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.
When I first read the Shema, the Jewish profession of faith, I assumed it was their Apostle’s Creed. I was shocked because I was looking for doctrines like the “communion of saints” and “forgiveness of sins,” not mundane realities like grass, fields and cows.
The modern Western worldview is far from the norm compared to the rest of the world. Could it be that our culture’s “uniqueness” also prevents us from understanding our Bibles?
Life was incredibly cheap in ancient times, and Near Eastern law codes reflected this fact. In Israel, however, 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.
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?
When you speak, you “paint.” Each language has a palette with a finite amount of colors that have evolved from the cultural memories of its users. When you try to “paint” a scene in a different language, the same words can have different shades of meaning, so the result is never exactly the same.