One might have thought that the Scriptures would offer straightforward and unequivocal answers to questions, answers that would immediately win the assent of readers. They do not do so, partly because most serious questions are complex, mysterious and unamenable to straight answers. Biblical faith involves not having answers to all questions but having the central clues that enable one to live with questions and to trust God over questions to which we do not have the answers.
John Goldingay, Biblical Theology: The God of the Christian Scriptures (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2016), 125.
The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
(1 Peter 4:7–11, NRSV)
What would it be like to be part of a church that lived this way?
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God.
(1 Peter 4:1–2, NRSV)
It is given that Christians—if they are true to their faith and calling—will be ostracized, sidelined, and even persecuted for their faithfulness to Jesus.
Peter here encourages us to make up our minds to follow Jesus even to the point of suffering for our faith. We are to live the rest of our lives according to the will of God, not the following after human desires.
Peter may have been thinking of a short time until the coming of Jesus in glory, but it doesn’t matter. However long it is, live for Jesus.
What follows in the Bible passage is a list of things that people at work talk about as they plan their weekends or recount their conquests. People are living for things that are piles of junk. Live for Jesus.
The day may come that we North American Christians are actively persecuted. Many Christians the world over are persecuted today. No matter. Live for Jesus.
I’m an old man. If I determine to live the rest of my life by the will of God, I might accomplish something. Maybe not all that much.
But imagine what could happen if a young lady made the same determination. Imagine that she set an example for her family and her church. Imagine that they joined her in living truly for Jesus.
That young lady could really make a difference.
Today I got two units of the finest O- blood on the market. That is a rather too regular occurrence for me.
I used to donate blood regularly. Now I’m using it regularly.
I’m not sure where my break even point is, but I must be getting close.
If you donate blood, my fellow patients and I salute you. God bless.
I’ve learned a lot about the Bible and about reading the Bible from many different teachers along the way. Some have been teachers in a classroom in which I was present, but many more have been teaching by writing.
I could make a long list of teachers I’d recommend, and I may do that one day soon, but today I want to point out a teacher who is very special to me. I’ve never met him, but he as changed my life.
Dr. John Goldingay
Dr. Goldingay has passed the 75th year of his life by now, and he is still productive. You can pick up anything he has written—and that’s a lot—and gain from it. He has that ability to take complex material and make it understandable.
You can catch up with Dr. Goldingay at The Goldingay Bible Clinic.
Dr. Goldingay is an OT scholar. In that sense, he has helped me learn to read the OT on its own. I believe that is important.
Right now I’m reading: Goldingay, John. Biblical Theology: The God of the Christian Scriptures. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2016.
In this book, the good doctor shows his chops with the NT as well.
You will never be disappointed in Goldingay unless you want dry, dusty reading material.