Pilgrim Posts

Resource Update

You can now download and read the full presidential address by Professor Carol Meyers on patriarchy in the Bible in the post Is The Bible Patriarchal? 


A quick note on the nature of the canon

A few years ago, when I took a serious inventory of my beliefs, I had to answer the question of canon. How did it come to be, what justifies the selection and what is its purpose? Continue reading “A quick note on the nature of the canon”

Reading the Biblical Story

The Bible contains diverse forms of literature but by the numbers narrative is the largest genre. For the last three years writing on this platform I have repeatedly been referring to the story of the Bible in various ways. I have called it the grand/controlling/central narrative. My favourite term is metanarrative because it means the story of stories and as a conceptual tool it is very useful. The one thing I have failed to do is actually point out which narratives come together to form the metanarrative. If you wanted to know the biblical story, which books of the Bible should you read? Continue reading “Reading the Biblical Story”

How long did it take for God to make the world?

The folks over at BioLogos explain here how long a day is in Genesis 1 and what those days means.

The Global State of Christian Persecution 2018

Last year I talked a lot about Christian persecution. This year I have not forgotten about it and so here is a piece from Christianity Today based on a more comprehensive report from the Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors on the state of Christian persecution in the last year. For the full report from Open Doors you can you can download it here.

What about Life After Death?

Examining 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 for an intermediate state

Does the Bible teach there is an intermediate state between death and resurrection? Biblical scholar J. Richard Middleton takes on a popular proof text for this belief.


The core hope of New Testament eschatology is the resurrection of the body and a renewed earth. This is the central argument of my book A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology.

But there are some New Testament texts that seem (on the surface) to contradict this holistic vision of redemption. So I devoted two chapters in the book to addressing such “problem texts.”

In previous blog posts I examined two such texts (1 Thessalonians 4 and Matthew 24), both of which are typically thought to teach the “rapture” of believers to heaven at Christ’s return. I concluded that neither text actually teaches this idea.

But my examination of “problem texts” led me to wonder about the so-called “intermediate state” (or “interim state”), the idea of a temporary period between death and resurrection when the righteous (or their “souls”) are with Christ in heaven, awaiting resurrection.

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A Crisis of Biblical Proportions

About 3 years ago I read Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Bauckham which got me interested in biblical literacy. He talked about how oral cultures preserve and transmit tradition. Even though in the ancient world literacy rates were extremely low (not more than 10% according to most scholars but it is very hard to determine) they could be very familiar with texts. This phenomenon is known as textuality. A text could be publicly read and repeated so many times that those who are illiterate actually know the text very well even though they have never read it. It’s like a popular film you have never watched but because it’s so much a part of pop culture, being referenced and alluded to in many different ways, you already know the story without having read it. What really inspired me about Bauckham’s work is that no matter how educated you are, everyone can be taught scripture to a very sophisticated level. Looking at how great the challenges were in the 1st century, biblical literacy still happened which means for the post-Gutenberg, social media generation, we really do not have an excuse. Continue reading “A Crisis of Biblical Proportions”