Book Review: Festival Days ( by Chaim Raphael)

I recently read through and promised to review, Festival Days, by Raphael Chaim. Edward Howell and I had been reviewing the “Feasts of the Lord” as outlined in the Books of Moses (Genesis – Deueteronomy) on the Preterist Power Hour for quite some time, and we created an online resource. You can review that updated resource at then following link,

I appreciated with many of the points that Chaim Raphael had made regarding the feasts, especially, that “One becomes aware, in considering the festivals, that they add up to a demonstration of the uniqueness of Jewish history in the world story”. He went a bit further in his list of feasts than we did, as he noted, “…the traditional list does not include some important new celebrations which have emerged in Israel”, and he furthered explained that “…the festival calendar includes fasts as well as feasts”. 

In my estimation, Festival Days, highlighted the evolving nature of the feast days, sometimes contradictory (somber or celebratory); as well as the agricultural details (or what he referred to as the “season understructure”. A great point he had made that Edward and I hadn’t spent much time on, was the fact that the feasts were by and large organized around the new moon. The ancient world relied upon the agricultural and celestial details for their accounting for time and memorials, and as Chaim noted,  “At one level , the ancient Hebrews were linked to the cultures around them; at another, they had been transformed by the revelation through Moses of a faith in God that enshrined a new approach to morality”. 

Encouraging further study into the surrounding cultures, Chaim Raphael mentioned the Tablets of Ninevah and a book by John B. Prichard called ‘Ancient Near Eastern Texts Related To The Old Testament’. ‘Hebrew Myths’ by Robert Graves and the ‘Cultural Background Study Bible’ as a resource put forth by John Walton are resources I have found beneficial in this area. 

I found this following point interesting and something I want to respond to (and that’s why I share it): 

“…the festivals enable one to get a quick guide on whether God is satisfied with one’s behavior. This guide is available they (rabbis) said, four times in the year: at Passover, through the ripening of the grain; at Pentecost, through the ripening of the fruit; at New Year, when a human’s survival or death is weighted upon by God; at Sukkot, ‘if it rains’. God would only make life difficult for His faithful Jews is he was really angry with them”. 

This became the Achille’s Heel in Jewish thinking, often times leading them to desire other false gods, because it seemed those who worshipped them were doing something right. The wisdom found in the Book of Job runs contrary to this type of thinking. Rather than Job noting his calamities came upon him because of something his did wrong, it was important to gain the wisdom that God gives and takes away (cf. Job 1:21). Jesus Christ dealt with this type of thinking in John chapter 9, wherein He was asked about the blind man, and He responded, ““but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”. Other examples in Scripture of trying times not necessarily being a indicator of God being displeased with you would be Jesus Christ telling His disciples they will have ‘tribulation in this world’ (cf. John 16:33) and the wisdom from the Apostle Paul about rejoining in tribulation (cf. Romans 5:3 – surely this wasn’t encouragement to be joyful when God is displeased with you, right?!?!).  

In conclusion, Chaim Raphel noted that “The celebrate the Jewish faith is not a commitment to legalism or pomposity. If anything it is a commitment to the intellectual liveliness that has fueled Jewish life in all the ages”. The essence of the Jewish Festival Days was to help the people become so absorbed in the things of God, that they could do nothing else than “Love the Lord God with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). He went on to note that “Life is drained of meaning of meaning in a struggle to win…when God is brought down to earth, “it changes the taste of the sea”. In the Old Testament, it was understood that God was brought down to earth through he Spirit found in the feasts, festivals, and sacrifices, all of which pointed to Jesus Christ (cf. Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 10:1). 

