• Old Testament

    What Was the Population of Earth Before the Flood?

    Depending on who you ask, the global population is somewhere around 7.9 billion people. That is a lot of people. Is this the highest population the earth has ever experienced? In the spirit of investigation I want to consider what the population of the earth was before the flood. The Earth’s Population at the Very Beginning A straightforward reading of the Bible begins with two human beings, Adam and Eve, created by God and put in charge of the garden to take care of it and work it (Gen 2:15). Their offspring include Cain, Abel, and Seth, although Genesis makes clear Adam and Eve have other sons and daughters as well (Gen 5:4). Cain kills his brother in one of the most appalling acts of violence recorded in Scripture, and is banished from his immediate family. While in exile, Cain finds a wife, marries, and has children. Although some people…

  • Law,  Old Testament

    When Did God Establish the Sabbath Command?

    There are many questions a New Testament believer is faced with when thinking through the Sabbath. For example, why was Israel commanded to keep the Sabbath? This is perhaps the most important question, and as I have written elsewhere, I believe the purpose of the Sabbath command was to give visible demonstration of the fact that Yahweh is Creator and Redeemer. When Israel kept the Sabbath, they were demonstrating that, as Creator, God had the right to dictate how one is to function in the created world. But another important question arises concerning the timing of the Sabbath. When did God institute the Sabbath? Did the Sabbath predate Moses? Evidence for a Pre-Decalogue Sabbath Some theologians argue that the Sabbath has always been an obligation for mankind since creation. To arrive at this conclusion, some have appealed to passages like Genesis 26:5 which says Abraham obeyed the voice of Yahweh,…

  • Christian Living,  Hermeneutics,  Old Testament

    Train up a Child in the Way He Should Go? A Promise?

    Proverbs 22:6 has been interpreted in some circles as a promise to parents that if they do their jobs right, their child will never abandon the faith. However, this in turn has resulted in many parents feeling as if God has broken His promise to them when their child turns from the faith. Train up a child in the way he should go:And when he is old, he will not depart from it (Prov 22:6, KJV) Although this verse has been used by many parents and church leaders as a promise, it is important to slow down and read this verse carefully. A Proverb is a Principle, Not a Promise First, a proverb is not a promise! Proverbs are axiomatic (self-evident) sayings about how life normally works. But, there are plenty of exceptions to proverbs, because life is complicated by many factors. For example, although Proverbs 21:17 says the one…

  • Ethics,  Old Testament

    Why is Incest Wrong According to the Bible?

    Although incest is specifically prohibited by Leviticus 18, we often (unfortunately) isolate this text from its foundation. In biblical law it is important to understand the relationship between Law and creation to aid the process of application. In the case of incest, we need to understand that incest is prohibited because of its connection to Genesis 2:24. Tracing the Language of Incest to Genesis 2:24 Leviticus 18:6–18 begins with the introductory phrase, “None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness” (אִישׁ אִישׁ אֶל־כָּל־שְׁאֵר בְּשָׂרֹו לֹא תִקְרְבוּ לְגַלּוֹת עֶרְוָה). This verse functions as an introductory phrase which relates to the entire section on incest. The pertinent phrase we need to consider is “blood relative,” which can be literally translated, “flesh of his flesh” (שְׁאֵר בְּשָׂרֹו). This phrase invokes repetition of a concept which is first mentioned in Genesis 2:24 in the description of the “one flesh”…

  • Apologetics,  Old Testament

    Who Was Cain’s Wife? Was it Incest?

