Minister's Blog

A chiasm in 2 John

1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. ...

Notes on 1 John (part 3)

The third extract from some notes for a recent Bible study on 1 John: 4. A deliberate grammatical error in John 1:1-3 “A grammatical obstacle course” (Raymond Brown, The Epistles of John, p. 152) Take a look at the literal translation below: 1 Which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which w...

Standing, sitting and kneeling

Have you ever noticed that Christian worship involves a fair amount of moving about? For most of the service we remain seated, but we stand at the call to worship, whenever we sing a hymn, during the prayers, and then again at the blessing. And of course we kneel to confess our sins, before standing immediately afterwards for the assurance of forgiveness. Why is this? What’s all the m...

Notes on 1 John (part 2)

The second extract from some notes for a recent Bible study on 1 John: 2. The relationship between 1 John and John's Gospel Similar imagery, vocabulary, themes, metaphors, etc. Light, darkness, testimony, truth, life, seeing, etc. a. The two prologues Question: Compare 1 John 1:1-7 with John 1:1-18. H...

Notes on 1 John (part 1)

The first extract from some notes for a recent Bible study on 1 John: 1. The overall message of 1 John Was John addressing false teaching in the early church? a. Three inter-related philosophies in the ancient Greek world (1) Gnosticism (Gk. gnōsis, "knowledge"; ginōskō, "I know") ...

John Calvin on lifting hands in worship

At Forum (check out the recording here) after last Sunday's church service, one of our members (prompted in part by this article) asked what John Calvin might have said about our practice of raising hands at...

The witness of the Spirit

Romans 8 raises some intriguing questions about the work of the Spirit in the hearts and prayers of God's people. Here are the key texts: "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we ar...

Lift up your hands

Anyone who’s ever been to Emmanuel will notice that we raise our hands at a couple of points in the service. This is a traditional gesture which has been common in Christian worship for centuries and is still found in some contemporary Christian traditions, but it has fallen out of use in some other churches. It’s therefore worth taking a moment to ask why we do it, what it means, and where...

A chiasm in 1 Peter 1

1 Peter 1 contains a remarkably thought-provoking chiastic structure. I'm struck by the fact that here, perhaps even more than usual with biblical chiasms, the second half of the chiasm functions as an interpretive framework for the first. So, for example, the new birth of v. 3 comes through the imperishable seed of the word (v. 23); the unfading inheritance of v. 4 is sustained through immersi...