God’s Weaker Vessel, the Woman with Tender Eyes

One of the delights of the Bible is the abundance of its irony. I’ve talked about this before, when considering the principle of proportion, where God positions various contrasting elements within the redemptive story next to one another, highlighting His own attributes and through them, the subversive power of the Gospel. And among the Bible’sContinue reading “God’s Weaker Vessel, the Woman with Tender Eyes”

A Star from Jacob: Balaam and the Magi

Their ancestor Balaam had foretold that a star would come forth from Jacob (Numbers 24:17), saying, I see him but not now. I behold him, but not near. Numbers 24:17a And since that time, the magi had watched the heavens. In Balaam’s time, it was Balak the King of Moab who trembled at the sightContinue reading “A Star from Jacob: Balaam and the Magi”

The Donkey and the Colt

I’ve started creating short video meditations on Biblical themes, and I now have a YouTube channel. My first video focused on the theme of sparrows, and now here is one on donkeys. Having studied donkeys closely, I have a new appreciation for them. And how interesting that donkeys carry a cross on their back. WhenContinue reading “The Donkey and the Colt”

Adam and His Adversary: Israel’s crossing of the Jordan

After Adam’s headlining appearance in Genesis, his name is hardly mentioned for the rest of the Hebrew Bible. We find him mostly in genealogies and very occasionally in the books of the prophets (see Hosea 6:7). Still, Adam returns in other ways, many times after Genesis, in stories recounting his (and our) fall from glory.Continue reading “Adam and His Adversary: Israel’s crossing of the Jordan”

Desperate Words as Wind

Those who have suffered, those who have come alongside suffering, those of us who receive the compassionate love of Christ through suffering, we feel the cruelty of Job’s companions acutely. I’ve written already about these faux friends, who really are the worst. Here’s how my favourite Bible companion puts it: They express orthodox religious belief,Continue reading “Desperate Words as Wind”

Gender, Apologies and the Bible

In 2010, psychologists Karina Schumann and Michael Ross published research based on reported behaviour among Canadian university students (age 18 to 44) which suggests that on average, women apologize more than men. Not only did women document more apologies, but women also reported committing more offenses than men reported. And when presented with imaginary andContinue reading “Gender, Apologies and the Bible”

More valuable than many sparrows

In the British Museum, you can visit The Taylor Prism, which lists the campaigns of King Sennacherib of the Neo-Assyrian empire, until the start of his final war against Babylon. Notably, the prism includes a description of Sennacherib’s dealings with Hezekiah, King of Judah in 701 BC. As for the king of Judah, Hezekiah, whoContinue reading “More valuable than many sparrows”

Iron Sharpens Iron

I have previously written about the Bible’s symbolic use of iron, which is predominantly negative. In 1 Kings 8:51, for instance, God tells us that Tubal-Cain’s metalwork belongs to the slave-holders of Egypt, “that iron-smelting furnace.” Iron is the joy of giants, descendents of the serpent, like King Og of Bashan who slept on a bedsteadContinue reading “Iron Sharpens Iron”

The Gentle Heart of Christ

In Matthew 11:29, we find the heart of Jesus Christ. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. The word translated here as “gentle” is πραΰς, whose four uses in the New Testament convey a concentration of brilliant and heavenlyContinue reading “The Gentle Heart of Christ”