5 Tips for Reading Apocalyptic Literature in the Bible

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The mark of the beast

Apocalyptic literature is a challenging genre. In the Bible, we find this genre in the Book of Revelation and in the second half of Daniel.

There’s also a lot of apocalyptic literature outside the Bible. It was a very popular genre during the Second Temple period (from 530 BC to 70 AD), and so we have a lot of examples of the purpose, form, and style of apocalyptic literature to inform our understanding of how it functions in Scripture.

Since it’s such a different style of writing than the gospels, epistles, or historical and theological writings we find elsewhere in the Bible, it’s important that we approach apocalyptic literature with a different perspective.

Here are 5 tips for reading apocalyptic books like Daniel and Revelation.

1. Pay attention to the symbolism

One thing to remember about…

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Psalm 121 Commentary: Where Does Our Help Come From?

Jeremy Bouma on 5 days ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

9780310206705When your world turns dark and your journey turns rugged, where do you turn for help? What is your source for the confidence you need to face the headwinds of life?

Psalm 121 encourages us in such times. It reminds us where our help comes from and infuses us with confidence: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” W. Dennis Tucker Jr. unpacks the true depths of this message by offering sound exegesis and application of the psalm in the new commentary Psalms, Volume 2 (NIV Application Commentary), co-authored by Tucker (who covers Psalms 107-150) and Jamie A. Grant (Psalms 73-106).

This Psalms commentary from the NIV Application Commentary Series will help you learn how…

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Who Was Nebuchadnezzar?

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Nebuchadnezzar

Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king of Babylon who reigned from about 605 BC until around 562 BC.

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at yourprivacy@harpercollins.com. What is King Nebuchadnezzar known for?

Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom stretched across the ancient Near East. It was during his reign that the Babylonians sacked the city of Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. Because of Nebuchadnezzar, the Israelites lost their land, and ended up in exile.

This marked the beginning of what is called the diaspora (dispersion), when the…

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Practical Counseling Techniques for Victims of Trauma

Jeremy Bouma on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

9780310529446For survivors of trauma, what are effective counseling techniques that are integrated with a Christian worldview? Find answers below in this article adapted from Counseling Techniques: A Comprehensive Resource for Christian Counselors (John C. Thomas, General Editor), from the book’s chapter on trauma-focused treatment, written by Heather Davediuk Gingrich.

First, some background on the source: Counseling Techniques is a comprehensive reference for the broad spectrum of Christian counseling practitioners and students, presenting counseling techniques through three lenses:

Theory-based counseling, including cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual strategies, and more; Constituent-based counseling, with a focus on children, teenagers, couples, and families; Issue-based counseling, including domestic abuse, self-injury, sexual abuse, shame, trauma and more.

Counseling Techniques is an important book because whether you’re a novice or experienced…

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When Is Then, Then? (Matthew 27:38) – Mondays with Mounce 330

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The longer I work in Greek, the more curious I am about conjunctions, and the more I am concerned about how we teach glosses.

Take τότε for example. BDAG give two meanings using the gloss “then.” It can mean “at that time,” which conveys no idea of sequence. It can also mean “then” in the sense of “that which follows in time.” The problem of course is that if you translate with the simple gloss “then,” we hear it as sequential.

Coupled with this is how English hears a series of events. Even without conjunctions, we default to hearing them as sequential. This happened, then that happened.

The sequencing of events around Jesus’ trial illustrates the issue. There is a series of events introduced with τότε, with καί, and with aorist and present participles. I can’t do it here, but…

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Jesus’ Possible Play on Judas’ Words – Mondays with Mounce 329

Bill Mounce on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

When Jesus says that one of the disciples will betray him, Judas responds, μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι (Matt 26:25). μήτι shows that he expected to answer “no,” and since μήτι is more emphatic than μή (see BDAG), I would argue that translations must include the expected response.

Most do, usually with “surely.” “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” (NIV, also CSB, NET).

Unfortunately, the ESV and surprisingly the NLT undertranslate at this point. “Is it I, Rabbi?” (ESV). ““Rabbi, am I the one?” (NLT). Judas was not only a traitor; he was also a liar. The translation should bring that out.

Jesus responds, σὺ εἶπας. I find myself wondering about his answer. Translations do something like, “You have said so” (NIV, ESV). I find myself wondering if Jesus isn’t saying something a little more specific, even if the other disciples would…

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What Does “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin” Mean?

