Why I Struggle With The Old Testament

Problem with BibleWhy I Struggle With the Old Testament

I’ve posted a few articles recently about the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. I was inspired to do so by a seminary student friend who used to be an atheist. He told me he became a Christian when he learned about the reliability of the New Testament scriptures. But he also explained to me the process the Jewish people went through to copy the Torah. If they made a single mistake they would destroy the document and start over. The ancient Hebrew, like English today, has a numeric value associated with each letter (in English A=1, B=2, C=3, and so on). After copying each line of scripture, they would add up the numeric value of each line and compare it to the original. If there was a difference, they destroyed the document and started over.

It’s Not the Accuracy, It’s What It Says

So it’s not the accuracy of the Old Testament scriptures that bothers me. What bothers me about the Old Testament is what’s written. Some of the Continue reading

Torah to be Preserved–on the Moon?

Torah to the moon

Last post we looked at a guy who transcribed a copy of the complete Torah, with perfect accuracy, using a feather pen and a sheepskin parchment (it took him eight years). Today I saw a story about how the moon might be used to preserve the Torah. As newscientist.com put it, the moon will be used as sort of a backup hard drive for the supercomputer we call Earth. Let me explain. Continue reading

Man Copies Torah Without a Single Mistake (Using a Feather Pen and a Sheepskin Parchment)

Bible reliableAs the Washington Post article stated, “Forget auto-correct.” It wasn’t available to Richard Epstein, the man who copied the Torah over an eight year period. According to Jewish tradition even one error would make the entire text unfit for use in Jewish worship.

Epstein said of his accomplishment:

“I feel like basically the Torah wrote me, more than I wrote the Torah–that it really shaped me. When you write, you go much slower than you think, and especially when you’re writing the Torah. It’s wet and it’s gooey.”

Epstein followed the Jewish tradition of speaking each word out loud, and then speaking each letter in that word out loud before writing it. Continue reading

The Meaning of Life

Meaning of LifeLeo Tolstoy was famous, influential, and well off when he wrote this.

The question–that which at the age of fifty brought me to the edge of the abyss–was the simplest of questions… “What will come of what I am doing today or shall do tomorrow? What will come of my whole life?”

Differently expressed, the question is: “Why should I live, why wish for anything, or do anything?” It can also be expressed thus: “Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?”

My deeds whatever they may be will be forgotten sooner or later, and I myself will be no more, why then do anything? I therefore could not attach a rational meaning to a single act of my entire life. The only thing that amazed me was how I had failed to realize this from the very beginning. How could anyone fail to see this? That’s what is amazing.

It’s possible to live, as long as life intoxicates us. But once we’re sober…

What are you living for?

References:

Leo Tolstoy, A Confession

Kevin Kim

Timothy Keller

The Bible: It’s Out of Date and Irrelevant–Isn’t It?

Bible outdated It’s just so old, right? It’s something that was written for a culture that hasn’t been around for 2,000 years. It’s gone through so many translations, there’s no way the Bible we have today could be anywhere close to what the original was.

It’s trendy right now to hold that opinion of the Bible. But is it true? Jesus’ acts and his words, passed down through a long process of oral tradition can’t possibly be accurate, could they? Continue reading

If You’re Avoiding God Intentionally, Don’t Read This

How can I find GodSo your faith feels dry. You have no desire to read the bible. And when you do, you read a paragraph and forget what you’ve read, so you read it again–and forget it again. The words on the page just feel lifeless. You find no inspiration in them.

You have no desire to go to church. The effort to get up, get ready, drive to church, and sit for an hour listening to mundane platitudes with a group of people you don’t even know, it just feels pointless.

God doesn’t feel personal, He doesn’t even feel present.

Where is God anyway?

You ask yourself, “Why can’t I find Him?”

Do you want to know why? Do you really want to find Him? Or are you avoiding Him intentionally.

If you’re avoiding Him intentionally then stop reading now. Continue reading

Bad Christian Examples (and what that has to do with Blazers’ point guard Damian Lillard)

I’ve been watching the NBA playoffs lately. Mostly Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. Lillard knocked down an amazing three point shot at the buzzer at the end of the sixth game, to win the series against the Houston Rockets. It was epic. I’ve heard that Lillard has, heroes. Heroes who inspire him. Tony Parker, Jason Kidd, and Brandon Roy just to name a few. And obviously, studying these successful NBA guards produced results in Damian Lillard. It’s a big part of what makes him great today.

Occasionally I’ll come across an article about the worst draft busts in NBA history, or the worst NBA players ever to set foot on the court. You know I never hear anything about any up and coming young NBA players studying those guys. I don’t hear about Damian Lillard studying bad examples of NBA point guards. He’s focused on the Parkers, Kidds, and Roys of the league. It’s part of what makes him a successful basketball player.

So here’s my question: Continue reading

Sleeping In

Why go to churchI was way too tired to go to church. Every molecule craved sleep. We were in Portland for a birthday party the day before and didn’t get home until late. Early the next morning, Sunday morning, Jesus’ words came to mind, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

“I’m so grateful for those words,” I said to myself. And I decided to sleep in.

And I know that would have been fine in the eyes of the Father, to sleep in on Sunday morning. But suddenly I found myself awake somehow. It was one of those mornings when I somehow just couldn’t continue to sleep. So I jumped in the car and headed to church. And when I was there, I heard these words:

“Be gracious to people. Be as kind as you possibly can.”

He was teaching on the woman caught in adultery. A teaching I’ve heard a hundred times. I didn’t realize it at that moment, but Continue reading

Fame vs. Greatness

I was on Russell Okung’s Twitter site today (Okung plays left tackle for the Seattle Seahawks) and came across this from Tera Carissa Hodges.

God told Abraham I will make your name GREAT, while in Matthew 4, satan didn’t offer Jesus greatness, he offered Him fame.

You know, I just never thought about it that way, but it’s true. What a difference there is between fame and greatness. And it just struck me. It struck me as one of the most on target statements I’ve heard in a long time. It’s on target for a culture that craves fame.

Jesus didn’t seek fame. Many times after a miracle he gave strict instructions to the person healed, not to tell anyone. He lost many followers when he gave his teaching on eating his body, the bread of life, and drinking his blood. (Mark 7:36, Matthew 8:4John Chapter 6)

Jesus’ focus was on loving his Father and loving people. And Jesus’ priority was pleasing his Father, without regard for the opinions of people, and without regard for fame.

And he was truly great. The greatest we’ll ever see.

A dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:24-27