Christianity 201

April 6, 2011

Random Notes…

I’m really late posting tonight.  Rather than a specific reading or theme, I thought I’d share some of my own nightly devotional process.

When my kids were young, we started something called “Hangin’ Out Time,” which included reading from The Beginner Bible, and other books of that ilk, and then moving on to Hurlburt’s Story of the Bible (the original, in-depth edition, not the simplified one you can purchase today.)

It was doing Hurlburt that I realized the potential for my own spiritual growth to come out of these times, and now that the “kids” are 17 and 19, we still do “Hangin’ Out Time,” though it’s more like a 20-30 minute theology study time.

We’ve read — out loud — every chapter of the New Testament in the Life Application Bible including reading — out loud — all of the study notes.   Plus a number — more than half — of the Old Testament books including Leviticus.

We’ve done three books by Stuart Briscoe, are in the middle of an Andrew Murray, and alternate with occasional contemporary authors such as both books by Francis Chan.

But until tonight, I had never read a single word by Warren Wiersbe.  I picked up a copy of Be Hopeful — our house is full of books in every room — which is Wiersbe’s commentary on I Peter.   I had been told that some people regarded him as somewhat simplistic, but I didn’t get that from his first chapter, which talked about the writer, the recipients and the message of the book.

Wiersbe apparently doesn’t believe that “apostles” exist today.  I’m not sure I agree with that.  I believe that in some form, the fivefold gifts commonly called APTEP — apostle, pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophet — are still resident with members of your congregation and my congregation.  Michael Frost boldly suggests that every one of us have degrees of that gifting, but that God has placed at least “one of each” in any body.

But it’s important that I don’t allow my difference with Wiersbe on this — and I’m sure there would be other things — to block me from receiving the other wonderful things he says in this opening chapter.   His foundational chapter on I Peter gives the reader an appetite for the rest of the epistle.

Warren Wiersbe has a number of commentaries that all begin with the word “be.”  The list below begins with the  list from Wikipedia, the ones I’ve added at the end (without dates) are just a few I collected tonight. I offer it to you as good start if you’ve never read or purchased a commentary on an individual book of the Bible.   You’ll see why these are called “The Bees” by some people:

  • Be real (1972) – I John
  • Be successful – 1 Samuel (1973)
  • Be joyful; a practical study of Philippians (1974)
  • Be free : an expository study of Galatians (1975)
  • Be rich : are you losing the things that money can’t buy? : An expository study of the Epistle to the Ephesians (1976)
  • Be right : an expository study of Romans (1977)
  • Be mature : an expository study of the Epistle of James (1978)
  • Be ready (1979) I & II Thessalonians
  • Be complete (1981)  Colossians
  • Be faithful : it’s always too soon to quit! : an expository study of the Pastoral Epistles, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus (1981)
  • Be Challenged (1982)
  • Be Confident : an expository study of the Epistle to the Hebrews (1982)
  • Be Hopeful (1982) I Peter
  • Be Wise : an expository study of 1 Corinthians (1983)
  • Be Alert (1984) II Peter, II & III John, Jude
  • Be victorious (1985) Revelation
  • Be Compassionate (1988) Luke 1-13
  • Be Patient : an Old Testament Study – Job (1991)
  • Be Comforted : Feeling Secure in the Arms of God : an Old Testament study Isaiah (1992)
  • Be Obedient: Abraham (1992)
  • Be Distinct – II Kings, II Chronicles
  • Be Holy   – Leviticus
  • Be Available – Judges
  • Be Restored – II Samuel, I Chronicles
  • Be Committed – Ruth and Esther
  • Be Alive – John 1-13
  • Be Transformed  – John 13-21
  • Be Encouraged – II Corinthians
  • Be Reverent –  Ezekiel
  • Be Counted – Numbers
  • Be Heroic – minor prophets
  • Be Delivered – Exodus
  • Be Responsible – I Kings
  • Be Equipped – Deuteronomy

That is quite a lifetime of work, isn’t it?

There are also other series, such as The Life Application Commentaries, and The Bible Speaks Today series, which don’t require you to know Greek or Hebrew; other series such as The Tyndale Commentaries contain some “textual criticism,” which gets into translation issues.

…Christianity 201’s motto is “Digging a little Deeper.”  I hope tonight’s “random notes” have encouraged you to do just that.

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