Apr 16, 2016

The Bible, Taxes, and Urine?

The Bible contains a number of "tax" related passages including Matthew 22:16-22 in which Jesus referred to a denarius and famously said, "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." One can be thankful that our Lord used a coin and not some other things that have been taxed throughout history, including urine. See this article in National Geographic.

Apr 15, 2016

Responding to Less than Spectacular Sermons or Lessons

Many of us have been there. Chuck Lawless has some good advice here on how to respond to less than spectacular sermons or lessons.

HT: Trevin Wax

Apr 14, 2016

Apocalypse: The Perfume?

Someone has tried to replicate the smells of the book of Revelation. According to this article, the creators worked with "perfumer Euan McCall to translate the burnt flesh, blood, and sea creatures of biblical end times into chemistry and producing a surprisingly not unpleasant scent." Surely there is a sermon illustration here.

Apr 13, 2016

Spirit-Intended Applications?

Walt Russell has a very good discussion on what I would call a hermeneutics of application here.

Apr 12, 2016

Literacy Study and the Composition of the Hebrew Bible

A number of news outlets (e.g., ABC News, New York Times, Haaretz) are reporting on a study published this Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study was based on a trove of about 100 letters inscribed in ink on pieces of pottery, known as ostracons, that were unearthed near the Dead Sea in an excavation of the Arad fort decades ago and dated from about 600 B.C. That was shortly before Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah, and the exile of its elite to Babylon — and before many scholars believe the major part of the biblical texts, including the five books of Moses, also known as the Pentateuch, were written down in any cohesive form.
While these ostracon do provide data supporting a more widespread literacy than some have held, they really do not have much to say about when the Hebrew Bible was written. So the headlines about providing evidence for when the Bible was written is misleading at best. I am glad that some are now suggesting an earlier date of composition that is often posited but the implied dating in the study is not nearly early enough.

Apr 11, 2016

Philo as Biblical Commentator: Leviticus

I recently picked up a copy of Torah from Alexandria: Philo as Biblical Commentator, Volume III: Leviticus. According to the publisher's description, "Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel has meticulously culled from all of Philo’s exegetical comments, and arranged them according to the biblical verses. He provides extensive parallels from rabbinic literature, Greek philosophy, and Christian theology, to present Philo’s writing in the context of his time, while also demonstrating Philo’s unique method of interpretation."

If anyone knows anything more about this volume, I would be very interested in hearing them.