The Biblioblog Reference Library

[«] Posts From the Blog "Sans​blogue"(#91)

March 14 2018, 4PM

At SCBC we’ve been studying the material that came from the Fuller Youth Institute study on churches that are doing well with young people: Growing Young. We need to, we are mainly an ‘older’ congregation! One chapter suggests empathisin... [church] [theology]

March 11, 6PM

Clearly texts do mean what their authors intend them to mean, but it also seems evident that texts (and especially texts within a highly intertextual canon, like the Bible) can also mean more. Once one allows this, what are the limits on such interpretati... [hermeneutics] [Interpretation]

March 9, 8AM

Once upon a time, roughly between the full flowering of the blooms of enlightenment some time in the 19th century and loss of confidence in the whole project induced in Westerners by two World Wars in the 20th, Western readers lost their trust in those wh... [hermeneutics]

March 8, 4PM

God uses Scripture in two quite different ways. I think of them as the phone call and the broadcast. Each works quite differently from the other, and mixing them up is a serious mistake. In a phone call someone is talking to one other person (or at most ... [hermeneutics]

March 4, 5PM

It is astonishing how often we (preachers, students, writers…) put more effort into openings than conclusions. Of course openings matter. If this opening is too dull you will slick on to another site and I’ll have no readers. BUT, conclusions ... [reading] [Study skills]

March 1, 6PM

This is the land we have bought to build our church on. Currently it is an Avocado and Kiwi orchard. Just about everyone who visits speaks of green, of orchards or an oasis amid the suburban bricks and concrete. Already the land on two sides has been bull... [church]

February 25, 9AM

The goal of Christian biblical hermeneutics The goal of hermeneutics is understanding communications. The purpose of Christian biblical hermeneutics is understanding God’s message(s) in the Christian Scriptures. That is Christians understand the Bib... [hermeneutics]

February 22, 12 PM

This broken 2,700-year-old clay seal, discovered in an ancient Jerusalem rubbish pit, may include the name of the biblical prophet Isaiah. PHOTOGRAPH BY OURIA TADMOR/ EILAT MAZAR (text and image from the National Geographic article discussed below) Biblic... [Archaeology] [Isaiah]

February 21, 4PM

I have been reminded recently how often Christians and non/ex/anti-Christians alike speak of the God of the Old Testament as if this was somehow a different person from the God of the New Testament. One of the stories often cited for this harsh judgementa... [Numbers] [theology]

February 12, 10AM

Another thing I’ve been pondering/dreaming over since the visit by the Windsor Park people came out of a remark by the finance person, Linda. Mentioned the Cardboard Cathedral and dreamed of the possibility of walls that open out to allow extreme in... [Xtras]

February 8, 2PM

The fluorescent cross on Mt Roskill is like a church on the hill visible for miles… Back in the day you wanted to be the church on the hill. Visible from all around the neighbourhood, ideally with a big fluorescent cross to make things more obvious... [Digital life] [mission] [Personal] [Spirituality]

November 2 2017, 9PM

Moderating “Unit Quality Assurance Forms” is normally a fairly dull but useful way to earn (part of) a living. Today however I was presented with a gem of a short story by Isaac Asimov1 It dates back to the distant days when I was doctoral stu... [Genesis] [humour]

November 1, 5PM

Doug Chaplin has done a typically thorough and careful job of the October Biblical Studies Carnival. Among other interesting material he notes, and often in a few well-chosen words reviews, was a post by Mark Zvi Brettler at on ‘The Ge... [Theology of Gender]

August 24, 8PM

In a post I missed back in June, Jackson Wu takes up the idea that the Bible’s story is dystopian. It will surprise no one that this idea resonates with me. I’ve recommended this blog, also, before, but this post really deserves a read. The po... [Bible: OT]

August 23, 2PM

There has been far too much nonsense written contrasting reading on various types of screens 1 Usually conflated as if screens were all one type of reading and it was the electronic imprint that mattered not the size or reflective vs. light emitting chara... [Digital life] [publishing] [reading]

August 15, 4PM

I have pointed before (often) to Vinoth Ramachandra’s thoughtful and thought-provoking posts. If you have failed to subscribe directly to his blog (why?) his latest post is particularly good. As a taster, here is one early paragraph: I believe that ... [Xtras]

June 17, 11AM

I can’t remember if I have yet linked to The Mother God Experiment. Sadly due to the way Facebook hides our non-friends from us, placing their messages into the outer darkness, I only discovered Susan Harrison’s work recently. Her blog is a fa... [God as mother]

June 3, 6PM

Two friends1 have in different ways prompted this post. One is a technologist trained in the sciences, who in the context of dissatisfaction with understanding the how of a particular area of theology wrote:2 Can someone tell me how I can learn to become ... [Luke] [Spirituality]

June 1, 12 PM

My short piece on Isaiah 6 from the NZ BaptistMag has been put online. Do either go and comment, question, object…. or tell your friends to stir things up a bit :)   Please! The post My take on Isaiah 6 appeared first on Sans​blogue. [Isaiah]

May 28, 4PM

Just a quick note. I omitted to note that Jesus seems to express something close to the ideas in my last post1  when he says to activist enthusiast Peter: Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever... [aging]
A few days ago I posted on Facebook a link to a post from six years ago: Does Jesus make me whole? As a result, I was challenged again to reflect more on the theology of aging. By this I do not mean, how younger people can cope with the older ones, nor h... [aging]

May 23, 5PM

Well chosen, clearly expressed, learning outcomes (or whatever you call them) are a joy to read. They also help students learn and teachers teach. By defining the skills and abilities that students should achieve, they can guide and give shape to a course... [education] [teaching]

May 22, 4PM

What would happen is somehow God in his infinite wisdom managed to explain the paradox of suffering in a world created by a good God? What if God had offered the simple brief explanation in a few verses of Scripture? That’s the thought experiment pr... [Xtras]

May 15, 4PM

Still reconnoitering the book I was struck by this in the intro to chapter 3 (93-4), I find it difficult to see how he can defend the claim whilst reading passages like Mat 5:17ff. or Luke 16:14ff.: [T]he NT as a whole understands Jesus to be the suprem... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [God and genocide] [hermeneutics]

May 14, 6PM

if something we would otherwise always call “evil”—such as infanticide—must be considered “good” on the grounds that God commanded it, then we have to admit that there is no longer any intelligible distinction between what we mean by “good,... [God and genocide]


I begin to understand why Boyd has been accused of Marcionism when I read at the start of chapter 8: The problem of relating the Old and New Testaments is as old as the church itself, and the incongruity of the OT’s violent divine portraits with the non... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [God and genocide] [hermeneutics]

May 13, 12 PM

It seems that Boyd’s approach to reading ‘canonically’ will be the diametric opposite of Childs’ canonical reading, which seeks to take the divine inspiration1 of the whole canonical process, from oral delivery or early drafts thro... [God and genocide] [hermeneutics]


Hence, any Scripture that ascribed change or suffering to God was typically interpreted to depict God as he appears to us, not as he actually is. But until rather recently, no one has seen the need to apply this same strategy to reconcile Scripture with G... [God and genocide] [hermeneutics]

May 12, 9PM

Concerning his study (aimed at a book) of places where “God commanded and engaged in violence in the OT.” Boyd writes: My goal, which is shared by most Evangelical books addressing this topic, was to put the best possible “spin” on the OT... [God and genocide] [hermeneutics]


Gregory A. Boyd, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Volumes 1 & 2. Fortress Press, 2017. This is not a book review. I will be writing a review of The Crucifixion of the Warrior God, but this is not it. This post will reflect on the experience of revi... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [God and genocide] [Interpretation] [hermeneutics]

May 7, 3PM

The indefatigable Jim West is offering private tuition in Hebrew and/or Greek to anyone who is interested in learning to read the Bible (and probably lots of hard work – learning languages is fun, useful and inspiring, but always hard work. Jim is t... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT]

