Regular readers of BTW will be aware that I have been giving a series of 'Occasional Lectures' on topics relating to biblical studies. Topics covered so far are: Text of the OT; Text of the NT; Canon of the OT. The fourth lecture, to be given on Friday 14th September, covers the Canon of the NT.
But what if you want a short statement of the basic facts about the history of the Bible? You could not do better than to read the 20-page booklet produced by the Bible Society of Singapore, entitled Our Bibleā€¦ How It Came to Us (Bible Society of Singapore, 2001), written by Dr. Peng Kuo-Wei. 

The booklet contains discussions of the formation of the OT and NT, the transmission of the texts of both Testaments (including brief decriptions of the ancient translations such as the Vulgate), and the history of Bible translations since the invention of printing, taking the story right up to the modern day. A large amount of information is surveyed in a brief compass, with a helpful selection of illustrations (mainly Bible manuscripts) and a number of handy Fact Finders. The treatment of the topics is generally conservative (e.g., early dates for the fomation of OT and NT canons), except that the right of the KJV to be considered the authoritative English Bible translation is gently questioned. I particularly appreciated the way the author contextualised his discussion of the text of the OT by means of a comparison with texts of some of the Chinese classics. Clearly a booklet like this will not be the last word on the topic, but it is a most helpful first word. My only criticism is that, in their desire to pack as many facts as possible into a few pages, the editors have used rather small fonts for some of their Fact Finders: I could make out the words, but some of you may need magnifying glasses! But with that qualification, I commend this booklet warmly. The Bible Society of Singapore has performed a valuable service in making it available. (PES)
(Following the usual procedure for BTW Good Books, this booklet may be viewed in BGST Library this week. It is also available from the Bible Society of Singapore for $2.00)

Dr. Ng Peh Cheng spoke at Chapel last Wednesday (5th September). She has provided the following summary.

We have the tendency to submit a list of questions to God and find it rather difficult to sing praises to Him when we find ourselves in a 'wilderness experience'. In an adverse or unhappy situation, we question God, "Why did this happen to me?" "Why did you allow this to happen?" "Where were you when it happened?" "Should they perish in the hotel fire where they gathered for a Christian meeting to serve you better?" 

I believe God has given us an inquiring mind and asking Him questions is a necessary intellectual exercise. To stop asking questions is to stop learning. It is not wrong for Christians to ask questions when things go wrong, but questions can be used to draw us closer to God to know Him better, or to doubt God and draw us further away from Him. 

I have kept a tract in my Bible which I refer to whenever disappointment or discouragement invades. The title is 'This Thing Is From Me' by Laura A. Barter Snow, from which I would like to share the blessing of inculcating a habit of reading adverse circumstances from God's perspective. The tract begins with this assurance for Christians: "My child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild with glory any storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you have to tread. It is short - only five words - but let them sink into your inmost soul; use them as a pillow upon which to rest your weary head: THIS THING IS FROM ME. Have you ever thought of it, that all that concerns you, concerns ME, too? For 'whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye' (Zechariah 2:8)."

The author mentions 9 negative areas which Christians may experience and labels them as 'interruptions' in their Christian walk: the experience of facing temptations, financial difficulties, interpersonal conflict, griefs, betrayal, 'someone repeated things about you that are untrue', unfinished plans, sickness and 'occupying a difficult and responsible position'. From my experience, we can react by doubting God when confronted with one of these situations. Or, we can interact with the Heavenly Father to seek to see from His perspective being aware that "interruptions are divine instructions and "You are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you" (Isaiah 43:4). Therefore, the author concludes, it is His 'special delight to educate us' particularly through the negative things we have to face.

The Chapel speaker for this Wednesday is Pastor Eddy Lim. Come & join us at 12 noon this Wednesday in Rm 302!

TENT Brochure
Did you ever find yourself, when asked, unable to say exactly what the tentmakers' training course involves? BGST has been co-sponsoring this training programme for working adults since 1997. The brochure for TENT 2002 is out and you are welcome to get copies from the library or BGST office. Then when you are asked what TENT is all about, give the person a TENT brochure! While you are at it, you may want to take a look for yourself too!

4th Occasional Lecture
Continuing his series of lectures, Dr. Satterthwaite will speak on 'The Canon of the New Testament', Friday 14th September, 7.30-9.15 p.m., BGST (Room 302). If you are intending to come, please let the office know (353 8071).

Last Chance to Register
Next week the following courses are scheduled to start:

  • Isaac, Jacob, Joseph (1.5 credits; Dr. Satterthwaite; Thursday 13th September, 7.30-9.30 p.m.)
  • Romans - The Gospel According to Paul (1.5 credits; Dr. Quek Swee Hwa; Saturday 15th September, 8.30-10.00 a.m.)
If you are aiming to attend, please register soon.
The Stork Has Visited ...

We rejoice with Mr David Leong Wai Yin and his wife on the arrival of their newborn. Miranda, weighing 3.52kg, was born on 27 Aug at 4.35am. Here's what the 2nd time daddy wrote:
"So far, Miranda has a big appetite keeping us busy every 3-4 hours, sometimes every 2 hours, feeding on the bottle. Daddy, mummy & Melissa (turning 5 in 8 days time) are of course very excited with this new gift from God though rather tired at times!"

May the Lord bless David's family ......

Wishing all these  who celebrate their birthdays this week, God's richest blessings!

Ms Margaret Lim Siew Lee 10/9  Mr Ho Beng Guan 11/9  Mr Joseph Lim Peh Koay 12/9
Mrs Jennifer Loh Bee Eng 12/9  Mr Tcheau Theo 13/9  Mr Toh Beng Guan 14/9
Mrs Susie Yong  14/9  Mr Samuel Kim Jong Seok  16/9  Mr Anthony Tay Kim Seng 16/9

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