Prophets

Jericho and Violence

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 13:07 -- James Oakley
Archaeological Remains at Jericho

On Sunday at church, we looked briefly at Joshua 6, the fall of Jericho.

I say briefly. This was an all-age service, and we're running through a Bible overview at these monthly services. So my rule of thumb is that the talk should be followable by someone aged about 7, whilst having application and food for thought for those of any age. That means one main point, and the talk has to be brief.

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What is an "Apocalpyse"

Wed, 06/09/2017 - 10:50 -- James Oakley
Four Horsemen of Apocalypse by Viktor Vasnetsov

I'll just park this here for future reference.

Sometimes you see writers say that certain parts of the Bible are written in the "apocalyptic" style of writing.

Recognising the "genre" of part of the Bible can be very important when it comes to reading it properly. For instance, parables and historical narrative communicate in very different ways; you'd completely misread the gospels if you confused them.

Written on his hands

Wed, 19/04/2017 - 10:59 -- James Oakley

When you have something you do not want to forget, do you write it on your hand? Some people write things on the palms of their hands; others write things on the back; others don't do this at all.

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Manna-eating worms

Tue, 16/12/2014 - 12:39 -- James Oakley

I owe to my friend John Goulding the following observation:

In Jonah 4, God provided a plant to shield Jonah from the heat. The verb "to provide" is a key-word in Jonah - it's מָנָה (manah). The worm that ate the manah / the provided plant was a תּוֹלָע (tola`). That's not a common word in the Old Testament (39x). 27 of those are in the book of Exodus, where the usual meaning is (by metonymy) the purple die made from a particular type of worm. But one is Exodus 16:20.

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Israel becomes Egypt

Thu, 12/06/2014 - 11:32 -- James Oakley

Oh, the pain of leaving things out.

I'm preaching on 1 Kings 11-12 on Sunday. As is always the case with preaching, the aim is to help people to hear what that part of Scripture is saying to us today. And in order to be clear, you have to be ruthless. So often, there are all kinds of really interesting things you've learnt and discovered in the text, and they have to go on the proverbial cutting-room floor.

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Why did David change his mind?

Thu, 05/06/2014 - 20:30 -- James Oakley

I'm preaching on 1 Kings 2 this Sunday, and it's a trickier passage than it first looks.

David had previously overlooked two murders committed by his commander in chief, Joab, and pardoned the insolent Shimei.

Then the time comes to hand over the kingdom to Solomon. (So thank you to King Juan of Spain for choosing this week...). He urges Solomon to bring justice to these two.

So here's the question: Why did David change his mind?

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1 Samuel links back into Judges

Thu, 08/05/2014 - 10:18 -- James Oakley

I've never noticed this before. Sometimes, you notice something in the Bible, it's then so obvious that you wonder why you didn't see it there before. That's a good sign that it's on the right track - it's noticing what's there, rather than reading in things that are not there. It also means it's highly likely that lots of other people have seen it before, and that I'm just playing catch-up - so there are no claims to originality here.

The opening of the book of Samuel anchors the book firmly in its context, as a book following on from Judges.

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Who strikes the Shepherd?

Wed, 20/06/2012 - 12:26 -- James Oakley

In our Christianity Explored group last week, we were discussing Jesus' predictions of Peter's denials, and of his own suffering, death and resurrection, as a prelude to a very good session on Jesus' resurrection.

One of the members of the group asked a question about a detail that I had never noticed before in Mark's text:

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