Studies on Specific Passages | CBE International

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Studies on Specific Passages

I grew up hearing the Bible stories surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. Of doubting Thomas, and the Emmaus road encounter. Of the final ascension. I remember the women—Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome—who discovered the empty tomb while delivering spices to Jesus’ grave (Mark 16:1-8). And the fact that Jesus first revealed himself to Mary, a woman, was constantly emphasized my wonderful mom. It showed that Jesus was different. And it meant something to our treatment of women in leadership. I remember those thoughts being ingrained in my head from the age of nine. I had years of Bible stories behind me at this point. But that wasn’t all—my family, along with a few others, had recently separated from our church over the issue that wo... Read more
Paul Hjellming
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever." (Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV). As we look toward this holiday season I think it's important to remember what Christmas is pointing to. It's easy to allow the Christmas season to become the center of our religious calendar instead of viewing it in its proper context: a marker of the truths of Easter, the resurrection of the body and t... Read more
1.  Does the order in which they are created establish man’s priority over woman? Nothing in Genesis teaches that creation order establishes man’s priority over woman. God created the plants and animals before man, yet to whom did God give dominion? Was it not the one created later? In fact, the leadership of the one born later is a major Old Testament theme: Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Judah over his older brothers, Moses over Aaron, David over his brothers, and so on. The Genesis account of creation teaches not hierarchy, but that both man and woman together have dominion over the earth. God created man and woman equally in his image. This equality is not limited to spiritual standing before God, but includes shared authority over the earth. Contrary to the m... Read more
Judy Douglass
[Editor's Note: This post was originally published on Judy's blog on 12/1/2014. Reposted with permission.] I get asked the same question everywhere I go. Whether I am in India, Mali, Indonesia, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Hungary,  the U.S., it’s basically the same question: Who am I and why am I here? More specifically: What is God’s purpose for me as a woman? At transition points in our lives, when we feel dissatisfied or confused about our lives, when we have dreams that seem beyond our reach, and at many other times, we wonder who we are and what our purpose is. God has answers.  And for women these answers include specifcs for all women and for each woman.  Here is just a summary of those truths—the discovery and living out will be... Read more
When I attended Bible college in the 1970s, most of my teachers were former pastors. That meant much of their teaching was based on their seminary notes, illustrated by their own pastoral experience. One teacher in particular enjoyed puns based on proper names. Once he referred to two characters in Philippians 4:2, Euodia and Syntyche, as “Odious” and “Stinky” because their fighting and gossiping was a threat to their church. He was reading the biblical text with blinders on. Much as physical blinders on a horse limit their range of vision, so metaphorical blinders can limit our ability to see what the text in its fullness. We can be blinded by our preconceptions and biases, by what we expect the text must say, so that we fail to see what the text truly says.... Read more
Page numbers in parentheses below refer to Payne's book, Man and Woman, One in Christ. “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness... Read more
When Paul compares Adam to Christ by analogy in Romans 5, is he teaching about a husband’s authority over his wife, implied by “Adam’s federal headship,” as some Christians believe? Or is it about something else? With the analogy here, like any analogy, one must ask, “What is the point the author is making?” To read more into the analogy than Paul makes explicit is to risk substituting a private opinion for the direct teaching of God’s Word. So what is the analogy really about? Cranfield’s commentary on Romans (1:281) highlights the point of the analogy: “Adam is only mentioned in order to bring out more clearly the nature of the work of Christ. The purpose of the comparison is to make clear the universal range of what Christ has done.... Read more
I read these words from Colossians 3:12-14 as I was preparing a sermon: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Furthermore, we are told of the peace offered to us in Jesus Christ (v. 15). What a beautiful image of the Church: caring commitment for one another, bound together by love, and finding true peace—wholeness in Jesus. Then I read further, beyond the lectionary limits, and came to verse 18: “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in... Read more
Analogies can be powerful tools that bring clarity to complex issues. Educators suggest that metaphors and analogies enable individuals to grasp quickly the essential elements of logic in what are otherwise complicated discussions. Perhaps this is one reason Jesus used metaphors and analogies when explaining spiritual realities. Because the biblical interpretation is often complex, it can be helpful to use analogies to grasp the meaning of passages such as 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Consider the following example. When climbing a steep rock, or when reading a confusing passage in Scripture, the temptation is to hug the rock too closely—to rely upon the “clearest reading” of the English text. 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is a classic example. It is a very steep rock—it is a difficul... Read more
Joshua wasn't sure how far things should go. He liked that Moses led. He liked standing guard while Moses entered the tent and served as mediator. He didn't like it when Moses' ground was encroached upon. But Moses had a different vision: "A young man ran and told Moses, 'Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.' Joshua, Nun's son and Moses' assistant since his youth, responded, 'My master Moses, stop them!' Moses said to him,  'Are you jealous for my sake? If only all the LORD's people were prophets with the LORD placing his spirit on them!" (Numb. 11:27-29, CEB). Moses' vision was the vision of Joel, the reality of Pentecost: "Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declar... Read more