Over the past several months, many have dealt with friends and family becoming ill from COVID-19. While I expect a number of them have recovered, I'm sure that some died from it, or complications related to it. Even more have passed away from other health problems too. Of course, the eventuality of death is something that all of us have to face. It is the great equalizer.
As Christians, we have many reasons to be joyous. Some of these are due to physical blessings that God graciously provides to all people. However, we who are of the family of God should feel far more moments of joy than most. One collection of Scripture that often teaches on this topic is the book of Psalms. It speaks of praise, gladness, and singing in a wide variety of contexts. One of the best passages that refers to all of these is Psalm 100.
When we look at the world, it is possible to think that God is not in control. The Jewish people likely felt that way when the Babylonians destroyed the Temple. As the Bible tells us, after 70 years of exile, thousands of Jews returned to Jerusalem and recommitted themselves to God. Many of these events are detailed in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. This may have also been the time that Psalm 93 was written.
I believe the Word of God was recorded to be read, studied, and understood. However, if we are careless in our exegesis we can reach conclusions that are contrary to His will. Such outcomes should be humbling to those of us who teach the Bible, and avoided as much as possible. It was with these concerns in mind that I decided to read Exegetical Fallacies by D. A. Carson.
Humility, or the lack thereof, lies behind many events in the Bible. Multiple kings of Israel were destroyed because they did not have it. A number of men and women exhibited it in various ways. Jesus taught it by explicit instruction, and also by example. Because of these reasons, reading passages on humility is surely edifying and uplifting for us.
As I study the Bible, one concept that I adhere to is keeping passages within their context. Although we learn much from individual verses, our understanding of God's Word is far richer when we see them build on each other. This importance of context was recently highlighted for me when I read Exegetical Fallacies by D. A. Carson.
Pride is involved with us being tempted to sin against God, and is admittedly an unpleasant topic to discuss. However, it is important for us to study so that we understand why we should resist it. That is one of the purposes for this reading plan. I hope that it brings the folly of pride to light in our lives, and motivates each of us to destroy it within ourselves through Christ.
To those who are not Christians, it can seem that those who follow Christ are obsessed with His death. I don't deny that. The same can be said for His resurrection. One reason is because the Bible mentions them extremely often. For example, in Romans chapter five the apostle Paul refers to it three times in less than ten verses. In it, he connects God's love for us with Jesus' death.
Sometimes it is tempting to feel that God is not quick to help in times of need. Especially when one is threatened physically. A person who knew that all too well was King David, who prayed that God deliver him from his enemies often. It was so common that the end of Psalm 40, which speaks of this topic, is repeated almost verbatim as Psalm 70.
Although the concept of a resurrection is not natural, it is spoken of repeatedly in the New Testament, and is often connected with Jesus Christ. Many of the letters explicitly mention it. All the Gospel accounts share testimonies of the Lord after He rose from the dead. As we know, the apostle Paul used Christ's Resurrection in many of his teachings too. One place where he does so is at the end of the fourth chapter of Romans.