Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Old Testament from 35,000 feet – The Fertile Cresent, part B

Where was the Garden of Eden?

We can’t be sure but there are some ideas.

Why does Bible geography matter?

Some aspects of the Biblical narrative will not make sense (it may seem confusing and even contradictory) without an understanding of the geography.

Bible Study Series – an example, part III

Above is part III in a series of videos about a Bible Study series that was part of the WCCCC in 2015.

In the talk, there is a quick discussion about how to do a textual analysis which is a great process to help our come to grips with a Bible text.

capturetext

Be sure to try to do one the next time you have to prepare for a Bible Study. By taking a look at every word, phrase, and sentence and the relationship of those words, phrases, and sentences, you are “forced” to observe the text, begin to interpret the text which than allows for a proper application of the text.

The Bible passage in focus was 1 Corinthians 6:1-20.

One aspect of the text is very current to current events as it pertains to homosexual behavior. There aren’t many passages that address that issue but here is one of them.

In ancient times, as now, there were those who had no qualms about homosexual conduct. However, today, within the community of Christian faith some dispute the historical understanding of this verse and others that prohibit the practice of homosexuality (see Rom. 1:26-27 and 1 Tim. 1:10). Their argument is that Paul is prohibiting the following forms of homosexual behavior: temple prostitution specifically, prostitution generally, abuse of slaves, and man-boy relationships. However, if Paul had intended to permit a specific form of homosexual behavior, he should have used more specific language. The term used here is generic. Here are some online resources you may consider listening to regarding this subject:
Stand To Reason Podcast of April 28, 2015, 3rd hour interview the Kevin DeYoung, author of “What the Bible Teaches about Homosexuality.”
Stand To Reason Podcast of July 22, 2015, Answering Matthew Vines’s 40 questions.
Tim Keller responding to a question about homosexuality at a Veritas Forum event https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZFCB9sduxQ

Another part of the passage that is compelling is how Paul uses God’s relationship to us as a motivation toward holiness (see vv. 12-20). If you ever thought the Trinity is not practical, take a closer look at this section. Each person of the Trinity is intimately involved in our lives! Additionally, take note how important the physical body we have is to God.

There is a lot here. Hopefully, the video helps begin scratching the surface of this passage!

Links to the series of videos:

Overview & Introduction
Day 1 – 1 Peter 2:4-25
Day 2- 1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Day 3 – Colossians 3:1-17

Grace, Gift-giving, and Guanxi in Chinese Culture

What do you think?

Except:

Gift-giving (i.e. grace) is an important part of creating and strengthening relationships. Gifts can express solidarity, celebration and concern. Therefore, relationships marked by sincere love actually seek to deepen mutual bonds of indebtedness.
Consider the alternative. What do you call a relationship without ongoing mutual indebtedness? A business transaction. That is, one party provides a service, the other pays the bill, and each goes his own way.
Grace without the expectation of mutual reciprocity is simply not grace.

Check out the whole article.

Source: Grace, Gift-giving, and Guanxi in Chinese Culture

Ed Stetzer’s reflections on Expository Preaching

How do the preachers at your church approach preaching?

Part I – Stetzer (writer at Christianity Today) gives his reasons for expository preaching

Excerpt:

I preach through books of the Bible not because that method is mandated or modeled in the Bible, but instead because of what the Bible is. Because the Bible is the Word of God without error and inspired throughout, it requires us to treat the words, phrases, and sentences accordingly. Thus, the Bible is best taught using an approach to preaching that explains what God has inspired, looking at the words and phrases in the process.
Because the Bible’s inspiration is word-for-word, the words of the Bible should set the agenda for the message taught or preached in a gathered worship service. In other words, this message should largely be the explanation of the inspired Word of God in the order and in the format that the Holy Spirit inspired the authors to write.
Thus, the preferred form of preaching is that which is driven by the text and where the text sets the agenda.

