Zachary Bright

The Wonder of it All

Jack’s DOGmatic Reflections

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home image9 1:16

the Word of God is more precious tha gold

O taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.
— Psalm 34:8 (NRSV)

…if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
— 1 Peter 2:3 (NRSV)

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
— Psalm 119:103 (NRSV)

More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
— Psalm 19:10 (NRSV)

Jack Lewis, the Bible Study Dog (BSD), is an avid bibliophile, a lover of books. We had been scanning the horizon, looking for the arrival of our book order, when one day my wife Terry, brought in at the end of the day, a ripped-up package, that contained a book. Apparently, the mail-person had chucked our book order over the fence, and on to the lawn, which as far as Jack was concerned, placed the projectile clearly in his “wheelhouse”, on the BSD’s “plate”, so to speak. Doubtless, the damage to the package came from the Bible Study Dog’s attempts to drag the package to safety, knowing that the timed sprinkler would come on and damage our long-anticipated book order. But just to show you the respect that Jack has for books, the book itself was totally undamaged.

I buy most of my books on my Kindle; it’s cheaper and it saves room. Sometimes though, only a hard copy will do, or maybe the book is not out as an ebook yet. Jack, however, prefers the hard copy; I think the way he put it was, “something you can sink your teeth into.” The Bible Study Dog is nothing, if not earnest, in his participation in my theological studies.

Recently, Jack has been interested in drawing together, in a meaningful whole, his scattered biblical insights. Hence his interest in theology, the study of God, who for the BSD, is often revealed through Jack’s relationship with me. I am trying to exercise some of the care of creation that God assigned to humankind (Genesis 1:26-28), through my life with Jack Lewis. Also, I have a little sign that someone gave me, that reads: “I want to be the person my dog thinks I am.”

The Bible Study Dog especially enjoys the theology that draws on biblical theology, historical theology, and God’s revelation of himself in creation and redemption, DOGmatic Theology. This is for at least two reasons: 1) the word “dog” in the title, helps Jack feel included; and 2) the size of many dogmatics volumes are impressive. Just looking at some of the dogmatics books on the shelves behind me: “Church Dogmatics” (I have seven of them), by Karl Barth; “Systematic Theology”, two volumes (1997), by Robert W. Jenson; “The Institutes of the Christian Religion”, two volumes, by John Calvin; The “Christian Foundations” series, seven volumes, by Donald G. Bloesch; four volumes so far by Michael Horton; five volumes by Emil Bruner; several single volume Presbyterian theologies; and more. My favorite right now is probably the Jenson volumes.

As so often, the BSD has an important insight. Even though culinary interests are not in view, we do taste (in a spiritual way) the reality of God and the wonder of the Word (Bible). From this I take two understandings: 1) encounter with God in worship or Word can be a pleasure, even greater then physical pleasure; and 2) we don’t eat physical food just once a week or once a month, but we eat every day. Daily feeding on the Word, and worshiping our Creator-Redeemer, help us to grow spiritually, to grow to be more like Jesus.

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This post was powered by the album, “Hope’s Not Giving Up” (2016) by Remedy Drive and the album, “Vittles and Valentines” (2016) by Rebecca Loebe.

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Author: Zachary Bright

Until February 2014, I was pastor of Divine Savior Presbyterian Church for about 24 years. I am interested in theology, alternative music, new worship music, culture making, philosophy and dogs. Most of all I am interested in extending the Kingdom of God and its blessings to everyone around me. I am the Director of the Southern CA. C.S. Lewis Society and I am a graduate of Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary. My wife Terry, my dog Jack Lewis and I host a Bible Study in our home on Sunday afternoons.

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