I have to confess that I haven't been as excited about the start of this semester as some semesters in the past. Julie has been reminding me that I am privileged to be able to study at this time in my life. This I know and understand, but at times one's thoughts and attitude can be clouded. I look forward to the time studying in and out of the classroom as I see the Spirit using this study to make me more useful. I want the Holy Spirit to use these studies to help me learn to walk with God and apply the gospel to every part of my life.
That said, I want to mention one book I am very excited about reading. Sandy's Ploughshares and Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic is said to help put these genres of biblical literature into proper perspective. While I have been in a trajectory of moving away from seeing biblical literature as merely a relay of facts and more toward seeing biblical literature as designed to engage the reader in a spiritual and relational experience with its Author fore a while, I have been reluctant to touch prophecy and apocalyptic because I realize my own incompetance with the genre and also because of the strong reactions to different interpretations. This semester I will be forced to deal with both prophecy and apocalypse in two classes: Systematic Theology IV covers ecclesiology and eschatology; Hebrew Exegetical Methods covers prophetic, poetic, wisdom, and apocalyptic literature of the Old Testament.
I have to say that I am excited about Sandy's book because I have long felt that merely trying to predict the facts of what the future holds through the exegesis of apocalypse and prophecy is incorrect and misses the point. Biblical literature is designed to communicate a glorious Person through His redemptive mission, not neccesarily to give us a timeline. From what I have heard, Sandy deals with this in detail.
It is true, such an approach may take me to new (to me) and different conclusions about eschatological events and their significance in biblical literature. However, I am committed to Scripture and to the illumination of the Spirit. I desire to go where the text goes and nowhere else. I also desire to prove everything by it, to not be content with the status quo, and to not assume the validity of arguments oft-repeated without proper support.
I hope to keep the readers of this blog posted on my findings this semester. Please pray for us that we will always be obedient to the Spirit and learn the truth He communicates about God through His Word!