Having just the other day finished what I guess is the first book on this topic by the author, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus, this one seHaving just the other day finished what I guess is the first book on this topic by the author, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus, this one seemed like an easy transition to move right into. I will say though that this one flowed a bit better and was a bit more cohesive of a story, even though it appeared this book is mainly made up of individual writings by the author that have appeared over time on their web site.
While the last book opened with the first portion attempting to make a case for the idea that the gospel books were most likely originally written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek, this one did not seem to push that idea as much. Instead, to me it seemed more to be stating that the gospel message of Jesus was most likely spoken in a combination of Hebrew and Aramaic, and was therefore filled with Hebrew thought, cultural understandings, idioms, and the like; and that when these sayings, etc. were then decades later written into Greek, the translation into that language caused some things to get lost and misunderstood from the original intent and understanding. This idea is a bit more acceptable than the former, in light of the scholarship and evidence of the early manuscripts.
This book then goes on to lay out an amazing story of Jesus, the culture, his position, the people around him, and the way some of his "difficult" sayings were in fact fairly common in light of their culture. At times I felt like I was walking the streets beside Jesus, seeing what he saw, hearing what the disciples heard, and experiencing much of their culture.
I just felt more engrossed in the happenings of the day, and began to get a whole new sense of the happenings and sayings of our Lord. Understanding Jesus in his day to have been more of a fairly typical Rabbi of the time (though with a more powerful twist to his message), and understanding the rabbinical thoughts, sayings and understandings of that time, allows so much of what he said and did to shine forth in a more clear way.
Section one focuses on Jesus the Rabbi and looks at his education, what it meant to be a disciple of a Rabbi, taking on the yoke of a Rabbi, and the preservation of a Rabbi's teaching.
Section two looked at Jesus in his first century context, and explored the Jewish practice of the day, the dress and traditions of the Rabbi, the name of God, the typical prayer to God (and how it influenced the Lord's Prayer we know), the non-marriage of Jesus and the miracle on the sea of Galilee.
Section three discussed various teachings of Jesus, like the rich man who rejected the kingdom, the Essene vow of hatred (the us versus them mentality), the discussion of Jesus and the jots and tittles of the law, Jesus versus pacifism, poverty, divorce and remarriage.
Section four ends the book with a great look into the Kingdom and it's presence in the first century, what it meant, how it was known, how Jesus was the "prophet" and "olive tree" promised, and what it took for the Gentiles to come in to the root.
Great stuff that really helps clear things up when seen in light of the full-blown Hebrew culture of Jesus' time. This book is a great introduction to understanding the Hebrew roots that assist in making the message of the New Testament much more understandable....more
This newer 2008 edition is expanded and improved, and while the initial one seemed good enough to make it's point, this one just adds that much more tThis newer 2008 edition is expanded and improved, and while the initial one seemed good enough to make it's point, this one just adds that much more to prove the case. Preston takes aim at the mainline views of the amillennial and dispensational camp regarding the 70 weeks of Danirl 9. Also along the way he plows through some of the view of major postmillennialists like Gentry and Demar, but for the most part they are not the main focus here.
In essence, Preston takes aim and hits the target at showing that there is no way to put a gap between week 69 and 70 as dispensationalists do, and there is no really logical way to state that the 70 weeks ended shortly after Christ's crucifixion - in roughly 34-35 AD. Looking at all that was said to be accomplished within the 70 week time frame, Preston shows where these views are lacking in their understanding, and some of the illogical issues these view create. nice little concise vie on the topic....more
Very enjoyable read. Basically this is two books within one cover.
Book one is Idioms in the Bible Explained and contains about 70 pages is one-linersVery enjoyable read. Basically this is two books within one cover.
Book one is Idioms in the Bible Explained and contains about 70 pages is one-liners organized into groups based on the book they come from. Each one is a Scripture idiom, and a brief interpretation underneath it. This portion of the book is the meat and potatoes of why I bought it. It is a quick reference guide to many idioms to help better understand what specific verses mean. For example, here are a few:
The wolf and the lamb shall dwell together. Isa. 11:6 -- means "An oppressor and a weak nation shall live together in peace."
The weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. Isa. 11:8 -- means "A small nation shall be able to handle their deadly enemies."
Eat bead in the Kingdom of God. Luke 14:15 -- means "Welcomed in the Kingdom of God."
These little tidbits help to clarify so many obscure (to us) pieces of Scripture, that it makes this little book well worth having on your shelf. Even if you do not buy into Lamsa's ideas on the NT being written originally in Aramaic, this little book is still great.