May 1, 3PM

Near the heart of Marshall’s plea, for a principled way to “go beyond the Bible” biblically, is the issue of genocide. The apparent approval (or even command) from Yahweh of genocide seems incompatible with divinity. Like Marshall, many/... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [God and genocide] [Genocide] [hermeneutics]

April 30, 4PM

In his first two lectures Marshall set the scene for the need and possibility of “going beyond the Bible”. In particular he established that we have in fact felt the need to go beyond Scripture, and so showed the need for principled and unders... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [theology] [Evangelical hermeneutics] [hermeneutics] [trajectory hermeneutics]

April 23, 10AM

In the second lecture, Howard Marshall continues to set the scene. First sketching a dichotomy of ways in which Christians have “gone beyond the Bible” in responding to challenges of ethics, worship, and most strikingly doctrine. Unless the im... [Bible: NT] [theology] [Evangelical hermeneutics] [hermeneutics] [trajectory hermeneutics]

April 21, 9AM

Act Four by tim via Sans​blogue (#89872)
Yet another interesting Vanhoozer quote. Here he makes very helpful corrections to N.T. Wright’s much quoted five act play (in which the fifth act is missing): [E]ach of the five acts of the theodrama [is] set in motion by a divine act. Hence: creat... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [hermeneutics] [trajectory hermeneutics]

April 20, 6PM

When disciples find themselves in strange new territory, they Will spontaneously extend the pattern. It is but a small step from the notions of performing the world implied by the text and extending the pattern of Jesus Christ to that of improvising with ... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [theology] [Evangelical hermeneutics] [hermeneutics] [performance] [trajectory]


Vanhoozer and dramatic interpretation I confess. Around the turn of the century I used Kevin Vanhoozer’s brilliant Is There a Meaning in this Text? as a textbook in teaching a postgraduate course on hermeneutics. The book addresses complex ideas, bu... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [theology] [Evangelical hermeneutics] [hermeneutics]

April 19, 9PM

The process of biblical interpretation is itself a means of discipleship. One cannot follow the way without following the way the words go. Kevin Vanhoozer in Gary T. Meadors, Four Views on Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology. Harper Collins, 2009, 154. ... [Xtras] [hermeneutics] [trajectory] [trajectory hermeneutics] [trajectory theology]


Howard Marshall’s little book (see previous post)1 is really important. Yet it seems little-known in the circles in which I move. I decided to postpone my promised second post and to do a series briefly summarising Marshall’s work and seeking ... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [theology]

April 18, 9PM

The concept of a trajectory, though the word is a technical one from the science of mechanics, is simple enough. In mechanics it describes the path that an object (like a ball that is thrown or hit) takes. As a metaphor for a hermeneutic process it draws ... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [theology]

April 8, 10AM

Wayne Stiles has produced (with a little help from family and friends) an excellent video (first of a series of three) for Passion Week. Well worth the 16 mins to watch. I’ll be using the first few minutes today at church. Passion Week Virtual Tour... [Bible: NT] [Spirituality] [video]

March 31, 12 PM

Jonathan of ξἐνος and of Robinson offers a feast (in five, count ’em, parts) for the regular festival called the Biblioblog Carnival. Although it is April he is apparently mad as a March Hare!? The carnival is full of good stuff, including a l... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [blog]

March 26, 1PM

  I have several times in different forums expressed sadness that ‘our’ (which varies somewhat in its content depending on my context when making the claim, but usually implies NZ Baptists or more widely Evangelicals in NZ) theology of sex and ma... [Gender] [Marriage] [Theology of Gender]

February 6, 11AM

Over two generations (mine and my parents), marriage has been redefined. We have done this through changes in divorce law, but even more through changes in attitude. Now marriage is merely a means to fulfillment, it is no longer understood as primarily a ... [Genesis] [Ruth] [Spirituality] [Marriage Week]

December 26 2016, 9AM

All five nations that embraced this high-stakes, outcome-driven form of accountability are still well below expectation and seeking answers, while those nations that maintained traditional, norm-based, competitive examination systems have risen or held th... [education] [teaching]

December 21, 11AM

This is really good, note especially how it stresses the need to craft the thesis statement before the introduction. Whatever you do, when writing your essay do not start at the beginning! [Study skills]

December 7, 6PM

Preamble Among conservatives toleration has become a dangerous word. Spotting the excesses to which the ethos of toleration leads contemporary society they see the need to reject such ideals. They are, at the very least partly, right. Yet when some of my ... [Theology of Gender]

November 22, 3PM

Today I want to turn to those terrible ten claims made by Biblicists.1 My aim is not to discuss whether, or how much, Evangelical scholarship may have been infiltrated by these ideas. Nor am I really trying to answer the question I was asked on Facebook o... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Interpretation] [Teaching Bible]


Christian Smith (American sociologist of religion, who coined the phrase “moralistic therapeutic Deism”)  published The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture with Brazos Press back in 2011. His list of t... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Interpretation] [Teaching Bible] [video]

November 21, 12 PM

Facebook reminded me that seven years ago today I was at SBL, and discussing then (via Facebook) with Stephen Garner (who was in Auckland) the values and value of such face to face meetings in this time of digital communications. I still rather like this ... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Digital life] [introversion] [#sblaar16] [SBL] [SBL Annual Meeting]

November 16, 8PM

We really think audience respond well to faith‐based action films,” Sprintz explained. “By ‘faith‐based,’ of course, I mean depicting God as a childish, petty tyrant and Moses as an arrogant jerk leading a guerrilla military revolution inste... [Xtras]

October 30, 4PM

Review of Craig S. Keener and John H. Walton, eds., NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan/Spokane, WA: Olive Tree Bible Software, 2016). Comment on 2:6 and start of “sidebar” This review has been affected by circum... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Digital life] [publishing]

October 12, 3PM

For those looking for videos for children that offer reasonably balanced and healthy gender modelling, this post “13 Fabulous Kids’ TV Shows that Pass the Maisy Test and Have Other Great Features, Too” looks to be another great resource from... [Gender] [video]

September 15, 2PM

Michael Pahl apparently posted this a month ago, but somehow it only showed in my reader this morning. I have no time today to comment except to say that Being a Discerning Christian in the Information Age (Or, What to Do When You’re Forwarded That Emai... [Digital life] [education] [Spirituality]

July 31, 6PM

Michael Pahl has an excellent post (a really long one comprising several from his church website) on What is the Bible and how should we read it? The post is simple (any intelligent Christian should have no trouble understanding what he says), profound (m... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Interpretation]

July 18, 5PM

In an excellent post on the Aussie BS blog Mike Bird provides a neat helpful brief summary of things people need to recognise about the Bible. The post should be helpful for both believers and unbelievers alike, potentially dispelling ignorance and supers... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [blog] [Teaching Bible]

June 16, 12 PM

I was grabbed by a question Derek Tovey asked on Facebook. He’s been reading the blurb to Peeter’s edition of Elizabeth B. Tracy, See Me! Hear Me!, Contributions to biblical exegesis and theology 75 (Leuven: Peeters, 2015). The blurb begins wi... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Narrative] [Teaching Bible]

June 15, 4PM

Back in the 20th Century it used to be difficult and expensive for books or websites that seek to explain the Bible to get suitable illustrations (it was even hard to get pictures for classes. For the Hypertext Bible Commentary: Amos “volume” ... [Bible: OT] [publishing] [Teaching Bible]

May 3, 6PM

It’s not yet launched (coming Thursday US time, Friday here) yet from what I’ve heard and seen The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance could be an answer for people looking for a decent, fun game for kids (and the young at heart?) that i... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Digital life]

May 2, 3PM

I am working on some ideas I delivered orally a few years back and at that stage did not finish polishing with a view to publication. Basically the idea is that if we read David’s story as told in Samuel-Kings1 through the optic of his relationship ... [1 Samuel] [1&2 Kings] [history]

