Calvin on the Book of Psalms

Calvin on the Book of Psalms

John Calvin, the sixteenth century pastor-theologian in Geneva, known most often for his theological treatise, The Institutes for the Christian Religion, should equally be remembered for his commentaries on almost every book of the Bible. As I finish an overview of the book of Psalms at my church, consider how Calvin introduced his commentary on this penetrating part of Scripture: The wearied and resplendid riches which are contained it this treasury it is no easy matter to express in words; so much so, that I well know that whatever I shall be able to say will be far from approaching the excellence of the subject. But as it is better to give to my readers some taste, however small, of the wonderful advantages they will derive from the study of this book, than to be entirely silent on the point, I may be permitted briefly to advert to a matter, the greatness of which does not admit of being fully unfolded.   I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.   The other parts of Scripture contain the commandments which God enjoined his servants to announce to us. But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to...
Cap-Quotes: The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance

Cap-Quotes: The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance

A friend and I have recently been reading through Thomas Schreiner, and Ardel Caneday’s book, The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance. I have to say that this has been an enriching study that has challenged, deepened and, I pray, helpfully shaped my understanding and application of how the Bible uses warnings to encourage faithfulness to Christ. Over the next few weeks I’ll post some helpful quotes from this book. I highly recommend a carefully reading of it. Our central concern is to show how the Bible places side-by-side both God’s promises of complete and final salvation for all his people and God’s admonitions or warnings that call on his people to persevere to the end in order to be saved 21. Four Popular Views on Warnings and Assurance: 1. Loss-of-Salvation View. Though many Christians believe that the Bible addresses warnings and admonitions to believers, some insist that these warnings and admonitions indicate that believers can and sometimes do abandon their faith and consequently lose their salvation. According to the loss-of-salvation view, the Bible’s warnings and admonitions make it clear that heirs of God’s promise can, by forsaking Christ, fail to persevere in faithfulness and long-suffering, and thus lose the inheritance of salvation. I. Howard Marshall and Scot McKnight advocate this view 21-22.   2. Loss-of-Rewards View. This view advocates that the biblical admonitions and warnings threaten believers with a possible loss. However, the loss a Christian may encounter concerns “rewards” only, not salvation or eternal life, which comes to us only by faith in Jesus Christ 24. Zane Hodges and Charles Ryrie advocate this...
Preparing for Sunday – Daniel 7-12

Preparing for Sunday – Daniel 7-12

For those attending Summit Woods Baptist Church this Sunday, here are a few ways to prepare. Carefully Think Read through Daniel 7. How was the imagery of Daniel’s vision interpreted for him in 7:15-27? Make a list of what you learn? What is God’s role in the events described in this vision? What phrases do you see in Daniel 7 that would give any indication as to the timing of these events? Read Daniel 8 – how does this vision differ from the one in chapter 7 in terms of its interpretation? What does Daniel 10 suggest about the unseen spiritual world and earthly affairs? What does all of the vast detail in the vision of chapters 11 and 12 reveal about God’s sovereignty over the affairs of history and the future? What indication do you see in Chapter 12 that these events are yet future? Prayerfully Meditate What effect should the kind of detail about historical and future events, like those described in Daniel 7-12, have on your view of God? Your choices? Your anxieties? Your confidence? How should Daniel’s description about the world’s future impact how we view what is happening in our culture now? What would a God-centered response to our own cultural changes be in light of what we read in Daniel? How could Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9 assist you in your own approach to confessing sin? How could Daniel’s prophecy as a whole assist you in praying about the coming of Christ? Intentionally Act Pray for Christ’s soon coming. How would he find you if the events of his coming were to begin...
Preparing for Sunday – Daniel 1-12

Preparing for Sunday – Daniel 1-12

How do you prepare yourself during the week to engage with God and participate in corporate worship on Sunday? Every week our church gives a number of ways to interact with the passage to be preached, and lists the songs that will be sung, in order to help our congregation be better prepared. These posts will also begin to populate THE CAPRANICA each Thursday. Carefully Think Read Daniel 1:1; 2:1; 5:1, 30, 31; 6:1; and 10:1. Where is Daniel? How many kings does he interact with? Read Daniel 1:1-20; 2:26-28; 6:1-10. Why is Daniel where he is and how would you characterize his character? Glance through the headings in your Bible of Daniel 1-6. Make a list of the sort of events recorded about his life. Glance through the headings in your bible for Daniel 7-12. What are these chapters primarily about? Read 12:5-13. What era of human history is being described in these events and when will they be completed? Read Daniel 2:20-23; 4:2-3, 34-35; 6:25-27; 7:9-10, 13-14. What is emphasized about God in these chapters? Prayerfully Meditate What do you learn about Daniel, his friends and what commitment to God looks like in the midst of opposition? Have you every experienced opposition from those outside of Christianity to your faith? When? How? How would Daniel be a helpful example to you? How could Daniel’s overt, God-centered life-style instruct you and how you conduct yourself at work, in your neighborhood, or in our culture generally? Read Daniel 9:1-19. How could this be a helpful prayer to model your own (or congregational) confession of sin? What is the primary...
Cultivating the Beatitudes

Cultivating the Beatitudes

This past Sunday, I completed a series of sermons on the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12. Each passing week’s message was used by God in some of the most providentially challenging ways in my life. My heart has been exposed and, I pray, helped in so many ways. I titled the series, “Values for Ultimate Satisfaction.” These are characteristics that people who are genuinely a part of Christ’s kingdom value and display as a result of the work of the gospel in our hearts. You can listen to the series HERE. Below is a summary of how I defined each value (beatitude) and then steps, by God’s grace, you can cultivate each one. Essentially, cultivating these values is simply applying the gospel to your heart: Be Broken – 5:1-3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What is this value? Poor in spirit is a radical dependence upon God from a thorough understanding of yourself before a holy God. How can you cultivate it? Meditate continually on the gospel, its message, cost, and application to you personally. Meditate consistently in God’s Word. Fellowship consistently with God’s people. Pray continually. Confess sin consistently and thoroughly. Avoid those things that cultivate circumstantial happiness and immerse yourself in the sorts of things that cultivate a concentration on  your spiritual position in Christ. Evaluate what tends to make you a satisfied person. Be Sad – 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. What is this value? Biblical mourning is a continual, internal sorrow over those things that grieve God. How can you cultivate it?...
Preparing for Sunday – Matthew 5:4

Preparing for Sunday – Matthew 5:4

Carefully Think Read Matthew 5:4 Recall from last week what it does and does not mean to be “blessed.” How is this beatitude related to the first? How would it relate to the next one? Over what would a person mourn if they are to find this kind of blessing? Why? What is the result of mourning? When should you expect that result? To what degree? Can you think of any illustrations from the Bible of people who mourned in the way this beatitude commends? How so? Can you think of any illustrations from the Bible of people who mourned in a way contrary to what this beatitude commends? How so? Prayerfully Meditate How does this beatitude differ from general grief? What would produce this kind of mourning in a person? What is it that you find regularly moves you to this sort of mourning? If we are to be people who mourn, how can we be people who are comforted at the same time? When was the last time you found yourself mourning over your own sin, the sin around you and sin’s effects in our world? What have you found to bring the most satisfying comfort when you do mourn as this beatitude commends? How does the gospel create this beatitude in us? Intentionally Act What steps could you take to elevate your comprehension and meditation on the character of God so that you have a vision of Him that creates a greater sensitivity to sin? What sins have you become accustomed to rather than mourn over? Spend time confessing these sins with godly sorrow. Pray specifically...
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