Identifying the Imperatives in Biblical Narratives

Narratives occupy a large portion of the Bible, whether its pages record the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph or the wanderings of Israel in the wilderness, or the events surrounding the judges and kings of Israel, or the stories of Ruth or Esther. And, those are just part of the Old Testament narratives. The Gospels and Acts in the New Testament also contain much narrative. The old saying is that “narratives describe, but don’t prescribe.” Sounds good. But, as with many such sayings, it is over-simplified and actually ignores explicit instruction from the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. Preachers and teachers need to learn how to carefully discover the imperatives within narratives.

As a contributor to ParkingSpace23’s blog, I posted a blog on this very topic. Although it merely scratches the surface (believe me, there is far more to tell and to teach about it within both testaments), I hope you will click on the following link Implications or Applications?: Preaching Biblical Narratives, read, and start identifying the imperatives of biblical narratives.

How much seminary training does a missionary need?

A sense of urgency characterizes nearly everyone who believes that God has led them to become missionaries for the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result, many consider going to the mission field with either minimum training or with no formal training at all. Why go through years of seminary training? “Will it actually prepare me for missionary service?” “If God could use someone like Charles Haddon Spurgeon, William Carey, or John Calvin with no formal theological education, why should I seek such training?” “Isn’t it wasting time and ignoring the urgency for getting to my mission field?” If you’re asking these questions, you are not alone. As an experienced missionary (15 years in Bangladesh), this blog presents my answers to such questions.

As a contributor to ParkingSpace23’s blog, I posted an article with regard to preparation for missions ministries. If you click on the following link How much seminary training does a missionary need?, you will be able to read that blog post. Hopefully, it will either help you to decide on what training you need for missionary service or help you counsel someone who is asking that very pertinent question.

What will happen on September 23, 2017?

Dawn breaks on Saturday, September 23, 2017 . . . then what? Some people will spend the entire day looking upward, awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. Why? Because someone has convinced them that they know something Jesus Himself did not know:

Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  37 For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,  39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (NASU)

In a blog (“What Will Happen on September 23, 2017?”) posted on the Answers in Genesis web site, Dr. Danny Faulkner replies to this new date-setting trend by just simply examining its claims—the so-called evidences. This new set of date setters doctor their YouTube videos, ignore Scripture, and fail to properly prepare themselves (see 2 Peter 3:11–18). They are not blameless—they proclaim false evidences and deceive others.

What will happen? The sun will rise at 7:39 AM and set at 7:43 PM. As for myself, I will continue to look forward to the September 30 SEMBEQ Seminar on the Subject of Origins in Montreal (if the Lord wills, James 4:15). I will still be praying, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.” He may come before September 23 or after September 23. No one can plan on a specific date any more than they can know when a thief will break into their house or their car to steal their possessions.

Deuteronomy 18:21 “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’  22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”

Oh, yes—something else we can say with absolute certainty: When the sun rises on September 24, we all will know who have been “presumptuous” and who are false prophets. They join the ranks of over 200 date setters—like Michael Drosnin (The Bible Code, 2012), Harold Camping (May 21, 2011), Ronald Weinland (April 17, 2008), Dan Millar (September 21, 2000), Lester Sumerall (2000), Edgar Whisenant (September 13, 1988), etc.—ad nauseam.

Why is Bible translation an important missions ministry?

Churches and individuals too often neglect Bible translation as a missions ministry. After all, that’s something for the experts and for organizations like Wycliffe Bible Translators to handle, right? However, as long as churches remain committed to missionary evangelism and church planting they will need the Bible. Try doing missions ministries (spiritual ministries, not going to dig a well or to build a bungalow or to outfit a camp) without a Bible. From where do you get the gospel message?–the local newspaper? What will a new believer read in order to grow spiritually?–the Bible in a language different than his own? Where does a new church find its purpose, its guidance, its teaching, and its beliefs?

As a contributor to ParkingSpace23’s blog, I recently posted an article on Bible translation and missions ministries. I hope you will click on the following link Why is Bible translation an important missions ministry?, read, and begin to do something to keep Bible translation prominent in your own life and giving as well as in the corporate purpose of your local church.

What Books Do You Recommend Most Highly?–Part 2

As I continue to populate my list of books I most highly recommend, I move now to the New Testament commentaries. See What Books Do You Recommend Most Highly? (click on that title–it is a link that will take you to that first post) for the start of the list and the identification of the Old Testament commentaries. As there, I will list them in order of the biblical books. Each thumbnail is linked to Amazon or some other web site from which the volume can be obtained. When the Amazon link to the image is broken, I’ve had to substitute the marketing image–not what I prefer, since I prefer to see the image clearly and fully–I’ll periodically check to see if Amazon has fixed the image problem, so I can use the better images. Sometimes the link is in the heading, when the image could not be linked directly–or an image was not available.

For other lists of books, see Books I’ve Endorsed and Dr. Barrick’s Books.

For the full list, head to the Recommendations page.

Recommended Books Update

A few weeks ago I began to list all of the books for Bible study that I most highly recommend. See What Books Do You Recommend Most Highly? As of today I have completed the list of my most highly recommended commentaries on the Old Testament. Be certain to keep checking on that post as it grows. I will be adding Bible Handbooks, Bible Atlases, and New Testament Commentaries in the days ahead. A few of my recommendations are unfortunately out of print, but ones you might watch for at used bookstores like Archives in the Los Angeles area. If you know of equivalent bookstores for used and out of print biblical studies volumes in other major cities across the U.S., please send me the link via email and I will compile a list of them to publish online in the New Year.