Bruner on John 10.27-38


“My very special sheep are [doing three things:] listening to my voice, and I am getting to know them experientially [they are experiencing me], and they are walking around with me. And I am giving them, in turn, [three realities]: deep, lasting Life, and they will never ever perish, and no one will ever snatch these people out of my grip.” We learn, here, several characteristics of Jesus’ True-Church people from this two verse (3+3) description of them:

1. They are the people who, first and most fundamentally, listen to Jesus’ voice.
2. They are the people whom Jesus is getting to know, experientially.
3. They are the people who are starting to walk with and to follow Jesus.
4. They are the people, therefore, who are receiving deep, lasting Life from Jesus.
5. They are the people who are given the special assurance of an indefectible security.
6. They are the people (he repeats for emphasis) who are forever safe in Jesus’ grip. …

The Johannine Jesus’ present description of his special sheep – his true Church – is deceptively simple. These people “do” three things, which are really the inhaling and exhaling of a living faith in any relation: They listen to Jesus’ voice, he gets to know them (i.e., they experience him), and so they start to walk with him. To these simplest of human responses, Jesus promises his two most personal gifts – getting to know you (or what John’s Gospel calls “Life”) and keeping care of you (safety or, theologically, salvation). This proposal is hard to turn down. Who would not want to live with a friend like this?

Frederick Dale Bruner, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Eerdmans, 2012), pp.635-636,638

this went thru my mind


Bible reading & prayer: Using the Bible to Avoid Prayer by Dan Bouchelle

“Prayer is more important to me now than time in the Word. Both are important, but I have learned that I need to read less and slower, meditate more, and pray most.”

Decisions: How to Say ‘No” When You Feel Pressured to Say ‘Yes’ by Michael Hyatt

“Do you have a difficult time saying no? I do. … But at some point, you realize that you can’t say yes to everyone else. Attempting to do so puts at risk your own agenda and the things that matter most.”

Singles: Are Churches Adjusting to This?

“For the first time ever, Census found, less than half of all U.S. homes — 48% — were husband-wife households.”

a week in the life of Corinth: a review


Problem: You’re a busy Bible class teacher or preacher who wants to brush up on some of the latest understanding of scholarship as to what life was like in New Testament times, but don’t have the time to wade through a host of journal articles or academic-style works. You demand quality scholarship, but footnotes be gone.
Solution: Make A Week in the Life of Corinth by Ben Witherington a part of your evening reading for a couple of weeks.

Problem: You’re looking for something that has a fresh, unique approach to it to use as the foundation for a Bible class study. It wouldn’t hurt to have a couple of dozen pictures in it, either.
Solution: Utilize A Week in the Life of Corinth by Ben Witherington as a resource the next time you work through 1 & 2 Corinthians.

Problem: You wish fellow church members understood more of the background of life as depicted in the New Testament so they would have a better grasp of how to understand and interpret Scripture. The thing is, you know they’d never even crack open a book about historical backgrounds and the Bible. What to do?
Solution: Suggest they read A Week in the Life of Corinth by Ben Witherington and give away a couple of copies to key people whom you know to be book lovers.

Problem: You’d like to turn your teen onto reading Christian books. The thing is, you don’t know what to get, you just know whatever it is simply must have short, page-turning chapters in it or it’ll never get read.
Solution: Get them a copy of A Week in the Life of Corinth by Ben Witherington and leave it in their room without comment.

Problem: You’d like to see the ladies book club at the church of which you’re a part read something besides the standard fare of typical “Christian” fiction. And it can’t be long either; no more than 160 pages.
Solution: Suggest reading A Week in the Life of Corinth by Ben Witherington whenever it comes your turn to suggest the next book for the group to read.

Problem: You’re a parent who home-schools your children and you’re always on the look out for interesting, reliable, and accessible resources to supplement your work. You use your imagination and creativity as a home-schooler and you like works that give evidence of the same.
Solution: Add reading A Week in the Life of Corinth by Ben Witherington to your curriculum.

Problem: You’ve read Bruce Longenecker’s work The Lost Letters of Pergamum and it left you longing for more of similar material and approach.
Solution: Quit fiddling around and read A Week in the Life of Corinth by Ben Witherington right now.

Enough said?

this went thru my mind


Belief & doubt: How to Smartly Engage with the Young Doubters in Your Midst by Andrea Palpant Dilley

“Thirty-six percent of young people surveyed said they didn’t feel free ‘to ask [their] most pressing life questions in church.’ That’s a problem. Providing a space for open intellectual inquiry is essential for maintaining healthy conversation with people on the margins.”

Evangelism: Jesus 101 by Matt Dabbs

“This booklet is written to help guide you through the Gospel of Mark so that you can learn about Jesus, understand who He is, what He did, and find out what that means for you today.”

