BGST THIS WEEK & LOGO
WEEK NO. 7                                                                                         19-25 FEBRUARY 2001
GOOD BOOKS Attention all Biblical Archaeology buffs! We have recently accessioned more books that will make our archaeology holdings more complete. We recommend for your reading three titles: A Panorama of the Holy Land, by Jon Arnold and Stephen Sizer (Guildford, Surrey: Eagle, 1973); Regions on the Run. Introductory Map Studies in the Land of the Bible, by James M. Monson (Rockford, Illinois: Biblical Foundations, 1998); The Changing Land Between the Jordan and the Sea. Aerial Photographs From 1917 to the Present, by Benjamin Z. Kedar (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Press, 1999). The first book (Panorama) gives some stunning photographs of the length and breadth of Palestine and also of Egypt. Ones gets an I-MAX feeling as one looks at the various representative landscapes of the Bible Lands. Regions on the Run is meant for serious students of the physical geography of the Bible Lands. There are very clear colour maps, with copious historical explanations, and biblical cross-references. One blessing of a Bible land tour is that it enables a person to have a spatial perspective when reading the Bible, e.g., one is able to sense what it must be like for Jesus and His disciples to traverse the distance from Jerusalem to the Galilee and vice versa. Well, this book is designed for arm-chair Bible travellers who can obtain this perspective without having to travel to Israel. The Changing Land is a fascinating book to me and to all who have travelled to Israel at one time or another. It is exciting to look at the aerial photographs of biblical and modern sites in Israel and be able to say, "I was there at that spot!" One can visualize what cannot be easily seen from land, short of getting into a helicopter and peering down from the air. The aerial views captured in this book are of great historical value. They were taken by the Israel Defence Force and are now released for all to see what only the air crew can see from the air. We can see, e.g., the southern end of Caesarea Maritima as a conspicuous tell before the Roman Amphitheatre was uncovered. Also we can discern the outline of King Herod the Greatís harbour, now sunken, and feel the throb of the Apostle Paulís heart as he sailed out of or returned to this famous harbour on his numerous missionary journeys. (QSH)
Chapel
The 3 elements of love: passion, intimacy, commitment
Are they present in our relationships, in our communities?
Appropriately for Valentineís Day, our Chapel speaker, Rev. Dr. Danny Goh chose the topic of love for his address to us. Love may be seen as having three elements. 
    There is, firstly, passion, the sensual aspect, the intense desire for another which all humans experience and which is indeed sanctioned in the Song of Songs, but which is also relatively short-lived and which can degenerate into possessiveness and self-seeking. Secondly, there is intimacy, without which, as one writer has put it, love is merely a Ďhormonal illusioní. In order to love someone we must also know them. More than that, we must accept and trust the one we love, which requires of us both effort (time, energy) and courage (because we must make ourselves vulnerable). Intimacy is, therefore, costly, but it is also essential if we are to avoid superficiality in our relationships. The third element is commitment, as expressed most poignantly in marriage vows: the firm intent to love and remain loyal to another no matter what. It is the most future-orientated aspect of love. Intimacy and commitment, in particular, are essential for healthy friendships and truly biblical communities.
    But it is not enough to understand what makes up love: love must also be expressed. This is a point that Christians of all people ought to appreciate. Jesus, in a way, staked the success of the church on this very point: ĎBy this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one anotherí (Jn. 13:35). Has the church lived up to this challenging call? Arguably not.
What, then, does the Bible have to say about human love, and about the bases for healthy community life? 
    Dr. Goh made three points. Firstly, the Bible insists that all true community is founded in the love of God: Godís love for us and ours for him. Thus 1 John 1:1-3 sees fellowship between Christians as an extension of the fellowship they have with God through Jesus, and 1 John 4:7-12 sees the love demonstrated by Christians as flowing from their experience of Godís love.
    Secondly, biblical communities should be stimulating or, to use a more biblical term, edifying. Think of the numerous NT passages in which Christians are urged to do things for one another: to love, encourage, admonish one another, to bear each otherís burdens, and so on. As we pray and serve and even relax and play together, there should be this element of mutual upbuilding in love. 
    Thirdly, love must be sustained: it takes time and effort; it requires of us trust and transparency in our lives. 1 John 1:6-10 alludes to this aspect of Christian love when describing the Christian life as learning to walk in Godís light: as we experience fellowship with God over time, we grow in righteousness, purity and honesty, and this leads to closer fellowship on the human level as well.
    This is just a selection of the points Dr. Goh made in his rich and challenging address. He modestly claimed to be doing no more give reminders of things already well known. Yes: but necessary reminders, surely? (PS)
Additions to the library Thinking PointsBeing courageous
  • An intrusive gospel? : Christian mission in the postmodern 
  •   world. 
  • A photographic guide to birds of Israel and the Middle
  •   East with photographs and illustrations. 
  • Final analysis : a decade of commentary on the church and
  •   world missions. 
  • Making sense in (and of) the first Christian century. 
  • Missiology : an ecumenical introduction : texts and contexts
  •   of global.Christianity. 
  • Mustard seed versus McWorld : reinventing Christian life
  •    and mission for a new millennium. 
  • Practicing truth : confident witness in our pluralistic world. 
  • Proverbs : Interpretation : a bible commentary for teaching
  •    and preaching. 
  • Reading Ecclesiastes : Old Testament exegesis and
  •    hermeneutical theory. 
  • St. Luke's missiology : a cross-cultural challenge. 
  • Soma in Biblical theology with emphasis on Pauline
  •    anthropology. 
  • The Dead Sea scrolls: in their historical context. 
  • The suffering of God : an Old Testament perspective. 
  • The word and power church.: what happens when a
  •    church experiences all God has to offer. 
  • Transculturation : the cultural factor in translation and other
  •    communication tasks. 
  • Understanding folk religion : a Christian response to
  •   popular beliefs and practices.

