Kid Report

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d give an update on the boys.

#3 is quite fluent with walking now, and getting close to running. As for fluency in English, he has a number of recognizable sounds, but I don’t know how many could actually be called words. Ba[ll], definitely, and uh-oh when something falls down. Dow[n] when he wants out of his high chair (or when he wants to be picked up). Occasionally we can get him to say Mo[re] to ask for food, but mostly when he sees food (or wants anything) he just goes nuts, shouting his all purpose-word “Ba! Ba! Ba! Ba!” Or if he’s really desperate, just “Uh! Uh! Uh!” But he’s a happy baby, a very good sleeper, he loves to sit in your lap and turn the pages of a Ba[ook]. He’s generally pretty content to play with whatever toys he can pull out of the toybox, or follow his big brothers around.

#2 remains the cuddliest and most good-natured. Always saying things like “All right, I will do it, Daddy”, or “Fanks, Dad”, or seeing a need and running to help fetching something or putting it away. At 3.5 years, he’s getting pretty good with his alphabet too, recognizing almost all the capital letters, and getting familiar with many lower-case as well. And he has made remarkable progress with his birthday scooter, now able to balance and coast for 20-30 foot stretches.

#1 is still whip-smart (and often smart-alecky!), with a raging sense of autonomy that we are trying to curb by requiring immediate “Yes, mom”, or “Yes, dad” after every instruction. It’s been about a week, and I think the constant self-reminders of his required position of submission is having some effect on his attitude. We had a great time on Saturday putting new tires on his bike, since he had worn the originals so the threads were showing through. He was pretty impressed with his Old Man’s dominion of the element of the created world that consists of Wheels, Tires, Tubes, Rims, Spokes, Rim Tape, Valve Stems, Chains, Gears, Axles, etc. I’m sure he’s as pleased with his $7 tires as if they were high-performance Pirellis. He’s outgrown his bike; with the seat-post at its very highest, he still kind of looks like a circus clown on a tricycle. But he also has his new Christmas (“sibling wheel-equity”) scooter to ride, and I want his next bike to be a real quality bike, not another Chinese $50 Costco jobbie, so I’m going to try to stretch until his birthday in the fall.

Last night in church, #1 asked me “What’s the most important verse in the Bible?” I was disappointed that I was unable to come up with anything less cliche than John 3:16 on the spot. I’m thinking now that Eph 2:8-10 would have been a slightly better answer. Any other suggestions? You can leave a comment here, or if you know his address, #1 LOVES to get emails…

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19 Responses

  1. Here’s a suggestion for “most important verse” that I think is kind of like the theological equivalent of asking a genie for more wishes.

    you had the right address, wrong book :-)

    II Timothy 3:16-17
    “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

  2. Interesting. So I guess I would have to ask #1 “important for what”? My answers are more geared at “important for salvation”, whereas you give a good answer for “important for grounding our understanding of truth”, which includes salvation as a subset. I guess you want to kind of outsmart the question “which verse is most important” by giving a verse that says “all scripture is most important”, therefore importing the whole bible into the answer!

    So to change the question from under you, when I think of “most important verse”, I am thinking more along the lines of “If you could have an oracle that would translate just one small passage into any unknown language to most concisely sum up the essence of Christianity, what would that small passage be?” Under that revised question, II Tim 3:16-17 is too legalist — or to be kinder, too sanctification-oriented, rather than justification-oriented. It doesn’t present the gospel.

    What I like about my selection is that the gospel is clear, and by inclusion of verse 10, sanctification is also accounted for, but in its proper place AFTER, and as a result of justification.

  3. I thought the goal was to find the most important verse (singular), not the most important verses (plural). If the goal is to find multiple verses, I would go for the books of Romans and Hebrews. If you want the single most important verse in the Bible, my favorite is John 3:36…

    “He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (ASV)

  4. Oh so many to choose from, but since you are tyring to “most concisely sum up the essence of Christianity”, how about Titus 3:5 (I would want the surrounding context as well but for brevity sake I think verse 5 is the kicker)
    3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

  5. Hmmm, I like that one too. Not having gone to seminary, I probably have an imbalance, since I’m not very familiar with N.T. books that begin with T… Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, James I feel very familiar with, less so with the Gospels, Acts, Corinthians, Colossians, Ephesians, but the rest almost seem like new material whenever I run across them!

    But hopefully I’ve got a good 40 years ahead of me to continue to learn God’s word!

  6. Also I like the believe/obey dichotomy in John 3:36.

  7. Rube,

    You said:
    “a raging sense of autonomy that we are trying to curb by requiring immediate “Yes, mom”, or “Yes, dad” after every instruction. It’s been about a week, and I think the constant self-reminders of his required position of submission is having some effect on his attitude.”

