Archives for March 2019

Are You a Drunk Preacher? You Are When You Use the Bible This Way.

By David Helm

Scottish poet Andrew Lang once landed a humorous blow against the politicians of his day with a clever line indicting them for their manipulation of statistics. With a slight alteration in language, the quip could equally be leveled against many Bible teachers today: “Some preachers use the Bible the way a drunk uses a lamp post … more for support than for illumination.” [Read more…]

A Brief Primer on Christian Mission

The word mission is used today in a plethora of contexts. Diplomats, fighter pilots, and some elementary school teachers refer to their work as a mission. Virtually every business, from auto-parts distributors to fast-food restaurants, possesses an articulated mission statement. [Read more…]

The Geopolitical Context of the New Testament, in 9 Brief Points.

By Mark J. Keown, ThD

At the time of the New Testament, Israel had been an occupied country, at least in part, since the eighth century BC. Its location on the Fertile Crescent meant that anyone seeking to dominate the region had to take control of Israel as it provided a key trade and military link between Europe, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and Africa. [Read more…]

The Shop Clock Is Counting Down: Final Hours to Save 60%

Save up to 60% on commentaries and courses during the final hours of the Logos March Matchups sale.

Early this month we put together bundles for each book of the Bible and then put them head to head. We did the same with courses. [Read more…]

Get This Free Ryken Book before It Goes Away

For a few more days, get How Bible Stories Work for free—plus two more books for less than $5.

Dr. Ryken is Professor of English Emeritus at Wheaton College and has spent his career teaching people how to study the written word. In the preface to his Reading the Bible as Literature Collection, he explains, “It is my belief that a literary approach to the Bible is the common reader’s friend, in contrast to the more specialized types of scholarship on the Bible.” [Read more…]

3 “Rules” for Using Commentaries Today

“There’s no way to know it without discovery.” — Sara Groves, songwriter

Groves isn’t talking about commentaries when she sings that line, but she’s describing a fundamental truth about deep knowledge: it only comes by discovery. And discovery cannot be rushed.

Ideally, anyone digging into a biblical text wants to understand what God is revealing about himself. The truths will be big, so they must be studied slowly and from every angle.

Here’s how to use commentaries as tools for discovery, rather than shortcuts to answers. [Read more…]

20 Deals That Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck

The results are in, the discounts are set, and it’s your time to shine!

Of all the hundreds of resources available, here are the ones that give you the most bang for your buck. [Read more…]

Act Fast—These Deals Are out the Door

In all the excitement of Logos March Matchups, you may have missed other deals running this month on Logos.com.

Here’s your chance to snag discounted books before the month ends. [Read more…]

Meet Your Champions: A Little about the Winning Bundles and Courses

Logos March Matchups is a wrap—but the deals are just beginning.

Meet your champions.

At the above link, you can browse the two winners—the Hebrews bundle and the Gospels and History Mobile Ed bundle—as well as the runners-up in both categories.

Here’s a bit of commentary on each one: [Read more…]

Consistent Inconsistency in the Book of Revelation

The Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem (1867) by Francesco Hayez 1

Is the book of Revelation a linear chronology of distant future events? Or does the book describe the Roman persecution of Christians and Rome’s destruction of the temple—events that occurred in John’s lifetime? The first view opts for a mid-AD 90s authorship (long after the temple was destroyed), the second supports a pre-AD 70s authorship (when the temple was still standing). Each of these readings is complicated by Revelation 11:1–2:

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.”

Taken literally, these verses indicate the Jerusalem temple still stands—apparent proof that Revelation was written before ad 70. If so, the idea that John is describing the Roman persecution and invasion—empowered by Satan and his hatred for the Church—must be valid. However, while the defense of this view takes this passage literally, most people who prefer to see Revelation written before ad 70 read the rest of Revelation symbolically, matching John’s descriptions to some feature of the Roman Empire and its caesars.

Those who read Revelation in terms of distant future events often point to the mid-90s authorship. They prefer a symbolic reading of Revelation 11—a departure from their preference for taking the rest of Revelation quite literally (even to the point of describing futuristic military weaponry in John’s visions).

Who is the literalist now? It’s difficult to be consistent in the book of Revelation.

The Early Church Father Clement of Rome offers us clues for understanding how this passage might be understood. Clement wrote long after the Jerusalem temple had been destroyed, but he used the present tense when speaking of the temple (1 Clement 40–41). He does this to strike an analogy between the orderly worship of the temple in times past with a current concern about worship. The same may be true of Revelation 11:1–2. It’s not unusual for biblical writers to speak of a past event in language that sounds contemporary. In other words, the temple might be long gone, but references to it serve some other literary or theological purpose taking center stage in the writer’s mind. Nonetheless, this doesn’t exclude the possibility of interpreting Revelation in light of events in Rome. It just proves that neither approach can be fully accepted.

When reading a complicated book like Revelation, it’s helpful to address where views deviate in their interpretive approach. It might be more revealing than we ever expected.

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why is the bible hard to understandDr. Michael S. Heiser is the author of The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible and has taught many Mobile Ed courses, including Problems in Biblical Interpretation: Difficult Passages I.

This article is excerpted from Dr. Heiser’s book I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible.

Discover more fascinating aspects of the Bible with Dr. Heiser

Keep exploring the strange, perplexing, and mysterious aspects of the Bible with these excerpts from Dr. Michael S. Heiser’s The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. Or dive deeper into the supernatural world of the Bible and pick up a copy of The Unseen Realm today.