Posts Tagged ‘bible’

How to study the Bible- Part 2- It’s time to learn Greek

How to Study the Bible- Part 2- It's time to learn Greek part 2

This semester I am taking a Gospel of Matthew class, decease which is proving to be super interesting so far. In the email the professor sent out before our first class, cheapest he wrote, caries “you will need an English translation of the Bible if your Greek is not fluent.” Umm? My what? Yeaaaaahhh. I don’t know any ancient Biblical Greek but, come to find out, neither does anyone else in the class (phew!). Although it would be so great to learn Greek, because it would help me understand the New Testament so much better, that’s not really an option for me right now.

In my last post, I talked about the importance of using solid translations when doing Biblical exegesis. But even when we are using a variety of translations, we always have to keep in mind that we’re removed from the original language of scripture and no Bible translation is perfect or infallible. So what do we do? Well unless you have a couple of years to learn Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, I suggest you use a concordance to help you out. A concordance will show you the original text and then how that word is translated throughout the Bible, what all its different meaning are, what root words the word is derived from, etc. The best online took for this I’ve found is Blue Letter Bible. Blue Letter Bible is an online Bible study website which includes a concordance, among many other study tools. It’s so great, but it took me a long time to figure out how to use so this post is to help you figure it out quickly :)

How it works:

The first step is to go to the At the top right you will see this box. Type in whatever Bible chapter, verse, or phrase you want to look up, and then you can select your preferred translation in the drop down menu below. In this case, I wanted to look up Ephesians 5:22. And then click search.

When you search a chapter of the Bible, you will be brought to a page that shows each individual verse of that chapter. To see the breakdown of the individual verse you are searching, you need to click the blue chapter/verse name, for example Eph 5:22.

When you click the specific verse, this box (in the photo below) will appear. As you can see, there is the original Greek text at the top and then each translated word corresponding to the Root Form, the far right column. The middle column says Strong’s and that refers to Strong’s concordance entry.

Note: Blue Letter Bible has Strong’s data for the King James and the NASB. In this example I selected the NIV translation, so you see that translation used for the verse at the top of the picture. However, the break down of translated words and Greek uses the NASB, since there is no data for the NIV. Depending on the translation you choose, you will either be shown the KJV data or the NASB data. The New Testament Strong’s data for the KJV is based on the Textus Receptus and the NASB is based upon the Nestle-Aland text. The Textus Receptus is used as a basis for the KJV, NKJV, RVR, ASV, and RSV, and so the KJV Strong’s data will be used when you chose any of  those versions. And since the Nestle-Aland text is used as a basis for the NLT, NIV, ESV, NASB, DBY, and HNV, the NASB Strong’s data will be used whenever you select any of those versions.

Ok so to see the concordance entry for a specific word, click on the Strong’s number. In this case, I want to look at the Greek word that is translated as “be subject to your own,” so I click on G2398 (highlighted).

When you click on the Strong number, you will be brought to an entry for that specific word. The word in Greek is at the top, underneath that is the transliteration and pronunciation, part of speech, root word (if the root of the word is known, there will be there corresponding Strong number that you can click on to check out the root word), Vine’s Dictionary (another useful tool) and then it will have an outline of Biblical usage. Some words have a ton of entries while others, like this, are shorter. Then you will see how this word has also been translated and how many times it is used (in the KJV).

So what do we find out about the word idios, which is translated as  “be subject to your own” ? We find out that the Greek just includes the “your own,” not the “be subject to” of the translation. This is something that Greg Boyd brought up in this sermon: Who’s the Boss (I highly recommend listening to the sermon). In the sermon, Greg said that the Greek does not include the “be subject to,” and so a better translation of the verse would be, “and wives to your husbands, as unto the Lord,” and now we know that he was right!

If we go back to the previous page, we can look at the verse that comes before 5:22. In this verse, the phrase “and be subject” is translated from a different Greek word. We can click on the Strong’s number for that word (G5293).

In this entry, you see that the word Greek hypotasso means “to be subject to.” The absence of hypotasso in verse 22 makes even more clear that the translation is repeating the phrase “be subject to” without it being in the original Greek.

So there’s a quick preview of Blue Letter Bible, how it works, and an example of the interesting information you can learn! BLB has a lot of other resources, including commentaries. I suggest you explore the site and discover all it has to offer. I absolutely recommend Blue Letter Bible for all your Bible-studying needs :) While it’s not the same as really knowing ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, it’s a good starting place and can really add to your understanding of the Biblical text.

Markan Priority, Q, and how we read the Gospels

Here are some of the many, public health many things I want to do in my life!

