How do we know what books of the Old Testament were truly inspired? Although we might take it for granted, the contents of the Old Testament canon have been debated for a long time.
(Photo: By Naval History & Heritage Command from Washington, DC, USA. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
The term canon is from a Greek word that means a “rule or “standard,” and it came to represent truth revealed in Scripture.1 For different Christians in different churches, however, the canon represented different books.
- Some people held that the canon extended to encompass all the books read in the church for edification, which would include what is known as the Apocrypha and sometimes even the Pseudepigrapha (a collection of anonymous, apocalyptic writings).
- Others held that the canon represented simply the Jewish Bible, which corresponds to the Protestant Bible of today.2
- In 1546, when the Council of Trent made a formal statement that all who did not accept selected Apocryphal writings should be condemned, Protestants responded with an equally resolute voice.
This disagreement continues. However, it is an issue that needs resolution, for as the theologian Roger Beckwith aptly states, “With no canon there is no Bible.”3
So, how do we know what books go in our Old Testament?
Maxwell Leadership Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2014)
When I first began reading through this Bible, I thought the content would show itself as simple rehash from Maxwell’s other books. Well, if it is, it’s amazingly relevant.
Seeing these truths in the context of Scripture gives them a better framework for application than they might find in any other book.
My goal in creating this Leadership Bible is to enable you to raise the “lid” on your own effectiveness. I want you to reach your potential in Christ! To become more Christlike you need to think and act more like a leader. You must become a person of influence.
Scattered throughout are lessons of leadership, which are often only lessons of character that every Christian should aspire to.
Jesus said, “I am the gate.” In using this metaphor, the Lord drew upon a practice shepherds did that they still do today.
Using either a rock wall or a cave, the shepherd leads his sheep into the pen with a narrow opening of rocks for passage. The pen offers shelter and security for his flock. By staying in the narrow gap, the shepherd serves as the “gate”—the only way in or out of pen.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. —John 10:9–10
Jesus also drew upon the occasion to show that once a person is saved, he or she can never lose that salvation:
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. —John 10:27–30
What a comforting promise from one who is no less than God!
Resurrection is not just consolation—it is restoration. We get it all back—the love, the loved ones, the goods, the beauties of this life—but in new, unimaginable degrees of glory and joy and strength.
Anyone who wants a taste of the environs the Hebrews experienced during their wilderness wanderings needs to visit southern Israel. Here you can see far.
For instance, in the southern Wildernesses of Paran and Zin the ground is composed of flint and sharp rocks, gravel, and soil with deep cracks.
- Here the Hebrews wandered for four long decades (Numbers 10:12; 12:16).
- From here Moses sent the spies out to check out the Promised Land (Numbers 13:1-3).
- Four centuries earlier, this wilderness saw Hagar and Ishmael after they left Abraham (Genesis 21:20-21).
This wilderness area of southern Israel lets you see far—in more ways than one.
I’m excited to lead an upcoming tour to the Holy Land which will focus exclusively on the life of Jesus. This will be an exclusive, one-bus tour, seeing sites that average tours to Israel don’t get to see—around a theme most never get to experience first-hand. Click for more information.
I hope you’ll join Cathy and me for this trip of a lifetime.
In the workplace, in our churches, and in the government, we expect accountability. And yet in our personal lives, accountability often strikes us as a negative thing.
That’s natural, I guess. Even in the Christian life, we expect others to do what’s right, but we often give ourselves a hall pass because our motives are good. Yet in holding this double standard, we can miss a huge benefit of growing in the Christian life.
In a previous post, I shared 3 benefits to having an accountability group. Committing to a group who will ask accountability questions really is nothing more than asking others to encourage you in the essential areas where you want to succeed in the Christian life. More than anything, accountability questions help you to be who you really want to be.
Here are the 10 accountability questions my group asks each week as well as a link for you to download the list.
I’m excited to serve as the conference speaker at Horn Creek Christian Camp this winter. I’ll be teaching on the life of Joseph as it relates to “Waiting on God,” the title of my upcoming book. I would love for you to bring in the New Year with my family in beautiful Colorado!
Everybody uses a calendar. Some hang it on the wall with pictures of puppies, landscapes, or old cars. Others use Google Calendar or carry their schedules on their smartphones. Some do all of these.
In fact, most of us operate with several calendar systems at the same time. My calendar year begins in January, but I also march to a fiscal year, a school year, and occasionally, a leap year.
But as God’s people—just like the Hebrews of old—a calendar does much more than keep us on schedule. Especially on a New Year.
The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, begins this evening and reminds us of essentials we mustn’t forget.
For the past 10 years, I have met weekly with 8 other Christian men in our neighborhood for Bible Study, prayer, and accountability.
(Photo: My group)
I recently commented on Michael Hyatt’s blog about the accountability questions our groups asks each week, and he encouraged me to blog about it. Honestly, I had never thought about that, but it makes total sense.
Too often, accountability takes on a negative slant as we picture ourselves surrounded by pointing fingers and a spotlight of condemnation.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I want to share with you 3 benefits to having an accountability group that can help you in our Christian life.