January 17, 2017
I have lived with the New Testament letter of James for many decades. And I frequently puzzled over one aspect of a particular verse: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (Jas 1:27) Why widows and orphans? Why not people who are hungry or ill or grieving? Is there something special about orphans and widows that should take our attention?Continue reading "Widows and Orphans"
December 13, 2016
Election is controversial. Of course, I'm talking about the Christian doctrine, not any recent political events.
For five hundred years Protestants have gone back and forth on the topic of predestination and all its implications. The effect for sensitive souls, however, can be to worry and wonder, "Am I one of the elect? Am I one of the chosen, or will I somehow fall outside the bounds of grace?"Continue reading "Through Old Testament Eyes 4: Who Are the Chosen Ones?"
December 6, 2016
When I first saw Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings I was struck by Howard Shore's musical score, especially his Shire theme. Immediately I noticed that as it begins we can sing right along the opening words of "This Is My Father's World" before it takes off with Shore's own melody. At first I wondered, "Doesn't he know that's a famous hymn tune?" But then it hit me. Of course he does, and he's using it on purpose.Continue reading "Through Old Testament Eyes 3: Getting the Whole Story"
November 1, 2016
Reading the New Testament apart from the Old Testament is like having just one good eye. We can function, certainly. But we will lack depth perception and may misinterpret what we see. Objects may be closer or further away than we think. As a result, we may bump into something we shouldn't have--or miss something we were trying to hit.Continue reading "Through Old Testament Eyes 2: Misreading Jesus' Trial"
October 25, 2016
Many Christians function with half a Bible. When we feel troubled we may go to the Psalms, or when we need an exciting story to keep children entertained we may go to Daniel or Jonah. But that may be about it. We say the whole Bible is authoritative and inspired by God, but sadly the Old Testament remains largely a closed book.Continue reading "Through Old Testament Eyes 1: Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels"
May 12, 2016
December 2, 2014
Consistently when I have taught the Gospel of Mark to college students over the last ten years, the "Aha" reaction comes when I ask them to look up Old Testament passages related to a puzzling verse.
Why does Mark describe what John the Baptist eats and wears but not anyone else? Not Peter. Not Pilate. Not even Jesus.
When Jesus is walking on the water, why does Mark say Jesus intends to pass by the disciples struggling to row against the wind? Doesn't he see them? Doesn't he care?Continue reading "Reading Backwards"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:56 AM