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 →

Mark is the first (probably) and shortest gospel. Yet it is full of tension and ends (if we accept the short ending as most likely original) mysteriously. Mark provides the key to the gospel in his introduction. After listening to this five minute introduction listen also to the whole Gospel (just over another hour).Read More →

Way back, at the turn of the century, I wrote an article for  Festschrift volume: Tim Bulkeley, “Where do you read.” in Mission without Christendom: exploring the site, essays for Brian Smith (Carey Studies in Theology) Auckland: Carey Baptist College, 13-22. Among other things it noted how the assumptions and cultural baggage we bring to “reading” a passage of Scripture can colour, change or allow us to see things more or less clearly. This podcast illustrates this listening to one of Jesus’ best-loved parables (Luke 15:11-32). And (I hope tactfully) suggests Western Christians risk missing the “point” in a quite dangerous way 🙁 BTW IRead 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 →

Well,the end of the world has passed, again 🙂 That’s the second time this year! It is the Bible that causes all the problems. or rather it is bad reading of the Bible that causes all the problems. No book is more commonly misread than Revelation. Christians keep wanting it to predict tomorrow. And boy, do they get tied in knots! But a simple direct dose of the KIIC principle would cure them… Keep It In Context, that’s all you have to do. Ask how the message would sound to the writer and intended receivers of the message. For a bit more on this inRead More →

Many Old Testament stories in the history books seem to have no message but that human-beings are broken and need mending, are sinful and therefore keep spoiling God’s lovely world and hurting each other! Then along comes this story to remind us of another truth… 1 Samuel 24  is set amid political jostling and attempted murder in the beginnings of the Hebrew monarchy. Yet the story has not one, but two, real heroes. For here young David and poor old, broken and probably insane, Saul both act with gracious nobility.  Read More →

Perhaps no Bible text illustrates the dangers of a simplistic reading of Scripture than 1 Cor 14:34. If we tear this verse from its cotext, 1 Or for a podcast. and then read it as if the Bible were “God’s instruction manual for life” and even worse read it also literally then we are in trouble! The verse (in the fairly literal NET) 2 Even the NRSV is less literal here omitting the “the” before women, one of the oddities of this verse is that Paul seems to be talking about some particular women. reads: the women should be silent in the churches, for theyRead More →