Prophecy in the NT, 5th Principle: A Voice in the Wilderness

A prophecy may use physical descriptions to describe spiritual realities. Poor John the Baptist. Not only did he lose his head, but he was completely overshadowed by his younger cousin in history. Not that John minds: "I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, …

The Three “I”s, Pt. 6: Honor and Obligation

In the previous post, we looked at the collectivist, communal nature of ancient life, and why the community was so important to them. In this post, let's look at the importance of honor to the ancients. There are two broad categories into which the moral center of any culture can be classified: Honor-shame cultures, and …

The Three “I”s, Pt. 5: Survival and Community in Jewish Thought

One of the Messianic movement's raison d'etres is the belief that one cannot truly understand the Scriptures without understanding them within their original Jewish context. That is to say, since the Lord Yeshua and all His first disciples and apostles were Jews of the first century, they lived, spoke, and wrote with Jewish idioms, using …

The Three “I”s, Part 4: Levels of Paradise

In addition to the the seven general principles of interpretation set forth by R. Hillel, it is understood by the rabbis that a single passage usually has more than a single valid interpretation:  “There are seventy faces to the Torah: Turn it around and around, for everything is in it" (Num.R. 13:15).  In the middle …

The Three “I”s, Part 3: Interpretation in Judaism

An old Christian adage states, “When the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense, lest you end up with nonsense.”  This sounds like good advice on the surface; the only problem is that it’s not Biblical.  There are numerous instances in the New Testament where the Apostles very deliberately interpreted passages from the …

NT Wright On Greek Dualism in the Church

A couple of years ago, Time did an interview with NT Wright, author of, among other things, The Resurrection of the Son of God. The whole interview is worth reading, but this bit jumped out at me:   TIME: Why, then, have we misread those verses? Wright: It has, originally, to do with the translation …

The Three “I”s, Part 2 – Inspiration and Authority

To Part 1 In Christianity, Scriptural inspiration is pretty much a binary proposition:  It's either inspired or it ain't.  And if it's inspired, it must all be inspired equally, right?  After all, "All Scripture is inspired by God (lit. "God-breathed") and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the …

The Three “I”s: Inspiration, Interpretation, Implementation– Part 1

I recently read Eung Chung Park's Either Gentile or Jew: Paul's Unfolding Theology of Inclusivity, a somewhat dry book which contains some interesting observations about some of Paul's letters and the rabbinic writings about Gentile converts into Judaism, but which is hampered by two major problems: 1) The whole book is the lead-in to a …