Check out

Not Even a Hint
Kevin DeYoung challenges media habits: “Why is it OK to watch on TV what would be wrong to watch in real life?”

Four Principles for the Exercise of Christian Liberty
Sinclair Ferguson answers the vital question: “Can Christians eat black pudding?”

The Three Most Amazing Letters in the Bible
It begins with “B” and ends in “T.”

Duck Dynasty’s Cultural Christianity
Thomas Kidd raises a caution about this increasingly popular family show.

Oh Sweet Lorraine and Missing Hope
Tim Challies does a great job here connecting and contrasting two different experiences of marital bereavement.

The Underbelly of Hiring Leaders in the Christian Community.
So, so true.

The Original Message of the Old Testament Books

Yesterday we considered the most important question for interpreting the Old TestamentWhat was the original message to the original audience? Let me give some examples of what insights this question produces.


Genesis was written by Moses to the Israelites who had just come out of Egypt and were wondering if they should have left after all.

Original Message: God’s power to create order and light out of disorder and darkness in the universe and in individual lives should encourage Israel to leave the disorder and darkness of Egypt behind them, and confidently move towards the order and light of Canaan.

Present Message: God’s power to create order and light out of disorder and darkness should encourage the new Israel (the Church) to leave the “old world of Egypt” (this present evil world) behind and move toward the “new world of Canaan” (new heavens and earth).


Exodus was written a bit later than Genesis when Moses’ leadership was being continually questioned by the Israelites following him in the wilderness.

Original Message: Israel should continue to follow Moses because God clearly authorized him to be Israel’s deliverer, law-giver, and worship-leader

Present Message: The Church should continue to follow Christ’s fulfillment and application of Moses’ teaching because God clearly authorized him to be the Church’s deliverer, law-giver and worship leader.


Deuteronomy was written to the Israelites on the border of the Promised Land and reviews Israel’s history to encourage them to go and take the land God had given them.

Original Message:  Israel should renew their commitment to the God’s covenant under a new leader (Joshua) facing new challenges.

Present Message: The church should renew its commitment to the God’s covenant under a new leader (Christ) facing new challenges.


Judges was written to show what happened in Israel when there was no king in Israel but every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Original message: Israel should commit itself to the godly King of Judah for spiritual and social blessings on a personal and national level.

Present message: The Church should commit itself to the godly Judahite King (Christ) for spiritual and social blessings on a personal and national level.


The two books of Kings were written to Israel in Babylonian exile asking, “Why has God broken His covenant promise to us?” Kings demonstrates that far from breaking His covenant promise, God has kept it by punishing Israel with exile for her sins, and calls her to repentance.

Original Message: The nation deserved the exile, but restoration was possible through full repentance

Present Message: The Church deserves chastisement, but restoration is possible through full repentance


The two books of Chronicles cover the same period and stories as the two books of Kings, but they were written at the end of the Babylonian exile not the beginning. So, although they tell the same stories, Chronicles tells them in a much more optimistic, upbeat way. The emphasis is not on past sins, but past examples of faithfulness. The difference is due to different people, different times, and different purposes. Chronicles was written at the end of the exile when God was trying to encourage the Israelites to return to their land and to His blessing with these inspiring stories from their national past.

Original Message: Work for the restoration of Israel’s throne and temple to enjoy God’s blessing.

Present Message: Work for the restoration and rebuilding of the throne and church of God to enjoy God’s blessing.

Song of Solomon

The Song of Solomon was written to a people in covenant with God, whose spiritual relationship with God was often portrayed by Moses, the Psalmist, and the Prophets as a marriage.

Original Message: Enjoy God’s gift of love in every relationship, but especially in relation to Him

Present Message: Enjoy God’s gift of love in every relationship, but especially in relation to Christ.

I hope this sample encourages you to take this approach with other books, and parts of books. Some of these are adapted from Richard Pratt’s He Gave Us Stories, which is the go-to book for learning more about the original message of the Old Testament books.

Check out

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
Video interview with my friend R.C. Sproul Jr., a dear brother who has regularly inspired me throughout the painful experience of losing his wife and daughter. And how wonderful that he’s gathered together all the lessons of these years in a new teaching series on Suffering and the Sovereignty of God.

On Being Black and Presbyterian
Beginning to look like R.C. Jr. appreciation day here. A challenging article on how to rid ourselves of racism. R.C.’s solution? “Believe reformed theology!”

The Drunkard’s Morality
“How can Mr. Kerry say this “defies any code of morality” when every day in his own country, with his approval, thousands of unborn children have chemicals used against them?”

Common Flawed Vessels
Paul Tautges encouraged me with this article which highlighted the flaws of each of Jesus’ disciples. “Clearly, we can see that there really was nothing special about these guys. There were no “big guns” in the group. No high-society influencers. No guys showing off “power ties” at their business meetings. They were just ordinary, run-of-the-mill kind of people. More than that, they had more flaws than you could shake a stick at. But they had something else—or should I say Someone—who made all the difference.”

