Monotheism and the Bible

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The god El – Metropolitan Museum of Art

Monotheism is a given for all Bible readers.  However when we come to the text we read in our expectations and can miss some points in the record.  Sometimes what the text actually says can be profoundly contrary to our expectations.  In some instances God has chosen to reveal Himself in ways crafted to suit the worldview of the first hearers but which jar in our ears.  More than just a point of interest, this reality speaks to the extent God is prepared to go to.  The message of redemption is of primary importance, the calling to know and serve Him alone.  In achieving this outcome, inspiration has accommodated ideas which almost all believers would recoil from.

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Culture and the Bible

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Code of Hammurabi on the Louvre Stele

At one level understanding the cultural context enriches our understanding of the Bible.  It doesn’t necessarily change the gospel message since that is clear enough.  But it can add to various passages. And a fair approach to the Bible must acknowledge that in the absence of cultural context complete confidence in our understanding is impossible.

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