April 14, 1PM

Because designers of file formats and Bible software that uses them are print-centric in their thinking I seem to face a choice in envisaging a new generation e-commentary. Either I produce something that accepts the traditional limitations of print, but ... [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Digital life] [Open Source] [publishing] [Teaching Bible]

April 7, 8PM

Over a decade after the peer reviewed citable edition of the Amos commentary was published, and after several false starts and a lot of unproductive work, I am returning to explore the possibilities for e-commentary. One thing that has changed for the bet... [Amos] [Biblical Studies] [Interpretation] [publishing] [Teaching Bible]

March 30, 3PM

I’ve commented before (on Facebook if not here) on how beautiful the “ordinary” North Island scenery on the road (whichever route we take) from Auckland to home1 is. We frequently try to explain to overseas visitors that NZ’s most ... [Spirituality]

March 17, 11AM

Recently my Facebook feed has repeatedly presented me with cartoon pictures that echo the apocalyptic imagery of Revelation, and apply that thinking to the rise and rise of Donald Trump on the US political scene. It is interesting how in even such a deter... [mission] [Revelation] [theology]

February 22, 4PM

Over the years I have posted a few times about introversion. Every now and again someone tries to explain the the Extroverted how much and how deeply Western society is biased against Introverts. The older I have become the more aware of this bias I have ... [introversion]

February 19, 10AM

We are all1 deluged with more email than we can easily deal with (at least when we are busy with ‘real life’). This problem becomes much more accute for ‘distance students’. As well as the usual special offers not to miss, uncle To... [Digital life] [Study skills]

February 18, 8PM

It’s a war zone When a service is overworked (like a hospital in a war zone) incoming tasks (patients) need to be prioritised. That way the most urgent get dealt with first, and the less urgent are left till there is time. For many people today our ... [Digital life] [Study skills]

February 17, 4PM

Back since before we produced PodBible (( The idea for PodBible was stimulated by a desire to help a generation who read little, but listened to MP3s a lot, to “read” the Bible. )) I have been concerned with falling rates of Bible reading amon... [Audio] [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Digital life] [family] [Preaching] [theology]

February 9, 12 AM

When I was a child, well not a child exactly but when I had enjoyed less than half the lifespan I now look back on, I thought as a child, and I dreamed of being a systematic theologian. But (through a series of ‘accidents’) God called me to be... [theology] [Training pastors]

February 3, 8PM

I have been forwarded a copy of the email the Society for Biblical Literature sent to its members about moving the Review of Biblical Literature into its members-only space.1 I will comment on that email here, trying to point out why I see this as a signi... [Biblical Studies] [education] [Justice]

February 2, 11PM

Listening to your work The first step in proofing your work is to check it for sense and flow. While one can try to do this by looking at the text, it is much better done by listening. Listening to a computer interpret what you have written is especially ... [Study skills]

January 31, 4AM

Here is this month’s1  Biblical Studies Carnival (the 120th of its ilk, two of the previous carnivals were hosted at Sansblogue: Carnival LXXIX September 2012; Carnival XXII September 2007)2 I am calling this special anniversary edition the Never M... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies]

January 25, 10PM

Hi, I have collected an ecclectic bunch of posts from here and there for the January carnival. But, like all carnival editors, I’d be glad to hear your nominations. Especially I do not have “enough” non-US or non-White or non-Male posts,... [Xtras]

December 9 2015, 7PM

I have many friends (and respect their theological accumen) who are calvinist (some with bigger some with smaller Cs). For me two of the main foundations of my theology forbid me the comfort of that neat system: The experience of total depravity – ... [theology]


The battle is over, modernity won, but guerilla Bible readers still fight back. The battle for the Bible was over before war was even declared. Modernity won the battle, and people today (both Christians and Atheists) read Scripture using modern categorie... [Interpretation] [Teaching Bible] [Bible: OT] [Bible: NT]

December 8, 5PM

Today has been a day for Facebook.1 The results have been interesting. Following a Skype meeting I joined another Facebook “gated community” (you know one of those “closed groups” that is closed so people can say things freely with... [Digital life]

November 26, 9PM

This sermon used to be available on the Carey You Tube, or on a DVD. Then it went missing. Now it’s back :) [Song of Songs]

November 16, 6PM

The HonorShame blog is always worth a read, but the latest post is topical as well as illuminating The Gospel of ISIS puts atrocities and tragedies like those in Kenya, Beirut and Paris into a useful frame. [Xtras]

November 10, 6PM

The Grand Palabre of the Baptist Union of a small and insignificant island nation (that most readers of Sansblogue will think is a merely a province of Gondwanaland) took a landmark decision recently. Their exhaustive and exhausting process involved a wor... [Xtras]

November 6, 6PM

My post “Prophets and prediction: when conservatism and Bible clash” generated some interesting discussion, it almost felt like the good old days when blogging was on the frontier and people actually conversed with each other. Thank you all so... [Prophets] [foretelling] [forthtelling] [prediction] [Prophecy]

November 4, 3PM

People hate to write Most people hate writing. Even professional writers suffer from “writers’ block”, a combination of symptoms that lead to them doing anything else except actually write. Students with assignments do not have the luxur... [Study skills] [Writing] [Xtras]

October 16, 8PM

I love old hymns. They are so often full of such deep theology.  I love the eucharist, I need the grace that this sacrament transmits. A couple of us had a stimulating Facebook conversation about the riches of those old hymns. For me “old” he... [Bible abuse] [Interpretation] [Teaching Bible] [theology]

October 13, 10PM

In this post I will examine and criticise a passage from Alec Motyer’s writing on the Old Testament prophets.  I do this not because I think Motyer is a poor scholar, but because I find his presentation an interesting example of how even the most c... [1&2 Kings] [Amos] [Jonah] [Prophets] [foretelling] [forthtelling] [prediction] [Prophecy]

October 1, 7PM

A couple of issues recently have raised the question of when and why Christians might exclude others from the Church. One issue arose when I was to address a combined churches group (in an overseas context) and one or two influential people looked at my 5... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Spirituality]

September 27, 3PM

“Starsinthesky” by ESA/Hubble. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons – (edited) I confess, I have never really read the famous “Chicago Statemen... [Bible abuse] [Bible: OT] [Interpretation] [Teaching Bible]

September 23, 2AM

While I have been away fromn home, and so busier than usual, Brian Harris has started a blog. Since Brian is a clear, creative thinker with a sense of humour his blog is well worth following. I have not read all his posts – I’m sure I could fi... [Spirituality] [theology] [Training pastors]

September 20, 11AM

Literature search The first step to a good essay is a “literature search”. The goal of this, whether conducted with the aid of an academic library or in the wild with “merely” the Internet to help, is two-fold: to get an overview of the topic and... [reading] [Study skills] [Writing] [writing an essay]

September 18, 7PM

Yesterday I was given two books, both of which I really want to read (neither biblical or theological). Today I read Scott McKnight’s review of Brian Harris’ new book The Big Picture: Building Blocks of a Christian World View (Paternoster, 201... [theology]


Photo by Jim Legans, Jr Offering a course, and preparing the material and then having no students enroll is not an outcome any teacher desires.Add in the bonus that the course was being offered is about 19h and 55mins from home, and the situation seems se... [Biblical Studies] [publishing] [Teaching Bible] [Training pastors] [video]

September 11, 10AM

Well this has been a roller-coaster of a 24hr day. First it seemed that 1 Samuel and the delights of biblical story-telling were so unattractive, or I am, that there might be no students for my class (the journey is worth it though, as Barbara has a big c... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Interpretation] [Teaching Bible] [video]

September 6, 10PM

Our visit to the Baldwins was a great experience. It’s a small town, off the tourist trails, mainly serving the rural sector. The nearest “attraction” is 26Kms away, and has been there for a very long time – dinosaur footprints. There are very... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [land of the Bible]

