Parallel Passages

Parallel Passages

The Bible can be a daunting book. In this series we look at what it is, and how to read it. AN INTERESTING and very useful feature of the Bible is the fact that you can put two or more passages together to gain a better understanding of the whole. This is possible because of the consistency of the Bible’s content. The Bible says of itself that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16), and of God we read “I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). The Bible ultimately has one author, the unchanging God, so we should not be surprised that it is entirely consistent. There is a Bible precedent for putting different passages together, borne out of the method by which the book has been transmitted through many different inspired writers. This is the concept of multiple witnesses. Under the law

Nahum

Nahum

NAHUM’S PROPHECY concerns Nineveh the capital city of Assyria (Nahum 1:1). The book can be dated between 640 and 620bc: that’s 120 or more years after Jonah prophesied against that city. By now Nineveh had long forgotten its repentance in Jonah’s time. The Assyrians had attacked and spoiled the nation of Israel, and threatened the nation of Judah. The Assyrians’ attempt to overthrow Jerusalem was thwarted by divine intervention (2 Kings 19). The Comforter The name Nahum means ‘comfort’. God’s message through him proclaimed comfort for the Jews. Nineveh would be overthrown and the Assyrian threat would cease. The Babylonian attack on Nineveh is vividly foretold in chapters 2 and 3: it was fulfilled in 612bc. The city was finally sacked by the Medes and Persians and its ruins were only rediscovered in the 19th Century. Judgement of Nineveh Nineveh was “an exceedingly great city” (Jonah 3:3). The Assyrians had

The Challenge

The Challenge

THE ‘SHARK’S FIN’ peak of Mount Meru in the Indian Himalayas is widely regarded as the most difficult mountaineering challenge in the world. Over the years there were many attempts to climb it. Then in 2011 it was finally conquered by a team of three men, after years of preparation, a previous failed attempt, intensive practice and physical training, then a gruelling 11-day climb involving a 4000-foot ascent of treacherous snow fields before they could scale the 1500-foot vertical granite face. The inevitable question is—why? The team leader Conrad Anker explained: “Why do we do this stuff? The view!” Everybody likes a challenge. Not everybody is up for the kind of challenge which involves pushing your mind and body to their limit of endurance with a constant risk of falling to your death in temperatures colder than a domestic freezer, on a climb which many people said was impossible. But

Governor’s Memoir

Governor’s Memoir

Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor who sentenced Jesus Christ to death. This is an imaginary memoir, but it is based on the facts as we know them from the Bible and archaeology. The Bible verses are given for reference. Part 1 THE JEWISH PASSOVER was always a dangerous time. Jerusalem was packed with pilgrims and bubbling with nationalistic fervour. I ensured our garrison was at full strength, and I took up residence in the city myself and I made sure it was known. This year there was a particular sense of unease. The Jewish rabble were raving about a travelling preacher by the name of Jesus, whom they had made a focus for their discontent with Roman rule. He arrived in the city a week before the feast. He rode in on the Jericho road, it was a spectacle and half the city went out to watch. They were

God Who Provides

God Who Provides

ONE OF THE CHALLENGES of having faith in God is to believe that He will provide for us in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. The Lord Jesus Christ said this: Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:31–33). The clear message of Jesus to his disciples is that God will provide. This is so simple to understand, but it doesn’t always work out quite as we might expect. That’s why the Bible is so helpful by giving us examples of people for whom God did provide, people like the prophet Elijah. Trying Times The spiritual health of the nation of

Your e-mails – March 2021

Your e-mails – March 2021

Did the death of Jesus pay the price for past, present and future sins? This is the first of two questions on the crucial subject of sin and forgiveness. The second question will appear in next month’s issue, God willing. THE NAME ‘JESUS’ means ‘God is salvation’. He was given that name because, as the angel Gabriel explained to Jesus’ mother Mary, “he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Gabriel also said that Jesus will one day sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem as King (Luke 1:32). But his first role was to bring salvation from sin and death, for those who are “his people”. God cannot and will not forgive everyone, for He is a holy God and will only forgive those who have shown they want to be forgiven, and have come into a relationship with Him in the way that He made possible. We

Bathsheba

Bathsheba

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give lists of the ancestors of Jesus Christ. Only five women are mentioned. These were all very special individuals. In this series we’re looking at them in turn—this month we consider Bathsheba. WE HEAR NOTHING about Bathsheba until late one night when she was washing (2 Samuel 11:2). This is a most unusual Bible story, but one which can teach us very useful lessons. King David had fought many battles during his life, but on this occasion he sent Joab his captain to conquer the Ammonite capital city Rabbah, while he stayed at home. In modern language we can say he was ‘bored’, and one night he couldn’t sleep and so went for a walk on the flat roof of his palace. He saw a woman in another courtyard or on a flat roof washing herself. He obviously had a second look and noticed

Micah

Micah

THE PROPHET Micah lived at the time when God’s kingdom was divided into Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Micah prophesied to the Southern Kingdom during the reigns of its kings Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (Micah 1:1). He spoke out against idolatry, cruelty and oppression in both Judah and Israel, and warned of God’s coming judgements. Yet, through him, God also foretold the recovery of a remnant of the people (2:12; 5:7–8), the coming of the King (the ‘Messiah’) (5:2) and the ultimate restoration of the Kingdom of God (4:1–4). Summary of the Prophecy Chapters 1–3: Judgements on Judah and Israel. Chapters 4–5: Ultimate restoration of the kingdom under God’s coming King. Chapters 6–7: God’s desire for justice, kindness and humility (6:8). He will fulfil His promises to the Jews’ ancestors, Abraham and Jacob (7:20). The Kingdom Restored The Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, the

Pictures of Baptism

Pictures of Baptism

IF YOU WANT TO belong to God, you need to be baptised. Jesus Christ said so: He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:16). One of the brilliant things about the Bible is that it doesn’t just tell you things—it shows you pictures as well! We’re going to look at three pictures that illustrate what baptism means. The Flood Right back near the beginning, the world’s population had grown so wicked that God determined to destroy them all. The account is in Genesis chapter 6. Only Noah and his family were faithful to God. God told Noah to build a massive boat, to save his family and a stock of animals that would repopulate the earth. Then God sent a cataclysmic flood which washed away everybody and everything else. Jesus Christ and his disciples used the story of

Ruth

Ruth

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give lists of the ancestors of Jesus Christ. Only five women are mentioned. These were all very special individuals. In this series we’re looking at them in turn—this month we consider Ruth. LIKE RAHAB before her, Ruth was not a Jewess. She comes into the Bible story when she married into a Jewish family who had left their Promised Land. Elimelech and his family lived in Bethlehem. When a famine struck the land of Israel, it seems Elimelech didn’t trust God to preserve them in their Promised Land, and so he took Naomi his wife and his two sons to the land of Moab. He died in Moab. His two sons married local girls, and then sadly the two young men also died, leaving Orpah and Ruth, and their mother-in-law Naomi. When news arrived from Israel that God had ended the famine Naomi decided