Artisanal Bible Study

So what is artisanal Bible Study? It’s something I read somewhere. Can’t remember where – but it got my attention. Sounded interesting.

And that’s what things in this category are about. It’s not “traditional” study, where we go through the grammar and other scholastic stuff like that.

Instead, it’s about the culture of the time – because we’re just not living in anything like what the world was like in Biblical times. We can’t really relate to what the Bible says unless we can walk in the shoes – or sandals – or bare feet – of the people we’re reading about.

And it’s about Hebrew and Greek word meanings. Their language was so much richer than ours today. We try to cram in the single best word scholars can come up with. The scholars and translators have to do that, otherwise the Bible will be way too long. No one would read it.
And yet, by making those choices, we lose so much of what transpired. We lose nuances. We lose idioms. We get such a watered down version that we don’t really understand the impact of what was said.
In one case, we read of Paul calling his pre-conversion life as anything from a waste of time to rubbish. But what he actually said was about something we’d sit on the toilet for today. Since we’re comparing his pre and post conversion life and beliefs – that’s a difference we should know about!

So that gives you the flavor of what’s going on here. Verses and passages that we probably know. But in a whole new light. A light that will, I pray, give us a better understanding of why Christianity, as we call it today, was so exciting to the early church! They risked their lives for “The way” as it was know then. But today we have a hard time even getting to church on Sundays. Obviously, something’s different. It’s not God. It’s us. And we’ve got to get “it” back!

Do you know – what is Advent about?

It’s Advent season. But do we know what it is? What is Advent is about? For instance, do we realize that the first Advent has come and gone, and now we’re waiting for the second Advent? And after we do know, are we really ready for the second coming of Jesus? It will come. And whether we’re still alive for it or not, it matters to all of us.

what is Advent

One Nation Under God. But Which God?

One Nation Under God. But Which God? That’s a question I’ve brought up before. Today, I bring it up again because it appeared in a Letter to the Editor in the LA Times. Their heading was: If you want ‘one nation under one God,’ chances are it won’t be your religion. That is so true. But guess what? The point I always try to make is that it won’t be God’s “religion” either! That is, after all, implied in my site title – God versus religion. Also by its subtitle – What religion is God?

One Nation Under God. But Which God? he squirrel doesn't care!

What do you do if your neighbor is homeless?

What do you do if your neighbor is homeless? Do you think that can’t happen? Maybe that it could happen, but you know how to “fix” that problem? Or do you believe you’d be OK if that happened? Depending on where you live, it already has happened. In that case, what did you do / what are you doing about it? And why am I asking?

What if your neighbor is a homeless drunk person?

Do you want to be immortal?

Since this is about looking at ourselves, let’s look in the mirror and ask the person we see there, Do you want to be immortal? To be honest, if it’s about being immortal in this word, the way it is and where it seems to be going, saying yes is very hard. I think most of us know there’s something wrong with this world. And we want something better, even though we don’t seem to be able to do anything to keep it from getting even worse.

Do you want to be immortal?

Was Judas present for the Last Supper?

Was Judas present for the Last Supper? This isn’t meant to be a trick question, but it might turn into one. So, I’ll give you a hint. The Last Supper was an event that tied together the Passover ceremony of the Old Testament with Communion in the New Testament. One was the Old Covenant. The other was the New Covenant. So, the question is really about whether Judas was present for that event. The Passover celebration. And, as it turns out, what we could call the first Communion.

Was Judas present for the Last Supper?

The problem of the circumstances surrounding Judas’ death

Even a lot of non-Christians know about Judas. He’s the guy who betrayed Jesus. An act that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. Something that had to happen. The crucifixion, that is. Without it, there’s no payment for our sins, no salvation, no resurrection, and no eternity in Heaven. So it’s all a really big deal.

But how much do we Christians really know about the events surrounding Judas’ death? And why does it even matter if we know or not?

The problem of the circumstances surrounding Judas' death

Parable of The Wise And The Foolish Builders

The Parable of The Wise And The Foolish Builders.  One one level, it’s about the choice between building a house on rock or sand.  That sounds like an easy choice to make.  On another level, it’s about what we do, if anything, after hearing or reading what Jesus had to say.  It’s interesting that it comes at the very end of The Sermon On The Mount.  Chapters 5 to 7 of Matthew’s Gospel. 

John Stott says this about the passages:The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though arguably it is the least understood, and certainly it is the least obeyed. It is the nearest thing to a manifesto that he ever uttered, for it is his own description of what he wanted his followers to be and to do. To my mind, no two words sum up its intention better, or indicate more clearly its challenge to the modern world, than the expression ‘Christian counter-culture’.

That really sets up the “problems” with parables quite nicely.  They’re well known.  Easy to remember.  But hard to understand.  Just like the Sermon on the Mount.  There’s a saying about something being a riddle wrapped up in an enigma.  This is one of those.

Parable of The Wise And The Foolish Builders
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