Lessons for Life Based on the Lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph
Peter Elwood, author
In the 1970s and 1980s, my wife and I were privileged, together with a group of friends, John and Sally, Dennis and Freda, Dave, Richard and Gill, to lead a series of intensive Bible studies with a changing group of undergraduate students each Sunday evening during university term. In preparation for a study, we would meet one evening during the week to discuss the passage of scripture proposed for the following Sunday, and we would share together what we had each learned from commentaries and other sources. On Sundays, one of us would present the passage for perhaps an hour, and after coffee and biscuits, we would have forty minutes or more of open discussion. Those were life-changing evenings for me. I developed a deep respect for scripture, a longing to live it out, and a desire to share it. The studies came to an end smoothly and happily when John and Sally moved to Oxford. This prompted Margaret and me to leave our comfortable downtown church in Cardiff and offer to throw our lot in with a struggling small Baptist church in one of the Welsh valley towns. I offered to take a lead in Bible teaching within the church, and Margaret became involved in time off, a group for older women, and in a number of other community-based initiatives. After a few months, I was invited to accept leadership of the church as a layperson, an untrained Baptist pastor. After much thought and prayer, I accepted, and so commenced the happiest period of my married life and the busiest period for the both of us! Fourteen years later, the church moved to larger premises, led by a gifted local lad with reference to whom I often said, ?I lectured the church. Wayne communicates to the people!? For each service in the church, I typed out an A4 essay on the Bible passage that had been preached, and at the end of the service, I stood at the door, said farewell to each person, and gave each of them a copy of my essay. In this way, I hoped that I might increase both the respect for scripture throughout the church and perhaps reinforce the memory of each passage presented in the sermon. When Margaret and I resigned from leadership of the church, I rewrote a series of twenty-eight sermons I had given in the church. I had these printed and bound together into a booklet and I gave a copy as a farewell gift to every person who attended the church. These essays have been further edited and are now published under the title A Medical Scientist Examines the Life of Jesus. The present volume is based on another series of sermons I had given in the church. These, too, have been edited and rewritten as a series of essays under the title Lessons for Life Based on the Lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.