Many thanks to all those who attended the TTS Scripture session on Sunday! Many thanks, too, to Matthew Henry Evangelical Church for providing us with such lovely hospitality. It was lovely to see so many faces, both familiar and new.
We were looking at the subject of 'Apologetics'. No, that doesn't mean saying sorry for everything. It comes from a word used in the Greek New Testament, apologia - the same word used in 1 Pet 3:15, when Peter tells us to "always be ready to give an account of the hope that is within you". That word 'account' is also translated as 'defence' or 'answer'.
Many theologians throughout history have also engaged in apologetics, but in some circles it's developed a reputation for being primarily 'adversarial'. A bit like challenging non-Christians to an intellectual game of chess. Whilst this is undoubtedly important (and praise God that he raises up men and women who can do this!), it doesn't capture the heart of apologetics, Biblically speaking.
Apologetics is about knowing the times and seasons, and being able to give an account of the faith. Sometimes this means responding to objections. Sometimes this simply means giving your testimony. At other times, it means answering a sincere question from a friend, family member, or colleague. Either way, we must be like Paul at the Areopagus (in Acts 17) - becoming all things, for all people, so that by all means we might save some.
At our session on Sunday, we spent half our time detailing how British society has changed and exploring the Biblical mandate to 'be ready'. The rest of our time was then given to watching three videos, each illustrating a different generational response to the Christian message. Whilst this time was primarily discussion-based, you'll still hopefully be able to gain something from the notes, which I've provided below alongside the videos played.
Many thanks to all those who attended last night's one-off TTS Scripture session. It was lovely to see so many faces, some familiar, some new!
Our remit was to establish everyday principles for better Bible reading - the fancy word for that is 'Biblical exegesis'. A quotation from Eugene Peterson's book, Living the Message, provided our foundation:
Exegesis as an act of love - as stemming from our delighting in (and savouring) the Word made flesh. From here, we briefly observed how Scripture describes itself, before establishing some of the challenges facing us both before and during Biblical study.
Using what is perhaps the most familiar Bible verse of all - John 3:16 - we did some exegesis for ourselves, getting 'hands on' with John's Gospel, all the while detailing seven exegetical principles:
Some of these might be obvious, some less so. Ultimately, however, we want to handle the Bible well primarily because, with the Psalmist, we would say, "How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts..." [Ps 84:1ff].
You can download the notes below. There's much more in them than I was able to deliver last night. I've included, for example, a list of helpful resources which will hopefully prove helpful. I've also embedded here a few videos cited in the notes, to give you a 'head-start'!
Following our last Foundations session, in which we examined our theology of Scripture, we last night paused our study of 2 Timothy to pick up some left-over threads.
In particular, we asked two questions:
First, how ought we to receive Scripture? Answer: by the Spirit, through the Church. God's people are shaped by the Gospel Word, and are indeed a people of the Word. The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth [1 Tim 3:15]. It's no surprise, then, that through the Spirit we have received the Canon of Scripture. This is a complex topic, with a complex history, but last night we looked at why we have 66 books, and why we in the Protestant tradition believe these (and only these) to be God-breathed.
Second, how ought we to use Scripture? Answer: prayerfully, with God's people, and with care for the primary sense. We started to explore some of this in practice, but we'll no doubt unpack this more in future weeks.
Find full notes below!
(NOTE: we weren't able to discuss even half of what I had prepared last night, which is obviously fine - but there are plenty of other subjects covered in the notes, if you're interested. E.g. how would we respond to the Roman Catholic charge that the canon presents a challenge to Sola Scriptura? What's the relationship between Scripture and the Church? Can we disagree with the creeds, for example? All this and more.)
Theo continued his teaching on 2 Tim 3:10-17, this time focusing on vv.12-17. In particular, he really helpfully brought out the distinction between vv.13+14 - between those who would be deceived even as they deceive others, and Paul's exhortation to Timothy, "continue in the Scriptures!"
We also heard a very helpful portion from a John Piper sermon, which you can read and listen to by clicking here. The portion Theo played starts at about the 10.30min mark.
You can also download Theo's notes below. We thank Theo for his diligence and hard work here, a great time was had by all last night.
Theo led our Scripture session on Sunday night, handling 2 Timothy 3:10-17. He showed us that Paul isn't just deconstructing that which is bad or to be avoided, but is positively exhorting Timothy to do good, learning from his own Godly example.
We're really grateful to Theo for leading us so well, and we're going to get him back to cover the rest of the passage soon. In the meantime, you can find his notes below!
Welcome to the Theology That Sings blog. Here you'll find news of upcoming events, as well as notes and notices.