Thursday, September 9, 2010

Walkabout with Jeremiah: Introduction

Jeremiah was a man of vision, a man of burden and a prophet of passion. His words ring with the burden of God's  grief and anguish over a desperately depraved people, a passion for the anointed word of God and a vision of God's everlasting and enduring love. The message is poetic, pithy and poignant. It does not hold back. Its lows are depths of despair not seen elsewhere in the word of God, and its highs have inspired followers of Jesus with verses that penetrate the mind and heart and become an unbreakable connection to the hope and promise of God's personal covenant love with the believer. 

Within the book of Jeremiah is the history of a the chosen people's most dramatic downfall in Biblical history, the invasion and exile to Babylon and some of the greatest persecution described within Biblical narrative. Its poetic beauty and emotional intensity rivals the Psalms. Its description of the role and calling of a prophet is perhaps unsurpassed, and its description of the breaking heart of God is rarely as intimate in any other part of Scripture.

For at least the next few months (and probably longer), I will feature a series on the book of Jeremiah as I continue what has become a daily study of the book. In addition to other Bible reading projects, I have been irresistibly drawn to stay in the book of Jeremiah everyday, exploring the nooks and crannies of its words in search of the heart of God as revealed by His word. I will document the different methods of study along the way, which allow an exploration of how different methods of interaction with the word produce different kinds of knowledge and revelation within a single book.

Most of the projects I will use in Jeremiah will go slowly at around a one chapter per day pace, so the series will probably progress with one or two posts per month, in between other project posts. Many of the projects  applied to the book will include reference material and a deeper focus than previous projects, allowing new methods of Bible study to be explored, while also allowing me to go through the book multiple times with multiple perspectives and focuses. With the time and depth of the studies planned it may be possible to delve into archaeological information, Greek and Hebrew studies, textual criticism and extra-canonical books. But whether I go in those directions or not the overwhelming focus beyond the methods will be the heart of God, the heart of a prophet, and the connection between the burden, word and anointing of God.

I've labeled the project a "walkabout," a time of discovery and vision within the word of God that's not an aimless wandering, but an intentional going back and forth through the same material beyond shallow repetition into deepening discovery of the heart of God. A favorite preacher of mine once said "Bible study is done with your boots on." It's hard, intentional discipline to study God's word, but it's not difficult to receive revelation. God's grace gives freely to the hungry and thirsty, who seek Him with all their heart, all their mind and all their strength. I plan to put my boots on in hopes of entering a rigorous pursuit of receiving a revelation of God's heartbeat within the book of Jeremiah.

More will follow.  

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