Memorial Day: Memorial Day by J. Daniel Kirk* ; * RE-Membering Memorial Day by Kurt Willems

* “This is Memorial Day in the United States. It’s a great day to be an American. And a dangerous day to be a Christian. … Let’s be careful how we remember today. Let’s be careful what we remember today. There is freedom that is bought with the price of precious blood. And it could never be gained by the swords, or guns, of war.”

* “Remember that violence always disrupts shalom. Jesus died, absorbing the violence of a military machine’s ultimate weapon for insurrectionists – the cross. This death unleashes the potential for shalom once again… something war can never bring.”

Pacifism: * Bonhoeffer Says; And a six-part series of posts by Paul Smith: * Pacifism and the Sermon on the Mount; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Definitions and Positions; * Reconsidering Pacifism – A Brief Old Testament Survey; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Gleanings from the New Testament; * Reconsidering Pacifism – A Personal Journey; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Final (and disjointed) Thoughts

* “I pray that God will give me the strength not to take up arms.” [Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

* “In the past several weeks I have been engaged with the related concepts of pacifism and discipleship in a number of ways. … As I have read, studied and mentally debated with these giants of my faith I have been forced to think, and to rethink, my understanding and my conclusions on this subject. Over the next few posts I will share with you my convictions, and the Scriptural and theological foundations which underlie those convictions.” [Paul Smith]

Parenting: Lament and Faith and Childhood: Why My Kid and I Read the Sad Psalms by Micha Boyett

“Faith is complicated for me. I didn’t want it to be complicated for my kids.”

Sermon on the Mount: The Sermon on the Mount: Study Guide by Richard Beck

“… a condensed but comprehensive moral inventory of the Sermon.”

word for the weak: week twenty-two


Truth is the theme in this week’s reading in the Uncommon Truth for Common People project at MoSt Church. Following is this week’s reading schedule:

• Mon., May 28 – John 14.1-14; Romans 1.18-25
• Tues., May 29 – John 8.31-47; Psalm 119.30-32
• Wed., May 30 – Exodus 20.16; Proverbs 12; Ephesians 4.1-25
• Thur., May 31 – Jonah 1-4; Daniel 4.1-27
• Fri., June 1 – John 15-17

This week’s memory verse is: “… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8.32 CEB)

picture Bible commentary

Let heaven celebrate! Let the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it roar! Let the countryside and everything in it celebrate! Then all the trees of the forest too will shout out joyfully before the Lord because he is coming! He is coming to establish justice on the earth! He will establish justice in the world rightly. He will establish justice among all people fairly. (Psalm 96.11-13)

i promise


NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow, May, 27. This guide will enable your follow-up of that morning’s sermon from Acts 2. You’ll find LIFE group discussion guides categorized each week here on my site under the category title “LIFE group guides.”


To celebrate our promise-making and promise-keeping God, who calls us to do the same with him.


When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak. …

Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! … this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel …

“Fellow Israelites, listen to these words! Jesus the Nazarene was a man whose credentials God proved to you through miracles, wonders, and signs, which God performed through him among you. You yourselves know this. In accordance with God’s established plan and foreknowledge, he was betrayed. You, with the help of wicked men, had Jesus killed by nailing him to a cross. God raised him up! God freed him from death’s dreadful grip, since it was impossible for death to hang on to him. …

“… Jesus, God raised up. We are all witnesses to that fact. He was exalted to God’s right side and received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit. He poured out this Spirit, and you are seeing and hearing the results of his having done so. …

“Therefore, let all Israel know beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

When the crowd heard this, they were deeply troubled. They said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

Peter replied, “Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far away—as many as the Lord our God invites.” (Acts 2.1-4,14-16, 22-24,32-33,36-39 CEB)


Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. Tell us of some great day in your life that you had looked forward to for a very long time.

2. Tell us about some almost unbelievable event in your life that took you completely by surprise.


These questions are meant to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. Read an OT account of the source of the annual feast known as Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) (cf. Deut. 16.9-12; Acts 2.1). In time, what did it come commemorate to the Jewish people?

2. Concerning the events of Christ’s passion, what did God do and what did people do (vs. 23-24)?

3. The Spirit is being poured out on people. Who is doing the pouring (vs. 32-33) and what does this say to you about the one doing the pouring (vs. 24,36)?

4. What are the commands in vs. 38? What are the promises in vs. 38? Who are they for (vs. 39)?


These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. What in this passage pierces, and bring conviction to, your heart? What encourages your heart?

2. How does making of promises in community, in others’ presence, affect your promise-keeping?

3. What sort of positive changes have you made in your life because you became a Christian?

4. How often does the fact that you’ve promised yourself to God, as a Christian, affect your actions?

5. Can you discern any pattern to what makes for your keeping or breaking promises? Explain.

6. How do you see the promises of this text affecting the way you’ll live before God this week?