[the mystery of the cross] introduction

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

April 26, 2010

I always find these projects to be encouraging, uplifting, and challenging. But this one seems more like an act of worship. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the primary focus of our discussion over the next few weeks is going to be on the cross of Jesus.

No symbol has been more meaningful to masses of society than that of the cross of Christ.

The book that we’re working through is one that’s been put together by an art history professor at a major university, and it takes a close look at the symbol of the cross throughout history. We will be studying things like how the people of the early church used it as a symbol to identify themselves as Christians and how it provided much needed encouragement and hope during difficult times.

In a cool way, I almost feel like this study will connect me (and all of us) more to those faithful Christians of the first few centuries after Jesus!

Before we dive in, let’s take a quick look at the trailer for the book…

[youtube X72Y9c2CTm0 nolink]

I’m really excited about this project! Leading us through the discussion on this book are a few bibledude.net book project vets (Sean Wrench, Laura Boggess, and Pastor Bryant Neal), and a few first-timers that I’m really happy to have on board!

So may we all be moved by the image of the cross through this study. May we not only connect with our Savior and His saving work on the cross, but may we also connect with our brothers and sisters in the faith in those first centuries of Christianity. And may our discussion on the cross honor our Lord, and bring glory to His Name! Amen!




  1. Duane Scott

    Looks like a great book and a great way to expand my knowledge on the symbol of the cross. I don't know anything about your book studies, but I may have to try to find this book and read it. Thanks for introducing it!

  2. n. davis rosback

    I really do not know how to think of the cross. As humans, we seem to need symbol, words, pictures, statues; things that we can see and touch. We use all these things for communication. Sometimes these things are useful. The thing is, from deep inside me, comes a feeling to be careful of how these things are used. I may be interesting to see what Judith Couchman has learned from her study of ancient Christian images.

  3. Native4Christ

    Sooooooooooooo looking forward to reading more about this!!! “The Cross” was a symbol that I was taught for many years to believe was wrong to embrace and celebrate. I don't know how I survived nearly 16 years without it.

  4. @bibledude

    This is going to be an AMAZING study with the @judithcouchman book! I'm totally expecting for it to blow my mind and my heart, and expect to be humbled and in awe by our Savior's love for the next few weeks!

    I've updated the page since your comment to include the usual links (which I forgot to add) to the main project post and to the book (for purchase on Amazon). The way my projects like this usually work is that I have a different person take the lead on each chapter (or part), and the rest of us follow along and discuss. It's sort of like a virtual small group study…

    I look forward to hearing more from you though this project Duane!

  5. @bibledude

    I think that we'll discover (through this study) a better understanding of how the image of the cross has been used by other Christians, particularly those first Christians. I do know that there was great division in the early church over the use of any images and icons.

    I'm with you on being cautious, but definitely see the inspirational value that many of those early Christian did. I'm hoping to be challenged, and inspired thought this project…

  6. @bibledude

    I'm not sure that I can think of all the words that accurately describe what the cross means to me… hope, sacrifice, love (just to name a few). I can easily see how others would find encouragement in it, but I also love that it brings a sense of unity amongst believers. I really think that this is going to be a fun study!

  7. laraj

    I am excited about this project too, Dude! I find it fascinating how art played an integral role in early faith expressions and so far have really enjoyed the way the book embraces some of the ancient art in the life of the Cross.

    Looking forward to it!

  8. Native4Christ

    I agree!! The most profound decription of what the cross represents in my life today is none other than Freedom!!!

  9. @bibledude

    This 'art history' study of the images of the cross really is fascinating! It's cool how artistic expression has changed over time, and how different things affected that expression. I love to learn about different cultures, and I think that this kind of study helps us to reveal a lot about who these early Christians were and how they expressed their faith.

    I cant wait to read your contribution to this project Laura!


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[the mystery of the cross] introduction

by Dan King time to read: 2 min