The Psalms

THE PSALMS are songs of praise, prayer and prophecy, written by David, Hezekiah and others. The Psalms and Music The Psalms were originally sung, and accompanied by musical instruments (a number of Psalms have the names of the original tunes and other instructions in their ‘titles’). The Psalms were intended for personal use as well as for congregational worship. Particular Psalms may be prayers or meditations, or both; some recount highlights from the history of Israel or the personal experiences of the Psalmist. Christ in the Psalms The work of Jesus Christ was foretold in the Psalms, as it was in all parts of the Old Testament (see Luke 24:44). Jesus knew the Psalms: they provide an insight into his mind and thoughts. Some Psalms are obviously about him: His Sufferings— Psalms 22; 40; 69; 118. His Resurrection— Psalms 16; 91. His Future Rule— Psalms 2; 24; 45; 72; 110;

Why You Should Read the Bible

SO YOU BELIEVE in God? Well, I assume you do because you’re reading this magazine. So therefore you may also be familiar with the Bible. I’d like to share some reasons why you should read it. The Bible (also known as ‘scripture’) is the Word of God, and it is unlike any other book. We are told this by the Apostle Peter: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20–21). Jesus Believed the Bible Our Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament which deals with the history of the world before Jesus Christ, and the New Testament which commences with the birth of Jesus. The Old Testament was Jesus’ Bible. He believed it to be the Word

The Problem with Politicians

THIS IS NOT a rant about those who have taken on the responsibility of government. It is a serious analysis of the serious question—why do they so often let us down? In 1887 the British Lord Acton wrote a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in which he coined a famous phrase: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” You may or may not sympathise with that view. But let’s see what the Bible has to say on the subject. People Are Unreliable The first problem which the Bible identifies is that politicians, like all other people, are mortal—they are limited in their ability, and they only last for a short time. Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very

The Kingdom of God

OUR FATHER in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9–10). This is the opening of the Lord’s Prayer. Every day and in many languages it is repeated. But what do the words “Your kingdom come” really mean? When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God, he added, “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father [that is his ancestor] David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32–33). When the wise men came seeking the baby Jesus they asked “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2). When Jesus stood on trial, Pilate the governor asked, “Are you a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say

Baptism and Christening

In England the number of people claiming to be ‘Christian’ has dropped dramatically over the past few decades. Consequently, attendance at church services is low. In particular, infant christening is often replaced by secular ‘naming ceremonies’. The massive decrease in religious faith is of concern to many people. And what about children who have not been christened: are they in danger? A Command The traditional church ritual of sprinkling the forehead of a baby should really be called ‘christening’ and not ‘baptism’. According to the Bible baptism is different: it is undertaken by adults who have expressed a faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as Son of God, and it involves the complete immersion of the person in water. Baptism was commanded by Jesus (Mark 16:15–16) and also by his followers the apostles (for example Acts 22:16). It was done where there was much water (John 3:23,

An Evening Under the Stars

We had been warned that today there’d be a long journey. We were to lead a two-day Bible School which would be attended by Christadelphians, and other people from the village and also from further afield. We set off early in the morning. Three Europeans and three native Africans in a car which was not fit for the roads we were travelling on—they were some of the roughest I have ever experienced. After two hours’ travelling the sun was high and burning hot. Sweat dripped from us, our shirts stuck to our backs. Tension was rising, tempers frayed. The day which we had expected to spend talking and helping was slipping away. At last we had to stop for a break to stretch our legs and enjoy some shade, but we were soon on our way again. Arrival After another two and a half hours we finally arrived. What greeted

A New Start

IT WAS A DAY of disaster and disgrace.It must have seemed as though everything was lost, and life was no longer worth living. It was around 1100 BC. The Israelites had been struggling for a long time. They were leaderless and surrounded by foes, in particular their arch enemies the Philistines were a continual threat on their western border. Their spiritual life was at a low ebb: the High Priest was a weak old man called Eli who served God in the Tabernacle in Shiloh. He was dominated by his two sons Hophni and Phinehas, who were corrupt and vicious. Defeat and Catastrophe One day the army of Israel joined battle with the Philistine army. The account is in the Bible in 1 Samuel 4. Israel were defeated and fled back to their camp, where they had a desperate idea: they would rally themselves for another battle, and this time