Category archives: archaeology

Bible Translation

Joel Hoffman has posted a series of articles about Bible translation at his “God Didn’t Say That” blog. A good place to get started is with this one about the false dichotomy between accuracy and readability.

Peter’s Act of Obedience

When Jesus, a carpenter, gave Peter, a fisherman, advice about fishing, Peter obeyed. What can we learn from him?

Luke tells of Peter’s reply, when Jesus told him to put his boat out into deep water and let down his nets for a catch:

Simon replied, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing. But because you say so, I’ll drop the nets.”

Calvin comments on Peter’s remark:

…a particular instance of faith, rendered to a single command of Christ, would not have made Peter a Christian, or given him a place among the sons of God, if he had not been led on, from this first act of submission, to a full obedience.

Being a Christian isn’t about obedience. It’s about faith. Peter wouldn’t get any “credit” for obeying Jesus in this instance, unless it led him into a deeper faith in Christ.

But, as Peter yielded so readily to the command of Christ, whom he did not yet know to be a Prophet or the Son of God, no apology can be offered for our disgraceful conduct, if, while we call him our Lord, and King, and Judge we do not move a finger to perform our duty…

But Calvin then asks how many of us who claim a deep faith, fail to offer even the obedience of a non-believer like Peter was at that point in his life? A good question!

Being less Biblical

I liked this point by Don Miller in his blog post “Being Less ‘Biblical’ and more ‘like the Bible.'”

Even Christ’s biographers depict Him without sparing us His humanity. He gets angry, He gets annoyed, He is hard to understand (and indeed hard to follow) and while He seems to love the world, He’s as alien as E.T., pointing always toward the heavens rambling about going home. It’s brilliant stuff when you stop reading it to figure out if you’re right or wrong about something. It’s life-changing, actually, the way your life gets changed by a friend over time.

I don’t do it enough, but I’m always rewarded when I just read the gospels. (Or really, any of the Scriptures, but it’s especially true in the gospels, as you read about Jesus.) Not to find that passage where he says this or that, or where it teaches us about this thing or another. Just to read the story and enjoy it.

Stumbling and Stumbling Blocks

Here’s an encouraging thought:

It is difficult, I admit, not to stumble frequently, and even sometimes to fall, when stumbling-blocks without number lie across our path. But our minds ought to be fortified with confidence; for the Son of God, who commands his followers to walk in the midst of stumbling-blocks, will unquestionably give us strength to overcome them all.

This from Calvin’s commentary on Matthew 13:41, part of the Parable of the Tares.

(The history of this parable’s interpretation may be nearly as interesting as the parable itself. What people seem to do is to read “the field is the world” as meaning “the field is the church. Then they read “let both of them grow together” to mean “go ahead and root out the tares immediately.” And I’m not talking about theological lightweights, either. I mean people like Augustine, Calvin, and Wesley.)

The World Turned Upside Down

The book of Acts records the conflict between the first Christians and the pagan communities they were evangelizing. Those communities said they were advocating customs unlawful for Romans to adopt (Acts 16:20), that they were “turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

Have you ever wondered what they meant by that?

An article in the BBC News today describes the excavation of a mass burial of 97 infants in the Thames Valley of England. Archaeologists believe might have been a brothel. Key quote:

And infanticide may not have been as shocking in Roman times as it is today.

Archaeological records suggest infants were not considered to be “full” human beings until about the age of two, said Dr Eyers.

Let’s hear it for turning the world upside down.