Bible Stories for Grownups –
Psalm 78:1-8, Introduction
Psalm 8, Introduction
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, Psalm 119:97-104, Revelation 22:18-19, "The B-I-B-L-E"
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Psalm 78:1-8, Introduction (6/29/2009)
There may be no literate person in the Western world, and few illiterate persons, who do not know the basics of the story of Noah's Ark. Read a newspaper or men's magazine? Somebody is searching for the Ark. Watch movies? Somebody is chasing somebody who is searching for the Ark. Read the funnies? Noah and his animals are there. Go to fabric stores? There's a new design of children's fabric with pairs of zoo animals. Travel? Reportedly, both a Dutch building contractor and a Chinese billionaire have created life-sized replicas of the Ark.
knows the basic story. Why is this? Probably because every child in the Western world can absorb Bible stories by osmosis from newspapers, magazines, movies, and pictures. Many parents who never darken the door of a church or synagogue nevertheless insist on a religiously affiliated pre-school. Parents who don't love Jesus teach their children to sing "Jesus Loves Me." They want their children to have "values."
Unfortunately, that's often where it stops. Children go to Sunday School (or not) and get a child's version of the Bible. Then they stop going, and the adults they turn into are left with a child's version of the Bible. I dare say that children as a group – Gentile as well as Judeo-Christian – are better educated for their age about the Bible than adult Christians and Jews, as a group, are for their age.
Folks, the Bible is not a children's book. Made into a movie, large parts of it would be R-rated for violence, sex, and (occasionally) language. Practically all of it is at least PG-13. Many stories are long and complex. Understanding many stories requires some knowledge of other stories. As a result, the Bible stories we teach to our children are expurgated, abbreviated, and annotated. In this study, we are going to take an adult look (although not R-rated) at the Bible stories and songs we learned as children.
And if you didn't learn any of these stories when you were a kid, great! You will now get to read some of the most exciting, interesting, and fun parts of the Bible. Let's go!
Psalm 8, Introduction (7/3/2009)
Quite a few years ago I was reading a publication by a UNM professor on a survey he had done on some environmental issue. One of the questions was whether the respondent agreed strongly or somewhat, didn't know, or disagreed somewhat or strongly with the idea that human beings should have dominion over the earth. I thought to myself that the results would be impossible to interpret, because Jews and Christians would have one idea of what "dominion" is and say "yes," unchurched environmentalists would have a different idea and say "no," and unchurched non-environmentalists would have the same idea as the environmentalists, but they would say "yes." Sure enough, when I got to the results and discussion, the professor had no idea how to interpret his results for that question. Thus we see that a solid Biblical education is essential to performing surveys.
So let's review the idea of "dominion" over the earth, which God grants to people back in Genesis 1:26 and 28. The Hebrew word is radah
. It's used 25 times in the Old Testament, and it ususally means subjugate
, rule over
, or prevail against
. Most of the time, it's tough to tell from the context exactly what shade of meaning it has, but several times (especially in Kings and Chronicles), it clearly refers to ruling as an underling to some king over some lower-echelon underlings (e.g., 1 Kings 5:16, 9:23; 2 Chronicles 8:10). Other times, it clearly refers to the king himself (e.g., 1 Kings 4:24).
I would say that the safest position we human beings can take in exercising our "dominion" over the earth is to remember that "the earth is the Lord's, and everything in it" (Exodus 9:29; Deuteronomy 10:14; Psalms 24.1; 1 Corinthians 10:26, 28). We don't own the place. We should remember that we rule as underlings to the real owner, which is pretty amazing in and of itself, the psalmist says.
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, Psalm 119:97-104, Revelation 22:18-19, "The B-I-B-L-E" (8/1/2009)
Today's email is chiefly remarkable for the opportunity to use the word "antepenultimate."
When we were planning this study, several readers said that some of the Bible stories they remembered best from Sunday School were songs. They didn't say what songs, so I've chosen some. Today's song is:
Oh! The B-I-B-L-E,
Yes, that's the book for me!
I stand alone on the word of God,
There are a number of renditions posted on YouTube, naturally. I listened to several and liked this one
I'm sure you already know that the Jewish Bible and the Christian Old Testament are essentially identical in content. The only significant difference between them are some verse numberings and the order of the books. The earliest Christians were all Jews, and they didn't see any reason to abandon the scripture they had had for a couple thousand years. Jesus himself said that he had not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17), and that no jot or tittle of the Law would pass away until heaven and earth pass away (Matthew 5:18). As a matter of fact, it was fairly late in New Testament times before Christians regarded anything other than
the Jewish Bible as scripture. Catholic Bibles contain some books called the Apocrypha, which are pre-Christian Jewish writings that neither Protestants nor Jews regard as scriptural. Christian and Jewish scholars work together to determine the best available manuscripts and to prepare new translations of the B-I-B-L-E.
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