Outlines: Done.

February 25, 2008

Yesterday, I finished one of the most monumental school projects I have ever had to complete–Outlines for Doc Halstead. Here at The Master’s College, this assignment is almost legendary. Each semester, Doc offers a New Testament Survey course, and Outlines is the main assigment.

Let me give you a little glimpse into Outlines. I just finished the first set of Outlines for New Testament II. In this set Doc breaks the books of Romans and 1 Corinthians down into 57 sections (29 in Romans and 27 in 1 Corinthians.) For each section, the student must come up with a title for the section, analyze it (or interpret it), and respond to it (or write how to apply it.) By the end of the project, each outline was taking me about 30 minutes. It took me longer at the beginning.

While it is a beast of a project, it is a great assigment. I loved going through Romans and 1 Corinthians section by section and analyzing it and trying to truly grasp the meaning of these rich texts. I also enjoyed how the “Response” section of the Outlines forced me to see how God’s Word applies to my life.

Yesterday was somewhat of a reflective day as I did outlines. I was finishing up, so I was in 1 Corinthians 15. A year ago yesterday, I remember reading the same passage of Scripture–but in a very different setting. I was visiting the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem for the first time. This chapter makes a compelling case for the importance of the resurrection. It makes clear what the consequences would be if there was no resurrection, but it also shows the wonderful consequences that are true because the resurrection DID happen. We have a reason to put our lives in danger for the sake of the gospel. We know that death has been defeated. We know we have glorified resurrection bodies to look forward to.

One of the most encouraging parts of this chapter is in the last verse, where Paul reminds the readers that their labor for the Lord is not in vain. As we get caught up in the routines of life, it is easy for us to think of many of our consistent, mundane labors as “vain.” But the Bible makes it clear that this is not the case. To understand this, we must think with an eternal perspective–or a resurrection perspective. We might not understand the purpose of many of our labors until eternity. Until then, we must–by faith–always give ourselves fully to the Lord.

This verse gives me so much encouragement in the midst of the busyness of school. Whether I am working on homework, talking to a guy on my wing, or having my devotions, I know my labor for the Lord is not in vain.

It’s pretty cool I got to learn that for homework.