What is your favorite verse or Bible passage? Please type a brief description of why. Thanks!
I was just gonna make this thread:
In no particular order:
Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
(Until today I recited it twice a day seven times over in Hebrew every Saturday)
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Some words which I live by, from Ecclesiastes:
Do not be too righteous, and do not act too wise; why should you destroy yourself? Do not be too wicked, and do not be a fool; why should you die before your time? It is good that you should take hold of the one, without letting go of the other; for the one who fears God shall succeed with both.
So I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including[i] every secret thing, whether good or evil.
All of Job 38.
My favorite as a teen in school was (tongue in cheek) Psalm 119:99: “I have more wisdom than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes.”
It’s my 10 year old son’s favorite now, too.
I think I actually got this idea from your post on books of the Bible. Your insights would be good.
I’ve think frequently on Micah 6:8.
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God.
The tension between justice and mercy is something we often struggle with.
Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this:
God, I thank you that I am not like other people: extortionists, unrighteous people, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’
The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!’
I tell you that this man went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.
I confess I am not very knowledgeable regarding scripture but a quick search yielded this one which appeals to me.
Matthew 13:11-13 ESV
And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
I suppose everyone who reads this assumes they are the one to whom much has been given.
Thanks. I have struggled over it myself. Your comment is a bit whimsical. You’re right–that’s the nature of religion, sometimes, to think we have the clearest view. However, it sounds like that pretty strongly in hallowed scientific halls, too.
Parables are meant to clarify, in general. Do we have any theologians who can clarify @BradKramer? Thanks.
Our translation team really struggled with the Mark (4:11) version of this verse last month: "He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,“ ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
My husband spent hours looking at the use of μή (the word translated ‘otherwise’) elsewhere in the NT and trying to figure out what its function is as a logical connector here so we could find an equivalent. It certainly does sound in most English translations that the point of parables is to keep people in ignorance and away from forgiveness. Was that the intended meaning in Greek? Maybe. Lots of ink spilled in the commentaries on that one.
Honestly it is because I am often critical of theists who seem too certain that they are the ones who have been given all the answers to the big questions. The parables hint at what is a mystery. The priests would like you to accept the canonized answers but to do so without truly engaging the questions and letting the mystery speak to you directly … that is the enigma. You don’t become one “who has” by words given to you by another, nor by withstanding tests of your loyalty to those borrowed words. Settle too soon for too little and that will become your habit.
divine sarcasm perhaps?
Can you elaborate?
You can be sure I am just as critical of atheists who throw out too much with their glib nothing-buttism.
I wondered about that too, Mr Bitikofer. @MarkD and @Christy, it doesn’t sound like what we know of Christ (let the little children come unto me, and putting down the Pharisees and Sadducees, who liked to show off their piety and, presumably, knowledge). I think of my parents who remind me most of what I know of Christ–they took away my fear of questioning and reminded me of how God was more like a Father (Psalm 103: 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust). Thanks for the insight, Christy.
That was one theory some translators argue for. http://evangelicalarminians.org/bruce-hollenbach-lest-they-should-turn-and-be-forgiven-irony/
Thanks. The quote is “An exegesis of this phrase [i.e. “lest they should turn and be forgiven”] in Isaiah, Mark, and John, which treats it as irony, shows that it never expresses a reluctance on the part of God or Jesus to see anyone turn and be forgiven. It expresses rather reluctance on the part of the addressees of the divine message. Irony as a figure is described and illustrated. The notes list other occurances [sic] of irony in the Scriptures, discuss the question of “hardening”, and summarize earlier commentary on this phrase in the NT.
I guess if something doesn’t fit in with what we know of someone, it makes more sense to take it this way, even though it’s not the face value.
“In argument similes are like songs in love; they describe much, but prove nothing”. Franz Kafka–so in general, the intent is to communicate, not obscure. Tough one.
As one unencumbered with any professional theological expertise, I can probably speculate – woops! I mean “elaborate” quite a bit!