    A natural question arises concerning Adam and Eve’s children. Who was Cain’s wife? If there were no other humans besides those who came from Adam and Eve, then by definition wouldn’t Adam and Eve’s children be committing incest? Cain would have no option except to marry his sister, which would be incest! If Cain married his sister, that would seem to be wrong because of Genesis 2:24’s definition of a “one flesh” relationship? Cain is not the only one who might be guilty of incest by that definition. Abraham married his half-sister (cf. Gen 20:12). At the very least, this would seem to be poor planning by the Creator; at the worst, it would be a plan where the Creator causes His creatures to sin. Although there have been a variety of answers to question of who Cain’s wife was and why apparent incest was allowed, one solution holds promise…

  • Christian Living,  Old Testament

    Principles in Proverbs on Wise Communication

    Communication is important. More importantly, how communication is done is important. Jesus himself said that “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matt 12:34b). It is underappreciated in our culture that what we say—whether verbally, over text, or on social media—these acts of communication reveal our hearts. It is a good and important exercise to evaluate our own communication and see how we line up. The ancient world prized wisdom, specifically the discussion of how to act in daily life. Unsurprisingly then, Proverbs provides some of the most pithy and helpful statements on how a righteous man or woman engages in communication. In many cases, Proverbs will contrast the righteous and his communication style and the non-righteous. What follows are a few of the many principles derived from Proverbs on how the righteous communicate. The Righteous Brings Benefit by His Communication The mouth of the righteous is…

  • Hermeneutics,  Old Testament,  Scripture

    Did the Prophets Understand Their Prophecies?

    Sometimes it is claimed that prophets in the Old Testament did not fully understand their own prophecies. This is often an argument for sensus plenior, which is the idea of finding a “fuller meaning” behind the text—a meaning which the original author may not have known. One of the key texts which is used to support the idea that prophets did not fully understand their prophecies is 1 Peter 1:10–12. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent…

  • Old Testament,  Review

    Book Review: The Case for Biblical Archaeology

    Last year, Shepherd’s Theological Seminary launched their Department of Biblical Archaeology. Although it lacked fan fare and an inaugural dig (due to Covid restrictions), there has been much excitement about the prospect of future digs in Israel and Jordan. Since I am a part of the program, I wanted to write a review of John Currid’s book, The Case for Biblical Archaeology: Uncovering the Historical Record of God’s Old Testament People, published by P & R in 2020. Having a good introductory resource for archaeology is imperative for the student, and Currid’s book definitely fulfills that need. The book itself is printed on quality paper, and has a collection of impressive color photographs and maps. In and of itself that helps aid the student, but it obviously increases the price somewhat. However, at the end of the day, the quality of the paper and photos are worth the extra price.…

  • Ethics,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    Homosexuality was Added to the Bible in 1946

    It is becoming more and more popular to argue that the Bible speaking against homosexuality is a recent innovation that was added to the Bible to make Scripture anti-gay. One very common iteration of the argument is that the word “homosexual” was not in any Bible prior to 1946. The implication of such argumentation is that the Bible does not speak against homosexuality, and that the church should therefore accept a gay lifestyle as being compatible with biblical teaching. Those who put forward such argumentation typically point to Luther’s German translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9, which uses the word Knabenschänder, or “boy molester” rather than the typical idea of homosexual found in modern translations. Additionally, proponents point to the KJV translation, done in 1611, which translated 1 Corinthians 6:9 as, “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.” It was not until 1946 with the translation of the RSV that…

  • Ethics,  Misc,  Old Testament

    The Bible and Eating Humans—Cannibalism?

    Okay, weird title. But, this is a question that came up recently, and it is an interesting theological exercise. Is eating human flesh wrong? We are not talking mainly about overt cannibalism, where one commits murder in order to eat human flesh (which is clearly wrong). We are mainly talking about surviving on a boat or in the mountains and the survivors eating humans (who have already died) to survive. For example, the survivors of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes who ate their companions to survive. Is it wrong for a Christian to eat human beings who have already died in order to survive? The closest the Bible gets to directly addressing this issue is in a few select prophecies to Israel that their sin will cause them famine and hardship which would result in cannibalism during sieges (cf. Lev 26:29; Deut 28:53-57; Jer 19:9; Ezek 5:10). Additionally,…