Wednesday, 12 July 2017



The SPR Bible Seminar. Old Testament 1


Rev. Eun Suk Cho, PhD in Old Testament

Adjunct Professor, American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley

Pastor, Golden Gate Presbyterian Church, Daly City



A. What the SPR Bible Seminar is about?


If not narrative, there is no meaning we find in any events as well as beings in time and space. There have been bad narratives, however, misleading peoples into misperception. Political propaganda and commercials are but examples for possible bad narratives. The Bible is the true narrative, revealing everything as is. The narrative in the Bible has been sometimes called as "Message." The Message in the Bible is the Truth, giving life to human beings; the Bible was written by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63).

The Word and the Light came to us (John 1:9, 14); Jesus Christ incarnated to be human being, as the Lamb of God, forgiving our sins. The Word and the Bible are not dividable; in the fact that Jesus the Word of God humbled himself and obeyed the Word completely (cf. Matt 5:17, 26:54; John 18;11), the Word and the Bible are identical.

In the light of the Bible, we can perceive ourselves correctly. We are but sinners, deserving death. Upon the grace of Jesus Christ realized in the Cross, however, we are saved. The Bible is the lamp and the light to us (Psalm 119:105). Humans are not perfect; the Bible is the Truth. Jesus is the Truth, making us the sinners free to be children of God (John 8:32, 36).

This seminar introduces what is the SPR and how to read the Bible using the SPR perspective. SPR comes from Separation, Placement, and Rest, found in the Creation and the Exodus. The Creation was proclaimed in the context of the Exodus. Thus, the two are dynamically inter-related: C//E. We first find C//E in the Pentateuch. The Exodus is the spiritually interpreted as the act of Salvation. Accordingly, the Salvation is best understood in the dynamics of the Creation and the Exodus. Are you saved?

The Salvation comes in the Name of Jesus Christ, by the Blood of the Cross, through the Grace of God. What we all are to do: to be separated, to be placed, and to rest in worship. The final and ultimate realization of Salvation is found when we go to the Kingdom of God: separated from the world, placed to the Kingdom, and rest in the everlasting worship, as we are seeing the face of God.

Pentateuch as an entity is the theological matrix for the rest books of in the Bible. Each book of the Bible as the narrative, as well as the Bible as the whole narratives, tells us about SPR in its own languages, good for the people living in the context. The interpretation of each book of the Bible, therefore, is possible in the spiritual identification, which is possible with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

In the formular, SPRx + C//E = A, each reader of the Bible is the variable x, the Homo Venerabundus--human of worship. You find yourself in the x. Obey the commands: be separated to God, be placed to be blessing, and rest in worship. Spiritually speaking, Separation is Holiness, Placement is Blessing, Rest is Worship. To put in a sentence: SPR, first found in the Pentateuch, is a core of biblical theology that we find in each book of the Bible, tells us both how to read the Bible and how to live Christian life. A comes from I AM that God revealed himself to Moses first, Israelites second, and the peoples of the world finally.

Separation includes good question, good memory, prayer (thanksgiving & complaining) to God, praise to God. Placement includes the gift/work/talent given by God where God called you out. Rest is realized in worship. SPR is actualize in the life of "Walking with God."

SPRx + C//E = A is best understood in the rhetoric by Aristotle (384-322 BC) of logos: Claim + Reason = Warrant. Before Aristotle, however, there was Moses who wrote the Pentateuch in 1447 BC. Deuteronomy gives us first the three: CRW.

This seminar covers but a part of the Old Testament. The rest books of the Bible, however, are understood upon the application of SPR reading to the further reading. SPR reading and SPR doing are best incorporated into SPRiNG. The small letter "i" pays special attention to who I am, the sinner, and who is to turn out to be nothing after glorifying God the Almighty: total devotion.

Upon imitation of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), gain the "routability" in the spirituality as you walk with God. "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (First Thessalonians 5:16-18). And grow in the knowledge of God and the Son, the Sent, by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, because it is the eternity. "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3).




B. Time Table


9:00-10:20 The First Lecture

9:00-10:00 Lesson #1. SPR & Pentateuch

10:00-10:20 Group Discussion #1


10:20-10:30 Break #1


10:30-12:00 The Second Lecture

10:30-11:55 Lesson #2. Joshua to Second Kings.

11:55-12:00 Seminar Prayer #1


12:00-12:30 Break #2 for Lunch


12:30-1:40 The Third Lecture

12:30-1:20 Lesson #3. First Chronicles to Song of Songs

1:20-1:40 Group Discussion #2


1:40-1:50 Break #3


1:50-3:00 The Fourth Lecture

1:50-2:40 Lesson #4. Isaiah to Ezekiel

2:40-2:55 Testimonies

2:55-3:00 Prayer #2




C. Notes for Lectures #1-4


Lecture #1. SPR & Pentateuch


What is SPR?


Understanding the Pentateuch


1. Genesis

2. Exodus

3. Leviticus

4. Numbers

5. Deuteronomy


Written by Moses, called by YHWH as the Prophet and the Law Giver, who was possessed by the Holy Spirit for the first two generations in the Exodus and the generations to come of Israel and all the nations.

