Bible

Who else has wanted to have the book of Romans as a LETTER? Why Bible Typography Matters

Or 1/2 Chronicles, or Daniel, as a book?

I know we can fairly easily get ahold of booklet editions of the Gospel of John by itself, and Mark, but I’ve always wanted this for other books and letters. Without all the verse and chapter numbers and notes everywhere. I sometimes very much desire to read passages/books as they would have been read by, if not by those who originally read them (scrolls being rather awkward?) then in a similar literary format. The Exodus as more of a novel, or the Pentateuch even, as a single novel. Maybe it would have chapters, although I would place them differently to how we generally have them in our Bibles. At least, not in the middle of paragraphs?!?

I’d love, and will get around to preparing one day, to have Romans as a letter, take it on the bus, or wherever, with me, and read it, as a letter. Right?

Why Bible Typography Matters

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You and Me Forever – free audiobook download from christianaudio.com

You and Me Forever  - free audiobook download from christianaudio.com until Feb 12thFound this pleasent surprise in my inbox this morning: christianaudio.com are giving away the mp3 audiobook of Francis and Lisa Chan’s book You and Me Forever: Marriage in the Light of Eternity. All they ask is an email address and signup to their newsletter.
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Shane has some good points

I’m (still) making, or wading, my way through Shane Claiborne’s The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical, and it’s very paradigm challenging, even when you read it over many months. Searching for one of the resources he mentions in the book, I came across this interview: Shane Claiborne – Fundamentalism http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSlLGq7LbWw I think he makes some rather pertinent pounts, no?

The Passover and Jesus’ death

I never knew how much Jesus’ last days, death, and resurrection parralleled the Jewish Passover celebration:

Meeting Jesus at an Old Testament Feast by John R. Sittema | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org (more…)

Some sermon inspiration

Very aware that I haven’t been writing much lately – a dead heat between lack of mood/muse and lack of opportunity really…  I was listening to a sermon as I was doing dishes and bottles this evening, and I thought I’d share a couple of sermons that have shaped or impacted some of my thinking and outlook towards this life and how we live within it.  (more…)

Shocking – the Bible condemns alcohol abuse?

The other week we discussed some pretty clear positive assessments about alcohol in the Old Testament. We concluded with a quote from Preston Sprinkle: “Alcohol is often portrayed not as a neutral substance that’s “allowed” but a blessing that’s often “promoted.” …Like marital sex, alcohol is not just allowed – as if it was a naughty thing that’s okay from time to time – but is actually promoted as a symbol of God’s blood-bought material and spiritual blessings.”

Now, the first thing Noah does when he gets off the ark in Genesis 9 is to build an alter, give thanks, sacrifice some animals, and receive a covenant from God not to pour water on all of us until we breathe it in again (that covenant is with the animals too, curious). He also says “every beast of the earth and … every bird of the air” will fear us, and that “every thing that lives shall be food for you” – you didn’t know it actually said that, right? I didn’t.

Anyway, the second thing it records Noah doing is planting a vineyard (something of an analogy to the Mayflower’s travellers when they made land – they built a brewery – I prefer Noah’s proclivity). Then he gets drunk. But it doesn’t say he shouldn’t have been harvesting grapes that turn into wine, or making wine, or drinking it – there’s no commentary there, no judgement on Noah, just on Ham for perving or making fun of Noah. So respecting and caring for Noah and covering the sin (not covering up, although that’s what he should have done for his father, but rather than gossiping about it), is more important than the sinfulness of Noah getting drunk, at least that’s the point that’s made in the passage.

 

That all said, there are many prohibitions and warnings about alcohol.
If you look through your concordance, you’ll find a lot of verses that say no to alcohol (eg Judges 13:14) – many direct prohibitions are related to drunkeness (eg 1 Sam 1:14), specific instructions from God (eg Judges 13:14), or related to vows, like the Nazerite vow.

Now, alcohol is a blessing from the Lord, yet, we read about Noah, and we read about several prohibitions. Turns out, we probably shouldn’t get drunk, right? Or should we?

I’m going to quote and link you to a good article about the chief prohibitions of alcohol in the Old Testament, from John Anthony Dunne at thetwocities.com – there’s a very good summary on alcohol and the Old Testament there, if you’re interested.

“There are also a few instances where abstinence from alcohol is described. Yet, contextually it is quite clear that these prohibitions are not normative, but are for a particular task. This applies to priests while participating in the cultic worship of Israel (Lev 10.8-9; Ezek 44.21). Likewise, the Nazarites while taking the vow of separation were to abstain from wine (Num 6.1-4; Am 2.12), yet they could enjoy wine upon completing the vow (Num 6.20). While Samson’s mother was pregnant she was charged not to drink wine (Jdg 13.4, 7, 14). Treading the wine-press and bringing wine into Jerusalem was prohibited on the Sabbath (Neh 13.15-18). Interestingly, the Rechabites were tested with drinking wine, but they abstained because their father commanded them not to, along with other things, like owning a house (Jer 35.1-19). Daniel chose to abstain from wine and meat while in exile in order to make a theological point to the Babylonians (Dan 1.5, 8, 15-16). Lastly, while Daniel was mourning he fasted from wine and other delicacies for three weeks (Dan 10.3).”

