Pursuing Biblical God: reflecting on God, the Bible, his church, and us
Though God Doesn’t Change, the Way People Perceive Him Does I enjoy a good book, one with a satisfying story arc. The Bible has an arc, too, a biblical story arc. Some people see the Old Testament as focusing on God’s rules and judgment, with the New Testament focusing on God’s love and freedom. Though … Continue reading Embrace the Biblical Story Arc →
Luther saw marriage, not celibacy vows, as the preferred option for most clergy As Martin Luther’s ordeal wore on, he eventually left the castle where he was hiding. He returned to Wittenberg, some five years after he posted his ninety-five theses. Though still a wanted man, some powerful people offered him a degree of protection, … Continue reading The Excommunicated Martin Luther Gets Married →
If we claim to know the truth, that implies every other perspective is wrong The book of Job is mostly dialogue between Job and his four “friends,” with God having the final word—as he should. The words of Job’s four friends aren’t much help. At one point in Zophar’s monologue he claims that Job said … Continue reading Our Beliefs Are Flawless. Or Is It That Our Beliefs Are Flawed? →
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To Better Understand the Bible, Use Scripture to Interpret Scripture I shared part of my book, Women in the Bible, with some friends at a writers group. They liked what they heard and had questions about how I researched and wrote it. I explained that the Bible was the only resource I used. By design, … Continue reading Why Read What Other People Say About the Bible When We Can Read It Ourselves? →
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The Church opposed Martin Luther and eventually excommunicated him Longing for unity, Martin didn’t want to see the church divided. But when reconciliation didn’t happen, he had no choice but to form a new church practice aligned with what the Bible taught and apart from the Church he loved. A new faction of Christianity emerged, … Continue reading Martin Luther Sought Reform and Unity →
We can only guess about battles in the spiritual realm, but angels fight for us The book of Daniel contains six stories and four prophetic visions. In Daniel’s final, and longest, vision, we get a glimpse— perhaps metaphorically—of what happens in the spiritual realm and how angels fight for us. Starting with chapter 10, Daniel … Continue reading Do Angels Fight for Us? →
Ministers who flaunt their knowledge of Hebrew and Greek often do more harm than good As part of their training, many ministers must study Hebrew and Greek. Sometimes when they prepare a sermon, they go back to the Bible’s initial languages so they can study the words in its original tongue: Hebrew for the Old … Continue reading Do We Need to Know Hebrew and Greek to Study the Bible? →
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Martin Luther wanted to work within the Church to bring about change but they kicked him out Martin Luther intended to work out his ninety-five theses within the Church leadership. However, once the masses read and heard them in their own language—through no fault of Martin’s—an internal Church discussion became impossible. A revolution brewed. The … Continue reading The Latter Years of Martin Luther →
Sunday should not be a day of restriction but a day of freedom and celebration In the book of Exodus, God and Moses have a face-to-face meeting. That is significant. How cool would it be to have a direct conversation with the Almighty? Certainly, we’d remember what he told us and be careful to follow … Continue reading The Sabbath Day →
Don’t Read the Bible Like Any Other Book Because It Isn’t Like Other Books When we read a book, it’s a linear process. We start at the beginning. Then reading one word at a time, we make our way to the end. Once we reach the last word, the final period, we’re finished. Usually we … Continue reading The Bible is Four Dimensional →
Martin Luther worried that buying full indulgences served to hinder salvation What most raised the ire of the Church against Martin Luther and his ninety-five theses, however, was not his claim of salvation through Jesus alone or the pope having no power over purgatory, but his bold statement that indulgences served to hinder salvation. Martin … Continue reading There’s No Shortcut to Heaven: Buying Full Indulgences Won’t Help →
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For Forty Years the Israelites Had a Pillar of Cloud and a Pillar of Fire to Show Them Where to Go After spending four-hundred years in Egypt, the repressed children of God finally get a chance to leave. This comes under the leadership of Moses. We know of Moses’s meetings with Pharaoh to negotiate the … Continue reading What If God Sent a Pillar of Fire to Guide You? →
The Bible talks about priests, chief priests, and high priest What’s the difference between priest, chief priests, and high priest? From Mark 14:53 we see there are several chief priests but only one high priest. This is also confirmed in Matthew 26:3. With this as our basis, let’s explore each of these three roles: priests, … Continue reading How Many High Priests Are Named in the Bible? →
But Luther believed the Pope had no power over purgatory Martin Luther’s second group of ninety-five theses addressed the pope’s authority over purgatory, or to be more correct, the pope’s lack of authority. Martin asserted that the pope had no power when it came to remitting sins and their penalty in purgatory. Though some accounts … Continue reading Martin Luther Supported the Sacrament of Penance →
God instructs Jacob to go to Egypt, but he doesn’t intend for him to stay Just like Cain and Abel, along with Ishmael and Isaac, Joseph and his brothers have problems, too. There are two reasons why Joseph’s brothers don’t like him. First, he’s Dad’s favorite. Second, he doesn’t know when to keep his mouth … Continue reading When God Tells Us to Do Something, Does He Mean Forever? →
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A Personal Essay About Encountering God, Prayer, and Hiding in a Prayer Tower The afternoon assignment at a writers retreat is to take a walk and describe our observations. Leaving the rest of the group in search of some needed solitude, I come upon a sign that simply says, “Prayer Tower.” I can’t ignore the … Continue reading The Prayer Tower: Thoughts about Seeking God in High Places →
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Some of Martin Luther’s 95 theses counter the practice of buying salvation Martin objected to the abuse of indulgences; you can’t buy salvation. Though he mentioned the Church and the pope in some of his theses, he focused on the unbiblical excess of this one practice. Here’s the background: In a creative, though misguided, fundraising … Continue reading You Can’t Buy Salvation: Heaven Is Not For Sale →
There are many ways to solve family problems, but kicking out your son isn’t one of them. Last week we looked at the story of Cain and Abel. We examined the first case of sibling rivalry. Things escalated out of control with one brother ending up dead and the other sentenced to wander, forever carrying … Continue reading Ishmael and Isaac: Two Half-Brothers Who Don’t Get Along →
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All scripture can teach us about God and instruct us in his ways One verse I heard often at a particular church I attended was 2 Timothy 3:16. It says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (KJV). This verse was … Continue reading What Does the Bible Mean When It Says, “All Scripture?” →
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Luther’s 95 theses detail his objection to the sale of indulgences As we consider Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses, it’s important to note that his initial objection centered on the abuse of indulgences, not indulgences themselves. He didn’t object to the concept, but merely how it had morphed into something he found unsupported by scripture. It’s … Continue reading Martin Luther Grew Concerned over the Abuse of Indulgences →
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