Skydive – what an amazing experience!

-Learn how to ballroom dance

-Publish a photograph

-Write my story

Graduate from high school– done! :)

-Graduate from college

-Get a tattoo

-Get married

-Be a mommy

-Visit every continent (but I’ll be pleased if I visit six of the seven)

  • North America
  • Europe

-Publish a book

-Make a cookbook

-Do crazy things for God

-Mission work

-Visit (that means spend time in) every state

  • Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Iowa, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia

-Make snow ice cream

-Ride in a hot air balloon

-Scuba Dive

-Drive cross country

-Learn how to decorate baked goods

-Visit Disney World

-Visit a concentration camp

-Ride with a dogsled team for the first leg of the Iditarod Race (I have wanted to do this since 2nd grade)

-Run some sort of race (I’ll be happy with a 5K)

Buy a full-frame professional camera– My grandparents gave me a Canon 5D!

-Build a life-sized snowman
2013 is a year that I will always remember as one of the most significant, link
life-changing, and best years of my life.

This year came out of a series of really tough years. It came out of a 12-year struggle with an eating disorder. It came out of years filled with depression and anxiety. And I really wasn’t expecting anything different from the year ahead. Things in my life had started to improve- I had finished my first semester of college, which had been challenging in many ways but had been wonderful in so many others. I truly loved where I was going to school and I had also become a part of an amazing church family that gave me the support, community, and friendship that I had desperately needed. I had started tentatively re-establishing my relationship with God and experienced Him moving in my life in significant ways. But despite all these things, I wasn’t expecting 2013 to be much different from the years that had preceded it. And praise God that I was wrong!

On New Year’s Eve, my family and I went to a party at a friend’s house to celebrate. I wasn’t feeling that well because my stomach was hurting from the constant anxiety I held in my body and I was gripped with a pervasive feeling of low self worth that prevented me from fully participating in the fun. But in the end I had a good time and we brought in the New Year. When we got home that night, I got in my room, closed the door, and started getting ready for bed. That night, the first moments of the New Year, I stood in front of this full-length mirror, naked. And I saw my body. I saw all the flaws I’ve focused on for the past decade. But the voice, the eating disorder voice, was quiet. I had a peaceful moment as I looked at my body and even though I didn’t see it as perfect, I was able to accept that it was my body and in that moment, it was ok. Even though I didn’t see my body as this thing of perfection or beauty, the imperfections that it held had no hold on who I was as a person. Because my stomach was too flabby didn’t mean, as it usually did, that I was a worthless failure. In that moment, at two in the morning, I saw myself as someone who had worth in Christ. I though to myself “I want to remember this moment, the fact that I started the New Year not hating my body or myself. I don’t know what this year will bring, but I want to remember this.” And that was the start. It was during that first week of the New Year that God spoke to me and gave me a promise. He promised me that this would be the year of my recovery.

God had never promised me anything like that before- He has always promised that He was walking with me through my struggles and would never leave me. And He had been faithful and true to that promise.

But this promise was very different. It was a promise of healing, of freedom, of restoration and redemption. It was a promise of a life very different from the life I had lived before.

Even though I didn’t know how I could possibly recover from the eating disorder that had been with me for so long, even though I didn’t know how God would be able to do a work of deep healing in me that years of therapy hadn’t been able to do, even though I didn’t know how He could restore my broken life, I trusted Him and I trusted His promise.

When I returned back to school, my friend who disciples me told me that the Lord had told her as well that this would be the year of my recovery and that it would not be a temporary relief or freedom but that after this year, I would be rid of my eating disorder forever.

And in a way that I can’t explain, I experienced tremendous freedom right away. God lifted my burden from me and I found myself living in freedom and joy in a way that I hadn’t before.

That’s not to say that it was always an easy journey. It has definitely been a process and at times it has been really hard. For as many encouraging things that have happened, there have been a lot of discouraging setbacks. But there was also a tremendous amount of hope in those setbacks because I knew that by the end of the year, I would be living in freedom.

Whenever I was panicked by food or hated my body, I heard the Lord saying that I was a new creation- the old has passed away and the new has come.

This fall, after an amazing and unprecedented six months free from depression, I experienced a depressive episode. And He told me that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yolk of slavery.