Jesus says a lot of mysterious things, but they often are not original with him, but are a quotes from the “Law and Prophets”. And if Enns is right, Jesus often takes considerable liberties with what the O.T. passages likely would have meant to the original audience. More liberties than theologians today allow themselves or others, shall we say? But then again … he is Jesus.
That makes me wonder if this passage from Jesus lips necessarily is getting used the same way as Isaiah did. He probably is because it is equally enigmatic in both cases anyway. But I can just imagine him letting it rip as an expression of exasperation that perhaps reflects what the original prophet also was expressing.
Perhaps more later. Gotta run for now.
This was a mistake. thanks
Proverbs 30:7-(NIV)7 taught me about my basic needs, pride and dependence on the Lord:
“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans
My favorites change frequently , but these are ones I find myself quoting most often in discussions lately.
I dare say , some weeks they sound like a mantra as often as I repeat them .
For reinforcing myself spiritually …
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
I agree. We (Christians) do often read this passage as contrasting believers with unbelievers, but that is projecting our modern context into the ancient text. We have to remember Jesus’ audience when he said “to you it has been given…” He was speaking to his inner circle, and the contrast he was drawing was not between his followers and Gentile unbelievers, but between his disciples and their fellow Jews, who also read the scriptures. This is similar to other statements Jesus made, such as:
“You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me, but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.”
Or, to hit even closer to home: “If they do not respond to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead”
It is the intended meaning. Isaiah and Ezekiel use it the same way. If you and @Mervin_Bitikofer will forgive me for quoting instead of paraphrasing in my own words, here is how G.K. Beale explained it in his essay The Purpose of Symbolism in the Book of Revelation:
When did the prophets primarily use symbolism? The prophets living toward the end of Israel’s history had the primary role of warning Israel to repent, or they soon would be judged (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Daniel). … At first, they delivered their warnings in a very rational and sermonic manner, convicting their audience of sin and self-serving moral permissiveness, and recalling for them lessons from their own history. However, the prophets had little positive effect because of their audience’s spiritual anesthesia. They had become anesthetized because of their habitual avoidance toward changing their comfortable, sinful lifestyle. Their hearts had become hardened to rational, historical, and sermonic warning methods (Isaiah 6; Ezekiel 17). Therefore, the prophets took up forms of warning that might gain them a better hearing or better attention—they used symbolic action, parables, and words (Isa. 7:3; 8:1, 3-4; Ezek. 12:3-16, 22-23; 15:1-8; 17:1-24). Such a change in their form of warning was effective only with the faithful remnant. With those who “have ears to hear and hear not” (Isa. 6:9-10) and have become hard hearted, symbolic language and parables cause them to misunderstand further. When the prophets used symbolic parables, it was a sign that judgment was in the process of coming upon Israel (i.e., the Babylonian exile). Therefore, for hardened unbelievers (Israel), the literary form of symbolic parable (mashal) appears whenever ordinary warnings are no longer heeded, and no warning will ever be heeded by those so far disobeying, but the believing remnant can be shocked, by the unusual parables, back into the reality of their faith. This is the point of Isaiah 6:9-10, where the prophet is commissioned to tell Israel to “keep on listening but do not perceive . . . render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull . . . lest they . . . hear with their ears . . . and repent and be healed.”
The parables are also intended to have a jolting effect on the remnant who have become complacent among the compromising majority. Israel did not want to hear the truth, and when it was presented straightforwardly to convict them of sin, they would not accept the fact of their sin. The parables, however, functioned to awake those among the true, righteous remnant from their sinful sleep. The same pattern found in Isaiah is apparent in Ezekiel, where the Isaianic hearing language occurs in Ezekiel 3:27 (“he who hears, let him hear”), followed directly by the prophet’s first parable, and in 12:2 (“they have ears to hear, but they do not hear”), followed immediately in verses 3-16 by the prophet’s first parabolic act before onlooking Israel (for similar wording to Ezekiel’s hearing formulae cf. Jer. 5:21; 17:23). Ezekiel’s usage is a development of that already found in Isaiah. Thus, the parables of the prophets served to judge intractably unrepentant people but shock the faithful remnant out of their spiritually numb and lethargic condition.