Bible

Joseph, the Righteous Husband

During the Middle Ages, Joseph, the husband of Mary, was the butt of many jokes. Medieval theater and art often depicted him as something of a buffoon, decidedly marginal to the gospel story. In part, this was the unfortunate obverse of the exaltation of Mary; any man would suffer by comparison with such a being […]

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The Theology of the Drink Offering

The drink offering or libation (nesek) is mentioned in only three places in the book of Leviticus. When the sheaf of the firstfruits was waved before the Lord, a grain offering was to be burned, along with “its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine [approx. one gallon]” (23:13). Similarly, libations were to be […]

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The Dramatic Structure of Proverbs

The book of Proverbs appears as a largely random collection of aphorisms drawn from experience saturated in law. Despite its random arrangement, however, the book does have an over-arching structure that reinforces its main themes. One way to gather clues regarding the structure of a biblical book (or any book) is to look at the […]

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Babel Academy, Part 2

For Part 1, click HERE. Genesis 1 describes the creation of the physical order. Genesis 2 recapitulates the pattern of Genesis 1 as it describes the creation of the social order. Genesis 3 describes the intended founding of an ethical order. It was here that sin entered into the world, and with it, the distinction between clean and unclean. The failure of Adam to rightly […]

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Babel Academy, Part 1

The Business of Keeping the Saints in the Dark Let there be light! The first recorded “spoken” words of God. Curiously, even this creative decree was a deed whose fruit required an appraisal. God judged the light and separated it from the darkness. As the cardinal act within a newborn heavens and earth, this ruling […]

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The Battle of Gog and Magog

The battle of Gog and Magog is found in Ezekiel 38-39. My purpose in this brief essay is to propound an explanation for this passage that I have not encountered in any of my commentaries, but that makes more sense to me than any other. I offer it here in the hope that others can […]

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The Flying Scroll

And he said to me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits” (Zechariah 5:2). Immediately following his vision of the outpouring of the Spirit upon the restoration community (4:1-14), Zechariah saw a flying scroll. The interpreting angel told him that […]

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Navigating and Celebrating the Complexity of Scripture: A Conversation with Richard Hays

Editors’ note: For those interested in a review of Richard Hays’s latest book, see here. Richard Hays is a renowned New Testament scholar. The professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School originally studied English literature, giving his reading of Scripture a pronounced literary sensibility. He’s perhaps best known for his 1989 work, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of […]

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The Impracticality of Application

I have never heard anyone say that the Bible is impractical, but I have heard people, after an in depth exegesis of a passage, ask for the practical application. Offer a class on childrearing, marriage, finance and the church members flock to it; offer a course on Leviticus, the visions of Elijah, the importance of […]

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Biblical Allusion and the Meaning of Othello

Understanding Shakespeare’s Biblical references is vital for the interpretation of many, if not all, of Shakespeare’s plays. For Othello, it is especially important, not only because the interpretation of the play is contested among various approaches — feminist, homosexual, post-colonial, Marxist, Freudian, new historical, and others — but also and more importantly because, as I […]

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