Author Archives for Cierra Klatt

What Were Roman Jails Like in Paul’s Time?

May 21, 2018 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

In the New Testament, we hear a lot about Christians being imprisoned—especially Paul. In fact, he wrote his letter to the Philippians while in jail! We’ve gathered some information from the ESV Archaeology Study Bible here for you to learn more about Roman jails were like. PAUL WRITING THE PHILIPPIANS FROM PRISON In the Roman world, imprisonment was rarely a long-term punishment. Most prisoners were awaiting either trial or execution. Debtors could be imprisoned until their friends or family paid o‘ the debt (Matt. 18:30). The length of imprisonment depended on the swiftness of a trial, which could be drawn out for years, especially in political cases. Conditions of imprisonment were closely linked to the status of the prisoner. Non-Roman citizens, even of high status, were often harshly treated. In contrast, house arrest was typically more comfortable for the prisoner, who was usually physically chained to a guard but could still host visitors. PRISON CONDITIONS Paul experienced a wide variety of prison conditions. He was chained in a common holding cell in Philippi (Acts 16:23– 30), imprisoned in probably better conditions in the praetorium at Caesarea (Acts 23:35), and held in relative comfort while in house arrest in Rome (Acts... View Article


Yet I Will Rejoice

May 15, 2018 7:00 am Published by 26 Comments

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. –Habakkuk 3:17-18 HE SAW Habakkuk saw the sin of his day, its impact on the people of Judah and the collective corrosion of the nation. Seeking to frame what he saw with a lens of faith, he waited on God, calling out for divine help. But Habakkuk struggled when God told him his plan to punish evilness with more evilness. Would God actually use the wicked nation of Babylon to punish the (relatively less wicked) nation of Judah (Hab 1:6)? HE WAITED Habakkuk waited for God to answer his questions (1:2-32:1). He listened as God explained that the righteous would live by faith (2:4) and marveled as God promised that, in time, the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (2:3, 14). HE REFLECTED As Habakkuk reflected on all that was happening in... View Article


What Does It Mean to Fear the Lord?

May 14, 2018 7:00 am Published by 25 Comments

“These are the commands, the decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.” — Deuteronomy 6:1-2  A frequent command given to God’s people in the OT is to “fear God” or “fear the Lord.” It is important that we understand what this command means for Christ’s followers today. Only as we truly fear the Lord will we be freed from all destructive and satanic fears. By fearing God, we can avoid being trapped by the natural pull toward going our own way, defying God and giving in to the inviting ways of immoral behavior. What does it MEAN to FEAR God? The broad command to “fear the Lord” involves understanding several things about a believer’s relationship with God. ONE: GOD IS LOVING & JUST First of all, we must recognize that God is loving, merciful and forgiving; but he also is holy, just and... View Article


Misguided Convictions about Daniel

May 9, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

John E. Goldingay included his thoughts on some misguided convictions about Daniel in the Word Biblical Commentary. Read the excerpt below! MISGUIDED CONVICTIONS ABOUT DANIEL What assumptions should we bring to [Daniel] regarding the nature of the stories and the origin of the visions? Critical scholarship has sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly approached the visions with the a priori conviction that they cannot be actual prophecies of events to take place long after the seer’s day, because prophecy of that kind is impossible. Conversely, conservative scholarship has sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly approached these visions with the a priori conviction that they must be actual prophecies because quasi-prophecies issued pseudonymously could not have been inspired by God; it has also approached the stories with the a priori conviction that they must be pure history, because fiction or a mixture of fact and fiction could not have been inspired by God. All these convictions seem to me mistaken. I believe that the God of Israel who is also the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is capable of knowing future events and thus of revealing them, and is capable of inspiring people to write both history and fiction, both actual prophecy... View Article


The Avalanche of Sin in Genesis

May 8, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

There is an avalanche of sin in Genesis. It includes pride, murder, sexual immorality to name a few. But what is the significance of these stories? Read this excerpt by Gordon J. Wenham. We found it in the Word Biblical Commentary. THE IMPORTANCE OF GENESIS The ancient [Near Eastern] background to Gen 1—11 shows it to be concerned with rather different issues from those that tend to preoccupy modern readers. It is affirming the unity of God in the face of polytheism, his justice rather than his caprice, his power as opposed to his impotence, his concern for mankind rather than his exploitation. And whereas Mesopotamia clung to the wisdom of primeval man, Genesis records his sinful disobedience. Because as Christians we tend to assume these points in our theology, we often fail to recognize the striking originality of the message of Gen 1—11 and concentrate on subsidiary points that may well be of less moment. But an examination of the wider context of Gen 1—11 within the book itself, and the structure of these chapters, does, I believe, emphasize the centrality of these [following] themes in the opening chapters… THE AVALANCHE OF SIN IN GENESIS The opening chapters of... View Article


Do Christian Missionaries Impose Their Culture?

