Ignorance Is A Weak Excuse

Should you know what the other side says? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have been going through Raymond Bradley’s book God’s Gravediggers and I plan to do a fuller look chapter by chapter, but I saw one quote that I wanted to highlight. It is about Christian philosophers who hold to inerrancy.

“”Are these guys serious? What would be their line when confronted by 2 Chronicles 4:2, which gives a false value for the mathematical constant pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter)? What would they say about countless inconsistencies the Bible contains? For example, between 2 Samuel 24:1, which says the Lord commanded King David to “number the people of Israel”, and 1 Chronicles 21:1, which says it was Satan, not the Lord, who issued the command. What account would they give of scientific absurdities such as that of a six-day creation, the fixity of species, and the world-wide flood, an event that some biblical genealogists calculate as occurring on the 27 February 2267 BCE, an event that, as Australian geologist Ian Plimer points out, was “spitefully” ignored by the Egyptians of the time? I simply don’t know what answers these notable theistic philosophers would give. They proclaim inerrancy as a general doctrine without considering its specific applications. They preach it from their pulpits yet ignore it in their philosophical writings. Yet where inconsistencies abound, so does falsity; for at least one of each inconsistent pair must be false.”
There’s one part in here worth highlighting.
“I simply don’t know what answers these notable theistic philosophers would give.”
Anyone should really know at this point to not take Bradley seriously.
Unfortunately, Bradley is not in the minority. Normally when I speak to atheists, I ask them if they have read such and such that disagrees with them and I am told that they have not. Most usually make some excuse and it really is presuppositional atheism. After all, everyone knows science is the only way to truth and anything that disagrees is automatically stupid. Why bother looking into a case for a miracle if it’s just so obvious they never happen?
Getting back to Bradley, he is talking about Old Testament questions. No one is saying that these questions shouldn’t be asked, but these are not new. The early church often debated passages that seemed to contradict and tried to work out apparent discrepancies.
The problem is that Bradley has no idea what would be said and this is too often something that can happen. A person can come up with what they think is an objection to a position and say to themselves, “I can’t think of any possible counter to this, therefore there isn’t one.” Consider what happens with the problem of evil. “Why would God allow this evil?” If no answer can be found immediately, well then there just obviously isn’t an answer. Right?
By the way, this is not to say that Christians don’t do the same thing. Christians absolutely do and that’s a travesty on our side. The mindset of Bradley is one that no one should really have.
Also, I would encourage Bradley to instead go to some Old Testament scholars instead of philosophers. Go to people like Walton or Longman or Christopher Wright or others. Go to a seminary and ask to see the library and read some commentaries on the passages in question.
When it comes to the age of the Earth, even the rabbis had been debating the interpretation of Genesis 1-2. Rudimentary forms of evolution were even discussed in those times. The information we can have is new, but the debates are really old. While it looks like Bradley grew up with young-Earth creationism, even the most ardent YEC would know other Christians have other interpretations and while they don’t agree, I hope they would say they understand these people are trying to be faithful to Scripture who disagree.
Something I often say about skeptics I encounter is they are not true skeptics. They believe what agrees with them 100%. They only question what disagrees with them. This also applies to politics also where it’s easy to go in with a bias and find something that supports your side and ignore the rejoinders to it.
Bradley is not a skeptic. He honors it with his lips, but his head is far from it. He has simply abandoned one loyalty to a position and replaced it with the same loyalty to another position.
In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: 7 Things I Wish Christians Knew About The Bible

What do I think of Michael Bird’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have to say that every time I read something about Michael Bird, I get a treat. Michael Bird is an author with keen insights and a pastoral heart as well, but he also has a great touch of humor and will say so many statements that make you laugh all throughout the book. I would be thrilled to see him team up with Andy Bannister to write a book.

This is a book written for Christians, though I think it can be helpful for non-Christians as well. In it, he gives seven different statements that many of us might think are old hat, but in reality, there are people who treat the Bible this way even if they know it’s not literally so. For instance, the first one is that the Bible didn’t fall out of the sky.

Really, even if we don’t know how the Bible came about, somehow, we all know that it didn’t. In reality though, we do often treat it that way. The Bible is a divine book to be sure, but it is also a very human book. That’s actually the second, This gives us more of how the Bible was written by people and has their own personality styles in the text.

