Neufeld thoughts on the Revelation

Henry Neufeld taught recently on the book of Revelation and shared some of his reflections about that experience:

  1. I’m more convinced than ever that we need to read Revelation more for theology and spiritual growth and less for trying to lay out timelines for the end of the world. I find good theology and good principles in many of these passages even if we continue to disagree on the specific referents.

  2. I have a great deal of sympathy for the preterist position, even though that is not precisely what I believe. Symbols generally do find credible referents in the immediate time and place. The problem with the preterist position, in my view, is that it is easy to leave all the book’s other lessons in the past as well. Revelation spoke to its own time, but it also speaks to the future.

  3. Revelation is possibly the most violent book in the New Testament. But it’s not about the violence. It’s about God’s faithfulness.

  4. Revelation is an unfolding of the gospel. It begins with Jesus with his church/people, and it ends with Jesus with his people. The rest assures God’s people that God is paying attention and is with them even when he doesn’t appear to be.

  5. In teaching Revelation we need to emphasize the persecuted church more. When you get to the fifth seal, for example, and the souls under the altar are asking “How long oh Lord?” it helps if we understand what persecution was and is like. I have always discussed persecution as an historical phenomenon. This time I spent more time discussing the present and what some of these passage might mean viewed from the perspective of people suffering persecution right now. Like Hebrews, Revelation speaks to people suffering or soon-to-suffer great hardship. We American Christians, in our ease, are likely to have a hard time hearing the message.

  6. The most important thing a Bible teacher can so, I believe, is teach people how to study for themselves. It’s not about getting across all of my beliefs or particular interpretations. What people need is to find a way to experience God for themselves—to hear God’s voice—through the pages of scripture.

I think these are some good thoughts!  I have never taught on the book of Revelation before, but I really like Henry’s reflections here.  Additionally, I agree with David Alan Black that Henry’s last point is his most important point.  🙂

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Quote of the Day: Ajith Fernando

I am reading an electronic copy of Ajith Fernando’s recently published preaching commentary on the book of Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy: Loving Obedience to a Loving God (Crossway, 2012) (review forth coming).  In the preface he writes something I have never seen before in a commentary and I just loved it and now expect this work to be GOOD!  He writes:

My basic approach to the passages was to first do an inductive study of them using only the Biblical text with a very wide margin and my lead pencil and color pencils. Only after this did I check the commentaries for clarification, correction, and enrichment. I am so grateful to Drs. Robert Traina and Daniel Fuller who introduced me to the thrill of discovering riches from the Word through inductive study.

Awesome!  I know some people who read this may be thinking, “man what is with Brian and his pushing inductive study all the time?  didn’t he already go to seminary?!”   Well, they don’t teach inductive Bible study at seminary, well, not most.  You may learn it at Asbury where the Late Robert Traina was professor, but I haven’t heard of it being explicitly taught anywhere else, and I think it is a shame.

But anyways, I thought it was pretty cool to see Fernando talk about how he approached each passage in Deuteronomy over the 8 years it took him to write the commentary!

For those interested he also noted Christopher Wright’s Deuteronomy (Hendrickson, 1996) as the most helpful for preaching.

I wonder, have you heard much preaching out of the book of Deuteronomy besides the famous Shema passage?

Also, just to be clear, this is not an academic commentary, but rather really, a series of “expository sermons” on all the passages of the book, in this case, Deuteronomy.

Anyways…