Thursday, September 11, 2014

Want to Understand the Bible?

 Are you struggling to spend time in the Word?  Do you lack motivation?  Does your time in the Scriptures seem stale and lifeless?  It is a common part of the Christian life to go through periods where it is difficult to get into the text and where time in the Word feels mechanical and even boring.  We don’t really want to be in the Word, though we want to want to.

There are many reasons why we find ourselves in those seasons, but one reason is that the Bible seems very difficult to understand.  For most of us, the Bible remains a big, foggy enigma.  Not only is it a very long book, but it is composed of 66 diverse books from numerous genres, all written a long time ago in languages foreign to us.  For many Christians, the Bible is a large, confusing book composed of smaller, confusing books. It just doesn’t read like the books we read for pleasure today.

Because of its size, most of us never read the whole thing with the entire storyline in view.  Instead, we read through it slowly and/or sporadically, which makes it very difficult to get a sense of how everything fits together.  For that reason, there doesn’t seem to be any unity to the various parts.  In a way, it’s just a big pile of words. 

What if we were given a way to understand the Bible that would render it unified and understandable in our minds?  What if we were given some kind of organizing principle or broad storyline through which we could see how each part functions in the whole?  To put it more simply, what if we could read and interpret the Bible the way that the biblical authors did?  The objective of this year’s Bible Conference is to achieve that very thing. 

We are very excited to have Dr. James Hamilton as our guest speaker for the PBF Bible Conference on October 3-4.  Dr. Hamilton currently serves as Professor of Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as well as Preaching Pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Lousiville, Kentucky. In preparation for ministry, Dr. Hamilton achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Arkansas in 1996, a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2000, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003. He is the author of numerous books including God’s Glory in Salvation though Judgment: A Biblical Theology, God’s Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments, and a children’s book, The Bible’s Big Story

His theological resume looks great, but let me give you my personal take on James Hamilton.  He is one of the most gifted, brilliant, and dynamic Bible teachers I have ever heard.  His topic for the conference will be “What is Biblical Theology? A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns.”  I spent a week under Dr. Hamilton’s teaching on this material and I came away with a red-hot passion to get in the Word and stay there!  I felt like I was able to read the Bible with new eyes.  And as I listened, I was thinking, “Our congregation MUST hear this.”

In a nutshell, Dr. Hamilton teaches that the objective of biblical theology is to understand the worldview of the biblical authors in order to read the Old and New Testaments the way those authors intended.  It’s about reading and interpreting the Bible the way Jesus, Paul, Peter, Isaiah, and Solomon did. 

And it doesn’t take a PhD to be able to understand the Bible this way.  You will come away from this conference having a firmly crystallized understanding of the broad message and storyline of the Bible.

And you will find that you want to read it.  And read it.  And read it.

I am extremely excited that Dr. Hamilton is able to be here.  If there is any way you can make, MAKE IT.  Even if you can only come to a few of the sessions, you will benefit greatly. 

The conference will be Friday, Oct 3 6:30-8:15 and Saturday, Oct 4 1:00-4:45.  As always, the conference is FREE and childcare will be provided.  We simply need you to register at www.providencebiblefellowship.com.  Tell your mommas, tell your daddies, tell your neighbors, and everybody else! 

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