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.
It’s Father’s Day, and articles fill the internet about men who defied the masculine stereotype of being tough, distant workaholics. Changing diapers. Working at home. The world is a very different place nowadays than it was a few decades ago. The last place that many would look for inspiration for modern fatherhood is the Old […]
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 […]
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 […]
The word for “orphan” in the Bible also referred to children who were fatherless, because having a single parent was a terrible fate too. Nowadays we don’t have many orphans, but we have a lot of single parent families.
Modern readers miss the scandalous background of Ruth – that she was a Moabitess, who were known for their sexual immorality. You need to listen to this story with ancient ears to appreciate how she’s redeemed.