September 1, 6PM

Other unnoticed women from the early chapters of Genesis include the “daughters of humanity/daughters of the man” in Gen 6:2. This little passage is mysterious and difficult. It is packed with problems.. Starting at the beginning we have to as... [Genesis]

August 30, 4PM

Between teaching an intensive class to students from a dozen ethnicities and nearly as many countries, and exploring the beautiful scenery in the Cordilleras of North Luzon (photos attached to make you envious) I have been too busy to post properly here (... [Bible: OT] [Genesis] [Teaching Bible]


Traces of the 16 and 12 characters of the two Wadi el-Hol inscriptions (Wikipedia) Five years ago I linked to a post by Chris Rollston The Probable Inventors of the First Alphabet:Semites Functioning as rather High Status Personnel in a Component of the E... [Archaeology] [Bible: OT] [languages] [alphabet] [literacy] [Writing]

August 21, 3PM

Among the women in Scripture we glide over and miss thinking about, what about poor Mrs Noah? Eve gets discussed ad nauseam often asking whether her share of the blame for the first sin is bigger than her mate’s, Cain’s wife gets asked about a... [Gender] [Genesis]

August 19, 11PM

On Facebook Robyn Mellar-Smith responding to Lindy Jacomb’s guest post at Sacraparental promised to post about a woman from the Bible every day for a week. I doubt I’ll manage that, we are finishing teaching and beginning travelling… Bu... [Gender] [Interpretation] [Luke]

July 31, 10PM

As Peter Enns gets towards the end of the journey in his little book he moves beyond the strict topic to some wonderful advice for Christians reading the Bible, and how we should relate to other Christians who perhaps disagree with our interpretation. It ... [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [reading] [Teaching Bible]

July 29, 12 AM

For the Introduction to the Old Testament I am teaching at APTS one of the set books students must read is: Peter Enns. Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005. I do not intend... [Bible abuse] [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Interpretation]

July 25, 12 PM

Later today we head off for our big trip, back at the end of September. Before leaving as well as all the other things I got finished (or failed to do :( I finished reading Rudyard Kipling’s collection of war journalism from 1915 France at War: On t... [Audio] [Librivox] [Open Source] [Rudyard Kipling] [World War One] [WW1]

July 21, 11AM

If I only followed one blog it would have to be Richard Beck’s Experimental Theology, I have enjoyed and benefited from it for years. The format/genre of his most recent post is almost poetry as he tells a story of love. As (almost) always well wor... [Marriage]

July 16, 11AM

I could not think of a good title for this post, not least because it has no content except to link to Peter Morton’s excellent post: “When Leaders Fall“. In it, responding to the fall of another “successful” pastor, Peter wi... [Training pastors]

July 14, 8PM

This networked socially-mediated world is fascinating. Despite all the shallowness (e.g. people “liking” a post that speaks of mass deaths of Rohingya refugees while knowing little of the horrific facts of their tragedy), I also get to see deeper insi... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [languages] [Open Source] [Training pastors]

July 6, 7PM

Discussion among Christians (especially Christians who found their faith on Scripture) of “gay marriage” have been bitter and acrimonious. This issue cuts deep. There are of course for some participants personal reasons why this issue is emoti... [Marriage]

June 24, 10PM

Jim West has (with the help of a local) provided a list of cheaper hotels for people going to SBL but on a less generous budget. If that is you hop over and take a look. I always found places at 1/3-1/2 the price of the “official” ones and usu... [Biblical Studies]

June 19, 12 PM

I have been reading Bob MacDonald’s recently published novel Seen from the Street: A Love Story from the first century. It is a historical novel about love and the origins of Christianity within Judaism in the years around and after the life and dea... [Bible: NT] [reading] [Writing]


Refugee for a day (or two) When Mobutu’s tyrannical kleptocracy in Zaire (now again Congo) began to fall apart, when people were desperate because they could not buy medicines or schooling for their children, the parachute regiment captured the airp... [Burma/Myanmar] [Personal]

June 15, 2PM

I have not yet pointed to the series of posts on The Tri-une God and Motherhood by kbonikowsky at The Happy Surprise, I should. They are very good, offering a careful, gentle presentation of the topic. .One of the things I like is that she approaches the ... [Gender] [God as mother]

June 5, 4PM

This post tells how the generals are up to their very old “divide and conquer, and then, if that doesn’t work, clamp down hard” tricks. Sad! Did I expect any different? No. But hope remains… [Xtras]

May 27, 4PM

This is just a test post, I apologise to readers using RSS feeds, but I really want to get a system working so comments can be shared between the blog and Facebook.   By commenting on this either on Facebook or on the website you will help me test my... [Xtras]

May 25, 4PM

For work I am doing on the “confessions of Jeremiah” I need two sorts of help. I need help because here in the hills between Rotorua and Tauranga I library resources are limited to a journal database and Google books (plus Peopl... [Complaint] [Jeremiah]

May 20, 12 AM

I had an unexpected visit from a friend this evening. Among the wide-ranging and inspiring (as well as depressing since we talked of the plight of the Rohingya) topics we addressed was the question facing the Baptist Churches of NZ of what to do faced wit... [Deuteronomy] [Mark] [Marriage] [Matthew]

May 18, 4PM

Paul bases his teaching about sex and marriage on Genesis. As usual, he is in some ways less of a dreamer and more down to earth than Jesus. His argument does that if sex makes two “one flesh”, then sex outside marriage would make you one fles... [Gender] [Marriage]


I realise I have not posted here about our travel plans for later this year. We will be visiting and teaching in (at least)1 two places: View across the hills near Baguio – envy us! Asia Pacific Theological Seminary, Baguio Philippines. Where Barb... [1 Samuel] [Bible: OT] [Teaching Bible] [Training pastors]

May 17, 10PM

Eleven years ago today my feed reader led me to to a magnificent post on Paleojudaica. it explores alternate histories of the Python movie Life of Brian as well as biblical studies related themes, like the nature of canon, memory and history… Eleven... [Xtras]


God created us as sexual beings, and the Bible accepts our sexuality, but sex is not an end in itself. The Bible rejects sex for its own sake – the separation of sexual pleasure-seeking from partnership and marriage. Genesis Two describes the creato... [Gender] [Marriage]

May 16, 3PM

Christianity (as an “organised religion”) has often been against sex. Celibacy has been seen (following especially some hints in Paul’s letters) as better than marriage, which has been seen as a way to make sex all right because, and ins... [Gender] [Interpretation] [Marriage] [Song of Songs]

May 15, 6PM

I hope (yesterday) we established that God likes sex. Now we need to also recognise that sex is dynamite, and marriage is an unstable cocktail of explosive emotions. Yet God designed sex to be fun and to be fulfilling. God designed it to be making love to... [Gender] [Marriage] [Xtras]

May 14, 6PM

A conversation on Facebook recently reminded me of my concern that Christians are not speaking enough about the joys of sex and marriage. We get caught so often, warning people about the dangers, that we get painted into the corner that makes people – e... [Gender] [Interpretation] [Marriage] [Teaching Bible]


The men illustrating the Ha’aretz report (above) were NOT “covering their feet”.  In conversation on Bob’s blog, related to my post below about foot as a possible euphemism for male genitals in the Bible, he points out that ther... [1 Samuel] [Judges] [Xtras]

May 12, 10PM

[Back when I was new to Facebook, I did not know how to bring blog posts into this (then) new (to me) medium. So I began posting some posts on Facebook. This was the very first, and I still rather like it :) ] Sean the Baptist has a post ‘And ... [Bible: OT] [blog] [Interpretation] [languages]


I am convinced that alongside (but poorly if at all correlated with) the personality dimension Introversion-Extroversion is another I think of as “Performer”. I am highly introverted, but love standing talking to an audience. By contrast I kno... [Audio] [Children's stories] [introversion] [Librivox]

May 5, 4PM

Mark Driscoll spoke at a leadership conference recently. He began with the sad story of his family’s experience during and after the events that led to his ministry at Mars Hill ending in shame and the closure of the church. This story is sad and my... [Bible abuse] [Xtras]

