"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17).
Undoubtedly, the best known of all Bible verses is John 3:16, but even this does not sound the same in its different renderings. One of these is a personalised version, sometimes employed in church settings: “For God so loved [insert your name here] that He gave His one and only Son, so that if [insert your name here] believes in Him, [insert your name here] shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Over the centuries, strong but artificial tensions have been created between the Gospel of Paul (proclaimed especially by Augustine and many Protestants) and the "legalism" of the biblical writers James, Peter, Jude, and so on, which Catholic and Orthodox theologians have usually defended. What is at stake in these tensions is the authority of God's commandments and thus the duty or obligation to obey God's "commands, decrees and laws."
“And Who Is My Neighbour?” asked a Jewish teacher of the Law when Jesus Christ told him that eternal life entails observing two commandments: to love God and to love one’s neighbour.
Jesus had the highest regard for the Scriptures. The Gospels show that He was familiar with the content of the Scriptures, which He saw as the final authority for establishing truth, rejecting temptation, and choosing the way forward in the present and the future.
Who was Jesus really? While His historical existence is no longer questioned, many people believe that He was at best an exceptional personality of His time, a reformer whom His disciples later transformed into a deity. Why is neo-atheism concerned with promoting such a Jesus, and why is He nothing more than a new form of doubt?
Until that point in our marriage, my wife and I had shared a car. She worked in the city, close to public transport and wherever we went, we went together. And she preferred me to drive. When we had our daughter, the situation didn’t change much. Covid-19 made it hard to go anywhere and we found our four-door sedan big enough to tackle strollers, car seats and whatever other baby gear we needed.
In the first two articles of this series, we examined the biblical theology of the Sabbath in relation to the divine act of creation, the history and theology of the people of Israel and early Christianity. This third and final article in the series will examine the Sabbath from the perspective of legalism, under which some commentators have placed seventh-day observance.
To be a good Christian, they say, you must not swear, steal, lie, cheat or speak ill of anyone.
There are predictions made in the Bible. Have all the predictions of the past been fulfilled? If not, what does the failure of some of them to be fulfilled say about the credibility of the Bible?
Jesus Christ is certainly the most fascinating and controversial person in human history, if we look at how He has been understood throughout the history of Christian thought. But how did Jesus understand Himself?
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have’” (Luke 10:30-35).
The birth of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant events in human history. Celebrated at Christmas, by some with emotion, by others with indifference, most of the time the holiday loses sight of the main Character. Religious meanings remain in the shadows, while commercial dimensions are pursued at all costs.
Born of a virgin, brought up in humble conditions with phenomenal dignity, poor all throughout his life but desired as king by thousands, famous for healing the sick and raising the dead, the target of conspiracies of the highest officials, killed by crucifixion and resurrected after three days—Jesus Christ is at the centre of the most fabulous script ever to fall into the hands of filmmakers.
The word sacrifice is not really a pleasant word. When you hear it, you may think of weird archaic rituals involving blood and animals. You may think of giving up something you love or like to save money or to save your waistline. Sacrifice is not a word we use often, and it’s often used with negative associations. But in a strange twist, the action of sacrifice is well regarded in popular culture and our collective societal imagination.