Author Archives: Scott Aniol

5 Day Bible Stories Reading Plan and Catechism

5 Day Bible Stories Reading Plan and Catechism

Last year I created a 5 Day Bible Narratives Reading Plan that each member of our family used (except the one year old!) through 2017. You can read more about the structure of the plan here. We really enjoyed using it, and we plan to use it again in 2018. For those who would like… Continue Reading

Third Hymn of Christmas: Love Came Down at Christmas

Third Hymn of Christmas: Love Came Down at Christmas

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Christina Rosetti has written some of the most beautiful Christmas carols, and “Love Came Down at Christmas” is no exception. Penned in 1855, this hymn centers on the theme of love–Christ is love personified, and our response to his coming should be love toward him and others. Love came down at Christmas, love all lovely,… Continue Reading

Second Hymn of Christmas: Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Second Hymn of Christmas: Of the Father’s Love Begotten

This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Almost as ancient as “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” this hymn is probably more well-known. “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” was written in the fourth century by Marcus Aurelius Prudentius, a poet from northern Spain, and translated into English in 1851 by John Mason Neale as part of the Oxford Movement. This hymn is… Continue Reading

First Hymn of Christmas: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

First Hymn of Christmas: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

This entry is part 1 of 12 in the series 12 Hymns of Christmas You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” is one of the oldest, if not the oldest Christian hymn still in common use today. Adapted from the fourth-century Liturgy of St. James, which is still used by Eastern Orthodox churches today, this hymn text was translated into English in 1864 by Gerald Moutrie. The text is part of the… Continue Reading

Twelve Hymns of Christmas

Twelve Hymns of Christmas

Tomorrow begins the Twelve Days of Christmas, and so in honor of this festive season, I will be highlighting one Christmas hymn each of the twelve days. I’ll focus on some lesser-known hymns, complete with a bit of background, the full text, a link to a free download, and a video. Merry Christmas! Continue Reading

Repetition in Psalm 130

Repetition in Psalm 130

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have seen that in verse 1 and 2 of Psalm 130, the author is creating a poetic experience of desperation that he wants us to enter as we consider our sin. He is not just telling us that we should feel desperate about our sin, he shows us artistically through the use of metaphor.… Continue Reading

When did the Magi visit Jesus?

When did the Magi visit Jesus?

Despite popular nativity scenes that place the magi in the stable along with the shepherds and animals, it is conventional in recent times to insist that the magi did not visit Jesus until long after his birth–up to two years by some accounts. Years ago I heard about Layton Talbert’s argument that the magi did,… Continue Reading

Metaphors in Psalm 130

Metaphors in Psalm 130

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I pointed out that since Psalm 130 is a song, we cannot treat it like a Pauline epistle. We need to explore the poetic elements of the psalm to let it do for us what the original author(s) intended for it to communicate. First, songs often make use of artistic metaphors to create… Continue Reading

Psalm 130 – A Song!

Psalm 130 – A Song!

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

It our discussion of Psalm 130, we have seen that it is a song of repentance, it is a song of corporate worship, and it is a gospel song. But notice the common word in each of these descriptions—this is a song! And because this is a poem that is meant to be sung, we… Continue Reading

The real reason Christmas is December 25

The real reason Christmas is December 25

Eric Erickson explains the roots of December 25 as the traditional celebration of Christmas, using exactly the explanation I teach in my classes. Spoiler alert: It has nothing to do with paganism. Source: ERICKSON: Why December Twenty-Fifth? | Daily Wire Continue Reading

Advent Hymns

Advent Hymns

Advent is upon us! This is a wonderful time of year to both remember the prophecies regarding Christ’s first coming and anticipate his coming again. If all of the prophecies concerning his first coming were fulfilled with complete literalness, we can have confidence that those prophecies yet to be fulfilled will also come to pass… Continue Reading

A Great Resource for Family Bible Study

A Great Resource for Family Bible Study

Scott Brown, director of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches, just published a fantastic resource for family Bible Study: Journey Through the Bible. This beautifully designed book includes background information, basic outlines, discussion questions, and memory verses from every book in the Bible, It also includes a hymn for each book. This is a wonderful… Continue Reading

Psalm 130 – A Gospel Song

Psalm 130 – A Gospel Song

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have been looking at the message of Psalm 130 and have noticed that it is a penitential psalm and a song of corporate worship. The final stanza (verses 7-8) in particular reveal its congregational focus, proclaiming that God will redeem all of his people from their iniquities. You see, this penitential psalm is not… Continue Reading

Thanksgiving: The Primary Worship Response

Thanksgiving: The Primary Worship Response

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln established an annual national holiday of Thanksgiving to be observed on the last Thursday in November. Most of us look forward to this holiday, a day on which we eat good food, enjoy time with family and friends, and perhaps watch some football. And we will probably set aside at… Continue Reading

A Song of Corporate Worship

A Song of Corporate Worship

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week in our discussion of Psalm 130 for today, we saw that this is one of seven of the penitential psalms, psalms that express repentance from sin and a call to God for mercy. Yet this is not simply an expression of individual repentance; this psalm is meant to be used in the context… Continue Reading