The books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Bible appear to take a very intolerant attitude toward foreigners. More than a hundred men who married foreign wives caused a great scandal that ended in mass divorce. But in the book of Ruth, Boaz becomes the hero by marrying Ruth, a foreigner.
People who think the Bible is full of contradictions have a field day. As always, a careful look at everything the Bible has to say resolves the apparent conflict. Ezra 9-10 and Nehemiah 13 describe the scandal of foreign wives. We need to understand other passages in the Bible to put these chapters in perspective.… Read the rest
The law of Moses ordained the celebration of several feasts. Christians with any familiarity with Scripture know of the Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Feast of Booths. They appear in the New Testament. It’s easy to miss the Feast of Trumpets in the Bible, however. The few Old Testament descriptions are short.
Modern Jews call it Rosh Hashana. Rosh Hashana begins the Jewish High Holy Days. Although the name is less than 2,000 years old, it corresponds to the ancient Feast of Trumpets.
Not only that, but the feast foreshadows the last days. We can understand all the New Testament references to trumpets better when we understand the Feast of Trumpets.… Read the rest
In Psalm 27, David begins with a stirring declaration of faith and then plunges into near despair before emerging with another, calmer declaration of faith.
The change is so abrupt that many commentators have suggested that somehow two separate psalms got jammed together. Unless some unknown editor was thoroughly incompetent, that doesn’t explain the structure of the psalm as we have it.
The suggestion comes, perhaps, because no modern poet would structure these thoughts the way David did. Perhaps no European poet even back in antiquity would structure these thoughts that way. So one lesson of Psalm 27—repeated by many other Old Testament passages—is that the ancient Hebrews didn’t think the way we do.… Read the rest
“See then that you walk carefully, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NKJV).
What does “redeeming the time mean? Most modern translations substitute something like “making the best use of time” or “taking advantage of every opportunity.” Those are accurate, but they show that the concept of redemption doesn’t mean much nowadays. For the Christian, it ought to mean a lot.
Does anyone remember S&H Green Stamps?
Time was when you’d make a purchase, and along with your receipt, the cashier would hand you some stamps.… Read the rest
Have you ever looked for or seen lists of Bible promises? Psalm 37:4 probably appears on most of them. According to the New American Standard Bible, it’s “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”
It’s such a great promise. Unfortunately, it’s easy to miss what the verse actually says. We make it say what we wish it said instead. Even some modern Bible translations fall into that trap.
The New Century Version, among others, misses the point badly: “Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want.”
Claiming a promise God doesn’t actually make can lead to heartbreak and loss of faith.… Read the rest
In one of his prayers, Jesus told the Father, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Psalm 119:160 adds, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (NKJV).
Everything from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 is truth. So shouldn’t we make the effort to understand it and believe it?
Instead, most of us have only a nodding acquaintance with the Bible. According to some polls, even nearly half of ordained clergy never open their Bibles except to prepare a sermon or lesson. Therefore, all they can do is pass on half-baked understanding, or, in other words, ignorance.… Read the rest
Some people harshly criticize God for allowing mankind to dominate the earth. Many are atheists. Whether atheist or not, many are feminists or animal rights activists. But where in Scripture does it say that humans ought to dominate anything?
I searched for “dominate” and “domination” in most of the English translations on Bible Gateway. The Amplified Bible suggests those words once each as an amplification. Otherwise, neither word appears in any English translation I have seen. Not even in the loosest paraphrases.
The word “dominion,” on the other hand, appears in many English versions. It’s not a word we use often nowadays.… Read the rest