An observation on Revelation

I’m currently reading through the book of Revelation, and I’ve noticed something intriguing: the amount of singing. At the risk of being grossly irreverent, the heavenly scenes in Revelation are a little like a musical, with characters bursting into song or poetical speech, as the case may be. (The earthly scenes on the other hand are full of beasts with horns and crowns).

The Lord Jesus is always shown speaking. Some angels speak. But the multitudes, the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders, the thousands upon thousands of the angels all sing/ wax poetical. And it’s all about God and the Lamb. The greatest reward we’ll get when we get to heaven won’t be the crowns or the mansion we receive, but Jesus Himself.

What’s the relation?

A facetious post…  🙂

Automated systems can come up with unusual results, as we can see in the following screen-shot:

screenshotThe video features Matt Cutts, head of the Google web-spam team talking about stuff that webmasters and search engine optimisation (SEO) folk spend a lot of time agonising over. YouTube  surmised that these people would be interested in viewing a video on how to apply makeup during chemotherapy (with all respect to cancer patients);  three (different?) videos of a “Landrover standing 40 feet high at Goodwood with Lord March G” (I won’t even go there). What’s the relation? Sculpting?

More puzzling of course, is the Serbian Interview. Is that an interview in the Serbian language? Or a Serbian being interviewed? Or they’re talking about Serbia? Or none/all of the above?

My name

A frivolus post here…

My first name (which if you’re reading this, you probably know) reached its peak in popularity in the US in the 1950s, with some 380 baby girls out of every million bearing it. By the 1980s, it dropped out of the top 1000 baby names, or so says the Baby Name Wizard.

My mum told me she chose my name to rhyme with her own. If I do have a daughter one day, maybe I shall carry on the tradition, notwithstanding the small pool of names to choose from…

Knowing Scripture: Chapter 6

In this last chapter, Sproul discusses resources that may help in studying the Bible. This section hasn’t been updated in 32 years, and so I’ll include only the parts I consider to be still relevant today.

6.    Practical tools for Bible study

A few suggestions for those seeking a deeper knowledge and understanding of Scripture.

Bible translations

There are differences in the translating methodologies that must be noted:

  1. Verbal accuracy. These  are the translations in which strict faithfulness to the ancient language is stressed. Pros: verbal accuracy. Cons: a cumbersome and awkward literary style. Such translations are useful for study purposes, but somewhat awkward for normal reading. An example is the NASB.
  2. Concept accuracy. This is the predominant method of translation, which seeks to maximise reading style and minimise verbal distortion. The goal is to produce an accurate rendition of the thoughts or concepts of Scripture. An example is the RSV.
  3. The paraphrase. This is an expansion of the concept method in which the concept is extended and elaborated to ensure that it is well-communicated. Here the premium is on readability and relevance to modern thought patterns. Paraphrases are not recommended for serious study since there is the danger of distortion. Examples include the J. B. Phillips ‘translation’, The Living Bible and The Message. Continue reading

Knowing Scripture: Chapter 5

Sproul has us consider the difference between principle and custom in the Bible.

5.    Culture and the Bible

Is Scripture insufficient for guiding us today?

Cultural conditioning and the Bible

To what degree is the Bible influenced by culture? Is there any part of the Bible that is bound by its cultural setting and thus limited in its application to its own cultural setting?

Cultural conditioning and the reader

We bring a host of extra-biblical assumptions to the Bible, and these may cloud our understanding of God’s word. Our blind spots are so called because we’re oblivious to them. We need to be aware that the perspective we bring to the Word may well be a distortion of the truth.

That said, we’re still left with questions of application and relevance. Does what the Bible command first-century Christians to do apply to us today? Continue reading

Knowing Scripture: Chapter 4 (cont)

Rules for biblical interpretation, continued from yesterday.

vi.                   Note the presence of parallelisms in the Bible

The Bible contains three types of parallelisms:

¨       Synonymous parallelism occurs when different lines or passages present the same idea in a slightly altered manner, e.g.

  1. A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and he who pours out lies will not go free. (Prov 19:5)
  2. Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; (Ps 95:6)

¨       Antithetic parallelism occurs when two parts are set up in contrast with each other. They may say the same thing, but say it by way of negation, e.g.

  1. A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,
    but a mocker does not listen to rebuke. (Prov 13:1)
  2. Lazy hands make a man poor,
    but diligent hands bring wealth. (Prov 10:4)

¨       In synthetic parallelism, the first part creates a sense of expectation which is completed by the second part. It can also progress into a conclusion in a third part, e.g. Continue reading