If An Evil Person Does a G...

“Whoever is not with me is against me.” “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Jesus made both of these statements, and they aren’t different ways of saying the same thing. The first, from Matthew 12:20, restricts the number of people who are for Jesus to those who are with him. If you aren’t specifically for Jesus, you’re against him—even if you are unaware of it. The second, from Mark 9:24, enlarges up...

Plowshares Into Swords, Or...

What do you do when two verses are in obvious conflict with each other? I’m not talking about apparent conflict or even factual inconsistencies but when one verse uses the exact same words to as another to say the completely opposite thing? As if one is saying, “No, that’s wrong, here’s what is really going to happen.” At the beginning of Isaiah the prophet gives a beautiful image of a hopeful future, not...

A Mature Faith is Childlik...

Mixed messages can be frustrating, especially when they come from the Bible. Take, for instance, when Jesus tells his disciples in Mark 10:15 that they must receive the kingdom of God as a little child. With childlike faith, we say: open, trusting, even innocent. Then Hebrews turns around and upbraids its listeners for not having a mature faith. He calls them babies, and not in a good way. (Hebrews...

The Wilderness Experience ...

Going through the wilderness is never fun or easy, but it’s sometimes necessary. I’m not talking about camping in the wilds; some people do find that fun. I’m talking about those times when life is precarious, fraught with danger or uncertainty, when you don’t know what to do or who to turn to. When the Bible speaks about the wilderness it’s not merely talking about deserted areas void of people or...

Believing the Bible is &ld...

A lot of people say they believe the Bible should be read “literally.” Whatever that means. Not everybody reads the Bible literally. What is significant is not whether you or not you believe the Bible should be read literally. It’s whether you actually read it. Actually reading the Bible is transformative, and in significant ways. Those who read the at least Bible weekly, whether literally or not,...

How Historical is the Bibl...

Excavations of ancient Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee The Bible is not all history, but all the Bible is history. That first phrase is pretty much straightforward. The Bible is composed of much more than straight history—what happened, when, by whom, etc. It contains poetry, parables, prophetic proclamations (and almost all of these are written in Hebrew poetry), letters, apocalyptic literature, even a...

I’m A Viking! (Sorta...

For my birthday in August Pam bought me one of those DNA tests where you can learn about your heritage by mailing in some spit. I’m not sure she’s as interested in my heritage as wondering, after 37 years of marriage, if there is some genetic mutation that would explain me to her. I have a friend who sent in some spit and found out he’s part Neanderthal. No joke. I told him that he could have just asked...
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