Recently I’ve been diving into studies on the ancient Jewish context of the Old Testament, especially the Torah. We often read the first five books of the Bible in a bit of a vacuum. We read them (and in the case of Leviticus, we skim them) in order to make it through a yearly Bible reading schedule. We engage with the action-packed stories, but our eyes tend to gloss over at the more difficult passages that depict parts of ancient near-eastern culture that are entirely alien to us. As I have read about the patterns of Jewish life in ancient Israel, some things have stuck out to me like signal flares begging to be seen.
If you are anything like me, the last few days you have been thinking a lot about the Christmas story. The birth of Christ is one of the most beautiful, picturesque stories in the entire Bible. Luke 2 captures the events of Christ’s birth perfectly. However, I would argue that it almost does so too […]