Growing, Pericope by Pericope

September 12th, 2012| Topic: aBeLOG, Pericopal Theology | 2

Growing, Pericope by Pericope

It is not often that one gets to see the fruit of one’s ministry labors. But by God’s grace, I got to taste a delicious specimen the other day, in the form of an email from one of my former students, Michael. He always kept pestering me about when my Mark commentary would be done. When it came on the market, Michael was one of the first to buy a copy, and he promptly began teaching through it in his SS class for Young Marrieds at a local church.

Here’s his email (slightly edited), as well as a picture of his 3-month old, Grayson (for more of this, go here)

Well, this is it. Tomorrow morning [Sunday, Sep 9, 2012] our class is in the final pericope of the commentary of Mark. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed going through it. I can’t speak for everyone (but I’m going to), but I know everyone has enjoyed putting together the pieces of this Gospel. When I started, I was a bit nervous (as I think some of my emails to you would attest). For many in my class grew up in church. They’ve heard this story. They’ve read through the Gospel a thousand times (a bit optimistic, I know). The point is, the fear that crept in said, ‘What are you going to show them that they don’t already know?’”


Sitting here, 25 weeks after beginning [AK: the commentary has 25 chapters], I’ve come to the answer: nothing. I haven’t the power to show them anything. I can only diligently prepare, and pray until my knees bleed that the Holy Spirit would convict where conviction is needed, reveal where understanding is needed, and ultimately stir the affections of His people to the glory of the Father, through His Son!”


What I saw, in studying this commentary, is that we all gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for what the biblical authors are trying to do with what they are saying. However, something else happened as we shared in this journey of discipleship: we grew closer as a class. People shared many of the struggles that they have had. There are three women (at least) in our class who have had miscarriages in the past year! We laughed together at some of the funnier moments in the book. We cried at some of the gut-wrenching moments. We feel like we’ve gone through the peaks and valleys of discipleship. [AK: Mark’s Gospel is structured as a “Trip of Discipleship.”]”


Periodically I would ask the question, ‘Which of these lessons has impacted your own journey of discipleship most?’ The two answers that come up often were the call to be willing to die, and the need for full dependence on God’s provision. In the past year and a half we’ve studied Jeremiah, Romans, Deuteronomy and now Mark. I think all four books have played a tremendous part in our class’s growth, but Mark has, by far, been the most significant!”


My point is that I know what it’s like to pour your heart into something and never know if it’s done any good. It seems like you never know who’s reading, how they were affected, and what they learned. Rest easy. I have read every word of the commentary, and my class and I have benefited tremendously from all those hours you spent writing. I know it’s tough, but please keep doing what you do!”

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work
and the love which you have shown toward His name,
in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
Hebrews 6:10

Alright, I’d better get back to my work on the Genesis commentary. Michael’s going to be after me!




  1. Michael September 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    How ya comin’ on that Genesis commentary? 🙂


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