5 Tips for Reading Apocalyptic Literature in the Bible

ZA Blog on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,.

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

ZA Blog on 1 month ago. Tagged under .

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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Genesis 1: In the Beginning

ZA Blog on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

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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Sodom and Gomorrah: A Story about Sin and Judgment

ZA Blog on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

genesis

Sodom and Gomorrah are two of the Old Testament’s most infamously sinful cities. Genesis 19 tells the story of how God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness, but spared Lot and his family (mostly).

The New Testament uses these cities as examples of behavior that God’s people need to avoid. But what exactly was the nature of Sodom’s sin? Why did God single them out? And why was Lot spared?

In his online course on the book of Genesis, Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III answers these questions and more, starting where the story actually begins in Genesis 18, when Abraham finds himself hosting three unknown visitors.

The following post is based on his online course.

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville,…

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Cain and Abel: A Story of Rebellion, Judgment, and Grace

ZA Blog on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,.

genesis

The story of Cain and Abel is one of sibling rivalry and murder. It’s shocking to realize that there is only one generation between the Bible’s story of creation and the first homicide. Mankind’s descent into sinfulness was fast and severe.

Cain and Abel each bring God a sacrifice. When God shows disappointment in Cain’s sacrifice and pleasure in Abel’s, Cain kills Abel with a stone.

God confronts Cain about murdering his brother. Cain lies about it. And God exiles him to the land of Nod, east of Eden.

This brief account in the Bible is just 16 verses long, but it paints a powerful picture of sin, judgment, and surprisingly, grace. Renowned Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III explores this famous passage in his online course on Genesis.

The following post is adapted from…

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Psalm 100 Commentary: Seven Commands and Two Motivations of Our Praise

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

Shout. Worship. Come. Know.

Enter. Give thanks. Praise him.

9780310206705These seven commands form the backbone of one of the most instructive psalms on giving grateful praise to the Lord: Psalm 100. W. Dennis Tucker and Jamie A. Grant provide insight into this psalm’s meaning and composition in their new commentary Psalms, Volume 2 (NIV Application Commentary). 

This Psalms commentary, which is part of the NIV Application Commentary Series, helps readers learn how the message of the Psalms can have the same powerful impact today that it did when they were first written. This commentary helps you achieve both halves of the interpretive task—understanding the Bible’s original message and applying it powerfully today. 

A good place to start is Tucker and Grant’s observation that Psalm…

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Psalm 139 Commentary: God’s Pervasive Presence, Intimate Knowledge, and Faithful Comfort

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

Psalm 139 is one of the more well-known and well-beloved psalms—and for good reason. This psalm speaks of the pervasive presence of God, and his intimate knowledge of us, which offer us an outsized measure of hope and comfort in the face of adversity and trial. But what does the psalm mean and how are its four poetic movements connected?

Psalms Volume 2: NIV Application CommentaryW. Dennis Tucker and Jamie A. Grant provide insight into the meaning and composition of this magisterial psalm in their new commentary Psalms, Volume 2 (NIV Application Commentary). This Psalms commentary, which is part of the NIV Application Commentary Series, helps readers learn how the message of the Psalms can have the same powerful impact today that it…

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Abraham and Isaac: A Test of Faith

ZA Blog on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

genesis

In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham’s obedience by asking him to sacrifice Isaac, his only son.

To modern readers, this passage and this test feels like a nightmare. Why would God ask Abraham to do that? And why would Abraham be willing to go through with it?

Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III explores this challenging passage in his online course on the book of Genesis. The following analysis is adapted from his course.

But first, let’s look at the passage itself.

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Who Wrote the Book of Genesis?

ZA Blog on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

genesis

Moses is traditionally considered the author of Genesis. But for over two centuries, one of the most contested questions in biblical scholarship has been “Who wrote the Book of Genesis—and when?”

Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and one of the five books of the Pentateuch. Several other books of the Pentateuch include passages that mention Moses recording events and writing down what God says. The authors of the New Testament—and even Jesus himself—appear to credit Moses as the author of Genesis.

So why don’t scholars agree?

There are passages in Genesis that Moses could not have written, because they describe events that happened after his death, known as postmosaica passages. And there are others that would simply be awkward for Moses to write, which are referred to as amosaica (such as Numbers 12:4).…

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What the Bible Says about the Current Immigration Crisis

ZA Blog on 5 months ago.

What the Bible says about immigration

How does the Bible speak to the current immigration crisis? Earlier this week we sat down with Scott Rae, Professor of Ethics at Talbot School of Theology, to discuss how the Bible might shape our discussion of immigration, along with some practical things Christians can do in response.

In this video, Scott discusses:

What Romans 13 says—and doesn’t say—about the current immigration debate How to respond when immigration law calls for forcible separation of children from their parents The difference between immigrants and refugees Israel’s identity as a nation of people on the move Why it’s difficult to use the Bible as a foundation for shaping immigration policy How the modern concept of national and ethnic identity conflicts with the Bible The meaning of the Hebrew words translated into English as “immigrant” Does supporting the left’s policy on immigration also…

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