Guidelines September - December 2018

Bible study for today's ministry and mission

Commissioned by David Spriggs

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Guidelines is a unique Bible reading resource that offers four months of in-depth study written by leading scholars. Contributors are drawn from around the world, as well as the UK, and represent a stimulating and thought-provoking breadth of Christian tradition.

Instead of the usual dated daily readings, Guidelines provides weekly units, broken into at least six sections, plus an introduction giving context for the passage and a final section of points for thought and prayer.

On any day you can read as many or as few sections as you wish, to fit in with work or home routine. As well as a copy of Guidelines, you will need a Bible. Each contributor also suggests books for further study.

The Editor writes...

'Who do you say that I am?' This question is put by Jesus to his disciples and is considered by Steve Motyer as he brings us to the conclusion of his studies on Mark 1-8. It is a question that as disciples we are always facing, and as ministers of the gospel we constantly need to refresh our understanding. We do this by re-engaging with the scriptures, which are our source of insight. Advent and Christmas provide us with a great opportunity to do this.

There are several weeks within these notes which help us achieve this. There is Andrew Lincoln's examination of the flourishing or abundant life which Jesus came to bring us. This offers us an amazing insight into John's Gospel and the incarnation. Along with this, there is the introduction to Luke's Gospel by Steve Walton, looking at the Advent chapters, and my attempt to provide a more in-depth context for appreciating the nuances of the birth of Jesus by considering other 'special births' within the scriptures.

One of the new authors for Guidelines is Paul Bradbury, who has published a book with BRF on vocation (Stepping into Grace, 2016 - available to order on p. 151). As he seeks to elucidate the relationship between vocation and ambition, we are taken into some of the depths of Christ's own ministry, helping us understand what it is to be 'the Christ'.

Our faith is incarnational, so Fiona Gregson considers how the early church was an incarnational community - in the way that they shared their possessions with one another. Michael Parsons, who in a previous issue introduced us to Luther's insights on prayer, now uses Calvin's understanding of prayer to further sharpen an appropriate Christian spirituality.

Jesus made it very clear to his disciples that being 'the Christ' inevitably involved suffering. The Old Testament provides a rich context for grappling with this paradox that Peter and most Christians since have also struggled with. Kate Bruce's contribution on Lamentations is truly helpful here.

Paul Hedley Jones explores how the prophets share in God's passion for redemption: 'Israel's prophets are precursors to Jesus, whose prophetic ministry brings about the fulfilment of God's passion to dwell on earth.'

Miriam Hinksman and Jeremy Duff both tackle challenging material. Miriam engages seriously with the text and challenges of Nahum and Obadiah. From her research into the book of Lamentations, she is well-placed to help us appreciate the distress which the other nations had brought to Israel when they invaded with arrogant and merciless brutality. Jeremy shares with us his deep appreciation of the biblical material surrounding gender issues. These contributions are vital for us if we are to be Christians committed to the Bible but aware of the challenges this can bring us.

In this issue:

A vocational journey
Paul Bradbury
3-16 September

Gender in the Bible
Jeremy Duff
17-30 September

Miriam Hinksman
1-7 October

John Calvin on prayer
Michael Parsons
8-14 October

Mark 6:30 - 8
Steve Motyer
15 October-4 November

Sharing possessions in the New Testament and today
Fiona Gregson
5-18 November

The spirituality of the prophets
Paul Hedley Jones
19 November - 2 December

Miriam Hinksman
3-9 December

Kate Bruce
10-16 December

The birth of special children
David Spriggs
17-23 December

Advent in Luke: introducing Luke 1 - 2
Steve Walton
24 - 30 December

Human flourishing in John's Gospel
Andrew Lincoln
31 December - 6 January

About the contributors in this issue:

Paul Bradbury is a pioneer minister based in Poole. As well as planting churches locally, he is involved in pioneer ministry across the south of England. His publications include Stepping into Grace (BRF, 2016).

Jeremy Duff is Principal of St Padarn's Institute, a centre for ministry training in Wales. His book The Elements of New Testament Greek (2005) is Cambridge University Press's bestselling religion title. He has also written Peter's Preaching for BRF (2015).

Miriam Hinksman (n Bier) is a visiting lecturer in Old Testament and research fellow at London School of Theology. She teaches and preaches regularly at her church in Canterbury.

Michael Parsons is a Commissioning Editor for The Bible Reading Fellowship and an Associate Research Fellow at Spurgeon's College, London. He has written several books including Praying the Bible with Luther (BRF, 2017).

Steve Motyer loves the quest for understanding - and the Bible is central to this quest. His life as a carer helps with this, as does 30 years of teaching New Testament and Counselling at London School of Theology.

Fiona Gregson is an ordained Anglican whose UK ministry has been mainly in inner-city, multicultural parishes. She has also lived and worked in several African countries.

Paul Hedley Jones is Lecturer in Old Testament and Homiletics in Australia. His teaching and writing seek to integrate theological interpretation of Old Testament texts with issues in spiritual formation.

Kate Bruce is Deputy Warden at Cranmer Hall, Durham, where she teaches preaching at BA and MA level. She did her PhD on preaching and imagination and has written a number of books and articles on this area.

David Spriggs provides consultancy services for Bible Society, but his main role is as a Baptist minister. He is a part-time minister with the Friar Lane and Braunstone Baptist Church, Leicester.

Steve Walton is a researcher and teacher of the New Testament. An Anglican priest, he has served in student and parish ministry. Steve has published a number of books, and is presently working on a commentary on Acts.

Andrew Lincoln is Emeritus Professor of New Testament at the University of Gloucestershire. His publications include substantial commentaries on Ephesians, Colossians and the Gospel of John.

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Author info

Revd Dr David Spriggs is a Baptist minister with the Friar Lane and Braunstone Baptist Church, Leicester. He was previously Dean of Studies at Bible Society, for which he now provides occasional consultancy, and Project Director for The Open Book. He is the Editor of Guidelines.


Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857466044
  • Published: 10 July 2017
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
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