Old Testament Articles

  • Klaus D. Issler — 

    Does the Old Testament (OT) teach that charging interest on a loan is sinful? Until about the 1500s, most Church leaders agreed that it was sinful,...

  • Sean McDowell — 

    This past Tuesday I took my 13-year old son to visit the newly-opened Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. If I had to pick one word to describe it, the word would be impressive. Sure, I am an apologetics professor at Talbot School of Theology and am naturally interested in the history and cultural impact of the Bible. But I went with high expectations, and the Museum exceeded them ...

  • Klaus D. Issler — 

    For most of the history of the church, church leaders understood that the Old Testament taught a complete ban on any interest on loans. As noted in Part 1, the subject of this study is the matter of loans to fellow Israelites who had the potential for paying the loan back, not the topic of charity to the poor. Three important passages in the Pentateuch or Torah guide the main teaching on loans and interest in the Old Testament ...

  • Klaus D. Issler — 

    For much of church history, pastoral leaders believed the Old Testament taught that no interest should be charged on any loans. The care and protection for the Israelite working poor was the main rationale for such a prohibition that no interest should be charged on such loans. “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him” (Exod 22:25). Before we go too much further, let me state the obvious. What we are discussing here is the matter of loans that were offered to fellow Israelites who had the potential for paying the loan back. One doesn’t offer a loan to someone who has no means of paying it back; in that case one offers charity. The subject of charity is a different one with which the Old Testament makes provision through other means (e.g., gleaning [Lev. 19:9-10], sabbatical year [Exod 23:10-11], and triennial tithes [Deut 14:28-29]). The topic of this blog series is about lending, not charity ...

  • Sean McDowell — 

    A couple of weeks ago I had the chance of visiting the beautiful land of Israel. My wife and I went with Israel Collective, an organization dedicated to peace-making in Israel. We saw remarkable sites, met unique people (Israelis, Palestinians, Druze), heard powerful lectures, and ate some of the best food I have ever had—period ...

  • Michael Thigpen — 

    I just finished watching an excellent DVD series entitled, PovertyCure. In this six-part study, Michael Matheson Miller leads the viewer through an exploration of the causes of poverty, the role of aid in poverty alleviation, and the significant obstacles aid-only approaches create for people seeking to move from poverty to flourishing ...

  • Betsy A. Barber — 

    When my father died, I grieved. My father died on a Sunday morning, early. His hospital roommate told us that Dad had spent his last night—the whole night—praying softly for his family, person by person, before dying peacefully in the early morning. Even though we’d known that he would die soon from bone cancer, and knew that he was eager to be home with the Lord, it was still a shock. It was still too soon. Death is like that: it always surprises us and it interrupts our lives. We stop, and we grieve.

  • Mark R. Saucy — 

    Imagine my double-take when I was confronted with this assessment of our comparative religions by an Orthodox believer several years ago back in Ukraine: “Mark, you Protestants follow a religion of professors, whereas we Orthodox … the religion of monks" ...

  • Michael Thigpen — 

    This summer I had the privilege of attending Acton University. This week-long meeting is hosted by the Acton Institute, a think-tank “whose mission is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.” Common themes at Acton are religious liberty, economic liberty, and natural law. Much like C.S. Lewis’ “mere christianity,” Acton seeks to promote a civil society advanced on natural law reasoning. At Acton one encounters philosophers, economists, entrepreneurs, theologians, biblical scholars, ethicists, and aid workers from around the world ...

  • Daniel Kim — 

    I had the occasion to watch a six-part DVD series called PovertyCure, produced by the Acton Institute. It is indeed an eye-opening series that I’d encourage you to watch. Each part is less than 30 minutes long and is available in the Biola Library (BV4647 .P6 P68 2012 DVD). It challenges the effectiveness of the traditional model of helping the poor through foreign aid in regions where there is wide-spread poverty and the economy is largely depressed. This aid can come in the form of government sponsored foreign aid, through global agencies such as the IMF or World Bank, and even from NGO’s (both secular and Christian). By the end of the series, I think most would at least pause to consider if “aid” (as a “handout”) helps to alleviate poverty, or whether it actually exacerbates the problem ...

  • Charlie Trimm — 

    My forthcoming book on warfare in the Ancient Near East and the Old Testament not only has many words, but also about 150 pictures. While ancient Near Eastern texts are somewhat familiar, visual imagery remains unknown for the most part. This is partly due to the difficulties of acquiring permission to print the pictures. Some pictures I was required to buy directly from museums or professional photographers (and so I will not be able to post these pictures online). However, I was also able to acquire pictures for free from three other sources. First, I will show some pictures that were taken by friends ...

  • William Lane Craig — 

    ... Before I address your question, David, let’s make sure that we state accurately the view I have defended. God’s freedom to issue commands to do certain things that would be immoral in the absence of a divine command is not rooted in God’s having morally sufficient reasons for so commanding. Rather it is rooted in the idea that the source of moral obligation is divine commands, and since God doesn’t issue commands to himself, he therefore has no moral obligations ...

  • William Lane Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, I am a great admirer of yours despite being a non-religious theist myself. For the sake of full disclosure, I have never been able to bring myself to take atheism seriously and am convinced on purely philosophical grounds that the atheist worldview is consigned to logical absurdity. That said, I have never been able to bring myself to subscribe wholeheartedly to any one religion either, and this for a variety different reasons depending on the religion under discussion. However, since you are a Christian I will limit myself to the principal reason why I cannot bring myself to accept Christianity, to which I have yet to receive a satisfying response. I figure if I won't get a compelling answer from Dr. William Lane Craig, then most likely no such answer is available at least for now ...

