…CHECK YOUR PULSE!
From Alan Jacobs:
As our cultural elites lose even the most elementary biblical literacy, this is going to happen more and more often: reading the Bible-saturated literature of the past and missing, not secondary and trivial illusions, but the entire point of stories and novels and plays and poems, and for that matter paintings and sculptures and musical compositions. The artistic past of the West will become incomprehensible, but — and this is the scary thing — no one will know that they’re misreading. Gross errors will be passed down from teacher to student, from scholar to reader, and it is difficult to imagine circumstances arising in which they can be corrected.
From Rabbi Evan Moffic:
Consistency is not just practical. It is sacred.
In the Talmud—the ancient book of Jewish laws and wisdom—the rabbis debate the most important verse of the Bible.
One rabbi says it is the Shema. We know that prayer. Jesus quoted it as well. Taken from Deuteronomy 6:4, it reads, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”
This is a solid answer. Belief in one God is the foundation of the Jewish faith.
Another rabbi suggests, however, that Leviticus 19:18 is the better choice, Known as the golden rule, it reads, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s hard to argue with this answer.
Finally, another sage gives a third option. He quotes an obscure verse from the book of Exodus.
“Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight” (Exodus 29:39), he says, referring to the daily sacrifice offered by the priests every morning and every evening in the Jerusalem Temple.
What a odd choice! It’s like comparing a toaster’s instruction manual to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The third rabbi’s answer doesn’t even seem to be in the same league as the first two.
Yet, all the other rabbis quickly agreed with this final answer!
What were they thinking? They recognized, I think, that the little things are the big things.
It’s easy to be righteous every once in a while. It’s easy to say we believe in God…or promise to live by the golden rule.
It’s another thing to live our values every day. A rainbow is beautiful when it is in the sky. But it is fleeting, soon forgotten.
The sun, however, rises every morning and sets every evening. Like the motions of the sun, God guides us to make our faith constant and consistent.
Well, if you are, I highly recommend this gem. I am about midway through it, but what a gift for heart and mind! Thanks to Peter Coelho for mentioning it in some of his sermons. Beautifully written and wonderful insights.
Terrific interview with Tim Keller on teaching the Bible.
Interview took place at the Gospel Coalition conference.
Complementarianism is a staple of the Gospel Coalition.
Keller tells Nancy Guthrie that a woman leader in InterVarsity by the name of Barbara Boyd taught him how to study the Bible.
I am coming to this terrific book about five years after its publication, so no long review here. I will say it is an extremely well done piece of work, both witty and wise, entertaining and educational. You will learn a lot about Scripture and yourself by reading it!
American Christians are especially in dire need of reckoning with this fine book.
My strong bias, really conviction, with the following interview I conducted. Here is part of my first question:
If push came to shove (as it sometimes does here in the U.S.), I would choose the book of Jeremiah as one of the most important for Americans to digest deeply.
The rest of the interview is here:
Judge Antonin Scalia was well-known for saying that if you are allow the evidence to take you where it goes, then some of your legal decisions will not be to your liking.
There is an important lesson for those of us who seek to know what God is truly saying in His Word. Is everything we think the Scripture says to our liking? If so, we are in need of reevaluating the way we interpret Scripture.
Commentaries on books of the Bible are not created equally. You have to be shrewd in what you consult. The better ones come in all different types from the devotional to the technical.
My favorite ones are those who combine great care with the text of Scripture, are well-written, and offer many connections to our own time and day. Right now, I am reading one of these kinds of commentaries: Christopher Wright’s terrific work on Jeremiah. It is part of The Bible Speaks Today series (InterVarsity Press). Here is something I pondered today:
“The reign of King Josiah was a time of great religious fervent and national resurgence. It was all very impressive. But what was God’s point of view? According to Jeremiah God sees a people who are a disappointment to God, who are being disloyal to their covenant relationship with God, who are already feeling the shock of disasters that foreshadow worse to come, and who are living in brazen denial and delusion. It is a frightening mirror to hold up to the people of God in any generation, with stark relevance to our own.” (Emphasis added)