Articles

Biblically, Your "Name" is Your Identity

Biblically, Your “Name” is Your Identity

A family’s public reputation, their “name,” was of critical importance in their communal society. Knowing this helps us decode a much misunderstood word in our Bibles, the Hebrew word shem, which overlaps with the English word “name” but is actually much broader.

Blinded by Our own Brilliance

Blinded by Our own Brilliance

We assume that as the centuries go by, we’re growing more intellectually sophisticated. But modernity has actually dulled our senses to a reality that biblical peoples had no problems experiencing.

In the Biblical World, Aging was a Good Thing

In the Biblical World, Aging was a Good Thing

To understand your Bible you need to grasp the assumptions of its cultural world. Sometimes glimpsing its alternative point of view can even put our own reality into perspective. For instance, in the Ancient Near East, advanced age was not seen as something to be avoided. Aging was seen a source of honor and dignity. […]

What is Living Water?

What is Living Water?

One prominent image that recurs from Genesis to Revelation is that of living water. In the Middle East, water is scarce and precious, and very much needed for survival.

Deeper Magic: The Illogical Logic of Mercy

Deeper Magic: The Illogical Logic of Mercy

The “deeper magic” of Narnia—the idea that the sins of one person can be forgiven because of another person’s sacrifice—is a fundamental precept of Christianity. You might think this was something that the New Testament invented. But Jewish scholars find this idea in subtle nuances of the Torah that Christians rarely read.

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.

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 […]