4th of July, Biblical Civilization, Atheism, and Conversation

To all US citizens, happy 4th of July. May this be a time of reflection on the best of our hopes, while we also consider the worst of our failures as a diverse and imperfect people. In honor of this day, I recently recommended to the very energetic online Coffee With Paul Bible Study partners two fairly recent academic (you have been warned) discussions: Biblical Criticism and the Decline of America’s Biblical Civilisation, 1865-1918  by Mark Noll, 2013 Astor Lecture, Oxford University.   The lecture is…

Creationism vs. Evolution;
Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye “The Science Guy”

I just finished watching the 2.5 hour live debate between Ken Ham (of the Creation Museum in Kentucky) and Bill “The Science Guy” Nye.  The question for discussion was specifically this:  “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”  (http://debatelive.org/) I came to the discussion neither “for” nor “against” anyone.  I just wanted to see how each would present his case. I have great appreciation for both men for their efforts and willingness to engage, and to the Creation Museum for…

Conversational Bible Study–A Personal Journey

Behind Coffee With Paul stands the notion of conversational Bible study. There is nothing mystical or metaphysical about this.  It is just different from what most people do, and it takes a bit of getting used to.  It is all about good Bible study habits.  However, it is approached in a very personal way.  So, this is not weird or some “new alien system” to be forced on Bible study. It is rather good, solid Bible study practice from a perspective of a “live conversation.” …

Stress, Horoscopes, and the Evils of Bible Reading

Just yesterday I had a conversation with a young woman about the fact that she was a Gemini, and she was explaining to me what all of that meant for how she dealt with the stresses of  life day to day.  This was a not a “die-hard” astrologer, or someone that anyone would consider to be avid about such things, it was just a low-key conversation.  And it caught my attention because I noticed that the way she described using a horoscope was strangely like…

Happiness

Today (September 24, 2013) is the 37th anniversary of the death of my daughter, Stacie Michelle.  And in memory of her (this will not be so much about her as in memory of her), I want to write a few words, in general, about happiness.  Some of this will be personal. At the time of this writing, CWP Classroom is in the 2nd session of a class on “The Pursuit of Happiness” led by Oscar Miles. Like many others, I think about this topic from…

YHWH Loves Me This I Know

Talking a bit autobiographically, here . . . I want to comment on how Christians read OT law and how this relates to contextual understanding when reading the ancient scriptures.   So, I’ll begin with an illustration:  how I have tended to view the innumerable laws of the United States.  (This is not a political statement or anything like a sophisticated view of American law.  It is simpy an illustration.) Throughout my life, I have seen both major and minor parts of federal, state, and…

Book Review: Introduction to Biblical Studies (by Steve Moyise)

I was delighted to receive in the mail today the book entitled Introduction to Biblical Studies by Steve Moyise (professor of biblical studies at the University of Chichester, UK).  This is the third edition (2013), but I will simply treat it as a new book for those who have never heard of it before.  This book is written for non-specialists, an introduction for general readers that summarizes the study of the Bible among scholars.  It is a wonderful overview being only 152 pages before about 25…

A New New Testament

Did you know that the NT now begins, not with the Gospel of Matthew, but with “The Prayer of Thanksgiving”?  What, you say, is the “The Prayer of Thanksgiving”?  Well, it is described this way: A short and heretofore almost completely unknown prayer from the earliest eras of Christianity, it acts as a surprising and tender spiritual invocation for all the ANNT collection of traditional and unfamiliar documents. Its only copy exists and was discovered in the Nag Hammadi collection. What Is This New New…

Parousia, Coming of Jesus, Day of the Lord, the Book of Revelation . . . etc., etc.

The CWP Inner Circle is a very exciting group of Bible students from around the US and Canada, as well as the rest of the world, that loves serious Bible study. It is an “open” group, meaning that it is possible in this group to have open conversation about a broad range of ideas without fear of getting ostracized for floating the idea.  However, rather than being an “anything goes” group, it is given to the up-close evaluation of ideas against the context of a…

Book Review: A Concordance You Can Carry

Yes, I know that we all today have an app on our cell phone that allows us to “call up” the Bible and do all kinds of nifty things.  That’s good, I’m not being critical.  However, there is something about learning to use some standard reference tools that cannot be surpassed by any software product, no matter how powerful.  Now I own and use both Logos Bible Software and Bible Works (which I think is better–you’ll see more about this very soon.)  They’re great!   But…