  •  

     

    NEWSBITS

  • Sign up early for Marva Dawnís two courses!
  • The Dean, Dr Quek, was part of a three-man ATA team 

  •    last week to accredit new programmes and reaccredit
       programmes at the Singapore Bible College.
    Birthday Greetings
    We wish all these who celebrate their birthdays this week Godís richest blessings
    Mr Soh Boon Leng Kessler 02/20 
    Ms Sng Ting Ting Phyllis 02/21 
    Ms Tey Ching Chiat Christine 02/21 
    Mr Lim Ching Hock 02/22 
    Mr Lee Yuan Ivan 02/23 
    Mr Liew Ivan 02/23
    Quote for the Week

    "Above all things, and in all things, you will rest, my soul, in God always, because He is the Saintsí everlasting rest."

    - Thomas A Kempis (The Imitation of Christ)
    God told Joshua, "Be strong and courageous" (Josh 1:6 & 9), and "Be strong and very courageous" (1:7). But hadnít Joshua already proven his strength and courage when he fought the Amalekites at Rephidim (Exo 17:8-13)? 
        Since God told Joshua three times to be courageous in Joshua 1, we eagerly read Chapter 2 to see how courageous Joshua was. But all Chapter 2 reveals is how he sent two spies to recce the land around Jericho. Hmm, why only two men when Moses sent 12? Did Joshua realize that only two of the 12 (he himself was one of the two) gave a true report on their return? Had Joshua learnt a lesson that two were enough? Or did Joshua the fighter realize that two spies attract less attention than 12?
        How courageous was Joshua in Chapter 3? There, he told the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord to stand in the flooded River Jordan. Wow! Have you ever seen a big river in flood, moving so fast that it can push down trees and houses? Would you step into such a river and risk being swept away and killed? Did the priests step into the river? See Josh 3:15. 
        As soon as the priests stepped into the river, it stopped flowing! The Israelites crossed on dry land to the other side. Imagine you are a priest standing in the middle of the dried-up river that just a few minutes ago had been in flood. What would you be thinking? How dry the river bed is? Or when would the flood waters come rushing back? How long would it take for over two million Israelites to cross the river? From dawn to dusk? Twelve hours just standing on the riverbed, knowing that the flood waters could come rushing down with pent-up power at any time? Hey, werenít those priests real courageous fellows?
        Isnít it how we the royal priesthood must be today, standing in harmís way while the people being saved cross over into the kingdom of God? Or did you think that being a Christian means always taking the safest route, doing the safest thing and never having to be courageous? Say, if the priests were doing the courageous thing, why did God tell Joshua to be courageous? 
        Let us picture Joshua standing on the river bank, watching the whole of Israel cross the river. Did he not know that if the flood waters swept down again, the priests would be killed and the precious ark of the covenant would be smashed and destroyed? Wasnít he tempted to order the priests to dry land where they and the ark would be safe?
        But look what happened when the priests stepped out of the river. "No sooner had they set their feet on dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before" (Josh 4:18). If Joshua had let the priests cross over, wouldnít many Israelites have been washed away? So that day Joshua who had physical courage had to learn moral courage, the courage to do the right thing no matter what! 
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