(Note: this post has been transferred from the old website.)
Every pastor should have his 3 B’s: Bible, Breath mints, and a Blog. These three things keep him from the 3 S’s: Sin, stink, and sermon sterility.
I have the first two covered, so this is my venture to complete the third part of this trinity. As my devotion times give me fuel for sermons and teaching, I hope this blog does so as well while also allowing an outlet for those devotions.
DEVOTIONS MADE PUBLIC
I like to think that God reveals some amazing things to me during my devotion times through His Word. Those things are not always meaty enough to be a sermon in themselves, and they aren’t even always in line with what I’ve been preaching, teaching, and otherwise training in my congregation. But these ideas are worth sharing for the common edification of the saints. And since 1000’s of cat pictures flood the internet, this is a way to balance the fluff found else ware.
Therefore, I plan to frequently post what I would typically call “exegetical insights,” but here I shall simply name, “cool things I found in the text.”
These Bible study posts will focus on one verse of Scripture. But unlike other devotionals, I won’t just stay with that one verse. Apologist radio host Greg Koukl explains in detail why this is bad here (http://www.str.org/articles/never-read-a-bible-verse#.VAkv6fldVmY) , but the short version is that verses have context and context is the key to understanding.
I hope to also teach a little hermeneutics while I’m at it (this is the art and science of studying the Bible. For more info, look here http://www.creationists.org/hermeneutics.html). I follow a simple format for my devotions, the OIA method.
The first is OBSERVATION.
LITERARY CONTEXT: I look at the context surrounding the verse. I try to identify the immediate context (the paragraph or paragraphs that start and finish the idea to which the verse contributes), and the broader context (the flow of thought that lead to the section under consideration as well as what happens in the rest of the book after the passage). In other words, I want to know what leads up to my passage, what’s going on in my passage, how does my verse fit within the passage, and how does my passage prepare for what is to follow in the rest of the book.
COMPONENT CONTEXT: I look at what is going on in the actual passage. I start asking and answering questions about grammar, word meanings, phrases, key words, repeated ideas, the use and placement of different ideas, structure, and anything else that any good author would use to communicate meaning.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT: Lastly, I look for things that might affect the meaning of the text which happened outside the text. The author’s personal background or stage of ministry, the audience considerations of race, politics, customs, etc, as well as events in world history leading up to the writing of the book or things going on during the writing of the book.
All of these observations lead me to the INTERPRETATION.
A quick word: You have heard that it has been said that there are many interpretations. But I say to you, yes, there are many. However, there can be only one. When you write a letter, you expect people get the message you sent. If they read your letter and understand it differently than you meant, you either miscommunicated, or they misinterpreted the letter. Assuming God is perfect, He didn’t miscommunicate in His letter to us. Therefore, where two or more interpretations gather, Jesus is not there.
When I state the interpretation, I’m stating the meaning of the passage. Not the meaning for me. Not the possible meaning. But what I have found to be the intended meaning of the passage. You are free to disagree, and you can have a different interpretation, but if your interpretation is not based on BETTER observation and BETTER data, then it cannot be a better interpretation. Interpretations are only as good as they accurately reflect the mind of God who wrote the book.
Therefore, I will usually give one or two sentences explaining what the passage means.
Then I move the APPLICATION.
Unlike interpretations, applications are many. The meaning of the text never changes, but our situations do. So we must learn to apply the truth of Scripture to our ever changing culture and situations. Note, this DOES NOT mean that the culture changes the truth of Scripture. This is relativism and foolish if you believe in God. If you don’t believe in God, I’m not sure why you are still reading this, but I encourage you to continue! But if you do believe in God, He is a small God if culture is His master of what can and cannot be true.
Therefore, I take the one truth and offer some ways for believes to apply it in their lives. These are not the only applications. And they may not even be good applications. But they are accurate applications based on the one meaning pulled from the detailed observations.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
I will typically post devotional texts, but I may post on my blog about current events, issues facing the world, and current trends in the culture. But I will not post pictures of cats. Or my food. Or cats eating my food.
As the “Pastor’s Blog” (so original, I know), I will keep it pastoral, biblically based, and for the purpose of informing and equipping the church wherever the church might be that reads this.
Comments will remain closed. Bad things happen when strangers post comments. If you want to comment, feel free to email me. I will read your comment. I might laugh, I might cry, I might look at cat pictures to relieve my stress, but I will read them. But above all, I hope you are blessed by them, and my humble efforts build Jesus’ church wherever she may be.