The prophets, tedium, and the gospel

Today I taught from Zephaniah, the latest installment in “Bible study lessons I bet you’ve never heard before”. Ok, so that’s not really the title of our series, but after having taught on Obadiah and Nahum and other lesser known prophets, it sure feels that way.

We are on the downward stretch with two more lessons (and three more prophets) to go in this series on the Old Testament prophets and I cannot describe to you the sense of accomplishment I feel. Since way back last summer when my good friend suggested I teach an overview of the prophets, I have felt more than a little overwhelmed and that’s probably putting it a little mildly. I knew I was out of my league, even more so than usual, and I worried that prophet after prophet, week after week, well, that it might get a little tedious.

A worry not altogether unfounded, to be honest. The prophets were fairly unified in their most basic message: God is holy and righteous, your sin is bad, He is coming in judgment, return to Him. Each week, each lesson, we’ve examined this same prevailing theme in one form or another, with variations, of course, in terms of audience and delivery and context and language.

Repetitive, perhaps. Tedious, not so much. We set as our goal for this study, for this group, to know God’s Word. Foundational to this pursuit is the belief that God’s Word, the Bible, is God speaking. Each week as we open our Bibles we are asking “What is God saying?” We believe too that the Bible is one story: God redeeming a people for Himself for His own glory through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus.

So as we are asking what God is saying and since we know His Word is a single metanarrative that points to the gospel, we are thrilled to discover the gospel being preached to us week after week–and in the minor prophets of all places: God is holy and righteous. Your sin is bad. He will judge but He offers mercy through Christ. Turn to Him in repentance and trust.

It’s the gospel and it’s in every book of your Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We will never outgrow our need to hear it, learn it, submit to it, and rejoice in it.

As I was scrolling through my Twitter feed this afternoon, I noticed several tweets linking to a post that cited seven mistakes commonly made in women’s Bible study. It was with no small amount of trepidation that I clicked over to see what mistakes I may or may not have incurred just this morning!

To my relief I didn’t seem to be guilty of any major grievance though I did wonder why these mistakes were highlighted as pitfalls in women’s bible study as it seems to me that they would be grievous mistakes no matter the gender. But that’s beside the point and I know it.

For whatever weaknesses my teaching has, and I have no doubt there are many, I pray that we, the group I am privileged to serve, will hold to the Bible as the sufficient, powerful Word of God. I desperately hope that we will not ever be guilty of the mistake of neglecting the gospel. And I pray that as we devote ourselves to the study of God’s Word, we will know Him more and as we know Him more we will love Him more and as we love Him more we will want to know Him more and that this self perpetuating cycle will result in praise and glory to the only One worthy.

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Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

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