my books: friends & counselors #16


The OT … is more than the factual base out of which the NT is to be understood. The earliest Christians understood the OT as the very basis for achieving a proper relationship with God. …

Though the institutions of the OT have passed away, the theology of the OT remains. In fact, on it is built the theology of the NT. …

The church today suffers malnutrition if a part of its diet is not the theology of the OT.

Thomas Olbricht in The World and Literature of the Old Testament edited by John T. Willis (Sweet Publishing, 1979); pp.344-345

my books: friends & counselors #15

It was William Dyrness who opened my eyes – with the beauty and power of a well-chosen metaphor – to how the two testaments relate to each other.

One way of clarifying this relationship between the testaments is to liken the Bible to a symphony. All the basic themes of the symphony are presented in the OT and can seen and enjoyed on their own terms. All the reality of God’s self-revelation in creation and redemption comes to expression in these themes. There is a real movement of God toward humankind and a real fellowship between them – not just the promise of such movement and fellowship.

The NT then takes these themes, develops them and, while adding melody lines of its own, transposes the whole into a higher key, weaving everything together in a rich and beautiful way. What was a simple melody line in the OT – say, for example, the discouragement and provision of the wilderness wanderings – is picked up in another setting and made to enhance the NT revelation – as in Paul’s warnings and encouragement to the Corinthians Church (1 Cor. 10).

If we do not listen carefully to the OT we may miss some of the most moving melodies of the NT. So rather than seeing the OT as temporary or partial – something to be outgrown and discarded – we see its incompleteness more as cords calling for resolution, or, to change the metaphor, as plots calling for denouement. What the NT gives us then is does not really leave the OT behind so much as bring out its deepest reality. One has the feeling that in going ever more deeply into the reality of the OT one comes to the truth of the NT. The NT and the OT call for each other for their full self-expression.

Themes in Old Testament Theology by William Dyrness (IVP, 1977); pp.18-19

the Christ House reading project 2013: the Christ verses


The-Christ-HouseAs we read the New Testament through completely in 2013, every MoSt Church member is encouraged to memorize a single verse of Scripture from each book of the NT. A listing of all the Christ verses for this year’s reading follows as they appear in the Common English Bible. May these verses serve you well as we consider Jesus Christ.

Jan. 1-24 – “Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2.11)

Feb. 1-28 – “… let all Israel know beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2.36)

March 1-16 – “I assure you that whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will certainly be rewarded.” (Mark 9.41)

April 1-5 – “You are being made into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2.5)

April 6-8 – “… grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him belongs glory now and forever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3.18)

April 9-13 – “My little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you don’t sin. But if you do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” (1 John 2.1)

April 14 – “Grace, mercy, and peace from … Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, will be ours who live in truth and love.” (2 John 3)

April 15 – “… for the sake of Jesus Christ …” (3 John 7)

April 16 – “… keep each other in the love of God, wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will give you eternal life.” (Jude 21)

May 1-28 – “He said, ‘And what about you? Who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'” (Matt. 16.15-16)

June 1-13 – “We are partners with Christ, but only if we hold on to the confidence we had in the beginning until the end.” (Heb. 3.14)

June 14-18 – “My brothers and sisters, when you show favoritism you deny the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has been resurrected in glory.” (James 2.1)

July 1-16 – “The wages that sin pays are death, but God’s gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6.23)

Aug. 1-16 – “You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.” (1 Cor. 12.27)

Aug. 17-29 – “We all must appear before Christ in court so that each person can be paid back for the things that were done while in the body, whether they were good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5.10)

Sept. 1-21 – “This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.” (John 17.3)

Oct. 1-22 – “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will rule forever and always.” (Rev. 11.15)

Nov. 1-6 – “… a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 2.16)

Nov. 7-12 – “This is what God planned for the climax of all times: to bring all things together in Christ, the things in heaven along with the things on earth.” (Eph. 1.10)

Nov. 13-16 – “God has generously granted you the privilege, not only of believing in Christ but also of suffering for Christ’s sake.” (Phil. 1.29)

Nov. 17-20 – “All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body.” (Col. 2.9)

Dec. 1-5 – “Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5.18)

Dec. 6-8 – “May the Lord lead your hearts to express God’s love and Christ’s endurance.” (2 Thes. 3.5)

Dec. 9-14 – “This saying is reliable and deserves full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I’m the biggest sinner of all.” (1 Tim. 1.15)

Dec. 15-18 – “… anyone who wants to live a holy life in Christ Jesus will be harassed.” (2 Tim. 3.12)

Dec. 19-21 – “… we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2.13)

Dec. 22 – “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” (Philemon 25)

feed your head


I’m occasionally asked “What do you read?” Which in effect is the same as asking “What do you feed your head?

I’m glad you asked. Not just because what you deliberately feed your mind is extremely important, but because I’m happy to share with you something of what my brain daily consumes.

Though my daily reading certainly isn’t limited to what follows, my daily, personal reading revolves around four key areas, two of which are from Scripture and two of which stem from other matters, but which often deal with Scripture. Those four areas are: (1) the Psalms, (2) a daily Bible reading schedule, (3) what I have lined up to come to me through Google Reader, and (4) select books.

This year, my reading in the Psalms will consist of reading three Psalms each day (one in the morning, one at mid-day, and one in the evening). I read each of these three Psalms three times: once to understand the text, once to pray the text for myself, and once to pray the text with others in mind. Naturally, the first reading is a “normal” reading while the following two readings are “slow rides.”

Each year’s reading from elsewhere in Scripture is different. It follows the church-wide reading track followed by by the church with which I minister. This year’s reading flows out of the Daily Companion Bible, a devotional edition of the Common English Bible. The reading is five-days-per-week (Mon.-Fri.) and will take me through a variety of OT and NT texts. Each week’s worth of reading centers on one particular theme.

My reading in Google Reader, that is the online articles that come to me through RSS, come from a wide variety of sources, all of which (save a couple of news feeds) are ministry related. If you’d like to see who some of the writers are that come to me via RSS simply read this post.

As to the books I read, they vary but the vast majority of them are ministry or Scripture related. Reading length over the course of a day naturally varies, but I would guess it would be somewhere between ten-to-twelve pages per day on average. Following are five books I plan to read over the course of the next three months.

  1. The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction by P.M. Forni
  2. How to Read the Psalms by Tremper Longman
  3. Talking Back to God: Speaking Your Heart to God Through the Psalms by Lynn Anderson
  4. New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament by Ben Witherington
  5. The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporary Translation by N.T. Wright

Now that you’ve peeked inside my reading habits a bit, let me ask you a question.

Question: What do you daily, deliberately feed your head in the way of reading?