Music and Hermeneutics

From time to time, when I’ve lectured on how to read the Bible, I’ve used art-music as one example thereof. When we listen to a simple folk song, we hear the same melody over and over again, but this is not how composers write “high” music. Let me amplify. A composer will put out a theme (melody) clearly and forthrightly. You can hear it without […]

In the Fish: The Church as Tomb

“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea-monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). Some reflections on Jonah’s Big Fish have led to the following essay. Let me affirm at the outset that the Bible presents the story in the book of Jonah […]

Never Be Dismayed

I’m afraid of messing up. Not just of messing up in general, but of messing this up—the big This that is the story that is my life, the story that God is attempting to tell with me as His material. The question casts its shadow over all my decisions. Can I ruin things? Is it possible for me to forfeit some good God intends for […]

Greater Phinehas

Jesus’ letter to Pergamum mentions Balaam and Balak (Revelation 2:14), and that is a signal that the whole message is running along the lines of Numbers 22-25. The death of the high priest is a sacrificial moment in the life of Israel. According to the rules of the cities of refuge (Numbers 35), the manslayer would remain in a city of refuge until the death […]

The Glory of Self-Giving: A Wedding Homily

As you come to be joined in marriage today, I want to take a moment to focus on one important dimension of what it means to be married as Christians: that is as those who know Jesus and are being made into His likeness. This is a glorious day, full of joy, beauty, and gratitude for answered prayer, and all because it is centrally a […]