Bible Mini-Series Positives

the-bibleLast night, the History Channel aired their Bible mini-series. It’s a 10-part series over 5 weeks giving an artistic display of the biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation. I didn’t get to watch it, since I live in Belgium and it was airing at 2.00am Central European Time. Maybe I’ll catch it online or when I visit the US in a few week’s time.

But I did see that Old Testament scholar, Peter Enns, shared some thoughts following the airing of the first 2-hour segment.

Enns shares how he, and we, can sometimes cringe at the embellishment of the biblical narrative – as we bring in our own imaginative efforts or we try and smooth over some of the difficult accounts told in holy scripture. And while Enns noted some of the negatives of the Bible mini-series, he also shared his appreciation for the overall projection of the biblical narrative, mainly that the series presents ‘an interconnected grand story rather than a series of disconnected “Bible stories.”’

These are some of Enns’ specific words, noting the positive, but intermingled with some constructive criticism: Continue reading

Jephthah Sacrificed His Daughter?

jephthah_daughterHow many of us know there are just a few difficult passages in the Scripture to comprehend, especially in the Old Testament? One complicated account is found in Judges 11:29-40.

When going out to battle against the Ammonites, Jephthah made a vow saying:

If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering. (vs30-31).

And we find the fulfilment only a few verses later:

After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin. (vs39)

At first read, it seems that Jephthah sacrificed his own daughter. But we also know from Scripture that human sacrifice was an abomination (Lev 18:21; 20:2-5: Deut 12:31; 18:10). What is going on here? Continue reading

Tattoos, Mixed Clothing & Cooking Goats

As I mentioned a few posts back, I’m working through a particular Bible-reading programme, the ‘Bible in 90 Days’. Yeah, it’s a challenge! I’m probably a week behind where I’m supposed to be, but I’m still getting through large chunks at a time. It’s nice.

Just a few days ago I finished the Pentateuch, those first 5 books of the Old Testament – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. To say the least, we don’t normally run to this territory for much devotional reading, at least outside Genesis.

But let’s also be honest – This portion of Scripture is very hard to come by, to understand, both in how it played out then and how it is to play out today. Continue reading

Return from Zambia

Yesterday, I returned from my trip out to be with our ministry friends and to teach at Hope College in Lusaka, Zambia. I tried to explain to the Zambians and Zimbabweans that I would be more blessed than be a blessing. I only hope they understand the truth of that statement. This is a wonderful time for Africa, and other developing areas of the world, to help us move forward into the purposes of God for the 21st century. I only hope we can receive in the west.

If interested, I am posting my teaching notes here. These notes are an introduction to Genesis, hermeneutics and biblical themes beginning in Genesis.

PDF document: Genesis & Bible Themes

The Pentateuch as Anthology?

I am currently reading a book which I am greatly appreciating. It’s entitled God’s Word in Human Words: An Evangelical Appropriation of Critical Biblical Scholarship. The book is a 400-pager given to us by author Kenton Sparks, professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University.

Maybe the title is not the most drawing of titles for a book. But I have appreciated interacting with the thoughts a well-studied PhD professor who desires both to maintain a belief in the God-breathed and authoritative nature of Scripture while also faithfully engaging in the world of historical-biblical criticism. And I would say this is also my own aspiration, at least to some degree. Would I agree with every approach of Sparks? No. Still, I find it a very solid evangelical work, similarly in the vein of Peter Enns’ Inspiration and Incarnation. Such a combined goal of maintaining a faith-filled focus and scholarly effort is not easy. But, from what I have read thus far, being about half-way through, Sparks has done well. Continue reading