7. Interpreting the Bible and Finding the Truth

The words “the truth” will shock postmodernists and deconstructionists. Good. But it asks: How do we study and interpret the Bible? How do we find truth which really is out there, around us? This post is a simple reply to claims of unsolvable ambiguities in the Bible.

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5. The Deconstructed Jesus

Deconstruction overturns privileged hierarchy and meaning. Defenders promise us that they do not practice Anything Goes in their deconstruction of texts. Do they keep their promise? How do we verify it? Click on this link only if you have courage.

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1. Postmodernism and the Bible: Introduction

So begins an eight-past series. In the late 1980s or early 1990s, a pastor reported this conversation (as I recall it) between him and a woman from his large congregation. She apparently wanted him to approve of something.

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7. Torah and Slavery: Marrying Captives of War

Scripture: Deut. 21:10-14. War was a fact of life in the ancient Near East. When a soldier whose army was victorious saw a woman he was attracted to, what could he do? The Torah regulates this cultural fact.

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6. Torah and Slavery: Foreign Slaves

Scriptures: Lev. 25:44-46 and Deut. 23:15-16 (and Exod. 21:16, again, with its parallel Deut. 24:7). As we have observed in this series, slavery was a cultural fact of the ancient Near East. When an Israelite bought a foreign slave or a foreigner residing among them, what were his obligations to care for them and what rights did the slaves have? This post also has two parallel cases in colonial Virginia.

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4. Torah and Slavery: What Happened When Masters Punished Their Slaves?

Scriptures: Exod. 21:20-21, 26-27; Lev. 25:43, 46. There were two cultural (and unpleasant) facts in the ancient Near East, long before the Torah existed: (1) Masters hit their slaves to punish them, and (2) slaves had secondary status. How does the Torah intervene and regulate those two pre-existing facts? (I also include cases of a servant girl dying allegedly from a beating and a servant boy who was flogged for theft, in colonial Philadelphia.)

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3. Torah and Slavery: Impoverished Father Sells His Daughter to Be a ‘Secondary Wife’

Scripture: Exod. 21:7-11. In a culture of arranged marriage and widespread poverty, fathers in the ancient Near East did this long before the Torah existed. Now the Torah has to intervene and tell the men what the daughter’s legal rights were. This post also looks at polygamy.

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2. Torah and Slavery: Israelite Indentured Servants

Scriptures: Exod. 21:2-6; Lev. 25:39-42; Deut. 15:12-18. The Torah balances out fairness with generosity, yet it is still obviously situated in the ancient world–its own cultural context. It is always best to evaluate these ancient texts on their own terms and in their own times. Let’s see what we can discover. For comparison, this post includes the case of an indentured servant in colonial Philadelphia.

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1. Torah and Slavery: Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar

Scripture to be studied: Gen. 16:1-4. Hagar was a handmaid to Abraham’s wife, Sarah. Critics claim that Abraham could have sex with Hagar whenever he wanted because she was a slave. This post also looks into polygamy. It also includes a case of a slave woman named Lucy and her three children in 1827-1828, South Carolina, America, just for a comparison.

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False Prophets in Sinai Covenant and Imperfect Prophets in New Covenant: Life and Death Differences

Youtube critics daily, it seems, call for the blood of Christian prophets who are mistaken about some of their prophecies. The critics read Deuteronomy 13 and 18 and demand the death penalty for their ministries. But what did Paul say about them? Let’s do a side-by-side comparison of the OT and the NT.

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What 1 Corinthians 14 Really Teaches

An old-fashioned Bible study here. There is a lot of confusion in certain quarters of the global Renewal Movement. How can we clear up the confusion? What did Paul really teach in 1 Corinthians 14? Are we willing to obey his teaching or just run roughshod over it?

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John 10:34-36 and Psalm 82: Who Were the ‘Gods’ and ‘Sons of Most High’?

Who were the “gods” and “sons of the Most High” in Psalm 82:6? Whom does Jesus say they were in John 10:34-36? Many commentators offer their opinion, and they are unanimous about who they were not. Now what about–who they were?

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Cosmic Disasters = Apocalyptic Imagery for Judgment and Major Change

“Four blood moons!” said popular books. If we interpret the following passages literally, then the cosmos (earth, sky, heavens, stars, worlds, seas, planets, sun, moon, and so on) would not exist as we observe it today. Instead, let’s use wisdom to interpret the Bible in its context.

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What Does the New Covenant Retain from the Old?

How much continuity and discontinuity is there between the New Covenant and the Sinai Covenant? This article is designed to answer the confusion between hyper-grace on the one side and legalism on the other.

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‘Total’ Inerrancy and Infallibility or Just Infallibility?

A brief history of a controversy over the Bible in America, since the 1970s. I offer my view of Scripture, at the end.

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Does God Cause Natural Disasters to Punish People Today?

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes and tsunamis—natural disasters slam humankind every year. Did God do that? What does the Bible say? Two different covenants make all the difference—a progressive revelation.

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How Jesus Christ Fulfills the Law: Matthew 5:17-19

Christ fulfilled or paid off your debt to the Law. It’s paid in full. He accomplishes this by fulfilling the holiness demand in the law and the fullest revelation of God’s character.

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How Christians Should Interpret the Old Testament

When the Old and New Testaments are interpreted carefully and rightly, using Scripture to interpret Scripture, this truth will emerge: Jesus Christ fulfills the old law, in many, many areas.

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Works Cited

Here is a list of the principal works referenced or used at this site. More will be added as time goes on, so please check back.

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