In Colossians 2 Paul urges his readers to be set free from the elemental spirits of the world (ta stoicheia tou kosmou; Col 2:8,20). 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. … Continue reading Paul and the Elemental Spirits in Colossians and Galatians
When I was in my early 20s the incident with Sarai and Abram regarding Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis 16 was taught as a disaster. Sarai and Abram sinned by his going into Hagar. That this was a low point in their faith surfaces subtly in the first section of Genesis 16. The Hebrew verbs … Continue reading More on Hagar and Ishmael
July 4th is just around the corner. This is a good time to celebrate the founding of our nation, and as followers of Christ it is a good time reflect on how we are doing as a country. But rather than thinking about us as a country, let us think about how we are doing … Continue reading July 4th is coming. How are we doing as a Church?
The biblical stories are meant to shape our perspectives, values, and choices. In my last post I explained why and how English translations have misunderstood God's promise to Hagar, leading often to an Arab-demeaning reading of that passage. Now here is an excerpt from Gordon Wenham's commentary on Genesis to show why Hagar's story is … Continue reading The Broader Significance of God’s Promise to Hagar
God made an incredible promise to Hagar in Genesis 16:12. However, the true meaning of the promise gets lost in translation. This is because our English translations typically render this verse in a pejorative manner. The sad thing about this is that these renderings have led to Arab-demeaning understandings of the text. This trend in … Continue reading God’s Promise to Hagar in Genesis 16: Resolving a problematic text
The Song of Songs has been read allegorically in both Jewish and Church traditions. In Jewish tradition it has been interpreted as reflecting the relationship between God and Israel and in Christian tradition it has been interpreted as reflecting the relationship between Christ and his Church. Many contemporary scholars would argue that the allegorical reading … Continue reading Is it appropriate to read the Song of Songs allegorically?
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is more delightful than wine. Depending where we are in our walk with the Lord, the maiden in this Song may represent us or she may stand apart, directing us to long for something more in our walk with the Lord. This is … Continue reading What is Christ to us?: Reflections on Song of Songs 1:1-4