How to Study the Bible: Introduction

biblepage-781x1024This summer, my church’s adult Bible classes are covering the spiritual disciplines as part of a series called “Your Spiritual Budget.” I’ve been asked to teach a couple of classes on how to study the Bible. Two classes on Bible study is like being asked to drink the Gulf of Mexico through a straw. It’s just not enough.

Meanwhile, I’ve been realizing how far removed I have become from the ordinary pew-sitting Bible student. For example, I don’t think much about what Bible study resources cost because I already own a pretty complete set — and have for decades.

There are tools I found invaluable as a novice that I’ve not thought about in years. I no longer have much use for Nave’s or Thompson’s (to be discussed later) — but they were once core resources for my studies.

On the other hand, I’m pretty much up on the electronic end of the discussion. I use a Kindle, an iPad mini, a laptop, and a PC. I can at least intelligently discuss the choice to go electronic versus paper.

In short, for a very large portion of this series, I’m going to have to rely on the experiences and advice of the readers. When I began serious Bible study back in college, study Bibles did not exist — not like we have today. And there were very few translation options. Things have changed — for the better — but a lot of the change happened too late to help me. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 14:33b-37 (Pepperdine Presentations on Role of Women)

[Reposting to add a third presentation.]

Pepperdine2015Randy Elliot’s presentation has, at long last, been posted as a podcast.

Randy participated in the discussion here a few days before Pepperdine regarding the interpretation of 1 Cor 14:33b-37, which was the subject of his PBL talk. (It’s number 162 in the list.)

You can play it here.

Click here for his PowerPoint presentation.

Randy references an earlier talk at Pepperdine by Ken Cukrowski, also on the role of women. It’s here:

And here is Christopher Hutson’s presentation on 1 Tim 2:11-15:

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1 Corinthians 15:17-25 (“we are of all people most to be pitied”)

deathPaul continues arguing that resurrection is an essential element of Christianity —

(1Co 15:17-19 ESV)  17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Again, if Christians don’t experience a resurrection, leaving behind empty graves, then neither was Jesus resurrected. If God can’t resurrect Christians, then why believe that he resurrected Jesus?

“Fallen asleep” is a standard Jewish (and now Christian) euphemism for death. The point is not that people are unconscious, but that from the perspective of those who survive, their loved ones are as though asleep — and they’ll awaken when Jesus returns. How death appears to the dead pending the resurrection is quite another question (and discussed in the Wineskins series although not discussed by Paul in this chapter). Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 14:33b-37 (Presentations at Pepperdine on the Role of Women)

Pepperdine2015Randy Elliot’s presentation has, at long last, been posted as a podcast.

Randy participated in the discussion here a few days before Pepperdine regarding the interpretation of 1 Cor 14:33b-37, which was the subject of his PBL talk. (It’s number 162 in the list.)

You can play it here.

Randy references an earlier talk at Pepperdine by Ken Cukrowski, also on the role of women. It’s here:

And here is Christopher Hutson’s presentation on 1 Tim 2:11-15:

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Happy Birthday to Me!

levelupTime to bring back a classic:

Many deeply felt thanks for the Facebook, text, email, snail mail, and other messages. Made for a very nice day.

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1 Corinthians 14:33b-37 (from the comments: The grammar of submission)

roleofwomenLongtime reader Alan (he’s been commenting almost as long as I’ve been blogging) asked,

Jay, the apostle Paul wrote through inspiration that the Law requires that a woman be in submission. So I accept that as true. [I agree.] It certainly seems likely that he was referring to Jewish law, since he does so often, and since we don’t have examples of him using secular law to prove a point. [I agree.] We don’t know exactly what part of the Law he meant. [I disagree, since only Gen 2 makes sense in context, but Paul could have been clearer.] We don’t know whether it was explicit or an implied requirement. We don’t know whether we possess a copy of the referenced document today or not. [Strongly disagree. The “Law” in Paul’s vocabulary is almost always Torah but occasionally the OT. It’s never a reference to the Oral Law or anything else.]

But the absence of evidence is not evidence. The fact that the inspired apostle said the Law requires it is enough. [I agree.]

Paul was a Pharisee. He knew the Law. [I agree.]

I insert my responses in brackets so readers can easily tell where Alan and I do not agree — since we agree on most of what he said. I responded in the comments (edited and expanded), as follows: Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 15:12-16 (But if there is no resurrection of the dead …)

death

Paul next turns to the topic that will consume the rest of the chapter: the resurrection of Jesus and its implications for the resurrection of Christians —

(1Co 15:12-16 ESV) Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.

Okay. Paul presents us here with a discussion on the necessity of the resurrection. And I just posted a nine-part series on the resurrection over at Wineskins, which I don’t care to repeat and doubt that you care for me to re-post. If you’ve not read those posts yet, here are the links: Continue reading

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Reflections on Mothers Fathers Day

mothersdayIf your church is likely nearly every other church, yesterday morning, your preacher spoke about mothers — in highly laudatory terms. Women may have been asked to stand for applause. Perhaps they were even each given a gift.

In my church, we had a very nicely done video in which the children talked about why they love their mothers. It was very well done and very uplifting. No complaints here. I thought our leadership did a great job.

badfathersdaySo here’s the challenge for today: Can you do the same thing for fathers on Fathers Day?

It is my experience that Fathers Day sermons start with a pro forma good word or two about dads, followed by 2o or 30 minutes of harangue about how our dads need to step up and do better. It’s so bad that I know deeply committed Christian men who refuse to attend church on Fathers Day. Believe it or not, they find no pleasure in undeserved criticism. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 14:33b-37 (a discussion of Junia(s) in Rom 16:7 from the comments)

roleofwomenThe subseries on 1 Cor 14:33b-37 hasn’t produced the most comments of any series, but I think it’s produced the most interesting discussion. Rather than rehashing well-worn debating points from 100 years ago, the readers have delved deeply into the text and some of the latest scholarship — and it’s been a profitable experience. At least, I know has been for me.

Junia(s) in Rom 16:7: Female and an “apostle”?

The NET Bible translator notes

Reader John F pushed me to dig more deeply into the scholarship behind the gender and place of Junia in church history. He cited the usually excellent NET Bible translator notes, which tend to support a male interpretation and a translation that makes Junia(s) considered outstanding by the apostles, rather than among the apostles. Continue reading

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2015 Pepperdine Bible Lectureship iTunes Downloads

Pepperdine2015I know many readers are interested in listening to the presentations made at the Pepperdine Bible Lectureship just completed. Even if you were fortunate enough to attend, there were so many excellent presentations going on simultaneously, you may want to check out the podcasts.

There was a time that to get the presentations you had to buy a collection of CDs. Now it’s all online –and free! But it does require some prior knowledge of the iTunes world.

Listening and downloading

The easiest path in I’ve found works like this: Continue reading

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