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Week 1 – Test Essay | Xmin Academy

Week 1: Test Essay

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Overview of the New Testament

Upon receiving the book “New Testament Survey”, I had immediately thought that this class was going to be easy. Why? Simply because I have studied it before when I used to go to Lutheran High North, a Christian High School. As I began looking into the first chapter, I was completely right that I have gone through this stuff. However, as I dived deeper, I noticed that there was a lot more information I had not gone over than I expected. I had expected that I was going to recall that the New Testament could be broken down to several categories such as the Gospels, the book of history, the Prison Epistles, Epistles and the apocalypse. I was right about that, but then breaking down books in order to examine the details within was a task. Though I may have gone over the books of the New Testament briefly in high school and even in my studies this year, the “New Testament Survey” has taught me to look into the text more, grab more than just face value but to ask why.

The first unit I went over entailed understanding the historical setting of the books in the New Testament, how Jesus is in every book in the New Testament and what books were in this part of the Bible. Going forward, the Synoptic gospels were gone over once again in their relevance to each other and the oddities that set them apart from each other. Next came a study of John, which included how he wrote his gospel and what he focused on. Lastly, the course outlined the book of Acts.

Arriving upon the second unit, the thirteen letters of Paul, this section of the course goes over who Paul is and what letters he wrote, why he wrote them and to who did he write to. For example, Paul writes to the Romans and Galatians about being saved by grace rather than law because many believers were being misled about the good news. Or that He wrote to the church in Corinth concerning gifts, immorality and other problems. Paul did not just write to correct, but to encourage as well. The letters to Timothy and Titus are examples of encouragement, specifically.

Lastly, the course goes over the remaining eight letters in the New Testament as well as Revelations. The letters were meant to encourage suffering believers and to correct false teaching that was going on. These various letters were written by different authors rather than Paul. A few authors include: John the beloved, Jude and James the half brothers of Jesus. Each of these writers had various topics to converse about as well as different writings styles that allows readers to catch major themes.

Synopsis

Well, my first year is ending. It’s interesting to think that over the course of eight months, so much has changed but each moment has provided a unique experience or perspective. Because of the variation of events and outcomes, it is hard for me to say one specific thing that sticks out to me the most for the circumstances were so unique. However just to think of how God loves, excites me. So, I’d have to say God showing me how to love people where they are at is probably my most favorite thing He has done thus far.

For example, I get the opportunity to love these two little kids every Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon. They’re interesting kids as they are always happy and cheerful before and after service. During service however is when their true colors shine. Never being in kids ministry before, or having little siblings, I’ve never had a kid tell me no and just disrespect me. I was at lost at what to do, or even how to love the junk out of them. But after praying for these kids for months, breakthrough and impact seemed to be at hand! Simple phrases and actions made the difference, such as: “I love you”, “God says you’re beautiful”, just sitting with them when they are upset (and not opening my mouth), etc. Its pretty sweet to think I get the opportunity to make an impact on someone’s life by loving them the way God would love them, the way He loves me even! Yeah, they aren’t perfect. But I love them anyways!

Study Study Study

Upon studying Introduction to Hermeneutics, I was blown away by the information held in this class. I suppose before I explain in detail as to what I was blown away by, I should explain what Hermeneutics is the study of principles for interpreting the Bible. In this way, one can be educated in how to approach the Bible and obtain from it applications or principles that are backed by evidence. Now either application or principles can be drawn out, but this study allows the studier to remain biblically accurate. This study does not cover just a section of the Bible, but the entire Bible. The first part of the introduction was the how to’s of the Bible. One may think it may be in reference to locating the books of the bible, but it is much more important than that. For example, Hermeneutics goes over history and how it is relevant to us.

The second part of this class goes in hand with what you would generally learn from English class, that is: context, grammar and figures of speech. To one who is reading to read, the Bible contains many stories and principles. But when reading the Bible with the mindset of studying it, there are many functions, perspectives and angles at which to approach the bible. Thus, it is important to be able to go over what word meanings are and how figures of speech work.

Three fourths of this study reviews the different type of genres, which is crazy because the Bible is book containing many books. At first, we look at the history of things. Then we move onto the difference between old testament law and the new, diving deep to explain what made the old testament so difficult compared to the new. Stepping forward, I learned there are ways to interpret poetry, especially the Psalms. Specifically, how there are connections between the old testament and the new testament. The study goes on further to explain the Gospels, Acts and the letters as well as prophecy and apocalyptic literature.

Finally, the class ends with how to apply scripture. I first learned about the covenants and their relevance to the already and not yet aspects of the Kingdom of God. Then there is the approach at how to recognize and value principles. From there it goes on how to state principles in such a way to get the attention of your crowd and even get a response. But most importantly, the class reaches it’s end by telling people to depend on the Holy Spirit to interpret scripture and apply it.