May 3, 5PM

Since Mothers’ Day is fast approaching, I’ve been delighted to hear of two pastors who are planning to make sure some of the motherly or other female imagery used in Scripture gets a mention. Mothers’ day is always a sensitive occasion, ... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [God as mother]

April 29, 8PM

e-book Almost all the fiction I read is now e-books, both purchased and from the lending library. They are in epub format. Neither the format nor the hardware are brilliant, but they do allow hypertext features and even web searches at a speed that is jus... [Digital life] [publishing] [reading]

April 17, 2AM

Chris Chamberlain is an interesting guy (see the neat short description at the top of the post I’m linking to). He was taken to Israel and the “Occupied Territories” recently with TEAR Fund. His reflections on Facebook were so good that ... [Xtras]

April 10, 12 PM

Richard Beck’s meditation “Unpublished: Faith as Hallowing” in which he suggests that faith can/should we considered as the practice of hallowing (making holy: marking out certain actions, things or people as special and revered), put me... [Spirituality]

April 9, 2PM

Several recent conversations (online and face to face) in my circles involve applying the Bible to contemporary social issues. The latest is a very long-standing one in Western churches if there are particular roles for men and for women in family and chu... [Bible abuse] [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Gender] [Interpretation]

April 8, 7PM

Almost twenty years ago I wrote a series of short pieces for the NZ Baptist on gender roles and relationships. The issue remains a hot one. So I thought I’d repeat the article on “submission” here. I may give it context by repeating othe... [Bible: NT] [Gender] [Interpretation]

12 PM

Recently I pointed to the very best book offer ever, the Logos edition of Childs’ masterly Isaiah with all the added features of the e-edition quite free. Today an offer that the next best thing, David Kerr is creative and provocative, but he’... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [blog] [Digital life] [publishing]

April 3, 10AM

If you don’t mind your scholarship mixed with faith, and some of us would have it no other way, George Athas is a blogger to follow. Hos latest post Why did Jesus die? is particularly good – and just right for this in between day. Do read it,... [Bible: NT]

April 1, 10AM

I thought it was an April Fool’s joke, they are always a bit behind the times in the USA, Logos is giving away Childs’ massive Isaiah commentary for free! It’s no joke, they are! Sorry about the exclamation marks, but Childs’ is a ... [Isaiah]

March 31, 6PM

Blog posts get less editing and polishing than other forms of writing, I think I may have failed to make my point clearly in the preceding post. So I will make it concisely here, see the other post for background and explanations. Many people do not suit ... [Digital life] [education] [teaching]
Christopher B. Hays commented on Facebook on a post “The End of College? Not So Fast” by Donald E. Heller. These posts and the comments prompted this reflection on my own experience. The Chronicle of Higher Education post also suggested my tit... [Digital life] [education] [teaching] [Teaching Bible]

March 30, 2PM

Jim West has announced a PDF edition of his Bible commentaries, all of them (including the forthcoming ones, assuming Jim lives to complete them, which is to be expected and hoped) for just US$199. As he says considering the work involved this is a slende... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT]

March 29, 5PM

I caught myself in some theological snobbery yesterday. We had a promo for (which looks to be a fine resource for children) and in the course of it they took the account of Jeremiah’s call and applied it to everyone. Before I formed you in... [Interpretation] [Jeremiah] [Teaching Bible]

March 25, 12 PM

The venerable (I think it is the longest-running religious periodical in NZ) Baptist has had a makeover for 2015.No longer newsprint, and with a web edition that looks pretty good. The trouble is most of the writers are (to put it politely) experienced,... [blog] [Digital life] [publishing] [theology] [Writing]


The series of which this “volume” is a part has an ambitious but mixed goal: The series is designed to be a research tool. Each guide presents a wide range of interpretive issues raised by Bible scholars. These resources meet the needs of those studyi... [Biblical Studies] [Digital life] [Genesis] [Justice] [mission] [publishing] [Teaching Bible]

March 23, 7PM

The photo above shows the countryside near where we were first offered rat to eat :) The issue of “mission trips”, and the appropriateness of this arrogant terminology, has been raised again in the circles I frequent on Facebook. I’ve ai... [Xtras]


For my latest video in the Land of the Bible series we visit the Jezreel Valley. The focus of the video is on Megiddo (as the site that has more Iron Age remains for the visitor to see). Tel Megiddo with its massive gate complex, large palace and associat... [1&2 Kings] [Archaeology] [Teaching Bible] [video]

March 20, 12 PM

Syrian Goddess figure (possibly Anat from Walters Art Museum , via Wikimedia Commons A post at Carpe Scriptura “1 Kings 18: Battle of the Bulls”  highlights a problem for online biblical studies, there are no easily available translations of ... [1&2 Kings] [Archaeology] [Biblical Studies] [Teaching Bible]

March 4, 9PM

Well, five years ago I returned to the issue of machine translation, having addressed it five years earlier, when a firm offered on the fly translation for my website. So it is almost time for a reprise.1 In 2005 I tested the service I was offered and fou... [Digital life] [translation] [Machine Translation]

March 3, 3PM

I have added another chapter to my readings from Winnie-the-Pooh. “In which Christopher Robin leads an Expotition to the North Pole” naturally if you live in Canada, NZ and various other countries with enlightened copyright laws it is quite le... [Audio] [Children's stories] [Digital life] [Open Source] [Winnie-the-Pooh]

March 2, 8PM

The book of Jonah is interesting in a number of ways, not least how it continually subverts our expectations. It is found among the prophetic books (in both Hebrew and Greek canons) yet contains only five words that we could classify as prophetic speech. ... [humour] [Jonah] [humour in the Bible]

February 26, 4PM

Richard Bauckham (University of St Andrews) gave the 2014 Burns Lectures at the University of Otago. The podcast MP3 or MP41 Titled “The Sons of Zebedee: The Lives of Two Galilean Fishers”, the lectures (at least so far, I am finishing #2 as I... [Bible: NT] [Luke] [Mark] [Matthew] [Teaching Bible]

February 18, 4PM

Beginning by considering humour in narrative texts is an attempt to deal with what is probably the most straightforward case first. In everyday life we perceive certain events as funny. When recounting such events we tell them in ways that highlight their... [humour] [Interpretation] [humour in the Bible]

February 11, 6PM

The attempt to investigate humour in the Bible is even more impacted by the differences of time, place and above all culture that make most biblical interpretation less than straightforward. For recognising, let alone understanding, humour across cultural... [humour] [Interpretation] [humour in the Bible]

February 4, 10AM

Dieter Zander was on top of the “Christian world”, pastor and music minister at Willow Creek. A stroke ended all that, unable to speak clearly, Dieter now works as a janitor at Trader Joe’s. Here’s his new story: [Spirituality]

February 3, 6PM

Writing is dangerous. Readers often misunderstand. #SensibleSentencing can help. Short simple sentences are easier. I have been marking. Some student essays are a joy to read. Some are full of long complicated sentences and I am left guessing what the wr... [education] [Study skills] [Writing]


In any writing or other communication, project where you start is really important. Most losses of audience occur near the start. For this reason I’ve always been puzzled by how common it is to begin Introduction to the Old Testament books and cour... [Bible: OT] [Digital life] [Teaching Bible] [ootle15]

January 29, 6PM

I have just signed up for Ootle15. This is an open (as in anyone and as in free) learning event/course organised by Brooke Lester (a creative and interesting blogger and OT teacher with special interests and responsibilities for online learning. If you f... [Bible: OT] [Digital life] [Teaching Bible] [ootle15]

January 28, 9PM

The simplest useful definition of humour has to be: “Humour is present when people laugh”. However, this simplicity masks real problems. For a start as we saw people laugh for other reasons than just that something is funny, embarrassment and... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [humour] [humour in the Bible]


