- In Judges 6:13 Gideon asks, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?” Who today might be feeling the same?
- As soon as Gideon receives his commission from the Lord, he finds himself in conflict with his immediate family (6:25). In what ways do you find that your Christian faith brings you into conflict with those close to you? How do you deal with that?
- As with Moses (Exodus 3 &4), Gideon is reluctant to do what the Lord wants him to do (Judges 6:15).
Having compiled a couple of sets relating to texts in the New Testament, I thought I’d take a look at some commonly-misunderstood texts from the Old Testament. These are discussed more fully in the Bible Study Notes.
Here’s a start:-
Genesis 18 – Abraham’s three visitors. Christian piety, both old and new, has often seen in the story of Abraham’s three visitors a picture of the three persons of the Trinity. This conjecture has been fueled by the celebrated icon of Rublev, which plays a key role in Richard Rohr’s recent (2016) book The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation. …
Biblical theology (a slightly unfortunate expression, because all theology should be biblical!) means ‘looking for, and following, the connecting themes that run through the Scriptures’ (Millar and Campbell). In other words, it is discerning the Bible’s overall story; its big picture.
How can biblical theology be used to preach Christian truth from the Old Testament?
Gary Millar offers the following options:
- Follow the plan. Sometimes, a forwards trajectory is present in the OT passage itself. Ruth 4 (which traces Ruth’s descendants down to King David) and 2 Kings 11 (where that same royal line is in jeopardy) are cases in point.
Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Have all gender distinctions been abolished by the gospel?
Longenecker thinks so, calling this verse the ‘The most forthright statement on social ethics in all the New Testament’ (although he agrees that ‘the elimination of divisions in these three areas should be seen first of all in terms of spiritual relations: that before God, whatever their differing situations, all people are accepted on the same basis of faith and together make up the one body of Christ.’…
2:3 Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior, 2:4 since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Various interpretations have been offered:
‘God wants all people to be saved. Since his will cannot be thwarted, all therefore will be saved.’
This is the view of Hanson. But, as Moo states, the problem with a universalistic interpretation ‘is that Paul teaches quite explicitly in this very letter—indeed, in the next verse—that faith, which Paul confines to this life and limits only to some people, is necessary for salvation (see also 1 Tim 1:16; 3:16; 4:10).’…
21:1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. 21:2 He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 21:3 He said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 21:4 For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.”
Not exactly a ‘troublesome text’, this one, but a text which certainly invites a second look.…
Very often it’s put to us as a stark choice: either you accept the biblical account of human origins, or you accept the scientific account. Either you believe that we are all direct descendants of Adam and Eve, or that we are all products of a long evolutionary process, stretching back a million years or more to a (non-human) common ancestor.
But can we have our cake and eat it? Can we hold both to the essential factual historicity of the accounts of creation in Genesis 1 and 2, and to the validity of evolutionary science?…
Luke 7:2-3 A centurion there had a slave who was highly regarded, but who was sick and at the point of death. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave.
There are two elements in this account that have suggested to some that the person healed by Jesus was the centurion’s male lover. One concerns the word ‘pais‘, which is variously translated ‘servant’, ‘child’, or ‘boy’, and which is understood sometimes to refer to a young boy in a pederastic same-sex relationship with and older male. …
Mark 6:45f ‘Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dispersed the crowd. After saying good-bye to them, he went to the mountain to pray.’
There is a puzzle here, because Lk 9:10 seems to say that the feeding that Mark has just related took place at or near Bethsaida. Mark, on the other hand, appears to say that the disciples made their way to Bethsaida after the feeding miracle. …
Mark 1:40 Now a leper came to him and fell to his knees, asking for help. “If you are willing, you can make me clean,” he said. 1:41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be clean!” 1:42 The leprosy left him at once, and he was clean.
Some early manuscripts have, instead of ‘moved with compassion’ (or similar), ‘moved with anger’ (or ‘indignation’).
Bart Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus) prefers the latter reading. …