Five More Five-Packs

I posted not long ago on “The Five One-Chapter Books” of the Bible, and about the same time I was thinking about what an amazing compendium the wisdom books are. There are five of them too, of course, so then I started thinking about how interesting it is that so much of the Bible’s organization … [Read more…]

The Five One-Chapter Books

There are five books in the Bible that have only one chapter. In the New Testament, there is Jude, Paul’s letter to Philemon, and John’s second and third epistles. In the Old Testament, there is the book by minor prophet Obadiah. It’s interesting that the four authors are at the extremes with regard to the … [Read more…]

Paul at “The Show”

In the current (August/September 2020) issue of First Things, George Weigel has an article about John Paul II that discusses, in particular, St. Paul’s speech on the Areopagus to the Athenians, which “held a special place in [the pontiff’s] religious imagination.” And, when you think about it, this was indeed an important encounter, almost literally … [Read more…]

Team of Non-Rivals

When you think about it, the complementarity of the early church leaders was interesting, and its dynamics must have been, too. So is the fact that each of them authored Scripture. *** Regarding the interplay of personalities and backgrounds, think in particular of Peter, Paul, and James — a group that can, I think, be … [Read more…]

Paul: Messenger and Message

At our church, last Sunday’s sermon — which was on a few verses in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (4:17-24) — made the point that we should not think ourselves unworthy of salvation because of shame for our past sinful behavior. It was noted in this context that it is unlikely that many of us … [Read more…]

What’s the Script on Scripture?

Why would our God choose to inspire humans to write the texts that make up the Bible? The short answer has to be, So that other humans will read these texts and be encouraged to behave in a particular way (in this post, behaving includes not only one’s external actions but also one’s internal motives … [Read more…]

Good of the Order

I. A Good Order for Reading the Bible The One-Year Bible that my wife and I are reading doesn’t just divide Scripture into 365 (or 366) equal parts and then plow through them, one per day. Rather, it more or less divides the Old Testament (minus the Psalms and Proverbs) into 365 equal parts; divides … [Read more…]

More Jonah

In my earlier post on this blogsite about the minor prophets, I summarize the lessons from Jonah this way: “Don’t disobey God or be parochial.  God wants all peoples to follow him; He answers prayers; He’s against violence and idols and is pro-sacrifice.” True enough, but since this is one of my favorite Bible books … [Read more…]

The Sensible Sequence of the Ten Commandments

The main point of this post is that the order in which the Ten Commandments are listed makes perfect sense. The Ten Commandments are listed in this order (I paraphrase and shorten them, found at Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21): Thou shalt have no other gods besides God. No idols. No misusing God’s name. Keep … [Read more…]

Ordinary Country, Extraordinary People

In my post on this blogsite about the book of Joshua, I have a section called, “It’s the Land, Stupid,” and I note that in this book “the importance of the land is manifest, and big chunks of the book are detailed, survey-like description of boundaries.” I continue with this paragraph: This reflects an important … [Read more…]