Monthly Archives

Children see things so clearly

Mon, 29/06/2009 - 09:57 -- James Oakley

“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” (Luke 10:21)

I have always read this, but subconsciously read Jesus to say “and revealed them to those who are not terribly wise or understanding — in fact, some thoroughly unexpected people”.

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12 years and Mark chapter 5

Wed, 24/06/2009 - 12:54 -- James Oakley

R T France thinks that, in looking for links between the story of the raising of Jairus's daughter and the healing of a bleeding woman, recourse to the detail of “12 years” is “a counsel of despair” (page 235, fn 20).

Interesting, Larry Hurtado does not agree. From page 88 of his commentary:

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Their cry goes up, 'How long?'

Fri, 19/06/2009 - 13:43 -- James Oakley

The Church's one foundation
Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is His new creation
By water and the word;
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride,
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.

Elect from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation—
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses
With every grace endued.

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The Gerasene Demoniac: Following context

Fri, 19/06/2009 - 11:17 -- James Oakley

This follows on from my previous post: The Gerasene Demoniac: Prior Context.

The story of the Gerasene demoniac is followed by the integrated accounts of the raising of Jairus's daughter to life, and the healing and cleansing of the woman with a long-standing haemorrhage. These two accounts appear to be unrelated to each other, although the fact that Mark has interwoven them tells us that he sees a connection. Mark always weaves stories together for a reason.

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Interpreting the parables

Tue, 09/06/2009 - 10:46 -- James Oakley

Mark 4:10-12 falls between the telling of the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-9) and its explanation (Mark 4:13-20).

In these verses, Jesus explains why he used parables to teach. Parables act as a filter, because the amount gleaned varies according to whether the hearer wishes to put the teaching into practice or not. Merely listened to with disinterest, they will remain at arms length; however, the person who wishes to live out what Jesus teaches will understand them enough to do so.

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Parable of the sower: A bumper crop

Mon, 08/06/2009 - 10:45 -- James Oakley

The parable of the sower, whilst cautioning that the responses to the word will vary, is overall designed to encourage us to expect a good response.

I've noted before that the word for "seed" in Mark 4 is singular in verses 4, 5 and 7, but plural in verse 8. This is all the more striking when you consider that "seed" is a collective noun in Greek as much as in English, "seeds" is bad grammar. Seed may fall on the path. Seed may wither in shallow soil. Seed may be choked by weeds. But seeds will flourish.

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Psalm chants

Wed, 03/06/2009 - 17:05 -- James Oakley

Anyone wanting to learn how Anglican Chant works as a musical style for the Psalms could look at a couple of introductory webpages.

There is a helpful one on the BBC website at

There is a helpful one on Wikipedia at, where I particularly like the example given - with a colour-coded musical stave that can be matched up to the text of part of the Magnificat printed in the same colours. Nice.

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Objections to Preterism

Wed, 03/06/2009 - 13:57 -- James Oakley

Steve's Jeffery charts a helpful course through the most common objections to preterism.

So, if you don't know what preterism is, or if you're unsure as to whether there's something inherently dodgy in that view known as preterism, or if you have friends who are in one of those boats, I would recommend reading his post.

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