6 Ways To Your Teacher’s Heart
PRTS students, please read!

The Brainy Benefits of Being Bilingual
Here’s an encouragement for Greek and Hebrew students.

The Most Important Old Testament Question

How would you like it if a Russian, or an Arab, or even a Scot walked into your house, picked up your diary and photo album and said, “Oh, this is all about me! Look at me in that picture. And this diary entry was such a big lesson for me.”

You’d probably grab your diary and photos back, kick him out of the door, and rebuke him for his cheeky self-centeredness. “How dare he think these things are all about him!”

So why do we do that with the Bible, especially with the Old Testament. We pick up this old collection of “pictures” and stories and the first question we ask is, “What’s in this for me?” or “What does this say to me?” How dare we!

Cheeky self-centeredness
This cheeky self-centeredness is not quite so common when we deal with the New Testament as more people recognize that the letter to the Corinthians was written to a specific people at a specific place at a specific time for a specific purpose. Same with Paul’s letters to the Romans, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, etc. Teachers and preachers will often explain New Testament verses in their original context before drawing application to today’s readers and listeners.

But when we come to the Old Testament, people read Genesis or Ruth or Isaiah as if it was written directly to the 21st century western Christian, with hardly a thought about the original writer, the original audience, or the original reason for writing. I must confess, that’s how I used to read the Old Testament, and even preach it.

However, my approach to the Old Testament was revolutionized by Dr. Richard Pratt’s Old Testament Introduction lectures and his book, He Gave Us Stories. Pratt insisted that we must research when an Old Testament book was written, who wrote it, and why. That will give us the original message to the original audience, enabling us to make more accurate application to similar audiences meeting similar challenges today.

Tomorrow, we’ll survey the original message of a number of Old Testament books and how that guides us to understand their message to us.

Check out

How Facebook Hurts Us
Also here’s Barry York on Facebook Psychology.

Jesus On Every Page Giveaway
Also here.

Let’s Talk About Mental Illness
Stephen lets the Bible interpret his experience.

Tutor Reveals Ivy League Admissions Madness of Penthouse Parents
This must be happening in some parallel universe.

The Decline of E-Empires
Probably the first and last time I link to Paul Krugman, but he’s actually talking some sense here.

10 Ways To Be Present And Be A Better Listener
Seems so elementary and yet what a difference this would make to many relationships. It’s amazing that despite spending 12 years in school, very few kids are taught this basic skill.

Jesus on Every Page Poem

I’ve always been amazed at John Piper’s ability to write poems. Apart from an utterly unforgettable forgettable poem I wrote for my future wife on Valentine’s day about 24 years ago, my poetic gifts have remained resolutely dormant, if not totally extinct.

But a few weeks ago, I sat down and thought, “I wonder if I could write a poem about Christ in each book of the Old Testament.” I sat at a blank screen thinking I’d still be there an hour later with no pixels to show for my effort. But then the “muse” descended upon me, and 30 hours later, lo and behold, I had 30 verses! It’s not exactly Robert Burns or William Shakespeare (maybe a bit limerick-ish in places), but still, I hope it gets the Old Testament’s Christ-centered message across in a slightly different way.

As you can see, we even made a video of it with some of the kids in my congregation. I understand that some of these poor children had “Jesus on Every Page” ringing in their ears for the next couple of days (and nights!)

You can download a pdf of the poem here, and feel free to embed and share the video and poem elsewhere. Meanwhile, John Piper’s position as the Poet Laureate of the Reformed world remains unthreatened.

(PS: Remember if you order Jesus on Every Page before the end of this week, you’ll receive $100 of free OT resources. Details here.)

