Close Reading, Old Testament, Studying the Bible, Understanding Bible Translations

The Challenge and Importance of the OT’s Prophetic Poetry

Reading the poetic portions of the Old Testament in English, especially in the Prophets, can be challenging. But the fact is that the more familiar one becomes with the poetic sections of the Prophets, the more one sees that they are absolutely, vitally central to the NT. In the end, the way to make OT poetry interesting and understandable is not by retreating from it but by studying it even more intensely using all the imaginative and scholarly resources at your disposal.

Job, Old Testament, Sermons and Lessons

The Book of Job and the Problem of Suffering

The biblical Book of Job addresses the problem of suffering in a way that is superior to the way moderns tend to talk about it in three ways: (1) it never questions God’s sovereignty; (2) it recognizes our human tendency to assume that God’s righteous judgments will be intelligible and relatively immediate; (3) it emphasizes the role of dialogue (including especially dialogue with God) as the path of resolution for the problem of suffering.

Amos, Old Testament, Sermons and Lessons

Trying to Live Without God is Disastrous – Amos 8:8-10

Yahweh is not only the Creator but the sustainer of all that is. To try to live without the Creator while holding onto the creation is folly. In the same way, to try to hold onto peace and joy without source of all peace and joy is folly. Humans were created to be joyful, but when we displace God from the throne of our life, joy goes with him. It can be no other way, because he alone is the source of all joy.

Amos, Biblical Scholarship, Close Reading, Methodology, Old Testament, Studying the Bible, Text Criticism

Reading Amos 2:4-5 in Context

The oracle against Judah in Amos 2:4-5 is typically regarded by scholars as a later insertion due to its use of Deuteronomic language and the apparent vagueness of its accusation. This article argues that dating a text late solely because of the presence of so-called “Deuteronomic” language is logically circular, and it proposes a reading of the first two chapters of Amos that makes the oracle against Judah an integral part of the passage’s rhetoric rather than an obligatory insertion.