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How to Read the Old Testament Prophets
J. Daniel Hays recently sat down with us to talk about why the prophets are difficult to interpret, about Jesus’ use of the prophets, and about the prophets’ importance for understanding the whole Bible. His Message of the Prophets online course is now available for everyone. Learn more >
When people first read them, they think, wow, I just don’t have any idea what exactly what these guys are talking about.
The prophets are using poetry and figures of speech. They have this scathing critique and criticism against the kings and the people of their day.
The other critical thing about the prophets that makes them difficult is they are very much embedded in a specific historical timeframe, and the geo-political events around them are influencing what they’re saying and what’s taking place. It’s important to place…
An Excerpt from Roger Olson’s Essentials of Christian Thought
Christians living in a pluralistic society filled with competing worldviews and visions of the nature of reality need guidance about how to sort them out biblically.
In The Essentials of Christian Thought, eminent theologian and church historian Roger Olson outlines the basic perspective on the world that all Christians, regardless of the place and time in which they are born, have historically held. Continue to read to find out why Olson thinks this is necessary.
Why This Book?
This book is primarily intended for Christian believers, although others are more than welcome to read it. The intended audience is people who believe the Bible is a truthful and trustworthy guide not…
What Do the Prophets Say about the End Times?
When most people think of prophets, they think about prediction of events that will happen in the future.
But did you know? Only a fraction of prophetic literature actually concerns the future—as little as 8 percent, according to Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart.
However, that small fraction of predictive prophecy presents us with some of the Bible’s greatest interpretive challenges.
The main interpretive challenges for us regarding the predictive aspects of the Old Testament prophets can be grouped around…
Old Testament Prophecy is Not About the Future (Mostly)
This post is adapted from The Message of the Prophets online course, taught by J. Daniel Hays.
When many people think about prophecy, they think about predictions about the future. For modern Christians, this usually means predictions about how the world will end.
But this wasn’t what the prophets in the Old Testament thought—or how they were heard.
Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart write:
“Less than 2 percent of Old Testament prophecy is messianic. Less than 5 percent specifically describes the new-covenant age. Less than 1 percent concerns events yet to come in our time.” 1
So if the prophets aren’t talking about the future, what are they talking about?
Most of the material in the prophetic books…
What Is the Grand Story All About? – An Excerpt from the Story of Reality
In today’s excerpt from The Story of Reality, Greg Koukl explains that the main point of the story is God’s Kingdom. Read further to find out about our participation in it.
Did you ever wonder how to sum up the main theme of the Bible accurately in a single, simple concept? It’s right there in the first line: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Put simply, the Story starts with a Sovereign who creates a domain he benevolently rules over…There is a kingdom.
This is what…
“When They Approach the Old Testament, They Think It’s Boring”
We recently sat down with Gary Schnittjer to talk about why the Pentateuch is often read less frequently than other parts of the Bible, as well as some ways to encourage and deepen your study of the Pentateuch. Take a look:
One of the problems Christians have when they approach the Old Testament is they think it’s boring.
Tremper Longman, III on Studying Genesis
We recently sat down with Tremper Longman to discuss some of the challenges in studying the book of Genesis. Take a look at what he had to say:
Genesis, like the rest of the Old Testament is a difficult book for us as twenty-first Christians to understand. After all, we’re distant from this book in many ways.
For one thing, it’s an ancient book. This is a book that was written three thousand five hundred years ago and has many strange and ancient customs.
An Exegetical Reading of the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) – An Excerpt from John
Today’s excerpt is from the Gospel of John, the newest installment in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.
Written by Edward W. Klink III, the excerpt below from John 2:1-11 is an example of how each passage is interpreted in the light of its biblical setting, with a view to grammatical detail, literary context, flow of biblical argument, and historical setting.
The careful and lengthy introduction to Jesus by means of a prologue (1:1 – 18) and a two-pericope introduction to the narrative proper (1:19 – 51), along with the careful articulation of the completion of the first “week”…
Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields – Hebrew Poetry and Isaiah
According to Duvall and Hayes in Grasping God’s Word , more than one-third of the Old Testament is written in the form of poetry. (373) Modern English versions usually mark off poetry by punctuation, namely, by arranging into poetic lines rather than a continuous running text. This helps us identify poetic sections, but there is still more to understanding Hebrew poetry.
Hebrew and English poetry often use the same devises, e.g., rhyming, figures of speech, forms of parallelism, rare words or forms. But the may use them to different degrees or ways. Of course, it is oftentimes impossible to translate poetic features. Knowing some Hebrew can help us appreciate what authors…
Why Are Jesus’ Genealogies in Matthew and Luke Different?
This post is adapted from the Four Portraits, One Jesus online course, taught by Dr. Mark Strauss.
The problem is: the genealogies are different.
The Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would come from the line of David. Both Matthew and Luke provide genealogies of Jesus that confirm he was a descendent of David—therefore, a legitimate Messiah. He was a legitimate claimant to the…
What is the Purpose of the Book of Daniel? An Excerpt from the Story of God Bible Commentary
“The book of Daniel is often read for its contribution to our understanding of end-times events, but sometimes Christians have been so obsessed with this that we have missed its main message…”
The book of Daniel is often read for its contribution to our understanding of end-times events, but sometimes Christians have been so obsessed with this that we have missed its main message: God is in control, no matter how things look, and his kingdom will one day fill the earth. This message grows out of the…