Category Archives: Bible

Why Does Jeremiah’s Message Sound So Contemporary?

Who will find me a wayfarer’s shelter in the desert, for me to quit my people, and leave them far behind? For all of them are adulterers, a conspiracy of traitors. They bend their tongues like a bow; not truth but falsehood holds sway in the land; yes, they go from crime to crime, but me they do not know, Yahweh declares.

Let each be on his guard against his friend; do not trust a brother, for every brother aims but to supplant, and every friend is a peddler of slander. Each one cheats his friend, never telling the truth; they have trained their tongues to lie and devote all their energies to doing wrong. You live in a world of bad faith! Out of bad faith, they refuse to know me, Yahweh declares.

And, so, Yahweh Sabaoth declares, now I shall purge them and test them, no other way to treat the daughter of my people! Their tongue is a deadly arrow, their words are in bad faith; with his mouth each wishes his neighbour peace, while in his heart plotting a trap for him. Shall I fail to punish them for this, Yahweh demands, or on such a nation fail to exact vengeance? I raise the wail and lament for the mountains, the dirge for the desert pastures, for they have been burnt: no one passes there, the sound of flocks is heard no more. Birds of the sky and animals, all have fled, all are gone. I shall make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a lair for jackals, and the towns of Judah an uninhabited wasteland.

Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom has Yahweh’s mouth spoken to explain it? Why is the country annihilated, burnt like the desert where no one passes? Yahweh says, ‘This is because they have forsaken my Law which I gave them and have not listened to my voice or followed it, but have followed their own stubborn hearts, have followed the Baals as their ancestors taught them.’ So Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this, ‘Now I shall give this people wormwood to eat and poisoned water to drink. I shall scatter them among nations unknown to their ancestors or to them; and I shall pursue them with the sword until I have annihilated them.‘ (Jer. 9:1-15)

A Very Useful Post From Logos: Comparing Hebrew and Greek Texts

This week’s post is centered on the following question I received from a Logos user:

I’m hoping you can help me with a frequent task: finding which Greek words (LXX) are used to translate a particular word in the Hebrew text. I’d like to know, for example, what Greek words the scholars chose to use in the LXX for “hesed,” which is so rich in meaning.

Even though not every Logos user will need this tip, the feature in the answer is a good trick to know if you venture into the original languages.

Users of Logos will find this quite helpful.  Read the rest.

Quote of the Day

For a short time yet you must bear all sorts of trials (1 Pet. 1:6).

It Was True In Amos’s Day And It’s True Today

Hebrew ScribeThey hate the one who rebukes in the gate, And they abhor the one who speaks uprightly.

Therefore, because you tread down the poor And take grain taxes from him, Though you have built houses of hewn stone, Yet you shall not dwell in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, But you shall not drink wine from them. For I know your manifold transgressions And your mighty sins: Afflicting the just and taking bribes; Diverting the poor from justice at the gate. Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, For it is an evil time.

Seek good and not evil, That you may live; So the LORD God of hosts will be with you, As you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the LORD God of hosts Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Therefore the LORD God of hosts, the Lord, says this: “There shall be wailing in all streets, And they shall say in all the highways,`Alas! Alas!’ They shall call the farmer to mourning, And skillful lamenters to wailing. In all vineyards there shall be wailing, For I will pass through you,” Says the LORD.  Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him!  Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it? (Amos 5:10-20)

Get The Commentary That Even a Lawyer Loves!

The ‘Person in the Pew’ commentary series is the only series of Commentaries written by a single person on the entire Bible and aimed at layfolk in modern history.

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

The books can be obtained now only in PDF format from yours truly for a paltry $199 by clicking my PayPal Link.

But not everyone is interested in every book of the Bible so after having received a number of requests for individual volumes in the series I’ve decided to offer any single volume for $5.

If you bought each volume individually it would cost $210 for the entire series in electronic form at $5 each, so it still makes sense to buy the whole. But I’m happy to send each volume individually for those who prefer it.

Just paypal me $5 and tell me which you wish. If you want two or three simply multiply each volume by $5.  But BE SURE to include your email address or I will not be able to send them!

It’s a good commentary. But don’t take my word for it:

***

This commentary set is written and designed exactly for the average person. The person who hasn’t spent years in book learning and writing papers. Rather, it’s for a person who feels a yearning to know a bit more so they can grow spiritually and intellectually in the faith. The average person might not know where to start on the journey. This set does it beautifully. – Doug Iverson

‘And He Descended into Hell’…

So says the Creed.  But is the Creedal statement Scriptural?

Here’s what Scripture says-

ἐν ᾧ καὶ τοῖς ἐν φυλακῇ πνεύμασιν πορευθεὶς ἐκήρυξεν (1 Pet. 3:19)

Accordingly, the creed is wrong on this point. Scripture says nothing about a descent into either ‘sheol’ or ‘hades’. Rather, Jesus went and preached to those ἐν φυλακῇ . What that is and where is of course a matter of discussion, but ‘hell’ is just that, an interpretation.

Simon Gathercole of Cambridge Eviscerates the ‘Jesus Mythicists’

Nice job, Simon.

