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Showing posts from August, 2018

Knowing your ABC's

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When I was a kid, I remember one of my teachers helping the class with a gift for our mothers. It was an acrostic based on the word "mother." I'm sure you know what an acrostic is and you probably even remember making one a time or two as a child. It's when the first letter of each line of a poem spells out a word. I'm sure mine went something like this:

Marvelous Outstanding Terrific Hey mom, I'm not very creative Errr, can we work on something else instead? Recess must be coming up soon, right?
Seriously, here's a lovely acrostic I found online based on the word "mother."

You get the idea.
The Hebrew Bible is no stranger to acrostics. Unfortunately, they aren't readily apparent in our English translations. They're literally lost in translation, because the Bible wasn't written in English.
Sometimes, the Hebrew Bible uses acrostics on a rather grand scale. The book of Lamentations is a great example. It's one of those books we …

When I think about you, my bowels are refreshed.

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Splagchnon (pronounced something like splongkh-non) is my favorite word in the Greek New Testament. It doesn't show up much, but it's still my favorite. Splagchnon is a body part that often metaphorically represented the seat of emotions for Greek-speaking people. Kind of like heart for us. Only it wasn't the heart for Greek speakers. It was the entrails. Yep. I promise I'm not making this stuff up.

Think about how that would change emojis on our smart phones.


Splagchnon shows up in Acts 1:18 when Luke describes the death of Judas. He says that Judas burst open in the middle and all of his splagchnon spilled out. Ewww. The NIV says all his intestines spilled out. The NRSV says bowels. So gross. I love it. I remember watching George A. Romero's Day Of The Dead when I was a teenager. Whenever I read Acts 1:18 I think of this scene from the film. (You probably don't want to click that.)

When splagchnon shows up in the New Testament, it's often translated "…

They Might Be Giants

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David and Goliath.

These names evoke a visual response in our mind's eye.

If an NCAA basketball tournament game is described as "David vs. Goliath," we get the metaphor. My favorite example is actually a football game, when Appy State went into "the big house" and beat the Michigan Wolverines in 2007. David took down Goliath. Even if you don't know about that game, you probably get the metaphor.



The story of David and Goliath is found in 1 Samuel 17. David is a shepherd, the youngest of eight sons. His three oldest brothers were in battle against the Philistines and one day David, at the request of his father, left the sheep to bring his big brothers some food.

When David arrives at the battle scene, he witnesses Goliath, a Philistine soldier, challenging the army of Israel to present a worthy foe. In 1 Samuel 17:4 (and later in 17:23), Goliath is called "the man between the two." Translations usually don't call him that. Most call him "…