    – Echo:
    You’d definitely be right. Consider what effect it has on you to confess your sins to God, followed by a further confession (echo of Scripture) that you do in fact believe the word of pardon in Scripture which says that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Believing something is good, but confessing that belief is perhaps even better. Confession affects us. If you say it, it strengthens your belief in it. Your own voice has an effect on you. Not surprising, since we are made in the image of God, who upholds all things by the Word of his power, and by whose Word the world came into existence. The spoken word is a powerful thing. It is no accident that the covenant between us and God consists of communication, namely verbal communication. All that takes place in the worship service, after all, is God speaking to his people, or the people responding to his Word. Think about that. (The dialogical principle of worship.)

    Tell your son that Rom 8:1 is one of the clearest statements of what the Scriptures say, though it is not the most important verse. Verses of the Bible are not heirarchically arranged, such that some are more important than others. None are superfluous. As Moses said to the Israelites, do not add to it nor take away from it. God has said ALL that he has said. Do not add to it or take away from it. He has said it all because it is all important. We need it all.

    However, that said, I find Rom 8:1 to be a very clear summary of the message of the Bible, namely the message of our great salvation in Jesus Christ. That is the message of the Bible. How it works, what results from it, what does it take to bring it about, etc. Here are some passages that perhaps bring that out particularly clearly:

    Joh 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
    Joh 5:40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

    These two verses teach us a number of things. First that eternal life is found in Jesus Christ, second that the Scriptures (the OT) testifies to this fact, third, the Scriptures must be interpreted properly to get the point.

    Luk 24:25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
    Luk 24:26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
    Luk 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

    Here we learn a number of things. Once again we see that the entire Bible points to Christ. It’s not just Scripture as a whole that testifies to Christ, but ALL of Scripture. This phrase “Moses and all the Prophets” is like saying “Law and Prophets”. (One cannot help but think of the mount of transfiguration.) But law and prophets is a way of referring to the entire OT, just like “heavens and the earth” refers to the entire universe. It’s an “inclusio”, which combines two elements, which are usually opposites, to refer to a totality. Here we have command on one hand in the law, and the promise on the other hand in the prophets. Well, look at that, law and gospel, the classic Christian distinction between the two words of Scripture. Furthermore, we also discover here that everything about the person and work of Christ is discoverable in the OT. And what is more, if we have failed to pick up on it, it is not because it is hard to understand, but because we are unwilling, slow of heart, to believe it, and for this reason, we are foolish (deceived by sinful desires, which war against our faith).

    Mat 2:14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt
    Mat 2:15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

    Hos 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.

    I have Matthew here, and what he is quoting from Hosea. What we have here is a hermeneutic, a way of understanding the entire OT. In Hosea 11, God promises that he will redeem Israel because he loves Israel, his son. It is a beautiful passage. (Pericope ends at verse 11.) Of course, Christ fulfills this hope of redemption for Israel. In Hos 11, God says that he will judge Israel, casting them out of the land, sending them back to Egypt, but then will bring them back again, and that they will then believe and do his will, etc. But this was not fulfilled in the return from exile, says Matthew, but rather in Christ, the True Son of God, the archetype Son of God, to whom Israel and Adam both pointed.

    So tell your son that while there isn’t any one “most important verse” in the Bible, the Bible does speak with one voice about the person and work of Jesus Christ. So perhaps this is one to remember as well:

    Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
    Rom 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    E

  8. Even though I argued for it first off, I didn’t quote it, nor really make a good argument for it.

    Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    This tells us how the gospel works, how it came about, and what results from it.

    It works by us being “in Christ”. That means that his life becomes our life. We are “in him”. This refers to federal headship, namely that his righteousness becomes our righteousness, our sin becomes his sin. He died on the cross, we died on the cross. He was raised from the dead, we were raised from the dead too. He ascended, we ascended. You get the idea. He is the eschatological man.

    That he is referred to as the Christ tells us who and what he actually is. Christ is not just a last name, helpfully placed before “Jesus” in this passage. He is the Christ, the annointed one, “very God of very God,” says the Creed. He is the perfect man, the perfect response of man to God, as well as being the Word of God incarnate, and thus the perfect message from God to man. Thus he is our Mediator, because he speaks to us from God, and to God from us. He is thus our Prophet and Priest. The entire OT points to this fact and testifies to it, and it is all summed up in one word here, “Christ”. And don’t forget that his name is Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins, says the angel. But that we are his people tells us that he is our King, so now we see clearly the three-fold office of Jesus Christ, our Prophet, Priest and King. This three-fold office is helpful for understanding all sorts of things, such as the role of the Trinity in our salvation (i.e., the Father elects by divine decree – King, the Son pays the price for our sins – Priest, and the Spirit applies it to our hearts, illuminating us to see and understand – Prophet), the three-fold marks of the church (i.e., Word – Prophet, Sacraments – Priest, Discipline – King), and there are perhaps other helpful uses as well.

