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Thanks for visiting our website! Picture of the Month: sharing the word in Pilanqui, Ibarra, Ecuador; a view of part of the crowd, two baptisms. [Click picture to enlarge.]

Preaching in Pilanqui

Ministry is always a team effort--Jan and I have shared the work of ministry and missions for 48+ years! Countless others have encouraged us, supported us, loved us, and prayed for us. In addition to the customary "Brother Bob," I am also known as dad and papaw. My favorite breakfast is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of quality coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and help develop authentic "kingdom people." I seek to serve and share the good news about Jesus everywhere I go, helping people find Jesus and helping people mature in Jesus. One of the greatest blessings of my life is to be loved by countless people around the world!

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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Book Review: Jerry Jones. Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Jerry Jones. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage: Seen Through the Character of God and the Mind of Jesus. College Press: Joplin, MO; 2016, 270 pp. softcover.

Dr. Jerry Jones has advanced the study of marriage, divorce, and remarriage in his book of the same title in three ways. First, Jones carefully works through the relevant biblical texts with an obvious commitment to objectivity and shows us his research. He presents various interpretive options and explains which is preferred and why. Second, he points out the problems of some of the traditional ways of reading the texts, thus raising doubts about traditional interpretations. He shows when and why the literal interpretation of the passages studied must be rejected, or at least must not be allowed to be the last word. Third, he suggests an alternative paradigm through which to view the subject—reading the New Testament through the eyes and heart of God and Christ. The book has three principal sections: the study of 1 Corinthians 7 (40 pages), study of the gospel passages (55 pages), and a conclusion (10 pages). The remaining 140 pages are bibliography, charts, and 740 footnotes.

The in-depth academic study of the text of 1 Corinthians 7 is understandable even to those who have not studied the biblical text so deeply. Jones considers the occasional and situational nature of the Corinthian teaching as Paul’s response to a question from the Corinthians.
The comparative study of the gospel texts is thorough, at times exhaustive with multiple references to Old Testament backgrounds. Jones looks at the texts taking into account historical, cultural, linguistic, and grammatical factors. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jones does an intensive study of hyperbole as a literary technique, showing that much of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon cannot be taken literally. In comparing the Gospel teachings, Jones shows the importance of considering the intended audience, the context, and the historical roots, going back frequently to the Old Testament. He explains the nature of occasional, situational literature, a concept that is too seldom applied to the Gospels and the gospel passages related to the subject.
One could wish for more detail in the brief conclusion, but Jones has cast enough doubt on the traditional understandings of 1 Corinthians 7 and the gospel texts to cause the reader to want to seek an alternative. That alternative, calling us to God’s nature, character, desire and purpose, gives a fresh perspective, not only the texts related to the study, but to many other texts where we struggle with literal readings when God is trying to show us something more profound, something with more impact and more hope for changing lives.

Any student interested in studying the topic will want to read this book. The book is a valuable resource because of how well it is documented, thus pointing the reader to primary sources. It makes a valuable contribution to the study of a complex subject.

Yesterday and Today: Valentine’s Day and Half-Anniversary

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Jan and I celebrate 87 years of marriage today. WE have been married 87 years. (Those of you who know our story know that is 43 1/2 for me and 43 1/2 for her. We are careful how we answer, depending on how the question is phrased.) Every year for 44 years we have rolled Valentine’s Day and our half-anniversary together to celebrate God’s goodness to us in our marriage.

How the time has flown! It is hard to believe. Thank you, God, for the wonderful soul mate and supportive helper you provided for me. Thank you, Jan, for your love!

Calling an elephant a horse…

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Calling an elephant a horse does not make it so! Memorable words of wisdom.

Yesterday’s breaking news! The U.S. Supreme Court is going to hear two cases related to marriage. Short summary: they are going to try to decide if something that is not marriage should be called marriage. The question? Should certain unions be called marriage and receive legal recognition and benefits.

