Snake Handling

Every religion has odd things on its fringes, things that make most of its adherents cringe and wince, and which they are not eager to share with outsiders. These things are not so much dirty little secrets as examples of pathology, unwell people who express their psychological illness in religious terms. Every religion is keen to put its best foot forward and to present itself to the world in a way which…

A Loving God

Recently I was asked the question, “How can a loving God send anyone to hell?” I appreciated the question because it provided an opportunity to focus more closely upon the question of what we mean by the phrase “a loving God”. It is my conviction that our modern age has no clue what real love means or what the Scriptures mean when they assert that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). That…

Unveiling the Scriptures (entire text)

Some months ago it was arranged by the good people of the Russian Orthodox diocese of Souroz in Britain that I would give a talk at their diocesan conference this May entitled Unveiling the Scriptures. That plan came to grief with the coming of the Covid virus which resulted in our government cancelling flights to Britain and the probable cancellation of the conference itself. But the talk has long since been written,…

Unveiling the Scriptures – 6

We conclude this series by examining the role of the Fathers in Christian Scriptural interpretation and by offering a threefold summary of our study. The Role of the Fathers The Church Fathers were a varied lot. They lived in a number of different centuries, had very different personalities and gifts, spoke different languages, and wrote to answer different questions, in different contexts. There is, in fact, a tremendous diversity among them, including…

Unveiling the Scriptures – 5

We now turn to a look at how Christians read the Old Testament. The Christian Exegesis of the Old Testament The Christian approach to the Old Testament shared with the Second Temple interpreters their approach to the Scriptures in that the Christians combed through the texts carefully to find hidden meanings—i.e. meanings not immediately apparent to an historical critical method of interpretation. But the Christian approach was different than all other Jewish…

Unveiling the Scriptures – 4

We continue our study by a look at Scriptural exegesis during the period of the Second Temple. Second Temple Exegesis It is important to understand how the Scriptures were read during this period. Because the Scriptures functioned as the repository of Israel’s poignant and sometimes desperate hopes, people read and re-read them carefully, mining them thoroughly to extract every bit of meaning—especially hidden meanings not immediately obvious to the casual reader. This…