Review written by Michael Miano 

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Helmet of Salvation

Helmet of Salvation = mind that knows (ie., saving knowledge) and understands, and employs the truth, power, and faithfulness of God. #girdupyourloins

“Salvation is more than a profession of faith, or a dip in a baptisty, or a moral life, or conformity to external rules of religion. It’s more than _______________________ (fill in the blank). Salvation is the supernatural transformation whereby one is renewed inwardly and thereby transformed outwardly”. – Richard Belcher, Journey in Grace

Consider the following links and resources:

Tonight’s session of Knowledge kNights on Salvation :

2 recent sessions of NCMI Live on Salvation:

Sermons I have preached & articles I have written:

Salvation Matter blog Understanding Soma

Salvation – YouTube – 2018 BPBC Bible Conference Conceptual Salvation – YouTube- 2018 BPBC Bible Conference

How God Would Accomplish This Salvation – BPBC Sermon – Hebrews

Salvation Of The Jews – BPBC Sermon – Salvific History

Blogs on Narrative Soteriology:

Zeal Without Knowledge – A Dumbed Down Salvation

Larry Siegle’s – Accomplished Salvation

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Book Review: Dallas Willard’s, The Allure of Gentleness

Review written by: Michael Miano

I recently found time to read through Dallas Willard’s edifying book, The Allure of Gentleness. As the subtitle notes, Willard’s goal is to help Christians defend the faith in the manner of Jesus, or as he goes on to write, “…our apologetic has to embody the message and Person we want to communicate”. In the preface, Willard’s daughter, Rebecca Willard – Heately  explains, “What’s lost in today’s ‘apologetics’ is to gently and lovingly address – even welcome – the honest doubts and questions that burden Believer’s faith”. I couldn’t agree more! 

I am grateful that through reading this book, Dallas Willard helped me to understand the distinction between classical and presuppositional apologetics. Namely, that Classical Apologetics leans heavily on the reasonable expression and explanations of Christianity. Willard goes on to explain that “Apologetics is a helping ministry”, particularly helping those “…who want to be helped”.  “Jesus was a philosopher, who walked with God”. Jesus went about expressing God’s truth in a peaceable manner (cf. Matthew 12:20; James 3:17; 1 Peter 3:8-17; Matthew 10:16; Ephesians 4:15), done with humbleness of mind (Gk. tapeionophrosunen, cf. Colossians 3:12; Acts 20:19; 1 Peter 5:5), and the goal was and is to restore people to right thinking (sanity) (cf. Daniel 4:34; Luke 15:17). 

In talking about the reasonableness of the faith and how reason works to benefit humankind, Willard notes, “Reason functions as a basis of responsibility before God precisely because of it’s ability to serve in the instigation, nurture, and correction of faith”. Drawing insights from Ezekiel chapter 14, we can see that “people can use their reason to hide from God, and He will cooperate with them (up to a point). God has so ordained that if we wish to hide from Him, He will hide from us”. In 2 Timothy 3:7, we read of those who are “ever learning and never able able to come to the knowledge of truth”, or what we might call, as Christ did, those who do not have eyes to see or ears to hear. Understanding what exactly the ‘knowledge of truth’ is tends to be rather important. Knowledge is defined by Willard as “…a result of continuous engagement with a subject matter” and truth is what Christ came to provide, therefore, “Truth is not everything, but without it nothing goes aright”. Therefore, knowledge of truth is continued engagement with the message of Jesus Christ. 

Dallas Willard explains that because of God’s faithfulness, “…the New Testament, once you understand the Old, is simply a natural consequence”. An example is found in Malachi 3:17, wherein we read that in the day of the Lord (the goal of Old Testament prophecy), the Lord is going to display “the greatest reflection of God’s own glory, wisdom, and love…a society of the redeemed that will be the crown jewel of creation” (cf. Ephesians 2:4-7; 3:10). Willard notes, “Truth is so important that Jesus Christ came into the world to bear witness to the truth (cf. John 18:37), and His people, the Church, are referred to in the New Testament as “the pillar and bulwark off the truth (1 Timothy 3:15)”. He goes on to admonish Christians, “People who are walking in the path of Christ should be the best reasoners on the face on the earth, just as they should be better at everything else, because they have a Helper who says, “I am with you always (Matthew 28:20)”. Furthermore, “The ultimate apologetic – that is to say, the ultimate lifter of doubt – is the Believer acting in faith in an interactive life with God”. 