Genesis is the historiography for the First Generation of the Exodus.


Exodus, Leviticus, and first half of Numbers are the journal for the First Generation


Exodus is best understood in the transitions.







Mount Sinai/Horeb





Bad Placement

Good Placement


No Rest without Worship

Rest in Worship





Work of Humans

Work of God


Law of Humans

Law of God





The Book of Leviticus is about the holiness: Five Sacrifices (1-7), Priests (8-10), People (11-27).


Fist half of the book of Numbers is the journal for the First Generation.


Second half of the book of Numbers is the journal for the Second Generation


The book of Deuteronomy is the Law by New Interpretation for the Scond Generation.


The book of Deuteronomy is composed of three commands: Remember, Obey the Commands, and Konw that I AM. The three are, in the terms of Aristotle, CRW.


The Pentateuch is the theological matrix for the following books of the Bible.


Lecture #2. Joshua to Second Kings


6. Joshua

7. Judges

8. Ruth

9. First Samuel

10. Second Samuel

11. First Kings

12. Second Kings


The seven books are called as the Prophetic History.


The theology found in the PH is Deuteronomic.


The book of Joshua is composed of two: the conquest (1-12), the distribution (13-24). A key element is found in Joshua 24, especially in v 15b: "But as for me and my household, we will serve YHWH."


The Prophets include Jeremiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, and Joel.


King Josiah (640-609 BC) was the Reformer in 622 BC, which is described in 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35.


The 622 BC Reform was three-ones: One God, One Temple, and One People.


One God

Josiah removed all the idols, leaving YHWH alone.


One Temple

Josiah removed all the High Places and the priests served them.


One People.

Josiah extended the area of the Reform to the North. He also obeyed the law of the Passover, inviting all the people, the twelve tribes.


The PH depicts the history of Israel as IN and OUT.



The Promised Land



Samaria by Assyria

Jerusalem by Babylon


SPR, commanded




Lecture #3. First Chronicles to Song of Songs


13. First Chronicles

14. Second Chronicles

15. Ezra

16. Nehemiah

17. Esther

18. Job

19. Psalms

20. Proverbs

21. Ecclesiastes

22. Song of Songs


The Priestly History includes First and Second Chronicles and Ezra.


The Priestly History was written by Ezra.


The Priestly History is a revision of the Prophetic History in the context of the post-exilic Judah.


The Memoirs: Nehemiah, Esther


Nehemiah was in the post-exilic Judah. The Reform of the New Temple was to be remembered.


Esther was in the post-exilic Persia. Purim was to be remembered.


The Wisdom Literature: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes


Wisdom is found in +C//+E.


Job is placed in +C//+E; his three friends and Elihu are in +C//-E. See Chart #6.


The Worship Literature: Psalms, Song of Songs, Lamentations


The contents of the praise is the Salvation in the dynamic understanding of the Creation. Cf. Psalm 89, 104-107.


Proverbs teaches that the essence of wisdom is to fear of YHWH (Prov 1:7).


The fear of YHWH comes when we face the three questions coming from God:


Where were you?

Do you know?

Can you do?


Those were first given to Job in Job 38-41. They are "good" questions. Hold them into your hearts; in remembrance, let us stand in front of God with awe and fear. Fear and trembling are the essential preparation when we walk with God, the living Father God.


Ecclesiastes teaches us how to remember God the Creator as we wait for the Salvation in the times of nothing new.


Song of Songs tells us the joy of walking with God in all the circumstances. God provided us the delight of life that none can deprive it from us. Look at the light coming into you, sitting in the darkness of life. Reading the Bible, see what others do not see; hear what others do not hear. God is with us. Emmanuel! Amen



Lecture #4. Isaiah to Malachi


23. Isaiah

24. Jeremiah

25. Lamentations

26. Ezekiel


Isaiah, the frontier of the Josiah's Reform, is among the prophets in the 8th C BC: Isaiah, Micah, Jonah, Hosea, Amos.


Isaiah 1-39, the Prophecy

Isaiah 40-66, the Prophetic Sermon


Two major historical events in Isaiah 1-39:

734-732 BC: The Syro-Ephramite Coalition in Ahaz


701 BC: The attack of Sennacherib in Hezekiah



Jeremiah, the first generation of Josiah's Reform, is among the Prophetic Historian prophets.


The two Temple sermons:


Chapter 7:1-15


Chapter 26:1-7


The format and theology of the book of Jeremiah is identical to the PH.


Ezekiel, a second generation of Josiah's Reform.


Ezekiel 1-10






Mixed with Idols






Ezekiel 11-48






Cleansed by the Holy Spirit

Full of the Glory of God






The Messianic prophecy and Josiah's Reform.


Compare Josiah and Ezra in the Reforms.


Jesus Christ of the two Temple cleansing events, in the beginning (John 2) and the ending (Matt, Mark, and Luke) of his ministry.


Martin Luther in 1517 and the biblical Reforms.


We are the temples, in which the Holy Spirit dwells. A good question: How can we be holy so that the Holy Spirit lives within us? If the Spirit leaves us, we are but dead; if the Spirit come back to us, we will alive. Which one would you prefer?




