Why does the Book of Revelation use so much symbolism? Some reasons might perhaps include: to hide its meaning from outsiders, to describe the ineffable, to point out the inner reality of what’s being described, and so on. Are these correct? What other purposes might there be for the symbolism in Revelation? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Evangelicals have been enamored with the “quiet time” of daily Bible reading and prayer, but it often seems to be focused on reading a chapter quickly, avoiding eisegesis as best as possible, and then praying through a short list. Do you have any thoughts on the typical approach to “quiet times”? Is “devotional” reading of Scripture different for you than other times you read scripture during the day? How does that connect to prayer? Thanks for your thoughts.
In Acts 13, Saul conflicts with the Jewish false prophet Bar-Jesus and is called by the name Paul for the first time. I explore the literary dynamics of this account a bit more closely.
Do you have any broader comments on the personal greetings and instructions at the end of Paul’s letters and their significance? Of course each one is unique, but I wondered if there’s anything we can draw more generally from their presence and recurring patterns.
The issue of consent has been much discussed in the wake of, among other things, the #MeToo movement, and I was wondering how we can relate that to the types of marriage practices that we see in the Bible, where consent really is not at the forefront, if relevant at all. What are we to make of concubinage, war brides, bride kidnapping (in Judges), rape laws (where unbetrothed virgins may be given in marriage to their rapists) or just the fact that Mosaic law seems to place a daughter’s choice of spouse entirely in her father’s hands? Many have highlighted that what David did to Bathsheba was most likely rape, but do we also change the way we speak about, say, Abraham and Hagar? As a concubine/slave, was Hagar in a position to consent? How do we speak honestly and forcefully about the evil of forced marriage and the importance of consent, considering that the Bible does not seem to condemn these things in a straightforward way? The Church has historically held that mutual consent is necessary for marriage, but was that arrived at independent of the biblical witness or in proper extrapolation from it? I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is much richer than many suppose. Paying attention to biblical echoes and parallels, both within and without the Lukan corpus, will alert us to much that we might otherwise have missed.
There are numerous typological dimensions of Old Testament echoes at play in each of the Gospel accounts of Christ’s baptism (Creation, Noah’s dove coming to rest, Israel’s Red Sea and Jordan crossings, Levitical priestly washing, Day of Atonement, David’s anointing as King, Elijah’s anointing of Elijah, etc.) Another possible dimension I’ve recently noticed in Mark’s account of this incident, particularly Christ’s subsequent time in the wilderness, is its parallels with Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation described in Daniel 4. Mark 1:12 says that “the Spirit immediately drove [Jesus] out into the wilderness.” Daniel 4:33 says that Nebuchadnezzar was “immediately . . . driven from among men.” Mark 4:13 says that Jesus “was with the wild animals.” Daniel 4:32 says that Nebuchadnezzar is made to dwell “with the beasts of the field.” Jesus comes back from the wilderness proclaiming the Gospel of God’s Kingdom. (Mark 1:14-15). So does Nebuchadnezzar. (Daniel 4:34). A more tenuous connection may be in the angels who ministered to Jesus and the “watchers” mentioned in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream earlier in Daniel 4. Is this connection between Christ and Nebuchadnezzar meaningful? If so, what are we to make of it?