Ten lepers and one man saved

Just shuffle. Ideally together.

As believers, we have received the miracle of life, healing from death. How will we respond? Will we show gratitude? Will we turn to learn more from the master and make him our teacher? Will we demonstrate he is our Lord and superior? Or will we not think, not let him affect our lives and maintain an external unthinking compliance which minimizes the power of the gospel? Continue reading “Ten lepers and one man saved”

Ethics in the Law of Moses: Animal welfare & animal sacrifice

How is animal sacrifice compatible with animal welfare?

A reader of the previous article in this series raised the issue of animal sacrifice, which was commanded by the Law of Moses and carried out on a large scale by Israel. How is animal sacrifice compatible with animal welfare? Continue reading “Ethics in the Law of Moses: Animal welfare & animal sacrifice”

Exploring Psalm 147

Recognising God’s care, provision and power

Psalm 147 doesn’t get the same airtime as the more well known psalms, e.g. 1, 22, 23, 51, and 110, and yet there is much that we can learn from it that is of value today. In this post we’ll work through the psalm looking at its history, structure, and teaching. Continue reading “Exploring Psalm 147”

Triumphant prisoners

We are captives of Christ and should see our lives through this lens

Do reversals, failures and inconsistencies disqualify us as disciples? No. On the contrary they are consistent with the challenges associated with discipleship, they are part and parcel of the life of a believer. Rather than denigrate those who lives are seemingly full of reversals, or question God’s work with us due the burden of our own lives, we need to contextualise these experiences as normal for the faithful. Continue reading “Triumphant prisoners”

On being eaten by worms

Before his untimely death Herod Agrippa I had been quite smart in his dealings with both Rome and with the Jews. He’d prevented a rerun of the Jewish Revolt by talking Emperor Caligula out of setting up a statue to himself in the Temple at Jerusalem1, and he also followed Jewish custom to the point that Josephus records:

…he loved to live continually at Jerusalem, and was exactly careful in the observance of the laws of his country. He therefore kept himself entirely pure: nor did any day pass over his head without its appointed sacrifice.2

He knew his audience and played them well. Continue reading “On being eaten by worms”

Ethics in the Law of Moses: Environmental Welfare

Care for the environment enshrined in the Law

The early Hebrews maintained an unparalleled degree of ecological sustainability, since the Law of Moses regulated fruit crops, prohibited certain mixed crops, and required the non-cultivation of the land in the seventh year, enabling the land to recover from human activity. Continue reading “Ethics in the Law of Moses: Environmental Welfare”

The rock that followed them

The Jewish background to an odd passage

One of Paul’s more unusual uses of the Old Testament is found in his warning to the believers in Corinth not to fall into the same complacency as some of the Israelites had on the Exodus. Continue reading “The rock that followed them”

Ethics in the Law of Moses: animal welfare

“Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast.”

Many passages in the Bible are typically understood as teaching an explicit ethic of care and concern for animals and the environment, including the commandment that young birds may be taken from their mother, but their mother must be left alone (Deuteronomy 22:6-7), an ox or sheep not to be slaughtered on the same day as their young (Leviticus 22:8), animals used commercially are not to be overburdened or exploited (Exodus 23:5, Deuteronomy 25:4), and the statement that a righteous man takes care of his animals (Proverbs 12:10).

There was no tolerance for animal cruelty or animals being killed for entertainment. Continue reading “Ethics in the Law of Moses: animal welfare”

The value of modern lexicons & dictionaries for Bible study

We always try to use the best tools for our regular day work, we should do the same in our Bible study

Today we have a wealth of modern lexical tools available to us. Yet so many people ignore all this, and use Gesenius, or Strong’s, or Young’s, or Vine’s, tools which are massively out of date, sometimes wildly inaccurate, and theologically biased.

Here’s just one example. Let’s look at the Hebrew word ‘sheol’ (grave), typically rendered ‘hell’ by the KJV (one of many reasons why it’s such a bad translation). Continue reading “The value of modern lexicons & dictionaries for Bible study”

Hapax Legomena and the value of expertise for Bible Study

When words appear only once their meaning often remains unclear

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” – Gen 6:14 (AV)

What was gopher wood? That was one of my first questions asked after reading the flood narrative in the AV, and I remember being quite annoyed when I found out that no one really knew. Continue reading “Hapax Legomena and the value of expertise for Bible Study”