Initially I planned to write more volumes in the series 'Explorations in Theology' but decided that I would approach the writing more dynamically and write, topic-wise, on various theological, biblical and practical issues through an extended article response. The 'journals' align with the four books with a number of them providing background to the books or extending themes that were approached in the books.
Volume 1: Paul's Gospel in Galatians.
I chose the Galatian letter to be the first volume (February 2023) is very direct and I consider that Paul responding with passion reveals the heart of his Gospel. Jesus is the centre, there has been a deliverance from the powers; Israel had also been under the powers hence the cross is first for Israel's deliverance so that there can be a 'new Israel', one not defined at all by ethnicity but by faith. The death of Jesus has shifted everything so that nothing can be judged from the past, even the law has to be judged by the coming of Christ. Radical and to the point!
Volume 2: Understanding Transitions.
This second volume (April 2023) takes a practical approach. All of life involves making transitions, some of which we experience without even noticing, but there are major transitions that often come when we least expect them and often not as a result of a direct choice.
I seek to plot how best to negotiate those transitions - both at a personal and a corporate level.
Volume 3: A historico-narrative approach to Scripture.
This third volume (May 2023) takes an important step back to look at how should we approach Scripture. Narrative is essential - an overarching story; stories within the big story; stories that draw from or echo other stories. And the history of the key events in the corporate life of those who have expressed faith in the God of Israel. Beyond the obvious ones of Creation, the call and life of the patriarchs in Genesis we have to give weight to the historical Exile at the hands of the Babylonians and (beyond Scripture) to the events of the Jewish War with Rome (66-70AD).
Volume 4: Eschatology: an Introduction.
This fourth volume (August 2023) is important as it lays foundations for how we read Scripture, given that it was not written TO us but it is written FOR us. There is a huge gap in time between when it was written and our era; likewise a huge gap in culture / worldview that we encounter as we read. We cannot simply look to find texts that might fit our era and culture. The final part of this volume presents the shift from the 'one horizon' of the Jewish expectation to the 'mutiple horizons' of the NT. This lays a foundation for the next volume - the events that took place some 40 years after the death of Jesus. Further volumes will be written; this one though is essential to be read first.
Volume 5: Eschatology: The Second Horizon.
This fifth volume (January 2024) focuses in on the words of Jesus regarding the future events (as recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21). They reference future events to the hearers, but we should not assume they are indicating a set of future events for us. Jesus is addressing the people of his day, and is clear that all the events he speaks of will be experienced by this generation, i.e. the generation he is addressing. I follow up a look at this 'Olivet Discourse' with Paul's words in 2 Thessalonians 3 concerning a 'man of lawlessness' suggesting that he is elaborating on what Jesus described as an event that could be understood as 'an abomination that causes desolation'.