Articles

Israel's Undefinable God

Israel’s Undefinable God

The Bible doesn’t try very hard to answer our philosophical questions. In Genesis, where is the proof for God’s existence? What are his origins? Why isn’t God explained theologically? Knowledge of God in the Scriptures comes from personal encounter, not through human reasoning.

Why Does Your Creed have Cows in It?

Why Does Your Creed have Cows in It?

The Shema is a profession of faith that pious Jews have recited daily since the first-century. When I first read what I assumed was their Apostle’s Creed, I was shocked. I was looking for spiritual truths, heady doctrines like the “communion of saints” and “forgiveness of sins,” not mundane realities like grass, fields and cows.

Reading the Bible from a WEIRD Perspective

Reading the Bible from a WEIRD Perspective

Researchers compared cultural attitudes around the globe, and found that the modern Western worldview is far from the norm compared to the rest of the world. Much of the world is far less secular and sees people principally as members of groups with strong claims to loyalty. Could it be that our culture’s “uniqueness” is also a barrier to relating to the biblical worldview?

ISIS, Ancient Violence, and the Torah's Radical Response

ISIS, Ancient Violence, and the Torah’s Radical Response

As a whole, life was incredibly cheap in ancient times, and Near Eastern law codes reflected this fact. This is where the laws of Israel fundamentally diverge from those of other nations. In Israel, murder was seen as an offense against God himself. Many of Israel’s uniquely humanitarian laws were based on the peculiar and supreme value that God placed on human life.

The Advantage Women Had in Biblical Times

The Advantage Women Had in Biblical Times

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 […]

Pentecost, Shavuot and Forrest Gump

Pentecost, Shavuot and Forrest Gump

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 […]

Dayenu Wisdom for Holy Week

Dayenu Wisdom for Holy Week

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 […]

Just Wait Until Your Father Gets Home...

Just Wait Until Your Father Gets Home…

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 […]