Jesus On Every Page

What do we find when we open this book
Let’s open the covers and take a close look
Wherever we turn, wherever we read
A familiar name is what we meet
It’s Jesus on every page
He wasn’t idle and quiet for thousands of years
Just watching and waiting till His turn drew near
He was busy and active in grace and in power
His mercy was growing – seed, bud, and flower
It’s Jesus on every page
He is the Word by whom all things were made
The Promised Seed who defeats the Serpent’s raid
He came as the Covenanter to save a people
Abram saw His day, Jacob saw him as an Angel
It’s Jesus on every page
With the blood of a lamb He painted His salvation
With an outstretched arm He defeated the Egyptian
Redemption, Relationship, Rules in that order
Dwelling with sinners, in the center, not the border
It’s Jesus on every page
He skillfully taught using visual theology
Levitical Priests offered sacrifice daily
No blood? No remission, no forgiveness of sin
But need more than sheep, for conscience has pain
It’s Jesus on every page
The Father chastised His people’s rebellion
The years numbered forty in the desert of Sin
Yet still sent His Son to be their faithful leader
Glory-cloud by day, by night a fiery pillar
It’s Jesus on every page
Moses chose Christ’s reproaches, and spoke of Him often
But his sinful bad temper barred him from Canaan
His last written work, Deuteronomy to author
Where He promised THE prophet, “one like me, but better”
It’s Jesus on every page
Y’shua called Joshua to conquer the land
He united the tribes into one mighty band
Much good was accomplished, Israel greatly blessed
But Y’shua gives better land, vict’ry and rest
It’s Jesus on every page
Jesus the Angel stopped Israel’s extinction
He saved, and saved through, Barak, Samson, and Gideon
Yet still each man did what in his eyes was right
Believers scanned the horizon, no good king in sight
It’s Jesus on every page
Hope dawns in four chapters of godly romance
God sends a redeemer, His kingdom to advance
God says of  a Gentile, “Ruth, you shall be mine!”
A Moabite? Yes, in the Messianic line
It’s Jesus on every page
Hannah predicts God’s Anointed, Messiah,
King David arises, “Is this our desire?”
He is the man after God’s own heart
Eternal king and kingdom now start?
It’s Jesus on every page
Yet, David, Solomon, and every successor
Sin and fall short in serious measure
Israel’s divided, then distant exile
Faith in Messiah faces Babylon trial
Is Jesus on any page?
Yet God is still faithful, He keeps covenant
Moves heathen king Cyrus, Israel to replant
Nehemiah and Ezra rebuild with great joy
God’s kingdom is coming, the devil to destroy
It’s Jesus on every page
But Satan’s still busy, Haman wants all Jews dead
Messiah’s line and purpose now hangs by a thread
Esther ventures by faith, her fate no one knows
It’s her time, not Haman’s, he’s on the gallows
It’s Jesus on every page
Job’s innocent suffering no fault of his
He’s sure precious gold is the end of all this
Not only a picture of a Redeemer to come
The Redeemer comes early and shows Job his home
It’s Jesus on every page.
We sing the Psalms to Him as God only wise
We sing the Psalms of Him using faith as our eyes
We sing the Psalms with him who sang them below
In times of rejoicing, and when the tears flow
It’s Jesus on every page
From Worship leader to Wisdom teacher
One greater than Solomon’s there and here
Although Madam Folly may call us to whoredom
In Jesus is hidden all knowledge and wisdom
It’s Jesus on every page.
The best life without Him is vanity of vanities
The worst life with Him is verity of verities
Education, possessions, cash, joy, toys, and friends,
But what will they profit, if no Christ at the end.
It’s Jesus on every page.
I am the bridegroom seeking a bride
A people to marry and love
To nourish and cherish right at my side
I can’t wait to come down from above
I’m Jesus on every page
I’m Wonderful, Counselor, the Prince of Peace
I’m butchered for sinners in atoning sacrifice
The Spirit’s upon me, good news for the meek
To set free the captives and strengthen the week
I’m Jesus on every page
Jeremiah predicts I’ll make covenant new,
A covenant effective, it’s something I’ll do,
I’ll be you prophet, your priest, and your king,
In grace I’ll forgive and forget all your sin.
I’m Jesus on every page
I’m calling the wicked, Turn why will you die
I’m the good shepherd who tells you to fly
I’m the new temple, God’s glory to share
I’m Jehovah Shammah, the Lord who is there
I’m Jesus on every page
Two kingdoms are warring to death in Daniel
The furious conflict is hot and hostile
But in visions, in furnace, and in lions’ den
Final victory’s mine, not devil’s or men.
I’m Jesus on every page.
Some of the prophets are smaller
Their message is often quite grim
But even there, jewels of Jesus are shining
They still speak clearly of Him
It’s Jesus on every page
In Hosea He allures the unfaithful
He promises His Spirit in Joel
Obadiah says He’ll conquer the malign
He uses useless Jonah as a sign
It’s Jesus on every page
In Amos, He roars like a lion
In Micah, He pardons all our sins
In Habakkuk, He gives hope in famine
In Zephaniah, He sees us and sings
It’s Jesus on every page.
Nations’ glories flow to Jesus in Haggai
Zechariah opens His fountain for sin
In Malachi John the Baptist gets a mention
Then 400 years of silence begin
Where’s the Jesus on every page?
Four centuries, no Jesus, no page
Dark, dismal, depressing the age
Then choirs of angels erupt in the skies
Christ Jesus is born, with real human eyes
Again, Jesus on every page
No more just predictions and pictures
No quick visits in mere human form
He’s come to be like us and be with us
Unleashing a devilish storm
They hate Jesus on every page
The Promised Seed bruised, but not beaten
Four Gospels record His great win
No longer pages dripping blood red
Conqueror’s gold is the color instead
We love Jesus on every page