Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 41: Jeremiah 1-2; 15; 20;26; 36-38

Jeremiah at the temple

Jeremiah at the temple

Jeremiah! The man, the book, the bullfrog

Jeremiah is the second longest book in our longest book of scripture. (Only Psalms is longer). We know more about Jeremiah than any other Old Testament prophet, because for reasons unknown, much more biographical information is included. Continue reading “Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 41: Jeremiah 1-2; 15; 20;26; 36-38”

Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 40- Isaiah 54-56, 63-65

My image

Today we come to the last of our Isaiah lessons. These chapters cover a variety of topics, and I’m going to jump between a few of them.

First, some setting of chapter 54. Isaiah addresses the empty city of Jerusalem as a childless mother, promising that its future inhabitants will be many. Continue reading “Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 40- Isaiah 54-56, 63-65”

“You either believe the scriptures or you don’t”

Ben contemplates his words, at Petra.

“You either believe the scriptures or you don’t.” I have, on occasion, been accused of wresting or disbelieving scripture. More often than not, this accusation has come from well-meaning people of my own faith who don’t understand how interpretation of scripture works. Often, they don’t even understand that interpretation exists.

It is impossible to read scripture without making an implicit claim as to what a passage means, which is “interpretation.” So everyone is interpreting, all the time, consciously or unconsciously. Continue reading ““You either believe the scriptures or you don’t””

Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 39: Isaiah 50-53

the-destruction-of-leviathan

Gusave Doré’s The Destruction of Leviathan. Public Domain

One theme throughout these chapters is the redemption and recovery of Israel, specifically from Babylonian exile and previous scattering by the Assyrians. The lesson manual focuses on the messianic foreshadowing of Jesus as redeeming figure. Scholars refer to these as the “Suffering Servant” passages, and the text is well-known to many people through Handel’s Messiah. All of that, I think, will be quite familiar.

I want to focus on a few different passages, though, which invoke certain attributes of God’s power as they relate to creation, chaos, and also (in a roundabout way) redemption and atonement. These topics will appear in my book, as well.  Continue reading “Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 39: Isaiah 50-53”

Group study: Recycling an old suggestion

My old bookshelf

My old bookshelf

 I have more thoughts on group and family study to supplement replace our lost hour of Church, but in the meantime, this post (originally 2011, reposted last year) might be helpful. 

I plug modern Bible translations one way or another in virtually everything I write and teach. Now that you have two or three translations, how do you integrate them into your family study or teaching? Here’s one suggestion. Continue reading “Group study: Recycling an old suggestion”

The Future Faith of Our Seminary Students

Ben contemplating in Petra.

This is a long post, with four sections, but I ask you to read it because I think it’s important.

I first explain the nature of my concern, the two emblematic issues involved, and conclude by inviting you to do something.

Intro/Why I’m concerned

The 2019 Seminary manual for Old Testament is now available. I skimmed through some early bits, and I’m concerned for the future faith of our LDS youth. Continue reading “The Future Faith of Our Seminary Students”

Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 37: Isaiah 22, 24-26, 28-30.

My pic

First, to continue from last week, is Isaiah’s love of wordplay and pun, which drives much of Isaiah’s word choice. Although we call this “wordplay” in English (or paronomasia, if you’re being technical) this was for literary effect and making it memorable; not for cleverness or frivolous entertainment. For example, in 24:17 we read Isaiah speaking of “terror, a pit, and a snare.” These nouns are pachad, wa-pachat, wa-pach (wa meaning “and” here, a conjunction) See the  Anchor Bible Dictionary article, “Wordplay”. Continue reading “Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 37: Isaiah 22, 24-26, 28-30.”