New website by tim via Sans​blogue (#48435)
The NZ Baptist Magazine has a new website. It looks good, and looks interesting. This is a good start. I have not played with it enough to see how easy it is to find something interesting (except that several of my articles are currently on display ;) It... [Xtras]

January 26, 6PM

Theories of humour are generally classified under three approaches1 Superiority Incongruity Relief Superiority Perhaps the majority of classical philosophers who considered humour at any depth had the cutting humour of satire and the like significantly ... [Biblical] [humour] [humour in the Bible]

January 22, 8PM

Humour’s bad rap Humour has not been popular with intellectuals in the Western world. From Plato and the Bible until quite recently their focus seems to have rested more on sharp cutting humour than on gentler wit. The overpowering loss of control t... [humour]

January 21, 4PM

Writing the post yesterday on Jesus’ humour drew my attention to the way (with the exception of a couple of posts early in the project) I have not here really provided my long-running1 series of podcasts on humour in each book of the Hebrew Bible wi... [Bible: OT] [humour]

January 20, 4PM

Dr Jane Heath (Durham University) wrote a piece “Did Jesus Christ have a sense of humour?” In it she suggests that the question might be broken into two parts: “[o]ne about the way Jesus taught during his incarnate life, and another abou... [humour] [Luke] [Matthew]

January 19, 12 PM

In Otagosh’s next post however normal service is resumed. I wish all my friends and neighbours who trawl biblical prophetic books in search of “Biblical Prophecy” would read Ancient Prophets – Politics not Prediction. [Prophets]
It is pleasant to have some reliable comfortable regular experiences in this troubling world. One of mine in recent years has been the stream of tart yet gentle posts on Otagosh that pillory sloppy thinking on “Biblical” matters. But today Ga... [Gender] [history]

December 24 2014, 11AM

Happy Christmas to all of you. 2014 has been a busy year, leaving little time to prepare posts here. I hope 2015 may leave more time. I’m farewelling 2014 now as tomorrow I head for Auckland and then on to the UK (for mum’s funeral) and so wi... [Xtras]

December 11, 3PM

For decades I have battled with students who insist on using “he” to mean “she or he” and “Man” to mean “men and women”, even “a man” to mean “a human person”. I’ve explained to... [Gender] [Mark]

November 19, 11AM

Mike Crudge asks some interesting questions about “cringe communication” from Christians, he also poses a challenge to “create a simple and engaging billboard for your church this Christmas?” Here’s my entry: My reasoning? ... [Advertising] [Spirituality]

November 11, 7PM

Over the last year I have been forced (by equipment failure and an unwillingness to spend “too much”of the family budget on Internet publishing) to experiment with various options for recording audio. I’ve done some of the 5 minute Bibl... [Audio] [Children's stories]

12 PM

Announcement from: Robert Myles (follow link for more details) Call for Papers: Radical Interpretations of the Bible The Deserter (1916) by Boardman Robinson A low cost (i.e. free) full day academic seminar in Sheffield, UK on radical interpretations of t... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT]

November 4, 6PM

I know, I know, I have not been posting as often, or as deeply, as I used to. Let me offer three excuses and a fine old story. Excuse the first: I am retired and no longer think about teaching the Bible all the time (it is now a hobby, and looking after s... [Digital life] [Librivox] [Open Source] [publishing]

October 28, 3PM

Before the long weekend (spent with family and a great time) I had the worst cup of coffee I can remember (thank goodness for small mercies). We went to Taupo where Barbara had appointments. The Coffee Club is convenient and prominent on the main road opp... [Cafe review]

October 21, 1PM

Richard Beck pulled out this (timely?) quote from Mere Christianity Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christi... [family] [Gender]

October 19, 9PM

At the conference I attended in Sydney recently one of the stimulating conversations I enjoyed was around ways to present Bible commentary in a digital medium for non-specialist readers in the 21st C. The Amos – Hypertext Bible Commentary was alread... [Biblical Studies] [Jonah] [publishing] [Teaching Bible]

October 13, 6PM

The indefatigable Jim West pointed to this fascinating announcement from De Gruyter. Publoris like “ordinary” self-publishing services like Lulu offers a basic service with choices for the level of editorial involvement. Thus far nothing new. ... [publishing]

October 9, 11AM

In the circles I move in it often seems to be assumed that Gay Christians (at least the ones who do not agree to “settle” for celebacy, nor “recognise” that God “must” be calling them to celebacy – and who consequ... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Gender] [Genesis] [Interpretation] [Marriage] [theology]

October 7, 6PM

Being invited to give the 22nd Annual William Menzies Lectureship (five lectures) and Asia Pacific Theological Seminary’s agreement that I could tackle the title “God as Mother?” was an honour and also a privilege (that they agreed despi... [God as mother] [theology]

September 19, 12 PM

“Jetsons” by via Wikipedia The Sydney College of Divinity 2014 Teaching and Learning Conference “Teaching Theology in a Technological Age“is an interesting experience. Listening to so many teachers who are a... [blog] [Digital life] [teaching]

September 1, 1PM

Rob Bradshaw has done a typically thorough job of the August Biblical Studies Carnival. He even managed to find a post from my meager output, but there are lots of good things you will not have seen as well :) [Biblical Studies]

August 19, 8PM

Photo by Dick Rochester I have been doing a lot of writing in the last few months (one reason for less posts here) much of it to tight word counts, I was delighted to find my own advice still (despite Mike’s comments) rings true – at least to... [publishing] [Study skills] [Writing]

August 17, 6PM

One of the more depressing outcomes of a post-infection fatigue is the things one is reduced, but lack of energy to do better, to eating. Come lunchtime, I was hungry, from a morning dutifully preparing my paper for the symposium: “Doing Theology in... [Cooking] [food] [theology]

August 12, 1PM

Colombo Theological Seminary, a fine interdenominational seminary teaching in English, Sinhala and Tamil both in Colombo (the capital) and in centres around the country (in both Sinhala and Tamil areas) is looking for a theological librarian to work in th... [publishing] [Teaching Bible] [theology] [Training pastors]

August 6, 6PM

Rhett has a typically sensible and thought provoking post “New” which begins with the strange obsession academia has with “new”, leading in disciplines that deal with a limited corpus of texts and ideas, like biblical studies or t... [Bible abuse] [Biblical Studies] [Teaching Bible]

August 5, 1PM

Please note the scare quotes, Richard Beck is not an outsider, in church he is a committed leader, in the blogsphere he is a powerful voice. Yet, the debate about gay marriage has been framed and is largely conducted in the light of stances taken by profe... [family] [Gender] [Marriage]

August 4, 10PM

No, it’s not a post about Moses, nor have I transgressed into the smaller Testament. Rather it’s a post pointing to a post. One that is well worth reading. I have for a long time been upset by the patently untrue claim that “people today... [Digital life]

August 1, 5PM

For several years now Jim West has been posting from time to time about progress with his huge project as he knocks off book after book of his For the Person in the Pew Bible commentary series. This began in 2006 with the ambitious Jeremiah: for the pers... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Teaching Bible]

July 5, 7PM

Later than most of the (vaguely) interested public1  I finally watched “Noah” on one of the flights the other day. I won’t comment on the story, or its relationship with Scripture, other have done that well. Nor will I offer erudite com... [family] [Gender] [Genesis] [video]

June 30, 4PM

  Seattle Municipal Archives from Seattle, WA – W.H. Shumard family, circa 1955 A few days ago the Vatican published a working paper “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization“. This paper results from i... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [family] [theology]

June 19, 4PM

Back in April I somehow missed Bryan Bibb’s interesting post Camouflage Equivalence1 it focuses on places where translators: …seek to obscure rather than reveal the meaning of the original. He [Robinson] defines the term as “rearranging the... [Isaiah] [Psalms] [Ruth] [translation]

