One of the problems with reading the bible in a flat manner is that huge chunks of it seems to be there for the sole purpose of establishing the perverseness and pervasiveness of corruption and injustice, commonly referred to in Christian circles as sin, and consequently of the need for salvation. Consider the narrative sections … Continue reading Biblical tales of corruption
Origen of Alexandria was an early Christian ascetic, bible scholar, and theologian who lived from 184 to 253 AD, spending much of his life in Egypt. He was a prolific writer and one of the most influential figures in early Christianity. Origen is also an early witness to what books were included in the Bible, … Continue reading The Bible according to Origen
Athanasius was a Christian theologian and prominent Egyptian leader in the fourth century. He wrote many works, was exiled many times, and is remembered especially for his defence of Trinitarianism against Arianism. What is also worth noting is his early articulation of the books of the Bible. In his 39th Letter he wrote: “There are, … Continue reading The Bible according to Athanasius
Below is a graphic representation of the number of times Jesus quotes the Old Testament in the New Testament. There are some interesting patterns here. Firstly, note how the the Gospel of Matthew is the most quote heavy of the four all and that there's considerable focus on the Torah, the first five books of … Continue reading Jesus and the Old Testament
Although the doctrine of the Trinity is not taught explicitly in scripture, it is the many verses which illustrate the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, acting as one, which bring Christians back, time and time again, to the question. Consider, for instance, this introduction to the first letter to the Thessalonians; the intertwining of references … Continue reading The Trinity in the Bible
An excerpt from Jesus and the Land by Gary M. Burge "Walter Brueggemann is correct when he suggests that land might be the central theme of biblical faith. “Biblical faith is the pursuit of historical belonging that includes a sense of destiny derived from such belonging.” And if this is so, he continues, land might … Continue reading Land and biblical theology
While there is some disagreement between different Christian traditions regarding the extent of the Old Testament, these disagreements should be understood within the context of broad agreement overall. To begin with, the three main branches of Christianity (Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant) as well as rabbinic Judaism all agree the Old Testament includes the core Hebrew texts, commonly … Continue reading What books make up the Old Testament?
I have not often made this so explicit, but I tend to view the Bible story as a five act drama with a chiastic structure. I would illustrate it most simply as follows: A: Creation B: Covenant C: Christ B': Church A': Coming Soon In each … Continue reading Exploring the Bible story as a chiasm
It seems I'm not as much of a theological miscreant as I thought. I've been dropping in on discussions on the difference between sola scriptura and solo scriptura and, while being initially inclined to interpret the latter as a Star Wars meme, my subsequent understanding is that solo scriptura is pig latin for more modern distortions of … Continue reading Sola scriptura and Solo scriptura
While there is unanimous agreement between the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant traditions on the canonical status of the twenty seven books of the New Testament and the Hebrew core of the Old Testament, there is nevertheless some disagreement regarding the status of other books commonly known as apocryphal or deuterocanonical. Personally I take the more critical … Continue reading Church fathers on the Apocrypha
A Perfect Circle are set to release a new album in 2018, their first in 14 years, and this month they’ve unveiled a teaser track entitled, “The Doomed”. It's musically and lyrically explosive. As the song progresses, vocalist Maynard James Keenan paints a dark and disturbing picture of a society hell bent on shrugging off responsibility … Continue reading A Perfect Circle lament the new beatitudes of Trump era America
When people ask me whether I read the Bible literally or figuratively, I say I prefer to read it carefully and contextually, taking the literary genre into account.