The Bible as Story

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Oceans of ink have been spilled in man’s effort to understand and explain an ancient collection of writings that largely shaped the development of Western civilization. We are, of course, speaking of the Bible, comprised of Old and New Testaments. However, we are not really dealing with ‘a book’ when we consider the Bible. . . Continue reading

Darkness – faiththink.org

On Monday, August 21st, 2017 the moon will pass between the earth and the sun for a brief time, darkening the earth with its shadow — a spectacular sight that will draw a projected million people to the Southern Appalachian Mountains to witness the 2017 total eclipse of the sun. Eclipses are a naturally occurring part of the universe. So then, what is it about an eclipse that so rivets our attention?

Humans have always been fascinated by eclipses. In many ancient societies, eclipses were considered ill omens for kings, “unnatural” and frightening events that could weaken or dissolve the bonds of peace and kinship, leading to political upheavals. Other societies believed that eclipses held healing powers for the sick, or represented an opportunity for warring parties to make peace and put all their old hostilities and disputes aside.

Although most of us no longer attribute spiritual significance to them, we remain fascinated by eclipses. To some, an eclipse is simply a rare event not to be missed, a pretext for adventure. To others it may hold astrological significance — perhaps some clue to future events or their life’s meaning.

What are you looking for?

On August 21st, darkness will creep over us, but after a few short minutes the light of day will return. However, we all know that life’s sorrows can bring darkness that lasts much longer.

Fans of 80’s rock will recall the popular lyrics by Bonnie Tyler:

Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there’s only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart 1

Most of us, laugh though we may, can relate to this melodramatic song. Who hasn’t suffered deep, painful disappointments in life…loneliness, depression, or loss of hope? For many of us, the wounds and disappointments are very deep and persistent. We look in our own hearts and at the world around us, grieved and puzzled at the darkness we find there.

There was a day in history when darkness covered the land for 3 hours at midday. About 2,000 years ago, a man was nailed to a wooden cross. The sun was blotted out with darkness as recorded not only in the New Testament in Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44, but also by the Roman historian Thallus, whose historical account was written circa AD 52. 2

Jesus faced the darkness that results from humanity’s selfish, wicked sin to return us to the Light that is the very presence of the Creator. He died saying, “Father, forgive them” and rose from the tomb three days later, bringing “life and immortality to light” forever, for all who repent and believe (2 Tim. 1:10).

The darkness in our world and our souls has a remedy. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He or she who follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:32)

We cannot overcome the darkness of sin any more than we could stop a solar eclipse. But Christ Jesus has overcome the darkness, and He can do it for you now. He is closer than your next breath.

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary (worn out by life) and burdened (under a load of darkness, guilt, shame and sin) and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Do not suffer in darkness another day.

Contact us if you would like to know more, have questions, or would like someone to pray and talk with you.

 

 

1.Total Eclipse of the Heart, written by Jim Steinman. Performed by Bonnie Tyler and released on Columbia Records, February 11, 1983.

2. Julius Africanus, Extant Writings, XVIII in The Ante–Nicene Fathers, ed. by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), vol. VI, p. 130

Where there is no vision…?

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I recall visiting a rural church in the American South several years ago that had a banner stretched across the back wall of the sanctuary behind the pulpit. “Vision 1000!” it read, and I later asked the pastor what it meant. With a puffed chest and a wide smile he declared, “We’re believing for a thousand people to worship God out here in the country!” Based upon the traditional King James translation of Proverbs 29:18, this pastor felt that the Bible demanded that his flock have a tangible, measureable growth goal to work towards – a vision, if you will.

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18 KJV) [1] Continue reading

What is the Eden Story Really Telling Us?

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Thinking about the problem of evil and sin, have you ever asked any of these questions?

  • Why is there evil?
  • Why does sin continue to plague humans, even after a faith experience?
  • Why Did God/YHVH require blood to atone for sin?
  • Why did Satan tempt Eve?
  • What would he truly get out of it?
  • If God/YHVH is all powerful, why did He require Jesus/Y’shua to die on the cross?  Why didn’t he just POOF! fix it?

For these and countless other questions, one must return to Eden and the events of Genesis 3, to consider the possibility that the Hebrew text therein suggests such incredible and disturbing things, that one must set aside doctrinal theories and theological systems to understand the literal blood struggle between the Holy Creator God/YHVH and the being of chaos/disorder/darkness known as Satan. This event in Eden appears to be the foundational element in understanding the plan of God/YHVH throughout time, as shown in the Scriptures. 

Continue reading

Hebrew Bible Study Methodology

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It is the goal, or it should be the goal, of every serious Christian to learn to effectively study the Bible. Effective Bible study can be defined as the ability to do independent research in the Bible without the aid of commentaries. Hebrew is the foundation stone on which the Old Testament revelation was given to man. This was the linguistic vehicle that God chose to reveal Himself and His plan, for not only the Jew, but also for all of mankind. It is an accepted fact that a person cannot study the Old Testament in depth without a working understanding of the language of Hebrew. The same could and should be said about the New Testament because of certain facts that remain constant. Every single writer of the New Testament, with the possible exception of Luke, was a native speaker of a Semitic language. The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is a Jewish manuscript. It is a book written by Jews, to Jews, not only pointing the way for a Jewish Messiah, but also showing how Jesus fulfilled the role as the Jewish Messiah. It is impossible to separate the way a person thinks from what he writes. It can be said then that the New Testament is Hebraic thought that has been clothed in Greek garments. In order to effectively see these thought patterns, a person must have at least some ability to handle Hebrew to unlock the rich storehouse of knowledge that is available to us as we study the New Testament.

For a sample of this book, click here.

For the print/paperback version, click here.

The End of Me

I saw a Facebook posting that really made me stop and think about existence and meaning, purpose and faith.  Consider this image for a few moments and then read on…
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Bible Study Notes

Here is a sample of note taking in the new Calvert Bible Study Journal. Check it out!

And we’re testing the new WordPress blog…

This is a test of the new FAITHTHINK WordPress blog. This is only a test. If this had been an actual posting, it would have contained actual useful and pertinent information. 

New FAITHTHINK blogs!

Calvert Biblical Institute is growing our media presence!  In January 2017 we are rolling new WordPress and Tumblr blogs.  Both of these will connect with our Facebook and main website, http://www.faiththink.org.  Check back often for updates!

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