Pete Enns has delineated “5 Modern Insights about the Old Testament that Aren’t Going Anywhere.” They are as follows:
- The Old Testament is an ancient Near Eastern phenomenon
- “Myth” is an inescapable category for describing portions of the Old Testament
- Israelites did not write their history “objectively”
- The Old Testament does not contain one systematic and consistent body of “truth” but various, and even conflicting, perspectives.
- The Old Testament “evolved” over time until it came to its final expression.
Each point is elaborated in just a few paragraphs, which are well worth your time. He concludes, and I concur:
There is much more to the Old Testament than these 5 points, of course. And accepting the Old Testament as scripture doesn’t depend on fully working out these 5 points. In fact, whosoever wishes can safely ignore all of this and move on with their lives of faith. I mean that.
But when we want to dig into why the Bible “behaves” as it does, and especially if we are curious about engaging the Bible on a historical level, these 5 factors simply can’t be brushed aside.
Do read the whole thing.
Thatjeffcarter has the honor of hosting this month’s Carnival. Enjoy!
Cassandra Farrin has the honor this month of collecting the best of biblioblogging for your reading pleasure. Go see her post at the Westar Institute blog!
…hosted by Jennifer Guo at her eponymous blog.
(Sorry I’ve been late in posting this. Real life and all.)
Weekend Fisher’s post from last night was a refreshing palate cleanser for my soul:
Finally, brothers, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there is anything of virtue/excellence, and if there is any worthy of praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
When I read this, I have often been shamefully dismissive of it. There is a cynical part of my mind which sees it as wishful thinking, or a sort of determined naivety. The more open-minded voice inside me recognizes and acknowledges the value — and then wants credit merely for speaking up against the cynicism, without actually doing what we are here encouraged to do.
She then goes on to reflect on some of these things in her life on which she is led to think. Below is my list, following her example:
- What is true? Gravity.
- What is honorable? Conversations held in confidence.
- What is just? Saying “please” and “thank you” to folks in the service industries.
- What is pure? A choir of children singing “Silent Night.”
- What is lovely? An athlete who’s in the zone.
- What has a good reputation? Hard work.
- Is there anything of virtue? Mothers and fathers who sacrifice so their children can have a better life.
- Is there anything praiseworthy? People who use their gifts in humility.