The Pharisee in me

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisee, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20)

For us, as self-righteous white conservative evangelicals in America, we can all too often quickly declare, “Done. And done. I’m not a Pharisee!”

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The power of the Sermon on the Mount

Since reading Dallas Willard’s book, The Divine Conspiracy, about 20 years ago, the Sermon on the Mount has been more influential in my living and study and mindset than any other portion of Scripture, with the possible exception of Ephesians.

Can you tell I get something out of it?

This is the fascination and wonder I will always have with Scripture. Every time I move through even the most familiar passage, I am stunned with something new. It’s a joy that often leaves me asking, “When did they put THAT there?”

What Ephesians means to me

I am on a slow walk journey through Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Many years ago the Lord had me spend an entire year in Ephesians as part of healing in my life.

This picture is from that Bible I used at the time. Then, the Bible I am currently using. I tend to mark things up quickly. 🙂

Where am I found?

15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17)

This is the challenge I have in my life: where can I be found? Since moving from a place I lived for 20 years, I’ve had to rebuild those places and I can honestly say it’s hard on me.

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The divine visitor

“Reading Scripture is like hosting a divine visitor. Patristic reflections on Abraham’s welcome of the three visitors by the oak of Mamre remind us that when we interpret the Scriptures, we are in the position of Abraham: we are called to show hospitality to God as he graciously comes to us through the pages of the Bible.” — Hans Boersma, Scripture as Real Presence.

Review: The NIV Study Bible

My big confession: I have never been a fan of study Bibles.

I have always wanted Bibles with significant margins so I can put in my own notes. With the coming of digital Bibles and resources, I have utilized the marking tools and notetaking tools of Logos to build my own system. When I study the Bible, I want to study the Bible and I have always felt the notes in any study Bible are so limiting because we may only read them and not dive deeper.

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