1
Jun

How do I study the Bible?

posted in Basics of Christianity, Bible, Tough Questions by Jim Denison

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Visitors to Hampton Court in London are amazed by the maze they find there. Bushes form solid walls, head high. In the center sits a guide high on a platform. When pilgrims get lost wandering through the hedges, they look up to this guide, who points them to the next turn on their way. Read the rest of this entry »

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1
Jun

Why should I believe the Bible is the word of God?

posted in Basics of Christianity, Bible, Tough Questions by Jim Denison

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Some questions come from people who are skeptical about the Christian faith. Some come from believers who have skeptical friends. And some come from believers who are struggling with the issue themselves. Our first question is found in the hearts of all three. Read the rest of this entry »

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1
Jun

What is the Apocrypha? And what translation should I use?

posted in Basics of Christianity, Bible, Tough Questions by Jim Denison

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Serving as a summer missionary in East Malaysia in 1979, I was privileged to bring a hundred or so paperback Malay New Testaments to the people. At one church, members stood in a long line to receive a copy. At the end of the line was an elderly woman. She took her Bible from me with trembling hands, held it close to her heart, and wept. I thought of all my Bibles at home gathering dust. Read the rest of this entry »

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1
Jun

Who decided what books should be in the Bible?

posted in Basics of Christianity, Bible, Tough Questions by Jim Denison

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My earliest experience with the Bible was leafing through an ancient King James Version my parents kept in the guest room. The fountain-penned family tree calligraphied in the first pages fascinated me. The printed thees and thous made no sense, the begats even less. I assumed the entire thing had been handed from God to man in black leather. Read the rest of this entry »

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1
Jun

Isn’t the Bible filled with contradictions?

posted in Basics of Christianity, Bible, Tough Questions by Jim Denison

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Here is one of the most common ways skeptics justify their skepticism about the Bible. The question is based on the commonplace supposition that contradictions are bad. If you can find a statement I make which disagrees with something I’ve already said, you’ll feel justified in rejecting both. Even though one may be right. Even though they both may be. Why? Read the rest of this entry »

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1
Jun

What makes the Bible different from other religious books?

posted in Basics of Christianity, Bible, Tough Questions by Jim Denison

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My grandfather was born before the turn of the 20th century. In his lifetime he saw the advent of the automobile, commercial airplanes, and the computer. But he never met a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or a Mormon. Our question never occurred to him. Read the rest of this entry »

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1
Jun

Why did God tell the Jews to kill all the Canaanites?

posted in Basics of Christianity, Bible, Tough Questions by Jim Denison

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The book of Joshua presents most readers with a troubling question: how can a God of love command his followers to destroy an entire nation of people? The Canaanites had lived in their land for centuries before Joshua and his people came to claim it for themselves. While some in Canaan fought against God’s people and were destroyed as a result (cf. the battle of Ai, 8:14ff), others did not attempt armed aggression against Israel. The people of Jericho, for instance, retreated inside their city walls and mounted no attack against the Jews. Nonetheless, following divine orders, the Israeli soldiers “destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys” (6:21). Read the rest of this entry »

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1
Jun

Why did God tell Abraham to sacrifice Isaac?

posted in Basics of Christianity, Bible, Tough Questions by Jim Denison

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The week after my first son was born, I was scheduled to preach on Genesis 22 and the story of Abraham’s offering of Isaac.  I had to change the sermon.  As I told the congregation, I thought I didn’t understand this story before.  Now I knew I didn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

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1
Jun

Was Noah’s Ark real?

posted in Basics of Christianity, Bible, Tough Questions by Jim Denison

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A woman once told me, “If you can prove God loves me, I’ll trust him.” I asked her if she could prove that her husband loved her, that his words were true and his actions sincere. She admitted she could not.

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1
Jun

Where did Cain get his wife?

posted in Basics of Christianity, Bible, Tough Questions by Jim Denison

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Can God make a rock so big he can’t move it? Can he make two mountains without making a valley in between? Computer programmers have a shorthand statement for such questions: GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). God is not obligated to do that which is logically contradictory, like making a square circle or a red number seven. Such “category mistakes” are not his fault but ours.

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