    Furthermore, there is no condemnation for those who are thus in this Jesus Christ the God-man. Being in him is to be in fellowship with God, which situation itself speaks to the lack of condemnation from God. He does not condemn us, because he is in fellowship with us, and because he is in fellowship with us, he does not condemn us. And we are in fellowship with God because we are in Christ, united to him by faith, clothed in his righteousness, counted as having borne the wrath of God and being destroyed by him, yet having been raised from the dead, which is our vindication, our justification, in which we are raised to new life, proving that death no longer has any hold over us, because we, in Christ, have been crucified for our sins. We have been consumed by the wrath of God already, in Christ, and thus his wrath has been propitiated. And this is so eloquently and simply been illustrated for us in baptism, whereby we pass through the waters of judgment unscathed, just as Jesus Christ passed through death and was raised again. Therefore, there is no condemnation for us, because God’s sentence has already been carried out. The price for our sins has been paid. It’s finished and over.

    But lest we fail to milk this verse for what it truly is, we need to discuss two more words. “Therefore” and “now”.

    First is “therefore”. This word always marks a conclusion. This statement of Scripture is thus properly understood to be a conclusion, it is what follows from what has gone before. It is a magisterial statement of Paul that says, “here is the end of the matter.” It is the final word. Do not add to it nor take from it. This is the point.

    Second, it says, “now”. It does not say that someday we will not be condemned. It says that NOW there is no condemnation. Our salvation is not any less secure now than it will be then, when we are raised incorruptible. We possess our salvation right now, here and now, in this present evil age, during the trials and struggles of this life, I can go digging in my pocket, and pull out our great salvation, because it is already in my possession. To be sure, it has not yet been fully revealed, and it has not yet been fully realized, but nevertheless, I possess it even now, because I am certain of it even now by faith in the promises of Scripture. For faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I know it, and it rests on the certain promises of Scripture. Thus it is mine. These promises belong to me. God said them to ME. I own them. They are MY promises. I have this now, because it is true of me even NOW, that there is no condemnation for me, because I am in Christ Jesus.

    So if you want a good summary of the one message of Scripture, there you go.

    E

  9. Most important verse for a non-Christian

    “for “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:13

    Most important verse for a Christian:

    Ok, I cheated…two verses…Jude 24-25

    To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

  10. I kinda like Proverbs 16:4 – “The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”

  11. Albino,

    I’d like to see you exegete your choice and explain why it’s so important.

    E

  12. Salvation is offered to everyone, because God tells us that “He is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance.”

    Those who “call on the Name of the Lord” will be saved. (cross-reference thief on the cross who was never baptized as a baby and never mastered catechism and was ushered into Paradise)

    Then, in our walk with the Lord, we lean on Him “who keeps us from falling” and depend on Him to “present us without fault and with great joy.” As I have said previously, the older I get, the more I am leaking toward perserverence of the saints (but don’t push me).

    I am also teaching our baby this old classic: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so” and another keeper: “Jesus died for all the children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus died for all the children of the world.”

  13. To change the subject a minute (not that I don’t have an opinion about what rages above), the super mom of #s 1, 2, and 3 must feel like she has come up for a breath of fresh air to have passed the baby stage and into the all-mobile stage (at least I did way back when). Congrats! T. Oh, and #1 never told me what he thought of the picture I sent him of his cross-stitch in progress. I’m nearly done with the black outline now. And T, your super note to Aunt Ruth arrived at our house yesterday. I’m sorry she didn’t get to see it before she died, but surely she knew how much her family loved her.

  14. Thx Aunt B — we’ll try to get #1 to reply. Are you in Denver now?

  15. I like this verse too:

    Php 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! (NKJV)

  16. No, we don’t leave for Denver until March 10. The hospice care center forwarded her mail (her neighbors are doing so as well). Now some of my work is shifting from making a gazillion phone calls to handling bills, etc.

  17. #1 is still whip-smart (and often smart-alecky!), with a raging sense of autonomy that we are trying to curb by requiring immediate “Yes, mom”, or “Yes, dad” after every instruction.

    :-) Sounds like my #1. We, too, require “Yes, Daddy” and “Yes, Mommy.” In a fit of irritation yesterday, I believe I told my #1 that when he’s in trouble, “Yes ma’am” would do even better. It does seem to help him too, actually, and we’ve been doing it for about a year and a half, I think.

  18. Entertain your children with this video before they go to bed:

  19. Albino,

    You said:
    (cross-reference thief on the cross who was never baptized as a baby and never mastered catechism and was ushered into Paradise)

    – Echo:
    And you are polemicizing against…what, exactly?

    E

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