Marriage was instituted by God and is defined by God. God created human beings in his image, male and female. Marriage is the basic building block of society. Marriage is older than nations. The nature of marriage is inherent in the word which derives from the concept of husband and wife. (The Spanish word, marido, husband, has a parallel etymology.)
We must recognize that there are cultural aspects of marriage. How is the consensual contract validated and recognized by the society? These must not be confused with the inherent nature of marriage.

I return to our point of beginning. Calling something marriage does not make it so!

85 Years!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Today is our anniversary! Today Jan and I are celebrating 85 years of marriage!
We generally explain it this way. I have been married 42 1/2 years, Jan has been married 42 1/2 years. WE have been married 85 years–85 years and counting!
There is a much longer story to be told–a tale of young love, providence, a tradition established and lasting memories. But the long story short is that as we celebrate today, we will be celebrating our marriage for the 85th time.
Jan, I love you today more than ever!

What Will You Give Your “Valentine”?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

An interesting question: what shall I give for Valentine’s Day? In the second grade, it was a simple card. Since the teacher said you had to give one to every person in the class, you went through the cards for the “mushiest” one to give to that special someone you had your eye on. You chose the most neutral or bland cards for your least favorite persons in the class. The ways of a child!

In our culture today Valentine’s Day not only includes millions of cards sent and exchanged, it involves the purchasing and giving a lot of things and stuff. Valentine’s Day is big business. In times past, to give something of unusual or surpassing value to one you loved was a proof of one’s ability to bless that person materially (think dowries). More recently, Valentine’s Day gifts often mean splurging–giving something special, something that would otherwise be unaffordable. (In parallel, think of fruit and nuts in your shoes at Christmas–if you are old enough to remember those days!)

Valentine’s Day is also about relationships. People seek relationships for many reasons. In times past, people got married not only for love, but because marriage strengthened their ability to survive and get through life. People shared life and together found abilities and financial strength that were impossible separately. Once people got married, the old saying was often true–we cannot afford to get divorced. The frontier was not conducive to divorce!

The reasons for marriage have changed in today’s culture. Many people have the ability to be financially independent, and some see a marriage partner as a financial liability rather than as a strength. Sociologists observe that today many people marry, not for financial support, but for emotional support. I need someone who loves me unconditionally, even in the difficult times (when I am difficult!). I need someone I can take for granted (in the good sense of that phrase), someone who is there through thick and thin, dependable, always present, unconditionally accepting. When emotional support is not present or when it is withdrawn, people divorce.

Jan and I will exchange simple, inexpensive expressions of our love again this year. We always do–thinking toward our “anniversary” tomorrow. (See tomorrow’s blog!) We will not add candy to the temptations around the house–neither of us will be helped in our exercise and eating goals by the extra chocolate. Nor will we overtly talk about our need for emotional support and strength–except to say ‘I love you’.

What will make today, tomorrow, and the coming year special is not any “stuff” that we exchange. It will be that we are confident in our marriage, that emotional support and encouragement will always be present when needed, and every once in while, we will get some unexpected emotional boost, even when we don’t know we need it! Ah, the beauty of love! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Faith and Marriage

Monday, January 9th, 2012

The end of 2011 brought an interesting report to my inbox. The Association of Religion Data Archives, in an Ahead of the Trend report, shared the following under the title, “Happily ever after: Shared faith linked to kinder, gentler marriages.”

“Fewer people may be getting married today, but there is new evidence that religious beliefs and practices can have a significant influence on the quality of marital relationships. One study finds couples who pray together and share religious values are more likely to express affection and love, perform acts of kindness and be less critical of their partners.”

Marriage Matters

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Preachers, Church Leaders, Ministers, Family Ministers:
We just finished a four-day Marriage Matters conference with Jerry and Lynn Jones. This is a hard-hitting, enjoyable, relationship-building, faith-building conference. More information? www.marriagematters.ws. You’ll be glad you checked it out!

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