Saturday, October 12, 2013

Gospel Transformation Bible, First Week Thoughts

I've had the Gospel Transformation Bible a little over one full week now. I have been able to spend almost an hour a day in it. I've read from Exodus, 1 Samuel, Isaiah, and Romans. I've also completed a handful of books from the Old Testament and the New Testament. Among those I've completed: John, 1, 2, 3 John, and Revelation. While opening a new Bible can be quite thrilling and full of promise, I've found breaking in a new Bible to be even more satisfying. It is one thing to think about the hours you'll spend reading the future. And quite another to get started, to make that new Bible a part of your daily routine. This is when the Bible truly becomes yours.

I encourage you to read last week's post on the Gospel Transformation Bible. I know how difficult it can be to know--in the store--if a Bible is right for you, if a particular Bible is going to work for you, if it is going to meet all your needs. Browsing random study notes in the store may prove more frustrating than beneficial. I thought I would share a few notes from this week's readings. These notes should give you a good idea of the kind of notes to expect. Most of the notes are just brief quotes from longer notes...with the exception of Lamentations 3:21-39.

From the commentary on Lamentations 3:21-39
In verse 18 the author seems to have simply given up both in endurance and in hope. But then hope revives (v. 21). His lamenting has had a cathartic effect. Grief is important even for Christians, but with this proviso: we should not grieve as those without hope (1 Thess. 4:13). And here hope is reborn out of grief; the basis of this hope is the steadfast covenant love of God (Lam. 3:22-24). God is indeed rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4), and his mercies are ever new. Hope is a much devalued word in our time, often expressing our desire for an uncertain outcome. In the Bible it is a strong word to express certainty in God's future provision based on his truth and faithfulness. (Rom 5:3-5, Eph. 1:18-23; 1 Thess. 5:8-11; Titus 2:13-14; 3:4-7). Though God has cast his people off, he will not do so forever (Lam. 3:31-39). "Steadfast love" (vv. 22, 32) translates the Hebrew word hesed, which links God's love to his covenant faithfulness. This covenant was never conditioned on human faithfulness, and it leads straight to the new covenant established solely by the sovereign mercy of God and ultimately sealed in Jesus' blood (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25). God will never cast his people off, because he did cast off his own Son in their place (Rom. 8:32).
From the introduction to John
Setting out to find a gospel-focus in John's Gospel might seem like the "challenge" of finding a mountain in a photo montage of the Swiss Alps--an exercise in the obvious. Yet there is a great difference between holding a travel brochure in your hand and actually standing at the base of the Alps. It is the difference between pleasant thoughts and soul-gripping wonder; a curious imagination and awe-fueled adoration; being well studied, and being knee-buckling stunned. John's Gospel is written not just to inform our minds but to inflame our hearts. Think of John's Gospel not so much as a book but as a destination. John is a tour guide of the Alps of the gospel. 
From the commentary on John 2:23-25
Ultimately, the gospel is not about us establishing a relationship with Jesus; it is about Jesus establishing a relationship with us--not simply as a consequence of our believing information about him, but more by Jesus "entrusting" himself to us in his revelation of himself.
From the commentary on John 5:18-47
Our adoption is secured by Jesus' propitiating (turning away, satisfying) God's wrath. According to Jesus, the only way we can derive life from the Scriptures is to see Jesus in the Scriptures, for all the Scriptures bear witness to him (John 5:30-47; cf. Luke 24:27, 44-47). The entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation, is ultimately about Jesus. Throughout Scripture God is unfolding the grace that culminates in Christ (John 5:39-40). The Bible is therefore not fundamentally about what we do for God but what God does for us. 
From the commentary on Exodus 5:21-23
Our discouragement in the face of difficulty and affliction often comes from forgetting what God has already said in his Word. Remembering that God's purposes are being worked out in our lives gives us courage when evil happens to us. Supremely, the gospel itself--what God has done in Jesus Christ for our sake--must be held before our eyes each day in remembrance (1 Cor. 15:1-2)
From the commentary on Micah 6:8
This text is frequently quoted summary of godly living, and rightly so. This is the godly life, the beautiful life. To it we are called. Let us strive to embody Micah 6:8 in our lives. And let us do so in a way that gladly acknowledges that we will never "do justice" and "love kindness" and "walk humbly" with God as we should. Only Jesus lived this way perfectly. But the wonder of the gospel is that he did it in our place and transfers his record of perfect righteousness to all those joined to him by faith. 
From the commentary on John 9:8-12
Miracles are not primarily for our comfort but for God's glory--for declaring the power present in and the praise due to the person and work of Jesus.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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