I have no problem saying—in fact, I think is it good and healthy to say—that I have, and have always had, some intellectual barriers to the Christian faith. Not all the time, but enough of the time. As I said I don’t mind admitting it, because to do otherwise would be a colossally silly waste […]
Glad you asked. The New Testament reading in church this past Sunday was Ephesians 3:1-12. What struck me was how the author (Paul or a later follower of his) speaks of his commission to preach the gospel to Gentiles. And he keeps using the word “mystery.” He says in verses 3-6, The mystery was made […]
The “fall” of humanity, as some Christians understand it, completely dependent on Augustine’s misreading of one verse in the book of Romans.
Ever wonder what it means for Jesus to die “for” others? Yeah, me too. I get how someone can take a bullet for his buddy, or pleading with the kidnappers to“take me instead.” I’m talking about Jesus and the cross, which is more than just Jesus filling in for someone else. According to the New […]
When Christians run up against interpretive challenges in the Old Testament–like killing Canaanites to take their land or the meaning of the Adam story vis-a-vis science–a common way of handling these challenges is to make an appeal like: “Yes, but we can’t just look at these passages on their own terms. We have to keep […]
We’re in finals week here at Eastern University, so I am in testing/grading mode. So here you go (all answers must be completed in the space provided): What do all of the following words have in common? baptism centurion crucifixion demons devil exorcism Gentile messiah Pharisee rabbi Roman Sadducee Samaritan synagogue tax collector If you […]
The New Testament writers had a habit of saying things about the Old Testament that are not in the Old Testament but are in these creative, Jewish writings of the period.
What we might call a fast and loose use of the Old Testament was for Paul and his contemporaries a normal and expected approach to biblical interpretation—creatively connecting the past with the present.
Paul appeals to the Old Testament in order to support what is hardly an obvious notion to Jews at the time: that Jesus, a crucified and risen son of a working-class family, is the long-hoped for Jewish messiah and that Gentiles as Gentiles are full and equal partners along with Jews in this messianic age.
Now, I know you believe, as we all do, that the Bible, being God’s word, is perfectly consistent all the way through, meaning it doesn’t mean one thing in the Old Testament and another thing when you quote it. It goes without saying that you respect the intention of the original author more than anyone, and you’d never mistreat the Bible like that.