May 16, 2020

Jeremiah's Land Purchase

Jeremiah 32 discusses in surprising detail Jeremiah's purchase of a cousin's field. Here is a pretty good summary of the account from a Jewish perspective.

May 15, 2020

Blank Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Aren't Blank

Apparently, new research discussed here reveals that four Dead Sea Scroll fragments at the University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library which were thought to be blank actually contain some text. According to the article, "The most substantial fragment has the remains of four lines of text with 15-16 letters, most of which are only partially preserved, but the word Shabbat (Sabbath) can be clearly read. This text (Ryl4Q22) may be related to the biblical book of Ezekiel (46:1-3)."

May 14, 2020

The Coronavirus and Biblical Archaeology

The Jerusalem Post discusses the impact that the Coronvirus has had on biblical archaeology here.

May 13, 2020

Three Lessons on Joel

I recently taught three lessons on the book of Joel for my church. This study is part of a larger one on the Minor Prophets.

Joel 1:1-20: Learning from a Disaster
Joel 2:1-27: Looking to Avoid a Disaster 
Joel 2:28–3:21: Prophetic Peaks and Valleys

May 12, 2020

Psalm 20 Links

I have been working on a commentary on the Psalms. I have decided to compile some helpful links that I discovered during my research. It includes a mix of exegetical and sermonic links. Here is what I have for Psalm 20 (in no particular order). Feel free to mention any that you find helpful in the comments section.

Spokane Bible Church:
Literary analysis of Psalm 20:

Ray Stedman., “Best Wishes for the New Year,” Psalm 20:

Analysis by C. J. Labuschagne: William Barrick’s notes:

May 11, 2020

Seven Insights About God from Job 42

I recently watched a sermon from Chuck Swindoll entitled, “Seven Insights from Job About Our God” from Job 42:1–17. Here are his seven insights.There is nothing God cannot do (42:2)
  1. It is impossible to frustrate, hinder, or stop God’s purposes (42:2)
  2. God’s ways are beyond our understanding and too deep to explain (42:3)
  3. Only by focusing on God are we able to humble ourselves and rest in his will (42:5-6)
  4. When the day of reckoning comes, God demonstrates firm judgment mixed with great grace (42:7-9).
  5. No one can be compared to our God when it comes to blessings (42:10-15)
  6. Only God can fill our final years with a kind of music that frees us to live above our circumstances (42:16-17).

May 10, 2020

Thoughts on Grading

Recently saw a Facebook post where a religious studies professor stated that he loved teaching but "loathed" grading. This comment was affirmed by a number of other professors or educators (presumably). One noted that, it was "the worst thing ever invented by the human species." Another used the phrase, "the grading dungeon." And still others spoke of "hating" it, that "it's worse than horrible," and a "soul sucking exercise." I believe that some if not all these comments are hyperbolic. Still, I wonder what their students think about how their teachers feel about evaluating the work that they have assigned them to do. I can only tell you how I would have felt and that would not be positive.

Although it is not always the wisest thing to do, I decided to give a minority report. I noted that I didn't necessarily love grading but I viewed it as an extension of my teaching. That is, teaching doesn't stop when I stop talking. I noted that grading was also a way to evaluate my effectiveness even though it can be a humbling exercise. Perhaps our negative view of grading suggests that, even if we claim otherwise, maybe we really aren’t all that interested in what our students are thinking (assuming that there is thinking reflected in what we are grading). 

On my best days, I don't identify myself by what I teach but rather who I teach. Teaching for me is a ministry and ministry is about serving and serving is about embracing the task at hand, enjoyable or not, because in doing so, we serve the Lord Himself. That is not a "soul sucking exercise" but a soul-fulfilling exercise. And, this might not be true for those who are not Christ-followers but for those of us who are, it surely should be.