Jesus “preached discipleship as the greatest opportunity anyone will ever have”. When Jesus preached the Kingdom of God is at hand, Dallas Willard proposes the following paraphrase, “Think out your strategy for life in light of the new fact that you can now live under the reign of God immediately present to you from the heavens”. That strategy should be that “every disciple is to have a plan of specific activities encouraging growth in Christlikeness” (ie., Spiritual disciplines). Alluding to our points made above about the need for ‘knowledge of truth’, Dallas Willard remarks, “If we do not have the knowledge of God at the foundation of our commitment, that commitment simply will not hold up”. 

I encourage Christians to become familiar with and read through Dallas Willard’s resources. This book was a great read for those who are discouraged regarding the Christian witness in the world and hope to see revival happen. As the popular saying goes, “When we pray for revival, let it begin with you”. Visit for more resources. 

  • An example from Dallas Willard regarding his reasonable defense of the Christian faith would be how he responds to those who are troubled by a benevolent God allowing pain to exist in our world. He asks, “Can it seriously be maintained that pain serves no good end, that there is nothing to which pain is preferable, and that it is the ultimate source of evils?”. He assert, “It is only in the heat of pain and suffering, both mental and physical, that real human character is forged”. He flips the question and writes,  “…God allows people to suffer precisely because He is benevolent”. Furthermore, “The world that contains the possibility of evil is the one that also contains the greatest possibility of good”. And of course, our faith in Christ causes us to know and live in the reality that despite pain being all to real in our world, “Those who look to God and call upon Him can be sure that good will triumph in their lives (cf. Romans 8:28)”.  

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2020 – Review of Studies

As I do a review of my study notebook for last year, I notice that right in the middle of February I began reflecting upon and praying for a year of responsibility and simplicity. I expressed desire to hear, to know, and to be obedient to the voice of God. I also trusted that God would provide opportunity for me to grow in and express missional discipleship. God surely was faithful, never in ways that I expect, though. It was a year to trial and error, a year of being content with things when they didn’t work, got cancelled, or didn’t go as planned. It was a year to test the spirit and forge character, to which Stephen Covey says, “The extent to which we exercise and develop these endowments empowers us to fulfil our uniquely human potential”, in his Daily Reflections For Highly Effective People (which I use for daily Common Prayer). 

In June 2020, I wrote “Keep going and growing”, as a personal encouragement and exhortation. 

What I aim to do with the remainder of this write up is highlight studies that edified me though this past year, in some cases I will offer wisdom received, and in others I will just provide resource links for you to review at your own leisure. 

Here are the topical blogs I wrote this year: 

Discussing The Glorified Body

Devotional – Erecting Altars

Romans 1 – Summary

Spiritually-Discerned Passover

Covenant Creation As a Kingdom Foundation

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Review of Mark Batterson’s, Double Blessing

Recently, on a radio program I have the privilege of being a guest on, the host, Johnny Ova, mentioned that we need to be asking ourselves if the message we are preaching is actually, “good news” (what Gospel means). Mark Batterson, in his book ‘Double Blessing’, explains that “…before original sin there was original blessing (cf. Genesis 1:22)”. We as Christ-followers are called to create the reality of the “double blessing” in the word. In talking about the different ways to “engage culture”, Batterson goes on to list the following ways: 

  • Mindlessly consume 
  • Pompously condemn 
  • Lazily copy 
  • Conscientiously create

Highlighting a quote by Michelangelo, “Criticize by creating”, Batterson challenges the Christian Church to “Quit cursing the darkness and start lighting candles”. In other words, throughout creating and manifesting the “double blessing”, we make the world a brighter place. 


