Home » Biblical Studies » Archive by categoryBiblical Language Issues

Dying for a Vision?

I’m not sure which is worse, the constant misuse of Proverbs 29:18a (KJV) or how many times I find myself saying, “That’s not a good translation,” whenever I try to explain the whole proverb. Now, I have to say, “the whole proverb,” because I’ve never heard anyone actually...
Continue reading

A Colored Past to Dye For

I’ll never forget a visit I made many years ago to a full scale temple model with my wife. The woman running the guided tour was just chuck full of… interesting tidbits… you thought I was going to write nuts didn’t you… well shame on you. Actually she...
Continue reading

Why the Word “God” Makes me Uncomfortable

One of the problems with being a biblical theologian is the discomfort I suffer whenever someone’s question crosses lines between biblical and “Christian” categories. We have our way of talking. Biblical authors had their ways of talking. A simple question like, “Were the Hebrew prophets monotheists or henotheists?”[1]...
Continue reading

Tweaking Your Enemies Hebrew Style

In my previous blog, “What’s in a Name?” I started a discussion on the importance of paying attention to the meaning of names in the Bible. Sometimes what comes out of these names can be shocking. The truth is, people tend to take their own names pretty seriously,...
Continue reading

A Tribute to the Musical Story Teller

One of the great things about learning Hebrew is the ability to share in the feel of the stories beyond raw content. Good writing uses language as more than just a mechanism for passing data; it communicates with a measure of art, and, at times, music, working rhyme,[1]...
Continue reading

What’s in a Name?

In our own western culture the connection between names and meaning is rather slight. I know this, in part, because I am one of those annoying, but well meaning, people who goes about attempting to engage others in witty conversation, only to discover 7 times out of 10...
Continue reading

Hallelujah is a Sentence

At the risk of sounding like a petulant child… well, a petulant child that complains about the frequent misuse of ancient Hebrew in weekly church services…. Which now that I think about it isn’t really childish at all…. Okay, so… at the risk of sounding like a scholarly...
Continue reading

The Limits of Biblical Theology

One of the advantages, or disadvantages as the case may be, of being a biblical theologian, in which my phenomenological (i.e. believer’s) approach to the text within a historical grammatical and literary context through inductive method holds sway, is that I am excused within my heart from having to...
Continue reading

Concubine as Paradigm

In considering the meaning of a simple word like concubine one finds an excellent example of the challenges that face modern attempts to represent many biblical terms. Sometimes we not only lack the words to properly translate, but we also lack the mental categories to emotionally understand. Technical...
Continue reading

How to Think Like a Biblical Theologian

To those who mainly regard the Bible as a source for answering their every question about God and the world, biblical theologians can be a real pill, and biblical theology can feel more than a little threatening… I get that. We are, however, worth getting to know. Thus,...
Continue reading

Bible Reading is Cross-cultural Communication

Communication at its most basic is the use of symbols to affect the understanding of another. The symbols at a communicator’s disposal are both verbal and non-verbal. Verbal tools are spoken & heard symbols that represent ideas. Non-verbal tools are unspoken symbols that represent ideas. Phonology—uses words (individual...
Continue reading

Left Brained Readings of Right Brained Scriptures

Well, now I’ve done it. I’ve brought up right brained and left brained in a public setting. I’m sure I’ll hear about it from critics. So, let me ward off some of the flack by confessing from the get-go: [Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, nor a...
Continue reading

10 Things You Need to Know About Hebrew Poetry

Poetry, by definition, is usually regarded as distinct from another category of writing called Prose. To express it simply, Prose is normal writing. It reflects the speech patterns of typical daily conversation, even if a bit more planned and carefully refined. Poetry then is an alternate way of...
Continue reading

3 Reasons Every Christian Leader Should Learn Biblical Languages

I realize that the second someone makes a statement like, “Every Christian leader should learn biblical languages,” feelings of condemnation erupt. “So, everything I’ve done for X  years was a misguided waste?” “So, I’m not good enough?” “So, I can’t properly interpret the Scriptures in English?” If I...
Continue reading