And I got tremendous hope and joy through a study of the book of Revelation, which paints a beautiful picture of the holy city coming down from heaven, and all pain and sorrow being wiped away. And He who is seated on the throne says, “I am making everything new! Write these words down for they are trustworthy and true.” The Lord showed me that this is His promise for the future- His restoration of all the world. But He also showed me that this is His promise for me now. That He was making me new and bringing newness into my life. And so I got this promise as a tattoo- to forever remind myself of the Lord’s faithfulness for me during this specific year, to remind myself of my forever-identity as a new creation in Him, and to remember His promise for all the world- a complete resurrection, a redemption life.


This New Year’s Eve is not only the start of a new year, but also the start of a new life for me. I have been made new by the blood of the Lamb. The Lord has breathed new life into my dry bones. I am out of the valley. And what a glorious journey it will be.

try Q, see and how we read the Gospels” alt=”” src=”” width=”640″ height=”640″ /> Just a few of the books from my Gospel of Matthew class!

This semester I am taking a class called The Gospel of Matthew in which we do exegesis of Matthew for a whole semester—aka my favorite thing ever. We are trying to understand Matthew’s Gospel in the context in which it was written and are comparing it to the other Gospels, approved
especially the other Synoptic Gospels (side note: synoptic is derived from the Greek words “together” and “view.” The first 3 Gospels are called synoptic because they are very similar). Reading and studying the Bible in an academic context is always very different than when you’re reading it for your own personal growth or study, as I continue to learn. So this post is about some of the things I’m learning about in class!

Let me start off by saying this:

I believe that all scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching (2 Timothy 3:16). I think scripture is one of the best ways, if not the best way, to learn about the character of God and so I love studying the Bible. However, the center of my faith rests on the person of Jesus Christ, which means that I have the freedom to ask hard questions about the validity of the Bible. In all my research I feel confident that the Bible is trustworthy and if we really believe that we can trust God’s word, we shouldn’t shy away from asking and addressing these hard questions out of fear for what we may find out. This post is not a defense of the Bible, rather it is looking at different theories of the origins of the Gospel accounts.

Something we’ve been talking about in class is a hypothesis called the two-source hypothesis, Markan priority, and Q. Here’s the hypothesis: Mark was the first Gospel written, hence the phrase Markan priority. The writers of Matthew and Luke used Mark to write their Gospels, which is why they share so much of the same material. However, there is a substantial amount of material that both Matthew and Luke have but that Mark doesn’t have. This has led some scholars to believe that Matthew and Luke must have both been looking at another source to get the additional material. This source is called Q, which is from the German word Quelle, which means, “source.” So the two-source hypothesis states that Luke and Matthew used both Mark and Q to write their Gospels.

Evidence for the two-source theory:

There’s linguistic evidence for the two-source theory. Mark’s Greek is not very polished and so where Matthew and Luke share content with Mark, you can see that they have taken his original language and smoothed out the Greek, but they have done so in different ways, which accounts for some of their linguistic differences.

Additionally, many scholars date Luke and Matthew as having been written after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Therefore, Luke and Matthew were most likely not first-hand accounts, as is commonly held by most Christians, and so it would make sense that they would use other sources to write their Gospels.

Evidence for Q:

There are many instances where Matthew and Luke have almost identical accounts of an event that is not described in Mark. For example, in Mark 1:12-13, Mark writes this about Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness:

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

(Side note—I think Mark is hilarious. This is all he had to say about the matter?)

Matthew and Luke both go into very similar accounts of the temptation (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13), including almost identical dialogue between Satan and Jesus. Since Matthew and Luke consistently share this material, scholars believe that they must have been looking at another source, named Q.

When you’re reading the Gospels through the two-source hypothesis, you’re not reading the Gospels so much as an account of what Jesus said and did, but rather how the Gospel writers interpreted and edited the two sources they were using—this is called redaction criticism—redaction means editing and so when doing redaction criticism we are trying to get into the mind of the redactor. So this opens up a way to read the Gospels in which we’re trying to figure out why the author wrote what he did and why he changed the original language from Mark/Q to fit his own purposes.

Issues with the Two-Source Hypothesis:

One thing that has become abundantly clear is that scholars seem to take as fact that Q is the second source for Matthew and Luke. However, let’s be clear that Q does not actually exist. I’ve been reading lots of theology books for my various theology classes, and some of them straight out cite Q. You cannot cite something that does not exist! Q has never been found—not even fragments. It is a document that has been created by Bible scholars by gathering shared material from Matthew and Luke, but it’s not real so we shouldn’t let ourselves be deluded into thinking that it actually exists.