The Seven Things God Literally Hates

There are six things that Yahweh hates, seven that he abhors:

  1. a haughty look,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that weaves wicked plots,
  5. feet that hurry to do evil,
  6. a false witness who lies with every breath,
  7. and one who sows dissension among brothers. – (Prov. 6:16-19)

Quote of the Day

Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. –  Jesus

Sometimes You Have to Leave the Sheep to Find a Sheep

‘Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray?  In truth I tell you, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all.  Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.’ (Matt. 18:12-14).

So Jesus, to his disciples when he was asked who the greatest in the kingdom was.  His answer is really quite stunning for he doesn’t give any sort of answer that our world and its ideology would give.  He doesn’t say ‘it’s the wealthy guy’ or ‘it’s the popular girl’ or ‘it’s the best looking super model.’  On the contrary, his answer maintains that the greatest in the kingdom is the lowliest of servants and the smallest and the weakest and the humblest.  Which is exactly why Jesus concludes his answer with a suggestion to the disciples that it is sometimes best to leave the flock to pursue the little lamb gone astray.

Sometimes Christian’s think that all the efforts of the Kingdom of God should be utilized for their benefit and for their welfare.  They believe, for whatever reason, that God exists to serve them and the Church exists to meet their needs alone.  But Jesus sees things differently.  The aim of the Church is to reach the wandering.  Or, to put it quite plainly- the Church doesn’t exist to meet your needs- you exist as a member of the Church to meet the needs of others but most especially the need for salvation and rescue and reclamation of those who are lost.

The Father’s primary aim and goal isn’t your comfort, it is your salvation.  And the salvation of the little ones that far too many overlook because they are small, and quiet, and powerless.

Jeremiah Had One of These At the Entrance of the Temple…

The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, ‘Stand at the gate of the Temple of Yahweh and there proclaim this message. Say, “Listen to the word of Yahweh, all you of Judah who come in by these gates to worship Yahweh. Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Amend your behaviour and your actions and I will let you stay in this place. 

Do not put your faith in delusive words, such as: This is Yahweh’s sanctuary, Yahweh’s sanctuary, Yahweh’s sanctuary! But if you really amend your behaviour and your actions, if you really treat one another fairly, if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan and the widow, if you do not shed innocent blood in this place and if you do not follow other gods, to your own ruin, then I shall let you stay in this place, in the country I gave for ever to your ancestors of old.  

Look, you are putting your faith in delusive, worthless words!  Steal, would you, murder, commit adultery, perjure yourselves, burn incense to Baal, follow other gods of whom you know nothing? –  and then come and stand before me in this Temple that bears my name, saying: Now we are safe to go on doing all these loathsome things!  Do you look on this Temple that bears my name as a den of bandits? I, at any rate, can see straight, Yahweh declares. (Jer. 7:1-11)

[Image nipped from Ken Leonard on FB]

A Review of the DBG’s Facsimile Edition of Luther’s 1545 ‘Biblia Germanica’

Published in 2017 for the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, this facsimile edition is an exact replica of Luther’s 1545 German Bible.  And the 1545 German Bible is Luther’s best edition, far superior to the two volume 1534 edition and much better than any of the earlier incarnations of Luther’s version.

This edition is distributed in North America by Hendrickson Publishers, as are all of the German Bible Society’s volumes.

Luther’s translation of the Bible alone makes him a figure of importance and it is not at all difficult to muster the argument that of all the works of Luther, it is the most significant.  To be sure, his great books of 1520 stand as monuments to the beginning of the Reformation and will always be valued for that historical reason alone.  But of Luther’s lasting contributions to Christian theology, they pale in importance to Luther’s rendition of Scripture.

The present facsimile edition is unaltered from its original form with only one exception: the ‘afterword’ provided by the German publisher.  Everything else, from font to woodcuts to prefaces and forwards are all exactly as published in 1545, a year before Luther’s death.  Those seeking Luther’s most mature thought on Amos or Hosea need simply read the preface he provides to those books (and all the rest).  Luther’s Preface to the Old Testament is still one of the best ‘introductions’ to the Old Testament to this very day as is his Preface to the New Testament to New Testament studies.  Luther was at his best and brightest when working directly with Scripture.  Would that he had avoided some of his more controversial efforts and simply stuck with exegesis; what a legacy he would have left behind.

The volume presently under discussion also comes beneficially ensconced in a very sturdy box and comes bound in a lovely and sturdy beige cloth cover.  The paper used in this edition is substantial and the volume thereby avoids the easy creasing so common to bibles published with paper which bleeds through.

The price is not exorbitant for the quality or historical significance of the volume though doubtless many will wish it were less expensive than it is.  Nonetheless, you ‘get what you pay for’ and the quality and importance of this facsimile are well worth the cost.  If potential buyers are stymied by the price, I would advise that they sell their collection of NT Wright’s works or their Joel Osteen volumes for whatever they can get for them and buy this instead.  It’s far more deserving of a place on your shelves and you’ll get more out of if in terms of theological education than either of those modern authors could proffer in all of their books combined together.

