J with the J: Intro

I wish I were a rapper. Well, not really, but a title like that makes me wish I had at least some rhythmic skills to speak of. I don’t. I can’t even clap and sing at the same time. My daughter — God bless her! — has inherited my distinct “whiteness” and yet, thanks to The Electric Company, is convinced she has a career as a beat-boxer. Oh, Shock, you have no idea what you’ve inspired.

And with that lovely and not-at-all relevant segue, let’s talk about Judges!

(This post is part of a series. Those not privy may want to see where it started. Click here.)

Last week I started a study on the book of Judges. Our first meeting consisted mostly of logistics: handing out workbooks, discussing the schedule, introducing one another and the topic. The real meat and potatoes will start at our next gathering which will be on September 28th. (We’ll have the online discussion on the 29th.)

First things first: What is our purpose? Why do this?

Sounds like a simple question, right? Well, yes, until you acknowledge how many questions are hidden within those two little ones. Let’s take a closer look.

WHY STUDY THE BIBLE?

The Bible is imperative in the lives of believers. You cannot be an effective Christian unless you are in the Bible. That’s all there is to it. It is absolutely essential for spiritual health and growth.

Deuteronomy 11:18; Psalm 1:1-3; John 8:32

WHY STUDY AS A GROUP?

It is entirely possible for believers to be in the Bible independently without participating in a group. In fact, it’s important that we have one-on-one time with God! However, God created us as relational beings and being together with Him with others is also important. We may even learn more about ourselves and our God through group study.

Consider objectivity and perspective. What can we learn from one another that we may not have gleaned on our own? Beyond that we benefit from accountability and praying with one another. I can think of very few things quite so precious as knowing a friend is consistently praying for me. It’s so encouraging! We never need to feel alone or isolated. Group Bible studies connect us in amazing ways.

Proverbs 27:17; Hebrews 3:13, 10:25

WHY STUDY THE OLD TESTAMENT?

A few years ago a friend of mine, who at the time had been a believer for fifteen years, confessed to me that she had never read the Old Testament. She said it just didn’t interest her; it had nothing to offer her. I was shocked. And heartbroken. For fifteen years she had known God and for that entire time, she had never outside of church on Sunday read the OT.

I know that that New Testament is full of direct application. It’s easy to read, easy to understand and often easy to apply. But if you ignore the Old Testament, you are missing so much.

Think about it. Of the 66 books in the Bible, 39 are in the Old Testament. That’s more than half, but if you consider the actual lengths of these books, it’s much more. The Bible sitting next to me has 1825 pages. The Old Testament covers 1411 of those pages. If you neglect the Old Testament, you’re neglecting over 70% of the Bible. Now, how can one presume to know God and to know what He has to tell us, if we only listen to a third of what He tells us?

My personal motivation: to reach people with the relevance of the Old Testament by revealing its foundational necessity to all of Scripture and doctrine while highlighting prominent parallels with the New Testament. (The in-house group said that was is a lot of big words.) I want you to know the Old Testament is vital and vivid; it is dramatic and dynamic. It is relevant to us today, even while living under grace. It is absolutely beautiful and I want you to love it as much as I do.

Joshua 1:8; 2 Timothy 2:16–17; Matthew 4:4

WHY JUDGES?

Of all the books of the Bible, Judges is one of the most graphic, violent, in many ways disturbing books. Some have said it was only included in Scripture for the sake of pre-pubescent boys who revel in the bazarre, gross and odd stories. We’re not studying Judges because of any of this.

We’re studying Judges because:

  1. I wanted to do an Old Testament book.
  2. I love Sandra Glahn’s approach to Bible study.
  3. This is one of her books, one that I had not yet done.
  4. That’s about it.

The fact is that it doesn’t matter what book of the Bible we study. Studying ANY book of the Bible is valuable! Studying THIS book will reveal to us a few specific things.

  1. God demands and deserves complete righteousness and complete obedience. (Enter God’s grace and the substitutionary atonement provided by Jesus Christ.)
  2. Even those chosen by God to be leaders are still human. (READ: mortal and flawed)
  3. If God can use people like Samson and Gideon, He can certainly use you and me.

If you don’t have the book, be sure to get it and try to complete the first “week” of homework before next Thursday. Even if you don’t have the book, I hope you’ll still enjoy this journey through the Judges. It’s going to be an adventure.

Talk to me!

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