John Calvin

 

CalvinJohn Calvin was born in 1509 in Noyon in France and was a genius beyond his time. He studied in humanism from an early age until his defection from the church of Rome where he became the most influential theologian in the protestant reformation.

Calvin lived most of his Christian life as a leader and pastor in Geneva even while having been exiled from the city for many years. While he was a mild man with a true pastors heart, Calvin was a strong defenders of the truths of Scripture and wrote many responses to criticisms of the theology of the reformation. Calvin also wrote one of the first systematic theology called “Institutes of the Christian Religion” which is to this day used to study the biblical theology. Along with his famous Institutes, Calvin wrote commentaries on almost every book of the bible as well as a number of sermons that are still being circulated today.

While he has been branded a cruel dictator by some, his life and principles in living out the Christian faith seem to demonstrate a much different perspective on Calvin’s life and theology.

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Reading in 2013

I am aware of many individuals who struggle with reading through their bibles on a yearly basis. Some feel the commitment to such a task a bit daunting while others have a desire to commit to a daily bible reading yet do not know where to start. I cannot begin to stress the importance of committing to a daily bible reading since it is the food we require to persevere on our road to glory. To neglect the daily reading of the word of God is to neglect our spirit from the power it requires to go on. We are surrounded daily by the world hence we need daily to surround ourselves with God’s encouragement consistently. I learned long ago that they best way to accomplish such a task is to firstly commit myself to doing it, secondly to acquire some sort of guide to help me through it and finally just go for it!

While I cannot commit to this for you, I can at least give you a good suggestion for a guide that might help you accomplish this important reading by recommending a good bible reading plan. There are a number is good daily bible reading plans available online. One that I have enjoyed tremendously over the years has been the chronological bible reading plan.  What I love about this plan is that that it keeps a good flow of the events from the bible which allows us to read the bible both with spiritual insight but also with a historical mindset. Sometimes it becomes difficult to put together certain historical events from the scriptures however this plan helps get through some of the confusing historical data. The plan also allows you to read the Psalms in a historical context which I can assure you helps in understanding the meaning of the Psalmists since we can really delve into the historical context of their words.

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Beale on Genesis 1-3

I have been reading through G.K. Beale’s New Testament Biblical Theology (which you can purchase here) and thought I would share some very interesting thoughts that I found well-thoughtout in my reading.  The first chapter of this grand work deals with the redemptive-historical storyline of the OT. Beale’s main premise is that the NT is the continuation of the original storyline of the OT. He begins by arguing that the texts in Genesis 1-3 sketch or lay the ground for the rest of the OT and also eschatological themes which will come in the NT. I had heard of this briefly in the past but Dr. Beale really did a fantastic job in articulating this.

Firstly, Beale argues that in Genesis 1:26-28, God gave Adam mandates that God would bless him, that he would be fruitful and multiply, he should fill the earth and that he should subdue and rule over all the earth. In other words, God blessed Adam like none other of his creatures and commissioned him to be sovereign over the earth. This comes as a result of God creating Adam in His own image. God is sovereign and He is king over all things and hence, man being made in His image would reflect having sovereignty even though not supreme sovereignty. Another aspect of being created in His image was a moral one in that in being in His likeness, Adam was expected to be holy, righteous and having true knowledge (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). Adam was placed in Eden and give a task to both cultivate the garden and also to keep or guard it (Gen. 2:15). He was to do this to demonstrate that he was God’s obedient servant.  God also gives him a moral command to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. Not only was a physical command given but also a spiritual/moral one as well.  Yahweh laid out a positive command, a negative command and a warning to go along with it. We all know the story about the serpent but one thing Beale brought out that I had never really pondered was that Adam had authority to rule and subdue over all animals as well as a responsibility to keep (guard) yet the serpent came and Adam didn’t subdue it nor did he protect the garden from it but fell to its deceit.  The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a tree or a place where judgment was to occur. Beale sees the knowledge of good and evil in the same light at discerning between good and evil.  It is always associated with one judging (2 Sam. 14:17; 19:35; 1 Kings 3:9). Trees are also used in scripture to depict places where things are being judged (Judges 4:5; 1 Sam. 22:6-19). Adam had the ability to discern the evil of the serpent and judge it in God’s name because he had authority over it but the serpent used his wife to deceive him. Adam choosing the way of the serpent, whom he was to rule over, ended up being defeated by the serpent because evil was not judged resulting in him falling into sin. Adam lost the battle to the serpent but the 2nd Adam crushed the head of the serpent and defeated the devil and his kingdom. (Matt. 12:25-30; Luke 10:18; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 12:7-10; 20:1-6)

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