Rethinking Testimony

Testimony is a word that has acquired a religious meaning. According to the Oxford dictionary, one of the meanings of testimony is “A public recounting of a religious conversion or experience.” However, not many realise that there is a difference between religious terminology and biblical terminology. Sometimes they overlap and compliment one another but other times they do not. Often the popular religious meaning of a word is not the biblical meaning of the word. This is the case when it comes to the word “testimony”. Continue reading “Rethinking Testimony”

The Decline of the Old Testament

Old Testament scholar Dr. Brent Strawn delivers a highly accessible lecture on his important 2017 book The Old Testament is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment. Continue reading “The Decline of the Old Testament”

Alter on the Art of Reading Scripture

Noted literary critic and Bible scholar Robert Alter, as part of the conclusion to his seminal book The Art of Reading Biblical Narrative, offers below some very important remarks on what it takes to read the Bible: Continue reading “Alter on the Art of Reading Scripture”

Answering Questions with Questions

The Jews of Jesus’ day were meticulous educators, as they have been throughout most of their history. A passage from the Mishnah demonstrates their active concern about what their students absorbed:

There are four types of people who sit in front of the sages: The sponge, the funnel, the strainer and the sifter. The sponge – it soaks up everything’ the funnel – it takes in at one end and lets out at the other; the strainer – it lets out the wine and retains the dregs; and the sifter – it lets out the bran dust and retains the fine flour. Continue reading “Answering Questions with Questions”

Biblical Literacy & Composite Citations

In a recent post on the fascinating phenomena of composite citations in the New Testament, the host of the podcast remarked that the New Testament authors were comfortable using composite citations which indicated they knew their audiences were very familiar with what we now call the Old Testament. When you take a look at Romans 3:10-18 which was discussed in some detail during the podcast, it is one complex catena of 6 different citations combined into one composite citation.

Today, Christians struggle greatly with single Old Testament quotations that are longer than a line but the early Church seemed to be quite conversant with composite citations. Back then no one had ready access to the Bible as they knew it. There were even no public libraries that you could freely visit to reference these things. Moreover, the Roman church Paul was writing to were mostly Gentile so most of them had not grown up hearing and learning the Scriptures unlike Jewish communities.

Continue reading “Biblical Literacy & Composite Citations”