Exploring the First Century Church: Gathering Places

It is universally agreed on that the early church primarily met in homes. The first church building that we know of, which was a house converted solely for the use of the assembled church, didn’t come along for 200 years (see Dura-Europos below). Here are some of the verses we have as evidence of their […]

Reflections on Genesis 2

If Genesis 1 doesn’t make you feel special by being God’s final, very good creation Genesis 2 should do it for you. Of all six days of creation the story focuses on the sixth day when God created man. God takes the lifeless dust of the ground and forms a man out of it. God […]

Reflections on Genesis 1 – Background

I recently realized that our men’s class hadn’t studied a single Old Testament book in depth in at least five years. So last night we started a class on Genesis and from time to time I want to share some reflections that come out of preparing to teach that class. Beginnings: First there is the […]

Study Guide – Philemon 1:1-7

Philemon Study Guide (1:1-7) First we notice that Paul is in prison. Philemon is one of four letters Paul wrote from prison. The other three are Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Colossians has some interesting overlap with Philemon. Both are introduced as coming from both Paul and Timothy. Both introduce Paul as a prisoner (Philemon 1:1, […]

When Did Eve Get Her Name?

A – Adam named her when he woke from his post-op slumber (Gen 2:22) B – Right after her title of wo-man was given (2:23) C – Before she ate the fruit D – After she and Adam sinned When the woman took Adam the fruit to eat, she was still just “the woman.” It […]

How Archaeology Helps Us Understand Scripture

Archaeology plays a major role in how we understand the Bible. It is more than Indiana Jones style trips to far away lands in search of lost treasures or the holy grail. In a practical way, archaeology illuminates scripture as we come to understand the culture and language of the time in more precise ways. […]

Familiarizing Ourselves with Biblical Culture

The following quote is from Peter C. Craigie in Ugarit and the Old Testament, “The Bible in not a difficult [book] to read…It was written for the ordinary person. But the modern reader faces a problem unknown to the original readers and hearers of the biblical message: the passage of time has imposed the gulf […]

The History of Samaritan-Jewish Enmity

In the New Testament there are several stories that give us a taste for the distaste of Jews for Samaritans in the first century. The two most prominent passages are in John 4 and John 8:48. In John 4, Jesus makes his way to Galilee by way of Samaria. In the city of Sychar he […]

Ancient Near Eastern texts – Part 3

Ra and the Serpent Date: 2400 B.C. EgyptFrom comparing this online translation to others, I am not quite sure how accurate it is but it does get the general idea across. In this story, Ra, the god of the son, was the first thing in all creation. They believed that Ra created everything by speaking […]

“God and” or “God alone”?

As we have been looking at a couple of ancient near eastern texts that help us see how surrounding cultures tried to explain the world around them I want to mention this quote from Nahum Sarna in Understanding Genesis Since, according to pagan concepts, man’s destiny is controlled by two separate forces, the gods and […]