I am a Christian and have been for ~70 years. More specifically I am a Christian who confesses the faith as a Lutheran. I am coming from the pro-life side. My focus today is how does being pro-life motivate us to minister to and care for people on both sides of the issue. I have done so for the last 35 years. But the current status is such that neither side will probably like what I have to say.
Being pro-life today. As a Christian I am and have been pro-life as long as I can remember. But in the clamor of today with laws being passed about abortion, we have to ask: Are we truly pro-life in all circumstances relative to this issue? For many people involved in the abortion issue would identify themselves as pro-life but they are hurting, struggling, fearful to even talk.
They are in circumstances in their lives with little control, perhaps having had an abortion and now dealing guilt, fear of attack from the pro-life side. Or perhaps the woman/girl was forced to get an abortion. What about the woman who does not get an abortion but the family and church shun the baby/child?
So, if we are pro-life, are we helping, caring for these hurting women and children? Do we hide behind the “Law of the land” thinking it is a settled issue because “abortions are illegal”? Ministry and care as pro-life is so much than abiding by the law of the land or just banning abortion.
These thoughts are not meant to be the end of the discussion but the beginning for us who are pro-life.
If you are pro-life, open your ears and eyes to those who are hurting because of abortion. That is where we can be pro-life for them.
While deployed on USS Oriskany in 1975-6, we had several crashes. This video shows two. The first is an RF-8G (VFP-63 Det 4), my detachment. He had lost one of the main struts on first pass. He was given option to fly around dumping fuel and then ejecting for at-sea rescue, or have the barricade rigged and fly into it. He chose the latter. Uninjured. I was in my office right under the #4 wire. Instead of the usual crush of a landing, all I heard was “tinkle, tinkle, tinkle” from the landing gear sliding down the deck. Immediately ran to ready room to watch the camera.
The second plane was an A-7 on same cruise. Commander of one of the A-7 squadrons was flying. He was coming in too low hit the ramp and exploded. The plane was a fireball, slide down the deck. As it began to tip, he ejected, with one swing of the chute. Uninjured.
In the squadron (F-8 training and 5 detachments) we had 11 pilots who were killed in crashes during the 3+ year period.
In the Gospel reading for today (John 21:1-19) Jesus restores Peter to ministry. He does so by asking Peter three times: “Do you love Me?” Each response by Peter “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you,” is met with Jesus saying, “feed My lambs”; “Shepherd My sheep”; “Feed My sheep.” This parallels Peter’s three-fold denials when asked if He was one who followed Jesus. Peter was forgiven, restored, and called to care for people.
Note how Peter writes about this change in 1 Peter 5:1-4:
1 I exhort the elders who are among you, as one who is also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, take care of them, not by constraint, but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly. 3 Do not lord over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of glory that will not fade away.
(1 Peter 5:1–4 MEV)
Chronological Bible comment: I have noted elsewhere that the CSB Chronological Bible has several commendable features. But I noted that the Act-Scene-Readings structure offers no help to the Bible reader.
Sometimes when reading I may flip through the Bible looking for something specific passage or referent. Unless I have to open it on the Day intro page, I am left with this view (below) with no navigation capability. Nothing on this page indications what book of the Bible is presented; even the chapter number is only marginally helpful. This is confusing (especially for a new reader) because the books in the reading sequence have little bearing to the normal listing of the Biblical books (i.e. Genesis is followed by Job). I think some kind of reference could be given on each page. Thus, on this page at the top instead of “Governance: God rescues His People” they could put “Exodus 18.”
Comments on Job
I am a little surprised that the comments focus on the suffering, but ignore the critical issue, namely a human’s righteousness before God. Notice in 4:17 (Eliphaz: “Can a mortal be righteous before God?”) Eliphaz identifies the right question/issue behind the suffering The again in 5:8 Eliphaz the right solution (Eliphaz: “However, if I were you, I would appeal to God”)
Then even more clearly in 6:29-30 Job responds: “my righteousness is still the issue”
And in 7:21 (Job:) “Why not forgive my sin and pardon my iniquity?”
Again: (9:2 Job:) “Yes, I know what you’ve said is true, but how can a person be justified before God?”
Finally, in 9:33-35 Job admits:
“There is no mediator between us, to lay his hand on both of us. Let him take his rod away from me so his terror will no longer frighten me. Then I would speak and not fear him. But that is not the case; I am on my own.”
So suffering is certainly an issue, but behind it is the righteousness of the one who suffers. Ultimately that is resolved in chapters 38-42, most pointedly in God’s questioning of Job. Even after ch. 38-39, Job still does not get it. God ultimately asks:
Would you really challenge my justice?
Would you declare me guilty to justify yourself? (40: 8)
For such a critical issue, it seems that the comments could lead the reader to at least watch for something so significant.
The week 4 readings are from the Book of Job. I think this is where the introductory comments in the Chronological Bible fail the reader.
The comments throughout Job readings focus on the suffering, but ignore the critical issue, namely a human’s righteousness before God. Yet look at the textual hints about the righteousness of the one who suffers throughout the book. Here are a few:
Job 4:17 (Eliphaz asks: “Can a mortal be righteous before God?”) Eliphaz identifies the right question/issue behind the suffering The again in 5:8 Eliphaz the right solution (Eliphaz: “However, if I were you, I would appeal to God”)
Even more clearly in Job 6:29-30 Job responds: “my righteousness is still the issue.”
And in Job 7:21 Job speaks: “Why not forgive my sin and pardon my iniquity?”
Again in Job 9:2 Job speaks: “Yes, I know what you’ve said is true, but how can a person be justified before God?”
Finally, in Job 9:33-35, Job admits: “There is no mediator between us, to lay his hand on both of us. Let him take his rod away from me so his terror will no longer frighten me. Then I would speak and not fear him. But that is not the case; I am on my own.”
So suffering is certainly an issue that Job faced. But behind it is the question about the righteousness of the one who suffers. Ultimately that is resolved in chapters 38-42, most pointedly in God’s questioning of Job. Even after ch. 38-39, Job still does not get it. God ultimately asks:
40: 8 God asks: “Would you really challenge my justice?
Would you declare me guilty to justify yourself?”
With such a critical issue, it seems that the comments could have helped the reader to at least watch for something so significant with regard to the ultimate revelation in chap. 40 and 42.
Initial Reactions to CSB Baker Illustrated
Table of Contents
For the Table of Contents, the font size is readable. The light colored page numbers are acceptable (because they are larger than in the List of Resources), but a darker font would be better.
List of Resources
While the font is smaller than in Table of contents, the words are still readable. However, with the colored numbers for the page references being smaller than in Table of Contents, this becomes harder to read. The bleed-through is noticeable (not as distracting as this photo suggests), but bleed-through does affect the colored numbers and readability.
The List of Resources includes: Articles, Definitions, Maps, Figures, and Artists’ Reconstructions. As expected each of these maps are tied to the Biblical text so that each is easier to find.
Timelines (Old Testament and New Testament)
Timelines are essential for understanding and teaching Biblical texts. For the Old Testament Timeline the three fold colors helps to distinguish Key People, Key Events, and Key People (elsewhere in the world), which means the reader can follow chronologically each of them individually or comparatively. Interestingly for the New Testament Timeline only two parallel timelines are used (Key New Testament Bible Events and Key People/Events from the Mediterranean World).
How To Read, Interpret, and Apply the Bible
(Pp. XXXVIII– XL)
The guidelines here are fairly basic, but helpful for casual or first time users.
Overall, this looks to be a helpful Study Bible. In coming weeks I will review some of the Book Introductions and some of articles scattered throughout the Bible.