What Does the Tower of Babel Mean for Us Today?

ZA Blog on 8 months ago. Tagged under .

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth. —Genesis 11:4, NIV

Genesis 11:4 comes to life as we understand the deeper cultural context for the original readers and hearers of the Bible.

A city, with a tower. One single architectural feature dominated the landscape of early Mesopotamian cities: towers known as ziggurats. In the earliest stage of urbanization, the city was not designed for the private sector. People did not live in the city. Instead, it was comprised of the public buildings, such as administrative buildings, and granaries, which were mostly connected with…

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Why Learn Ugaritic?

ZA Blog on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,.

whylearnugaritic

You already know that understanding the Bible’s original languages of Greek and Hebrew is an important prerequisite for serious biblical study.

But what about Ugaritic?

The Israelites didn’t speak Ugaritic. The Bible wasn’t written in Ugaritic. What makes understanding Ugaritic so important for understanding the Hebrew Bible?

What is Ugaritic?

Before we see why it’s so important to know Ugaritic, let’s take a closer look at the people who spoke it.

Ugaritic was the language spoken by the people who lived in the city-state of Ugarit. This city was located directly east of Cyprus, and directly north of Israel.

Ugarit was strategically placed on a direct east–west trade route from the Mediterranean regions to the…

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Ask These 5 Questions to Bring Clarity to Your Old Testament Sermons

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

9780310524649I wish I’d had Christopher Wright’s new book How to Preach Through the Old Testament for All Its Worth when I regularly preached. It would have helped me preach the text, yes. But it would have helped me preach it in a way my congregation would have understood it.

Because let’s face it, preaching the Old Testament can be…challenging! Wright sympathizes:

to be honest, the Old Testament is a difficult set of books…trying to preach a sermon or teach a Sunday school class from the Old Testament is too exhausting for the pastor or Bible study leader and too confusing for the people. It’s much easier to stick with what we know—the New Testament. (17)

Which is why Wright offers a five-question roadmap for preaching and teaching Old Testament…

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How Jesus’ Murder-Is-Wrong Ethic Is Deeper than Atheists’ Ethic

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

doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsFor the past few months, my pastor has been preaching the Ten Commandments. Though the first four gave me pause, causing me to consider my singular worship of God, and the fifth one about parent honoring resurfaced vivid childhood memories, I sighed in relief at the sixth: “You shall not murder.” I could safely say I’d never murdered anyone.

Not so fast! Because as John Dickson explains in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments, “For Jesus, the command about murder is a shadow of a deeper reality in which God calls on us to revere people so much that we will refuse even to denigrate another…” (125)

Jesus’ murder-is-wrong ethic is a strong one. Even stronger than atheistic, secular notions. Because as Dickson reveals, his logic…

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3 Keys to Help Doubters Make Sense of the Ten Commandments

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

doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsThe greatest cultural icon of the West isn’t American (Declaration of Independence). It isn’t British (Magna Carta) or French (The Social Contract). Instead it’s Judeo-Christian.

I’m speaking of the Ten Commandments.

Though some have tried to transcend it, offering alternative lists in its place, there is no denying—or escaping—its enduring attraction and influence. John Dickson hopes to recapture both in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments. In it he explores how these ten verses have changed our world and how they show us what the Good Life looks like.

The social impact of this ancient moral charter is so great that most people living in the West…are living by the Ten Commandments, pretty much. These rules…

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What Does Genesis 12:1–3 Mean, Why Does It Matter?

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

GenesisEarlier this year, we released another volume in the landmark The Story of God Bible Commentary series, written by none other than venerable Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III.

In Genesis, Longman helps pastors and teachers help those they shepherd live and apply the Story to real life. It also offers them a sturdy resource for hearing the voice of God in the text and finding an accessible explanation of its passages.

Let’s look at how Longman explains and applies Genesis 12:1–3—an important set of verses to be sure!