What follows below are a series of photos I snapped to provide readers with visuals of this fantastic and highly important and wonderfully accessible Bible.

I could recommend this edition with more than glowing words but I think it speaks for itself.  Students of the Reformation; students of the Bible; and people who love fantastic books will want it.  Crave it.  Need it.  Get it.

Conference Announcement: University of Nottingham

The Rich Man Goes to Hell, The Poor Man Goes to Heaven

‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day.  And at his gate there used to lie a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with what fell from the rich man’s table. Even dogs came and licked his sores.  Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham’s embrace. The rich man also died and was buried.  ‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his embrace.

And now the fun bit-

So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.”  Abraham said, “My son, remember that during your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. – Luke 16.

And best of all?  Eternity is forever- so the poor man will be blessed longer than the rich man ever was and the rich man will suffer more than the poor man ever did.

Let those with ears, hear.

Biblia Germanica

Hendrickson have published the brilliant Biblia Germanica, Luther’s 1545 edition of the German Bible.

No other German book has exercised for centuries such a profound effect on the German language as the German Bible of Martin Luther. Over time other German translations appeared, and in the present we see an almost bewildering abundance of new translations, but the Luther Bible launched the progression of the German language. In addition, the Luther text set binding standards for dealing with the biblical word. The output is one column set, with the exception of the Psalter and the Proverbs of Solomon, which are in two columns. This print is a replica of the 1545 Luther Bible, of which only two originals are left. This replica maintains the numerous wood cuts, headings, and explanatory notes of Luther.

They’ve sent along, with excessive kindness, a review copy.  More anon- and here it is in its box and shrink wrap:

Let Those Who Have Ears, Hear

‘Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea and say, “Here is the message of the Amen, the trustworthy, the true witness, the Principle of God’s creation: 

I know about your activities: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other,  but since you are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth.  You say to yourself: I am rich, I have made a fortune and have everything I want, never realising that you are wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too. 

I warn you, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you truly rich, and white robes to clothe you and hide your shameful nakedness, and ointment to put on your eyes to enable you to see.  I reprove and train those whom I love: so repent in real earnest.

Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share a meal at that person’s side.  Anyone who proves victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I have myself overcome and have taken my seat with my Father on his throne. 

Let anyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” ‘ — (Rev. 3:14ff)

Zwingli’s Translation of Jeremiah

On March 11th, Zwingli issued his translation of Jeremiah with annotations, and dedicated it to the city of Strassburg, in further recognition of its entering into the Christian Burgher Rights. – S. Jackson

The full title is Complanationis Ieremiae Prophetae Foetura prima, cum Apologia quur quidque sic uersum sit per Huldrichum Zuinglium.

It remains one of the finest commentaries on Jeremiah ever written.

Important News For Residents of North America Concerning an Important Commentary Series

ISD is now distributing the series “Evangelisch-Katholischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament” (“Protestant-Catholic Commentary on the New Testament,” EKK) from Verlagsgruppe Patmos.

We are happy to offer a standing order discount of 20% for the series. For those who would like to fill in gaps in their libraries with individual volumes, special offer prices are available with promotional code 812-17 through March 31, 2017.

The EKK is the first major series of commentaries on the New Testament in the German language area that is written and edited by authors of both confessions. Founded by Eduard Schweizer and Rudolf Schnackenburg, it has combined scientific rigor with practical application for over thirty years. The series is published in ecumenical cooperation by Neukirchen and Verlagsgruppe Patmos​. At present, it comprises 33 volumes. The commentaries on the Gospel of Mark and the Letter to the Romans are also available as study editions.

Follow this link to learn more about the available volumes in this series.  Orders are welcome by phone, fax, by email to orders@isdistribution.com, or through our website.

The 7 Things That God Hates

There are six things that Yahweh hates, seven that he abhors:

  1. a haughty look,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that weaves wicked plots,
  5. feet that hurry to do evil,
  6. a false witness who lies with every breath,
  7. and one who sows dissension among brothers. — (Prov. 6:16-19)

Sounds like God wouldn’t be too fond of either Trump or Congress, doesn’t it.

The Best Commentary Yet

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

Dr Jim West has undertaken the phenomenal task of writing a commentary on every book of the Bible! And what strikes this reader most forcefully is its faithfulness to what it says on the tin: West’s efforts have been expended “for the person in the pew”.

In other words, one should not expect the usual exhaustive analysis of syntax, interpretive options, history of scholarship and such like. These commentaries are written so that the reader needs no theological education, and West presupposes no ability to read Greek or Hebrew. Anyone can read and understand these.

The result is like going through the biblical texts, with a scholarly pastor, who pauses to make a number of bite-sized observations on the way. And whatever one thinks of those annotations, anyone can follow and digest them. West writes with a heart for the church, and his unique character and love for scripture are obvious in these pages.

Dr. Chris Tilling
New Testament Tutor,
St Mellitus College & St Paul’s Theological Centre

The PDF’s of the entire series are available. You can acquire them from yours truly for a paltry $199 by clicking my PayPal Link.  And be sure to include your email address so they can be sent to you.