Let's get to a beef many of us have with the Bible: The Bible can be so repetitive. Exhibit A: Four Gospels. Why four? It’s the same story. In fact many of the stories are word-for-word the same in Matthew as they are in Mark and Luke. And it's not just the Gospels. Narrative gets repeated. … Continue reading Why Is the Bible So Repetitive?
It's hard enough to maintain a personal devotional time on a daily basis. However, when you sit down early in the morning or late at night, and you are reading about Jeremiah being thrown into a muddy cistern, the temptation is to think: But what does any of this have to do with my life? How … Continue reading How Does the Bible Fit into Your Life?
Chances are you've read or seen a dozen different Bible reading plans floating around. Some have you reading a chapter in four different books each day. Some promise to take you chronologically through the Bible. Others have you reading the Psalms 17 times, the NT 3 times, and the OT 2.5 times in a year. … Continue reading A Quick Bible Reading Plan for Dummies
There is a dangerous method of Bible interpretation that pops up regularly, and it's the constant whipping boy of Buzzfeed-type Christians. The quip is, "Why do you think that passage is culturally confined, but not this one?" Christians accuse one another of picking and choosing which passages still apply. The accusation is well-founded, in my opinion. The … Continue reading To Those Who Say, “That Passage Doesn’t Apply Anymore”
The key to a good joke is an unexpected wry twist at the very last moment. You don't give the punchline at the beginning or middle of a joke. No, a good joke-teller weaves together a seemingly pointless and at times oddly disparate story (a la "A priest, a minister, and a rabbi walk into a … Continue reading The Old Testament Is a Huge Joke
Divine election--that's something the Apostle Paul made up to distort the beautiful message of the gospel and turn it into some ugly favoritism, right? The book of Genesis is foundational in so many ways for the Christian worldview. It is truly a book of beginnings--the beginning of creation, mankind, marriage, sin, murder, musical instruments, war, … Continue reading A Look at Genesis: Did Moses Believe In Divine Election?
Frantic. The way we scarf our meals. The time we spend swiping and clicking on the web. The article after article of partially chewed information jammed down our throats in humungous gulps. The tug of war in dietary perspectives. The spine-cracking political roller-coaster with its violent whiplash and wooden frame that threatens to collapse at … Continue reading On True Contentment in a Frantic World
Food is a huge part of our daily lives. We don't just eat food. We watch people make it on T.V. We take pictures of it. We visit niche restaurants to discover new forms of it. Food affects every part of human existence: physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. So, it should be no surprise that … Continue reading Food: Appetite and Salvation History
Christians know that being a Christian means we don't say certain words. Most of us know Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths..." Here's the problem. We miss the fact that the Bible should shape the words we do say. Particularly, the Bible should shape the way we speak about Biblical … Continue reading 5 Common (and Unbiblical) Ways We Talk about Conversion
I've always thought there was significance to the appearance of a man named Simeon after the circumcision of Jesus in Luke's narrative, but I've never been able to put my finger on it. However, as I studied Judges 1 and 2 this week, I realized that Simeon was one of two tribes who didn't get … Continue reading Simeon and the Redemption of the Sign
A few years ago, I was listening to Outer South (2009) by Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, and I was particularly intrigued by Oberst's lyrics in "To All the Lights in the Windows". Oberst is always lacing religious pictures and allusions into his lyrics, and this one mentioned the stories of Moses, Jesus, Joseph, and Solomon. … Continue reading Remember When God Poured Moses Tea on Mt. Sinai?
When it comes to reading the Bible, it should be rather simple. I mean, they say that the NIV is written at a 7th grade reading level, the ESV at a 10th grade level, the HCSB at an 8th grade level, and the Message at a 4th grade level. If you know how to read, … Continue reading You Don’t Need Rob Bell or John Calvin to Read Your Bible
The events surrounding the sermon subpoena [can we call it "Sermongate"?] in Houston reminded me and others of a particular incident involving John the Baptist, Herod, and his mistress (Matthew 14:1-13). The similarities are uncanny: a government official using political power to silence a man for speaking out against sexual sin. However, I do doubt that any … Continue reading Christians are an Expendable, Enraging Nuisance
I think we have a dozen different children's books telling the story of Noah's Ark sitting in my sons' bookshelves. The story of Noah is such a familiar tale, and it is usually treated in this way: a self-contained narrative, plucked out of its home in Genesis and plunked into a children's book. It has … Continue reading Noah: The Story You Missed
Why is the Bible so circuitous? Have you ever wondered, "Why doesn't God just come out and say what he means?" Things are rarely black and white; the Bible is full of narratives that spell things out in 50 different shades of gray. Wouldn't the Christian life be a lot easier if the whole Bible … Continue reading Why Isn’t the Bible More Black and White?