Wait. What? Things I Didn’t Know About the Bible

I was raised in church. I’ve often joked with folks that in the church of my youth, the pastor had to push his way through the our family to get the doors unlocked. That experience formed me and gave me some connections that have lasted my lifetime.

We changed our church affiliation when I was 13.  The involvement didn’t change at all. I did the Monday evening visitation where we’d go and knock on neighborhood doors to talk to folks about Christ. I sat in Sunday School. I sat in Sunday Morning Services. I sat in Wednesday evening services. I was taught all the standard things that I assume almost every other Western Evangelical was taught.

I don’t remember anything being taught to me about the sons of God taking daughters of men as wives. I was not taught that chapter 6 in Genesis records an episode where a divinely established order was violated and resulted in the birth of part-spirit being, part-human giants (nephilim).  I wasn’t taught anything about the divine/spiritual realm other than about Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and Satan. I was certainly never taught anything that included “other gods” in any meaningful way.


For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

Psalm 95:3

But without other gods, if they are nothing and non-existent, what is this verse saying? Is it saying the LORD is a great King above made up beings? Above nothing? Further, what do we do when the god Dagon 1 is referred to in the same manner, with the same word,  as the LORD 2?

Along with this what was left out, there were things I was warned away from. To me, apocrypha might as well have meant anathema. I came to the conclusion that these books were deceptive and had no value. They weren’t scripture, and were therefore useless. They were to be avoided and I obeyed. I remained willfully and intentionally ignorant of their content.

Maybe we should treat them like bible commentaries or Christian books written today. That was my moment. Wait. What?

That’s what started my latest journey in understanding. I’d noticed that some quotes in the New Testament didn’t have the little letter and the note referencing the scripture that was being quoted. Many did. I use my references and always try to check them. Once in a while, you find new testament writers quoting a work that existed outside of scripture. Jude:14-15 for example.

I was a bit stunned to find that some were quotes from the Book of Enoch. You know, one of those books to avoid. I ended up stumbling across this guy, Dr, Michael Heiser 3 and some of his teachings. The understanding his teachings give has helped the Bible make much more sense to me. I’d challenge you to listen to some of what he teaches.

This is longer than I intended so I’ll end it now with a summary of what he says to relieve any ideas he may be heretical:

  • The Book of Enoch is not, and should not, ever be part of the Canon;
  • God, our LORD, is a unique being and there is no other being like him;
  • God is the creator of everything, including other divine beings;
  • Jesus Christ is/was/will be God and is the sole pathway to salvation.

Notes:

  1. 1 Samuel 5:7
  2. Exodus 3:18
  3. https://drmsh.com/

Healthy, Frugal, and Better Than I Expected

The July 4th holiday of this year found us out camping in Copper Breaks State Park, which, incidentally, is one of only 73 International Dark Sky Parks in the world as of this writing. In July it also has the potential to be rather warm. This particular day was one of the warm ones.

One rather warm evening my wife and daughter came up with an idea. Brilliant? I hardly thought so. I figured the two of them may have been in the sun too long and should go cool off. They thought we should try to eat healthier. I am certainly good with that. After some major personal changes in life and a bout with a rather complicated health concern, I’m not exactly where I want to be weight-wise or fitness-wise. But there was more.

They wanted to do this on $100 per week. $100 per week for a family of four with two teenagers, one of whom is a teenage boy. I chuckled to myself, a little more loudly than necessary, and said, “Sure, we can try that.”

We just started the second week. The first week I ended up eating things like chicken salad, bacon and eggs, shrimp, two large tuna steaks, and plenty of other good, healthy food. The daughter seems to have taken it as something of a personal challenge when it comes to the shopping. The wife has had to cook a bit more, but that’s actually great as cooking together has been one of my favorites things to do since before we were married.

I’ve been wonderfully surprised by their shopping ability and have loved eating a more healthy selection of foods than what I have been recently. I’ll keep you updated.

“They” are Us

Paul wrote in the book of Romans about men who rejected God. God gave them over to their desires. We get a view of what such men look like. I read his description and compare them against daily headlines and can’t help but think God has given this country over to our desires.


They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Romans 1:29-31

Spillway at Lake Wichita

In general, being outdoors and being creative are both activities that are good for our health. So it’s great when you get a chance to combine them.

A few weeks ago I spent a  couple of hours at a local lake, Lake Wichita. It’s a lake that has been down on it’s luck for a while, but I remember it as a lake with boats, wildlife and decent fishing from when I was young. Sadly, it has been neglected over the years.

Fortunately, Lake Wichita has friends. Support Lake Wichita is a group of citizens who realize the value a lake brings to a community and are working hard to have it restored. I can’t wait to see the end results. In the meantime, enjoy s brief video of the water flowing over the spillway after a recent rain.

Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar – Limeade

Many times I’ve heard folks talk about drinking apple cider vinegar (ACV). It’s a miracle! So I thought I’d give it a shot.

ACV does not, in my opinion, qualify as a miracle. In brief, the science seems to support that it does regulate blood sugar and inhibits the complete digestion of carbs. However, rather than being viewed as a one stop weight loss drink, it is instead a small piece that you could include in a total health jigsaw puzzle.

That’s What I’ve Been Saying

Over the years I’ve mediated disputes (not legal mediation) between people. On several occasions I found it interesting that they both had the same position but the same vocabulary. The words they were they were using to express themselves were not registering with each other. On those occasions I found the words and would ask, “So-and-so, are you saying this?” When they responded “yes” the other would say, “That’s what I’ve been saying.”

The point here is that sometimes we need to find another way of saying what we are saying to get the point across. Sometimes, it takes someone else to do it for us. When I read this post, I thought, this is exactly what I’ve been saying. What I’ve been saying in particular is how we (the church) gloss over the difficult parts of scripture rather than contemplating them and working them out.

We simply cannot let the passage say what it says and do what it is meant to do.

Jim ELliff, Reading Scripture Rightly

Elliff makes the point that we sometimes are too quick to look at certain passages and immediately try to counter it with another passage that seems to state the opposite.

I think we could liken this to the skill needed when counseling people about work performance. Often people want to turn the conversation from their performance issue with statements like, “Yeah but he/she did it too,” “we’ve always…” or “I was trying to…” As humans, we will do about anything to get out of the discomfort of having to confront  our own shortcomings.

One of the saddest things as a supervisor was always to counsel someone and have them walk out having not owned up to the issue they were having. You could watch them walking away from their career because they weren’t willing to face their own difficult issues. Do we do the same thing with our faith? Do we refuse to correctly understand scripture because doing so challenges our beliefs and makes us confront our own shortcomings? If so, do we walk away from what God truly wants of us?