 So, when you’re leading worship or preaching, maybe lay off the booze? Nadab and Abihu went into the tabernacle drunk, and God roasted them for it. If you vow, or make a solemn decision to refrain for a time, refrain! Daniel, Sampson, and the Nazerites are good examples. If God calls you not to, great!

 

Now, aside from prohibitions, we have many warnings about alcohol. Most of them either imply or directly state habitual drunkenness. I could list a bunch of scriptures, but here’s a couple:

Isaiah 5:11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink,
Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them!

Prov 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.

Prov 21:17 He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.

Prov 23:20 Listen, my son, and be wise,
And direct your heart in the way.
Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;
For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,
And drowsiness will clothe one with rags.

Don’t be a drunk. Don’t hang out with drunks. Don’t love pleasures (including alcohol) because that is not a road to prosperity.

We also see many examples beyond advice.

Noah got drunk, and the results were…embarrassing. Not just that, but the subsequent squabble between the brothers resulted in a family division that lead to the Philistines (coming from Ham) and Israel (coming from the other brothers). There were some issues between the two down the track, that might have been avoided had Noah not got so plastered, or Ham not been a jerk about it (Gen 9).

Lot’s daughters got him drunk so they could sleep with him (boy, fathers, is that a reason not to get drunk, or what?) – and the resultant offspring – Moab and Ammon – were also to give Israel a bit of trouble (Gen 19). However, Jesus came from Ruth, a Moabite, so God clearly uses our evil for good ends, just as He was glorified in David killing Goliath and showing His might in enabling Israel triumphs over the Philistines.

Amnon, son of David, was murdered by Absalom, who had the opportunity while his brother was drunk (2 Sam 13).

 

So, and I can’t say this strongly enough, because it’s the balance of the Old Testament’s statements, warnings, and examples concerning alcohol:

Don’t abuse alcohol, don’t get drunk, don’t be habitually drunk.

 

Can’t point this out enough. In the context of many warnings about alcohol, yet many praises of it as God’s blessing, and even command from him to spend tithes on it and feast (Deut 14), I see most of the prohibitions from drinking as circumstantial (such as adherence to a specific vow, presiding over a court, conducting ritual in the holy of holies), or warnings centered on what happens when you abuse alcohol, rather than complete 1920s prohibition. To suggest that you have to ignore a lot of what the Bible says about alcohol, or suggest that wine/beer/’strong drink’ referred to in the Old Testament didn’t actually really contain much alcohol, even though it obviously got people drunk enough to do stupid things, like sleep with their daughters and not even remember in the morning.

 

I’m probably going to keep this series to Mondays, because I tend to have more time on the weekend to catch up if I don’t get to it during the week. These posts take much more effort and research (because I want to be honest and thorough) than what I might normally write. If I’m honest, I’m a little disappointed because I wanted to dig more into what the Old Testament had to say, but looking at what I wanted to cover in this post, it was going to be several thousand words if I dug into lots of texts in depth, so I had to summarise. If you want to discuss something, hit me up!

One of my bigger peeves with discussing alcohol though, is when we (because I have  a tendency towards this too) take one or two scriptures that ‘prove’ our point, and ignore the rest of the 66 books. This is case in point with alcohol – I have scriptures that say DRINK, drink liberally and enjoy, and then I’ve got some that say NO, stay away! If we’re to be honest with our Bible, and take God at His Word, we need to take them all together, not the one or two verses that ‘agree’ with eachother and us.

On that note. I’m tackling one of the more interesting passages on this topic next week: Proverbs 31!

 

Links of the week April 13-19

The Planck length. Teeny tiny, and huge. Explained
Rather timely and wise words for Christians in this culturally turbulent time. We should try and be Biblical, and not fight so much.
This kinda excites me. Not sure how far I trust Facebook with security and such, but low cost, low hassle, money transfers to and from my family overseas through Facebook is something I could potentially be really excited about. Here brother, spend this on my neice for her birthday, because we yet again haven’t managed to mail anything in time, it’s still sitting on the mantlepiece.

Meet Kepler-186f, the most ‘Earth-like’ planet ever found
I
‘m a science nerd. The idea of settling on another planet as 21st (or 22nd) century pioneers is a romantic notion I don’t know if I’ll ever let go of, even if I’m pretty sure it’ll never happen on anywhere more distant than Earth’s moon. So, finding planets that might support humans about as well as our Earth is pretty cool.

John Piper linked me to this film about job, told in poetry in artwork. It looks interesting!
I was yet again late this week. Finding it harder to make unsleepy time to write. *le sigh* lol

OMG: Millennials abandoning the Bible – No, really?

So I read a an article recently about the results from some data collected by the American Bible Society over the last four years.

OMG: Millennials abandoning the Bible

Among the results are a definite decline in the esteem of the Bible by millennials:

“– Although 79 percent of adults believe the Bible is sacred literature, only 64 percent of millennials do.
– 19 percent of millennials believe no literature is sacred, compared to just 13 percent of all adults.
– Exactly half of adults overall believe the Bible “contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life,” but that number is just 35 percent for millennials.
– Half of adults believe the Bible has too little influence in society, but only 30 percent of millennials agree.
– 39 percent of millennials never read the Bible outside of church, compared to 26 percent of all adults.

The survey also found that since 2011, antagonism toward the Bible has risen from 11 percent to 19 percent and those who consider themselves “Bible-friendly” dropped from 45 percent to 37 percent.”

Now that’s concerning, but I think not totally unexpected, or terrible.

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