Part II – Stetzer gives his “on the other hand”

Excerpt:

However, in a journal article detailing the history of expositional preaching, they bemoan the fact that expository preaching does not become the norm until long after the New Testament. Allegorical, topical and other methods dominate preaching—generally speaking—until John Chrysostom began using a method we would recognize as expository.
Chrysostom’s preaching was marked by a new skill set, including for example, the diagramming and breaking down of sentences. Such a grammatical approach was new in his time and is not present in in the majority of the world today. This type of preaching requires a literary sense and a knowledge of verbs, nouns and sentence structures.
Jesus didn’t go through verse-by-verse exposition on the road to Emmaus.
I admire Chrysostom’s preaching; that isn’t the issue. His model should be held up as a standard. It is the model we use in my church. But I find it difficult to say something is a biblically mandated form when it is not found explicitly in the New Testament or even in the early church.

As you might figure, the materials we have here at CCCS are in the same approach as expository preaching – let the text set the agenda. Of course, that isn’t the only way to do things but we think it is a good method.

What do you think?

The Old Testament from 35,000 Feet – The Fertile Crescent

We will continue to point toward beneficial resources on the internet that will help you in your understanding of the Scriptures. Here is another episode in the Old Testament from 35,000 Feet series. In this video, there is a discussion about the importances of appreciating geography when reading the Old Testament.

So if you ever wondered where the places of the Bible are located and their inter-relationship with each other, this video will help us get a picture in our minds!

West Coast Chinese Conference Alumni Association Event

w4caa

The 2015 West Coast Chinese Christian Conference is in the books.

However, this February there will be opportunities to gather for encouragement and fellowship!

We welcome you to join us at our W4C Reunion on Saturday, February 13th. At this reunion, we want to reunite with committed conferees while celebrating Chinese New Year, gather with those interested in sharing their spiritual journeys and learning the Scripture together with us. W4C AA will also share its two new online bible study projects launching in the next month. Come join us at this special event. All W4C AA alumni and friends are welcome. Bring a friend and RSVP now.

N. Calif:

Dates/time: 2/13/2016, 10 am to 1 pm
Cost: $5 to cover lunch
Location:
New life Nazarene Church of Cupertino
20900 McClellan Road
Cupertino CA 95014.
Contact: CeliaSzeto@w4caa.org

S. Calif:
Dates/time: 2/13/2016, 10 am to 1 pm
Cost: $5 to cover lunch
Location:
Monterey Park Chinese Baptist Church
302 W Commonwealth Ave
Alhambra, CA 91801
Contact: ShermanLau@w4caa.org

Additional info here or contact: TonyChan@w4caa.org

A Bible Study Series – an example, Part II

In the video, we delve into 1 Peter 2:4-25 which was the first of three Bible study in a series of studies at the 2015 West Coast Chinese Christian Conference.

A few quick highlights from the video:

  1. One principle of Bible interpretation is to appreciate the genre (or literary context) of the text one is examining. In this case, the passage is an epistle. These are letters written by an Apostle (in this case Peter) to a church community (in this passage) or to specific individuals (e.g. Timothy, Titus, and Philemon). Thus, in epistles, we should be aware that the writer is addressing a particular concern of the readers and as such the writing will take the form of extended thoughts to form an interconnecting argument. See video at around the 3:10 to 4:05 mark. As a result, one can see how there is this “theological” discussion in 1 Peter 2:4-10 that then connects to “practical” encouragements to life in 1 Peter 2:11-25. Apparently, the readers of 1 Peter needed to have their understanding clarified about their standing before God and how that impacted how they lived.
  2. Another type of context the Bible student should be aware of in the attempt to interpret any portion that seems unclear is to examine the historical/cultural context. The Bible was written in the context of the ancient world. Thus, discussions about emperors and servants/slaves (as appears in this text) need to take that into account.
  3. One more type of context to consider is Biblical context. Though the Bible is 66 books written by numerous authors, we believe behind it all is one author, God! And as such, ideas that appear in one part of the Bible may connect to ideas in other parts. In the 1 Peter 2 passage, the concept of Temple may well be on display in which case an awareness of that idea in other parts of Scripture can be helpful.

Check out the video and see what you think.

May you be encouraged in the knowledge that through Christ, we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light!

Because of this truth about us as a set-apart holy people, we are to live as sojourners and exiles in this world!

Links to the series of videos:
Overview & Introduction
Day 1 – 1 Peter 2:4-25
Day 2- 1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Day 3 – Colossians 3:1-17