Can I read the Bible to my kids?

Reading through the whole bible does not allow one to skip around to the nice passages.  I expected folks to have trouble with geneologies and chronologies because they are boring to read casually.  However, the bigger impression is that some find all the violence and the sinfulness of leaders to be disturbing.  The questions that came to us had to with why King so and so had someone killed (it was for treason), and why someones whole family was cursed by their unfaithfulness. 

One case was in I Kings 2.  Why did Solomon execute Adonijah?  Well, if you read the context, Adonijah had himself set up to be the next king.  When Solomon was elevated to the throne, he pleaded for mercy (for his previous treasonous act).  Solomon said, “OK, but watch yourself.”  Then Adonijah asked for one of David’s wives to be his.  This was, culturally speaking, a back door way to claim the kingship again.  So he disregarded the mercy shown and sought to regain the crown.  What might he have done to Solomon and his family?  At any rate, that was the end of Adonijah.  So answering the question requires both a careful reading and some cultural background.

We often refer to such works as “the encyclopedia of biblical difficutlies” or “Hard Passages of the Bible” for at least an initial survey of these sorts of issues.

Finally, all this illustrates is that sin is deeply corrupting, prevalent, and evil. 


Gone Fishin’

Well, camping really.  Off with the people half of the age of FR into the woods this weekend.  It will be a chance to study the other book – which other book?  Read Psalm 19

Psalm 19:1 
        The heavens declare the glory of God,
        and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.



Cornelius Crossing – Acts 10

We have been reading about biblical narrative.  in  Preaching with Variety, by Jeffery Arthurs, is a discussion about the movement in narrative.  He set ito ut in this way:

Conflict — Background — Rising Action– Climax– and Resolution.

The shape would be a graph rising gradually to the climax and falling back at Resolution.

The tension in the story is what drives the drama.

We applied this to Acts 10

Act 1 – from v. 1-16 the parallel stories of Cornelius and Peter and their visions are told

  • God reaches out to Cornelius
  • God reaches in to Peter

Acts 2 – from v. 17-33 the conflict rises as the delegation arrives in Joppa and as Peter arrives 2 days later in Caesarea.  

  • Cornelius to Peter
  • Peter to Cornelius
  • (both scenes showing them working across cultural and religious awkwardness)

Acts 3 — v. 34-48  Preaching and Including the outsider

  • Peter preaches the gospel, slightly tweaked for outsiders
  • the Outsiders eagerly receive the word and the Spirit.

The tension is – will the gospel break out of it’s circle around Jerusalem to the world at large?  Will the insiders welcome the outsiders?  Will both groups manage to overcome the awkwardness of this reach?

Fresh Read preaches here –corneliuscrossing061508

John 21 – Freshly Read

John 21 is a good case in point for taking a fresh look at the text.  Here are some things to ponder over against what you might have heard.

  • Was Peter avoiding his mission by going fishing?  Often this is preached.  However, is that the case?  There is no reprimand in the text.  Jesus invited them to add their fish to his.  And clearly Jesus and Peter had some unfinished work to do.
  • Often changes in the Greek between two words for Love (agape, phileo) are made an integral part of the message.  However, it is good Greek style, also typical of John to vary language with synonyms.  F. F. Bruce notes that the words for “flock”, “tend” and “know” are also varied. 
  • On the question of whether John is written with the knowledge of the other gospels, or of their sources, compare the fishing here with that in Luke 5.
  • Is there any meaning to 153 fish?  Augustine and other church fathers developed fanciful symbolic meanings of the number.  Another favorite idea was that ancient scholars thought that there were 153 species of fish (more or less),  thus it become a story of the universal appeal of the Gospel.  We prefer the view that 153 means “lots of” and it ring true to the fishermen we know who will count their catch and talk about it later.  Two commentators (Milne, Witherington) suggest that it has to do with the abundance of the response to the gospel (these men were elsewhere told to be fishers of men), and that the nets not bursting suggests that the Lord can accommodate the number that will come.
  • Why do we move from fish to sheep?  the Shepherd theme for leadership goes back to Moses and David, and was a significant emphasis in John 10.  David and Jn 10 speak of the good shepherd not running from danger, very pertinant to Peter, who had denied the Lord 3 times.
  • Is this a second ending (see 20:30-31), an epilogue or a free tradition that was attached.  There is no textual evidence that chapter 21 was separately circulated.
  • Finally, one commentator suggests John serves as a manual for outreach and for leadership for the church.  This chapter has some things to say about spiritual leadership.  (Success comes at the Lord’s direction; Restoration of the minister precedes ministry; Don’t compare your calling to others; Love and Service are linked, etc)