A Living Hope

With rain pattering on the roof of the mini-van, I opened my tiny New Testament to the book of I Peter and dove in.  I’ve learned that if I wait for perfect conditions to begin anything, I’ll never get started, and the first step to a study with Jen Wilkin is:  open your Bible and read.  When studying a short book like I Peter, it’s possible to read the whole thing in a sitting, and that’s the first order of business each week of this nine-week study. Therefore, in tackling I Peter:  A Living Hope in Christ with Jen Wilkin, the foundation is laid for studying the Bible by . . . studying the Bible.  That means no commentaries and no study notes — at least not until after homework is done. However, cross-references, dictionaries, other translations of the Bible are fair game, and the process of working through this study will provide ample opportunity to learn how to use most effectively those aids in study.

When I read Women of the Word, Jen Wilkin’s first book, I was riveted by her firm belief that studying the Bible is a means of training our minds to love God.  That means I’m not looking for tiny tweetable truths about me.  That step of self-discovery follows on the heels of a deep pondering of this question:  “What does the Bible say about God?”  Could this be what Paul was talking about when he told his readers to be “transformed by the renewing of your minds?” (Romans 12:2)

Reading in context and reading repetitively are key.  Diving into a study of the Bible without considering the who and the where and the why is like receiving a letter, tearing it open, reading part of it and ignoring the return address on the envelope.   Jen’s teaching via video provides some of this background — reading and re-reading provides the rest.  Five-days-per-week study questions over a period of nine weeks allow for a slow and thoughtful digestion of the truth served up in Peter’s first letter.  As one of Jesus’ inner circle and the leader of the early church’s outreach to the Jewish world, his words about our living hope in Christ ring true, for hopelessness is not an option for those who are promised an inheritance, undefiled and unfading! (I Peter 1:4)  In Jen’s words:

“We have that which will endure.  All the rest can fall away, and we lose nothing.”

Major themes covered in Peter’s letter are our identity in Christ, showing honor to others, and Christ-like conduct, thinking, and humility.  Jen Wilkin’s study is an invitation to read deeply on these themes, to engage in open-ended pondering, and to sit in the place of unknowing before rushing into a ready-made answer.

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This book was provided by LifeWay through the B&H Bloggers program in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michele Morin

I am a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. I have been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and our four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Nonetheless, two teens still remain at home, and along with an incorrigible St. Bernard, we laugh, make messes, clean them up, and then start all over again. I love hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop me in my tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. I lament biblical illiteracy and advocate for the prudent use of "little minutes." I blog at Living Our Days because "the way I live my days will be, after all, the way I live my life." You can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

32 thoughts on “A Living Hope”

  1. I love her idea about reading It repetitively, because every, single time we read a passage of Scripture, we see It in a new light, and we unearth some new nugget of truth. We will never be able to exhaust the whole meaning of the precious Word of God! I love and cherish Its unfathomable depths!!! How grateful I am that we can hold It in our hands and delve into Its mysteries! Thank you for the review, Michele!

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    1. I have a friend that I’ve been reading Scripture with for years. We pick a book and go at it a chapter a week. It’s been terrific, and I do learn so much more with a slow and steady approach. So glad that Jen Wilkin is getting the word out about deep and detailed study.

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  2. Sounds like a great study. I remember *trying* to memorize 1 Peter 1. It was too hard. ha. But it was wonderful time with the Word anyway. Hopefully pieces of it stuck to my heart that didn’t stick to my brain.

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  3. I’ve never heard of this study series, but it looks good. I like the idea of repetitive reading. In January, I studied Ephesians 1 (and just a few verses in 3) and got so much out of it. Every day it was those same passages! Like Lisa, above, I also memorized some verses of 1 Peter 1 a few years ago, but they went out the window a while ago, and I need to go over them again. Leaning into more of God through more of His Word, right along with you!

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    1. Funny, I’ve been working on some verses in I Peter 1, and have been surprised at how difficult it’s been to get them to stick. That old fisherman had a unique way of stringing his words together, I guess.

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  4. Isn’t it amazing that we can read and reread the Bible and find things we didn’t see the first time? I love that! This study sounds like something I need to research. Thanks, Michele, for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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  5. Oo, sounds great! I like the idea of reading the whole letter once a week. It must strike you anew each time and help you get deeper into it gently. Will be looking into this one, Michele! Thanks! : )

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  6. I and II Peter are both near and dear to my heart; I’ve spent over a year studying it in the past, and I feel as though I’ve barely scratched the surface! You’re right, that old fisherman did have a way of stringing his words together. I so relate to Peter because I’m prone in my excitement to act without thinking …

    Ah, Michele, once again, we are neighbors at Grace and Truth! I always smile when I see your name pop up, because I know I’m gong here anyway!

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  7. Michele,
    Context, context, context…we can’t take the principle across the bridge to our town in 2016, unless we understand the context of when it was written, to whom, why, where, and how. Oh what nuggets we miss when we don’t take the time to dig deeper…and remember…it’s all about God!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for a terrific review. I totally agree with digging deeper and letting the Holy Spirit guide our understanding. I’m feeling much better after deciding not to follow that quick study of some NT books. Whew. Slow down and let God guide me. We are always so in step with each other.
    Blessings
    Janis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest, when you spoke of taking on that huge project, I wondered . . . new book launch? already reading and studying and writing? I think you’re wise to honor some boundaries with this decision.

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  9. I have just been reading Women of the Word. So simple and sufficient. Really appreciate her calling us back to the basics and steering away from man’s words till we have spent time and meditation on God’s words with His Spirit opening truth to us.

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  10. This looks like a great study, Michele. I must admit to doing far too many “Bible studies” that don’t actually study the Word as we should. They are books on interesting topics from people who may refer to verses at times, but don’t really study the details. I absolutely love this point: “Diving into a study of the Bible without considering the who and the where and the why is like receiving a letter, tearing it open, reading part of it and ignoring the return address on the envelope.” That is something I’m really working on, learning the who, where, why… Thanks for this reminder :).

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  11. Michele, thank you for telling us about this study. I’ll definitely check it out. I love looking to see what I can learn about Jesus when I study the Bible. In a book by Timothy Keller I was challenged to see how what I read relates to the Gospel of salvation. That too has expanded my thinking.

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  12. Jen Wilkin’s Book changed my Bible study life completely! I loved it. And my own Bible Study group will be going through both Women and the Word and I Peter this summer! I am so excited to dig into I Peter!! 🙂
    Sarah (www.sarahefrazer.com)

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  13. I love Jen Wilkin’s book! such a practical guide for really learning what God is saying holistically and individually to us. And 1 Peter! Fantastic book. I go back to it often! Blessings in your discovery!

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