Third is that the Bible is normative and not negotiable. In this, he wants us to realize that Scripture is the place of authority. We don’t just pick and choose. Too many “churches” today have the idea that the Bible is authoritative when it speaks properly, which by the way, happens to be the times that it agrees with them. Amazing!

Next is that the Bible is for our time, but it’s not about our time. This is especially the case with modern prophecy experts who think everything going on is talked about in Scripture, they are shown to be wrong, but then a year or two later, the exact things happen again. I am not just talking about so-called prophecy experts. I am also talking about laypeople who read the Bible this way. (Sometimes, they sadly commit the unpardonable sin of calling the final book “Revelations.”)

The fifth is that the Bible should always be taken seriously, but not literally. Somehow, we live in a time that thinks that literal interpretation is the best way to read the Bible every time. The early church really enjoyed allegory, for example. Too many atheists also make a big deal about literal interpretation.

The sixth is that the purpose of the book is to give us faith, hope, and love. Now here, I would have liked to have seen Bird say something about the fake view of faith as belief without evidence or something similar. Still, Bird’s point is entirely valid. As much as an academic like myself wants to gain a lot of knowledge and as much as some people might go to the Bible wanting to get personal advice on how to live, and neither of those are bad in themselves, the main goal is to produce the character of faith, hope, and love.

Finally, Christ is the center of it all. However, saying that, he wants us to be careful to not forget the Father or the Spirit. He also wants us to make sure we don’t just read Christ into everything without first understanding what the text says in itself. Also, he thinks we should be able to teach Jesus as Messiah from the Old Testament, which I agree with.

Bird’s given us a great gift in this one. I highly encourage you to go and read this one. You’ll laugh a few times and you’ll learn something.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Sexuality and Shrimp

How do we handle the law today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is not an easy topic as thousands of pages have been written on the topic of the role of the law in the life of the Christian. Much of the epistles in the New Testament is all about this problem really as Paul and others have to quote the Old Testament often to establish their points. Jesus Himself in the Gospels had to explain how the Old Testament was being misunderstood so it is not a shock that we today can struggle with it at times.

For instance, we have all these rules on sexuality, but then we have rules on not eating shrimp. What’s going on with that? Shrimp is an abomination and so are two men sleeping together. Why do we forbid the latter and yet happily go to a place like Red Lobster and dine our hearts out?

As I’ve said, I should not be expected to be the final word and answer all questions, but I do want to give some general guidelines.

First, we must always remember that the Law was given to Jews in a specific time and a specific place. The Law was never given to the church in the sense that God directly covenanted with the church through the Law. The covenant with the church is done through Jesus.

However, this does not mean that we dispense with the Law entirely. Paul tells us in the New Testament that everything that was written was written for our benefit. Even if we are not bound by it, we can still learn from it.

Second, the Law often had meanings behind the surface level. Paul uses this in 1 Cor. 9 where he quotes about not muzzling an ox while it’s treading the grain. God’s principle concern is not with the ox, but with the idea that one who works should get to partake in some fruit of the work.

Let’s consider another idea. What about building something on the roof of your house to serve as a barrier? In this case, this was done because the roof was often treated as a separate room and people would regularly go up there. You build a barrier to make sure no one falls off and suffers injury or death. We don’t do this today because we don’t use our roofs this way, but if you have an apartment complex with a balcony of some sort, there will be a barrier to prevent falling.

So what about mixed fabrics and clean and unclean animals? The animals could be because some of them contained a mixture of different locales in that they were creatures of earth and water or water and air or air and earth. We might not know the reason entirely, but they did. Mixed fabrics were to avoid a similar mixture and remind the Israelites of purity. We are to take this as having moral purity.

Third, most all of us follow the Law to some extent. Last I saw, many atheists are not going out and championing murder since the Bible says “Do not murder.”You can be an atheist and think the idea of “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a beautiful command and should be followed, but it comes right between Leviticus 18 and 20 with its sexual rules. Atheists accusing Christians of picking and choosing can be just as guilty. Both sides can easily use prooftexts for their own benefit.

Fourth, we can see how the New Testament handles this. While John 8 with the woman caught in adultery was not likely written by the author of John, I do think it shows a real event in the life of Jesus. In it, Jesus never questions the statement of the law that an adulterous woman should be stoned, but he does say that if you want to play that game, how many of you deserve a punishment as well?

