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Grace. Truth. Family.

Pastor's Blog

Proverbs 23b-24a: How Do I Count to 30?

After my first sermon on the “30 Sayings of the Wise” (Pr 22b-24) one of our teenagers in the church approached me with a very insightful question: “How do you know where each saying begins and ends?”                   The question was more difficult than he knew.  Commentators lack unity on how to count to 30. …

Kid, Parent, Grandkid

            Proverbs has a lot to say to both parents and children about the most essential human relationship you have in your life.  Because there was so much, I was forced to cut quite a bit from today’s sermon.  Probably the most painful cut I had to make was Proverbs 17:6. Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are…

Long Live the King!

When preaching topical sermons in Proverbs, sometimes one has to make a choice about what themes should be used to construct the outline and flow of a sermon. The first thing to do when preaching topically from Proverbs (or anywhere, really) is to gather the data on that topic. For this sermon, I focused on Proverbs that…

Evidence for Random Organization, Part IV

The last few weeks we’ve been exploring the idea of “random organization” in the Proverbs of Solomon.  We’ve seen large-scale evidence of organizational patterns within these seemingly random strings of proverbs, and small-scale evidence such as catchwords and common themes.             For the last part of this series we’ll look briefly at two more pieces…

Breaking Wind in Proverbs?

The first thing that I do each week when preparing for my sermon is translate the text I intend to preach.  I came across a surprise in Proverbs 29:11.  Here’s an English translation of the verse (ESV): “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”             It’s…

Random Organization, Part II

Last week we began to examine evidence of “random organization” within the Solomonic portions of Proverbs (chs 10-22a, 25-29).  We saw that there is plenty of evidence of “large scale” organization – whole sections being structured by the final editor(s) of the book.             This week we’ll begin to look at some smaller scale organization,…

Proverbs 3a – The Tablet of the Heart

Proverbs 3:3 says, “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart” (all Scripture references in ESV). During my sermon today, I briefly alluded to the “tablet of the heart” language reflects the language of Deuteronomy and other biblical passages. Originally I had…

Proverbs 1b – Balancing Proverbs

Proverbs 1:20-33 strikes a balance, demonstrating the cause-and-effect of rejecting Woman Wisdom’s call by clever use of repetitious terms. I mentioned a few verses towards the end of the sermon that showed this balance, but the whole of this passage is actually what we call a “chiasm.” A chiasm is when two halves of a…

John 21 – A Look Back

After 35 weeks studying the Gospel of John, I have been overwhelmed by the final verse of John’s message: “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (21:25 ESV). Now…

John 18b-19a – Flogging Jesus

Here’s a strange question I never thought I’d have to wrestle with: when was Jesus flogged? And how many times? As I mentioned in my sermon, the Romans had three different levels of physical punishment when it came to flogging the victim: 1) Fustigatio – a beating. 2) Flagellatio – a flogging. 3) Verberatio –…


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