>Do You Want to Hear the Old Testament in Hebrew?

>Many haven’t thought about it or don’t realize it, but did you know that the Hebrew text is the result of putting sounds on paper?  This makes it very important that the interpreter be able to hear the words in addition to seeing them when they are read.  In fact, the Hebrew text is literature that is designed to be read out loud.  This means that to fully grasp the writer’s intention, his words need to be heard as well as seen.

As I have been working on my sermon for this Lord’s Day morning on the latter half of Micah 1, I have noticed that there are a lot of word plays being used by Micah.   Micah uses poetry to communicate lament and in it uses the two poetic features of alliteration and assonance to bring out his point.  Both of these features have to do with sound.  Alliteration is the repetition of a consonantal sound at the beginning of a word, so for example, in Micah 1.10 where the ESV reads “tell it not in Gath,” Micah’s poetry is missed.  A better translation would be, “don’t gab about it in Gath.”  The meaning is tied to the two words that begin with the same guttural sound.

Micah also uses assonance.  Assonance is when a writer will use a similarity of sounds between syllables or words (for example, rhyming) to really draw your attention to what is being said.  “Sally sells sea shells by the seashore,” grabs your attention and gets you to listen more intently than saying, “Sally peddles the empty husks of marine life down on the oceanfront.”  So also in Micah 1.10, instead of the ESV’s “weep not all,” a better translation is “weeping, weep not,” which is another way of saying by no means weep!

A lot of the power of the poetry can and is lost in the translation.  So, as I have been studying, I have been reading the section out loud in Hebrew; however, I am not able to hear and feel the poetry as much because, well, I don’t read Hebrew out loud very proficiently.  So what’s a guy to do?

You look online and find a site that has an audio Hebrew Bible.  Let me introduce you to the Academy of Ancient Languages website and their Hebrew Audio Bible.  In addition to Hebrew, they also have Aramaic, Akkadian, and Greek.  I have added this site to our “Study Tools” section in the right hand pane so that it will always be available.

Check it out and enjoy!

[HT: Reformed Reader]


>Harmony of Events of "Holy Week"

>For many Christians throughout the world, this week represents the “Holy” week on the church calender, since it is the week that covers the last week of Christ’s earthly life.  It covers the events from Palm Sunday (the day Christ entered Jerusalem and was received by persons waving palm branches) to Easter Sunday (the day Christ rose from the dead).  I am not one who practices the “church calender” but I think during this time of year it is helpful to think about these events in Christ’s life and ministry, for they present to us the climax of his ministry.

But what about the other events besides the ones that get the attention?  Though many are aware of the big events of the week, such as Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), the institution of the Lord’s Supper (Maundy Thursday), his crucifixion (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter), there were other things that happened.  So if you would like to read about those other events (all of which are important), then you can use this helpful guide based on a chart found in the ESV Study Bible.  (If you don’t have one of these Bibles yet, then you really should consider getting one–it is chock full of great information and helpful charts like this one.  Also, when you buy it, you get access to all that information online).

   Day                        Event                                                  Matthew         Mark           Luke          John    
Sunday           Entry into Jerusalem                                  21:1-11           11:1-10        19:28-44     12:12-18
                         Greeks seek Jesus                                                                                                     12:20-36
                         Jesus weeps for Jerusalem                                                                  19:41
                         Jesus enters temple                                                          11:11
                         Jesus returns to Bethany                         21:17              11:11  

Monday          Jesus curses the fig tree                           21:18-19         11:12-14     
                         Jesus clears the temple                             21:12-13         11:15-17      19:45-46
                         Returns to Bethany with Disciples                                 11:19

Tuesday         Disciples see withered fig tree                 21:20-22         11:20-21
                         Temple controversies in Jerusalem         21:23-23:39    11:27-12:24   20:1-21:4
                         Olivet Discourse on return to Bethany  24:1-25:46      13:1-37          21:5-36

Wednesday    Jesus teaches in temple                                                                          21:37-38
                          Sanhedrin plots to kill Jesus                    26:3-5           14:1-2              22:1-2

Wed/Thurs     Preparations for Passover                       26:17-19        14:12-16           22:7-13

Thursday        Passover meal/Lord’s Supper                  26:20-35        14:17-26          22:14-30
                         Upper Room Discourse                                                                                            13:1-17:26
                         Jesus prays in Gethsemane                      26:36-46        14:32-42         22:39-46

