Saturday, July 2, 2022

Concise Commentary on the Song of Songs

After more than a year of revising the first edition, I am pleased to announce that my commentary on the Song of Songs has been published. I sold 8 copies in Ranau, not a whole lot but I am glad that at least a few of the students knew English and the College also bought several copies for the library. I have added about 20 pages and more than 50 footnotes compared to the first edition with a total of 105 footnotes taking into account a few recent commentaries and monographs on the Song plus the Lexham English Septuagint which I purchased from Amazon early this year. It has been an arduous journey, writing, revising, and re-writing even on a computer I felt I had spent all my energy getting the book out before the first half of the year is up and praise be to God that I was handed the first 30 copies just the day before I left for Ranau last Sunday.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Mission Trip

When the Principal of the Bible College that invited me to teach an intensive course on Johannine literature asked me how I felt about returning to the Campus after 2 years, I told him that I took it as a mission trip. In fact, I stayed in the same house I stayed for two years called the Maroon house, next to the Hostel. But the same problems persisted like there was no running water the next day after my arrival last Sunday until I left this morning. It was a trial but I persevered as someone fighting in a war. When you are on a mission, you make do with what you have and never complained. I only asked the student to fetch me water on the last day of lectures as all my water containers were all dry.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Life of Faith

Those with world-class doctorates should be on a trajectory of upward mobility, as one might think. It was Singapore's DPM at TTC's 70th anniversary in 2018 who mentioned my alma mater, Otago University alongside Yale University as world-class institutions with which my former College had links including joint research and doctoral supervision. But I have only experienced downward mobility despite like what Paul (if I wanted to I could boast in the flesh) said he could speak like a fool and boast. But Jesus Christ, who is with God and equal with Him chose to empty himself and became man, not just any man but humbled himself as a slave and suffered and died on the cross. There is no greater downward mobility than what we read at Philippians 2. I chose a life of faith, not just as a pastor or full-time worker but as a Christian and follower of Christ.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Making of Books

No wonder Solomon said that making of books could be a weariness of the flesh (Eccle 12). The final week of making a book is always the toughest because one has to read the final drafts and prints. My printers had been very helpful and over the past 6 days, they printed three different copies for me until I was fully satisfied with it. Considering the budget that I have, I could do what I could do without hiring proof-readers and cover designers. I did everything myself this time until the 40th draft. Everything has to be as perfect as possible from the margins, the font size, the cover design, the front page, the preface and last but not least the back cover.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Struggle for Truth & Justice

The struggle in the Church for truth and justice is never greater. Especially so since the pandemic struck and many churches are still slow in welcoming members back to church, vaccinated or unvaccinated. I have a feeling that a majority of vaccinated did not welcome the government's relaxation of SOPs almost two months ago. In fact, the Malaysian government announced in early April 2022 that unvaccinated could return to work with the vaccinated and there would be no restrictions whatsoever. Pastors and church leaders who claim to serve a living God are slow to respond as many unvaccinated pastors are still out of a job and are not welcome in some places. It is a struggle between light and darkness.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Laptop or Desktop Computer for Writing

I do not know how I survived using laptops for 8 years; the first four years, a small laptop of MacBook Air 11.6 which I bought with the gratuity upon leaving my former College in Singapore. I wrote the first 9 chapters of Departure Points using the laptop in Sept-Oct 2014. Then, with a generous gift I bought a MacBook Pro 13-inch at Changi Airport in Feb 2018 and until recently I have used it almost daily. The 13-inch laptop had produced three books, Departure Points (Dec 2019), Commentary on John's Gospel in Malay (Feb 2020) and Concise Commentary on the Song of Solomon (Jan 2021). Now I have used the 13inch laptop to revise the Song's commentary and it will be published in a couple of weeks, God willing.

Publishing Books

I spent the whole evening and three hours this morning tidying up my Concise Commentary on the Song of Solomon. When my friend asked me which is my favourite book among the four books I had written, my answer is simple - A Woman in Love. This book demands all my skills as an exegete of Hebrew and Greek texts and a poetry to boot. It is highly symbolic and the main theme of love and romance challenges any interpreter who wishes to comment on this little book of 8 chapters and 117 verses.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Bank Balance

Two days ago my close friend whom I have lunch almost once a week or fortnight told me why don't I find something to do so that my bank balance does not drop. Even those closest to you could be a hindrance as Peter was rebuked by Jesus for telling him not to go the way of the cross. The vast majority of people including Christians think that ministry is being employed in a church or a Seminary. In fact, I preached a sermon on how prophets made their living on the basis of the book of Amos. You won't find too many prophets employed by the royal court or other institutions. In fact, many of those employed by kings and princes were false prophets because they had to speak what their masters told them or at least they dare not offend their pay-masters.

Monday, June 13, 2022

RM50.00 Per Month

In fact, it was less than RM50.00 per month. My insurance agent called this afternoon to inform me that my insurance policy had expired in April. If I were paying RM300 per month I am sure I would have received a call two months before expiry. Even agents did not really want to deal with low premiums and their petrol money spent to service such clients may not be worth their while.

Sadness increases with knowledge (Ecclesiastes)

Solomon must be a sad man. If you read Ecclesiastes in any fashion you will feel sad. Because when one increases knowledge one increases in sadness. Why is that so. Because one begins to understand how the world works, it’s futility and evil. Yes, evil. Much evil happens due to envy and hatred. Did not Cain slaughter his brother because Abel’s work is more righteous than Cain’s? It is the same now.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Closing Ranks

This coming Sunday exactly a week from now I shall be preaching about church unity. It is time to close ranks after much rancour on church closure and vaccination requirements. As I walked into the church hall this morning ai met an old friend whom I had not spoken with for a long time. When he found out the reason why I was not employed in church, he told me his own stories.