But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 1 Peter 3: 14-16
Pentecost (Acts 2:1) was a significant festival in the Jewish calendar, offering the first fruits of grain to the Lord (Lev. 23:16). Its significance in this narrative, however, may be especially that it was one of the major pilgrimage festivals, when Jewish people who lived all over the world came...
Video interview, with a table of contents for the topics
Some people don’t attend church because they were hurt by the church. That’s understandable, especially if you had people there harassing or abusing you and even doing it, tragically, in the Lord’s name. Hey, Jesus had problems with religious folk in his day, too. In a way, you might feel more access to God not being around those
Jacob faces terrible loss
Jacob obeyed God and returned to the promised land, despite the threat of violence at the hands of both Laban (pursuing him from behind) and Esau (confronting him in the land). You might think that when you obey God, even in the face of difficulty, that immediately things will get better. But that’s not what happened
When I was new in my faith in Jesus, someone worried that I wasn’t really converted because I was doubting my salvation. Can a person struggling with self-doubt have faith for salvation? Yes: The Bible doesn’t say that we are saved by confidence in ourselves, but by confidence in Jesus. Also, the Bible doesn’t say we have to
What’s the moral of THAT story?
Immediately after mentioning Reuben’s immoral act (35:22), the narrator reminds us that Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn through Leah (35:23). This helps explain how Joseph, Rachel’s firstborn who does act more virtuously, later supplants him (49:4). Reuben was undoubtedly quite young at this
After violent attacks by Islamic extremists, stupid people want to blame all Muslims—alienating more Muslims and polarizing things further; and some people who are even more stupid want to blame all religious people, thereby further marginalizing all peace-loving believers as if Islamist radicals and secular radicals are the only voices
Fulfilling God’s promise
Sometimes in roundabout ways that I could not have imagined, God has brought my life around to fulfill a specific calling he gave me years ago. We know in part, but beyond our own ability to make anything happen, God often frames periods or events in our lives with a divine inclusio. Often when God is in the process
The beloved disciple and Peter both display their devotion to God with signs of athletic prowess. Youth often offers us special strength and this can be used for the Lord.
Authors: Craig Keener
God's call and our commitment do not exempt us from hardships
Having recently escaped Esau’s wrath after wrestling with the angel of the LORD, Jacob encounters afresh the God who met him at Bethel (“House of God”) when he first fled from Esau. God tells him to return to Bethel (Gen 35:1). In preparing to return to where he first
Was it right for Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi to massacre the Shechemites because the prince of Shechem had raped their sister? Or was their act of vengeance massive overkill? When, in my early days as a professor I taught both Old and New Testament, I asked my students what they thought. Their answers were divided, and for understandable
I edited the New Testament notes (and wrote most of the notes) and John Walton edited the Old Testament notes. Here is an interview with us just posted on Bible Gateway:
Authors: Craig Keener
Part 2: God’s protection
Jacob’s departure from (Gen 28:12) and return to (32:1) the promised land is framed by angelic revelations. The angelic camps (32:2) will prove particularly important because, having just escaped Laban, Jacob must now face Esau—who is coming with 400 men (32:7). Before Jacob can face Esau, he needs
Some churches don’t want some of the gifts–isn’t that like the body of Christ amputating some members? Some churches don’t want other gifts and just collect members amputated from other churches. Don’t we all need one another to be one body?
Authors: Craig Keener
Part 1: Strategizing
Rebekah had promised to call Jacob when his brother’s anger subsided (27:45), but he had never received such word from her. (Whether she has passed away in the meantime is not clear; some time after Jacob returns to the land, her nurse Deborah apparently is with Jacob’s family and passes away in 35:8.) Again,
Jacob takes his family and flees toward Canaan without informing his father-in-law. Why does Jacob leave Laban secretly? Although Laban claims that he would have sent Jacob away with a celebration (31:27), clearly Laban has not been willing to let Jacob go. Jacob expects that Laban would send him away empty (31:42) and even forcibly take back his
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