Wednesday, February 12, 2020

18. 7 Feasts

7 Feasts: Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament. Erin Davis. 2020. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I learned from my grandma to love puzzles.

7 Feasts is a Bible Study drawn from a study of Leviticus 23. Intimidated by Leviticus? Don't be. For while the study theoretically should be largely drawn from Leviticus--this particular chapter--Davis pulls in texts from the Old Testament and New Testament that shed some light on what is being studied. There is an introductory chapter about the importance of remembering and observing; included in this first week's study is the importance of handling Scripture rightly. Readers are taught six rules. (I'll quote them below). Then the subsequent seven chapters are about the seven feasts: The Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Firstfruits, The Feast of Weeks, The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, The Feast of Booths. Each week has five devotions or studies.

The six rules of handling Scripture rightly:

Rule #1: We let Scripture interpret Scripture. It is essential for us to interpret a passage in light of what the rest of Scripture says on the topic.

Rule #2: We pay close attention to context. Every word in the Bible is part of a verse. Every verse is part of a paragraph. Every paragraph is part of a book. Every book is part of the whole of Scripture. No verse of Scripture should be divorced from the verses around it. 

Rule #3: Pause to consider what type of book or passage you’re reading. Here are some broad categories that can be used to help us understand the context of most Scripture passages: 1) Epistles or Letters 2) Gospels 3) Parables 4) Eschatology 5) Apocalyptic 6) Law 7) Historical Narrative 8) Hebrew Poetry 9) Prophecy 10) Wisdom

Rule #4: Try to discern the writer’s intentions when he wrote the text. A passage cannot mean something to us today that it was never intended to mean to the original audience. The Bible is unique in its timelessness.

Rule #5: Keep it simple. The Bible is not a book of riddles to be solved. God is not a God of confusion, but of clarity (1 Cor. 14:33). He has not spoken in order to conceal, but to be understood and known (Isa. 48:6, Jer. 33:3). When we open God’s Word, it is the plain meaning of the text we are seeking to understand. 

Rule #6: Always take a God-centered approach. Avoid looking at Scripture primarily to better understand yourself or correct your actions. Ask yourself “What does this show me about God?” before you ask, “What does this tell me about me?” or “What should I do?” Right application of Scripture is only ever an outflow of right understanding of who God is.

These are rules that readers can take with them and use every time they read and study Scripture. These are also helpful rules when it comes to DISCERNING another person's preaching or teaching. If someone is telling you something is true that clearly violates one or more of these rules of how to interpret and understand Scripture--you can spot it.

The rules are definitely one of the most practical takeaways from reading the book.

The weekly studies. For better or worse. The studies keep thing very simple, very basic. The activities are definitely more about understanding the original context of the seven feasts and less on the actual details of the feasts and how specifically Christ is to be found. So if you come to this one specifically looking for Christ-types, Christ-symbols, talk of imagery, meaning, significance, etc., you might be disappointed. Or if you come seeking a geeky-guide to the actual feasts and how they were and how they are celebrated by might be slightly disappointed.

That being said, what is here is of value and worth. The activities are more LOOK UP THESE SCRIPTURES, WRITE OUT THESE SCRIPTURES, WHAT IS BEING SAID, WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT GOD, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN, etc. And the activities are not ridiculous me-centered activities. We don't get any of the absurd: WHAT DOES THIS VERSE MEAN TO YOU, WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS PASSAGE MIGHT MEAN, HOW DOES THIS MAKE YOU FEEL. The questions are solid enough that there's no wish-washiness.

The book definitely teaches about the doctrines of sin correctly. And the book is grounded in the gospel of truth and grace as laid out clearly in the Word of God.

There are definite application moments throughout the book.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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