June 16, 9PM

Jacob L. Wright’s MOOC makes good use of short video interviews with both established scholars and (at least one so far) PhD candidates talking about their research. As a teaching tool such short videos are brilliant. If we had a database of such v... [Biblical Studies] [Teaching Bible] [video]


This week’s episodes of Jacob Wright’s “The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future” were particularly fun for me, for a start his topic (the way the Hebrew Bible subverts gender roles and notions of heroism) appeal... [Interpretation] [Teaching Bible] [video] [Writings]

June 11, 7PM

One of the highlights for me of this week’s episodes of Jacob Wright’s excellent The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future was the interview with doctoral student Aubrey Buster. Her paper, by comparing the treatment of contes... [languages] [Teaching Bible] [video]

June 4, 10AM

In a previous post I mentioned the old Deadly Green Bar trick that MS Windows has been pulling on complacent PC users sine the terrible days of Vista. (Microsoft-in-the-head as repeat offender) There I mentioned the “fix”1 mentioned at Techspo... [Digital life] [Writing]

June 3, 7PM

Last week I offered some first impressions of Jacob Wright’s excellent MOOC The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future. The second week’s lecture material has been interesting for two strikingly different reasons. Jacob presents a... [Archaeology] [Bible: OT] [history] [Teaching Bible]

June 1, 10PM

I had an odd need, the journal Colloquium published an article of mine a few years back, which I had not uploaded to Academia.edu1 but the proof copy I have is a PDF with each page shown twice on a landscape page.2 So I needed to split the PDF in half le... [Utilities]

May 28, 1AM

Since this session concerns the background to the emergence of “Israel” in Canaan the Mereneptah Stele is mentioned and shown several times, photo from Wikipedia When Jacob Wright’s MOOC “The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and ... [Archaeology] [Bible: OT] [education] [history] [Open Source] [teaching] [video]

May 27, 2PM

One of the key differences between people in prison and those outside is that many of those “inside” are “repeat offenders”. Either they don’t learn their lesson or something drives them to offend time and again. Microsoft s... [Digital life] [Open Source]

May 14, 4PM

Jim West needs more Logos users to “preorder” his commentary series it is a remarkable effort by one pastor/teacher to write clear straightforward comment on every book of the Bible (so far there are 36 volumes “covering 59 books of the ... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Children's stories] [Librivox]

May 8, 4PM

I love using a laptop, on my lap. I prefer small notebooks as they are easier to carry and the screen is big enough when it is so close to me. BUT I hate the way in which at random my wrist or a trailing thumb will activate the touchpad while I am typing,... [Digital life] [Utilities] [Writing]

May 4, 10PM

For a course on the Pentateuch that I am preparing I am stuck in two places for good readings to suggest. If you can help me I’d be delighted. I need a chapter-length readings, and ideally at a bit above basic beginner level, yet not too technical.... [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Teaching Bible]

April 3, 6PM

A few years back I posted a video showing how to get to the relevant pages of a Bible commentary using Google Books. Since then the video hosting service I used has removed the video, and Google has changed their interface. So, here is a renewed one. What... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Digital life] [Jeremiah] [Teaching Bible]

April 1, 6PM

NZ Christian Network have begun to produce a series of thought starters. Aimed to fit on one double-sided sheet of A4 (in PDF format for printing and folding). The goal is to be simple, clear, and to start people thinking. They call them “Notes̶... [blog] [Genesis] [Marriage] [Writing]

March 30, 12 PM

Annibale Carracci “The Stoning of St Stephen” from Wikimedia Peter Kirby has posted an audacious prophesy of the top biblioblogs by traffic in six month’s time (Top 50 Biblioblogs: Spring 2014 Report). I have two reasons for hoping tha... [Xtras]

March 26, 10PM

Jonathan Robinson has some as yet unbaked1 thoughts on the hidden presence of children in gospel narratives. As someone who still remembers being a child (it always surprises me how many people seem to turn off those memories, or at least fail to use them... [aging] [Bible: NT] [Biblical Studies] [family] [Interpretation]

March 24, 9PM

At URLoved Will posted Why The Church is Loosing Social Capital you should read it, but here’s the Reader’s Digest version, with some comments (I could not find a way to comment onsite). He begins by explaining: Social Capital is the ways in w... [Digital life]

March 17, 3PM

After thirty years as an onsite teacher, though for the last several years teaching many distance classes, I am now a distance teacher. I used to work from an office at the institution I was teaching in, with the luxury of research and writing days/time a... [Biblical Studies] [Digital life] [Pentateuch] [teaching] [Teaching Bible]

March 5, 10PM

My thesis which was accepted by the University of Glasgow in 1981 has been, I just discovered, digitised and is available here: [Gender] [God as mother] [Interpretation] [publishing]


“Presence and Pixels: Some impacts of electronically mediated communication on Christian living,” Review and Expositor, 111,1, 2014, 56-63. I’d be particularly keen to get feedback from readers here who may see this. Your ideas would be welcome ... [Digital life] [publishing]
I’m not sure I listed these here, and I do want to brag about the quantity, I’ll leave you to judge the quality ;) 2013 “The Troubling Theology of Jeremiah” In Global Perspectives on the Old Testament, edited by Mark Roncace and Jo... [Amos] [Digital life] [Jeremiah] [publishing]

February 16, 10PM

A friend of mine in a comment on Facebook pointed to Jackson Wu’s blog. It is excellent, Jackson is a theologian (like me his PhD is in practical theology)1 who teaches at a seminary. He is also passionate about helping people read the Bible better,... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Interpretation] [mission] [Teaching Bible]

February 7, 9AM

I have just finished a five-lecture series at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio in the Philippines, with the title “God as Mother?”. The experience has been great fun, with friendly interested and interesting staff, and students who ... [God as mother] [Teaching Bible]

January 30, 11AM

It is a strange thing, and one I never expected to experience (see the archive of my first post) to be celebrating ten years of blogging. Actually I won’t be celebrating today, as I will be flying to the Philippines via Thailand “on the day... [blog]

January 23, 8PM

I have not been posting (here or podcasting at 5minuteBible) much for a while. Several academic publications with due dates late in 2013 and then the Christmas/summer holidays are to blame… plus a new project and a lecture series… The new proj... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Interpretation] [Teaching Bible]

December 16 2013, 1PM

Paul Windsor had a fine post a few days ago, on living alongside the poor which should be required reading for anyone who will be living, moving or having their being where others are poor. This means all of us, unless we hermetically seal ourselves away ... [blog] [family] [Marriage] [Spirituality] [theology]

November 27, 5PM

Twin colloquia in 2011, held only days apart, gave birth to twin books, only weeks apart in 2013. My task at the launch last night was to bridge between the two. The model of a small, sociable gathering of scholars at various stages of their careers aroun... [Bible: OT] [Complaint] [Isaiah]

November 11, 5PM

  Honesty compels me to admit that there are times when exactly the wrong person at exactly the wrong time with exactly the wrong motives has nevertheless said exactly the right thing. Tom Marshall, Understanding Leadership, 1991, p97 (HT: ξἐνο... [blog] [Spirituality]

September 23, 8PM

The series is not finished yet, so I can recommend it without grinding any axes, but for any Christian wanting to work out more clearly where they stand on any or all of the moral and theological issues surrounding LGBT people and activities this series o... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Ezekiel] [Gender] [Genesis] [Interpretation] [Leviticus]

September 22, 1PM

The news from Egypt (indeed all the “Middle East”) over recent months has varied between being silence (most of the time) and shock-horror (when some new tragedy/atrocity manages to break through Western media’s apathy about the rest of ... [blog] [Justice] [theology]

September 20, 7PM

Photo from wonderlane I am, as those who know me face to face will be aware, somewhat more than somewhat introverted. I have posted here before about how my (Western) culture is extroverted and favours extroversion. Introverted behaviour is seldom given ... [God as mother] [theology]

September 10, 2PM

The Flannagan blog, M&M, can be really annoying or hugely stimulating, it is seldom boring. But the new post There probably are no duties. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life! really is something special. Matt neatly turns all the standard old chest... [blog] [theology]

