I'm taking a 3 month sabbatical starting in May. This is something many Christian ministers find helpful. The Diocese of Rochester, within which I serve, used to recommend this every 7 years (although I see that their guidance now says 10 years).
Many Christians struggle with the conquest of Canaan in the Old Testament. We don't get there until the book of Joshua, but to the modern mind it can seem like barbaric genocide. The people of Israel were told to conquer the land of Canaan, which was already occupied.
Genesis 2:18 describes God making Eve as a "helper" (
This particular word occurs 19 times in the Old Testament, and it pays to notice carefully what it does and does not mean elsewhere.
What was the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and why was it a sin to eat its fruit?
Bruce Waltke is very helpful, on page 86 of his Genesis commentary:
What's the whole of Genesis about?
Jason Hood, over at the SAET blog, has some very sensible things to say about how the whole book speaks a message that needs to be heard by NT Christians, and what's more speaks it with great clarity:
His full post is not long and is well worth a read: http://www.saet-online.org/why-moses-wrote-genesis/09/
Here's a small extract to whet the appetite and send you to the full thing:
Scientifically, the fire and cataclysmic destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah may be explained by an earthquake. Heat, gases, sulphur, and bitumen would have been spewed into the air through the fissures formed during a violent earthquake (14:10). The lightning that frequently accompanies an earthquake would have ignited the gases and bitumen.
Reading Bruce Waltke's commentary on Genesis, he has a fine couple of paragraphs on page 264 where he explores how the sign of circumcision relates to baptism today. I agree with nearly everything he says, and it's so helpful that I thought I'd put it here in case it's helpful for some:
Last Sunday, I explained that Sarai and Abram attempted to solve the problem of their childlessness through Sarai offering her maid, Hagar, to Abram as a second wife.
I said that, even though we find this unacceptable today, in that day and age this was a socially acceptable way to raise an heir.
The problem with doing this was not that it was socially unacceptable but that it did not arise out of their trust in God.