Good Books"God Has Spoken" by J.I. Packer (Baker Book House, 1992)

     This is a book that was published in 1965, in a series called Christian Foundations.  It was originally written for the Anglican community.  It is a systematic and concisely written treatise.  Packer's "aim throughout is to prepare the minds of thinking Christian people to read and study their Bibles as Christians should.  That aim determines both the contents and the spirit of what I now write" (p. 7).  In fact, he had meant it to be "simply a tract---a mental and spiritual preparation and hopefully an incentive to the venture of studying the Bible for oneself." It is well-balanced in approach, giving ample room for the reader to reach differing viewpoints.  It is simple enough for the lay readers, and yet, comprehensive in scope for purposes of academic exercise.
     The author claims that for all the intense Bible study and detailed biblical knowledge of our day, our churches still suffer from a widespread "famine of hearing the Word of the Lord!" And he quotes from a disturbing prophecy given through Amos 8:11f., "Behold, the days are come, saith the Lord God, that I shall send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall run from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it."
     The author takes the reader through a critical analysis of five ways in which God has spoken:

  1. The Lost Word (pp. 17-43).  This looks at God's displeasure towards people who display irreverent disregard for His written Word.  He touches on the legacy of liberalism, a wrong turning in biblical criticism and new views of revelation and inspiration.

  2. God's Word Spoken (I) (pp. 45-63).  In this section Packer deals with the general revelation of God as Creator, a revelation given to man through their own self awareness and knowledge of God's world.
  3. God's Word Spoken (II) (pp. 65-87).  This declares that revelation is God had spoken through the prophets in the Old Testament and through His ultimate revelation in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Then, he treats verbal revelation under criticism and the current alternative.
  4. God's Word Written (pp. 89-124).  In this section, he sensitively analyses some inadequate ways in handling the Scriptures and looks at the critical method.  He also asserts the biblical view that all Scripture is God-breathed.
  5. God's Word Heard (pp. 125-137).  Here, he re-iterates the biblical concept of "hearing" with inference to attention, assent and application.  Listening, he maintains must be done with a firm purpose of obeying the Word of God.
     Packer also makes a passionate appeal for openness to the work of the Holy Spirit (pp. 132-133), pointing out that it is not to biblical scholars alone that the Holy Spirit vouchsafes His teaching, but as the psalmist says, "the law of the Lord is good, making wise the simply" (Ps. 19:7).  He writes that "greater willingness and increased receptiveness are themselves the Spirit's gifts.  Therefore we must use the prayer, 'teach me  thy statutes' (Ps. 119:12, and seven time more in this Psalm), as a plea, not only for teaching but also for teachableness; for without the latter we shall never have the former" (p. 133).
     This book will help you to understand what and why we believe and rejoice that God has spoken.  It is available at BGST Library (Ref.: LC 220.13 PAC)

(Reviewed by Dr John Lim)

     Martin Goldsmith shared during this week in chapel on the word "Gospel." This simply means "Good News." Using this he asked a question, "In what ways is Jesus felt to be Good News for people in England?" He recalled one day asking some people who were fishing three questions: (1) Caught anything? No!  (2) Ever catch anything? No!  (3) Then, why come fishing?  Peace from wife and children! This was seen as a cause for breakdown in relationships.
     But the "church" is the Good News because it is the new family of God. It is like the relations in the Trinity-Word (Jn. 1:1). There is communication and relationship in self-revelation.
     Therefore, there is a need to call for:
(a) Demonstration with humility why Christ is unique in an age of religious pluralism.
(b) Dealing with fear and insecurity. In Jesus we have confidence and trust.
(c) Avoidance of gender chauvinism.
(d) Relate Gospel to issues of ecology and environment.

  1. 12th Convocation & Thanksgiving Service will be held this Saturday, 18 Jan, at Zion BP Church, Sanctuary. You are invited to join us for the buffet dinner at 6pm and thereafter to the service which commences at 7pm sharp.

  2. Rev Ng Seng Chuan is teaching a course "Practical Speech Communication for Christian Ministry" every Tuesday mornings at Discipleship Training Centre in January and February 2003.

  3. Christmas Appeal. We want to thank God for blessing us with the faithful and generous gifts from friends, students, churches and parachurch organisations. To date, we received a total of $23,264 for the general fund and $10,200 for building/facilities fund. Do pray with us that the Lord will provide for the balance of $16,736 in the general fund.

  4. Library will be closed at 5pm this Saturday, 18 Jan, as all the staff will be involved with the preparation for the Convocation & Thanksgiving Service.

  5. Courses Commencing Next Week. If you are a programme student, please take note which are the required foundation courses that you must register for. This is the last call for registration for any of the following courses:

  • New Testament Foundations I (commencing 20 Jan, videoclass)
  • Biblical Hebrew I (commencing 20 Jan)
  • Teaching & Discipling Through Small Groups (commencing 21 Jan)
  • Themes from Proverbs (commencing 23 Jan)
  • Counselling: Self-Awareness (commencing 29 Jan)

Tentmakers Equipping 'N' Training modular course:

  • Personal Ministry Skills (Feb 4, 18, 25)
  • Understanding Culture (Mar 4, 11, 18, 25)
  • Intro & Biblical Basis of Tentmaking (Mar 7 & 8)
  • Religions of Asia (May 6, 13, 20, 27)
  • Tentmakers & Ethical Issues (Jul 1, 8, 15, 22)
  • Theology of Work (Sep 2, 9, 16, 23)
  • Spiritual & Practical Preparation (Tentative : Nov 16-22)
  • Country/People Profile Studies (spans over one year)
For enquiries about the courses, please contact :

TENT Co-ordinator: Dr. John Lim

Tel: 63538071 Fax: 63538072

E-mail: tent@bgst.edu.sg

God's Richest Blessings To Our Birthday Stars!

Ms Jasmine Yong 1/14
Ms Chow Lye Kuan 1/15
Mr Jeremy Bung 1/16
Mr Er Sung Kheng 1/17
Dr Lee Shu Woan 1/17
Ms Sally Tee 1/19

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Biblical Graduate School of Theology
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This page is updated on 17 Jan 2003 by Leong Kok Weng
    Jan 2003