Bible

The Census in the time of Quirinius

Sat, 21/12/2019 - 10:00 -- James Oakley

I often hear it said that Luke got his history wrong in Luke 2:1-6. He refers to "the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria". It is said that there was no such census; it never took place.

This is a serious charge to levy against a gospel writer who is historically impeccable when he records any fact for which we have independent records, and who says (Luke 1:1-4) that he worked hard to check everything out with primary eye witnesses.

Much ink has been spilled on this. However, the commentary on Luke by Darrell Bock is thorough and contains a helpful excursus examining this question at length. For my own future reference, and for the benefit of others, here's a summary of his argument.

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The Americans: Sacrifice Everything

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley
Elizabeth and Paige Jennings

I sometimes note illustrations here that may be useful for me to find later, and that may be useful for others as well.

Here's the teaching of Christ:

Give up everything to follow Christ

This is a familiar part of what Jesus taught: It costs to follow him.

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Psalm 2 and 2 Peter 1

Tue, 17/09/2019 - 15:55 -- James Oakley

So often, when you read a commentary on part of the Bible you're studying, you have pages and pages of material but the commentator doesn't seem to be puzzling over the same details of the passage as you are.

How refreshing when the commentator asks exactly the questions you were asking, and has some very sensible things to say.

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Neither poverty nor riches

Wed, 28/08/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

This year is the 300th anniversary of Robinson Crusoe, the debut novel of Daniel Defoe published on 25th April 1719. It is said to be the first novel published in the English language, and since 1719 has been printed in many editions. It is many years since I read it, so I thought it time to do so again.

The novel starts with Robinson's father seeking to persuade the stubborn lad not to go to sea. His efforts are sincere and emotional, but in vain.

Love God. Fear God

Mon, 26/08/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley
Fear

There are lots of ways the New Testament is different from the Old. That's why it's called "New". A testament is another word for "covenant", and the book of Hebrews describes this by repeating the adjective "better".

But there are also lots of ways that the New Testament simply builds on the Old, transforming it, fulfilling it, colouring it in, but not replacing it. In fact, this is so much so, that when we read the Old Testament we rarely have to ask: "What is the complete contrast for us?", but far more often ask "What do the lessons here look like for us today?"

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Jesus in the Old Testament

Mon, 19/08/2019 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

It's funny how an issue looks different depending on who you're talking to.

When I was at college, my third year dissertation was looking at the faith of the Old Testament saints. How much about God and the gospel did Abraham know? Is he an example that it's possible to be saved without explicitly knowing about Jesus? Or did he know more than we give him credit for.

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