Have you seen the news for the latest breakthrough weight-loss program, The Daniel Plan, by Rick Warren? It’s a 40-day plan (like his other books) to help individuals and church groups take off the flab and get in shape. Like other Bible-based diet plans, it’s built on the story in the first chapter in Daniel. […]
I used to struggle with why we have the stories we do in Genesis – about the sons of Jacob destroying the city of Shechem, or Reuben sleeping with his father’s servant girl. My expectation was that the Bible was a book of simple moral stories to teach me how to live. Actually, the point […]
To modern Christians, many Old Testament laws seem arbitrary. One in particular may strike you as odd — the commandment to wear tassels. In Numbers it says, Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels […]
With the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matt 7:2 . In Jesus’ words above about the “measure you use,” he was using a classic rabbinic idea called midah keneged midah (mee-dah kah-NEG-ed mee-dah), which means, literally, “measure corresponding to measure.” Paul also used this style of reasoning. Knowing more about the […]
What do we need to believe to be saved? What if we can’t be perfectly sure of the absolute accuracy of every biblical document that has been preserved? Are we in trouble? I’ve seen a lot of folks get tied up in knots over this. I’d like to suggest that there’s actually a simple answer, […]
How does the epic history of Abraham’s descendants relate to the overall story of salvation? Ancient ideas about family are key to the logic of both the Old and New Testaments.
In biblical times, people defined themselves entirely by their family role and identity. In this exercise you can consider how you’d see yourself through their eyes.
Our modern, Western culture revolves around the individual. In the biblical world, family was everything. What does that actually mean though, in terms of how they thought? I found a fascinating description of this worldview in The Shadow of the Sun, by Ryszard Kapuscinski, as he describes the peoples he encounters throughout his travels in […]
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” […]
I used to think that Jesus’ command to make disciples simply meant teaching people certain beliefs about God, helping them to accept Christ as Lord, and then educating them in doctrinal truth later on. Though all these are important, this way of defining discipleship showed that I, like many westerners, approached the gospel primarily as […]
You have to admit, some Bible passages are real head-scratchers. For instance, in Isaiah 43:25 (and elsewhere) 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 […]
What does it mean to speak of Jesus as the “Christ”? This word is one of the most important, basic words in a Christian’s vocabulary. But it isn’t until you dig into the Bible’s ancient context that you that see its surprising imagery and some of its most important implications. First of all, the word […]