A simple timeline of the patriarchs

When I saw the tables in this post, I knew I wanted to see a graphical representation of that information. Being a procrastinating overachiever, it took me 3 months to come up with and execute my own concept (which, I admit, isn’t revolutionary):

Timelines of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Joseph
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Joseph

Here are some things that leaped out to me:
• Jacob and Esau would have known their grandpa Abraham. Most certainly he told the boys about Yahweh’s promises, which to my mind makes Esau’s despising his birth right the more egregious.
• Isaac would have known of grandson Joseph’s “death”. (Isaac also vastly miscalculated the time of his death by about 40 years.)
• There are big blanks in the lives of Abra(ha)m, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph where seemingly nothing important happened. (The operative word being ‘seemingly’.)
Over to you, dear reader: Anything you’re seeing for the first time, or in a new light?

Luke-Acts: Prayer

Luke wrote a huge chunk of the New Testament, more than anyone else. He also wrote more about prayer than anyone else. Of the nine times he reports Jesus’ prayers, seven of those aren’t found in the other gospels. Luke alone records the three parables on prayer: The unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8), the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14), and The Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:5-8).

Luke records believers praying in the middle of the day and in the middle of the night. They pray alone and in groups. They pray in moments of joy and in distress. They pray in houses, on rooftops, on mountains and on beaches. Click and have a look:

Prayer in Luke-Acts
Prayer in Luke-Acts

Source: Prayer in Luke-Acts, by P. T. O’Brien in Tyndale Bulletin 24 (1973) 111-127 [PDF]

(For the nerdy, yes, I was inspired by a much-hyped computing interface 🙂 )

A timeline from Nebuchadnezzar to Nehemiah

The chronology of events in Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther had me confused, which for me meant creating a visualisation. As the idea brewed in my head, I learned of a tool called Timeline JS, which made the entire process very simple. I hope my efforts shall also be helpful to others.

Click on the image below to see a timeline of major events (all dates are approximate!) from about the time of the fall of Jerusalem to about the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.

PS. To avoid disappointment, this is the prettiest image in the timeline 🙂

So much God

Earlier this month, my Bible study group went through the call of the prophet Jeremiah. Following the study guide, we discussed Jeremiah’s excuses, the task he was called to, how he may have felt about it, and so on. Some ten days later, Jeremiah 1 was part of my daily Bible reading. In the intervening time, I’d read a couple of articles that weighed heavily on my mind and challenged me on the perspective from which I approach the Bible[1].

My mind thus primed, it came home to me how Jeremiah 1 is so not about the prophet. Have a look (as always, click to enlarge):

Jeremiah 1
Jeremiah 1

Key:

  • Black: narration
  • Orange: narration of Yahweh-initiated actions
  • Red: speech attributed to Yahweh
  • Blue: speech attributed to Jeremiah

[1] For the curious, the first article is The subject of your prayers. The choice is between you and God. The second and much lengthier article is an academic evaluation of children’s picture bibles. Among other things, this gave me an appreciation of how we can unwittingly alter the perception of a biblical text through what we emphasise and/or omit when retelling an account from the Bible.

Isaiah 40-66: The arm of the Lord

The arm of the Lord is a recurring motif throughout Scripture, where it almost always refers to the earthly manifestation of God’s power, particularly as seen in the Exodus. Isaiah takes that image and adds other attributes to it:

Isaiah_Arm of the Lord
Isaiah 40-66:The arm of the Lord (click to enlarge)

Power is still central, but it’s now linked to blessing, salvation and to a person (the Suffering Servant). Salvation is in turn linked to justice, righteousness and wrath.

Tenderness is closely related to power and blessing, but I’m not sure how to represent the overlap between those three 😉

The verses referred to are: Isaiah 40:10-11; 51:5, 9; 52:10; 53:1; 59:16; 62:8; 63:5, 12.

1 John: The one who

Here are the “whoever” constructs in 1 John (2:4, 2:5, 2:6, 2:9, 2:10. 2:11, 2:17, 2:23, 3:7, 3:8, 3:10, 3:14, 3:24, 4:6, 4:7, 4:15, 4:16, 4:18, 4:21, 5:1, 5:10, 5:12).

Notes

  • Adapted from “Whoever”: In 1 John
  • As you can see from the first panel, the Greek is variously translated as the one who, the person who, anyone who, everyone who, no one who, etc. The verses are quoted from the HCSB translation, which mostly uses the one who.
  • The ticks and Xs denote whether the statement is positive or negative.

Hosea’s imagery

If you know anything about the prophet Hosea, it is that he married a prostitute (I blogged about that a year ago). His marriage to an unfaithful woman was to be a picture of Yahweh’s covenant relationship with an unfaithful people. I once heard Os Guinness say that in the Bible, the more open the recipients were to the message, the more direct it was (and vice versa). So whereas Moses talked to God face-to-face, the prophets spoke of locusts and lions (Joel and Amos respectively) and Jesus spoke in parables (Matthew 13:10-15).

In addition to the main Israel-as-prostitute image, Hosea paints lots of other vivid pictures to describe the relationship between Yahweh and His people, which I tried to reproduce in story form. I’m not sure if I succeeded, but take a look below (readers on RSS may have to click through to the post to enjoy WordPress’s fantastic new photo carousel feature):

Two observations:

  • Much of the imagery used derives from flora and fauna, natural phenomena (mist, rain) and human relationships. Hosea’s original audience could easily relate to all of these.
  • I didn’t expect the intensity of the savage beast imagery used of God. Especially since He was talking to His own people, not some godless pagans with no prior divine revelation.

Notes

Appendix

Since getting text from images can be a little tricky, here are the scripture references (I didn’t use all of them in the panels): Continue reading