At this time of year, people everywhere are setting up nativity scenes. We’re used to having an odd mixture of characters around the manger — some scruffy shepherds, some glittering angels, a few animals, and of course a brand new little family. To many of us, the characters that are oddest are the magi, or […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
The words of Genesis 1 express a profound paradox: Though we’re as insignificant as dust, we reflect the glory of God himself.
Hebrew has a word for love that is richer and deeper than any English has ever conceived. Based in a covenantal relationship, hesed is a steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness that endures to eternity.
We modern Christians struggle more to understand our Bibles than many people throughout history.