A Capacity For Wonder

Tish Harrison Warren

Once a student met with him to complain about having to read Augustine’s Confessions. “It’s boring,” the student whined. “No, it’s not boring,” the professor responded. “You’re boring.”

What Jonathan’s professor meant is that when we gaze at the richness of the gospel and the church and find them dull and uninteresting, it’s actually we who have been hollowed out. We have lost our capacity to see wonders where true wonders lie. We must be formed as people who are capable of appreciating goodness, truth, and beauty.

Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, p. 34

Of Making Many Books

Justin Whitmel Earley

I was standing in Daedalus Books in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I had recently read Mortimer J. Adler’s How to Read a Book. I was alive with the desire to read. But at that particular moment, my glee turned to horror. For whatever reason, the truth of the numbers suddenly hit me. The year before, I had read about thirty books. For me, that was a new record. But then I started counting. I was in my early twenties, and with any luck I’d live at least fifty more years. At that rate, I’d have about 1,500 books in me, give or take.

There were more books than that on the single wall I was staring at.

That’s when I had a realization of my mortality. My desire outpaced reality. I simply didn’t have the life to read what I wanted to read.

Justin Whitmel Earley, The Common Rule, p. 111

My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh (Ecclesiastes. 12:12)

God Saves Sinners

God: the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign wisdom, power and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen people, the Father electing, the Son fulfilling the Father’s will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of Father and Son by renewing.

Saves: does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory: plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies.

Sinners: men as God finds them, guilty, vile, helpless, powerless, unable to lift a finger to do God’s will or better their spiritual lot. God saves sinners, and the force of this confession may not be weakened by disrupting the unity of the work of the Trinity, or by dividing the achievement of salvation between God and man and making the decisive part man’s own, or by soft-pedaling the sinner’s inability so as to allow him to share the praise of his salvation with his Saviour.

J.I. Packer, “Introductory Essay,” in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, by John Owen (London: Banner of Truth, 1959) 4-5.

The appointed time

James Dunn

The death of Christ is envisaged as forming a pivotal point in history with God’s righteousness demonstrated there having effect for both the past and the future. kairos here denotes not just a moment in time or the passage of time, but time pregnant with significance—the appointed time, the time of opportunity, whose decisions and actions will determine the future.

James D. G. Dunn on Romans 3:26, Romans 1, WBC (1988), p. 174

“To what end does he bother to speak to us?”

JI Packer

The truly staggering answer which the Bible gives to this question is that God’s purpose in revelation is to make friends with us. It was to this end that He created us rational beings, bearing his image, able to think and hear and speak and love; He wanted there to be genuine personal affection and friendship, two-sided, between himself and us—a relation, not like that between a man and his dog, but like that of a father to his son, or a husband to his wife. Loving friendship between two persons has no ulterior motive; it is an end in itself. And this is God’s end in revelation.  

— J.I. Packer, God Has Spoken, 50

The most significant means to the most significant end

Someone asked me recently, after learning I was a Bible teacher, if I was a God-worshiper or a Bible-worshipper. The question didn’t come as a complete surprise. When you spend as much time as I do asking people to care about knowing their Bibles, someone is bound to ask if you have lost sight of the forest for the trees. My answer was simple: I want to be conformed to the image of God. How can I become conformed to an image that I never behold? I am not a Bible-worshipper, but I cannot truly be a God-worshipper without loving the Bible deeply and reverently. Otherwise, I worship an unknown god.

Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word, p. 147

How Patience Promotes Learning

Jen Wilkin

We love “aha” moments—those moments when something that has confused us suddenly makes sense. What we sometimes overlook about “aha moments” is that they occur after a significant period of feeling lost. Could it be that those periods of feeling lost were actually preparing us for the understanding that was eventually going to come? Could it be that feeling lost is one way God humbles us when we come to his Word, knowing that in due time he will exalt our understanding?

—Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word, p. 78–79

Joy Springs Forth

We had crepe myrtles planted in our yard last November. They've been bare sticks in the ground throughout the past few months. Every day for a month I've gone outside to see if anything has changed on those branches. And then today, like a leafy whisper, buds finally emerged on the trees.