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 →

Sunday School, and most of our quick summaries of the contents of the Bible present Exodus as telling the story of how God frees Israelite slaves from the powers of Egypt. But, a closer look at the book shows that’s just half the story! Here we’ll focus Exodus as a book in two halfs. Doing this will suggest even more sharply that this ancient collection of stories and laws poses a real challenge to us today!  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 →

One of the things I have not yet done as well as I’d like is to package these podcasts into convenient forms to give quick simple  introductions for students in classes I teach, so I’ve been collecting the posts on Genesis with that in mind. I’ll gradually be adding podcasts to fill some of the gaps. Here’s one to introduce the section of the Bible that contains Genesis, the Torah or Pentateuch. I’ll try briefly (5 minute Bible) to explain what the Torah is and what it does. To do this we’ll also look briefly at what it contains, and hint at the role ofRead 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 →