Relatians

Upon finishing the class “Relationships and Ethics in Ministry”, I noticed how it tied in directly with literally my relationships. Perhaps your first reaction to that statement is “Well duh, it’s about relationships” cause I totally agree. But I’m not talking about on the surface application, rather I am talking about in depth application for closer friends and the value of having encouraging and supportive people in your life. Growing up as a kid with no role models or any idea what love looked like let alone a real man looked like, I can see how it is important even as an adult. We need people. Especially godly people who have been following Jesus relentlessly.

The first thing I learned about regarded relationships and the minister. A minister should take into account that close friends do not just simply come into play by mere accident. Rather, intimate friendships are built by deliberate pursuit to hang out, pray, talk or whatever else they enjoy doing together. These close friends are ones you can go to for prayer, or just simply enjoy spending time together with to relax.  Then there is the marriage and family which is to be held with priority no matter how hard things get. There needs to be deliberate expressions of love and commitment, regardless of sacrifice.

Secondly, there is the minister and the church. There are always expectations and even traps in which the minsiter can stuck in. The minister needs to be transparent with integrity, living out the life he or she preaches at the pulpit even behind closed doors. But the congregation should be seeking to honor their minister, instead of putting them down. As for the minister, no matter what the opposition may be, they ought to persevere because things will happen such as people leaving or being hated on.

Between the minister and the community, there should be efforts to reach out to the community. Telling the world about Jesus doesnt happen just simply by staying inside four walls of a building, rather it happens when people are out to live purposefully in outreaches or even back in the work place with Christlike attitudes.

Lastly, the minister’s personal life. A good work ethic is important, but that work ethic must consist of dependence on the Spirit for results when a message is preached. Ontop of aa good work ehthic, there has to be integrity when the doors are closed and no one is home. Integrity should be key to a minister’s character, as it displays something most peoplle do not see today. For cracks in integrity lead to something much worse and causes people to be hurt. The life of a preacher may get tough, but there comes in the friends. But eeven with friends, a preacher must stand soley on his or her foundation that is Christ. From that foundation, he or she can take heart and persevere in the hardest of times through prayer.

The Church

The church has a mission, or rather a duty. Of which it is called the Great Commission which is, “There go and make disciples of all the nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the last command Jesus gave and will surely be the first he asks about. After all, the first thing a parent asks their child concerns what the last conversation was about. When the commission is being carried out, God is getting glory because of all the people being made into disciples. However, it is not a factor of picking and choosing who to bring in, for that would not bring glory to God. Rather in obedience to his command, the church is to bring all people to Christ regardless of race, gender or age.

In order to carry out such a task, Christ lived his life on purpose so that the church would be able to walk it out. Simply, he taught in a way to take advantage of opportunities in encounters. From there conversations weren’t about winning theological or religious debates but to share the gospel and testimonies making sure that Jesus was the center for all of this.

In the third part of this class, it goes over the evangelism of the two major apostles. The first being Peter, whose message was broken p to as who he was addressing, who/what he was addressing about and in what manner. As for Paul, the class goes on as to describe how an effective witness should be, using Paul as an example. But just acting does not suffice, rather the Holy Spirit needs to be at work.

Philippians, A Prison Epistle

Known for the reference passage of chapter four verse eight, Philippians is a prison epistle written by Paul around 61 A.D. Paul provides perspective on how to live a life of joy and furthering the Gospel. Through Christ Jesus, there is joy. Whether that joy is in serving or suffering or in believing and giving, there is a perspective to be held that reflects an attitude that Jesus had. Paul touches on how the furthering of the Gospel can be progressed by the lives who imitate Christ in not just a few aspects of life, but all. The entire outline of Philippians could be based on four simple, but wonderful points: Godly perspective, being Christ like, unity in the Spirit as well as following through with a Christian lifestyle.

The phrase “Mind over matter” is cliche for a reason. Perspective is a game changer concerning how people live their lives. Paul encourages the Philippians that when the going gets tough, by using his life as a testimony. He was not whining, moaning or complaining about being in jail. But rather, he put confidence and trust in God’s faithfulness, prayer of other people, the Holy Spirit, God’s plan and purpose. He was even confident about not being shamed before God because God will come through for him. Through his point of view, there was joy.

Paul’s outlook on his circumstance was backed by wanting to be Christ like and that involved relinquishing our privileges, being humble, understanding purpose and rested in God’s promises. Paul wrote that just as Christ humbled himself to be a servant, we ought to have the same towards Him. Unity in the Spirit would tie the desire to be Christ like, making it natural to be joyful. Unity in the Spirit supplied joy through being like minded, love, having the same purpose and working together, having a me-last attitude or simply putting others first.

The Christians in Philippi led lives in difficult circumstances, as they were living in a pagan society. However, their society would help model a behavior, a challenge and a perspective, after all a single perspective would not be sufficient. They had Roman citizenship which provided plenty of privileges. However, the believers had a better citizenship awaiting for them in heaven, but they had to live a life worthy of Christ. They had to live their lives as though they were citizens of heaven, that their behavior would reflect their beliefs and values. They were to have a lifestyle that showed apparent inner transformation.