Now that 2020 has come to a close, and 2021 begins, there may be a temptation to think that this past year has just been a disaster. I want to resist such a rash assessment. If there is anything that 2020 has taught us, it is our need to rely on God, our brothers and sisters in the Faith, and that we are not promised tomorrow.
Moreover, the last 12 months have helped me realize what is really important, and some of the things that I can readily discard from my life. Thankfully, I’ve grown to appreciate this website even further, and continue to see how it has been beneficial to myself and others. In the midst of the hardships of 2020, they reminded me of the need to keep studying the Word of God and laboring for the cause of Christ.
While I regret not sharing a blog article on proper responses to COVID-19 last year, I’m still pleased with a number of posts that I was able to produce for you, and myself.
The Beginning of the Year and the Psalms
Near the beginning of 2020, one of the first things I did was continue my series of studies on the Book of Psalms. Some of the topics I examined from that Wisdom Text include The Need for Humility and Being Like a Weaned Baby With a Mother; Unity, Oil on Aaron’s Beard, and the Dew of Hermon; Encouragement to Praise Yahweh; and A Reflection From MacLaren’s Exposition of Psalm 134. These posts closed out January, 2020, but I continued my consideration of the Psalms throughout the year.
The other studies from that book were Looking to Him Who Can Bestow Mercy, Who Shall Live on God’s Holy Hill, The Need for Light and Truth While Feeling Rejected, A Striking Example of Kindness, Praying That God Help Us in a Time of Persecution, The Superior Majesty of Yahweh Over the Many Waters, and Constant Joy and Gladness in the Presence of God.
My last post from these texts was dated September 15th, and concerned Psalm 100. One of my hopes for 2020 was to complete my studies of all the psalms that are 5 verses in length or less. Sadly, I didn’t meet that expectation, and ran out of time instead. Despite that, I’m looking forward to doing those in the future. I just don’t know when that will be.
One of my most exciting additions to JamesLHutton.com has been more reading plans. A number of these were designed to help people read a large amount of the Bible regularly, or just an entire book. These include Two Different 5 Chapters a Day Bible Reading Plans, a 4 Chapters a Day Blended New Testament Plan, and another that guides one through Reading a Book of the Bible in a Week.
Those were completed in March of last year. Following them, I produced others that were of a more topical nature. The first of these were related to Faith, Hope, and Love from the end of 1 Corinthians 13. Others that I developed were concerning Creation, The Folly of Pride, Exaltation of the Humble, and The Parables of Jesus. That last plan took a lot longer for me to put together than expected. So much so that it really frustrated me at the time. Even so, I’m glad that I did it because it prompted me to think deeply about what constituted a parable. Lord willing, my next reading plan will be about the miracles of Jesus.
As a consequence of the COVID-19 situation throughout the world, my book reviews fell by the wayside. When I reflected on the year, I thought I had only wrote about 2 or 3, but I was mistaken. I actually reviewed about double that. These include Why Do They Dress That Way?, Protecting Your Home From Spiritual Darkness, What Does the Bible Really Teach? by the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society, Exegetical Fallacies by D. A. Carson, and For Married Men Only.
Of the above list, the best one was obviously Exegetical Fallacies by Mr. Carson. I recommend it to those who are interested in its subject matter and are ready for what he presents. Please read the review for more details. On a related note, I briefly discussed D. A. Carson’s comments concerning The Context of “I Can Do All Things Through Christ” around that time too.
Perhaps my most controversial review was for the book written by the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society. I gave it 2 out of 5 stars, which I think surprised some people. I got the impression that some wished that I gave it a 1 out of 5. Furthermore, at least one person actually asked me if I was a Jehovah’s Witness because of it! By the way, I am not not a member of that religion. As I reflect back on that review more, I had no intention of presenting a crushing critique of the book. I still feel justified in giving it 2 out of 5. One reason why I wrote it in the manner I did was because it was just a book review. I simply sought to explain what one may find when reading it. It is still only useful if you want to know what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach. If you want to know what the Bible really teaches, just read the Bible.
For those of you who have enjoyed my reviews over the last couple of years, I doubt I will be sharing many more in 2021. My efforts will be focused on releasing more recordings of the New Testament, and studying Romans and the Psalms after that.
Studies of Romans
My second primary study on this website is from the book of Romans. In 2020, my examinations of that text were often related to chapters 3 through 5. In March I wrote on The Blessing of the Revelations of God to the Jewish People. As the year progressed, I also considered the ideas of All of Us Have Sinned and Can Still Be Justified Through Christ, Abraham’s Faith Was Accounted for Righteousness, Jesus’ Death and Its Critical Importance, Jesus’ Resurrection and Our Justification, and God Commending His Love Toward Us and Christ Dying for Us.
As the year came to a close, I finished out Romans chapter 5 with a few more posts. These being The Tragic History of the First Sin and Resulting Death, that there is No Law Against Bearing Fruit of the Spirit, and The Great Contrasts Between Adam and Jesus. If God allows, I will return back to this book with the beginning of chapter 6 at a later date.
Audio Recordings of the New Testament
While going through these different categories of articles, I’ve made repeated references to various types of posts being put on hold. This is no surprise for regular readers of my blog. My current time and energy are being used on releasing audio recordings of the New Testament. Such efforts began in June with Recordings of Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude. A month later I shared an update with 2 Thessalonians, Titus, and 2 Peter.
After that initial progress, I was stuck there for several months. By November, I decided that the only way I could ever finish the rest of the New Testament was to stop nearly all other types of posts. A part of me is saddened by such a decision. Especially since JamesLHutton.com has grown a lot in the last year and I am unsure if many people are interested in downloading mp3’s of me reading from the Bible. Because of that, I have some doubt about whether or not the website will continue to increase in views like it did in 2020. Even so, I will let God deal with that problem. It doesn’t really matter.
What’s more important is the goodness of people being able to listen to the Word of God when and where they want. It’s also beneficial for me as I reread the texts repeatedly in preparation for each completed file. This change in focus to Record the New Testament for the Foreseeable Future was announced on November 14th. Since then; I’ve shared Readings from Philippians, Colossians, and 2 Timothy; and also The Book of 1 Thessalonians.
Those last two releases were my final posts for 2020. Although nearly everything from the last year fit into a nice category, there was one exception. In September, a Supreme Court Justice from the United States of America died, which prompted me to write a piece concerning Basic Principles About Death From the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke. Such a concept wasn’t very pleasant to think about, but like 2020 taught us, we need to be ready if our physical lives come to an end earlier than expected.
While we don’t know what we have in store for 2021, we can have confidence knowing that we can draw closer to the Lord through it all!
2020 Changing to 2021 by sarajulhaq786 from Pixabay.