Biblical Lessons

Ignatius to the Philadelphians – letter from early Christian church leader

The following letter preserved under the name of Ignatius is generally considered authentic as it was mentioned by the historian Eusebius in the first half of the fourth century.  As part of seven letters to seven early Christian churches, Ignatius's letters proved to be important testimony to the development of Christian theology (since the number of extant writings from this period of Church history is very small). Note that the letters bear signs of being written in great haste and without a proper plan, such as run-on sentences and an unsystematic succession of thought. Note: As with any apocryphal writing, Christians must take care to recognize historical writings regarding Christianity may have ulterior motives and thus, can contradict our biblical texts.  They are presented here for

Is religion really responsible for most wars and millions of lost lives throughout history?

Introduction A common argument against organized religion is the claim that religion has been responsible for more wars, and hence millions of lost lives throughout history. This is a fallacy – one that is easy to refute by simply studying the history of past wars and culling out contributing causes for the conflict. What you will find is that there is rarely a single cause for war and contrary to atheist claims, religion seldom serves as the primary motivator for war (albeit several wars were led by leaders who thought themselves to be “gods”). In fact, most wars are started for one of four reasons – territorial gains, political differences, economic advantage, or a rebellion against a repressive government. Even wars widely thought of as religious

How to read and interpret (understand) the Bible’s Old and New Testament texts

Many Bible readers feel they struggle interpreting the true meaning of the biblical texts. In truth, any translated text will be difficult to understand, and even more so when the text is a sacred religious tome, translated by interpreters who went to great lengths to ensure they did not alter its original meaning in any way.  Nehemiah 8 hints that even ancient readers sought help interpreting the Bible's message, and provides a wonderful story illustrating how the ancients read and understood the Bible. “When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the

Who wrote the Bible? Complete (but concise) list of Bible books, their authors, and when they were written

  Since most books in the Bible were written anonymously (not uncommon in Biblical days), much of what we know for certain about the authorship comes from logical deduction.  What follows is the opinion of the majority of contemporary scholars along with the traditional views of authorship (both Jewish and Christian). Date written are estimates only. Hover over highlighted names for additional history and facts about the book. Old Testament Old Testament groups are not necessarily ordered chronologically (they are ordered more by “type”). Pentateuch (Books of Moses) or Torah Note that the last eight verses in Deuteronomy, which describe Moses' death, were obviously written by another (unknown) author.  Also, some theorize that the Pentateuch does not have a single author and that its composition took place over centuries. Book Author Date Genesis (Book of Genesis) Moses 1445 BC Exodus (Book

Christian creationism vs. science’s Theory of Evolution – did God paint the universe with a random brush?

Pitting deep-rooted theological beliefs against modern-day scientific theory The Theory of Evolution is an oft-debated topic pitting the deep-rooted beliefs of theologians against the theories of modern-day scientists. Scientists suggest (and often, violating their own scientific process, wholeheartedly accept as truth) that man evolved over time – that certain human characteristics change with successive generations. Proposed by Charles Darwin in his 1869 book, The Origin of Species, “natural selection” or “chance law” proposes that humans arose through random mutations designed to ensure the species survived and prospered.  Theologians on the other hand, promote the Intelligent Design theory (creationism) that postulates humans originated due to the intentional arrangement of their matter, including their DNA-based genetic code, by an intelligent agent. Battle lines drawn in the sand, each side firmly plants their

Complete (but concise) list of Bible places – Old and New Testament biblical locations

This is list of places, lands, and countries mentioned in the Bible. Some places may be listed twice or under two different names. Hover over the biblical location name for a detailed explanation of the place (if available). A Absalom's Monument Achaia Adiabene - Neo Assyrian State Ai Akko Akkad - Mesopotamian state Ammon - Canaanite state Antioch - In Asia Minor Arabia - (in Biblical times and until the 7th century AD Arabia was confined to the Arabian Peninsula) Aram/Aramea - Modern Syria Arbela (Erbil/Urbil) - Assyrian city Archevite Armenia - Indo-European kingdom of eastern Asia Minor and southern Caucasus. Arrapkha - Assyrian City, modern Kirkuk Ashdod Ashkelon Ashur/Asshur/Assur - Capital city of Syria Assyria - Mesopotamian Semitic state located in modern northern Iraq, northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey B Baal-hazor - Canaanite city Babel (Tower of Babel) Babylon/Babylonia - Mesopotamian state located in the fertile plain between

The surprising truth behind the religion of Islam – a detailed Christian guide to the Koran (Quran) and what it teaches its followers

WARNING: The following is an up-front, critical analysis of the Quran which religious followers of Islam may find offensive. Since it is presented as a critique, I openly invite followers of Islam to comment on the article in the comments section at the end of the article. Preface: A Christian's Guide to the Koran As a lifelong Christian, I possess no accurate, firsthand knowledge of Islam’s religious doctrines nor have many close personal relationships with any of its Muslim followers. What little I know about Islam stems solely from vague secondhand sources. Thus, going into this endeavor, I read the entire Koran as if I were a blank slate with no pre-existing bias other than my faith as a Christian. I knew I would have to refrain

Was Jesus a real person – is there historical proof outside the Bible that Jesus really existed?

Was Jesus a real person? Yes, Jesus was real (albeit not very popular) Although the New Testament Bible provides extensive documentation of Jesus’ life, the Bible is a theological literary work and could be seen by some as potentially biased. Even steadfast Christians may occasionally wonder, “Is there any other proof that Jesus truly existed?” In fact, almost all modern-day historians agree that Jesus existed historically citing proof from several supplementary ancient works that not only confirm the existence of Jesus, but prove that his ministry, including his many miracles that detractors attempted to explain away as “evil magic”, produced a significant impact on the people of the day. Jesus' popularity wanes During Jesus’ day, the geographic area he lived in was controlled and occupied by two major groups – Jews

How do we reconcile the differences in Old Testament Law and Jesus’ New Testament teachings?

Difficulty reconciling differences between the Old and New Testaments New Christians sometimes find it difficult to reconcile the differences in Old Testament and New Testament teachings. In most instances, New Testament lessons explain or expand on Old Testament teachings. In other instances however, New Testament lessons seem to contradict or overturn Old Testament Law. These perceived contradictions cause Christians to wonder if the Old Testament is still relevant or if they should rely solely on the teachings of the New Testament.  The key is an understanding of the types of biblical law - and keeping the Bible's message in context with the time. There is no contradiction but one is old, and the other is new Confusion regarding seemingly contradictory biblical text typically occurs when a reader isolates the

Complete (but concise) list of major and minor characters in the Bible

There are literally hundreds of characters in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.  Here is a complete list of important biblical characters along with a brief note regarding their significance.  Proposed symbolism of the Hebrew name is in parenthesis.  Characters are grouped and categorized by their function in the biblical texts.  Many of these characters are also mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Old Testament Characters Adam to David according to the Hebrew Bible Creation to Flood Adam ("man" or "to be red") – first man Seth ("placed" or "appointed") – third son of Adam and Eve Enos ("human being" – son of Seth, grandson of Adam Kenan ("possession" – son of Enosh, grandson of Asam Mahalalel – son of Kenan, descendant of Seth Jared ("descent") – father of Enoch Enoch ("dedicated")