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Discovery Bible Study and 'Lectio Divina': Combining Old and New Approaches to Scripture (Part 2)


ID-100247673And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matt. 13:52

In my previous article, we looked at Discovery Bible Studies (DBS), a relatively new approach to small group Bible study that has been used for evangelism and discipleship in many places in the global south and increasingly in the United States. While often suitable for personal study, DBS’s focus on obedience to the text can sometimes make using it in devotions a challenge, since not all passages have immediate applications in a particular individual’s life. (Besides, for most people I know identifying applications in Scripture is the hardest and most frustrating part of Bible study.)

Fortunately, there is an ancient approach to Scripture known as lectio divina (divine reading) that complements DBS and can address the difficulties raised by the method, particularly for personal devotions.

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Our Daily Bread: The Model Prayer, Part 6


ID-1002575In our examination of the Model Prayer as given to us by Jesus in Matthew 6:10-13, we have studied the first three petitions of this prayer, which have focused upon hallowing the Father and the needs of the kingdom. We now shift to three petitions that focus on our collective needs as God’s people.

It is difficult for us to serve the Triune God if we are hungry. Jesus is thus giving us permission to ask for sustenance.
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Your Will Be Done: The Model Prayer, Part 5


ID-100269748As we continue our study of Jesus’ Model Prayer, commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer, with the goal of learning how we should structure and present our prayers before our Father, we now turn our attention to verse 6:10b-c, which reads,

“Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.”

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Discovery Bible Study and 'Lectio Divina': Combining Old and New Approaches to Scripture (Part 1)


ThinkstockPhotos-531229203And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matt. 13:52

Although it may come as a surprise to Christians in the United States and Western Europe, Christianity is growing faster than it has at any point in its history. The rapid, even explosive, growth of the church is largely invisible to us because it is happening primarily in the global south: Africa, the Middle East, south and east Asia, and South America.

While there are many reasons for this growth, which Jerry Trousdale and I outline in our forthcoming book, “The Kingdom Unleashed,” here I would like to focus on one tool that is being used in many of the regions that are seeing the greatest growth: Discovery Bible Studies (DBS).

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Psalm 103, 'Bless the Lord, O My Soul'


ID-100159550It might seem peculiar to have a Lenten devotional be a psalm of praise. Lent is a solemn season of prayer, penance, repentance and self-denial. But on reflection, Psalm 103 is an entirely appropriate psalm for this time of year in the church calendar. The purpose of repentance is to remind us of the great acts of our God and Savior on our behalf, and to turn our attention from our self-centered needs to the One who selflessly fulfills our needs, especially our need for mercy. Mercy turns misery into joy; it turns our attention away from ourselves and places it where it belongs, on God. Praising God is thus a form of self-denial, self-denial being one of the primary disciplines of Lent.
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Your Kingdom Come: The Model Prayer, Part 4


ID-100166502In this article in our series exploring the Model Prayer, we will examine Jesus’ instruction that we are to ask the Father to bring His kingdom to fruition. The phrase “Your kingdom come” follows naturally from “hallowed be Your name.” The prophet Zechariah linked God’s name with the coming of the kingdom in 14:9: “And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.” The English Standard Version follows the convention of using the all-capital “LORD” for the English rendering of the Hebrew Divine Name, the Tetragrammaton YHWH, which we think is Yahweh. This was the name God revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14. The Jews considered this name so sacred that they would not say it out loud, but substituted the title Adonai, which the ESV translates as “Lord” (capital “L” and o-r-d in lower case). Yahweh is God’s divine name, whereas Adonai is God’s title. The Divine Name means “I am.”
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