Posted by: rcottrill | September 21, 2015

Wonderful Story of Love

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Words: John Merritte Driver (b. Feb. 10, 1857; d. June 7, 1918)
Music: John Merritte Driver

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: The Cyber Hymnal lists quite a few hymns written by Pastor Driver, but this is the only one still in use, as far as I know. The Cyber Hymnal dates it from 1892, but Hymnary.org includes a publication from 1890 that contains it.

When dealing with significant people and events, or important documents, there are times when we need to have as much detail as possible. Not to check the fine print on a document, for instance, could land us in great trouble later on.

There are other times, however, when a summary is useful. Give us the highlights, an overview of the main features. In written English, that is the role of the précis (prey-see), a French word meaning to cut short, or condense. Typically, a précis will be about one fifth the length of the original, summarizing the essentials, while seeking to maintain something of the author’s style.

Over the years, teaching the Bible in church settings, in college classrooms, and on a series of television programs, I’ve found that when we’re dealing with God’s Word, both perspectives are useful.

Theologians talk about the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, referring to the fact that each word of the original documents was “God-breathed”–the meaning of the Greek word “inspiration” in Second Timothy 3:16. Clearly, if God Himself superintended the writing of each word, then each is important. The Lord Jesus even declared the authoritative precision of each letter, and even the parts of each letter in the words (Matt. 5:18).

But the other approach, a overview of the Bible also has value. Have you ever seen one of those peg boards that can be put up in a garage or workshop? They have hundreds of tiny holes that can hold hooks to hang things on, helping us to organize tools or other equipment. In a sense, that is what a summary of the Bible’s main points gives us. Mental hooks to hang more information on, and keep it organized.

Subject of BibleHow can we condense what is in God’s Word? Boiled down to the bare minimum, all of the Bible is about three main things. It’s a book about God; it’s a book about man; and a book about the relationship between the two. That’s it! Open the Scriptures at random and study any verse you like. It will concern one or more of those three things.

The Lord Jesus several times declared that the Scriptures are about Him. “These are they which testify of Me” (Jn. 5:39; cf. Lk. 24:27, 44). To use a technical word, the Bible is Christocentric. It centres on the Saviour, and He can be found in some way on every page. A moment’s thought will show that the He is directly involved in all three of the subjects mentioned. He is fully God, and fully Man, and it is through faith in His saving work that we can have a personal relationship with God.

American pastor John Driver summarized some pivotal points relating to the life and ministry of Christ, and wrote a hymn about it. First, he dealt with the significance of the birth of Christ, when the shepherds heard the news, “There is born to you…a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11).

CH-1) Wonderful story of love; tell it to me again;
Wonderful story of love; wake the immortal strain!
Angels with rapture announce it,
Shepherds with wonder receive it;
Sinner, O won’t you believe it?
Wonderful story of love.

Wonderful! Wonderful!
Wonderful!
Wonderful story of love.

Then comes His sacrifice on the cross, and the call to salvation through faith in Him (Jn. 3:16).

CH-2) Wonderful story of love; though you are far away;
Wonderful story of love; still He doth call today;
Calling from Calvary’s mountain,
Down from the crystal bright fountain,
E’en from the dawn of creation,
Wonderful story of love.

Finally, there is His promised return to take us to the home, the “many mansions” in heaven, He is preparing for us (Jn. 14:2-3).

CH-3) Wonderful story of love; Jesus provides a rest;
Wonderful story of love; For all the pure and blest,
Rest in those mansions above us,
With those who’ve gone on before us,
Singing the rapturous chorus,
Wonderful story of love.

Questions:
1) If someone were to ask you to explain the gospel of grace briefly, how would you do it?

2) What hymns do you believe summarize the gospel best?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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