Tag Archives: Bible study

Leviathan

In the ancient Babylonia creation myth, Marduk defeats Tiamat, a sea monster.  For many years in the church, the fascination with sea monsters and spiritual symbols they represent have captivated the imagination of people who read about Leviathan in the Bible. But not everyone sees things that way.

In the ancient Babylonia creation myth, Marduk defeats Tiamat, a sea monster. For many years in the church, the fascination with sea monsters and the spiritual symbols they represent have captivated the imagination of people who read about Leviathan in the Bible. But not everyone sees things that way.

In this past week’s Symposium meeting, we received this one comment from a participant:

I suppose that the Leviathan creature described in Job might be difficult to explain with the Old Earth theory.

This raises a really good question, but probably more than what the comment necessarily indicates.    So, yes, who is this mysterious Leviathan creature as mentioned in Job 41? This comment surely has this question in mind, but consider this from a wider perspective: What are the concerns that Christians have when they read the Bible that inform how they interpret the Bible?

My Veracity blogging cohort in mischief and mutual lover of pepperoni pizza, John Paine, has an excellent response from an Old-Earth perspective that deserves bringing forward:

This is a pretty well-worn argument between Old-Earth and Young-Earth creationists. The idea is that if Leviathan and Behemoth refer to dinosaurs, then down goes the argument that there are no dinosaurs in the Bible, and then we can conclude that dinosaurs overlapped mankind’s existence on earth (which would support a Young-Earth view).

There are five verses in the Bible that refer to the Leviathan (according to the English Standard Version):

Job 3:8
Job 41:1
Psalm 74:14
Psalm 104:26
Isaiah 27:1

All of these texts could be consistently interpreted as Leviathan referring to a crocodile (and Behemoth referring to a hippopotamus).

Here’s the Old-Earth interpretation.

Thanks for the comment, and I hope this helps.

John sums it up well. But what do the other Creationist perspectives that we have briefly discussed at the Symposium have to say about Leviathan?
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Bible Infographics

Sometimes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  Sometimes a picture can convey more truth than words.  Sometimes a picture helps reinforce a thousand words.  We use lots of pictures on Veracity—art, photographs, videos, and infographics.

Here are just a few examples of good Bible infographics.  Click on the images and hyperlinks to visit the sites of these amazingly creative folks.  You’ll find some real gems if you take a little time to explore the content.

Visual Unit

New Testament Reliability
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How Do We Know the Old Testament is Valid?

Codex Sinaiticus

Photo Credit: CodexSinaiticus.org


 
I’ve been reading the Old Testament straight through, struggling at times with the accounts reported in the ancient texts.  Admittedly, if someone at a party started telling these stories we’d all think they were loony.

There are essentially three possible pronouncements for the passages in the OT that are represented as factual, either:

  1. They are fictional and/or fraudulent, or
  2. They are (wholly or partly) allegorical and not meant to be taken literally, or
  3. The miraculous is in play and the historical accounts are correct.

There is no half-off sale in Christianity—we can’t have the New Testament without the Old.  Some poor souls work themselves into torturous and indefensible theological positions by cherry picking which parts of Scripture they accept and which ones they discount as allegorical.  Some of them even show up on documentaries wearing clerical collars, affiliated with organizations that have ‘Jesus’ or books of the Bible in their name.  Hmmm…. It’s best to think it through yourself.

Is our faith based merely on the hope that the OT is valid, or is there some intelligent basis of assurance? Continue reading


The Septuagint and the Original Old Testament?

The first part of the Book of Genesis, from the Septuagint, the early Old Testament Greek translation used by the early Christian church.

The first part of the Book of Genesis, from the Septuagint, an early  Greek translation of the Old Testament, which served as the “Bible” of the early Christian church before the completion of the New Testament.  Is this translation the closest thing we have to the “original” Old Testament?

I noticed sometimes the quotes of the Old Testament passages in [the Book of] Hebrews do not exactly match the wording when I go back and look up the verses in the Old Testament. I am just wondering what is going on.” This was a question sent to our pastors for our summer Bible study series on the Book of Hebrews. I do not know who asked the question in our congregation, but I want that person in my small group. What an awesome question!

The problem is that when you read a number of Old Testament citations in the New Testament, the New Testament writers are actually quoting from the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. Most of the Old Testament was written originally in Hebrew, so it comes as a shock to people to learn that this ancient Greek version of the Old Testament is referenced quite a bit in the New. Critics of Biblical faith will ask if the New Testament writers are at best sloppy when quoting from the original Old Testament, or are they downright fraudulent and terribly mistranslate the Old Testament by relying so much on the Septuagint instead of the original Hebrew?

Get your thinking caps on. This is really a good question.
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Old Testament Fit To Hebrew History

The Old Testament

 

Here’s a simple graphical representation of the books of the Old Testament, tied to Hebrew history.

I recently came across Tim Challies’ Visual Theology series, and his Periodic Table of the Bible.  The notes about that table state that he and graphic artist Josh Byers decided not to include chronology or the relative size of the books in their depiction.  That was intriguing because for some unknown reason I always thought it would be nice to have a chart indicating the size of the books of the Bible—suitable for taping to dashboards or refrigerators for memorization.  Inspired by Challies and Byers, I started noodling around.  It seemed pretty straightforward, at first, until it was time to fill in the authors and dates.

Among reliable references there is a lot of disagreement about who actually penned the books of the Bible, and when they were written.  Take the debate a step further by tying the dates of writing to Hebrew history (about which there is also considerable disagreement), and we have a formidable academic can of worms to sort through. Continue reading


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