How 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
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
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
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
Here is a little excerpt about understanding the Old Testament. These are supposedly the ponderings of an 8th grader (about 13 or 14 years old).
Maybe we could learn a bit about understanding Scripture.
[Side note: ANE stands for ancient near east.]