Does This Textual Variant Have Theological Implications?

After the great flood, everyone had one language. Humanity congregated in the region of Babylonia (“the land of Shinar”) and started building a tower that would reach into the heavens (Gen 11:1–9). God stopped the project by transforming the single language into many—dispersing humanity over the earth and creating the nations and regions listed in Genesis 10. Most people think it ends there, but there’s more. The story picks up again in Deuteronomy 32:8–9. And the story changes, depending on what Bible version you use.

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If Something in the Bible Is Weird, It’s Probably Important

One of the things I enjoy telling people in conversations about Bible study is that “if it’s weird, it’s important.” Numbers 5:11–31 certainly qualifies in both respects. The strangeness of the passage is easily detectable, but only careful Bible study makes its importance apparent.

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There’s a Devil in the Details of the Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement described in Leviticus 16, is a central element of the Jewish faith, even though it is not practiced today as it was in ancient times. Although many Christians have heard of the day, most would be startled to learn that a sinister figure lurks in the shadows of Leviticus 16.

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If “Blood of Bulls & Goats” Can’t Forgive Sins, Why All the OT Bloodshed?

Hebrews 10:4 asserts, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins,” but Leviticus seems to tell a different story. Even casually reading the book, we notice that Israelites who bring proper sacrifices “shall be forgiven” (e.g., Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18). Have we reached an impasse?

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How to List the Ten Commandments? It’s Up for Debate.

Image: Moses and Aaron with the 10 Commandments, Aron de Chaves (1674)

One of the most enduring elements of the Bible and the Judaeo-Christian worldview within Western culture is the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. Even if one can’t recite them all, most people have seen the fiery finger of God etch the commandments into two stone tablets as Moses—for many of us, Charlton Heston—watches in awe.

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A Biblical Tale of Courage You Just Might Need Courage to Teach


Moses’ encounter with God in Exodus 4:21–26 is arguably one of the strangest, most confusing events recorded in the Bible. In this passage, Moses is en route to Egypt—seemingly following God’s call to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh’s vice-like grip. But then something shocking happens:

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Was the Story of Moses Based on an Ancient Legend?

In modern stories people destined for greatness rarely start off privileged. They are dropped off at the doorstep of an orphanage or abandoned in the rain. This literary motif goes back to ancient stories, where writers use the abandoned child theme to identify a character that rises from obscurity to privileged hero status. It’s a motif found in the biblical account of Moses’ birth. But is that really the whole story?

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What’s the Deal with All That Circumcision in the Bible?

circumcision

Circumcision is mentioned nearly 100 times in the Bible. It is a central focus for Old Testament and New Testament theology (Rom 4:9–12; Gal 2:1–12; 5:1–10).

If we’re honest, that just sounds absurd.

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Even the Bible Needed Upgrading, but Don’t Let That Scare You

bible upgrade

Wait a minute. The Bible needed an upgrade?

Those sound like fighting words to anyone with a high view of Scripture. An upgrade implies that something needed updating, but the Bible is timeless!

That’s true, but in this case I would have to excuse myself from the ring. I wouldn’t want to tangle with those responsible for the improvements: the biblical writers and, well, the Spirit of God.

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What Does It Really Mean to Read the Bible in Context?

bible out of context

Cuneiform tablets changed my life. I’m not kidding. As I look back on my 15 years of graduate school in biblical studies, the turning point in how I view the Bible was my course in Ugaritic, a cuneiform language very similar to biblical Hebrew. This class compelled me to transform “read the Bible in context” from a naïve platitude to an issue of spiritual integrity.

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