Keller Timothy – Encounters with Jesus

Timothy Keller – Encounters with Jesus – Unexpected Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions
I was raised in a mainline Protestant church, but in college I went through personal and spiritual crises that led me to question my most fundamental beliefs about God, the world, and myself.
During those years I fell in with some Christians who were active in small-group Bible studies. In these groups the leader would not take the role of teacher or instructor; instead he or she would facilitate the entire group’s reading and interpretation of the chosen Bible text. The ground rules were simple but crucial for the integrity of the exercise. The Bible was to be given the benefit of the doubt—the text was to be treated as reliable and its authors as competent. No one person’s interpretation was to be imposed on the passage; we were to come to conclusions as a group. We sought to mine the riches of the material as a community, assuming that together we would see far more than any individual could.
Before I was even sure where I stood in my own faith, I was asked to lead a group and was provided with a set of Bible studies entitled Conversations with Jesus Christ from the Gospel of John by Marilyn Kunz and Catherine Schell. It covered thirteen passages in the book of John where Jesus had conversations with individuals. Those studies helped my group uncover layers of meaning and insight that astonished us all. Moving through these accounts of Jesus’ life, I began to sense more than ever before that the Bible was not an ordinary book. Yes, it carried the strange beauty of literature from the remote past; but there was something else. It was through these studies of encounters with Jesus that I began to sense an inexplicable life and power in the text. These conversations from centuries ago were uncannily relevant and incisive to me—right now. I began to search the Scriptures not just for intellectual stimulation but in order to find God.
I was taught that patience and thoughtfulness were keys to insight. At one point I went to a conference for Bible study leaders. I’ll never forget one of the exercises. The instructor gave us one verse, Mark 1:17 (ESV): “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’” She asked us to spend thirty minutes studying the verse (which, naturally, was taken from an encounter with Jesus). She warned us that after five or ten minutes we would think we had seen all there was to see, but she challenged us to keep going. “Write down at least thirty things you see in or learn from the verse.” Ten minutes into the exercise I was finished (or so I thought) and bored. But I dutifully pushed on and kept looking. To my surprise there was more. When we all returned she asked us to look at our list and circle the most penetrating, moving, and personally helpful insight. Then she asked us a question: “How many of you discovered your best insight in the first five minutes? Raise your hands.” No hands. “How many after ten minutes?” One or two hands. “Fifteen?” More. “Twenty?” A large number now raised their hands. “Twenty-five?” Many of us now raised our hands, smiling and shaking our heads.

Timothy Keller – Encounters with Jesus – Unexpected Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions

New York: Penguin Random House, 2013. – 154 p.
Ebook ISBN: 9780698138346

Timothy Keller – Encounters with Jesus – Contents

  • ONE The Skeptical Student
  • TWO The Insider and the Outcast
  • THREE The Grieving Sisters
  • FOUR The Wedding Party
  • FIVE The First Christian
  • SIX The Great Enemy
  • SEVEN The Two Advocates
  • EIGHT The Obedient Master
  • NINE The Right Hand of the Father
  • TEN The Courage of Mary
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