Paul’s despair and consolation

“…we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself.”

Paul begins his second letter to the Corinthians by mentioning the trials he’d been suffering. He links a few ideas up by the repeated use of some keywords in 2 Cor 1:3-11:

  • Affliction
  • Suffering
  • Consolation

Paul wasn’t hiding the fact that he’d been suffering; instead he was using his experience to make a point  – God had consoled Paul in his suffering, and because of that Paul was now able to console others in the same position. Continue reading “Paul’s despair and consolation”

Bridging the Gap – Time and Place

To really understand our Bible, we must find ways to bridge the gap between its time and place, and our time and place.

We are separated from the people who wrote and received books of the Bible by between 2000 and 5000 years. That’s a long time! We look at black and white pictures of our grandparents or great-grandparents and wonder about how different their world was. They lived only a hundred or so years ago, the Bible is from 2000 years ago.

Our Bible was not written in 21st century English to people from a Western background. It was mainly written in the Ancient Near East to people from a very different culture to our own. Continue reading “Bridging the Gap – Time and Place”

Jonah in the Whale

Was Jonah preserved alive in the whale?

What happened to Jonah?  Commonly people believe he was swallowed by a giant fish, in which he survived for three days.  A historical “example” is often used to buttress this reading.  However there is a compelling argument for Jonah actually having died in the fish and being resurrected. Continue reading “Jonah in the Whale”

The Bible is simple… right?

God preserved the Bible for us, but it was first written to another people in another time.

Why does the Bible need to be studied? Isn’t its message simple enough to be understood by anyone? Surely it would be unfair of God to expect people to believe him and live according to his Word if it wasn’t able to be understood by everyone? Has not God chosen the ‘foolish’ of this world? Continue reading “The Bible is simple… right?”

Let justice roll down like waters

It’s easy for people who consider themselves chosen to forget the basic principles of justice and and mercy

When we think of prophets, it is common to see them primarily in terms of those who make predictions. This is however only part of the story. A common way in which to remember the purpose of prophecy is to see them as forth-tellers, rather than foretellers. A prophet certainly would predict doom, or future restoration, but this was usually in the context of berating the nation for failing to adhere to the terms of the covenant with God. When we look at it this way, one prophet certainly comes to mind, and that is Amos. Continue reading “Let justice roll down like waters”

Jesus at the Feast of Dedication

Taking advantage of opportunities presented

In the Gospel of John we read the following:

Jn 10:22-23 At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.1

Which of the Biblical Jewish festivals was the Feast of the Dedication? It turns out it wasn’t a Biblical feast. Continue reading “Jesus at the Feast of Dedication”