In 1 Cor. 5, we have a man sleeping with his stepmother. The couple could have had a similar punishment, but this time Paul says to remove the man from the church. It’s worth noting in that day the man could not just go down the block to another church. The exclusion was to make him come to his senses.

Paul as a good Pharisee knows the law, but while he still upholds that sleeping with your stepmther is wrong, he doesn’t uphold the punishment of the Old Testament. It’s not because he’s opposed to the Old Testament. It’s because he sees things through the lens of Christ now instead.

Several times in the epistles, homosexual practice and sex outside of marriage is condemned. There’s no hint that these have changed. Yes. I have read some of the revisionists trying to say otherwise and I just find their cases extremely weak.

Let’s also return to Leviticus 18. In the final section, God tells the people that for these kinds of practices, the people are being driven out. This means that they should have known better.

In the same way, in Romans 1, Paul speaks about general revelation and says “Because of that, people should have known idolatry was wrong.” Why? Looking at the universe, you should be able to tell that it was made by something greater than something like an animal.

After a vertical error, he then moves to a horizontal one. Just like people got the nature of God wrong, they got the nature of God wrong and same-sex relations were his prime example. We should be able to look and tell that male and female go together and no other combination does.

These are just some general guidelines. Does this answer everything? Of course not. There are many books on these subjects. For homosexuality in particular, I recommend Robert Gagnon and books where he does take part in a counterpoint discussion are some of the best.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Sex on the Period

Why did God forbid sex during a woman’s period? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is one rule that really doesn’t make sense to a lot of us in our modern culture. Why could you not have sex during a woman’s period? Part of the problem that we have with this is that we don’t see the world as the ancients did, not because of something scientific, but because we don’t think of purity that way. At least, we say that we don’t, though in many ways we do.

Suppose I come over to your house to visit you with a can of unopened soda in my hand. While I sit on your couch talking to you, I open the can and then start pouring it profusely on your couch and carpet. I would not be surprised if you say a various number of words to me and throw me out.

This isn’t because the damage I have done is anything physically harmful necessarily. It’s more because I have damaged an idea of purity you have about your house. You don’t want a stain to be right there on the carpet even if there was nothing harmful about it. (Even if there is, I suspect most people are worried about the stain instead.) We have a reason why we sell stain removers for our clothes before we go on a date or another social outing.

This is the same kind of thing behind this command. It’s why the verse refers to her uncleanliness. This is also something that is done intentionally. It’s not an accident that this happens. In some ways, you could call this the sin of the high hand where one openly tries to defile God.

So what does that mean for us today?

Well, we don’t live in a society that focuses on ritual purity that way. However, there are some guidelines we can consider. This is for every married couple to decide for themselves.

First, assuming one wants to abstain during this time, you are talking about a few days really. If you are someone who cannot go a few days without having sex, you probably have bigger concerns. For those who think I can talk that but don’t walk it, I am divorced now and I am having to go without sex. That is no cause of joy whatsoever for me, but I can contend that is doable.

Second, if your wife is in intense pain from her period and is not feeling sexy, you should probably be considerate and not have sex with her then. Personally, any time she doesn’t want to have sex at all you should avoid it. This is just personal consideration.

Third, the whole point for them was avoiding blood and this might be something you want to take into consideration as well. Again, this is something debatable and especially in an age where we can use the pill to avoid the flow of blood that can happen. Of course, even the morality of the pill can be debated.

Those are just my general recommendations, but if there’s one rule in this list that is exceptional, it would be this one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

What Can You Get For Your Daughter?

Why would anyone sell their daughter? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It sounds bizarre to us really. Why on Earth would someone sell their daughter? Do they want money more than they want a daughter? That does seem to be what is going on in Exodus 21.

“If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

The problem here is too many of us are reading this from our cultural perspective. We might think of something like sex trafficking going on or people turning their children into prostitutes at their home. This sounds like a family that really doesn’t care for their daughter.

However, when we look at the ancient world, by and large, marriage was about survival and continuing in the family name. This would be more like indentured servitude. serving someone for an amount of time in order to get something out of the deal. This was done by many people at first to get to America.

Okay. So how does that tie into survival? A poor family would have to work extra hard to provide for every family member. For us, we don’t understand this in a world where if we want bread, we can just drive down to the supermarket. For them, just getting a meal was long and laborious and it took time and energy to make bread.

