.

“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

— Matthew 5:43-45 (CSB)

Joel Fischer