Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts

Monday, August 14, 2023

Anonymous Asks (262)

“Why do you consistently use an initial capital on ‘Bible’ but not ‘scripture’?”

Good question. Most older Christian writers tend to use Scripture rather than scripture. So why am I an outlier in this regard?

My general preference is typically that of modern editors, which is to use as few initial caps as possible, only where setting a word in all lower case would obscure the intended meaning.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Quote of the Day (44)

“One of the things that convinces me of the reality of the Bible is that the level of the writing is so phenomenal. The only thing that has even a fraction of the storytelling power of the Bible is maybe The Complete Works of Shakespeare, and it’s not even close. Most of the writing of stories, and the dialogue and so forth, is absolutely superlative.”

— Vox Day

Here is a subject I have been wanting to get to for a while. Also, it lets me use the title “Quote of the Day” as a double entendre. Can’t beat that twofer!

Friday, December 31, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: Offenders for a Word

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Christianity Today’s Caleb Lindgren interviews author Brian J. Wright about his new book, Communal Reading in the Time of Jesus.

Tom: We bounced this article around by email last week, IC, and it was fodder for a few interesting observations. I thought we might revisit it here. One major weakness of Lindgren’s interview is that he never quite gets Brian Wright to define “communal reading” for us, and the term then ends up being used to describe a whole bunch of different things in the course of the interview.

Care to take a shot at defining it?

Monday, February 15, 2021

Anonymous Asks (132)

“Why is the Bible so violent?”

On one level the answer to this is fairly obvious: any work that accurately documents human history or tells a believable tale of any length and scope about us will invariably involve violence unless it is highly censored or terribly dishonest. Julius Caesar is violent too, as is Macbeth, Moby Dick and even To Kill a Mockingbird.

So the Bible is violent because people are violent.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Commentariat Speaks (20)

“At the end there’s like a 3-4 minute hip hop breakdancing ... thing, that’s the worst thing in the movie by far. I found this symbolically perfect because, if every worldview has its strengths and weaknesses, the weakness for American evangelical Christianity, speaking as an outsider friend rather than an overly critical foe, is that it has no ‘fence’ or ‘barrier’ to keep stuff like that out, which I suppose is part of the function of tradition in other manifestations of Christianity.”

I know nothing about Owen beyond what I’ve read in a single Twitter thread, but one may reasonably infer that he hails from one of these “other manifestations” of Christianity he refers to, one which offers believers the fence-like protection of tradition.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Anonymous Asks (83)

“Why isn’t the Bible in chronological order?”

If the Bible were nothing more than a history text, organizing it chronologically would be perfectly sensible. But when you have a book that contains history, law, poetry, wisdom literature, prophecy and moral teaching that interprets history for us, the question becomes considerably more complicated.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

What Scripture Doesn’t Tell Us

Yesterday in this space I mulled over the question of whether or not pets go to heaven. The post was mostly speculative. Why? Because, as is the case with so many other topics of interest to us in this life, the Bible simply doesn’t tell us. God chose not to weigh in on that one, at least not directly. Sure, there are hints and clues and principles in scripture which we can draw on to lead us to some more-or-less-satisfactory conclusion, but nowhere do we find plain teaching that settles the matter beyond controversy.

This is true of many, many other subjects of interest to Christians today.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Anonymous Asks (52)

“Why is the Bible so weird sometimes?”

I’d love to know what specific sort of “weird” the writer of today’s question was thinking about. An example or two would’ve been great. Unfortunately, when your questions come from people who have chosen to keep their identities secret, it’s a bit of a trick to get them to clarify.

That’s okay. I’m pretty sure every reader of this column can think of some story in the Bible, or some command in the Law of Moses, or some principle taught by some church somewhere that seems weird to them. I can think of dozens.

There’s lots of “weird” in the Bible, but the problem is not always the Bible. Most of the time it’s us.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Anonymous Asks (28)

“How did people know about God before the Bible?”

Good question. Most of human history was a Bible-free zone.

The Bible as we know it — the 66 books with which Protestants are most familiar — is actually a relatively new thing, which is probably what the writer of today’s question is getting at. Roughly speaking, the individual books found in our Bibles today were written over a 1,600 year period beginning about 3,500 years ago, which means almost half the history our Bibles record took place millennia before anything “official” was done to preserve it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Apocrypha-lypso: The Post-Game Show

Scripture cannot be broken,” declared the Lord Jesus. He meant the Old Testament, of course; the New Testament had yet to be written. Today, his words legitimately apply to our entire Bible, but we must be careful not to hurl around the word “scripture” too casually, or to knowingly go beyond what the Lord Jesus intended when he made this powerful and sweeping claim.

My goal in examining the Apocrypha at length was not merely to provide light entertainment by snidely dissing books other people have found spiritually helpful. At the outset, I expressed the hope that the exercise would help us better define what it is about the canonical Old Testament that “distinguishes it from all the other religious writings, folktales, stories and myths with which human history is replete,” and I trust we’ve made good on that to some extent.

Nevertheless, it’s sometimes useful to spell these things out rather than expecting people to read between the lines.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Gotta Catch ’Em All?

A teen asks, “How can we know for sure that we have all the books of the Bible?”

That’s a very good question. But if I were to try to answer it as written, I’d have to ask the writer, “Which Bible do you mean?” The Hebrew Bible? The Catholic Bible? The Protestant Bible? The Orthodox Bible?

The word “Bible” comes from an old Greek word that means “book”, and in our culture merely describes a collection of ancient documents compiled by groups of men with religious affiliations over a period of a couple thousand years.

If we are being technical, they’re ALL Bibles.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Offenders for a Word

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Different Package

Yonatan Zunger is a former Distinguished Engineer at Google, a product of Stanford and a very smart guy, so it’s a little surprising to find him making spectacularly unrealistic generalizations like this one: “Anyone can learn how to write code.”

The context of the comment is unimportant and would take way too long to explain, but having spent a significant portion of the last 20 years troubleshooting other people’s rather sad attempts at writing code — or even at manipulating existing code — I almost laughed out loud when I read it.

Still, we should probably cut Mr. Zunger some slack and assume he didn’t mean to make such an absurd and utterly unsupportable claim.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Commentariat Speaks (7)

“ ‘The Bible was codified and given to the world by the Catholic Council of Nicaea in the 4th century. It’s indisputable. The Catholic Church gave us the Bible.’

‘Er ... so what? Think God couldn’t have managed if they didn’t?’ ”

— Exchange in a website commentary

Miracles are rare things. If they weren’t, more people would believe in them. How many have there been? Christian Answers lists 124, some of which I think are a little dubious. About Religion lists 37 different miracles attributed to the Lord Jesus, but we know he did many more. When Jesus went through Galilee healing “every disease and every affliction among the people”, that had to seriously bump up the number.

The answer is probably in the tens of thousands.