By selling their daughter, they were selling her into a family that could afford her and could provide for her and make a better laugh for her. She would be moved into a new family unit. This doesn’t mean the old family could no longer have any contact with her, but essentially today when a family gives their daughter to a man who wants to marry her, they do the same. When my former in-laws gave my ex-wife to me, they realized that I was going to be the new primary family unit and my parents realized she would be my new primary family unit. I was the one meant to provide for her.

And notice, the new family is meant to do that, especially the husband. He has to provide food, shelter, and yes, marital rights. The man is to consistently love his wife. A man cannot sell her because that would be breaking the covenant promise to her. If the man’s son marries her, the master must treat the new girl like a daughter. If the son marries another woman, this one is not to be deprived and if she is, she can go her own way. In other words, for a book supposedly sexist, the woman has all the freedoms here and the man has all the responsibilities.

Again, we are not really at marriage for love yet, but we will be getting to that kind of attitude. Even still, that needs some temperance as love is badly misunderstood. Keep waiting as that is a way’s away.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Marriage in the Bible Intro

How do we see marriage explicitly? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re in the book of Exodus in our look through the Bible at marriage and as we get into this, we will see a lot of customs that don’t match up with a modern Western approach to marriage. This isn’t a culture that practices dating or marriage for love. You do not normally choose your spouse. Marriage seems to be a different kind of relationship.

At this point, skeptics of the Bible who tend to be left politically shout with glee about how much marriage has changed. Thus, we live in a time also where marriage is changing and it is changing so much that it is no longer supposedly a union of a man and a woman. We have already changed marriage since then, so why not?

So for this, I want to give a brief overview. Some matters will be acknowledged. Why people enter into marriage has changed. Why people got married has changed. How people got married has changed. There is something that hasn’t changed.

Marriage hasn’t.

But what about polygamy?

This was a borderline practice that was allowed in the Old Testament. Still, if anything, this could count as one man having multiple marriages. When Joash was the last surviving member of the line of David that was able to rule, he was granted to have two wives. After all, they needed to produce more children again.

So in the Old Testament, most marriages were arranged. This is still common in much of the world today. A person doesn’t know their spouse sometimes until the day that they marry them and then they are to give to the relationship and make it work. In many cases, it really does work.

Marriage was mainly about the uniting of the families together and the survival of the family. This was to pass on the heritage of the family and ensure that they would not be forgotten in Israel. Producing children was a must as that was the way to make sure this would take place and you needed a lot. Today, we take it for granted that our children will live and start saving for college while they’re in the womb. Not so in those days. Child mortality was very common.

While love was not the basis, there was no doubt that it was hoped for. If you read Proverbs, a man is told to delight in his wife. Song of Songs is a very passionate poem about love and especially sexual love in a marriage relationship.

Divorce did happen, but it was not a practice that God celebrated in Scripture, even when He did it Himself to Israel. The breaking of a covenant is always a tragedy. Now I realize some people are saying, “But my spouse abused me. Are you saying that the divorce was a tragedy?” Yes, and hear me out on this please. It is a tragedy that one person broke a promise to love and cherish the other and treat them like a partner in life and wound up abusing and/or betraying them. While the divorce was sadly a necessity in this case, the first tragedy is that the betrayal had already taken place. It is sad the situation was so bad that one person had to remove themselves from it to protect themselves when marriage was meant to be a relationship for the growing of love between the two.

So as we go into this, I’m not going to say every time about how different the union was entered into and the different purposes it served. I figure it’s easier to do this upfront than to do that. Still, we will see differences between our day and theirs. The past is a strange place. They do things differently there.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Jacob’s polygamy

Where did Jacob’s troubles begin? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jacob is the patriarch who embraced polygamy. To be fair, he was kind of tricked into it, but still, he had more than one wife. Unfortunately, as we go through the story, we will see that this leads to trouble for Jacob. After all, some siblings of his will not get along with others and considering they call different women, “Mom” that could explain some of it.

For the positives, it looks like when Jacob comes in at one point, Rachel has borrowed some mandrakes from Leah to increase fertility for herself and says Leah can sleep with Jacob tonight in exchange. Thus, one can understand that it looks like Jacob knew that when he came home that evening, he’d be sleeping with someone.

It wasn’t just Rachel and Leah. They also gave their female servants to Jacob to sleep with to continue their family line. Thus, four different women in the text become mothers and all do so through Jacob.

