Grace & Knowledge Blog

Grace & Knowledge Blog

Feb 2, 2018 Oxford Library Sale

February 4, 2018

The public library in Oxford had a used book sale on Feb 2, 2018.  I stopped by and picked up 6 books for $4, including, 

Tags: books, oxford library sale

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The "Plundering of Egypt" Pattern in the Bible

December 30, 2017

When the Israelites were leaving Egypt on the exodus, they

"did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians" (Exod 12:35-36). 

This seemingly small detail receives quite a bit of emphasis in the Bible.  Before it happens, there are three announcements that it will happen, in Gen 15:14, Exod 3:21-22, and Exod 11:2. 

It's also foreshadowed by events that anticipate the Exodus and alluded to in later biblical events.  For example,

  • After Abram and Sarai take refuge in Egypt during a famine, they leave with substantial assets (Gen 12:10-20). 
  • Two generations later, Jacob flees Paddan-Aram with sizeable flocks and Laban's household gods (Gen 31:17-19).
  • When the Philistines capture the ark of the covenant, they soon set it free with golden treasure (1 Sam 6:8,11). 
  • When Jews return to Judea from exile in Babylon, King Cyrus gives them gold and silver vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:7-11). 
  • The prophets envision a future exodus from exile when those who afflict Israel "shall become...

Tags: grace and knowledge articles

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Joseph as a Type of Jesus

November 29, 2017

Joseph, the main character in Gen 37-50, is viewed by Christians as a forerunner of Jesus.  In particular, Joseph's undeserved imprisonment and subsequent rise to power are believed to prefigure the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. 

The connection between Joseph and Jesus is not mentioned explicitly in the New Testament, but it is implied by a number of verbal allusions.  An article at the Grace & Knowledge website discusses these allusions.

Tags: grace and knowledge articles

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House Signs of Oxford 47: New Flavor on Elm Street

October 25, 2017

There's a new house sign on North Elm Street that is hard to miss--a bright orange sign sporting a likeness of Food Network star Guy Fieri and the words "Flavor Town".  Apparently some Fieri fans have moved in. 

Tags: oxford oh signs

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Beyond "Measure for Measure"

October 23, 2017

I enjoy learning about the "reception history" of the Bible, the way that faithful readers through the centuries have interpreted various passages of Scripture.

Ancient readers of the Bible paid close attention to every word, and the questions they asked and answers they proposed can help us see the text in old/new ways.

That is true even when those readers were clearly wrong. 

I was recently given much food for thought when I learned about questions raised by Gen 15:13, where God reveals to Abram,

“Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there."

Ancient Jewish readers were very interested in affirming the justice of God, and they were surprised to see God predicting trials and suffering for Abram's descendants right after Abram is praised for his faith (v. 6).  They wondered what Abram had done wrong to bring suffering on his descendants, and they proposed a number of answers.  I discuss them in a new post at the Grace & Knowledge website.

Tags: grace and knowledge articles

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James and the Trials of Abraham

September 27, 2017

The epistle of James is full of valuable moral instruction, but commentators have found it a challenge to discern an organizing principle behind it all.  

One promising suggestion, due to David Instone-Brewer:  James may have had the life of Abraham in mind as a model.  

I have posted a brief article on this proposal here.

Tags: grace and knowledge articles

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House Signs of Oxford 46: Punning on Withrow

September 27, 2017

On a number of streets in Oxford, house signs make some reference to the street name.  There are lots of examples on Beech St and Vine St, in particular.

Some other street names are harder to incorporate into a catchy sign.  Withrow, for example, is a challenge.  Finding a good pun on Withrow may be right up there with finding a rhyme for "oranges".

So I was pleased to see the new sign at 216 W. Withrow that reads, 

"Withrow Without You."

Well punned! 



Tags: oxford oh signs

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New article about Paul's use of Deut 25:4 in 1 Cor 9

August 21, 2017

In 1 Cor 9, Paul the apostle makes an argument that people who serve in a congregation deserve financial support from that congregation.  He appeals to Deut 25:4, which says

"You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain."

There's been controversy among scholars as to the reasoning Paul uses to apply this verse about oxen to humans.  I discuss this issue in a new post at the Grace and Knowledge site, looking at what Deut 25:4 means in its context in Deuteronomy and at how this verse was applied in Paul's day.

Tags: grace and knowledge articles

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No Thanks

August 17, 2017

This summer a boutique on High Street in Oxford has featured on its sidewalk signboard an announcement that it has "life changing men's underwear'' in stock.  I haven't checked it out, not being comfortable with the idea of underwear being "life changing".  Underwear has an important purpose, but that's not it. 

Tags: oxford oh signs

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Ninth Honorable Mention in BAR Cartoon Caption Contest

August 17, 2017

In the May/June 2017 cartoon caption contest in the Biblical Archaeology Review, my submission made the honorable mention list.  

The cartoon shows Jacob wrestling with the angel (Gen 32), and I have Jacob saying, 

"I may be 97 years old, but on WrestleMania, they call me the Bruiser from Bethel."


Tags: bar caption contest, humor

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