Pickle Parable: Extended Metaphor

There is value in using simple images we are familiar with to help us understand more complex concepts. The Bible is rich with such imagery. But sometimes we get carried away and a metaphor can be overextended. At some point every analogy breaks down and it is possible to complicate the issue we started out trying to simplify. I didn’t want to add to the original post but the wife and I had a discussion about the Parable of the Pickle Jar and I submit the following for your consideration. Continue reading

Parable of the Pickle Jar

Screenshot 2019-03-25 at 2.13.26 PMPickle jars can be tough. A new pickle jar can be tough for an adult to open but to a five year old it might as well be impossible. The jars are sealed warm so that as the contents cool the lid caves in just a bit. That way the button “pops” when you open it letting you know the jar has been locked up air tight since it was packed, giving you the piece of mind that the contents have not been tampered with. While I appreciate the safety feature understanding it doesn’t make the lid any easier to open. There’s nothing a kindergartner appreciates more than Mommy or Daddy reaching their arms around and popping loose that impossible lid. Continue reading

A Christian Response to Racism

biblePerhaps a better title would be A Scriptural Response to Racism but this is copied and pasted directly from a Facebook post I put up yesterday. There is so much upheaval in the world today and we are bombarded with information from traditional media to social media 24/7. When it gets to be too much, the Christian believer needs to step back, take a breath, and remember that we are in the world but not of the world. 

I don’t mean an official resolution passed by any group of representatives from any church denomination; my congregation will tell you that we read a lot of scripture. Every sermon, every Wednesday night Bible study, every Sunday school lesson begins with reading scripture and keeps going back to it. So this is not any particular Christian leader’s response to racism, this should be “our” response to hate and racism anywhere based on the inspired Word we live by. Continue reading

Academic Discussion: Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh

It’s been almost two years since we had a series of academic discussions. You can see all of those titles by clicking here. What do I mean by academic discussion? We can present evidence, share our logic and reasoning, but the position we take can be neither proven nor disproven. Such an exercise can hone our analytic or linguistic skills, but at a practical level there is little value if that’s the only type of discussion we are having. I will continue to spend most of my time and energy sharing the Gospel, offering apologetics and encouraging others, but occasionally…

Screenshot 2015-10-30 at 9.36.29 AMThe Apostle Paul refers to a thorn in his flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:7 that he credits with keeping him humble. There has been much debate and discussion as to what this particular thorn was, and even if we are capable of knowing. In the Tyndale New Testament Commentary on Galatians, R. Alan Cole states that there is “no real evidence” that Paul’s trouble had anything to do with his eyes. While there may be no real evidence I think that clues left by Paul combined with modern medical understanding point very convincingly to just such a conclusion. Continue reading

Verse by Verse Bible Study

I want to share with my friends and readers the different Bible studies I’m in right now, but don’t want to sound like I’m bragging. I work in full time ministry, so there’s lots of people leading many different activities all around us. I’m not trying to wave in anyone’s face how holy I am or anything like that.

I remember my dad teaching through the book of Matthew when I was in the 8th grade. We might do a few verses this week, or just one. Then we’d pick up next Sunday where we left off. It takes months sometimes to get through a book this way (or years) but it provides a thorough understanding. I seem to have wound up in several studies like that at the same time. The Sunday School class I attend is studying the book of Galatians. Anytime you study one of Paul’s letters you get some history of Paul, and often compare what he writes to one church with what is written to another.

Our Sunday a.m. text until advent begins is the book of Phillipians. The a.m. small group my wife and I lead is working through the Gospel of Mark. And our men’s morning devotional group is doing a verse by verse study of Nehemiah. That’s a total of 2 epistles, 1 gospel account, and one Old Testament book of history. I don’t always take enough time to study scripture on my own. This whole situation is a blessing to me because of the consistency.