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Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin

Mene, mene, tekel, parsin, is an Aramaic phrase found in chapter five of the Book of Daniel, the story of Belshazzar and the handwriting on the wall. (This is where we get the colloquial phrase “writing on the wall”.)

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at yourprivacy@harpercollins.com. Daniel 5: The writing on the wall

Here’s the passage where we encounter this peculiar phrase:

This is the inscription that was written:

mene, mene, tekel, parsin

“Here is what these words mean:

Mene:…

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The Reformation’s Influence on How We Got Our Bible

Jeremy Bouma on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,.

The accessibility of the Bible in most of the world’s major languages can obscure a dramatic and sometimes unexpected story: how we got the world’s bestselling book.

Know How We Got Our BibleIn Know How We Got Our Bible, scholars Ryan Reeves and Charles Hill trace the history of the Bible from its beginnings to the present day, highlighting key figures and demonstrating overall the reliability of Scripture.

This story they tell about the Bible is an important one. As series editor Justin Holcomb explains:

The Bible is the most significant and influential book in the world because it is the Word of God. The Bible tells us who God is and who we are. Ultimately the Bible is about how God created and is redeeming the world through Jesus Christ… The Bible therefore…

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Genesis 1: In the Beginning

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genesis

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

The Bible begins with these famous words in Genesis 1, laying the foundation for the rest of the Bible. Genesis 1:1–2:4a is the first of two creation accounts in Genesis, and it focuses on God’s creation of the cosmos.

The Bible’s creation account is the source of a lot of debate. Some modern readers strip away the cultural and theological significance of Genesis, and instead mine it for scientific details about how God created the heavens and the earth. Others suggest it is simply one of many ancient accounts of creation—a myth.

To help us understand this ancient Scripture, we’re drawing from the expertise of Tremper Longman III, a renowned Old Testament scholar. In his online course on the book of Genesis, Longman reveals the cultural and theological implications…

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What Is a “Divided Tongue”? (Acts 2:3) – Mondays with Mounce 328

Bill Mounce on 3 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,.

I am not sure why there are so many differences among the translations on Acts 2:3, but it is fun to think through the options.

The order of the words in the Greek is a little confusing; but if you think grammatically, translation is not that difficult.

The basic structure of the verse is γλῶσσαι … ὤφθησαν … καὶ ἐκάθισεν. The tongues appeared and sat.

Add in αὐτοῖς: γλῶσσαι ὤφθησαν αὐτοῖς. The tongues appeared to them, meaning, they saw the tongues.

There are two modifiers of γλῶσσαι. They were “divided” (διαμεριζόμεναι) and they where “like fire” (ὡσεὶ πυρὸς).

After the tongues of fire split, they settled over each person present (ἐφ᾿ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν).

καὶ ὤφθησαν αὐτοῖς διαμεριζόμεναι γλῶσσαι ὡσεὶ πυρὸς καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐφ᾿ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν.

Several translations speak of…

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What Is the Apostles’ Creed?

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Apostles Creed

The Apostles’ creed is the oldest statement of faith in the Christian church, written sometime in the second century AD. The creed defines core Christian beliefs about God, Jesus, the church, salvation, and other theological topics.

By the fourth century, it was widely believed that each of the twelve apostles contributed one article to the creed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church still traditionally attributes each article of the creed to a specific apostle.

In this video, Michael Bird, instructor of the online course on the Apostles Creed from Zondervan, explains:

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Zondervan and Seedbed Sign New Publishing Partnership Agreement

ZA Blog on 3 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,.

seedbed-zondervan-Combo-LogoGRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 20, 2018 — Zondervan is pleased to announce a new publishing partnership with Seedbed, a twenty-first century movement and media platform whose mission is to gather, connect, and resource the people of God to sow for a great awakening. Seedbed’s growing reputation within the Wesleyan tradition, paired with the publishing reach and experience of Zondervan, will produce a co-publishing program poised to bring Wesleyan authors and content to the broader market.

Located in Franklin, Tennessee, Seedbed was established by Asbury Theological Seminary in 2012. Seedbed publishes an array of resources, including curriculum, Bible study resources, youth and college ministry resources, devotionals, video resources, books on Wesleyan theology, and more. Its primary authors are rooted in the…

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