Articles

What Does Your Name Mean?

What Does Your Name Mean?

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.

Those Spicy, Savory Hebrew Words

Those Spicy, Savory Hebrew Words

Have you noticed the latest food trend? Growing numbers of people are into artisanal foods. They love organic cheeses and heirloom vegetables, farmer’s markets and food co-ops. They want to eat slow food, not fast food. It takes more time and effort, but it’s worth it, they say. You know what? I’m into artisanal Bible […]

Does God Want Us to Fear Him?

Does God Want Us to Fear Him?

The word “fear” is common in the Old Testament, and to many it sounds like we should cringe in dread of God’s presence. We also find “fear” in the New Testament too. Why is there so much fear in the Bible?

Learning to Think in Hebrew

Learning to Think in Hebrew

I recently told you about some of the interesting Norwegian words I grew up saying, like “uff-da” and “vasakope.” As my immigrant ancestors were learning English, they hung on to words in their mother tongue that did a better job of expressing what they meant to say. My relatives weren’t the only ones doing this. […]

Uff-da, Sputten & Vasakope: Words without Equal

Uff-da, Sputten & Vasakope: Words without Equal

I’ve been thinking about Hebrew words and language lately, and analyzing the words that I use. I’ve noticed that my vocabulary is peppered with words from other languages. Many of my unusual words come from my Norwegian ancestors. For instance, I grew up saying uff-da. Many have seen “uff-da” on bumper-stickers and refrigerator magnets, but I […]

The Wisdom of Hebrew Words

The Wisdom of Hebrew Words

I love Hebrew words. I can’t count the number of times that learning a definition has deepened my understanding of not just one Bible passage, but many. Recently I’ve posted a couple examples to show you what I mean. In the article “Does God Forget Sins?” I explain how the words for “remember” and “forget” […]

Shema: To Hear is to Obey

Shema: To Hear is to Obey

Biblical Hebrew includes only about 8,000 words, far fewer than the 100,000 or more we have in English. Because Hebrew has so few words, each is like an over-stuffed suitcase, bulging with extra meanings that it must carry in order for the language to fully describe reality. Unpacking each word is a delightful exercise in […]

How Can God Forget Sins?

How Can God Forget Sins?

You have to admit, some Bible passages are real head- scratchers. For instance, in several places God says, “I will not remember your sins.” But how can God, in his infinite intellect, forget something? And what does he expect of us, since we pray, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against […]