One reason for this is that Leah was being neglected by Jacob because he had a greater love for Rachel. As a result, God allowed Leah to get pregnant more often and closed the womb of Rachel. Leah is the one who in the end provides Jacob with half of his sons and has a daughter as well.

Still, polygamy is one of those practices that never seems to end well for those involved in Scripture. Rachel always carries a position of the favorite and thus, her children carry positions of favor with Jacob as well. As we go through the history of Jacob and his family, we will see this play out more and more. In the account of the birth of most of Jacob’s children, you find some squabbling taking place and if this was the worst of the effects of polygamy, there wouldn’t be much of a case, but later on, we’ll see more.

It’s also worth noting that Jacob’s brother, Esau, also had married multiple women and they were a source of grief to Rebekkah. Esau’s solution was not to get rid of them, but to marry another woman he thought his mother would approve of. Later on in Israelite history, getting rid of wives that are outside of the covenant would be more necessary.

Thus, aside from perhaps Pharaoh and Abimelech who have harems in Genesis, Lamech, Esau, and Jacob are the only ones I can think of at least that have multiple wives. We don’t know enough about the inner workings of those other families to speak about them, but we do know enough about Jacob.

Polygamy was one of those borderline practices God tolerated in the Old Testament, but in the time of the new covenant, He was much stricter on. Most Jews at the time of Jesus were highly monogamous. Paul will later write that an elder needs to be the husband of one wife and yes, we will look at that passage a lot more when we get there.

For now, just know Jacob has rough times coming ahead.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Sex, Wives, and Warriors

What do I think of Philip Esler’s book published by Cascade books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Men tend to share a lot of common loves. Most men love sex, for example. For those of us who married, many of us love our wives too. Many of us also have a fighting spirit and love warriors, so naturally, a book called Sex, Wives, and Warriors is attractive.

I thought this would be a book about the conquest in the Old Testament since it was about Old Testament narrative. Nope. Still, I’m not complaining. The book is about a number of other passages in the text and giving them a good and hard look.

Esler also writes from a perspective for every person. If you’re a skeptic of the Bible’s historicity, it doesn’t matter. His goal is not to tell you what happened, but how an ancient Israelite would have seen the text at the time. If you’re a believer in the text, this will give you some insight still. If you’re not a believer, you’ll still get something out of it by seeing how the texts fit into the society.

Genesis 38 with Judah and Tamar is covered. This is a passage of Scripture I always found quite strange to have suddenly pop up in the text with no seeming relation to the narrative. After all, this portion of the text focuses mainly on Joseph and none of the other children of Jacob get a look like this, so why Judah?

I still am unsure of that, but this passage is seen in a whole new light. Esler brings out why it is that Judah wouldn’t give his third son to Tamar and why it is she seduced Judah instead. Many of us today are unaware of the social structure of society and are too quick to read our modern culture into the text.

So it goes with other stories in the Old Testament. How should we see the story of Hannah and her son Samuel? Why is Hannah treated the way she is by her husband and her rival wife? Why even have a rival wife?

What about David and Goliath? Is this just a story about overcoming your own Goliaths in your life? (Spoiler alert: No.) What does it mean of David that he goes and fights? What was it that made this fight so spectacular?

What about King Saul’s being crowned king? Why would he go and cut up an ox and run it through the streets of town? Why would there be hesitation on the part of the people if God chose Saul?

What about David and Bathsheba? This is one of those stories that if a film was made about it even if just for TV, you would have to send the kids to bed early that night. What all else is going on behind the scenes that we might not realize?

One outworking of this is the story of Amnon and Tamar. What is going on in David’s family to cause this to happen? What kind of relationship did David have with his kids? How did this affect the kingdom afterward?

We also step out of the Old Testament for a bit, at least if you’re a Protestant, to cover the story of Judith. If you haven’t read this as a Protestant, you should. This is one also that if you don’t believe it to be historical, you can still see how an ancient Israelite would have seen it.

I recommend this one for believers and non-believers alike. Non-believers will not think they are being preached to and won’t get an apologetics approach. This is all about interpretation and not historicity. Christians and others who hold to historicity, such as a number of Jews, will gain further insights into the text.

So if you love stories in the Bible about sex or about wives or about warriors, give it a try.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Deeper Waters Podcast 6/6/2020

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I was growing up playing games on the regular Nintendo, we were told that if your cartridges aren’t working, just blow into them. That will clear out anything and the game will work fine. Most all of us did that. The thing is, it worked. It made sense. Now years later we’re finding out that that really doesn’t work.

