Have you ever had trouble understanding how the books of the Old Testament fit together? You may be familiar with the traditional divisions of Law, History, Wisdom Literature, and Prophecy, but these are arranged largely by genre rather than by chronology. Most Old Testament surveys, Bible handbooks, and commentaries treat the text in canonical order, making it difficult to see what fits where in terms of time sequence. In order to remedy that difficulty, I have put together a book called The Road to Redemption – A Chronological Overview of the Old Testament. It deals with the books in chronological order, weaving the non-historical books into the books of history in a way that helps the reader see where they fit. It also emphasizes the ways in which the literature of the Old Testament presents God’s plan of redemption and points to the work of Christ.
The most recent addition to the adult Sunday School courses offered on the website is a study of the Pastoral Epistles. By the time Paul wrote I and II Timothy and Titus near the end of his earthly ministry, Christianity was spreading very rapidly throughout the Roman Empire. As a result, organization was essential in order for these young congregations to grow, prosper, and propagate the Gospel. Paul provides instructions, not only for organization of the churches, but also for sound teaching and the means of dealing with those who were energetically spreading false doctrine and encouraging ungodly practice. The guidance he gives was not just relevant to the infant churches of the first century, however; it is also valuable to us as we seek to live faithfully in a culture that is every bit as alien to the message of the Gospel as was that of ancient Rome.
Often great writers who are not Christians nonetheless show tremendous insight into human nature. Those insights, however, rarely lead to biblical conclusions about how to deal with man’s sins and society’s ills. Moliere, a playwright subject to the censorship of Louis XIV and the Catholic Church in seventeenth-century France, was a keen observer of human nature and society’s problems, but he was no social reformer. His plays, however, can be helpful in shedding light on man’s hypocrisy – a problem for which only the Gospel provides a real and lasting solution. The latest addition to the literature website is Moliere’s The Misanthrope, which humorously points out the wrongness of taking the speck out of your brother’s eye without first removing the log from your own, but fails to suggest how that log ought to be removed.