1 Peter 4:7-11 — Communal Life in a Hostile World

August 29, 2015

Here is concluding counsel for a marginalized, victimized group. As exiles and aliens (1 Peter 2:11-12) within Roman society, Peter calls them to transcend their situation by living as an authentic community, which seeks only good for its surrounding culture. This section concludes the major exhortation section of 1 Peter. It opened with the vocative […]

The Closing Psalm (Psalm 150)

February 2, 2015

At some point Psalm 145:21 may have been the final doxology of Psalms. It makes a similar point to Psalm 150:6. Psalm 145:21 appears as the concluding doxology of Book V in the Psalter.  Books I-IV conclude with independent doxologies attached to the final psalms in those books. It is natural that Book V would […]

Psalm 2 – God Reigns Over the Nations

August 14, 2013

Psalm 1 counseled wisdom. Worshippers, as they pray, mediate and sing the Psalms, align themselves with the way of righteousness. Psalm 2 assures these worshippers that Yahweh reigns and even the nations must ultimately submit to the God of Israel. Psalm 2, then, as a further introduction to the Psalter, grounds the worship of and […]

Revelation 7: Who Can Stand in the Day of Wrath?

July 29, 2013

Who can stand on the days when the wrath of God and the Lamb are poured out on empires? That is the question asked when the sixth seal is opened in Revelation 6:12-17. The shaking of the Roman empire, as with all empires, will affect everyone from rich to poor, from free to slave. Who […]

Revelation 5 – Worthy is the Lamb!

July 14, 2013

While Revelation 4 focused on the worth of the Creator who sits on the throne, Revelation 5 turns our attention to the dramatic investiture of the one who is worthy to break the seals and unroll the scroll. Revelation 4 portrays the reality of the heavenly throne room where the sovereign God, sitting on the throne, […]

Revelation 4 — Bowing Before the Throne

July 7, 2013

Revelation 4-16 gives us eyes to see the conflict between the kingdom of God and world powers with the eyes of God. We see the conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this earth from a heavenly perspective; we see it from the throne room of God. John, “in the Spirit,” is […]

Amos 5:18-27: The First Woe

March 21, 2013

This text begins the third major section of Amos. In the first section (Amos 1-2) the prophet addressed eight nations and climaxed his message with an extended application to Israel. In the second section (Amos 3:1-5:17) the prophet declares the word of the Lord in three brief speeches (“hear this word” in 3:1, 4:1 and […]

Worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24)

February 8, 2012

“God is Spirit, and those who worship God must worship in Spirit and Truth” (John 4:24). You might not immediately notice but one of the differences between my translation and the traditional one is that I capitalize “Spirit” and “Truth.” I think this is important. The traditional use of this text is to locate the prepositional […]

New Testament Hymns

February 5, 2012

The early church, even as its Scripture was being written, expaned the Hebrew Psalter to include their own faith-hymns. Some (like Luke’s Canticles) are squarely rooted in the Hebrew traditions though with a Christological application and others reflect the new situation of the people of God in the church as the story of Israel is […]

When We Assemble (3)…God Loves Us

October 13, 2010

When we assemble,  God loves us. I sense an immediate danger in that statement. It could potentially mean that God loves us only when we assemble or that God loves us because we assemble. I mean neither. Rather, I mean that when we assemble, God is actively engaged with us during the assembly by loving on […]