Issue #36

Kindness in a World Gone Mad, Textual Criticism, the Revolutionary Mosaic Law, and more...

Issue #36
Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

Bible Study: 2 Samuel 7:1–17 — The True King Is Coming

We approach this passage amid our study of the Book of Hebrews. Hebrews 1:5 quotes a central verse from this passage:

“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?
— 2 Samuel 7:14

In context, God is making a covenant with David. David wants to make God a beautiful temple, but God tells David that he should not. Then God lays out a counteroffer of sorts: a covenant of eternal blessing for Israel and an eternal line on the throne.

The Covenant with David

The Davidic covenant is central to the promise of scripture. Weinfeld, in his article “The Covenant of Grant in the Old Testament and in the Ancient Near East,” tells us that there are two types of covenants in the ancient near east: treaties and royal grants. This covenant, he argues, is like a royal grant...

Keep Reading→

Christianity Is True ✝️

The Universe Is No Accident | Capturing Christianity with Luke Barnes 📽 →

This session from the inaugural Capturing Christianity Conference was outstanding. It’s an easy-to-understand walkthrough of evidence that the universe is not an accident, but is purposefully designed.

Living This Christian Life 🤴👸

Kindness in a World Gone Mad | David Mathis 📃 →

This article from David Mathis explores a new perspective on kindness: that it is not free. When we are hurt by circumstances or people, it is easy to respond in kind. It’s easy to lash out, to say something hurtful, or to retreat inward. It’s hard, it’s costly, to act with kindness.

In part, internal conflict in the Ephesian church prompted Paul’s second letter to Timothy. At the letter’s heart, the aging apostle gives his protégé this arresting charge:

The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24–26)

Christians have long celebrated kindness as one of the heavenly virtues. Yet we live in a day that often makes very little of kindness. We assume it’s free. We celebrate “random acts of kindness.” We think of kindness without context. Of course, in our mean world, it is pleasant to be surprised by a stranger’s kindness, free and random as it may seem. Sure, sprinkle that stuff everywhere. But the Christian vision of kindness is far deeper, more significant, and contextualized.

Explore the Scriptures 📖

The Priestly Rule of the New Eden | Shara Drimalla and the BibleProject Team 📃📽 →

I chose this article, and its included video, because of the Bible Study for this week. In 2 Samuel 7, we explored the Davidic covenant, and how David’s descendent, Jesus, fulfilled the covenant. The video and article explore how David is a priestly king who is a shadow of his descendent to come. In 2 Samuel 7, we see how David and his son’s reigns prefigure the true reign of the true king; the king who will bring us back to Eden.

This article shows us how much priestly language there is in David’s story, and how that prefigures the ultimate priest-king to come: our Messiah Jesus.

Listen and Learn 🎧

What is textual criticism? Is the Text of the Bible reliable? | GotQuestions Podcast 🎧 →

This podcast from the team is a great introduction to the field of textual criticism. Textual criticism is a field most Christians probably know very little about, but most see the fruits of every day. The texts of our Bibles are built from thousands of manuscripts, and textual critics work through those manuscripts to understand what is most likely the original wording of scripture.

In the vast majority of cases, this is relatively easy to determine. In the relatively few cases that it’s not easy to determine, our Bibles are filled with footnotes to direct us to alternative possibilities. None of these alternatives affect any major doctrine, but some do have an impact on significant portions of scripture.

This podcast not only covers the field of textual criticism but shows how a few of those more significant portions of scripture are affected.

Read and Reflect 📖

What I Had Wrong about Spiritual Growth | Susan Alexander Yates 📃 →

When I returned to my college campus, I had many questions but was sure about one thing: I was going to succeed in the Christian life. Driven, generally successful, and goal-oriented, I burst forth with determined grit to flourish in my new commitment.

But the harder I tried, the more miserable I became. Finally, I wrote to the friend who shared the gospel with me: “I admire you, but I can’t do this. It’s too hard. I’m more miserable than I was before I prayed that prayer.”

Not expecting an answer, I was surprised to hear back immediately: “Susan, that’s exactly the point. You can’t do this. You can’t grow in Christ on your own. It’s something God will do in you. You need to relax and let him do the work.” For my accomplishment-oriented personality, coming to terms with my insufficiency was both humbling and relieving. It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn repeatedly in each new season of life.

Church History Corner ⛪️

The Reformation of English: How Tyndale’s Bible Transformed Our Language | Scott Hubbard 📃 →

Did you know that there were English Bibles before the King James? The Bible was first translated into English by William Tyndale in 1525. The King James, and by extension most of our modern translations, continue to be heavily influenced by the language that Tyndale chose, and in some cases, created. Words like “passover,” “intercession,” and more were created by William Tyndale to express in the English language words of Hebrew that had no counterpart.

Hubbard’s article shows us not only how Tyndale, murdered for his translation, affected Bible translation for centuries to come, but how he affected the language of English itself.

For More:

Best with a Cup of Tea ☕️

The Revolutionary Mosaic Law | Inspiring Philosophy (Michael Jones) 📽 →

I still remember when I realized that the Mosaic Law was flawed and that that’s okay. It broke my brain to think that God would have created an imperfect law! Some Christians disagree with me on this, but while the Mosaic Law was revolutionary for its time and place, it also was not perfect.

It was designed with concessions to deeply flawed human beings, but it was also designed to move them forward to be better than their neighbors. If God had tried to make a perfect law for Israel to follow, they would have failed or rebelled (sooner than they did anyway). That doesn’t mean that we can or should question every aspect of the Mosaic Law, but there’s a reason that Jesus abolished or strengthened many parts of it during his ministry.

This video from Michael Jones works in the other direction. It shows just how revolutionary it was for its time. He works through the Mosaic Law and other laws and codes of its time to show that the Mosaic Law truly was more in line with God’s moral character.

Keep Your Mind on Things Above

I will be praying for you this week.

So whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be applauded by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.
— Matthew 6:2 (CSB)

Joel Fischer