For Bible Study Nerds

For Bible Study Nerds

Historical backgrounds Archives

Matthew 6:19-24; Treasures in Heaven (Historical Backgrounds)

posted by Mike Nappa

In the ancient world, storing treasure typically boiled down to one of these two methods: hide it or guard it (or both). There were no banks or safety deposit boxes in those days, so a man’s wealth was, literally, only […]

Matthew 6:1-4; Giving to the Needy (Historical Backgrounds)

posted by Mike Nappa

In ancient Israeli society, giving to the needy ranked among one of the highest religious duties. As such, it was a regular, ordinary part of the Jewish person’s experience. Historians tell us that, “In every city there were collectors who […]

Matthew 5:38-42; An Eye for an Eye (Historical Backgrounds)

posted by Mike Nappa

The legal for basis for lex talionis (“law of retaliation”) that Jesus referred to in Matthew 5:38 was well established in Jewish history and in the Law of Moses. The “eye for an eye” concept first appeared in Genesis 9:6, […]

Matthew 5:31-32; Divorce (Historical Backgrounds)

posted by Mike Nappa

You may be surprised to discover that Old Testament Law did not codify the practice of divorce. In fact, biblical history indicates that divorce predated the time of Moses. As such, it was acknowledged by the Law (see Deuteronomy 24:1), […]

Previous Posts

Matthew 7:7-12; Ask, Seek, Knock (Literary Influences)
Found where it in Matthew 7:12, the “Golden Rule” seems an awkward contextual placement. In modern Bibles, it’s lumped in with Matthew 7:7-11, appearing as the final sentence in this section of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This is particularly perplexing because verse 12 in the NIV begins wit

posted 12:00:54pm Nov. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 7:7-12; Ask, Seek, Knock (Cultural Commentary)
Jesus frequently pointed to God’s place as our Father to emphasize the idea that God cares for us—but that imagery meant something different to his first-century hearers than it does to our so-called “progressive” 21st-century culture. In today’s American culture, the father is importan

posted 12:00:53pm Nov. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 7:7-12; Ask, Seek, Knock (Theological Commentary)
Jesus’ exhortation to “ask, seek, knock” in prayer seems a carte blanche promise that God will give anything you or I ask for in prayer. The normal Christian life, on the other hand, seems to discredit this promise on a daily basis. So what gives? Was Jesus lying, or mistaken, or exaggerati

posted 12:00:51pm Nov. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 7:1-6; Judging Others (Symbolism)
OK, brace yourself Bible Study Nerd, because this commentary section is going to be longer than normal. You’ve been warned. “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs…” What the heck does that mean? Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:6 are difficult to follow given th

posted 12:00:40pm Nov. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 7:1-6; Judging Others (Rhetorical Influences)
It would've been hard to be a Pharisee sitting in the audience of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Again and again Christ seemed to deliberately antagonize any religious leaders listening to his teaching—singling them out, calling them unflattering names, and mocking them with increasingly absurd ins

posted 12:00:00pm Nov. 12, 2014 | read full post »


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