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Southwestern

George H. Guthrie

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A year of ‘Reading the Bible for Life’

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) -- A.J. Jacobs describes himself as Jewish "in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant." Yet, this secular agnostic set out to "follow the Bible as literally as possible" for a year. The product? A 2008 bestseller titled, "The Year of Living Biblically," in which we find example after example of the hilarity and futility of taking passages of Scripture out of their contexts and removing "Bible living" from biblical community.

EASTER: Echoes from the tomb

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) -- Leaning forward, you strain to hear. The fresh, cool breeze of the garden morning brushes your cheek. Bending, you look into that open, black-dark mouth of the tomb, its only light the sun's thin finger reaching past your shoulder to touch the corner of a bone box. But the bones for which it waits have changed, gotten up and walked away. No smell of death; only the sweet scent of burial spices hanging in the air. Bouncing off the walls of this vacated tomb, you may hear echoes from another garden where the lie, "Has God really said?" prevailed, and death was ushered in. But now, in this garden the lie has been silenced with a resounding, "Yes!! His Word lives!" and death has been driven out, the curse of Eden swallowed up in this empty space. [QUOTE@left@150="For all these echoes from the Easter tomb … we, at the mouth of this conquered grave, stand at the center of His Story."-- George Guthrie]And do you hear the echo of righteous Noah, who built a deliverance to carry God's creations through the judgment, or Father Abraham, through whom all the peoples of the earth would be blessed? Do you hear the echoes of Egypt's oppressive slavery turned inside-out in powerful salvation, and at its peak an innocent lamb slain so that death would pass over? Do you hear the echo of new life found through parting waters, or of bread, water, and the Shekinah tent given in a wilderness? Do you hear the death-dealing law, unable to give life, at once fulfilled and filled full by the Life? Do you hear these echoes? As you now kneel on this rough-hewn path leading into where Hope was dead for a moment, do you hear Joshua's name, bouncing 'round these walls, the same name as "Yeshua," "Jesus," whose very name shouts "Salvation!"? Walls have crumbled. Evil has been judged, banished from the land. Joshua led God's people to a promised place, a place flowing with all good things, as does now his namesake, who takes us to a promised rest harder bought. And the chaos of Judges too rings through this darkened grave, its "every man did what was right in his own eyes" now crushed under a staggering obedience, one Man having done what was right to give us new hearts, making us right with God. King David's words, "You will not allow your Holy One to see decay," hang in this sweet air, and His Son, the ultimate Man, the ultimate King, receives the coronation song and, finally, dominion of the world and of a different kind of Kingdom. And this Easter tomb, having become a temple of sorts, housing God, echoes with the words of blessing over Solomon's temple, its walls now torn down but built up in flesh and bone, stone by stone, to go walking through the world, taking the Light of the Gospel, the Presence, to all the black corners of the earth. The temple decisively cleansed by one Offering, the Great High Priest intercedes, never to offer another sacrifice, the way into the holiest place forever opened by His trail-blazing life. Here too, in this now-hollow crypt ring full the words of Isaiah, "On this mountain ... He will destroy death forever," and Jeremiah's "they will all know Me," and do you hear Ezekiel's bones rattle with hope? Exile having been exiled, this now is the true return, the Kingdom come, God's people ruled by one ever-living King.

Do you have a Bible-reading plan for 2012?

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) — Nelda normally came to church, sat in the back and made her exit quickly with the final “Amen.” Having come to faith as a teen, this single grandma had seldom been nurtured and had yet to make a public profession of her faith in Christ. And although Nelda had been attending […]

OFF TO COLLEGE: A freshman prophet

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)--Our son Joshua is beginning his freshman year at Union University where he plans to major in engineering and honors. With hundreds of other families, we will move pillows and pots, lamps and laundry detergent, clothes and a myriad of others little and big things into a dorm room not much bigger than the closet off our master bath at home.

FIRST-PERSON (George H. Guthrie): Will we rise to biblical literacy?

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–In his work entitled “Eat this Book,” Eugene Peterson rightly notes concerning the Bible, “We open this Book and find that page after page it takes us off guard, surprises us, and draws us into its reality, pulls us into participation with God on his terms.” I am confident that you agree — […]