What happened next was that I returned to full-time ministry. Not all at once but gradually. It began, whilst I was still working, by starting to help on Sundays in various churches. But it quickly became apparent that there was a greater need for my help. So, I gave up my “day job” in order to accept the various requests for help. It was then that I heard other appeals for help.
Through my preaching I had engaged people. As a consequence, they either returned to reading the Bible, or began to read it for the first time. Many started with Genesis, intending to work their way through to Revelation. But a significant number got themselves stuck part-way through the Book of Exodus. God’s laws simply didn’t make sense in their twenty-first century world.
Now I could understand their predicament. And, as I moved from one place to another, one locum after another, the calls for help seemed to get louder and louder. It was also like God was saying, “There’s a problem here. Someone needs to do something about it.” But I didn’t think it was me.
Well, not at first anyway. However, a couple of years later, I finally accepted that maybe he did have me in mind.
By that stage I had recognised the need for a Bible where the narrative could be read independently from all the various genealogies, lists and laws, that are the stumbling blocks for so many modern readers. I also recognised that those genealogies, lists and laws were still needed to be part of that Bible. Indeed, I would need to maintain the complete text and integrity of all the material, and include various annotations to make the text more meaningful to the Twenty-First Century reader. And so I began the Twenty-First Century Bible project.
But to complete the task, I knew that I would need to cease full-time work. So, I retired from full-time work to start the project. Then, a couple of years later, I retired from part-time work so that I could complete it.
Having done so, it’s like being back at theological college all over again. For, as I delve into translating the Bible, and as I pour through the various commentaries on the text, it’s like God has returned me to the part of my education that I loved so much. Not only that, but I can finally see all the different aspects of my education coming into good use. Not least of which was the theological training (with the amount of self-help required), the Biblical Hebrew lessons, and the discipline of completing a Bachelor of Arts by correspondence.
Posted: 28th December 2017
© 2017, Brian A Curtis