Category Archives: Biblical Studies

Language and Rhetoric

It is hard to think clearly about a passage when the first thing you learn about it is that it is crucially important. That’s been my experience, at any rate. When you learn, later on, that a good deal of … Continue reading

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Reading a gospel like a newspaper

I’ve been trying for many years now to give up a bad habit. It’s hard. I read the gospels as if they were newspaper accounts. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to. Do you suppose there is a 12-step program for me? … Continue reading

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Turning the other cheek

When you come up against a vividly described ethical rule like this, you really need to decide what to do with it. This famous dictum is part of the famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. “…but I say … Continue reading

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Being “snakebit”

I gave a small lecture recently to a Lenten class at our church. It was more a rant, really, but they seemed to be a tolerant mood. I called some scripture texts “flat” in the way a Pepsi might get … Continue reading

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Goodbye, Billy

When Robert Dahl died some years ago, I wrote an essay I called “Robert Dahl, R.I.P” That seemed about right, but today, as I am saying goodbye to Billy Graham, it occurs to me that a big part of Robert … Continue reading

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Lent and inconvenience

If only we had more time, right? If only. If we had more time, we would…um…we would… OK, what would we do with more time? A professor of mine at Wheaton College [1] once told a story about himself that … Continue reading

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Matthew pairs Jesus and Moses

Matthew spends a lot of time in his gospel presenting Jesus as the new Moses. It has not been lost on scholars, for instance, that in Matthew, Jesus’s first sustained teaching was on a mountain. Moses went up the the … Continue reading

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