Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Bible - relevant ?


Making sense of the Bible 4

I trust the previous outline was helpful. You may well be asking – "what is in it for me?" or "what relevance does it have for today?"

If you were born Jewish, I might write about Torah laws.  But most of my readers are not Jewish, rather Gentiles, so what applies to us? In this brief introduction, I don't have space to give lots of proof texts. They are many and available on request.

Old Testament notes:-

1   Torah was given to Israel through Moses.

2   The Old Testament has many moral lessons to be learnt as well as comfort .  Comfort through relating to the struggles of God fearing people.

3   The prophecies concerning the Messiah are important to verify the claims of Jesus, and they give clarity to His person and mission.

4   Most of the general prophecies in the O. T relate to Israel in the past and the future.


New Testament notes:-

1   Jesus came to His own people, the Jews.

2   These privileged people rejected Him.

3   The Gospel goes out to all the nations.

4   He is believed on, in the world.

5   He will return, vindicating His honour and His people.

So where do we Gentiles fit into the plan of God?  After the resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit directs the apostles to reach out to the unlearned, uncircumcised Gentiles who are without God, without hope ( Acts 10 , Ephesians 2). Acts 15, along with the teachings of Paul (Apostle to the Gentiles), tell the terms of inclusion into the new Christian community. (Not converts to Judaism, not second class Jews as some taught). This community became known as the church or assemblies. This created some conflict and confusion about Law keeping, rituals, status, authority etc  . That is why a careful reading of the letter to the Romans and the ones following is so important.

The new terms of "grace' – a big subject for another day.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

An old /new book


Making sense of the Bible part 3

Looking at the New Testament, things change significantly. Jesus is born, as recorded by four different biographers (Matthew , Mark, Luke, John). Jesus goes from very humble beginnings to reach out to the common people to help, heal and teach.

After three years of reaching out to the Jewish people, they reject His claim to be the Messiah, the Son of God. All the biographies major on the fact that He was rejected by the Jews and crucified by the Romans. That was a significant turning point in the privilege of the Israelites. The history section of 'Acts' does record messages of possible restoration for the Israelites, but the leadership deliberately rejected Jesus as the Christ (Messiah) and choose to persecute His followers. Eventually the temple was destroyed as Jesus foretold.

But in the record of 'Acts', God is seen as not defeated. He presents through the Apostles the bigger plan  - that God is going to gather together all people in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1).

The implementation of this new covenant is summarized:

·     *   God raises Jesus from among the dead, vindicating His claim to be the Son of God.

·    *    God the Father sends down from heaven the Holy Spirit to fill the believers, as never happened before.

·        * The Jewish believers are scattered to many countries spreading the Gospel.

·        * Then the Good News is shared with the Gentiles (non Jews), who previously were considered unworthy of any attention. (Acts 10-28)

·      *  Paul is converted and commissioned by Jesus in heaven to reach out to these Gentiles.

·        * New challenges arise and the Acts 15 conference gives the basis for new terms for serving God.

·       *  Paul writes many letters which were circulated for the teaching of those mixed Jewish/Gentile congregations. He explains with great clarity the new Gospel of Jesus Christ dying for our sins and rising again for our justification (Romans ++)

The later books of the New Testament give graphic descriptions of humans , religious and otherwise, rebelling against God.  Note : the Bible does not edit out the failure records to make Christianity a 'Best seller', but tells it as it is!

The Apostles who had seen and heard the Lord Jesus gave corrective teaching along with hope for the future (Peter, James, John).

The letter to the Hebrews is quite unique :- An outstanding presentation of Jesus Christ as connected to the Old Testament. Thus the whole Bible is bound together with one focus – Jesus Christ our glorious Lord.

The final Revelation presents the hope of final victory by Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of lords.  Most of it is yet future, when He will be seen as the Lamb upon His throne .

The good news of the new testament is that all people everywhere now have the opportunity to connect with God through Jesus Christ the Lord.

Enjoy reading this book of books.

John McKee

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Bible - Old Testament


Making sense of the Bible 2 (notes are intended for the many migrants I have taught Australian English)

The divisions of the Bible are important. The obvious division is Old Testament/New Testament. Testament means 'covenant, agreement'.  It is evident in the narrative of the Bible, that the unchanging God connects with different people in different ways at different times. (Hebrews 1)

The two covenants are summarized in John Chapter 1:

"The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ".

Looking at the Old, the first five books (Genesis to Deuteronomy) are called Torah. These were given to the Hebrews by Moses (Israelites later called Jews).

The second section is a candid record of the Israelite nation in the land of Canaan. It is not a very impressive story, but details the good and the bad.

Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of songs are prose, poetry, praise, wisdom and romance books.

Isaiah through to Malachi are the messages of the prophets who warned Israel and the nations to turn to the Lord. They often spoke into the future of both judgement and restoration. Included are many prophecies about the anticipated Messiah – Jesus.

I encourage you to look among the Psalms – they can cheer your day like nothing else.

Next time – New Testament

Monday, December 13, 2021

Can we understand the Bible?


Making sense of the Bible

    If you walked into a library, to which section would you go? To the non-fiction,  or the DVD's or the fiction or the encyclopedia, or the newspapers??

    If you opened the library of the Bible, what would you be looking for.?  The range is extensive :- History, poetry legal,  spiritual, romantic, life skills, futuristic.  These sections have been written by many different authors in various countries. The variety has a common theme – God reaching out to humanity. These books have come together over many years.

    It is not a book of science trying to prove the existence of God. Nor is it a simplistic 'how to manual'. Rather it is God revealing Himself  and connecting with different people at different times in history, connecting in different ways.

    The first section has the family of Abraham in focus. Much of it is written for and about the Israelite nation. The songbook  (Psalms) relates very much to the experiences, good and bad, of people of all times.

    The section that shines out as most relevant are the accounts of the life of Jesus Christ. These biographies are clear expressions of the ways God connects with both Jews and Gentiles (non Jews). Jesus is presented as very different from normal people , yet very real in human life. They also present different aspects of the person – The man Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. (written by Matthew ,Mark,  Luke, John)

    These four Gospel records are enhanced by the subsequent teaching of His Apostles ( Peter, James John , Paul etc). He commissioned them to teach the new Gospel by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  They were to unveil things about Himself that He had purposely hidden. (John 16)

    The history of 'Acts', shows the purpose of the Lord, that through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ , forgiveness of sins should be preached to the whole world.  The problems and failures in this endeavour are honestly recorded. The blessings to the whole world are recorded in the 2000 years of history since.

May I encourage you to go browsing, beginning with the contents page. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021



The Bible stands as the most unique book of all time. Many  have  tried to burn it, ban it, break it. It endures the test of time as God's word (His revelation to mankind).

It has been my privilege to give many Bibles to school students recently. But can they understand it?  Is it not a daunting history with Israelite laws? Which parts apply today and which don't?  Is it reliable to the originals?

All these are important questions, and that is one of the reasons why I write this blog. By the Lord's help I seek to make the Bible trusted and relevant. It helps people trust the book when they see it operating in a Christian's life.

So understanding the book is important, but living the truth revealed in it is vital. So many religions are a creed or ritual  to be assented to without a living connection with the true and living God. The Bible is a revelation  from God , for the purpose of connecting us with God,  Anything less is superficial and religion without the Bible is fake.

Jesus Christ the Lord , wants to live in our hearts by the working of the Holy Spirit.  (Ephesians 3)


"being born again , not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever"  (1 Peter1:23)