Mark Batterson goes on to explain,  “The blessing of God is the solution to your biggest problem, the answer to your boldest prayer, and the fulfilment of your bravest dreams”. Furthermore, he explains, “The blessing of God cannot be equated to external circumstances or material things. It is an internal reality – a state of mind, a state of soul. It’s joy inexpressible”. When it comes to understanding the blessing of God, it’s simple, God in His mercy and faithfulness, has plans to prosper us, and as I often make mention of, He is glorified by our living eternally fulfilling and satisfying lives. Often times, our internal reality of blessedness seems to be in contrast to our external reality of calamity or chaos. Batterson writes, ““If you let your circumstance define the way you see God you are a prisoner of perspective…but if you let God define the way you see your circumstances, you are a prisoner of hope”. 

Prayer is our effective method of changing our perspectives, as well as our situations. Batterson gives great wisdom to empower our prayer lives: 

“God won’t answer 100 percent of the prayers we don’t pray”. 

“God honours bold prayers because bold prayers honor God” 


Mark Batterson explains that often times it would seem as though God works through a method of “set back, step back, and come back”. He cites preacher Ed Young’s wisdom, “We need to get under the things God has put over us so we can get over those things God has put under us”. We must make daily decisions to stay under the umbrella of God’s blessing by understand, paying attention to, and working with the Lord’s work in our lives. Batterson challenges us to live excellently, “Excellence invokes a blessing, and blessings evoke excellence. You could even call excellence a habit of highly blessed people.” “…to live in such a way that God is able to give us His full blessings – blessings beyond our ability to ask or imagine”. 

Jesus Christ called men to follow Him, follow Him in becoming disciples, follow Him in what he came to bring, “abundant life”, and following Him in serving and healing the world around us. In ‘Double Blessing’, Batterson explains that “follow” is a Hebrew hunting term and implies intensely following after. By following Christ we are brought under the umbrella of God’s blessing. This is surely not to be an apathetic effort. Another aspect of staying under the umbrella of blessing is holding God to His word. I pray like this. If He said it, He meant is. We often cling to Lamentations 3:22-24 as a text promise us new blessings each day, a host of worship songs have been made about the Bible verse, and Mark Batterson further encourages us that “The Hebrew word for “new” doesn’t just mean again and again. It means “different”. In other words, today’s mercy is different than yesterday’s mercy, which is different than the mercy of the day before that…Each day’s mercy is a never-to-be-repeated miracle”. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear. A book recommendation Batterson made was “Peak”, specifically in talking about the “ten – thousand hour rule”, which is the principle that asserts that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to truly master something. 

A major part of staying under the umbrella of God’s blessing is to gain and maintain a renewed mind (cf. Romans 12:1-2). Batterson cites, Louis Pasteaur’s insight that, “Fortune favours the prepared mind”. Prepare for the blessing by also understanding the importance of trials and tribulations. Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, preached that he recognised, Before any great achievement, some measure of the same depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry”. As Batterson says, “Internal struggles and external opposition are often indicators that you’re on the brink of a breakthrough”. 


If the first part of ‘Double Blessing’ was to inform us how we might lived in the state of blessedness, the second part is how we might further create that reality in the despairing world around us. I love that Mark Batterson challenges us to “Obey the dream; stop watching the clouds”, i.e., get to work!

The conclusion of the book was very much encouraging to me. The obvious charge to gain and maintain and attitude of gratitude and giving is so very vital. I appreciated the resource and will surely be looking further into All of that mentioned, what encouraged me the most in the 2nd portion of the book and toward the end, was how Batterson explained the importance of those who resource and serve as aids to the efforts of proclaiming the Gospel. He highlights these very necessary “patron saints”, or what he refers to as “Gospel patrons,  in Scripture such as Barzallai (cf. 2 Samuel 17:27-29) and Phoebe (cf. Romans 16:1-2). These are just two examples in a long history of those who have served in such a capacity.


To bring this review to a close, I will say that I was very much encouraged by ‘Double Blessing’. Rather than seeking to bring forth some novel advice, Mark Batterson highlights what every Christian should know about how to get and give God’s blessing. May we continue to create the blessing and thus make the world brighter. Consider this charge from Batterson, “What if the joy of blessing others  was the only honor we sought? What if all we wanted was to add value to others? What if our chief goal in life was to help others across the Jordan?” 

