In this podcast I’ll suggest that noticing the importance of why we read Scripture can help clarify at least the theological question about the genocide of the Canaanites. Listen to my previous two posts for more on how knowing why we read matters: Why do you read? Or: Was God married? Are you an idolater? (Not – Was God married? Part Two) .Read More →

In some Bible passages, as atheists and others who want to avoid the claims of God are quick to point out, God sounds like a Dalek. Deut 7:2 is a typical case. When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. (NLT) Here God demands that Israel exterminate all the Canaanites. What’s going on? Is the God of the Bible (or at least the Old Testament a genocidal maniac? This is part one of a series, so it will only deal with part ofRead More →

Go’el is another thoroughly cultural word, that is highly theological. Again it is prominent in Ruth. This time there is one English word that is often a decent translation, redeemer, the problem is redeem carries a different weight of overtones from ga’al. There is a good short post about ga’al here with reference to Jesus and Boaz and Wikipedia has a very short article.  Read More →

These two chapters, as well as some (now several millennia later) boring stuff about wells, contain some of the heights and depths of human experience. A birth to a childless couple, well well after normal childbearing years, and nasty vindictive selfishness. But also an outrageous demand from God, blind obedience and a few hints of something greater to come…Read More →

I’ve been asked about the prosperity gospel, which claims that not only does God want to bless us, but that if we do the right things God will bless us. In the context from which it was asked it’s a really important question, in my context too it’s a question that matters. Here’s part one of my answer. Basically it is not about a prosperity law but God’s grace! And as a bonus I confess that on this John MacArthur has it right 😉 1 The better you know me, the better probably you will understand how unusual this is…   Notes   [ + ] 1.Read More →

The New Testament use of the Old Testament often seems arbitrary or bizarre to modern readers. Here I’ll suggest that Paul’s use of Genesis in Galatians 4 (while not only strange but also unfair to Hagar and over kind to Sarah) fits with thew intent of Genesis. I think this is an interesting example of God using even human weakness (Paul’s favoring of his ancestress) to reinforce his truth… what do you think?Read More →

Here’s the first of a new series of podcasts on words that pose particular difficulty because English either lacks clearly similar concepts, or the word carries quite different connotations (emotional overtones and other baggage) from the word that denotes (points to) a similar thing. The first word is hesed a key virtue in the Bible and one ascribed typically to God. That is both it typifies God’s relatiuonship with us, and God shows us what it means.  Read More →

People like “old time religion”, “Give them more hellfire and damnation pastor!” the elders plead (somehow it is always “them” not “us” in this case), churches were full when preachers really put the fear of God into their audiences! But is ‘hell’ an important Christian doctrine, should every preacher touch on torment every month or two? On the importance of hell in Scripture I suggest a close look at the Bible (which we’ll begin here, with Gehenna in Matthew). On preaching I suspect it’s a case of WDJP or you’d better have one hell of a good reason 😉Read More →