Bible Study Series – Knowing your Bible – The Book of Ezra
A few years ago when read the reflections of a well-known preacher I came across a comment he made on his Ministerial colleagues. He said that whilst he was always glad to ‘see the faces’ of his colleagues either in his own church or at Minister’s Conferences he ‘got very little from their preaching’. This preacher is a frequent speaker at both Ministers’ Conferences and Christian gatherings.
I work a few days a week as a Mental Health Practitioner in our local NHS Mental Health Resource Centre. GP’s refer to us people with such concerns as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders and we then offer assessment and interventions such as counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness.
The phrase ‘the chief of sinners’ seems to have moved from 1 Timothy 1v 15 via the hymns of Lucy Ann Bennett and Charles Wesley into the self-understanding of many Christians. Over the years I have heard many Christians refer to themselves, both in their conversations and public prayers, as ‘the chief of sinners’. Is it right to do so? I would argue that it is not. To do so not only misses the point of Paul’s argument to Timothy but also undermines the Christians’ experience of grace.