Category Archives: Bible Backgrounds

Ancient letters and False Assumptions

Ancient letters and False Assumptions Stop for a moment and imagine the composition of one of Paul’s letters. How did Paul write a letter? We might imagine a scene like the picture on the right. Paul is alone in a room, sitting at a table with pen in hand. He writes on sheets of parchment or papyrus. In a matter of a few hours, he rises from the table having produced another one of his theological masterpieces. This would be a logical modern scenario of…

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Are the Seven Days of Creation Literal?

Are the Seven Days of Creation Literal? The more I study Genesis, the more I am convinced that we often come to the Creation story (and other biblical texts) with the wrong questions. How one answers the question, “Are the seven days of Creation literal?”, can determine in some people’s minds whether a person is orthodox or not. To some it is a question of believing or not believing in the authority of the Bible. Perhaps “wrong” is too strong a word in my above…

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Evidence for the Cross and Resurrection

Evidence for the Cross and Resurrection For anyone who desires to investigate the cross and resurrection of Christ, there are a number of solid evidences for its reality. In this article I will seek to demonstrate that there are several facts inherent in the preaching of the early Christians that, based on the society in which they lived, could not and would not have been fabricated. These facts include items that are so counter-cultural that it is not only unlikely that they would be made…

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Goliath’s Height: How Tall Was He?

Goliath’s Height: How Tall Was He? Did you know that there are two different biblical traditions for Goliath’s height? The Hebrew text (MT) of 1 Samuel 17:4 lists Goliath’s height at “six cubits and a span,” while a copy of the book of Samuel from the Dead Sea Scrolls (4QSam[a]) along with copies of the Septuagint (LXX), list Goliath’s height at “4 cubits and a span.” For all you mathematicians that may be reading this, that is a two cubit difference. “Great,” you might say, “what…

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Caesarea Philippi and the Nephilim?

Caesarea Philippi and the Nephilim? My title for this article is actually greatly abbreviated. If I were to have written out the entire title it would have been something like, “What do Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ at Caesarea Phillippi, the Nephilim, the worship of Baal, and the locations of Mount Hermon and the land of Bashan all have in common? The question sounds crazy and some Bible readers may not even be familiar with places like Mount Hermon or Bashan, and probably…

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Patterns of Evidence: Exodus

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus Did the Exodus happen? Many leading archaeologists and Bible scholars today say, “No.” Others argue that there may have been a small group of slaves that escaped Egypt, but the historical events didn’t happen the way they are described in the Bible. Even among evangelical scholars who accept the biblical account as historical, there is a debate regarding the date of the Exodus (this article from Wikipedia is an example of the skepticism of most regarding the Exodus). All of this…

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The Church in Rome: Jews and Greeks

The Church in Rome: Jews and Greeks Paul’s letter to the Romans is full of the use of ethnic terms. In fact, no letter in the New Testament uses as many ethnic terms, or duplicates the frequency with which Paul uses such terms as Romans. A tabulation of the following words illustrates my point. The word “gentiles/nations” occurs 29 times in Romans; “circumsion/uncircumcision” occurs 15 times; “Jew” is found 11 times as is “Israel”; “Greek” is used 6 times; while “Israelites” occurs 2 times and “barbarians” once. This comes…

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New Testament Bible Background Commentary

New Testament Bible Background Commentary IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, Second Edition by Craig S. Keener, (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2014), 816 pp. Available from Amazon USA / UK The New Testament Bible background commentary by Craig Keener has been a standard reference work for many years. The new second edition only makes this commentary more valuable. Keener has done a thorough revision of the original and has expanded his treatment of many passages. The goal has remained the same: “The sole purpose of…

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Jews and Greeks in the First Century A.D.

Jews and Greeks in the New Testament Even a casual reader of the New Testament cannot help but notice the frequent use of the expression “Jew and Greek.” To cite just a few examples, Paul writes that salvation is “for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1:16); or, “Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and…

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The IVP Bible Background Commentary Part 2: Genesis – Kings

The IVP Bible Background Commentary Part 2: Genesis – Kings THE IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND COMMENTARY: Old Testament. By John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000. 832 pages. Available at Amazon USA / UK In my first review (which you can read by clicking here), I looked at the overall purpose and scope of the IVP Bible Background Commentary. In this review, I will focus on some of the interesting insights that can be learned by using this resource. Because…

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