It’s been a decade, but Abram and Sarai still have no child. In their culture, this was a source of great shame: without an heir, their name would die out. They had no future, so God must have been displeased with them. That’s how they (and others in their time) interpreted their childlessness. When someone had a child, God had given them a child; when someone could not have a child, God had thwarted them. Either way, it was understood as an act of God. That’s how Sarai described her situation: “YHWH has kept me from having children” (16:2).
What are we to make of Sarai’s statement?
Continue reading “Divine control? (Genesis 16:2)”
Why does Abram have sex with someone other than Sarai his wife? Why do they have a slave in the first place? And why does Sarai blame God for her childlessness?
What are we to make of a passage like this? Continue reading “Why couldn’t they see it? (Genesis 16:1-3)”
How should we feel about having this car parked at our church? Continue reading “Pleased or disturbed?”
Who is Holy Spirit? How do we relate to him?
These are live sessions (not blog topics), over the next six Monday evenings: Continue reading “Free course: Holy Spirit and You”
Abram has persistent questions. How can he know that YHWH will establish Abram’s descendants as his nation in this land when Abram will be long dead before this ever happens? YHWH responds by offering to commit himself to Abram with a covenant: Continue reading “Covenant with Abram (Genesis 15:7-21)”
Genesis 15:6 (ESV)
And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
This verse is quoted in Romans 4, Galatians 3:6, and James 2:23. If you’re familiar with how the NT uses it, you may find it difficult to see how the verse functions in its original setting. Continue reading “Faith as righteousness (Genesis 15:6)”
Throughout the Old Testament, the word of the Lord came to prophets—both the former prophets (such as Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha), and the writing prophets (Isaiah – Malachi). But it is Abram who first hears the word of the Lord: Continue reading “Was Abram a prophet? (Genesis 15:1-5)”
The Book of Acts opens with a key phrase in the mouth of Jesus, and closes with the same phrase in the mouth of Paul.
I was recently in a small group that asked, “So what’s the theme of the Book of Acts?” There are many ways to answer such a question, but let’s just look at how it opens and closes. Continue reading “Theme of Acts”
So what is the significance of Abram’s meeting with two Canaanite kings, Melchizedek and Bera? Continue reading “How will the nations respond? (Genesis 14:21-24)”
Melchizedek has always fascinated readers and fuelled the imagination of heretics and secret societies. As long ago as the second century, Theodotus of Byzantium venerated him above Christ. Even before Jesus’ time, some of the Qumran texts treated him as an angelic figure. So who was Melchizedek? Continue reading “Who was Melchizedek? (Genesis 14:17-20)”
If you love high-drama action stories, you’ll love this! Abram left everything for the land where God promised he would establish his nation, yet the whole project is constantly under threat: Continue reading “The threat of war (Genesis 14:1-16)”
What would it take to distract you from the hope of the restoration of God’s reign over the world? Continue reading “Lot’s distraction (Genesis 13)”