Monday, February 04, 2008

The First of 2008

The Caregroup held its first meeting for the year 2008, at Dr Jerome and Ate Mayet's.

We used the occassion to enjoy dinner together and to try to figure out what topics to take up this year. Among the choices were:

1) A series based on John MacArthur's book "How to Survive in a World of Unbelievers" (Word, 2001; out of print)

2) A series based on John Piper's book "God Is The Gospel" (Crossway, 2005)

3) A series based on Randy C Alcorn's "Heaven" (Tyndale House, 2004)

4) A series based on Chairman Justin's research on "Deception in the Church" (We lovingly call him "Chairman" because he is the church council chairman at PBC)

We were very thankful to have as special guests at our gathering Glenn and Dodie C of the Padstow Caregroup. They have already gone through a study based on John MacArthur's "How to Survive in a World of Unbelievers" and we were so encouraged by their inputs--specially on how and where to possibly obtain copies of John MacArthur's out-of-print book.

Hopefully, whatever topics we do eventually take up, we will be able to use them to better train ourselves to automatically read God's Word more analytically--whether we read it together as a group, or individually during our private quiet times.

Some basic questions to keep in mind when reading the Bible are:

Who was the writer of the passage? What was he like? What is the mood of his message?

Is he expressing his feelings in the form of poetry? Or is he defending or explaining a misunderstood theological concept? Is he recording specific historical events for posterity? Or is he noting down general observations in everyday life?

Who was the writer’s intended audience? What was their world like at that time? Was there an issue (or problem) that the writer was trying to address or explain to his intended audience? What was the point that he was trying to make in the whole passage, the whole chapter, the whole book?

To what similar issues or problems can the writer’s text be applied to, today? Am I applying what the writer was saying in a way that the writer intended his readers to do? Or am I using it to address an issue that may not really be related to what the writer was trying to address?

What forms of speech or idioms did the writer employ to clarify his message? Am I treating a figure of speech too literally? Or am I treating it the other way around?

Am I getting so carried away with what the passage seems to be implying that I’m missing what the passage is explicitly proclaiming? Am I drawing conclusions from this passage that contradicts what is explicitly taught in other passages?

How does the passage I am reading relate with the passages before and after it? How does it relate to the totality of the Bible’s God-centeredness?

Does the text I am reading provide the answers to the above questions? Or should I consult other passages, cross-references, commentaries?

As the Caregroup was very blessed with Chairman Justin's zeal and passion in his research regarding "Deception in the Church," it was decided to take up that topic first, for the next few fortnights.

May we all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

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