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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...
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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...
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5 Ways to Avoid Miscommunication

Let’s be honest, when you understand what communication is at its roots, you’ll realize that you cannot avoid miscommunication… not altogether. It takes two to tango (That’s what my betters say, anyway… personally, I’m more of a Bugs Bunny Square Dance sort of fella’) and communication requires both...
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The Three Amigos: Biblical, Systematic & Historical Theology

As a constant advocate for Biblical Theology, some imagine that I want Biblical Theology instead of Systematic Theology. I don’t. Systematic Theology does not hold as much interest for me as for others who are more naturally inclined to that type of theological conversation, but Systematic Theology is...
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Passion and Awe in Psalm 8

When reading biblical poetry, one must learn to connect with the poem on more than one level. While it is important to carefully define the Hebrew words being employed in any passage, and to track a poem’s use of parallelism and word pairs, and to follow the overall...
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A Biblical Theologian in a Systematic Theology World

When I passed inspection for receiving my ministerial license, the individual responsible for my review spread out, like a row of piano keys, the many pages of answers I gave to the theological questions I was asked to address in the process. He ummm-ed a bit, scratched his...
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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...
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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...
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Nazarenes, Rednecks, and Other Well-meaning Slurs

I love puzzles, always have. Growing up, I saw puzzles of all kinds as a natural exercise of my desire to be a detective someday, tracing out subtle clues to help me zero in on bad guys. Becoming a biblical scholar, then, has always seemed right on target...
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Bible Study as Conversation: The Interdependence of Ages

I’ve been sharing my thoughts of late on the subject of reading Scripture in translation and the common discomfort that Evangelicals usually feel when scholars suggest that there is some vital element of Bible study that those who are dependent on translation are missing. I am unapologetic over...
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Bible Translations are Both a Blessing and a Curse

I hardly need to recount the blessings of translating the Bible. It is the most basic sense of preaching… translations seek to present the word of God, the Gospel of God, the Gospel of Christ in a language that people from every part of the world can understand....
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Can You Trust Translations of the Bible?

I was asked once to deliver a lecture titled, “Is the Bible Reliable?” I asked, “Reliable for what?” One asks, “Can you trust translations of the Bible?” I counter ask, “Can you trust translations of the Bible to be or do what?” Can you trust translations of the...
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Who Put the Us in Genesis?

In Genesis 1:26, we find, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Genesis 3:22 reads, “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” These are two of the most profound, yet debated,...
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Becoming Like our Idols in Isaiah 44:18

We’ve been considering the identity of the grand “HE” in Isaiah 44:18. Speaking of those who make and worship idols, Isaiah says, “They do not know; they do not understand because he plastered over their eyes so they cannot see, their hearts so they cannot understand.” While Calvinists...
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