Also, many scholars believe that Matthew and Luke were written before the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., which means that the two Gospels could, in fact, be first hand accounts. The reason for thinking this is that in Matthew and Luke, Jesus makes prophetic statements that seem to predict the destruction of the temple and yet neither the authors of Matthew or Luke say something like, “here Jesus was predicting the destruction of the temple.” There’s an even stronger case to be made for Luke being dated even earlier—the author of Luke is also the author of Acts, and the Gospel of Luke was written before Acts (see Acts 1:1-2). There’s good evidence that Acts was written in the early 60s A.D. because the author does not mention the deaths of James, Peter, or Paul, which happened in the mid 60s, and the author also does not mention the destruction of the temple, which seems like it would be important when constructing an account of the early Christian church. Therefore, these earlier dates of the Gospels would allow for them to be first-hand accounts, or the eyewitness accounts of people who had actually been with and seen Jesus. Luke, most likely a traveling companion of Paul, says in the very beginning of his gospel:

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. –Luke 1:1-4

Luke was not an eyewitness to Jesus’s life, death, or resurrection. However, he has compiled first-hand accounts of eyewitnesses in order to write his gospel.

Matthew, on the other hand, is traditionally thought to be an eyewitness. Whether or not the author of Matthew is actually Matthew, the tax collector who was one of the 12 disciples, we can’t know (since the author does not name himself in the Gospel), but especially with the earlier dating, it is not unlikely that he was with Jesus and heard these teachings first hand.

When reading the Gospels as first-hand accounts or narratives of events that actually happened, how can we account for theological and linguistic differences between Matthew, Mark, and Luke? Well first of all, if three people are at the same event, it is not surprising that they would walk away with different ideas of what happened, different interpretations. Each of the Gospel writers is also writing to a different audience with a different perspective—for example, Matthew is writing to Christian Jews, and so he emphasizes the halakhah (Jewish law) more than Mark or Luke.

So now you know a little bit more about how the Synoptic Gospels are often read in an academic setting! I encourage you to explore many different view points and ask critical questions of them all before you draw your own conclusions :)

Who rules the world? Part 1- How the answer changes everything

Eating Disorder Awareness- Recovery

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, information pills which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, search  share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.


Who you are and what you struggle with are not the same thing.

This statement it true, but when you are struggling with an eating disorder, it doesn’t feel true.

When I was struggling with my eating disorder, I lost who I was. I couldn’t separate myself from it—we were the same.

The scariest part of recovery for me was not the idea of gaining weight or losing my long-time coping mechanisms…don’t get me wrong, those things were absolutely terrifying. But there was something that was even harder for me to face and that was the reality that I didn’t know who I was without my eating disorder. I was scared of losing my identity.

And the idea that your eating disorder gives you your identity is such a lie from the Enemy—no one but the Lord gives you your identity. And while I knew that with my mind, I didn’t feel it in my heart. Twelve years of hearing the lies of the Enemy had given them such a hold over me.

As I entered into recovery, the eating disorder and I started to separate. Instead of it being a part of me, it stood right behind me, breathing down my neck. But it was a start. As I walked further into recovery the eating disorder was pushed further back behind me. It could still talk to me, but the voice grew quieter as it was pushed further away. Sometimes it was so far behind me that I couldn’t hear its shouts anymore. And sometimes something would happen that pushed it right behind me again.

There’s an argument between psychologists whether or not people can ever be recovered from their eating disorder, or if they will always be “in recovery.” I absolutely one hundred percent believe that full and final recovery is possible not only because I have met people who consider themselves recovered, but most of all because I love a God with whom all impossible things become possible.

In this post I talked about how God promised me that the year 2013 would be the year of my recovery and praise God it was! I saw such amazing freedom in the year 2013 and as it got closer to the New Year, I got more and more excited about full freedom. But the Lord also warned me—He warned me that just because I knew recovery was coming didn’t mean that the Enemy would respect it one bit. And let me tell you, Satan has not respected my recovery.

On the morning of January 1st, 2014, I got up and was so excited! Yeah freedom! I went downstairs, made breakfast, and when I put the first bit of food in my mouth I had the strongest urge to use an old ED behavior. And you know what I did? I said, “Well, that’s not who I am anymore!” finished that bite of food and the rest of my breakfast, and then I praised God for His faithfulness!

I currently consider myself in recovery, not quite to the point of recovered, only because I have to continue to be on high alert for any ED thoughts or behaviors that enter my life. But I know that the status of recovered is in my future. I am confident of it because in the past year God has taught me who I am in Him. Any anytime Satan tries to tell me otherwise, I can look him in the face and say I am a new creation in Christ! He has made me new and I will never forget my identity in Him. The parts of me that fell away along with my eating disorder were not core parts of my identity. I did lose things with the loss of my eating disorder–I lost depression, anxiety, and bitterness. And it turns out, I was just fine letting go of those things.

