The Bible Tells Me So…: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It

The Bible Tells Me So (book cover)

A few month’s ago, my step father handed me a book and asked me to read it. I’m always super apprehensive about taking books from people because I never know what I’m getting myself into. For the most part, I prefer to know a little more about a book than simply someone suggesting it to me. So, I figured my step father couldn’t be too bad, plus I was curious about the kind of material he was reading. He was definitely curious about my opinion as well. I took it, partially reluctantly and partially out of curiousity. That book was The Bible Tells Me So…: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It by Peter Enns, published by HarperOne on September 15, 2015. Enns is the Abram S Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University and host of a podcast called The Bible for Normal People. While this book has been out for a few years, it certainly has many good thoughts and considerations that people need to take into account while reading the Bible.

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Is the Bible An Instruction Manual?

The Bible. Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. Have you ever had a hard time being able to read it and understand how it applies to your life? I certainly have. I spent many years believing that I was not faithful enough, because I simply wasn’t getting anything out of Scripture outside of what a pastor, theologian, or commentary told me. I didn’t enjoy reading it (sometimes I still have this problem). Then it occured to me, could it be because of the way I was reading the Bible? Of course not! The Bible is God’s instruction manual to me, to teach me exactly how I am to live my life. Yet, I don’t see how I am supposed to be navigating things like the internet, social life in the middle of a pandemic, or what funds would be the best place for me to invest my money. If the Bible is and instruction manual, shouldn’t I be able to come to it with my problems and find the exact right answer? Of course I should, but of course this is not the way the Bible works. Maybe this is because the Bible is NOT and instruction manual.

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Going Forward Into 2021

As we start the new year, I’ve been giving a lot of thought on the direction of this blog. I know that I’ve been posting inconsistently, while practically begging for interaction. The nice thing is that 2020 was the best year, analytically, since this blog first began in 2013. I think that means it’s time for me to actually focus a lot harder on creating content here and trying to expand in other areas. I have plans for 2021, but I’d love some input on what you, my readers, are most curious about.

The foundational idea for this blog is that I have always wanted to know God deeper and more intimately. I often thought of David being called a man after God’s own heart, being my guide for the kind of person I wanted to be and they path this blog was going to take. This is still a deep desire of mine, but I think I’ve let the application part of Bible study fall by the wayside. I believe that we can come together as a community and help one another grow in Christlikeness and deeper in our relationship with God and one another. I, personality, believe it is impossible to really learn this in isolation. As part of my plans for the next year, I am planning on being much more active on social media, practicing my faith with you. Two other ways I am working on developing this space for 2021 is through a podcast and a some subscription based platform. Right now, I am certainly in the testing phase on my ideas, so I do not have anything to publish yet. If you would like to join me in the creation of these spaces, please let me know.

I have been dealing with a lot of depression and anger with God over the past year. I am looking forward to getting out of this funk and celebrating the live I have been given and helping others enjoy a relationship with the Maker of the Universe. We’ll continue reading books, studying the Bible, and discussing this life we have with God. I look forward to the journey this life is going to take, and I hope and pray that it can be illuminating for all of us.

What More Do I Need to Do?

The world has become a strange place as I am without a church and am “church shopping” in the middle of a pandemic. My wife and I have decided that it is best for us and our family to maintain our distance from people that we do not know and spend our Sunday morning streaming church services. Recently we were listening to a message from one of our perspective churches, and the pastor chose to do a sermon series that was based on the Rapture. While I could certainly argue against such a concept, the subject matter wasn’t even the most offensive piece of this pastor’s message. After spending weeks laying out the idea that the Church is going to miraculously disappear right before the world needed it most, the pastor looked at the congregation and said, “You have to get ready. You have to be ready when Jesus returns.” I believe the implication of this statement is that there is some lifestyle or personality changes that need to be made, so when Christ comes he will make you disappear too. I have been thinking about this ever since. Not because I was convicted to change my life for Christ, but because I was so terribly offended by the statement. Let me explain.

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Faith and Mental Health

Hi friends! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written. Honestly, I got super excited about working from home as I saw an opportunity to write A LOT! However, as you can tell from my lack of posting, the exact opposite is what happened. I didn’t write at all. As a matter of fact, a lot of things changed for me with regards to practicing my faith, Bible study, reading, writing, and a whole lot of things I like to do. The major thing that happened is that I have had a major battle with depression over the last few months with regards to my profession and other life stresses. Then, on top of that, I had to walk away from my church back in July due to some ethical conflicts. The total impact of everything has made it quite difficult for me to find much enjoyment in anything that I like doing, that isn’t some form of escape (e.g. playing a bunch of video games). The good news is that I think I’m finally making some progress with my own well being, even if nothing has changed (as a matter of fact, a lot has gotten worse, but I’m more hopeful that I used to be).