Also, before the days of the internet, we had numerous rumors flying around about games. I still remember trying to find the Artemis esper in Final Fantasy VI. How many Pokemon players were trying to move that one truck in an attempt to get Mew?

The age of the internet has made it easier and harder with these kinds of things. With some things that can be easily checked, it’s easy to see that some claims are just false. The claim about Mew would never get off the ground today, and this is even in an age where people can easily fake YouTube videos.

Yet some myths are harder to deal with. Many atheists think today that the idea about whether Jesus existed or not is a hot debate in New Testament scholarship. Not even among atheists is it a debate. Conspiracy theories run amok on the internet.

Even among Christians, there are urban legends. Is Jeremiah 29:11 really a great verse to use in your testimony? Does Isaiah 14 describe the fall of satan? Is Genesis 3:15 really a prophecy of the virgin birth? (Which I do affirm.)

To discuss these and other urban legends of the Old Testament. The book is itself called Urban Legends of the Old Testament. The co-author is Gary Yates and he will be my guest.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Professor of Old Testament at Liberty University School of Divinity for the past 17 years and have taught at the undergrad and grad level for 20 years. I also currently serve as the Pastor of Living Word Baptist Church in Forest, Virginia. 
I have a ThM and PhD in Old Testament from Dallas Theological Seminary and did my dissertation on the book of Jeremiah (looking at the primarily narrative portion of the book in Jeremiah 26-45). 
I have authored or co-authored Urban Legends of the Old Testament, The Message of the Twelve, 30 Days to Jeremiah/Lamentations, and the Essence of the Old Testament and have contributed to numerous other works, including the soon-to-be released, Baker Illustrated Bible Background Commentary. I have published in multiple journals and have contributed to two study Bibles. 
My wife Marilyn and I have been married for 35 years and have three adult children. 

We are nearly caught up on old podcasts. I just really have to get around to uploading them. That blame lies with me. I hope you all are looking forward to it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Urban Legends of the Old Testament

What do I think of Gary Yates and David Croteau’s book published by B&H Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I saw this book, I was intrigued by the idea and ordered it, and I am thankful that I did. This is a book that you can either read straight through or go through select chapters. Each chapter is short and starts off with the legend and then a response and then an application that follows.

The book is really incredibly readable. For me, many times when I near the end of the book, I really want to just finish it. With this one, I found myself enjoying each chapter as they were stand-alone in a quite entertaining way. At the same time, they’re incredibly informative.

This doesn’t mean that I agree with every assessment the authors have. For instance, I am still prone to see the Angel of the Lord as a Trinitarian precursor. Some items in particular I was very pleased to see. I was pleased to see the Harbinger and Isaiah 9:10, the Isaiah passage about how God’s word will not return void, and of course, Jeremiah 29:11.

Others I think they did a good job on but still left open to a kernel of truth. Perhaps Psalm 22 is not a prophecy of the crucifixion, but perhaps it can depict Jesus as the ultimate unjust sufferer who is handed over to His enemies as is the case in the Psalm. Perhaps Ezekiel bread really is a very healthy bread, but it might not be that just because it’s a meal described in the Bible we should eat it.

Some I think many people might be astounded by today, but the case I thought made was quite good. Could it be that Genesis 3 really doesn’t contain a prophecy of the virgin birth (Which I do affirm)? Could it be that maybe the Arabs aren’t the descendants of the Ishmaelites and that wars between Muslims and Christians today aren’t a result of that dispute thousands of years ago?

Some of these correct false teachings that need to be corrected, but at the same time provide a better teaching. What about training up a child in the way he should go? Does Proverbs 31 give a mandate for every wife to be like that woman? Is Song of Songs really best seen as describing dating?

Also, the authors don’t really try to go after controversial debates in the Old Testament as urban legends. How old is the Earth? Nothing said about it, although there is something said about NASA supposedly finding Joshua’s missing day. The issues here should be ones that Christians largely can agree on.

I really found this book to be a fascinating and engaging read and I highly recommend it. You’re bound to find something of interest in here and I have deliberately left out many of the conclusions just so you can discover them for yourselves. The book is also definitely layman-friendly and would be a great resource for small groups.

In Christ,
Nick Peters