Friday              Betrayal and arrest (after midnight?)    26:47-56        14:43-52         22:47-53    18:2-12
                         Jewish Trial:
                         — before Annas                                                                                                          18:13-24
                         — Caiaphas and part of Sanhedrin          26:57-75         14:53-72        22:54-65     18:19-24
                         — before full Sanhedrin                             27:1-2              15:1              22:66-71
                         Roman Trials:
                         — before Pilate                                            27:2-14            15:2-5          23:1-5
                         — before Herod                                                                                       23:6-12
                         — before Pilate                                            27:15-26          15:6-15        23:13-25     18:28-19:16
                         Crucifixion (approx 9am to 3pm)           27:27-54          15:16-39      23:26-49     19:16-37
                         Burial (evening)                                        27:57-61           15:42-47      23:50-54     19:38-42                  
Sunday           Empty tomb witnesses                             28:1-8               16:1-8          24:1-12
                         Resurrection appearances                       28:9-20                                 24:13-53     20:1-21:25

>Teaching Children Biblical Theology


This past weekend, my family stayed with some of our closest friends and the topic of training our covenant children in scripture came up.  They, like us, were raised Baptist and were taught the Bible as a loosely held together collection of stories that provided moral lessons.  And unfortunately, this scenario still takes place today.  When the Bible is taught as a loose collection of stories, children don’t learn the big picture of what God is doing with history and in history to provide salvation for his people, of which covenant children are a part.  They are hindered in understanding their place in the covenant and understanding the rich promises they have inherited.

Secondly, it leads children to miss God and his redemptive acts and instead focus on the people in the accounts–their character (or lack thereof) and their behavior.  Most often in children’s books,Sunday-school lessons and other teaching materials, the Bible is taught from the perspective of “Be like David,” or “Don’t be like Saul,” or “Do things like Mary; don’t do things like Martha.”  This approach to the Bible inevitably leads to a moralistic and legalistic understanding of the Christian life.  It is important to remember that although the Bible does teach ethics and does give commands that are to be obeyed–these things are contingent upon the redemptive work of God in Christ.  The biblical order is Christ’s work on behalf of the church, and then the church’s response because of that work.

For Reformed parents, then, as we seek to train up our children in the scripture, we should keep the covenantal continuity of the Bible in mind in order to rightly utilize the biblical pattern of understanding God’s redemptive acts in Christ and then how to live by faith in response to those acts.  So we need to teach the Bible; we need to teach the stories of the Bible,; we need to teach about the people in the Bible; but we need to include in this how the stories teach God’s redemptive acts in Christ, how those stories fit together to show the over arching plan of God in Christ and then how to properly respond by faith in Christ.

To this end, I want to provide some helpful resources for teaching the Bible from this perspective to children.

For smaller children:

First,Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Story Book Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name.  To see the front and back covers and two sample stories, click here.  There is a deluxe edition that also includes the stories narrated in audio on CD.  You can listen to samples here.  There is also a sample video that can be seen here.

Next, there is Mighty Acts of God: A Family Bible Story Book by Starr Meade.  You can see the “Table of Contents,” “Note for Parents from the Author,” and two sample stories here.

A third option is The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm.  You can see the “Table of Contents” here, as well as several sample chapters.

For older children:

The gold standard for older children is Catherine Vos’s, The Child’s Story Bible.  Catherine Vos was the wife of the father of Reformed biblical theology, Geerhardus Vos.  This story Bible is rich and is even a great resource for the parents to read for themselves.

Another good one for older children is Starr Meade’s, Grandpa’s Box. This book takes the unique angle of communicating the history of redemption through devotional stories told by a grandfather to his grandchildren.

I hope these suggestions help you in teaching children the Bible the way God communicated it and meant for it to be understood!

>Biblical Text in Greek and Hebrew Available Online

>For any of you Bible scholars out there that would like access to the Bible in the original languages but you don’t have the money for purchasing software like BibleWorks 8, the German Bible Society has made the following available online:

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS)
Septuaginta (LXX)
Novum Testamentum Grace (NA27)
Biblia Sacra Vulgate

You can view the text without signing in. However, there are more advanced search features available for registered users. If you’re a like me and don’t know German, then you can use Google Translate to translate the web page into English.

[HT: Shaun Tabatt]