  • William Lane Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, I have been enjoying your videos and podcasts about your study of the atonement. I have to admit though, that as of right now I don't accept penal substitution. Though I grew up with this view, I now hold a combination of the recapitulation and satisfaction theories. To briefly summarize for the readers, the recapitulation theory teaches that Jesus became like us and did what we should have done, so that in him, we might become like him and do what he did. This is perhaps the oldest theory of the atonement and is the basis for many later theories. The satisfaction theory of St. Anselm adds that Jesus's self sacrificial obedience served as restitution for our sins, or as Anselm calls it, satisfaction. In my opinion, these theories together are more Biblical and intellectually satisfying than penal substitution ...

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    In a post on his blog, "Jesus Creed," eminent New Testament scholar Scot McKnight seems to agree with some of the findings of Claude Mariottini's book Rereading the Biblical Text: Searching for Meaning and Understanding which argues that Gen. 3:15 is not in fact messianic. McKnight further points out that such a conclusion agrees with Old Testament luminaries Gordon Wenham and Gerhard von Rad as well as some translations. These, says McKnight, conclude that the “seed” mentioned in Gen. 3:15 refers to not an individual, but rather the sum total of the descendants of both the woman and the serpent ...

  • Charlie Trimm — 

    The second chapter of my book on warfare in the ancient Near East (see an overview to the book in a previous post) studies the casus belli of the ancient kings. Although presumably kings often went to war to gain plunder, this was not frequently stated in such bald terms. Instead, the most commonly stated reason for warfare was that the king fought to defeat chaos and preserve order in the world. In this post we will look at the Egyptian and Assyrian claims for preserving order as their goal for war and how these claims help us understand Scripture ...

  • Kenneth C. Way — 

    In his forthcoming summative book, called Beyond the Texts, the Syro-Palestinian archaeologist William G. Dever summarizes what is presently known about ancient Israel and Judah based primarily on the artifacts—the material culture that includes textual sources. One example is Dever’s portrait of the historical King David. He offers the following seven propositions about David that are inferred from archaeology and also converge with what is attested in biblical texts ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Summer movies are often the stories of heroes; whether real-life or Marvel®, both are super. These stories inspire as they entertain us. The problem is, most of the time, we are content with letting someone else be the hero. We are too busy, too passive, too self-absorbed, or too afraid of what would happen if we got involved; and so the people around us stay unknown to us and do not receive the help they need. The result is preconceived biases that isolate us from one another and a lack of care and compassion for those who need a place of refuge and relief ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Job interviews are a nerve-wracking ordeal. The feeling of being out of control regarding one’s future leads to subservient postures in relationships. This was the situation the Moabite, Ruth, found herself in after returning with her mother in-law to Bethlehem (Ruth 1). However, in this amazing Biblical narrative is a posture of grace-seeking that is reminiscent of our seeking God; it is the God-action of finding favor in others that we should model in our working relationships ...

  • David L. Talley — 

    Everyone loves a story. I think that is one of the reasons the Old Testament is primarily a story. However, many of the stories of the Old Testament often lack the kind of details that help you understand the characters. A good practice for you is to think through certain stories of the Old Testament and seek to create some depth to the characters. Of course, you have take some freedom and read between the lines, but it can be a lot of fun and very enriching to you and others. It can also serve as a discussion starter. I am offering you one such story based on Genesis 11. I simply try to draw the reader further into what it was like to be a character in the story. Happy reading ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Where does inspiration come from? Where does the motivation to use one’s gifts and passions to make a difference begin? Jane Goodall said, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Are we the source of action or does that spark come from something else? I would like to propose God is the beginning of movements that bring change; history is the record of mankind’s response to the divine prompting ...

  • Karin Stetina — 

    What is my purpose in life? This is a question that plagues each and every one of us. The Westminster confession puts the question this way: "What is the chief and highest end of man?" Countless books and blogs have addressed this question. But are we really asking the right question? ...

  • Charlie Trimm — 

    In my previous post, I introduced my book on warfare in the ancient Near East and the Old Testament. Before we look at more serious topics, we will begin our survey of the book by looking at a very practical matter: going to the bathroom in battle. Unfortunately, the ancient kings did not often refer to the topic in their martial accounts. However, a few details have come down to us!

  • Michael Thigpen — 

    The account of humanity’s creation in the image of God in Genesis 1:26-28, is specifically crafted to lead the reader to conclude that God’s intended outcome, his purpose, for creating humanity in his image, was to create flourishing communities, not just flourishing individuals. The cultural or creation mandate as it has been called—God’s command to be fruitful, multiply, fill and subdue the earth, and to rule over the living things on the earth—is rightly seen as a command to fulfill God’s intention. Humanity is to fill the earth and bring about flourishing ...

  • Mark R. Saucy — 

    Reading the other day in Luke’s Gospel I ran across some arresting words aimed indirectly at John the Baptist. In Luke 7:23, right after the account of John sending a delegation of disciples to inquire whether Jesus is the “Expected One,” Jesus cites his deeds and words to say in effect, “yes, indeed I am.” But then Jesus closes the episode with another “beatitude” seemingly made in John’s direction: “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me" ...