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Atlanta, 29 June 2016

In a few days I head to St. Louis for REACH. Our entire North River leadership will make the journey, as we value connection. (Plus it's cool to go to church with 20,000 people.)

Apart from co-teaching a couple of classes with fellow presenters Valdur Koha, Suzette Lewis, Rolan Monje, Steve Kinnard, and Kay and Randy McKean, I'll be observing a delegates meeting, participating in the International Leadership Conference, sharing in Reach and enjoying the musical Upside Down (based on the book of Acts). Best of all is probably time with old friends (and new).

Biblical Numbers Series

     77  –  1000a  –  1000b  –  12  –  40  –  12 – 7 – 6/666/888 – 3


In Scripture many things come in threes. Consider, for example, the threesomes of Deut 19:15; 2 Ki 9:32; 1 Chr 21:12; Job 2:11; Ecc 4:12; and Ezek 14:14;16,18. Or take the requirement that testimony be confirmed by two or three witnesses, as in Matt 18:16; Mark 14:58 (14:68,70,71); 2 Cor 11:8; 13:1; 1 Tim 5:19; 1 John 5:7-8. But triads are especially common in passages concerning God. Thus it has been concluded that 3 is the number of God, and I think this is right. 

3 is the literal "number" of God from all eternity. In contrast to the Qur'an of Islam, where God is one (without any relational dynamics within the deity), the Bible reveals "God in three persons, blessèd Trinity." God is love (1 John 4:7): Father, Son, and Spirit selflessly giving themselves to one another. Even before creating humans, God loved, and God was love. But God could hardly be love if there were no one to love -- and hence the Islamic Allah fails us. Nor is it surprising that orthodox Muslims reject the Christian claim that God is love.

But not all Christians are comfortable with trinitarian language, viewing it as an abstraction that goes beyond what is written. While it is a certainty that the word trinity is found nowhere in the Bible -- it's a second-century theological term -- there is still abundant evidence for the concept. For example, we find the trio of Father (or God), Son, and Spirit in dozens of NT passages. See Matt 28:19; Rom 8:15; 2 Cor 13:14; Gal 4:6; and Rev 4:8 (Isa 6:3).

More important than what we call it, we experience God in a trinitarian way. We come to the Father through Jesus Christ by the Spirit. In this sense God is the "three-in-one." And with this in mind, how appropriate it is to sing the old hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy..."!

I hope you've benefited from the Biblical Numbers series, if only by a renewed determination to read Scripture carefully. Of course, in addition to the handful of numbers we've studied this series, there are many more of numerological significance. In case you'd like to go further, let me repeat the reading recommendation from the first installment in this 8-part series. It's John J. Davis's Biblical Numerology.

Hot off the press

IPI has released another volume. The topic is dear and near to my heart: campus ministry. For it was through campus ministry (Duke University, Durham) that I came to know Christ, just as my wife too became a Christian (South Bank University, London).

The title: Campus Core: How to Have an Impact on Your Campus, Get Good Grades, and Figure Out Your Future is a handbook for students and ministers alike. The book is chock-full of practical suggestions, yet with a personal touch. I served as a campus minister for 10 years, beginning in London, and happily share not only a few successes, but also many of my failures. The broad sections of the book: campus evangelism, academics, specific course advice, and the future (grad school, the full-time ministry of the word, financing your education, and more).

Who should benefit from the book: high school seniors (and 2nd semester juniors) and their parents, university students at all levels, and youth and campus ministers.

Greek & Hebrew words you should know

We begin a new series next week. Each bulletin will include a short study of one word -- in its original language. How much do you know? Find out by taking a fun quiz on some of the most familiar words.

Until next week...
Douglas Jacoby

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