About 20 years ago, my uncle gave me a bible of his he thought I would enjoy using for bible study. It is a King James Version, Thompson’s Chain Reference. The preface of this bible says “The Chain-Reference Bible is the product of over thirty-one years of intense Bible study on the part of the author, Dr. Frank Charles Thompson and his faithful wife, Laura Boughton Thompson.” It was one of the books I pulled off my shelf to look through after a lively discussion with educated men and bible teachers and their students about marriage and how it is portrayed in the bible. The statement was made that there are no patterns or themes in scripture, but that the text is the story of ancient peoples and their culture only and maybe it gives us all some help in sharing a common faith-based paradigm. I couldn’t disagree more.
The Thompson’s Chain Reference is an entire study of patterns and themes in scripture.
We can look at the bible as a text of ancient peoples and their culture, and we can study modern cultures and economic and social structures and decide that there might be some words of Christ like Ghandi or Confuscius that may enlighten us on our way through…or we can use education to manipulate people. And when all else fails, history shows that force works every time, for a time.
But scripture is the living Word of God. Alive.
I read a quote from a political commentator a few weeks ago that’s a repeat of similar comments I’ve heard from politicians. “Jesus was a socialst” So, what’s wrong with this statement? How about “Jesus was a Capitalist?” “Jesus was a communist?” We could keep going, but it’s just getting worse. Saying Jesus “was” anything is the first mistake. Taking this any further is to remain trapped in time and within this present darkness, out of which we are redeemed and called to dwell with Christ. Jesus’preferred form of government rule is a monarchy and a theocratic one at that, but that line of reasoning isn’t going to fly on CNN, because CNN is concerned only about the temporal and this world’s system. Should we the saints be so concerned? Let’s take another look at the Word of God and Christ, our living King and the living Word.
When I received the Thompson’s Chain-Reference from my uncle, it was about 30 years-old and had no tabs. I liked tabs and bought some at the Christian book store. The tabs contain short statements of Christ’s attributes illustrated in the books of the bible. Here are the Old Testament tabs in order:
Genesis – Jesus is our Creator
Exodus – Jesus is our Deliverer
Leviticus – Jesus is our Eternal Sacrifice
Numbers – Jesus is our Trusted Guide
Deuteronomy – Jesus is our Redeeming Prophet
Joshua – Jesus is our Divine Captain
Judges – Jesus is our Steadfast God
Ruth – Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer
1 Samuel – Jesus is our Interceding King
2 Samuel – Jesus is our Annointed King
1 Kings – Jesus is our Wise King
2 Kings – Jesus is our Reigning King
1 Chronicles – Jesus is
2 Chronicles – Jesus is the Glory of the Lord
Ezra – Jesus is the Fulfillment of God’s Promise
Nehemiah – Jesus is the Rebuilder of Lives
Esther – Jesus is our Hidden Teacher
Job – Jesus is the Faithfulness of God
Psalm – Jesus is our Praise Song
Proverbs – Jesus is our Wisdom
Ecclesiastes – Jesus is our Only Hope
Song of Solomon – Jesus is our Bridegroom
Isaiah – Jesus is our Messiah
Jeremiah – Jesus is our Compassionate Friend
Lamentations – Jesus is the Passion of the Lord
Ezekiel – Jesus is our Watchman
Daniel – Jesus is our Rescuer in Time of Need
Hosea – Jesus us the Faithful Husband
Joel – Jesus is the Outpouring of God’s Goodness
Amos – Jesus is our Burden Bearer
Obadiah – Jesus is our Highest Authority
Jonah – Jesus is the Width of God’s Mercy
Michah – Jesus is our Coming Messiah
Nahum – Jesus is our Avenger
Habakkuk – Jesus is the Foundation of Our Faith
Zephaniah – Jesus is the Glory of Israel
Haggai – Jesus is our Restorer
Zechariah – Jesus is the Prince of Peace
Malachi – Jesus is the Glorious Promise
Reading through each of these has encouraged me today so much! My faith is strengthened and I’m filled with joy. I Chronicles is missing from my bible. If anyone has these tabs or knows the missing attribute based on I Chronicles, please let me know. 🙂
So, in looking at each of these, contemplate the humbling and overwhelming realization that Jesus Christ is the one overarching theme and pattern of all of scripture. . . . . .
When we study scripture and apply what we are learning, are we bringing it back around to Christ? When we go away to school to study theology, is that education bringing it all back around to Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life? If we speak about the culture or politics or history, are we bringing it all back around to Christ? “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it” – Psalm 127:1. I haven’t heard that verse in a very long time. It’s time to pull that one off the shelf and dust it off.
For Blogtober 13th, I’ll take a look at the New Testament tabs and talk more about this, along with daily bible reading and working on memorizing John 1.