September 5, 11AM

I’ve been unusually quiet here for a while now for two reasons. The first is dumb. Something has “broken” this installation of WordPress and half the editing features don’t work. I have to turn off JavaScript, and save the post, to... [Amos] [Biblical Studies] [blog]

September 4, 1PM

There is often good stuff at the Perspective Criticism group blog. This post on “Ideological Point of View in the Account of the Four Lepers (2 Kings 7:3-9)” by Jesse Long Jr is particularly interesting to me. [1&2 Kings] [Interpretation]

August 21, 8PM

I have finished a first draft of a chapter (for a forthcoming book) in which I seek to defend and illustrate my idea that the genre of prophetic books might best be understood as “prophetic fictions”. (Using “fiction” as I think Al... [Amos] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Prophets] [Writing]

August 18, 9PM

Here’s a post from five years ago that I wish had generated more conversation… I wonder if it will this time ;) Linking to Geoff’s “Creativity in Theological Education” post and then watching the brilliant presentation (in ju... [Digital life] [education] [teaching] [Teaching Bible] [Training pastors]

August 14, 1PM

A group of us met last night to plot a video (probably narration with animation one of the group is a young, skilled and creative animator with friends who are similarly equipped) most of the rest of us are established pastors and teachers. The goal is to... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Digital life] [Open Source] [Teaching Bible] [video]

August 5, 11PM

I’m delighted, one of the two edited books I’ve been working on is now available and I have my copy :) Miriam J. Bier and Tim Bulkeley, eds. Spiritual Complaint: Theology and Practice of Lament. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2013. “Does Jeremiah Con... [Biblical Studies] [Jeremiah] [theology] [Xtras]


The capstone volume that completes Bill Loader’s previous five volumes on sex and sexuality in the the world of early Christianity is announced. Among other things this book seeks to make his scholarly and full treatment in the previous five volumes... [Bible: NT] [Biblical Studies] [family]

July 28, 6PM

Even if it does come from a “celebrity maker”… [Xtras]

July 15, 1PM

We bought a degustation menu at, Auckland restaurant, Mikano from Grabone, and enjoyed the meal on Sunday.  Mikano has a brilliant setting over the helipads on Tamaki Drive with a stunning view of the harbour to Rangitoto and Waiheke. Our sense of occasi... [Cafe review] [food]

July 14, 12 PM

Gavin (at Otagosh) has a post puffing, 95 year old, Lloyd Geering’s new book From the Big Bang to God. I have not read Geering’s writing, I’m an OT scholar and John Robinson was the theological thinker frightening the horses when I was y... [Justice] [Spirituality] [theology]

June 25, 9PM

Rudyard Kipling by E.O. Hoppé (1912) from Wikimedia I have just finished corrections to the last chapters of the three books of Letters of Travel by Rudyard Kipling. Here’s How I’m suggesting the books be described: “Three books of trav... [Audio] [Open Source] [reading]

June 23, 5PM

I’ve been posting my podcasts (mainly from to Facebook and YouTube recently, it seems a good way to enlarge the audience. It also seems to have achieved this effectively, with scores of people seeing them via each channel (... [blog] [Digital life]

June 18, 1PM

Two items relating to (mainly male, but see below) sexuality have been appearing on my Facebook feed. Together they have prompted this reflection, even if it should confirm Netguardian in their decision to filter this blog.1 The first concerns a man who d... [family] [Gender] [Marriage] [video]

June 17, 1PM

Photo “Liz spoiling for a fight” by jaypod I’m in pass-on-the-great-posts-I’ve-read-recently mode, I’m sorry that this one too is from a blog I’ve recommended before. What can I say? Either I’m a hide-bound creatu... [Spirituality] [theology]
Chris Heard has been doing a really fine and deeply thoughtful (and perhaps provocative) series on Scriptural claims about the inspiration of Scripture the series is not over, but has arrived at the stage of partial conclusions. You should read it (if yo... [Bible abuse] [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [Biblical Studies] [Teaching Bible] [theology]

June 12, 5PM

OK, so I’m a chronic late adopter of hardware (but within that limitation early adopter of software), but at last Barbara is thinking of getting me an eBook reader. Anyone with experience of eBook readers care to comment? The criteria are must be r... [Digital life] [publishing]

June 10, 11PM

As part of my move to deliver the screencast versions of 5 minute Bible via You Tube I’ve been looking closely at the automatic captions the system offers. Basically I go in and tidy them up. Some are atrocious, making out I swear or say the most ou... [Digital life] [education] [Revelation] [Teaching Bible] [video]

June 4, 10PM

I love the short ending of Mark. To end a gospel with “for they were afraid” is brilliant, to end this gospel like that is nothing short of genius. Add to the pleasure of real richly provocative composition the ending seems to focus on the the... [Mark]


In view of conversations I’ve had recently with some of you, you may find this interesting: The Christian Purity Culture: More From The Atlantic Interview Richard is always thoughtful, usually thought provoking, and often spot on (IMHO).  He approa... [Gender] [Marriage] [theology]

May 29, 12 AM

Bob linked to a presentation he’s prepared: New presentation available on Seeing the Psalter If like me you have been too preoccupied over recent years to really follow his project, or if you have not heard of it, this half hour (or less if the tec... [Biblical Studies] [Interpretation] [Psalms]

May 13, 3PM

Perhaps it’s because I recently did a series of guest posts summarising the ideas from my book about God as mother (I also did podcast versions of the summaries) or perhaps there really have been more voices raised this year putting the case against... [family]

May 12, 4PM

Here’s my reading of another Beatrix Potter story, longer and with more complex plot than most. I am now giving them captions for those who have difficulty hearing… [Children's stories] [video]

May 7, 2PM

As well as all the work on the 5 minute Bible podcasts, planting winter vegetables and building a pig pen, I’ve been reading children’s stories. Some of the latest highlight Beatrix Potter’s delightful illustrations as YouTube videos. &n... [Audio] [Children's stories] [Open Source] [video]

April 23, 5PM

For years it was hard to draw listeners (except a faithful few) to podcasts, while blogs attracted visitors lie nectar draws in bees. However, at last this seems to be changing. 5 minute Bible is now (according to Alexa) more popular than Sansblogue among... [Bible: NT] [Bible: OT] [God as mother] [Interpretation] [Open Source] [publishing] [video]

April 18, 11AM

jps has a nice quote from Family and Household Religion in Ancient Israel and the Levant, page 275 in his short post The night of conception. Both the quote and the “idle musing” it provoked are worth pondering. As we begin to recover/renew Ch... [family] [Marriage]

April 17, 9PM

I’ve been watching the debate over the marriage equality bill with growing horror. Somehow the skill, humour and gentleness with which the “other side” has argued the case “for” has provoked many in the “Christian”... [Bible abuse] [family] [Interpretation] [Marriage] [Teaching Bible]

April 13, 11AM

Adobe as rogue software installer I allowed the Adobe Flash player to update. Without asking Adobe also installed something called “McAfee Security Scan Plus”. I already have virus protection. Unless someone convinces me I need different prot... [Xtras]

April 7, 3PM

One of the biggest hurdles new students face is learning to reference their work “properly”. Schools seldom teach this skill but increasingly Universities and colleges are demanding it. Life is not made easier by the fact that, to all except f... [Digital life] [Open Source] [Study skills] [Utilities] [Writing]

April 1, 10AM

Thalia invited me to do a series of (by my standards) longish posts over at Sacraparental. They introduce briefly some of the key ideas from my book Not Only a Father. The first has just appeared: What’s Wrong with this Picture? [God as mother] [theology]

March 28, 11AM

Vinodh Ramachandra has produced another excellent polemic.  In Reformed Amnesia? he presents another side of Calvin, even proposing him as “the first liberation theologian” as well as praising the way in which the Catholic Church (for all it... [mission]