Biblical Themes

Put Jesus Back On The Cross!

Odds are you did not pass over that title in apathetic disregard. Let’s face it; the statement reeks of blasphemy. But before you accuse me of being a “hairy tick,” or haul me before a tribunal for doctrinal purity, give ear to the following story. Early on in my teaching ministry, when I was doing…

Out Of Whose Heart? Thoughts on John 7:37-38

Let me say at the outset that I have enormous respect for those scholars who have dedicated significant portions of their lives to the task of producing translations of the Bible. To understand just a few of the challenges that translators face, we need but consider that the original manuscripts of the New Testament were…

On Lost Things

Loss comes in many varieties. First, there is the loss that occurs because of our own inattentiveness, where we simply misplace things—sometimes very important things. Then there is the loss that owes itself to distraction stemming from our busy-ness or our improper focus. “I could just kick myself for not . . . ” (ever…

The Sound of Silence: Mark’s Description of the Crucifixion

In “marked” contrast to the adopted practice of most modern historiographers who are fond of supplying graphic details of heinous events (compare, for example, Bill O’Reilly’s magnificent KILLING LINCOLN), Mark’s account of the crucifixion is striking in its silence regarding the physical torture of the cross. Although this strikes us moderns as odd (and, for…

The “Nagging Neighbor”: Thoughts on Luke 11:5-8

Have you ever noticed that many of Jesus’ parables seem to have a “dark edge.” By that I mean, the characters in them often exhibit behavior that is . . .  well, less than stellar. In fact, at times their words or actions are downright reprehensible, and for that reason, they strike us as shocking….

God Loves Even The “Wretched Refuse”!

Luke’s account of Christ’s birth is pregnant with theology. It emphasizes our Lord’s saving mission, but it also emphasizes God’s concern for the marginalized. When God “shows up” (that is, when He acts in unmistakeable ways), His actions are often not what humans would expect. As an exercise, trace the occurrence of the word “amen”…

Gabriel and Mary: God’s Heroes!

The unbelief of Zechariah in Luke 1:18 is somewhat stunning, especially in light of the incredible nature of the angel’s announcement. It is also downright hilarious. Zechariah had been trying to father a child with Elizabeth for perhaps as many as five or six decades. This surely gives new meaning to the popular adage “If…

“Guilty, By Reason Of Association!”

In rendering the Greek text of 1 Thessalonians 5:22 as “Abstain from all APPEARANCE of evil” translators of the KJV may have unwittingly promulgated an unorthodox and unhealthy dynamic between Christians and “The World.” For if the hermeneutical axiom that “Scripture interprets Scripture” be granted its legitimate function, and if Paul actually meant “Abstain from…

The Sound of Silence: Mark’s Account of the Crucifixion

In “marked” contrast to the adopted practice of most modern historiographers who are fond of supplying graphic details of heinous events (compare, for example, Bill O’Reilly’s magnificent KILLING LINCOLN), Mark’s account of the crucifixion is striking in its silence regarding the physical torture of the cross. Although this strikes us moderns as odd (and, for…