Never read (just) a Bible verse
When it comes to understanding the Scriptures, one of the things that helps is to look at the verses before and after a verse that you are trying to figure out.
Go ahead and click the link to read the full article from Stand To Reason.
This works because of a basic rule of all communication: Meaning always flows from the top down, from the larger units to the smaller units. The key to the meaning of any verse comes from the paragraph, not just from the individual words.
Part VII – Prof. Ben on Preaching
Witherington offers a half-serious top-10 list of advice for preachers.
Perhaps, we will need to come up with a top-10 list for small group Bible Study leaders!
Part VI – Witherington on Preaching
Preaching instead should be Scripture based, text based, not needs based. The preacher is not called to be a pop psychologist serving up chicken soup for the soul, pablum for the masses. He is not called to be a sensitivity group leader. He is called to break the bread of life for a starving people, open the Word of God for the unenlightened, share the living water in a dry and weary land. Only the real thing will feed their real need, and slake their real thirst.
Though preachers have a huge responsibility to be faithful to the Lord in expounding the Scriptures, small group leaders are NOT given a pass on sticking to the text!
As Bible study group leaders, though we want to encourage personal sharing among the members, we too, like a preacher, have as the primary task to help the group understand the meaning of the text.
After you make observations of the text, you will need to make interpretations. There are some basic ideas you should keep in mind when interpreting the Scriptures. Check out this informative video for some practical guidance to do this properly!
Part V – Ben Witherington on Preaching
In this post, Witherington makes the case that the appearance and demeanor of the preacher matters. Some excerpts:
As the rhetoricians will tell you, you need to establish rapport with your audience at the outset, and if you have some ‘inhibiting’ factors to establishing that positive rapport, then you need to overcome your ethos liabilities.
At a minimum he should be clean and neat. Preferably he should look like what he is about to do actually matters. ‘Casual is as casual does’ Forest Gump might say. But there is nothing casual, off-hand or simple about the Gospel and its proclamation. While I am at it, there is nothing casual about worship.
I am saying we should come looking our best, whatever that is, whether simple attire is the best we have, or formal attire is the best we have. We should give God our best.
Being a small group leader may not be as public and there are fewer eyes on the facilitator, nonetheless, it is important that she/he take that responsibility seriously. Thus, paying some attention to your appearance and demeanor sets a good tone for the group.
Was walking after my lunch break a while back and saw a hummingbird bobbing and weaving among some plants. I got out my camera phone to take a photo and waited to see if the critter would come to a rest somewhere. It did and I took the snap above. I knew it would be hard to see but with some post-processing by cropping I got the image below.
A Bible passage leaped to mind as I watched:
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:26-34 (NASB)
May God bless whomever reads these Bibles!
Chinese Church Voices
In a counter-intuitive and ironic twist, China has become one of the world’s top producer of Bibles, producing 3.5 million annually. At the recent Christian Congress held in Beijing, the China Christian Council, the governing body of China’s Protestant Church released a report on the work of Bible production in China. The following article, originally published in the Christian Times, reports on the Congress.
The Ninth Chinese Christian Congress opened in Beijing on September 9 and lasted 3 days. The conference is organized by the Chinese Christian Church’s Council and takes place every five years.
The day the Congress opened, the Chinese Three Self Patriotic Movement Committee Chairperson, elder Fu Xianwei, gave a work report and reviewed the work of the last five years. Included in his report on the last 5 years, he stated that the Chinese Christian Church Council’s publishers printed 17.5 million Bibles, and in the…
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