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“Covenant Creation” = Kingdom Foundation

On Sunday, September 13th, 2020 – I preached a sermon review regarding the book, Beyond Creation Science, at The Blue Point Bible Church. A few of us had been gathering on Wednesday nights for the last 2 years studying through the book. You can listen to the sermon at the following link,

Also, to accompany our study, we developed a sort of workbook with outlines, quotes, and further resources. You can download that PDF right here.

To accompany your use of the study-guide and reading through the book, Beyond Creation Science (which I will provide a link for purchase of below), you can also watch the variety of videos put together for each chapter at the following link,

To purchase the book, follow this link,

Lastly, if you are looking for more resources pertaining to the study of Beyond Creation Science/Covenant Creation, visit the following links:

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Shifting to Succeed: Review of John Maxwell’s Book, LEADERSHIFT

This past Sunday, May 17th, 2020, I preached a sermon detailing necessary shifts we must enact in our lives to experience peace, justice, and joy. You can go ahead and view that worship service and sermon at the following YouTube link,

In that sermon I mentioned a book I had been reading by John Maxwell titled “Leadershift”. In this blog you will find my notes and review of that book. John Maxwell introduces the concept of leadershifts like this;

“The key is to learn how to continually make leadershifts. What is a leadershift? It is an ability and willingness to make a leadership change that will positively enhance organizational and personal growth”. 

He goes on to quote popular motivation speaker, Malcolm Gladwell in noting, “That’s your responsibility as person , as a human being – to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible, and if you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then your not thinking”.

John Maxwell goes on to remind us that “Everyday has improvement opportunities” in which we should seek to: Learn something new. Try something different. Find something better. See something bigger. He also offers the following 7 points to help us live lives of opportunity;

1.) Continual learn, unlearn, and relearn

2.) Value yesterday but live in today

3.) Rely on speed, but thrive on timing

4.) See the big picture as the picture get’s bigger (“layered learning”)

5.) Live in today, but think about tomorrow (“advance attraction”)

6.) Move forward courageously in the midst of uncertainty

7.) Realise today’s best will not meet tomorrow’s challenge (“…interplay of dissatisfaction and satisfaction”).


Let’s take a look at the 11 necessary leadershifts John Maxwell put before us.

1.) THE FOCUS SHIFT: Soloist to Conductor

This shift involves moving “from me to we”. John Maxwell highlights that “Good leaders do what they can to put others in position to win” and should always “Be the first to give or add value to another person when you can”. Remember, “Sowing always precedes reaping”, therefore “maintain a seed-sowing mentality” and ask, each day, where you might add value.


Maxwell highlighted that “Goals helped me to do better. But growth helped me to become better”. Growth makes everything we experience advantageous. Maxwell also highlights that“…growth on the inside fuels growth on the outside” and  that “Growths highest reward is not what we get from it, but what we become by it”. A friend has recently mentioned ‘failing-forward’ which is emphasised by the following quote, “I am not afraid of failing as long as I am stretching and growing”.

3.) THE COST SHIFT: Perks to Price
We must remember the wisdom of Napoleon Hill wherein he has noted, “Strength and growth come through continuous struggle and effort”. Furthermore, the mentality of paying the price for what you desire through strength and growth is bolstered by the shared wisdom of Adinoram Judson who said, “There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success it because someone will succeed after”.