D. Charts



1. SPR Creation



1. light vs darkness

2. sky vs water

3. earth vs sea

4. sun/moon & stars

5. birds & fishes

6. animals/human beings


7. Rest--the Sabbath



2. SPR Exodus



Exodus from Egypt

Placement to Canaan


Rest as they worship



3. SPRx + C//E = A




S: Be Holy

The Creator


The Savior

YHWH is God.

P: Go

R: Rest in Worship



4. First Generation//Second Generation


First Generation


Second Generation



The Creation

The Exodus










To Remember





To Remember



5. C//E


The Creation


The Exodus









6. Creation//Exodus



































7. Good Question vs Bad Question 1


Good Question

Bad Question


Son of man, can these bones live? (Ezekiel 37:3a)

Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden? (Genesis 3:1b)

Result Expected

To make the dry bones live.

To make the woman eat the fruit of the tree.


O Sovereign Lord, you alone know (Ezekiel 37:3b)

We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die (Genesis 3:2b-3).

Result Happened

The dry bones came to life (Ezekiel 37:10).

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it (Genesis 3:6).


The best way in dealing with the good question is to answer them promptly; the best way in dealing with the bad questions is to ignore them completely, expelling the question giver. The following is an example of the ways dealing with the questions, good and bad.


8. Good Question vs Bad Question 2


Good Question

Bad Question



Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26)

And said to Jesus, Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say? (John 8:5)

Result Expected

Yes, I do.

They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him (John 8:6a).


Yes, Lord, she told him, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world (John 11:27).

If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her (John 8:7b).

Result Happened

The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and cloth around his face (John 11:44a).

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there (John 8:9).



What do you want me to do for you? (Matthew 20:32b)

They had argued about who was the greatest (Mark 9:34b).



Lord, they answered, we want out sight (Matthew 20:33).

If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all (Mark 9:35b).


Immediately they received sight and followed him (Matthew 20:34b).



To the good questions, Jesus answers good. The good answer of Jesus brings forth a good response; Jesus assures him/her for the good response. This way, Jesus teaches us all how to communicate with God. We need to bring good questions to God, and we will get the good answers from God.


9. Good Question vs Bad Question 3





Who is he, sir? the man asked. Tell me so that I may believe in him (John 9:36).

Answer of Jesus

Jesus said, You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you (John 9:37).



Then the man said, Lord, I believe, and he worshiped him.


of Jesus

Jesus said, For judgment I have come into this world so that the blind will see and those see will become blind.


The best way dealing with the bad question giver is to expel him/her, escape from him/her, or correct the question.


10. Dealing with Bad Questions







What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Hav you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God! (Mark 1:24)

What is truth? Pilate asked (John 18:38a).

Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? (John 9:2b)



Be quiet! said Jesus sternly. Come out of him!

(Mark 1:25)


Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world (John 9:3-5).



Do you hear what these children are saying? they asked him.

By what authority are you doing these things? they asked. And who gave you this authority? (Matthew 21:23b)

Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?

(Matthew 22:28)

Answer Text

Yes, replied Jesus, have you never read, From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise? (Matthew 21:16)

Jesus replied, I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John's baptism--were did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men? (Matthew 21:24-25)

He is not the God of the dead but of the living (Matthew 22:32b).



E. A Brief Glance at the New Testament


1. The ministry of Jesus is best understood in the Salvation as the new Creation. Jesus healed the sick as the new Creation. Jesus forgave the sinners as he created them anew. Jesus separated the disciples from the world (S) and made them walking with him (P) and led them into the Kingdom of God (P) where they will be wiped out the tears, taken out the yokes of burdens of sins, so that they may worship God forever (R).


Acts 27:25b tells us what is the faith of Amen: "I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me."


2. The three major themes of Paul in the letter writings are: the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Second Coming. By the death on the Cross, Jesus separated us from the power of the death (S); by the power of Resurrection, Jesus placed us in the hope of the Kingdom of God (P); in the promise of the Second Coming, Jesus gave us the eternal hope, worshiping God in the Kingdom of God, forever (R).


Paul wrote how to worship God.


Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy,

to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--

this is your spiritual act of worship.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--

his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:1-2


The living sacrifices means the totality in the sacrifices. You offer him everything of you, leaving nothing behind, even thoughts and imaginations.


3. Revelation provides the ultimate vision to the suffering Christians under the secular world that Jesus Christ will take us from the world (S), placing us in the Kingdom of God (P), where we may worship God eternally as we rest in God (R).



F. Walking with God


SPRx + C//E = A


Remember God loves us so that he sent us his one and only Son, Jesus Christ; anyone believes in him will not perish but get eternity (John 3:16). In Jesus Christ, we are the children of God.



G. The Salvation


Come to Jesus our Lord, and confess our sins, and accept him as our Savior by speaking out of our mouths.


That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord,"

and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,

you will be saved.

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified,

and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Romans 10:9-10


Make today the day of salvation. It is a special moment that God provides us all. Do not delay the chance that God gives.


May God bless you in all the days of life. Amen.