Eating disorder recovery statistics are discouraging. But Praise the Lord that He is not a respecter of statistics. After 12 years of battling an eating disorder I didn’t think that I would ever recover. And yet I have :) If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, don’t give up on recovery! No matter how long you’ve been battling this disease, you can win.

If you want to learn more about eating disorders, click here to read more posts I’ve written about the issue :)

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who rules the world 1

This is Part 1 in a 5 part series. To see all the posts in the Who Rules the World? series, injection

Several years ago, cure when I was in high school, viagra 100mg
I was home alone and someone rang the doorbell. I looked to see who it was and saw an older woman and a young child (I’m assuming her daughter). I opened the door and, without introducing herself, saying hello, or anything, she help up a pamphlet that had this scary apocalyptic picture on it with the question, “Who rules the world?” written on it. The woman asked me, “How would you answer this question?”

I was, naturally, thrown off guard– remember, she didn’t say hi or anything, she just asked this question right away. So here I am, a straight-A, perfectionist scrambling for an answer. I decided to go with the classic Sunday school technique- if you don’t know the answer to a question, just say, “Jesus” and you’re probably right. So I said, “Umm…God?” And her response was, “You would think so, but no! It’s Satan!” And I thought, “Drat! I knew that!”

This incident has stuck with me, first of all, because it was a truly bizarre experience. But also because it illustrates a really important theological issue that, I believe, most Christians get wrong just as I did in that moment standing in my doorway years ago. When asked the question, “Who rules the world? Who has authority here?” most Christians, in my experience at least, answer “God.” But the interesting thing is that Jesus tells us something very different, and what he says forces us to change the way we think about the world we live in.

 In John 12:31, Jesus says, “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.”

In John 14:30, he says, “the ruler of this world is coming.”

In John 16:11, he says, “the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

In all three verses, Jesus is talking about Satan, the Devil, and calls him the prince and ruler of the world. The word that is translated as “prince” and “ruler” in these verses is the same Greek word “archon,” which means “ruler, commander, chief, leader.”

In the Believer’s Bible Commentary, William MacDonald says about John 12:31:

The world was about to crucify the Lord of life and glory. In doing so, it would condemn itself. Sentence would be passed upon it for its awful rejection of Christ. The ruler of this world is Satan. In a very real sense, Satan was utterly defeated at Calvary. He thought he had succeeded in doing away with the Lord Jesus once for all. Instead, the Savior had provided a way of salvation for men, and at the same time had defeated Satan and all his hosts. The sentence has not yet been carried out on the devil, but his doom has been sealed. He is still going through the world carrying on his evil business, but it is just a matter of time before he will be cast into the lake of fire.

MacDonald draws a good clarification- Satan’s ultimate defeat was sealed by the Cross, yet that doesn’t mean that he stops being the ruler of the world until the time of his ultimate judgment. This is seen when Paul, years after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, writes in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Paul says that Satan is the “god of this age.” This is true even after Calvary and will continue to be true until Satan is defeated for all time, as described in the book of Revelation (12:11 and 20:7-10).

At the beginning of Luke 4, Jesus is “led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:1-2). And this is what Satan says to him:

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
-Luke 4:5-8

Did you catch that? Satan says that he has authority over all the kingdoms of the world- that authority has been given to him. And does Jesus dispute this claim? No, he does not.

Dutch Sheets writes in his book Intercessory Prayer:

God created Adam and Eve in his own image, in his own likeness, and gave them authority over the earth. They were to represent God on earth, to govern and manage the Earth. So complete and final was their authority over the earth that they, not just God, had the ability to give it away to another.

This is absolutely crucial- the Bible clearly tells us that Satan, the Adversary, the Devil has authority over this world- he is the god of this world, he is the ruler, he is the prince. This truth needs to impact our theology, the way we view this world, and the way we view God, and it reveals three important things:

1.  It challenges the view that God is in control/wills everything that happens on earth.

2.  It teaches us about the need for prayer, especially intercessory prayer.

3.  It tells us about the spiritual warfare that is happening around us and leads us to pick up arms and fight.

In the next three blog posts, I will address and expand upon these three points in the hopes that we will start to have a better understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ so that we can better live out our lives as ambassadors of Christ and bring His kingdom to earth.

So what are your thoughts? How would you answer the question I was asked? Have you ever thought about these Bible passages in this way?

To read the next post, Part 2, click HERE.