Matthew Harmon – How the Minor Prophets Help Us Enjoy Jesus

When it comes to true joy, Jesus was deadly serious. He tells his disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). His words are the key to experiencing fullness of joy in our lives. But the words of Jesus are not merely what the Gospels record him saying. Jesus makes it clear that in some way everything in the Bible relates to him — his life, death, and resurrection, and his message of repentance and forgiveness (Luke 24:44–49).

If we’re honest, though, we can find parts of the Bible confusing, and even boring. We encounter strange customs, different kinds of literature, lists of unfamiliar names, and complicated systems of laws. As a result, we often gravitate toward certain parts of the Bible and avoid the uncomfortable terrain.

But if we believe what Jesus says about our joy in him hinging on the words of God, then we need the whole Bible. To maximize our joy in him we need maximal Scripture. So let’s look at how one often-neglected section of the Bible helps us enjoy Jesus: the Minor Prophets.

To continue reading Matthew Harmon’s article, click here.

Please follow and like us:
0

Mike McKinley – How to Read the Major Prophets Devotionally

minor-prophets

Some things are easier to read than others. When we open a newspaper or a website or a novel, we normally know intuitively what’s going on. We don’t have to labor to understand what the author is trying to say or what literary devices he’s using to communicate his message. But when we try to read the prophetic books of the Old Testament, we’re often waist-deep in a mix of unfamiliar genres with rules and conventions we don’t understand. Add in a few thousand years and a vast cultural difference, and it can be hard to know what to do with these books. As a result, many Christians are intimidated by the idea of reading them devotionally.

This is especially true of the “Major Prophets.” We often divide Old Testament prophetic books into “major” prophets (like Jeremiah) and “minor” prophets (like Amos)—not because one is more important than the other, but because of the length of their writing. And that length can add to the difficulty; if reading a minor prophet feels like crossing a river, reading a major prophet can feel like swimming across an ocean.

Mining the Major Prophets

The New Testament authors repeatedly mine these Major Prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel—for themes and prophecies that would illuminate what God was doing in sending his Son. Jesus clearly understood and explained his own ministry in terms laid out by the prophets (Luke 4:16–21). So Christians who want to know their Bible needs to wrestle with these books. To that end, here are a few pointers to help you dig into these books:

1. Read in light of the rest of the Old Testament.

The prophets aren’t operating in a theological vacuum. They’re reminding the people of Israel of God’s faithfulness as seen in the exodus and calling them to be faithful to God’s covenant—or else experience the exile promised in Deuteronomy. Use what you know of the story of Israel to help you understand what the prophet was saying to the people of his day.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0

Trevin Wax – The 3 Minor Prophets Who Wrecked Me

Screen-Shot-2016-08-17-at-8.07.18-AM-300x196

One of the perks of editing The Gospel Project is shaping Bible studies for believers of all ages, walking alongside more than a million kids, students, and adults on a journey through the Bible’s big storyline. For many Gospel Project users, we are about to enter the season we’ve described as “Prophets and Kings.”

Now, for a lot of Bible readers, the prophetic writings seem bizarre and foreign. Churchgoers may come to know and love the Gospels, or sing the psalms, or cherish the exciting New Testament narratives.

But the prophets? It feels like a chore just to pronounce their names right (Habakkuk, Nahum, Obadiah), much less remember the context that prompted their ministry, or the particular message of each one. Read a few of these prophets side by side, without knowing much about their history, and you begin to feel like they all run together. There’s one overarching message: Repent! Repent! And that message is delivered in multiple ways, with strange themes and practices.

In my time as editor, however, I’ve grown to love the Minor Prophets, all sandwiched together at the end of the Old Testament. There are three in particular who, I would say, have “wrecked me” — in a good way, in a powerful way in which I felt the refreshing shower of God’s grace.

1. Hosea

Hosea is a weird story, even for adults. God tells a prophet to marry a prostitute, give their children horrible names, and then go back and purchase his wife after she is unfaithful.

But both times I edited sessions on Hosea, I wound up in tears. The vision of God as the spurned Lover, the great and glorious Husband who pursues His bride and willingly pays the price to win her back…it is such a breathtaking picture of God’s great love.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0