4.) THE RELATIONAL SHIFT: People Pleasing to Challenging People
In leading people we must continually be asking: Are people being productive? Are they finding fulfilment and satisfaction? Are they bringing intentionality and energy to everything they do? John Maxwell goes on to note that “Good leadership always challenges people to rise to the occasion, become their best, and achieve more”. He surely doesn’t pretend this is an easy task. In his effort to enhance of shifting in this area, he offers a “difficult convo examination’ (pictured in the graphic below) and a “tough convo- do it right- road map” (which is also shared below):



“Tough Convo” – “Do it right” – road map
“Are you aware that…”.
Gain their perspective – “Help me understand…”
Ask questions. “Am I hearing you correctly?”
Repeat back what you heard.
Allow them to respond.
Try to find common ground
Arrive at agreement of what’s best for both
If no agreement, agreed to meet again.
Seek growth
Maintain a positive relationship


5.) THE ABUNDANT SHIFT: Maintaining to Creating
I love that John Maxwell mentioned the “Experiment often” quote from and mentality of Pastor Mark Batterson. When we move from maintaining a system to creating opportunities for people to grow we must never cease trying new things. Or, as John Maxwell says it,  “Take it to the next level;”. He goes on to say, “Don’t ever get comfortable. Make the shift to abundance . Get out on the edge. Break new ground . Seize opportunity. Get creative”.


6.) THE REPRODUCTIVE SHIFT: Ladder Climbing to Ladder Building
Rather than making success about ladder climbing, a necessary shift we must all experience to see true success is making it about others being able to build their own ladders.
Ladder climbing – “How high can I go?”
Ladder building – “Can I help them build their own ladder?”


7.) THE COMMUNICATION SHIFT: Directing to Connecting
The simple advice John Maxwell shared in this regard was that you have to choose one or other other when it comes to leadership, “A sage on stage or a guide by their side”


8.) THE IMPROVEMENT SHIFT: Team uniformity to team diversity
John Maxwell noted that, “Our difference can make a positive difference”. He then detailed that; “Diverse teams fill in knowledge gaps”, “Diverse teams fill in perspective gaps”, and “Diverse teams fill in experience gaps”. He also made mention of the following book I look to get my hands on and read, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin


9.) THE INFLUENCE SHIFT: Positional Authority to Moral Authority
“Moral authority is the recognition of a person’s leadership influence based on who they are more than the position they hold”.

“Do your work with devotion to excellence and the will to follow through fill give you a positive reputation for competence”.

“If you do the right thing when you’re young, it mostly goes unnoticed and unrecognised. But if you do the right things and lead well over decades, it becomes recognized, and you all get more credit than you feel you deserve”.


10.) THE IMPACT SHIFT:  Trained Leaders to Transformative Leaders
John Maxwell challenged us to be and to create transformative leaders, those who have been transformed and have a heart to see others transformed. In highlight transformative potential John Maxwell highlighted the following quote by former president John F. Kennedy, “Everyone has a change the world speech in them”. John Maxwell explains that we all must be transformed, “As leaders, you and I have to be changed to bring change. We teach what we know, but we produce who we are”. He laments those who do not change by sharing a quote from British philosopher, James Allen, “Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound”. Transformative leaders are those who see things others do not see, say things others do not say, believe things others do not believe, feel things others do not feel, and do things others do not do.

11.) THE PASSION SHIFT: Career to Calling
I love the quote that John Maxwell says in that“Some wake up to an alarm. Some wake up to a calling”. He utilized 1 Corinthians 12:7 and the following quote by Parker Palmer to challenge each of us to find our calling, “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life tell me who I am”. I used to teach people to search out their burdens and inspirations to find their calling which corresponds to Aristotle’s advice, “When it is your calling, you won’t have ton chase it. You will be captivated by it”.


To conclude this review of necessary shifts to success, especially for those who call themselves leaders, I’d like to mention the following quote by Seth Godin, “Instead of wondering what your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from”. Prayerfully, these leadershifts will enable you to live in that eternally fulfilling and satisfying life and that as the Apostle Paul told his spiritual son, Timothy, may each of us endeavour to “… entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2)”.

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5/8 – Beyond Creation Science (Pt. 13 & 14) – Chapter 18

In our study through the book Beyond Creation Science these past couple weeks we studied through chapter 18.  Below you will find videos of our corporate study group on Zoom talking through chapter 18 as well as an outline for the chapter.

YouTube for PT. 13 –

YouTube for PT. 14 –


Beyond Creation Science
Chapter 18 – The Big Picture

Creation and Consummation: Covenant

What “Passed Away”?


