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The Centre and the Whole

From the introduction to 18 Words: The Most Important Words You Will Ever Know by J. I. Packer: 

On the one hand, the God-given organism of Scripture … has a centre, what Calvin called a scopus — that is, a focal point set in view, a target aimed at a reference point for everything. That scopus is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, whom the prophets proclaim as the Messiah who should come and the apostles as the Messiah who has come and is coming again. The Spirit leads us to focus on Him and on our need of Him. We find Scripture acting both as the mirror in which we see ourselves as guilty, vile and helpless sinners who need saving, and also as the searchlight which shows us the living Saviour — the Christ who is there, and there for us; or, better, the Christ who is here, and her for me. The Spirit puts us out of doubt as to Jesus’ reality and brings us to know and trust Him as our own Deliverer from sin, from self and from the dark and painful emptiness here and hereafter for which hell — Gehenna, the burning place — is the apt name. (Scripture calls this trustful knowledge faith.) Thus we prove for ourselves the truth of Paul’s statement that ‘the sacred writings … are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus’ (2 Tim. 3:15). …

But there is another side, too. With Christ at its centre, the Bible is like a huge circle embracing the whole of every man’s life. Those who in C. S. Lewis’s figure, look along the Bible, as along the ray of a flashlight in the attic, find that all they are is weighed and judged by the light of the teaching, narratives and states of affairs that the Bible sets before us. The Spirit of God leads us to make the judgment on our lives that He himself makes. He leads us to measure ourselves by what Scripture shows us of right and wrong ways of being a parent, a child, a politician or citizen, a spouse, a single or bereaved person, a homemaker, a manager, a workman or employee, a neighbour, a teacher or student, an invalid, a rich man or whatever, and also by what we learn from scriptural precepts and examples (Christ, Abraham, Paul, Elijah, all the heroes of the faith) of what true godliness involves. Regularly, when we thus weigh ourselves, we find ourselves wanting; and then the Spirit leads us to change our ways in accordance with that self-measurement. (Scripture calls this clear-sighted change repentance.) Thus we prove for ourselves the truth of Paul’s further statement that all Scripture, being God-breathed, is ‘profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work’ (2 Tim. 3:16f) This is the second thing that it means to be taught by God.

This book contains 18 of what Packer calls “sketches of biblical themes.” I’d call them 18 essays on keywords of the Bible. It was first published thirty years ago, but I hadn’t heard of it. I’ve just started reading, but so far I’m thinking it is a gem.


A Catechism for Girls and Boys

Part II: Questions about The Ten Commandments

53. Q. What is the fifth commandment?
      A. The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

(Click through to read scriptural proof.)

Click to read more ...


Round the Sphere Again: Clarifying

It’s the Right Word
Explaining the first line of a familiar Christmas carol (Grammar Girl). Everything hangs on where you put the commas.

Not the Same Thing
Two quotes on the difference between determinism and fatalism (Triablogue).

Mission Statement
Kim quotes a succinct statement of the mission of the church from What Is the Mission of the Church? by Greg Gilbert and Kevin DeYoung (The Upward Call).


Sunday's Hymn: Blessed Be the Name

All praise to Him who reigns above
In majesty supreme,
Who gave His Son for man to die,
That He might man redeem!


Blessèd be the name! Blessèd be the name!
Blessèd be the name of the Lord!
Blessèd be the name! Blessèd be the name!
Blessèd be the name of the Lord!

His name above all names shall stand,
Exalted more and more,
At God the Father’s own right hand,
Where angel hosts adore.

Redeemer, Savior, friend of man
Once ruined by the fall,
Thou hast devised salvation’s plan,
For Thou hast died for all.

His name shall be the counselor,
The mighty Prince of Peace,
Of all earth’s kingdoms conqueror,
Whose reign shall never cease.

—Wil­liam H. Clark


Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.


Round the Sphere Again: Tip Lists

Ten for Typos
Good proofreading can be hard to come by, especially when you’re trying to find mistakes in your own work. Of course, it’s always best to have someone else look over what you’ve written (That’s tip #1 on this list.), but since that’s not always possible, there are 9 other suggestions to help you keep what you write embarrassment free (Grammer Girl).

Principles for Parables
From R. C. Sproul, four guidelines for interpreting parable.  Number one? Don’t treat parables like an allegory:

Parables usually have one basic, central meaning. Trying to oversymbolize them can have the effect of tearing them apart. A person doesn’t understand the beauty of a flower by disassembling it. Like a blossom, a parable is best understood by seeing it in its simple and profound entirety.

 (Ligonier Ministries Blog). 

Caring for the Kids
From Crossway, on serving families when a parent has a health crisis:

When a mom or dad has a life-threatening illness, often the stress is so great and the grief so deep that children get lost in the shuffle. Perhaps the greatest gift you can give to a parent struggling with a serious illness is choosing to focus on the children….

Yes! And there’s a list of eight ways you can help.