Showing posts from February, 2014

New Testament Preaching

Here's a little overview of material in the New Testament on preaching that I've put together for my dissertation.

Preaching has always been significant in the Christian church.  This is of course rooted in Jesus, whose ministry is announced as preaching (Mark 1:10, cf. Matthew 4:17), characterized by preaching (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; Mark 1:39; John 18:20) and defined (at least in part) as preaching (Mark 1:38; Luke 4:17-21) (see Colquhoun, Christ's Ambassadors, pp.11-12 and Stott, I Believe in Preaching, pp.16-17).

Jesus trained his disciples to preach (Mark 3:14; Luke 9:2); he planned for and commissioned them to preach and teach his message (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 13:10; 14:9; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8); the church was founded by the preaching of the Apostle Peter (Acts 2:14-41) and was taken up by the Apostles and other leaders in the early church both for believer and unbelievers (Acts 5:42; 6:2-4; 7:2-53; 8:4-5; 35; 9:20; 13:5 etc.; Romans 1:15; 15:20; 1 Corinthians 1:17…

March Magazine Article: A Life of Worship

Here's my article for the churches' March magazine:
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)
A lot of people who call themselves Christians limit what that means. They may mean that they made a commitment to Jesus at some stage in their life. They may mean that they come to church on a Sunday. And they may mean even less than that. Perhaps they have a vague affiliation with the Church of England (maybe they were baptised or confirmed) and they tick the Christian box on the census or when they go into hospital.
The problem is, that the gospel of Jesus requires rather more than that. It require all of us! In the letter …

A Future Church of England: Is the end nigh?

Is the end of the Church of England nigh? Now there's a question!  It would be a brave person who predicted and especially gave a time-frame to the demise of the Church of England.  The denomination has been in the doldrums lots of times and has recovered.  It has made disastrous decisions, excluded faithful ministers, burnt archbishops and still survived!

Despite all that, I think the question of the survival of the church is on the lips of many at the moment.  Let me suggest three reasons.

The decline looks terminal.  Obviously God can do as he pleases, but the Church of England, despite some massaging of the figures is on the decline in a number of ways.  The number of attenders is down as the population has risen, those ordained for full-time ministry are decreasing, the age profile of the minister means a huge number are about to retire (see some useful pictures and an analysis of the clergy figures).  Linked to this are some issues about the establishment of the church - both…

Reading the NRSV

I remember as a teenager being told that the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) was the best and most accurate new translation.  When I went to Bible college, it was the required translation and the translation we had in exams.  It is usually considered the standard academic translation.  It was the translation I was given when I was first ordained.  For all that, I've only ever been to one church that used it as the pew Bible.  However, in 2013 I read the entirety of the NRSV (admittedly in the Americanised version, because that had my reading plan in).

So what did I think?

Those who know a bit about translation will know that, in a sense, the NRSV is descended from the King James Version, but through a few iterations.  It is probably best know in evangelical circles for gender inclusive language.  This is a complex issue for a number of reasons (e.g. English speakers vary in how they use gender language and determining if gender is inherent in a particular instan…

Reading the Bible in a year

In the past I've tried reading the Bible in a year. Once or twice I've failed to complete the plan. Once I completed the plan, but it took 18 months. I've also used Search the Scriptures and read the whole Bible in three years. 2013 was the first year I actually read it in a year.

I suspect lots of Christians will feel a similar dilemma to me. We're often encouraged to follow Bible-in-a-year plans. We're challenged by those who have read Scripture many times. But when faced with the daily task of ploughing  through significant sections of the Bible, we find it hard to keep up and even harder to understand. So commonly the best intentions of end up running out of steam.
So should we read aim to read the Bible in a year?
With the important caveat that we shouldn't be legalistic about our plans and programs, let me suggest some reasons for and against.
For:  A plan to read the whole of the Bible is a good thing because it is all God's word (2 Tim. 3:16) a…

Reviewing my 2013 Bible reading

In 2013 I decided to read through the whole Bible in the year. Specifically I chose to read through the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) which I bought for college (as it happens an American one). This copy had a reading program in the back which took you through Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha.

Alongside this I read William Neil's One Volume commentary on the Bible which includes brief commentary on the apocryphal books.

So this gives me four posts to write. Reading the Bible in a yearReading the NRSVReading the ApocryphaReading Neil's commentary
So that's a plan for a few posts.