Book two is "A Key to the Original Gospels" and is a brief story of the Scriptures, cultural history and a bunch of small segments dealing with various topics and verses, almost like an expounded edition of some of the idioms covered before, but more story-like. It explains various subjects like what happened at the wedding at Cana, the word Raca, the rich man, letting the dead bury the dead, the two women grinding concept, and more.
The most "interesting" portion of this book was his take on the words of Jesus on the cross, when he said "Eli, Eli, Lmana Sabachthani." He claims that it does not imply anything about being forsaken, but that in the Aramaic means "My God, My God, for this I was kept" and speaks of Jesus crying out that this was his known destiny and the reason he was born. This stands out as the highlight of the whole second book, but it was all enlightening in one way or another. Well worth the read in my opinion....more
I really enjoyed this book, and right after I started reading it I noticed two other authors I respected had also recently made mention of it, so I fiI really enjoyed this book, and right after I started reading it I noticed two other authors I respected had also recently made mention of it, so I figured it should be a good read. The issue of Zionism, or those who feel Israel deserves to be back in their land due to some biblical, covenantal, or eschatological reason, really need to examine the issue further; and this book is a great place to start.
I was thinking it was going to just be a book to counter the many modern arguments in support of modern Israel, but instead it is a fairly thorough historical march through the Bible, covering the covenant, the promises, and the importance of the land along the way. Most of the way through, it spoke so much in favor of the importance of the land, that I thought it was going down a path other than what I thought the intent was. Then as he approached the New Testament, and the new covenant, the shift began, and the last couple chapters examine the view of the land in those last days for the Christians.
Kenneth Gentry recently commented, saying this book is one of a few books that has greatly shaped his view of Israel and the land, and that after reading this and the couple others, if someone still could cling to a modern dispensational view of the land, then they are probably beyond hope (that is a paraphrase as I understood it).
Maybe this book had more of an excitement and impact on me due to it's heavy look into Israel's past and understanding of the land, since I had recently finished the Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel which examined a lot of historical understandings in Hebrew thought; but either way, this book was full of great content, history, and biblical conclusions. I have so many highlighted remarks throughout, it would be hard to narrow it down to give a brief synopsis, but I just encourage you to check this book out if you have any interest in the modern crisis in Israel over who has the rights to the land. ...more
A very intriguing read, bringing in many foreign concepts to the modern mind. Things often thought by us to be fantasy or mythology iare examined fromA very intriguing read, bringing in many foreign concepts to the modern mind. Things often thought by us to be fantasy or mythology iare examined from a biblical historical use and application. Honestly, if what this book portrays is literally real, it drastically changeable our understandings of the ancient world and spirit realm. I think a lot of it make sense though. Well worth the read no matter what your final conclusion is....more
This book was a bit challenging, and I knew that going in. This book strikes at a very traditional view that I have been a proponent of for many, manyThis book was a bit challenging, and I knew that going in. This book strikes at a very traditional view that I have been a proponent of for many, many years. But I wanted to at least consider the position, and having finished Walton's other book Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible I figured I would follow up with this title. I will say that having read his other book prior to this one was a huge help and made it that much easier to understand his position from the get-go.
Here is a very fundamental overview of the main thrust of this book: word for "create" is bara and when understood as the original ancient audience would have, does not give a meaning of material creation, but is a term used for establishing function. His previous book went into incredible detail in understanding how the ancient's understood things, and so this aspect of this book was therefore easier to grasp than it may be for others.
Overall this was a very interesting discussion, with a very compelling argument for his case. Still, it is a real hard pill to swallow after 30+ years of a traditional view. Some noteworthy quotes from the book:
Through the entire Bible, there is not a single instance in which God revealed to Israel a science beyond their own culture. No passage offers a scientific perspective that was not common to Old World science of antiquity. (Pg 19)
It has long been observed that in the context of bara no materials for the creative act are ever mentioned, and an investigation of all the passages mentioned above substantiate that claim. (Pg 43)
All of this information leads us to conclude that the "beginning" is a way of talking about the seven-day period rather than a point in time prior to the seven days. (Pg 45)
All of this indicates that cosmic creation in the ancient world was not viewed primarily as a process by which matter was brought into being, but as a process by which functions, roles, order, jurisdiction, organization and stability were established. (Pg 53)
Worth a read even if you disagree. understanding ancient thought on issues of cosmology is always a plus for understanding other biblical truths. ...more