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Reform Magazine | June 13, 2024

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A good question: Which book of the Bible should I stop overlooking? - Reform Magazine

A good question: Which book of the Bible should I stop overlooking?

One question, four answers

Hannah Fytche
‘This letter is written to a place in conflict’

It’s the middle of a busy week, and you’ve found five minutes to sit with a coffee and collect your thoughts. As you sort through how you’re feeling, you wonder if you also might have some time to pray – and maybe to open the Bible and find some words to help you find your feet and discern your way through the rest of the week.

You wonder what to read. Psalms always give you words to express how you’re feeling. Gospels draw you near to Jesus – so near that you can almost see the humour and love in his eyes. Familiar Old Testament stories of prophets and kings remind you of the long reach of God’s faithfulness…

Hannah Fytche is Associate Tutor in New Testament studies at Westminster College, Cambridge

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Stephen Ansa-Addo
‘Spice it up with some Habakkuk!’

I’ve heard variety is the spice of life, and the Bible is no exception! There’s a lesser-known book in the Bible that I would encourage you to give some attention, and its name is… Habakkuk! Why should you stop overlooking this tiny treasure trove? Here’s why!

First off, Habakkuk might be short, but it is filled with wisdom and powerful themes such as vision, patience, living by faith and trusting God despite circumstances of difficulty…

Stephen Ansa-Addo is Chaplain to the Moderator of the URC General Assembly and co-author of the 2024 URC Prayer Handbook

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Meg Warner
‘Genesis tells a story that is directly at odds with the Exodus’

Genesis might seem an odd choice for an overlooked biblical book. Whoever overlooked Genesis? Genesis starts everything off and sets up so much of what follows. It even has its own Broadway musical in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. And yet, there is an important element of the Genesis story that routinely gets overlooked, because it is overshadowed by what follows.

If you think of the Old Testament story in its grandest sweep – encompassing the birth of the nation of Israel – you probably think of the salvation story of the Exodus, leading to the conquest of Canaan. In this part of Israel’s story, Moses and then Joshua are the big heroes, overseeing Israel’s escape from Egypt and entry into the land, so that Yahweh’s promises of land, nationhood and faithfulness can be fulfilled. Joshua, the military hero, leads Israel into battle against the worshippers of other Gods so that Yahweh’s might may be known, and that Yahweh’s people may live in safety in their own land of milk and honey.

Meg Warner is Tutor for Old Testament at Northern College, Manchester

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Laurence Wareing
‘Never underestimate the power of a good story’

In the Christian arrangement of scripture, the book of Ruth is hidden between two giants of Hebrew history – Judges and the first book of Samuel; books dominated by the rise and fall of great men (mostly), and territorial conflicts.

But never underestimate the power of a good story. The story of the Moabite Ruth is not unrelated to the themes and trajectory of those larger histories (spoiler alert: Ruth becomes the great-grandmother of King David). Yet, for four short chapters, we’re invited to step aside from the great affairs of state and to walk alongside people more like ourselves, to see God at work in the everyday…

Laurence Wareing is Content Editor of Reform

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This is an extract from an article published in the November 2023 edition of Reform

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