Can you summarize the Bible in one sentence?

Great blog post by Dane Ortlund with these scholar’s answers:

  • Greg Beale
  • Dan Block
  • Craig Blomberg
  • Darrell Bock
  • Mark Dever
  • Kevin DeYoung
  • John Frame
  • Scott Hafemann
  • David Helm
  • Paul House
  • Gordon Hugenberger
  • Kent Hughes
  • Andreas Kostenberger
  • Phil Long
  • Sean Lucas
  • Ray Ortlund
  • Grant Osborne
  • George Robertson
  • Leland Ryken
  • Tom Schreiner
  • Mark Seifrid
  • Jay Sklar
  • Erik Thoennes
  • Doug Wilson
  • Bob Yarbrough

 

“I’ve Hidden Your Word In My Heart…”

I have committed and recommitted to memorizing God’s Word at different times during my life.  I’ve made flashcards, printed pages of text, marked them up, asked people to hold me accountable, and even listened to passages over and over using audio bibles.  All of this in an attempt to systematically increase the Scripture I know cold.

I’m excited about the recent update John Piper and his ministry Desiring God have made to their memorization system called Fighter Verses.  They have put together five sets of 52 passages which are designed to help Christ’s followers fight the fight of faith.  Piper is leading his church in memorizing a weekly verse for the next five years.

Focusing on one or two verses a week is a great pace and its also encouraging there are other people at Bethlehem Baptist (Piper’s church) and around the world who are working on the same verses week by week.

Several years ago, Piper preached a sermon “If My Words Abide In You…” on John 15:1-7.  He began the sermon taking 20 minutes to recite from memory Psalm 1, Psalm 16, Psalm 103, Romans 5:1-8, Romans 8, Matthew 6:25-34, and 1 Corinthians 13.  It was a powerful testimony to the blessing in his life of memorizing God’s word.  Piper then gave these personal reasons he memorizes God’s Word:

1. Memorizing Scripture makes meditation possible at times when I can’t be reading the Bible, and meditation is the pathway of deeper understanding.

2. Memorizing Scripture strengthens my faith because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ, and that happens when I am hearing the word in my head.

3. Memorizing Scripture shapes the way I view the world by conforming my mind to God’s viewpoint.

4. Memorizing Scripture makes God’s word more readily accessible for overcoming temptation to sin, because God’s warnings and promises are the way we conquer the deceitful promises of sin.

5. Memorizing Scripture guards my mind by making it easier to detect error—and the world is filled with error, since the god of this world is a liar.

6. Memorizing Scripture enables me to hit the devil in the face with a force he cannot resist, and so protect myself and my family from his assaults.

7. Memorizing Scripture provides the strongest and sweetest words for ministering to others in need.

8. Memorizing Scripture provides the matrix for fellowship with Jesus because he talks to me through his word, and I talk to him in prayer.

Desiring God has produced sets of flashcards to help, but also produced an iPhone app that I’ve been using for the last couple days.  I’m committing to memorize these passages with them over the next five years.  I’m excited to see the way God will use these verses in my own life and the people he might send my way who need the encouragement only these verses might offer.

You can see the list of all 260 verses HERE.

If you’re interested in working on the fighter verses too, let me know so I can pray for your efforts!

Reflections on John 11:17-44: The Reason Jesus Wept

This morning, I’m meditating on a familiar passage: John 11:17-44. The raising of Lazarus was one of the most spectacular signs Jesus did prior to his death. As I slowly look over what Jesus accomplished, one of my primary questions regards his emotional state. What was going on that made Jesus weep in this story? John doesn’t tell exactly why Jesus wept, but merely gives the context. We know from Isaiah, Jesus was a man of constant sorrows. (Is. 53:3). But I believe this is the only time a Gospel writer specifically mentions Jesus weeping.

A couple of thoughts come to mind as I chew on this story:

First, Jesus was not crying because he missed his friend Lazarus. He told the disciples before they left for Bethany, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep but I go to awaken him.” Jesus was aware Lazarus had passed away, but describes the event as good that he might manifest the glory of God.

Secondly, God’s glory does not hinge on the people’s knowledge and understanding. God’s glory exists regardless of the acceptance or rejection by people. Therefore, when Jesus did things for the sake of God’s glory, he was demonstrating glory that existed from before time began. God’s glory has not grown or developed through time. He has the same glory now as he had when their was nothing.

Also, Jesus came to reveal existent glory. Jesus never needed to win God glory or honor. From the earliest civilizations, men have done things to win themselves glory and honor. Their glory didn’t exist until they proved it. Not so with Almighty God. His glory is eternal, regardless of whether He demonstrates it or not. The Word of God gives us several different flavors of God’s glory. There are things about God we won’t know until heaven, but they remain true.

Which leads me to why I think Jesus’ wept. He wept because he saw the desperate ignorance in the people around him. Mary, Martha, and the other mourners were drawn away from the glory of God present with them. God’s glory, manifested in Jesus, was with them, yet they were blind to it. I believe Jesus wept because he realized some of his closest followers didn’t know him. He looked around and observed so many who knew so little about their Creator. Perhaps, Jesus desired his followers might have already known what was coming. Maybe Jesus wept because he looked around and saw that everyone would soon be shocked and surprised that he could raise the dead man. For Jesus, the ignorance of his followers was not bliss, for him or them.