Tempted In Every Way As We Are

Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was “tempted in every way as we are – yet without sin.” I had someone mention to me a book which suggested that this must have included same-sex attraction, since otherwise Jesus was not tempted in every way the author was. This seems to take things too far – in [Read More...]

Outside the Gate

As we reached the end of Hebrews in my Sunday school class last week, I was struck once again by how there are texts which are so clearly at odds with mythicism, and yet which are explained away with a little hand-waving. One example is the reference to Jesus suffering “outside the gate” (Hebrews 13:12). [Read More...]

Is Being Right the Point of Christianity?

Yesterday in my Sunday school class, we continued a discussion that started last time, sparked by Hebrews 12, where it depicts God as one who disciplines – or more literally “whips” of “flogs” – his children for their benefit. There was general agreement that, while some ancient people may have viewed misfortunes that came their [Read More...]

The Most Shocking Verse in Hebrews?

The most shocking verse in the Epistle to the Hebrews? No, I’m not referring to that verse near the end of the epistle where the author, apparently seriously, refers to having written “briefly.” I’m referring to Hebrews 10:19, which says “we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place.” I don’t think that Christians today, familiar [Read More...]

The First Millennials

The conversation about millennials and church decline continues – see for instance posts by Richard Beck, Bob Cornwall (and another), Tripp Fuller, Hollis Phelps, Eddie Kouya, Allan Bevere, Travis Mamone, Caris Adel, Ann Fontaine, David Hayward, Chris Attaway, and Shannon Barber. Many have suggested that this discussion is one that happens, if not every generation, at [Read More...]

Sacrificing Sacrificial Language

The last time my Sunday school class met, we discussed whether the language of “sacrifice” is essential to Christian thinking about the death of Jesus, or is a metaphor or illustration used in New Testament texts precisely because it related the death of Jesus to something familiar, helping people to make sense of it. In [Read More...]

Hebrews 9: A Bloodbath

Hebrews 9 is the source of a couple of popular “memory verses” in conservative Evangelical circles. It was interesting to explore it in my Sunday school class today in a way that got at some key questions, both in terms of the exploration of the meaning of the text in its original context, and how [Read More...]

Faith that Moves Mountains

David Hayward's latest cartoon has a real life story behind it. Dashrath Manjhi lived in a remote part of Bihar, India. Because of a mountain range with no road through it, when his wife needed urgent medical help, she died, because help could not reach her in time. And so he spent more than the [Read More...]

Hebrews: The Point

In my Sunday school class this weekend we reached chapter 8. It was nice, after so many chapters, to finally reach what the NIV renders as “the point of what we are saying.” Those who may have felt like shouting “Get to the point!” in previous classes presumably felt vindicated. But what is the point [Read More...]

Hebrews: On Earth as it is in Heaven?

I’ve discussed Hebrews a lot lately, since I’ve been working through it in my Sunday school class. A comment on a recent post got me thinking once again about an aspect of Hebrews that continues to puzzle me: How the author can speak about the Son both as a celestial reality that seems to be [Read More...]

Gentiles and Crap

As we continued working our way through Hebrews today in my Sunday school class, the mention of the curtain (separating the holy place from the most holy place or “holy of holies”), and the lack of mention of the temple (the author focuses instead on the tabernacle), led us to a broader discussion of the [Read More...]


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