Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today I stumbled across some good reading relating to science and the Bible. I looked up 'circumcision' in the Tyndale Bible Dictionary to gain a better understanding of the topic while I was reading through Exodus. I found great information (that I have yet to finish reading), but here are my thoughts thus far.

Circumcision was practiced even before the Hebrew people. Males were circumcised around puberty, often for fertility reasons, but also for preparation for marriage and full tribal responsibilities. Circumcision became established with the Hebrew people when God established his covenant with Abraham (Gen. 17). For the Hebrew people thereafter it became a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham. The Hebrew people were then the only people to circumcise during infancy. Today, it is often practiced for hygienic reasons and only within Judaism does it carry religious implications.

My thoughts and opinions:
There were a few things of note that I find fascinating. Most fascinating is how God's instruction about circumcision displays his Creator knowledge of physiology. "Medical research has determined that prothrombin, a substance in the blood that aids in clotting, is present in greater quantity on the eighth day than at any other time in life." In many Western nations today it is practiced a few days after birth because of the hygienic benefits believed to be a result - prevention of genital cancer for both sexes. Although it is regularly practiced in medicine today, I am considering waiting for the eighth day if I ever have a son.

Another interesting point is that circumcision is not mentioned in the Koran. However, Muslims practice circumcision traditionally because Muhammad was circumcised. In contrast to Judaism or Western culture, males are commonly circumcised at age 13 because that is when Ishmael was circumcised. Ishmael is significant because Arabs trace their ancestry to Abraham through Ishmael.

Finally, circumcision was a sign of the fulfillment of God's covenant with Abraham. The fact that it was done in infancy reaffirmed the covenant for each generation, regardless of faith or unbelief. By this, God made it so that no matter the response of the heart of the people, his covenant would be fulfilled. There was nothing the people could do to bring about or hinder the fulfilling of God's covenant. I guess I like Elwell's and Comfort's interpretation of that meaning because it points back to the Gospel - there is nothing we humans can do to earn or hinder our salvation and sanctification through the blood of Jesus.

My questions:
I guess I do not have any questions for now.

Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). Tyndale Bible dictionary. Tyndale reference library (p 285). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

Same goal, different strategy

So it has been a few weeks since sharing my new goal. I have had plenty of time to search and rethink. The week following the establishing of my new goal I searched for books and resources that I already owned that I could read. I was disappointed at the lack of books devoted to each subject, though I found some decent articles. But then I thought about the classes that I have to take for the Institute of Biblical Studies (IBS). I know it requires significant reading, but the classes are only two weeks each. So I did some research and found that some staff read ahead of time and find the class experience to be much more pleasurable. It sounded great to me so I looked up the book information for each of my next four classes (that I may take this summer). So my new strategy is to read through those books primarily. They will cover the topics of Biblical interpretation, Old Testament Survey, Biblical communication, and doctrine of God, Bible and Holy Spirit. I have also adjusted my strategy to at least four out of the seven days of the week, but still at two hours each time, with some blogging. In addition to the topics of the classes, I may delve into some of the topics I mentioned before.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New faith challenge

So I have been working on a lesson I want to (and will) teach to the middle school students in my church's youth group. My faith, trust and dependence upon the Spirit are certainly being challenged to grow. The insufficiency that I find in my thoughts is that I do not know this passage of scripture well enough to teach it. "What if I am wrong? What if I am taking it out of context?" Because of these questions I feel I need to be an expert on this passage...and book....and entire Bible in order to feel confident that I am not taking in out of context and that I am keeping in line with the entirety of scripture. .....I have never felt so inadequate while preparing for a lesson. :\

But that may be an indicator that I am relying on myself. I know that I have the Holy Spirit within me, which is the mind of Christ. He knows the Word and all the truths of God and has the ability to reveal them to me, inspire me and correct me if need be. So I must trust the Spirit within me to guide me (and to guide my youth) into all truth and to teach all truth. I am doubting my own insufficiencies, which I think is healthy, because I am imperfect. But I am stuck there instead of turning my gaze to him and trusting that the Spirit within me makes up for my insufficiencies and inspires my lesson with all truth.

::sigh:: I love these gentle, quiet lessons from God. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Goal

I was recently made aware of the fact that God took many, many years to prepare Jesus and Paul for ministry. When I think about my preparation for ministry it seems much shorter. But I do not want that to be an issue and I know that God can do incredible things in this time of preparation (while I develop my team of ministry partners). As part of preparation for ministry I took (and recently finished) a New Testament Survey class. I was sad that it had to end because I enjoyed learning more - I felt more prepared to talk with others about the Bible and what it says. I was praying about preparation for ministry and was inspired to continue this mental/intellectual preparation for ministry by studying on my own. I want to hone in on select topics that I think will be most beneficial for my future ministry (and am praying that God confirms these or leads me in directions he knows will be more beneficial). So here is my goal and strategy (and what you have to look forward to). I hope that by writing it out I will be more accountable to it.

Goal: to prepare for ministry by increasing my knowledge about relevant topics

: Spend two hours a day reading, studying, and reflecting on a particular topic. Topics include: science/creation science, world religions, apologetics, theology, emotional life/counseling, Bible study. The last half hour I will blog briefly about what I learned, my thoughts and opintions, and my questions. The blogging will really help me to process, especially if I do not have live discussions with people about these topics.