The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: teaching

Lent Devotional: Job 36-37

Job 36-37 (click here)
Bear with me a little, and I will show you, for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf. 3 I will get my knowledge from afar and ascribe righteousness to my Maker. 4 For truly my words are not false; one who is perfect in knowledge is with you. (Job 36:2-4)

Reflection
Elihu claims to speak on behalf of God. We all do this from time to time. If we ever try to teach someone anything about God then we are, in a way, claiming to speak on God’s behalf. We have been commissioned to do this very thing! We are ambassadors representatives of the Lord, and we are to proclaim him to the world.

Yet…teaching people about the Lord is a mission that should be approached with humility, holy fear, and much trembling.

James 3:1 warns, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” As someone who regularly teaches and preaches, warnings like this often cause me to lie awake at night, thinking back through everything I’ve taught…searching to see if I can find any error in need of correction.

Elihu has a good goal that we also should seek… he wants to ascribe righteousness to his Maker. He wants to proclaim the glory of God and show his greatness to the world! Our heart should beat with this kind of passion and our lips should proclaim it! Yet, Elihu’s approach is anything but humble…he claims to be perfect in knowledge…a claim that can be made by God alone.

Don’t get me wrong… we should teach truth with conviction and confidence. Uncertainty is not the same thing as humility. The difference in an arrogant or humble approach to teaching the truth about God is found in the source of our confidence. Elihu’s confidence is in himself and his own knowledge. Our confidence needs to be in Christ and his Word.

We humbly, confidently teach people the truth about Christ on the basis of his Word…striving to be as faithful as possible to what he has said about himself.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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Letter #13: Exegesis ≠ An Exit for Jesus

Dear Jonathan,

So you’ve finally made it far enough along in your language studies that you are getting to do some exegesis! I’ll be honest…the third and fourth semesters of Greek were among my favorite seminary courses. I loved digging into all the nuances of the original text and seeing the grammatical connections that really made the meaning leap right off the page!

Yet, I did notice that my dedication to exegesis began to cause a problem that you might encounter as well. I began to allow my obsession with Greek grammar to invade my teaching within the church more and more…to the point that the sharing of information became my end goal.

TBS-Koine-Greek-New-Testament-004My exegesis actually became an exit for Jesus.

Now before you get all up in arms and start defending your beloved language studies…hear me out. What I mean is this…I became so overly focused on exegesis that my teaching turned into technical lectures aimed primarily at educating my people.

I was filling heads with all sorts of knowledge, but I was not calling hearts toward a “knowing.”

The primary purpose of preaching is not education (though important), but encounter! We long for the Spirit to work through the Word and for people to encounter, see Jesus in all his glory and be drawn to him! We don’t want people to just walk out of a service knowing more about Jesus…we want them to know Jesus more!

The difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus is rather simple. The former involves the head only, while the latter involves the head and heart. Knowing about Jesus is the gaining of mere facts. Knowing Jesus means my heart is stirred with a  desire for him, a love for him, trust in him.

The aim of preaching is for people to come know Jesus more and more so that they may be equipped to make him known!

Now, does this lessen the importance of exegesis? May it never be! On the contrary it increases the importance of it! I need to be pointing people as accurately as I can to the one true God through Jesus. To do this, I must carefully study the meaning of his Word. But, the end goal of my study is not to simply transfer that meaning to my hearers, but for that meaning to transform my hearers.

My exegesis should not serve as an exit for Jesus, but as an escort to him!

I’m not telling you to never talk about Greek grammar from the pulpit or never to share technical information. What I am saying is always make sure that information is not your end goal!  Your end goal is that everything you share stir up people’s hearts to want to know Jesus!

Jonathan, be a good exegete! We desperately need good exegetes teaching in our churches! But, do not ultimately be an exegete, but a worshipper! Worship the God you see and come to know as you study the text and when you teach the text…help others toward worship as well.

Don’t let your exegesis serve as an exit for Jesus, but as an escort to him!

Grace and Peace,

J

*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.

 

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