All Heaven’s Angels

The following is an excerpt from an interesting article written by Wayne Coppins over at German for Neutestamentler discussing the work of German New Testament scholar Michael Wolter:

Wolter has a striking interpretation of the significance of Luke’s mention of “the multitude of the heavenly host” in Luke 2:13. He writes:

Something happens that never occurred before in the history of Israel. Not only a single angel but the whole heavenly host, which surrounds the throne of God…

Luke describes what has never happened before and in this way expresses the significance of the birth of Jesus. The distance that separates heaven and earth from each other is removed for a moment; the earth becomes the place of the heavenly praise of God and humans become its eyewitnesses. Continue reading “All Heaven’s Angels”

The Jewish Nativity

When you look at all the nativity stories in the gospels it is clear that for the significance of Jesus’ birth concerns the destiny of Israel. If the New Testament writers are clear that Jesus’ birth was for Israel then for the subsequent generations of believers who created a tradition of marking the day of his birth should also recognise that. However, this intensely Jewish focus is often missing among contemporary believers celebrating Christ’s birth. Continue reading “The Jewish Nativity”

The Start of Good News

The nativity stories are some of the most beloved and well-known stories about Jesus in the world. Interestingly though, only two gospels contain those narratives and Jesus’ birth is no where else referenced in the rest of the New Testament. It’s a glaring absence and there are a number of reasons that have been put forth to explain it. I want to quickly explore a very important reason why Matthew and Luke’s gospels include nativity accounts which are not so readily apparent to the average read of scripture. Continue reading “The Start of Good News”

About that Virgin

Isaiah 7:14 is a very popular verse during Christmas but it is also one of the most controversial verses in the Bible. The reason why it is loved is the same reason why it stirs up so much trouble. Continue reading “About that Virgin”

Coming to terms with Christmas

For a while now I have been pretty ambivalent about Christmas. I do enjoy the season but I have not been convinced of its significance. I have no problem if you think it is important, for whatever reason, but I have not been personally persuaded to value it so highly. I am not one of those people who think Christmas originates from an ancient Roman pagan festival that was later Christianized. The historical evidence which you can find here simply does not support that claim. So why then am I so nonchalant about the yuletide? Continue reading “Coming to terms with Christmas”

A Closer Look at New Testament Genealogies

In the short video below, Bible scholar Dr. Danny Zacharias offers an explanation of the purpose and differences between the genealogies in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Continue reading “A Closer Look at New Testament Genealogies”

The Awkwardness of Christmas

Christmas is one of those periods I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand I really enjoy the rest and festivities of the period. On the other as a Christian, I struggle to see how our Christmas traditions have something to do with Jesus. When you read the New Testament, particularly the gospels, and what it has to say about Jesus and his birth, how we approach it does not seem to capture the same import that it had on the first followers of Jesus. Continue reading “The Awkwardness of Christmas”