“One cannot overestimate the importance of these three verses not only for the Abraham story and the Pentateuch but for the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments.” (159)

So what does Read more

Wayne Grudem: “The Bible is enough.”

Wayne Grudem on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,.

Is the Bible enough for knowing what God wants us to believe and what he wants us to do?

The sufficiency of Scripture means that:

it contains all the words of God he intended his people to have in each stage of redemptive history, and it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.

Scripture contains everything we need for salvation.

In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul says that Scripture is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Paul goes on to write about Scripture containing everything we need to live the Christian life. Paul goes on to…

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Is Noah’s Flood Still Relevant? Longman Offers 6 Ways to Live the Story

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

GenesisA few weeks ago, another volume in the landmark The Story of God Bible Commentary series was released. And by none other than the venerable Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III.

Genesis offers pastors, students, and interested Christians a sturdy resource for hearing the voice of God in the text and finding an accessible explanation of its passages. But like all SGBC volumes, this one goes further than most Genesis commentaries: Not only does it help us hear and explore the Story, it helps us live it.

Reading the Bible is not just about discovering what it meant back then; the intent of The Story of God Bible Commentary is to probe how this text might be lived out today as that story continues to march on in…

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What Happened Between the Old and New Testaments? 4 Things You Need to Know to Read the New Testament Well

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

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Have you ever wondered what happened between the Old and New Testaments?

If you’ve ever flipped from the last page of the Old Testament to the first page of the new—you’ve just skipped over 400 years of history with that single page turn.

What exactly happened during these 400 years? Who was in control? What people groups shaped the experience of the earliest Christians?

In those four hundred years, the Pharisees and Sadducees, synagogues, Roman governors, and the family of Herod emerged onto the scene. None were present in the Old Testament. Where did they come from?

And countless events not mentioned in the New Testament had a profound impact on the world of Jesus, such as the Maccabean revolt, the rise of the Essenes, the dominance of the Greek…

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Tremper Longman on Genesis’ Theological Message and the Story of God

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

GenesisGenesis. What a fascinating book. And not a little controversial! It’s also profoundly “theologically rich,” according to Tremper Longman III.

In his new Genesis commentary in the ground-breaking Story of God Bible Commentary series Longman argues, “it provides a foundation for the knowledge of God and his human creatures’ relationship with him.” (13)

He goes on to reveal how “varied and profound” its theological teachings are. Each part contains a “unique focus” and makes an “important theological contribution.” Which is why we’ve provided commentary from Longman on Genesis’ theological message and its relationship to the Story of God.

It will help you grasp the significance of reading Genesis in its Old Testament context, from…

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The Companion to Accordance, BibleWorks, & Logos You’ve Been Missing

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

9780310521303Cutting-edge Bible software has opened up Scripture like never before. Yet academic institutions have responded in one of two ways: either relying on traditional language learning strategies or equating learning Bible software with learning the languages.

Michael Williams hopes his new book Biblical Hebrew Companion for Bible Software Users will serve as a middle ground between the two extremes.

This resource enables anyone using biblical Hebrew language software to delve more deeply into the riches of the biblical text. (8)

While not a grammar book, this invaluable resource explains and demonstrates major terms. For each grammatical term popular Bible study programs present, this book provides three critical pieces of information: how the grammatical feature looks, what the grammatical feature does, and an exegetical example of the grammatical feature.

This is…

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Free Course from Zondervan: How to Choose a Bible Translation

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

Free Course from Zondervan

When there are hundreds of Bible translations to choose from, how do you know you’re using the right one?

In the How to Choose a Bible Translation course, you will learn:

How we got our English Bible What the major translations are Two different approaches to Bible translation Why literal translations aren’t always more accurate How we can be certain that the Bible we possess is really God’s Word Four guidelines for choosing Bible translation

When you enroll, you will get:

High-quality video lectures from J. Scott Duvall Reading materials adapted from the Grasping God’s Word textbook Review sessions using personalized adaptive learning technology Assessment tools

This course is a $20 value, but right now…

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