View 2

View 1

Changing Clothes


Creation and Consummation: Physical Universe


The Groaning Creation


No More Curse in the New Heavens and New Earth


Viewing the Big Picture

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4/29 – Beyond Creation Science (Pt. 12) – Chapter 17

In this video link, our study group discussed portions and details from chapter 17 of Beyond Creation Science,
Beyond Creation Science 
Chapter 17 – The Covenant Gospel of Jesus Christ 

Abraham’s Only Son 
cf. Genesis 22:1-2; Genesis 16:15-16; Romans 9:7-8
“…demonstrates that biology is not the primary focus of Genesis”.

The “Heaven and Earth” of Abraham 
cf. Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:4-6; Hebrews 11:12; Daniel 12:2-4; Philippians 2:14-16
“…the association of God’s people to heavenly bodies may pre-debate Abraham”.

Modern Science & Biblical Interpretation 
“The current debates over creation in the Church are unsolvable because they are based on erroneous assumptions about the central subject of Genesis”.
“…scientific knowledge reveals the absurdity of the “literal” interpretation of Revelation”.

Creation & Israel
cf. Isaiah 51:15-16; Exodus 14:19-22; Deuteronomy 32:1; Isaiah 49:13
“If Moses calls Israel “heaven and earth”…”

The Messiah of Israel 
cf. Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:34; Matthew 15:21-28; John 4:22; Romans 1:16-17

The World God So Loved
cf. John 3:16-18

Inherit the Earth
cf. Hebrews 4:1-3, 8-9

The Apostles and the Covenant World 
“Christians widely understand that conversion to Christ entails no biological change…the issue is covenant lineage. Believers become new covenant creations”.

Living on Earth and the End of the World
cf. James 5:5-6

Atoning for the Sins of the World 
cf. 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 11:39-40; Revelation 21:3


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Book Review: Saving The Bible From Ourselves


I must say this book has now become one of my favourites regarding Biblical interpretation. If you are interesting in maximising your understanding of and experience with the Bible, this book is a must have. Glenn Paauw’s main point is the ignorant and careless way that many “Christians” have handled the Bible. He goes on to say,  “The Word of God was sent into the world to be an agent of God’s transformative power. When we harm the Bible, we hinder that errand”.  And continues,  The only Bible that can function as a corrective for us, as an ongoing guide to our life in Christ, is a Bible that is free and that speaks to us on its own terms”. Therefore, all throughout this book he highlights the importance of understanding the Bible on “its own terms” and dares us to engage “The Bible that is presented as literature, eaten in natural forms, grounded in history, inviting in its narrative, restorative in its theme, engaged in community, and honoured in its aesthetic presentation”. 



A major aspect of “Saving The Bible From Ourselves” is knowing the difference between “little readings” and “big readings”.  He goes on to distinguish the difference:

Liitle readings are “diminished samplings of Scripture in which individuals take in fragmentary bits outside of the Bible’s literal, historical, and dramatic contexts…a corresponding meager soteriology – that narrow, individualistic, and escapist view of salvation so common among Christians”. He goes to note that “the danger here is…they think they are getting to know the Bible when actually they are being led to a small sampling of Bible passages – and often misreading them. Because this approach is so widely practiced and officially endorsed in Christian communities, even well-intentioned readers are inoculated against real Bible encounters, which differ slightly from the plucking procedure”.

Big readings are “more magnified experiences that result when communities engage natural segments of the text, or whole books, taking full account of the Bible’s various contexts”. “Big reading will bring about the rebirth of what has been too-long dormant in our modern expressions of the Christian faith – the big story that is the point of the small parts of the Bible”.



