A Short Lesson About Reading the Bible

bibleThere’s an old saying about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.  The key to understanding scripture is context.  If you quote half a verse to support any argument, the first thing I’m going to do is go find the whole verse, then read the whole paragraph.  We need to know who is writing, to whom, and under what circumstances before applying any particular verse to our situation.

There are always critics of religion in general and of Christianity in particular that insist religion was invented or the Bible was written to control people.  Roman emperors used religion to build an empire, Medieval kings used it to build wealth and add territory, and Christians today use scripture to justify everything from suppressing women to persecuting homosexuals.  Sadly, to some extent, each of those arguments have some merit.  Emperor Constantine made the switch from persecuting Christians to embracing Christianity in order to defeat the enemies of the Roman Empire.  I think we should blame Rome for that, not Christ.  The problem with the Middle Ages is that the vast majority of Europeans were illiterate.  If the kings and knights of Medieval Europe could have read the Bible for themselves, they would not have been so easily manipulated.  Thank God for Gutenberg,  am I right?  Which brings us to today. Continue reading

On the Issue of Slavery

slavesinegypt“And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.”  Numbers 20:5 

In Numbers chapter 20 the Hebrews are complaining to Moses that he has brought them out of Egypt into the wilderness.  You see, even though they had been slaves in Egypt, the Hebrews were used to having certain things.  There they had lived in houses, not tents.  There was plenty of water to drink via the Nile River.  And one thing they brought up a lot was the food.  The Hebrews missed the pomegranates of all things.  Egypt had those. Continue reading