Training in Righteousness
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Don't let theology rob you of wonder

I'm in the middle of writing a paper about how John uses Isaiah 53:1 and 6:10 in John 12:38-40. It's interesting hopping back and forth between books. Yesterday afternoon, I took a break to hang some clothes on the clothes line. When I returned to my desk, I forgot which passage I was in. But this is great fun.

I have armed myself with a good number of resources:

Among that pile of books is a commentary on John by Leon Morris. It is an older commentary, first published in 1971. It's expensive to buy now because NICNT has replaced Morris's version from the series with one by J. Ramsey Michaels. To buy a paperback version of Morris's is $85 on Amazon. One can purchase it used, but it's still not cheap. The copy I took out has been re-bound with one of those plain, black non-descript bindings common in university libraries. It's seen better days.

But it's a treasure. I like Leon Morris already, and this is simply adding to that sentiment. One of the things that has jumped out at me is the way Morris uses the phrase "Our Lord" to refer to Jesus in the commentary. Most commentators will use the name "Jesus." I love the way Morris continually refers to him as "Our Lord." Even D.A. Carson's commentary (which I love) uses the name Jesus. I have seen in other older commentaries the use of the term "Our Lord." Perhaps it is just a practice not observed any longer.

I love the use of "Our Lord." It reminds me of who Jesus is. He isn't simply a historical figure. He isn't just a man, or a charismatic leader. He is Lord. That title assumes that there are servants. We are his servants. As I read through Morris's commentary, seeing that phrase over and over again, I am reminded of just who it is I am studying.

In seminary, it's easy to get caught up in the work and the details and lose sight of the wonder of God. I think that can also be said of theological debate. Debate is often necessary as doctrine is hammered out and clarified. But there is the temptation to be more concerned with the pursuit than the Lord we serve. Theology does thrill my heart, but it has to be more about the Lord than the academics of it all. I don't ever want learning to come between me and understanding exactly what that means.


True Happiness

From the Olney Hymns
John Newson
True Happiness

Fix my heart and eyes on thine!
What are other objects worth?
But to see thy glory shine,
Is a heav’n begun on earth:
Trifles can no longer move,
O, I tread on all beside,
When I feel my Saviour’s love,
And remember how he died.

Now my search is at an end,
Now my wishes rove no more!
Thus my moments I would spend,
Love, and wonder, and adore:
Jesus, source of excellence!
All thy glorious love reveal!
Kingdoms shall not bribe me hence,
While this happiness I feel.

Take my heart, ’tis all thine own,
To thy will my spirit frame;
Thou shalt reign, and thou alone,
Over all I have, or am:
If a foolish thought shall dare
To rebel against thy word,
Slay it, LORD; and do not spare,
Let it feel thy Spirit’s sword.

Making thus the LORD my choice,
I have nothing more to choose,
But to listen to thy voice,
And my will in thine to lose:
Thus, whatever may betide,
I shall safe and happy be;
Still content and satisfied,
Having all, in having thee. 


Thankful Thursday

I can't believe it's Thursday already. I am thankful . . . 

. . . that I finished my assignment two days early. Now I can concentrate on my final two papers.

. . . for the good fathers in my life; my father, my husband, my father-in-law, and other friends.

. . . for good wooden pencils.

. . . that we can pray for those who suffer at the hands of others.

. . . that God knows all about the suffering, and is still on the throne.

. . . for the peas growing in my yard.

. . . for the truth that God never leaves us.

What are you thankful for? 


Learning smallness from the smart guys

The prof who is teaching my current course, "The Old Testament in the New Testament," is an OT scholar. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch, Hebrew and Biblical survey. While this semester does contain a good deal of OT work, primarily, we're looking at how the NT writer is using the OT in constructing his arguments. Why does Paul use the image of Hagar and Sarah in Galatians 4? Why does Luke rely so much on Isaiah? How do we untagle John's OT allusions in Revelation when they seem so shrouded in mystery? That's a lot of NT for an OT guy.

That said, he is brilliant. Honestly, all of the smart people aren't famous bloggers. Believe it or not, not all pastors/theologian/scholars want to go viral. My prof doesn't even have Facebook, and he only recently bought a cellphone. Despite his years of schooling and a whole lotta learning, he frequently prefaces his comments about the NT with the reminder that he is an OT guy. He admits to that not being his specialty.

He isn't the only prof who has done that. My hermeneutics prof said on quite a few occasions last semester that he was not a "theologian," meaning that his area of study is not systematic theology, but the OT. He referred us to the systematic theology prof for all questions theological. 

This really stood out to me. Here I figured because these men were at this level of learning, they could answer anything. What I discovered is that sometimes, really smart and educated people are cautious about their views. That has been another lesson in my own smallness. If they realize their own need for learning, what does that mean for me?

I have so much to learn.

This semester, I have been reminded of my own tendency to answer before really thinking. I have very fast reaction times, and while that may be really helpful in getting away from the intersection before anyone else, it isn't good for study. Too often, I have been too quick to speak. Of course, we can't wait until we have perfect understanding before we open our mouths, or else there would be no words. But caution is a good thing.

I used to think I was a cautious person, but that was only as it came to making friends and trusting people. I have been far too hasty in other areas. I hope some of these lessons I have will be useful to someone some day; perhaps a grandchild or a student. One never knows.


Old Things Are Passed Away

From the Olney Hymns
John Newton
Old Things Are Passed Away

Let worldly minds the world pursue,
It has no charms for me;
nce I admired its trifles too,
But grace has set me free.

Its pleasures now no longer please,
No more content afford;
Far from my heart be joys like these;
Now I have seen the LORD.

As by the light of op’ning day
The stars are all concealed;
So earthly pleasures fade away,
When JESUS is revealed.

Creatures no more divide my choice,
I bid them all depart;
His name, and love, and gracious voice,
Have fixed my roving heart.

Now, Lord, I would be thine alone,
And wholly live to thee;
But may I hope that thou wilt own
A worthless worm, like me?

Yes! though of sinners I’m the worst,
I cannot doubt thy will;
For if thou hadst not loved me first
I had refused thee still.