St. Paul and Alexander Hamilton

From Ron Chernow’s famous biography of Alexander Hamilton (page 247, footnote omitted): Tradition claims that Hamilton wrote the first installment of the masterpiece known as The Federalist Papers in the cabin of a Hudson River sloop as he and [his wife] Eliza returned to New York from Albany. Eliza recalled going upriver, not down, and said Hamilton … [Read more…]

Jesus’ Prayer Parables

My NIV study Bible lists, among “The Parables of Jesus,” two “About Prayer”: “The Friend at Midnight” (Luke 11:5-8) and “The Unjust Judge” (Luke 18:1-8). I’ve set them out below, along with immediately subsequent verses for each, since they also seemed relevant to the parables. This is an important area, and we’ll see that Jesus’ … [Read more…]

” … But the Greatest of These Is Love”

Chapter 13 in First Corinthians is perhaps Paul’s most famous writing. The John MacArthur study Bible says it “is considered by many the finest literary passage ever penned by Paul,” and it is much quoted, notably at weddings. So let’s take a close look at it. It’s all about love, of course, but the first … [Read more…]

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…]