Warnings from biblical lexicography James Barr was for many years, I think, the scholar most feared by other members of the biblical-studies guild. He had a knack for spotting and exposing fallacies that were widely accepted by his peers as standard practice. Probably the best-known example of his work was his book The Semantics ofContinue reading “Illegitimate totality transfer (on praying Psalm 44)”
Category Archives: Bible study
Reading Matthew: Make disciples
Beginnings and endings of books can help us grasp and remember what the books mean. Recently I finished reading through Exodus and left some thoughts on what that book means in light of its ending. I have also just finished reading through the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew begins with a genealogy that grounds the meaningContinue reading “Reading Matthew: Make disciples”
Reading Exodus: Holiness means obedience
When you’re reading a text, some parts carry more weight than others. Even if every word matters, some words shape how you understand other words. If we’re reading well, and trusting the text, we could say that every word affects how you understand every other word. But in practice some words—some parts of the text—affectContinue reading “Reading Exodus: Holiness means obedience”
Claiming innocence (Psalm 69)
Really, Psalmist? Again? More tears, more moaning, more self-pity? More in number than the hairs of your head? So you have counted them? Either the hairs or the enemies? Good lord, if you had a violin in addition to that harp somebody in your own house would have to shoot you. Are you sure aboutContinue reading “Claiming innocence (Psalm 69)”
All day long (Romans 10:21)
“ALL DAY LONG I HAVE HELD OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE.” —Romans 10:21, citing Isaiah 65:2 How to feel about the recalcitrant? (Here is just another lesson in the long course in imitatio Dei that is the Christian life.) They just don’t get it. Are they incapable of understanding? Do theyContinue reading “All day long (Romans 10:21)”
The choice we make (Psalm 1)
Psalm 1 is about two kinds of people: wicked and righteous. The point is not polarization (setting up an Us versus a Them, two fixed and opposed groups) but moral choice: the whole point is that we can, we inevitably do, decide which type to be, and we are being urged to be one wayContinue reading “The choice we make (Psalm 1)”
Ecology as doxology (Psalm 104)
To understand the structure of the cosmos and expound its workings in a way that acknowledges its creator is to be filled with wonder and overflow with praise.
Living between divine love and human iniquity (Psalm 36)
Abiding in God’s love does not make us pious dopes who think (or pretend) that everything is always wonderful. It enables us to see evil clearly, call it what it is, and understand that in the end it is powerless before the power of Love.
Psalm 119:17–24 (Gimel)
What is my relationship with Scripture? How do I experience it? How do I describe it? What is it to me? In certain stages of my formation there were voices that emphasized words like “inerrancy.” In truth, though, despite my formation in evangelical circles, these were never the voices of my own teachers. To beContinue reading “Psalm 119:17–24 (Gimel)”
The point of Psalm 139
The point of Psalm 139 is not theological speculation, and certainly not prooftexting for contemporary partisan politics, but to move me to desire to seek God’s leading.