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Teaching Tip from Paul (per Richard Hays)

In his commentary on 1 Corinthians in the Interpretation series, Richard Hays points out Paul’s strategy in addressing the concerns of the Corinthian church in 1 Cor.

His summary and takeaway is insightful for those who teach, preach, or evangelize:

…it is striking that Paul takes up the Corinthians’ concerns [in 7:1-15:58] only after writing the lengthy discussion of chapters 1-6, in which he calls for unity, reasserts his authority, forcefully scolds the community, and calls them to new standards of holiness and community discipline. Plainly, he is not content to allow the Corinthians’ concerns to set the agenda. He addresses their questions only after carefully rebuilding the foundation upon which he believes answers must be based. This strategy allows him, as we shall see, to reframe the issues; he calls repeatedly for the Corinthian community to be re-socialized into a pattern shaped by the gospel of the cross and illuminated by the eschatological setting of the church between cross and the final day of the Lord. Teachers and preachers may find Paul’s example instructive: It is not necessarily wise to begin “where the people are.” The teacher who does so may find it impossible to move the students to any other place. Of course, the students’ questions must be engaged–as Paul’s example shows–but that engagement will be most fruitful if the groundwork of the gospel has first been laid out clearly.

Richard Hays, 1 Corinthians, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Preaching and Teaching (Louisville: John Knox Press 1997), 111.

New Phase: Campus Ministry at the University of Houston

The Boyds have entered a new phase of life: that of doing campus ministry in Houston, Texas.

Last year, I accepted the invitation from the Church of Christ Student Foundation to be the campus minister for The Point, a.k.a. “Coogs for Christ” at the University of Houston.

There are many exciting, missional reasons I accepted this opportunity.  I hope to unpack some of them in separate, future blog posts. The work seems to be going well so far, and the missionary field of the campus is almost always ripe.

More on all of it soon.


Our last blog post was meant to ease the worries of appearing too young–mostly. If you’ve been at the other side of that spectrum, however, and felt too old, you should read Chaplain Michael Summer’s poem and prayer. The rough draft of his book on prayer is almost finished. See his blog for more:

© Clint Boyd 2014

Notes for Reading Philippians 2:1-5 in Chinese

Well, Sam keeps putting me on the list to serve in the Chinese service at Highland, so I’m forced to stretch.

I’m pretty excited about this Sunday’s service. I’m supposed to read Philippians 2:1-5 and pray. Though I always feel inadequate for this kind of ministry, I’m thankful for the opportunity.

Often I use a Bible that has English, 汉字,and pīnyīn(transliteration of the sounds of Chinese characters), which Beng Chuan Tan gave to me, but this time, because the Powerpoint has the scripture in a different Chinese translation, the reading comes from notes.

I copy/pasted their preferred Chinese translation into Microsoft Word, and thankfully, I know at least half of the characters, so I’m just adding pīnyīn and definitions to the words I’m still learning.

Mostly because I love this chapter of Philippians and am in sharing kind of mood, I want to share what I’m using to read tomorrow. This aims not to glorify me but rather to encourage others struggling to learn a language, especially missionaries. If these notes reveal anything of myself it is my weakness, not strength. Also, the name of this blog comes from the eighth verse in the same chapter of Philippians.

philip 2 chinese

Reblog/Press: Keep Your Identity Small

Keep Your Identity Small, by Paul Graham.

A friend of mine recommended this article, and I found it useful, so here’s to sharing.

Graham writes: 

I think what religion and politics have in common is that they become part of people’s identity, and people can never have a fruitful argument about something that’s part of their identity. By definition they’re partisan.

The most intriguing thing about this theory, if it’s right, is that it explains not merely which kinds of discussions to avoid, but how to have better ideas. If people can’t think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible. [2]

Most people reading this will already be fairly tolerant. But there is a step beyond thinking of yourself as x but tolerating y: not even to consider yourself an x. The more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you.

via Keep Your Identity Small.

The wise friend who share Graham’s piece with me also has a website worthy of your attention:

Brain Scans, Free Will and So on

I cannot believe I am still interested in this topic as much as I am.

I’m going to give you some quotes I liked  most from a recent “news” piece, or some quotes that I think summarize what the point and interest of this is.

There’s a growing recognition of the importance of the subconscious in our decision-making. We may not even be aware of the influence that a surrounding smell or noise is having on our choices. And some neuroscientists have even claimed that by examining patterns in the brain, they can predict decisions that we will take six or seven seconds before we ourselves consciously choose to take them.

All this raises a question for the philosopher – what are the implications of advances in knowledge about human decision-making for our conception of free will? Will scientific progress undermine our sense that we have free will? Will it eventually lead us to conclude that free will is an illusion?

The emergence of the concept of free will can be dated to about the 4th Century AD, and was an ingenious solution of Christian theologians to the so-called Problem of Evil. If God is all powerful, and God is all good, how come there is evil in the world? The answer, said Saint Augustine, is that man has free will.

According to this article, I am a compatibilist, believing that both free will and providence (of God) need not be split in order to solve the problem of evil.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” -(Gen. 50:20)

God didn’t merely fix Joseph’s brothers’ blunder: he ordered it for a purpose larger than anyone saw coming.

via BBC News – What can a brain scan tell us about free will?.


I found this (linked) blog post earlier and didn’t know how to feel. My first reaction to this kind of video, honestly, is to disbelieve that any of it is true. After all, I have been to China for a year myself, and I saw plenty of extra Bibles, still in the plastic wrapper.
That’s forgetting something, though: China is a very large country.
So that doesn’t mean that the Bible is known or understood there by all, though, and far from that is the truth: the Word has spread rapidly there, praise God, for doors are opening–but there are still millions who haven’t heard it preached or taught right. (And by “right,” I do not mean my particular interpretation of the Word, but rather, they haven’t heard the word taught as the truth).

What a Testimony!




Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, God Almighty!

It was in the prison cell that her dad cried out to God and was strengthened.

We don’t have to go to jail to be true believers, maybe, but just how much do we suffer for the sake of the Kingdom? I’m not the toughest Joe out there, but I want to be, for God’s sake. Yet, God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.  

He wants you to depend on Him for things, not trust in bank accounts, lottery, retirement plans, school loans, and whatever else we hope for.  Have hopes, but have hopes for the right things, I feel I should tell you and myself.

A wise man told me that when you’ve been a Christian for a while, there isn’t a whole lot of new information under the sun you need to learn: we just need to be reminded and told with conviction, like that we see in this video.  We don’t need master a lot of things; we need to be mastered by a few very great things.