What’s your passion? I am passionate about many things in life, my family, photography, and various other things. But how passionate are we about Christ?
It does not take much reading of Paul’s letters to recognize that the gospel is the singular passion of his life; that passion is the glue that in particular holds this letter together. By “the gospel,” especially in Philippians, Paul refers primarily neither to a body of teaching nor to proclamation. Above all, the gospel has to do with Christ, both his person and his work. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians p82, Gordon Fee
Are we too diversified in our passion for life? Should we strive to have a singular passion? Or was Paul one of a kind?
I just picked up a copy this week of Gordon Fee’s New Testament Exegesis, and read through the preface, and the introduction. In his introduction he writes:
The term exegesis is used in this book in a consciously limited sense to refer to the historical investigation into the meaning of the biblical text. The presupposition lying behind this task is that the biblical books had “authors” and “readers,” and that the authors intended their readers to understand what they wrote. Exegesis therefore answers the question, What did the biblical author mean? It has to do both with what he said (the content itself) and why he said it at any given point (the literary context) – as much as that might be discovered, given our distance in time, language, and culture. Furthermore, exegesis is primarily concerned with intentionality: What did the author intend his original readers to understand? p1
It is this next section that gripped me as a teacher, and pastor. Our understanding of the scriptures must in turn communicate to our culture and generation in a manner that is both relevant and applicable to our lives today.
Exegetical essays put forward as “sermons” are usually as dry as dust, informative, perhaps, but seldom prophetic or inspirational. Therefore, the ultimate aim of the biblical student is to apply one’s exegetical understanding of the text to the contemporary church and world. p2
Gordon Fee “New Testament Exegesis”
Speaking of Paul the Apostle Gordon Fee writes:
To advance the gospel has been his lifelong passion; he has thus ordered his life so that nothing will hinder, and everything advance, the message of Christ…Evangelism was his “meat and potatoes” (or “rice,” in the case of Asian Christians), since he believed not only that the gospel is God’s “message of truth” (Gal 2:5, 14), but that it thereby contains the only good news for a fallen, broken world. – Gordon Fee “NICNT Paul’s Letter to the Philippians” p111
I wonder how foreign Paul’s lifestyle would be to us, and if we can even comprehend the level in which he operated at?
This is just one of many reason why I like Fee, he is always straight to the point. “Tongues is a very biblical expression of Spirituality”.
Mention “salvation by grace alone” and immediately most people think, “the Apostle Paul”; but mention “speaking in tongues” and most people think, “Pentecostals” or “charismatics.”
And this, despite the fact that Paul claims to have spoken in tongues more than even the Corinthians themselves. This little exercise merely illustrates how much most of us read the New Testament through filters of our own experience of the church. Moreover, this instinctive way of hearing the word “glossolalia” is probably unfair both to Paul and to those who currently experience this (very biblical) expression of Spirituality.
Gordon Fee “Listening to the Spirit in the Text” p105
Lost your joy lately due to unexpected circumstances? Our key to maintaining the Joy that Paul writes about in Philippians is totally connected with our relationship with Christ.
Joy is how believers who know Christ and whose futures are guaranteed by Christ respond in the context of present difficulties, not because they like to suffer, but because their joy is “in the Lord.” But joy is not a feeling, it is an activity. In keeping with the Psalmist, Paul urges them to “rejoice in the Lord,” which can only mean to vocalize their joy in song and word. Above everything else, joy is the distinctive mark of the believer in Christ Jesus; and in this letter it comes most often as an imperative. Believers are to “rejoice in the Lord always” (4:4), because joy has not to do with one’s circumstances but with one’s relationship with the Lord; and they are to do so both on their own, as it were, and together with others (2:18). Whatever else, life in Christ is a life of joy. To miss this reality is to miss Philippians altogether; and to miss Philippians at this point is to miss out on an essential quality of Christ life.
Gordon Fee “Paul’s Letter to the Philippians” p53
What would we do with out new books? I was blessed the other day by a friend, and was given some cash as a gift. All gift money is typically spent on books or bibles, unless I am saving for something specific. Whenever I have cash for books I always spend it at my local bookstore, I need them to stay in business and for that to happen we need to buy books from them. I purchased the following books:
Our own words, and even in my experience in blogging has proven to be most challenging. Often, and I mean often words are misunderstood, and we have to come back and clarify what we meant, and define our words. I think that Fee’s advise is most perfect when he says it “demands that we be good exegetes, if we are truly to hear Scripture as God’s eternal word” Amen.
When one adds other distancing factors – especially time, cultures and a second language – the possibility of misunderstanding is heightened all the more, unless the writer has tried to be particularly sensitive to such distancing factors. But even then the degree of undstanding is predicated very much on the degree of common experience.
It is this factor – our distance from the biblical writers in time and culture – that demands that we be good exegetes, if we are truly to hear Scripture as God’s eternal Word. We must wrestle with their use of words, syntax and literary forms, which express their ideas, and we must hear those ideas within both the author’s and the readers’ cultural contexts and presuppositions, if ever we are adequately to understand what they intended by their words. – Gordon Fee, Discovering Biblical Equality p365
Just got the following books:
God in Dispute, by Roger Olson
“God in Dispute imagines a series of dialogues and debates among key figures throughout church history.” Thought it would be an interesting and fun way to learn more about these great theologians from the past.
Paul for Everyone: The Pastoral Letters : 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, by N.T. Wright
Trying to find some small and interesting commentaries, and I hardly own anything by N.T. Wright.
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, by Gordon D. Fee
Gordon Fee – Nuff said…
Introducing Christian Doctrine, by Millard J. Erickson
Reviewing as a possible alternative to Wayne Grudem’s ST
Christian Doctrine in Global Perspective:
Thanks to Bryan for the recommendation of Ivan Satyavrata’s book
That’s all folks!
I was just asked by my Senior Pastor to start working on a series of sermons on any NT book that I am interested in. So I have chosen to preach/teach out of Philippians. Now I have justification (as if I needed it) to purchase Gordon Fee’s Philippians commentary.
What is the goal or purpose in our preaching and teaching? Fee is suggesting that it should help fashion God’s people into genuine Spirituality.
Listening to the Spirit in the Text by Gordon Fee
If those who teach and preach God’s Word, which preaching must be based on solid exegesis of the text, do not themselves yearn for God, live constantly in God’s presence, hunger and thirst after God – then how can they possibly bring off the ultimate goal of exegesis, to help to fashion God’s people into genuine Spirituality? p.7
Spirituality as defined by Gordon Fee:
One is spiritual to the degree that one lives in and walks by the Spirit; in Scripture the word has no other meaning, and no other measurement. p.5