In part one I drew attention to the problem that this verse seems to contradict what Paul himself approves and to some funny things going on in and around the verse. Here I’ll focus on my reason for mentioning this, how we should respond when a Bible passage seems to contradict what the same author says or does elsewhere…Read More →

Ruth is a lovely story, it’s humour is 1 Chapter three is a possible exception  – and the humour there, if there is humour, is disguised and sexual, so very difficult to spot with confidence across cultures! gentle and subtle. Part of the subtlety is that most (though not all) of the signs of humour are missing. However, I think we are intended to smile in at least two ways in the portrayal of the characters. For this entry in the humour series I am repeating my podcast on chapter 2, where I think several of the signs are present, if subtly: incongruity: found I’llRead More →

David Ker, in one of the posts that stimulated this series, poses the serious and significant question: given the cultural gulf that separates us from the authors of Scripture how can we be sure something we see as funny tickled ancient Hebrew funny bones? Spotting humour is easier in speech than writing, and spotting humour is difficult across cultures. Anyone who has worked in a different culture knows how people’s “sense of humour” is to a considerable extent culturally determined. There’s a whole academic discipline studying such questions, and several biblical scholars have put these studies to work. For we have such a cross-cultural writtenRead More →

I have not focused these 5 Minutes on how Is 53 speaks so clearly about Jesus, it is the Old Testament passage that is most clearly, directly and simply fulfilled in Christ. But that status should not make it paradigmatic for understanding how Jesus fulfills Scripture. For more on that (and there is nothing on that in this podcast 🙁 see What DOES “fulfil” mean? And other podcasts on this topic here. [amtap amazon:asin=0310245664] Instead in this audio talk I want to focus on reading the prophets. The prophets are problematic today, in part because  Christians sometimes make them seem more like Nostradamus than Nathan,Read More →

Perhaps the best known and popular psalm among both Jews and Christians but not easy to categorise, except that it expresses trust in God. The imagery makes even better sense when some geography and culture is understood: sheep follow shepherds, they are not left on the hills and then driven green pastures, means land where there is some green vegetation, not just rocks and dust wadis: steep sided gorges, semi-desert little vegetation, quick run off from  hills = flash floods For more on this see also my “Psalm 23 in context” More →