When we read our Bibles, we usually assume that the women of the Bible had few options. Relative to men, they always got the low end of the stick on everything. Is that really true though? Believe it or not, women in the Bible actually did have one advantage over men, and it explains some […]
As Christians, we think of Pentecost as the day the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early church. But the first Jewish believers were actually celebrating Shavuot, one of the biblical feast days that is still celebrated by Jews today. (More here.) The day commemorates when Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai, fifty days after […]
If you’ve ever been part of a traditional Passover, you’ve sung a song called Dayenu (die-AY-nu). You may think of it as an upbeat children’s song, but its actually an ancient liturgy that brims over with profound wisdom. The earliest known copy dates from before 900 AD, and some scholars think it’s far older than […]
As often as you’ve read the prophecy of Jesus’ suffering in Isaiah 53, you’ll be shocked at the implications of one widely overlooked line.
There are some Hebrew words that really can’t be translated into English, and pakad is one of the most fascinating. It can be a wonderful word or a terrible word, depending on the context. How can this be? Well, imagine that you’re twelve years old again. One afternoon, your Mom yells, “Just wait until your […]
Many of us are frustrated by why no one seems to be able to come up with one perfect English Bible translation. Why are there so many versions? Why can’t we just have one final, best English translation? A major reason is because of one aspect of language that most of us don’t appreciate. When […]
The word “fear” is common in the Old Testament, and to many it sounds like we should cringe in dread of God’s presence. Of course, we also find “fear” in the New Testament too. The Gentiles who believed in God were called God-fearers, and the early church was said to be built up in the […]
The idea that emotions are irrational and unnatural arose from Greco-Roman philosophy and has influenced Western theology for thousands of years, giving rise to the idea that God is “impassible,” emotionless. Many of our problems with God come from this unbiblical idea.
At this time of year, people everywhere are setting up nativity scenes. We’re used to having an odd mixture of characters around the manger — some scruffy shepherds, some glittering angels, a few animals, and of course a brand new little family. To many of us, the characters that are oddest are the magi, or […]
There’s no end, it seems, to how people can interpret the words of Jesus. It’s not hard to pluck out a line here and there and read it in some strange new way. How can we know how they actually sounded to his original audience? I’ve discovered that a great place to look for answers […]