May 7, 2018 7:00 am Published by 5 Comments

Christian missions can be done well… and not well. But does this mean that we should abandon missions? Is it really that bad? Read this adapted article from the CSB Apologetics Study Bible to think deeper on the question, “Do Christian missionaries impose their culture?” DO CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES IMPOSE THEIR CULTURE? Many people believe Christian missionaries impose their culture on others. Missionaries allegedly soften up native peoples by weakening their cultural resistance, leaving the field open for colonists and Western capitalism. Mission has been described as enslavement or even as genocide, and the gospel has been called the “everlasting story of the West against the Indians.” ADDRESSING THE STEREOTYPES Such extreme accusations signal that we are entering a world of stereotype and caricature. We first find them in the nineteenth century but stereotypes of missionaries became widespread in the mid-twentieth century, with the recognition that some cultures can oppress others. This insight was applied to “Christian” cultures of the West, especially as supposedly spread by missionaries. Most caricatures have a basis in fact, however flimsy, and some missionaries have fit aspects of the stereotype. The early church faced similar issues (Ac 15; Gl 2) when the apostles rejected the imposition of... View Article


Paul’s “Cutting” Remarks

May 7, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Richard N. Longenecker walks through Galatians and Paul’s “cutting” remarks. You’ll find that Galatians is more applicable than you know. Check out this excerpt from the Word Biblical Commentary below. PAUL’S “CUTTING” REMARKS 5:7 “you were running well. Who cut in on you to be keeping you from obeying the truth?” While the first half of this section on “Holding Fast to Freedom” is, as Betz notes, a “highly condensed section,” the second half beginning with v 7 “is freer, appearing like a rambling collection of pointed remarks, rhetorical questions, proverbial expressions, threats, irony, and, climaxing it all, a joke of stark sarcasm” (Galatians, 264). In effect, having argued and exhorted at length, Paul now brings his treatment of the Judaizing threat to a close with this loose collection of comments and remarks. The figurative use of an athlete running in a stadium to represent living one’s life is frequent in Paul (cf. 2:2; also 1 Cor 9:24-27; Phil 3:14; 2 Tim 4:7; Acts 20:24). Such athletic imagery for life was common in the ancient world… The verb [translated as] (“hinder,” “thwart,” “block the way) in the context of a race suggests tripping or otherwise interfering with a runner, which inevitably... View Article


A Call For God’s Protection

May 2, 2018 7:00 am Published by 11 Comments

Psalm 56, written by David, is a call for God’s protection. Read this Psalm and learn more about the meaning behind the Hebrew words from the CSB Study Bible. Be gracious to me, God, for a man is trampling me; he fights and oppresses me all day long. My adversaries trample me all day, for many arrogantly fight against me. — PSALM 56:1-2 Trampling (Hb sh’p) appears twice in these verses. There are two meanings for this Hebrew word: (1) “pant” or “long for” (Is 42:14; Jr 2:24) and (2) “crush” or “trample” (Ps 57:3; Am 8:4). Since the first of these is more common, some translations take that as the meaning here. However, the parallel terms fights and oppresses argue for the second meaning. When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? — PSALM 56:3-4 Mere mortals is literally “flesh” (Hb basar), which represents man’s weakness and mortality (Is 2:22; 31:3; 40:6). This word is often used to contrast man’s weakness with God’s power (2Ch 32:8). Similar words are repeated in Ps 56:10-11. They twist my... View Article


A Romans Rivalry: Law vs. Faith

April 30, 2018 7:00 am Published by 2 Comments

Law vs. Faith: one of the main conflicts Paul seeks to resolve in his letter to the Romans. Dig deeper into Romans 3:27-31 with Marvin C. Pate and this excerpt from his contribution to the Teach the Text Commentary Series. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. — Romans 3:27-31 BIG IDEA These verses contain three contrasts between boasting in the law of Moses and justification by faith in Christ alone: boasting in individual legalism versus justification by faith and acceptance before God; boasting in national exclusivism versus justification by faith and monotheism; boasting in the old covenant versus justification by faith and the new covenant. KEY THEMES Paul... View Article


Getting Started: Bible Handbooks

April 24, 2018 7:00 am Published by 2 Comments

A Bible handbook gives a clearly written overview of the Bible. So, it is a perfect companion to Bible reading. It’s arranged in the order of the books of the Bible. Also, it provides background before you read through a Bible book, commentary and illustrations as you read, and topical and historical notes to expand your understanding. The first Bible handbook ever published was Halley’s Bible Handbook. It was a revolutionary concept that came out of Dr. Halley’s desire to get people to read the Bible with more understanding. Notably, it remains a perennial bestseller to this day. We recently released Halley’s Bible Handbook Deluxe Edition! It is the 25th edition of this classic and trustworthy study tool. HOW TO CHOOSE A Bible handbook is arranged in the order of the books of the Bible, and typically contains maps, charts, indexes, essays on special topics, outlines of Bible books, brief commentary on the Bible text, and cross-references to other parts of the Handbook. ASK YOURSELF Is it more devotional or informational? Which am I looking for? How much more content does it have than my study Bible? Is it too basicfor my needs? Do I plan to use it permanently... View Article