We have just begun a new year, and there is much that I want to share and discuss on this blog in 2020. However, before doing so, I wish to take one last look at the material that was presented in 2019. The reason for this is to provide an index of sorts for future visitors. As my blog grows, it may become increasingly difficult to find a specific article, or where I explored a topic over the course of multiple posts. It is my intention that this post will show where we started in June of 2019, and the main concepts that were brought up during the first 7 months of jameslhutton.com.
The First Posts
My first blog post was on June 1, 2019, and it was titled, “Hello, and Welcome to the Beginning of this Blog.” In it, I shared some general thoughts on the Bible, and the direction I wanted this website to go. A week later, I stayed at the start of the Bible, and explored the first chapter of Genesis. I focused on God’s authority, and how it was demonstrated by Him speaking creation into existence. This theme of beginnings continued with my next two Bible studies. One was related to the use of the first five verses of the Gospels with evangelism. The other explained how the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark presented Jesus as a prophet, healer, Jew, and more.
The First Book Reviews and Reflections
Between these two posts, I put my first book review up on the site. It was for In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen. I was quite impressed with it, and glad to bring it to the attention of others.
Shortly thereafter, I posted another type of post. Instead of a straight Bible study, I felt the need to simply reflect on some passages I had found in my regular Bible reading. The first was concerning the Levites’ great declaration of God’s faithfulness in the Book of Nehemiah. A few weeks later I shared some reflections prompted by another book. The work in question was Final Words From the Cross by Adam Hamilton which I reviewed here. These reflections were related to Jesus’ response to the woman at the well, and how He did not treat her with scorn. It remains one of my favorite posts of the year.
Key Truths of the Gospel and Romans
In between these two reflective posts, I taught further on some key truths of the Gospel of Christ. One was related to the core truths of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians, and the prophecies that preceded them. I then looked to the Apostle Paul and how he was not ashamed of the Gospel.
This latter post was based on a text from the first chapter of Romans. Later in the year I returned to that book, and wrote a couple more articles about it. The first was concerning the Apostle Paul’s warning against hypocritical judging. The second one explained the meaning of being circumcised of heart.
Teachings on the Humility
After my reflection on not treating others with scorn, I continued that line of thought. I taught on some related topics for a couple more weeks. These included the Parable of the Two Sons, Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners, and an encouragement to teach others with gentleness.
I then shared a study on Jesus healing the centurion’s servant. In it, I returned back to my first topic of study. That was about God and His authority. In the post concerning the centurion’s servant, I explained that Jesus also had authority, and that He was, and is, divine.
Studies on the Two Ways
One series of studies that I was most excited to write about was the two different ways we can go in this life. These two ways stem from Psalm 1, which speaks of the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. With that as a launching off point, I also considered the two gates and ways of Matthew 7:13-14, conflicting characteristics between the children of the day and the night, and the sheep and goats of Matthew 25. With the language of ways in mind, I also discussed facing persecution as a follower of the Way and the stir caused by the Way.
The First Reading Plans
During these studies of the two ways, I started adding a new resource to the website. This took the form of Bible reading plans, and was something that I dreamed about developing for years. In 2019, 3 reading plans were released. These include a 3 chapters a day New Testament plan, another that was 4 chapters in the Old Testament, and 60 days with the Psalms.
Even though these are only a few plans, I am very pleased with them being put together for you. After I started reading the Bible in 2005, I relied on many different reading plans. I have many fond memories of finding these from various books and websites. I hope that someday jameslhutton.com will be a helpful source for many reading plans, just as others were to me.
As the year progressed, one of my goals was to have all of my book reviews from Goodreads be reproduced here. Many of these were listed in December in one of the last posts of the year. For simplicity sake, here are all of my book reviews that I wrote in 2019,
- In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen
- Final Words From the Cross by Adam Hamilton
- How to Lead Small Group Bible Studies by The Navigators
- Mister God, This Is Anna by Fynn
- Daily Life at the time of Jesus by Miriam Vamosh
- When Life Hurts by Philip Yancey
- Humble Orthodoxy by Joshua Harris
- Blasphemy by Asia Bibi
- The Catacombs of Rome by Fabrizio Mancinelli
- If Nuns Ruled the World by Jo Piazza
- The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History by A. Kenneth Curtis, J. Stephen Lang, and Randy Petersen
- 20 Most Asked Questions about the Amish and Mennonites by Merle and Phyllis Good
- Bad Church Good Church by Tom Kane
Of the list above, the four books listed in bold were my favorites for the year. Daily Life at the time of Jesus was probably my favorite, with In the Name of Jesus being another impressive work. Blasphemy, by Asia Bibi, was also a pleasant surprise.
The Last Post of the Year
On the last day of 2019, I decided to share some brief thoughts from Psalm 117. Although it may have been an unusual article for the end of the year, I appreciate that it was designed to help us focus on God as we start going through 2020!
2019 on Water With Calendar by geralt from Pixabay.