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Approaching the Atonement: The Reconciling Work of Christ

Back in April, when I decided that it was time to return to blogging, I figured the best way to start was to reach for a book for review. My eyes traveled across my bookshelf and fell upon the word “atonement.” I’m sure this was due to the fact that we had just celebrated Easter. Even so, the minimalist cover and the theological nature of the book easily sucked me in, and I knew that this had to be the next book for the Heart Man Blog. This month’s book is Approaching the Atonement: The Reconciling Work of Christ by Oliver Crisp, published by InterVarsity Press in February 2020. Crisp seeks to give his reader an understanding of one of the most important doctrines of the Christian faith. For as long as people have had faith in Jesus, they have argued about how it is that Jesus’ death actually means salvation for humanity.

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Tending Soul, Mind, and Body: The Art and Science of Spiritual Formation

Something that I have been giving a lot of thought to has been spiritual formation. I’m sure some of that has to do with my education, but when, honestly, was the last time you considered your spiritual life? This month’s book, Tending Soul, Mind, and Body: The Art and Science of Spiritual Formation, published by InterVarsity Press in October 2019, seeks to open the eyes of pastors and laypeople to consider taking care of one’s spirit/soul. This book is a published version of reflections and presentations made during the 2018 Center for Pastor Theologians conference. Topics in this book reflect the fields of theological anthropology, spiritual formation, and psychology and how they can be used to look at the person as a whole; not merely physical, mental, and spiritual health.

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Oh No! I Messed Up

We often hear how important it is to develop spiritual disciplines. These include fasting, Bible study, prayer, and many more. We are told that the importance of these disciplines is develop ourselves in Christlikeness; so we can be the people God created us to be. Yet, we’re human and therefore, imperfect. What does this mean for our spiritual disciplines? It means that we will mess up. We may set out to prayer, every morning, at 5am (before anyone else in the house is up), for 15 minutes. We are able to accomplish this task for awhile, but one day you wake up and its 7am. Oh No! You messed up but what do you do now? Below are some ideas that I have for you to remember when this happens.

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Where Do I Go From Here?

When I started this blog in 2013, I had the single goal of trying to keep my biblical studies skills sharp, as I had just finished a degree and didn’t want it to fall by the wayside. I had a serious hunger to stay in the Word and study it every day. Then something happened. I simply quit blogging. Then in 2018, I decided to login and start writing again. The last few months of 2019, I had to take another short break as it was my final semester of my second degree. I always intended to return and my break has certainly taken longer than anticipated. Yet I can’t help but as myself why?

I enjoy the process of reading and writing, both on biblical studies and theology. However, I think my format has gotten me down. It feels like too much work to stick within the predetermined format setting specific themes and only writing about them. Plus, I haven’t been able to find the niche that allows me create a community. It feels like shouting into the void. At the beginning of this blog, I was ok with that, but now I want people to talk to. Maybe that’s too self serving, I don’t know.

I’ve ben having a hard time coming back, not because I don’t want to, but because it doesn’t seem to be worth anything. If I am going to spend my time doing anything, I want it to be something that is beneficial to the work of God, and not useless babble. Maybe you value the stuff I’ve been writing, and maybe you don’t. Either way, I’d greatly appreciate some content suggests to help me guide this blog insomething that is beneficial to the Church and not just a way for me to get my thoughts out. Do you have any suggestions. Comment below and let’s make something together.

Transhumanism and the Image of God: Today’s Technology and the Future of Christian Discipleship

If you have been paying attention to the Heart Man Book Reviews, you will remember that I read a book on the use of modern technology and a book about fostering online education. Admittedly, this field has been of interest to me ever since I read The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. So I couldn’t help myself when InterVarsity Press released Transhumanism and the Image of God: Today’s Technology and the Future of Christian Discipleship by Jacob Shatzer. Shatzer has a PhD from Marquette University and is an ordained Baptist pastor. This book was released in April of 2019 and is incredibly important in our world as we live with increasing usage of technology. Shatzer argues that digital technology trains us, little by little, in transhumanist philosophy, allowing us to one day accept it completely. He asks the simple question of whether this is an appropriate formation for Christians or if we should be cautious about trying to adopt new digital technologies.

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