IVP - Online Pulpit - Scripture: In Depth

August 5, 2013

Scripture: In Depth

by Andy LePeau, Editorial Director for InterVarsity Press

Looking for a way to help your congregation appreciate the unity of Scripture? Or maybe you’re looking for an all-church program that could tie-in to a sermon series?

If it is one or the other, or even both at once, IVP’s new LifeGuide in Depth series may be just the thing. As the name describes, they help people go deeper into a book or section of Scripture.

One key feature of these guides on James, Daniel, the Sermon on the Mount and the Fruit of the Spirit is the section “Connect: Scripture to Scripture.” Here users uncover how each passage is rooted in the parts of the Bible written beforehand. And when we understand those earlier passages, the Scripture comes alive and fresh.

Consider James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (ESV). Why orphans and widows? Why just them? Is there something special about them?

If we look at earlier parts of the Bible, what do we find? Deuteronomy 10:18-19 mentions the fatherless, widows and sojourners. In Job 29:11-17 we see the poor, the fatherless, the widow, the blind, the lame, the needy. In Psalm 146:7-9 we find the oppressed, the hungry, prisoners, the blind and, yes, widows and the fatherless. In these and many other Old Testament passages, widows and orphans are linked with other groups of disadvantaged people. So when James says “orphans and widows,” this is shorthand for all these types of people the Old Testament regularly considered together. James is not directing us to attend to these two groups to the exclusion of others—but actually the opposite. Knowing the Old Testament not only helps us understand but also to apply the text correctly.

The LifeGuide in Depth workbooks can also be used as the basis for an all-church program. They are designed for individual study during the week, with a small group study at the conclusion of each section. So one option would be for everyone in the congregation to individually work through the same section each week in one of the LifeGuides in Depth and then discuss it in a small group. A sermon that Sunday on the same passage would cap things off.

When everyone in a church is deeply immersed in the same Scripture passages, it will not only help them appreciate the unity of Scripture but can also bring a new unity to the church.

lepeauOP.jpgAndrew T. Le Peau is associate publisher, editorial, at InterVarsity Press where he has worked since 1975. Before that he was a campus staff member for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF), serving in the St. Louis area.

Posted by Nate Baker-Lutz at August 5, 2013 1:18 PM Bookmark and Share

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