Not Your Father’s Book of Revelation

My generation’s fathers by and large read the Book of Revelation through the lens of premillennial tribulation-and-rapture debates, who was the antichrist, and if 1948’s rebirth of Israel was not the herald of the last generation before the return of Christ.


Scot McKnight: Invoking the Holy Spirit

If Jesus, So You: The Spirit And Jesus And You

I contend many don’t really think Jesus needed the Spirit or depended upon the Spirit; I contend, too, that those who think that also don’t think (they may not say so) we need the Spirit.

If with Jesus, so also with us.

The New Testament Gospels are not like the other gospels that didn’t make it into our Bible. For example, there is a story about Jesus as a boy making mud birds in a puddle and then, to dazzle those around him, swished his hands and off the birds went flying. That tale didn’t make the cut. It doesn’t portray the real, human Jesus of the four Gospels.

However, we know that the human Jesus had to learn mathematics; he had to learn the names of friends; and he had to grow in wisdom and knowledge like the rest of us. He also had emotions. In fact, the Gospels let us in on how Jesus felt: he was exasperated, he wept, he wailed, he got angry with other people, and he even cried out in despair. But he also expressed victory and triumph….

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Reading The Bible, Interpreting The Bible

A friend of mine recommended that I read David Steinmetz’s well-known essay, “The Superiority of Pre-Critical Exegesis,” in his book Taking the Long View: Christian Theology in Historical Perspective

Here’s at least one of the problems: Bible reading intimidates many ordinary Bible readers, and one reason why is specialists — names not given — are so good at what they do, so insightful in what they teach, and so industrious in their efforts (footnotes galore, historical sources cited galore, knowledge galore) that the ordinary Bible reader has done two things: (1) read the work of specialists and (2) stopped reading the Bible for the sheer delight it brings.

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Philemon: A Call to Reconciliation

McKnight’s commentary on Philemon has a strong message for the church of the twenty-first century. Today, more than ever, the church needs to proclaim a message of reconciliation to our divided society and to a world that has never abandoned the disturbing reality of slavery.

Two factors influence the interpretation of Paul’s letter to Philemon. The first factor is the reality that Rome was a slavery society. In my previous post, Slavery in the Roman World, I introduced McKnight’s discussion on slavery in the Roman empire. No one will be able to understand the book of Philemon unless one gains a good understanding of slavery as it was practiced in the Roman world. My discussion of McKnight’s view on slavery was only a brief summary of the vast amount of information he provides in his commentary.

The second factor that influences the interpretation of Philemon is the two Philemons that are in the background of Paul’s letter. The first Philemon is a Roman citizen, a non-Christian slave owner who probably was a very influential citizen in his society. Paul never introduced the non-Christian Philemon, although he had known Philemon before he became a believer.

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The Letter to Philemon

The Marks of a Christian’s Mind

 By Scot Mcknight

It is how people think, respond, react and outline a case that often marks them out as either Christian or sub-Christian and at times even non-Christian. When an idea provokes response the marks of a consistently Christian mind becomes manifest.

I see this at times when three different words come into play, three words that are profoundly Christian but which can be loaded up with MY convictions so much the words no longer have profoundly Christian meanings. These three words are grace, love, and justice. Sometimes grace is so large there is no repentance or holiness or transformation. Sometimes love is so fuzzy that it means tolerance of well-nigh everything, except a progressive’s pet peeves or a fundamentalist’s deep concerns. Sometimes justice is so central the church and evangelism are shelved and the gospel becomes anti-abortion or anti-whatever-the-GOP believes.

In our day, when everything important to Christians has become politicized, both on the Left and the Right, the manifestation of a Christian mind becomes A#1 Christian Virtue. Rich Mouw, in Uncommon Decency and Adventures in Christian Civility, speaks of civility and this essay today supports his valiant summons.