Biblical Studies Blog Carnival for December 2013

It’s posted at Cataclysmic. Go see! Go see!

Also, the fifth Septuagint Studies Soirée has also arrived at Words on the Word.

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Merry Christmas!

Christ is born! Glorify him!

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all
But high from God’s heaven, a star’s light did fall
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing
A star in the sky or a bird on the wing
Or all of God’s Angels in heaven to sing
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

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Bible Papers: Don’t Let This Be You!

Top 10 ways to fail a Bible paper, provided for your edification by Phillip J. Long. Here’s the list. Read the whole thing for the explanations:

  • #10 – “My youth pastor told me that. . .”
  • #9 – Pauline Lit Paper, only quote Jesus.
  • #8 – Any of these words: Satin, Pilot, Angles.
  • #7 – Referring to scholars by their first name: “As Tom says in Challenge of Jesus.
  • #6 – “As biblical Scholar J. Vernon McGee says….”
  • #5 – Comparing Jesus and Spiderman.
  • #4 – 1000 word paper, 500 word block quote.
  • #3 – “In The Message translation it says….”
  • #2 – “ defines justification as….”
  • #1 – “For many thousands of years people have debated….”
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The Rebel Jesus

Peter Enns shares a reminiscence of something John Dominic Crossan once said:

Anyway, Crossan said that if you took someone who knew nothing of Jesus, but did understand that religious-political powder keg of 1st century Palestine–tensions between various Jewish groups with different ideas about God and how to live in their own land under Roman rule, and tensions between Jewish and Greco-Roman customs, now centuries old–and then handed that person the Gospel of Mark, he wouldn’t be far into it before he would ask, “Who is this Jesus?” and “When is he going to be killed?”

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Have We Given Up on Jesus?

Words to ponder from Jim Somerville:

Have we given up on Jesus?  Do we no longer believe that one of these days he will come back, and the Kingdom of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he shall reign forever and ever (Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!)?  Is that why we go crazy at Christmas, and rush around buying presents for each other?  Is that why we crank up the Christmas carols and talk about Santa Claus coming to town?

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On the True Meaning of Chanukkah

Nice reflection by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman:

There really are miracles.

Ask children, too young to look cynically at birthday candles, bubble baths and cushiony piles of autumn leaves; ask adults old enough to appreciate the gift of each unfailing sunrise and another day on earth. I’m not talking about the sun standing still or the Red Sea parting, or even the odd case of spontaneous remission from deathly illness that, admittedly, happens to some people (but not to others). The miracles I look for are not breaks in the natural order; they are simpler things, like human decency where we least expect it and the everyday moments that evoke deep breaths of gratitude just for the privilege of being.

Do read it all.

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November Biblical Studies Carnivals

The main event is hosted at Mitch Chase’s Soli Deo Gloria blog.

Jim West’s roundup of biblical and theological links is posted.

Brian Small has once again posted his monthly Hebrews highlights.

Septuagint Studies Soirée #4.

Phillip Long of Reading Acts has posted some info about future carnivals and how you can become involved.

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Thanksgiving 2013

I’m thankful for…

  • Faith, hope, and love.
  • The Mercer University Children’s Choir.
  • The most awesomely awesome wife in the universe.
  • A daughter who still likes me to read her bedtime stories.
  • Diyclomine.
  • Bills that are paid.
  • The innocence of childhood.
  • The ability to keep on learning.
  • The privilege of living near my parents.
  • Amazing friends with all their amazing interests and skills.
  • Grace.
  • Fond memories of my departed mother-in-law.
  • A bright and enthusiastic pastor.
  • Jim Butcher.
  • The cheeseburgers at Greek Corner Pizza.
  • Relpax.
  • The Bibb County Public Library.
  • Mr. Seredick.
  • A church where they let me lead a three-week Bible study on monsters.
  • Wonder.

What are you thankful for?

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Christmas vs. Chanukkah

Dorothy King explains it all, and admirably!

Just in case anyone asks you what the difference is between Christmas and Chanukah, you will know what and how to answer.

1. Christmas is one day, same day every year, December 25th. Jews also love December 25th. It’s another paid day off from work. We go to the movies and out for Chinese food and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don’t look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a donation from the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida ) or other Jewish funeral homes.

2. Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.

Eleven more points to ponder over at PhDiva.

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Here Be Dragons

dragon_fireHere is the PPT for the third and final installment of my recent Wednesday-night Bible study series, “Monsters: A Biblical Bestiary.” I think people have appreciated the series, even though it has been a bit challenging for some.

We looked at how to study the Bible in terms of translation, textual criticism, and understanding the cultural context in which it was written.

In “Here Be Dragons,” I talked about what happens when the monsters we find in the Bible are there because the biblical writers actually believed in monsters. In the process, we look a bit at the fact that the Bible describes the world in terms of ancient conceptions of cosmology, meteorology, and physiology.

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