Barzillai is not one of the better-known men of Old Testament times, but the biblical account of his life and his relationship with King David can teach us something about standing strong for a friend-or what God has taught us is right-even when there is risk involved. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (BARZILLAI: A FAITHFUL FRIEND. . .IN SPITE OF POPULAR OPINION)
The Good News that God has for people is all wrapped up in the person, life, and teachings of Jesus Christ. When Jesus started His ministry, He declared that a new time in history had arrived. The God who created this world and all its people was now on the planet in a human body. Knowing that God was not far away or disconnected from this Continue reading WHAT IS GOD’S GOOD NEWS? (MARK 1:14)
Ecclesiastes 9:15 NIV- Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (THE POOR BUT WISE MAN: MAKING A MARK)
The disciple “James the less” is mentioned only eight times in the New Testament. Four of those times his name is in a list of the twelve apostles of Jesus. Another four times, he’s mentioned in connection with his family. Continue reading JAMES, SON OF ALPHAEUS: LESS SAID THE BETTER?
From the delicate breeze to the terrifying hurricane, wind is a force of nature. We can’t see the wind, but we know it is there. Throughout time, humans have learned to harness the wind to fill sails and run wind turbines. We also struggle to limit the destruction caused by wind as the major cause of erosion on earth. Due to its unpredictability and raw power, wind holds both positive and negative connotations throughout the Bible. Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (WIND)
Branches in the world of the Bible were either on trees or vines and were relatively rare given the arid climate, so the picture of a healthy and fruitful tree was a symbol of vigor and prosperity. “Branch” or “branches” could refer to families (Gen 49:22) or rulers (Ezek 31:3,6). Broken or unfruitful branches symbolized judgment or the downfall of a person or nation (Job 15:32; 18:16; Dan 4:14; Isa 9:14: 17:6; Jer 11:16). But God always gives the hope of restoration, and branches figure in the symbolism of redemption as well: “When that day comes, the branch of the LORD will be beautiful and wonderful. The fruit of the land will be the pride and joy of Israel’s survivors” (Isa 4:2). The image of judged or redeemed branches reaches its climax in the prophecies of the messianic Branch and the salvation he brings.
Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS & SYMBOLS (BRANCH)
The very name Bethlehem immediately awakens thoughts of carol lyrics and the story of Christmas. Yet the tale of that little town reaches far back into history, when the Promised Land was just a promise. The village is first mentioned, almost as a sad footnote, in the itinerary of Jacob’s trip back from Haran with his growing family, only to have his beloved Rachel go into labor just outside Ephrath (Gen 35:16) and die while giving birth to the youngest of the patriarch’s sons, Benjamin. Her burial place is identified as Bethlehem (Gen 35:19). Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (BETHLEHEM)
Nicodemus was a religious leader, a Pharisee, and a member of the ruling Jewing Sanhedrin. He appears three times in the Gospel of John, and each event shows his growing awareness that Jesus was the Son of God. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (NICODEMUS: PROGRESSION OF BELIEF)
What is righteousness? Most of us immediately think of a person trying to keep a list of rules, like a little boy or girl who never steps over the line. When Paul speaks of righteousness in Romans, he means far more than this commonsense understanding of the word. He draws on the Old Testament concept of righteousness, which speaks of a proper relationship between God and a person, or between God and His people. Continue reading “RIGHTEOUSNESS”
Beyond their obvious use in holding objects, hands have long had two other significant roles for people: we count on our fingers, and we measure with the length or breadth of our hands. Finger width and palm width were standard units of measure in Bible times. In passage like Exodus 25:25 and 37:12, 1 King 7:26, and Ezekiel 40:43 the span is transplanted “three inches,” but the original says “handbreadth” Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (HAND)