I was greatly encouraged by Glenn’s challenge to develop big readings, as I hope that’s what we have continued to do at The Blue Point Bible Church ( as we have been “thinking through the Scriptures”. However, besides small, isolated readings, “proof-texting” is an issue in the contemporary Christian community. Glenn writes, “Verses read in isolation, selected by topic, arranged in groups, sent out in kitschy – decorated Facebook updates – this is what passes for Bible knowledge in our era”. He then goes on to show the problem with proof-texting by offering popularly shared Bibles with verses that contrast those exact thoughts. Consider the following examples,

Jeremiah 29:11 cf. Deuteronomy 28:29
John 10:18 cf. 2 Corinthians 2:16
Philippians 4:13 cf. Isaiah 49:4
Joshua 1:8 cf. Deuteronomy 28:65



Having an appreciation for the different genres of literature that come together to form the Bible is essential in developing our understanding of the Biblical narrative. Glenn Paauw takes issue with the modern  “precise, punctual, calculable, standard, bureaucratic, rigid, invariant, finely-coordinated, and routine” Bible. He explains that the way we have imposed our definitions about texts, boxed out imagination that should come through the Biblical story’ and have taken the stories and turned them into doctrinal statements.  Glenn offered the following challenge, “If we were to do nothing but take the verse numbers our of our Bibles and refuse to use them as references in our Bible practices, this alone might spark a Bible re-engagement movement”.  Furthermore he says, “The New Testament must be read so that the stories and the story, which it tells can be heard as stories not as rambling ways of declaring unstoried ideas”.



The comfortability that contemporary Christians have with using out-of-context Bible texts is quite dismaying. This has been a contention of mine for years. The “Bible – falling out of the sky syndrome” is what N.T. Wright diagnoses many contemporary Christian readers with.  Our emphasis on “meaning that has little to do with what the 1st- century authors intended and a lot tot do with some particular contemporary group has been accustomed to hear it” has surely led us astray. Glenn writes that “part of our conversion process, , our adoption of a new Bible engagement paradigm, will be coming to terms with the fact the Bible was written for us, not to us”. Well a hearty amen to that! This got me thinking back to my 2014 debate with Pastor Bruce Bennett wherein he tried to discredit this important approach to the Bible. Go ahead and hear him for yourself at the following link, (see the following times 1:10:00 – 1:21:00 – 2:39:10 – 2:41:23). In the book, Glenn goes on to say, “…the whole Bible is for us, even if it wasn’t written to us. But appropriating the message for ourselves, now, means first doing the necessary due diligence on what the message was for others, then”.



All throughout the book, Mr. Paauw shared interesting insights and correlating details regarding the Biblical format and storyline. For example, showing how the Gospel of Matthew has five outlined speeches and correlates that to the five Books of Moses. Also, he mentioned that the three- part covenant beginning of the Bible  (The Law, the Prophets, & Writings)  corresponds to the three – part covenant end in the New Testament (Gospels, Paul’s Epistles, & General Epistles). There were a couple of others but those stood out to me the most.



Saving the Bible From Ourselves was a refreshing read. We need to be careful how we handle the Bible, especially if we expect to be blessed by what we read.  Glenn Paauw tells us that “Deconstruction is always the easy part, but re-envisioning the Bible is what we are after”.  The goal is to encourage contemporary Christians toward healthy Biblical interpretation so that we can “re-imaging our lives as biblical art”. It reminds me of a quote I had heard a while back in that Scripture is intended to by a symphony lived out but a choir. Glenn invites us  “…to become so immersed in the script…that we come to know this story in our bones”.

May this report coupled with the Spirit of God encourage you to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18). May the Bible continue to come alive and present itself to you as a source wherein you can find the “living Word of God”. I end this report with this summary thought from Glenn Paauw regarding an  ‘appropriate characterisation of the Bible’ as “…a temple and dwelling place story, a liberation and exodus story, a forgiveness and reconciliation story, a kingdom rebellion-reclamation story, an account of the creation, distortion and restoration of God’s image in humanity, a narrative of overcoming chaos and bringing in peace and order, and many much such self-descriptions”.


Reviewed by: Michael Miano


*** Also, if you are interested in hearing a podcast with Glenn Paauw and some details regarding this book, which was graciously shared with me, visit the following link,

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