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Symbolism Archives

Matthew 9:14-17; Jesus Questioned About Fasting (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins…” (Matthew 9:17). When Jesus made this comparison statement, it was more than just an explanatory reference of common daily wisdom. In this little allegory, “new wine” represented Jesus himself, causing a […]

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Matthew 7:15-23; A Tree and Its Fruit (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

In warning about false prophets in Matthew 7:15, Jesus compares those people to “wolves” disguised in sheep’s clothing. The meaning here is clear: Christ’s followers are vulnerable sheep, and false prophets are the hungry predators who will harm them. In […]

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Matthew 7:1-6; Judging Others (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

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’ […]

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

posted by Mike Nappa

“The eye is the lamp of the body,” Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount. “If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). Jesus employs two familiar symbols for his audience in […]

Matthew 6:16-18; Fasting (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

The act of fasting, biblically speaking, is both a physical and symbolic expression. Physically, it’s simply deprivation of food and/or water for a specified period of time. Symbolically, though, it represents something much more. In the best sense, fasting symbolizes […]

Matthew 5:33-37; Oaths (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

Matthew 5:35 quotes Jesus as reaffirming the declaration of Isaiah 66:1, saying very plainly that the earth is God’s “footstool.” But what does that mean exactly? In Old Testament usage, the concept of “footstool” or “under the feet” carried a […]

Matthew 5:31-32; Divorce (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

Jesus’ literal intolerance for the practice of divorce, as displayed in his Sermon on the Mount, takes on new meaning when viewed through a symbolic lens. Consider: Throughout the New Testament, Christ is presented figuratively as a bridegroom, and all […]

Matthew 5:1-12; The Beatitudes (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

In Matthew 5:3-9, Jesus describes seven characteristics of people who are blessed. According to theologian, Herschel Hobbs, those descriptions symbolized “the nature of the kingdom citizen.” He interpreted them as follows: The Poor in Spirit. “Those who recognize that they […]

Matthew 3:13-17; The Baptism of Jesus (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

The baptism of Jesus was a revelatory moment in history, and is generally considered the moment that “marks both His inauguration as the servant Messiah and the dawning of a new age of the Spirit.” In that context, it’s significant […]

Matthew 3:1-12; John the Baptist Prepares the Way (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

John the Baptist identified three types of baptisms: By water, by the Holy Spirit, and by fire. But what do those mean? In John’s use, water baptism was a symbol of repentance in the heart and mind of the person […]

Matthew 2:1-12; The Visit of the Magi (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

The Magi gave to baby Jesus gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. Those gifts fulfilled a prophecy found in Isaiah 60:6, and also communicated symbolic meaning. Gold in the ancient Middle East was associated with “noble purposes,” as well as […]

Previous Posts

Bible Resource Spotlight: Complete Bible Handbook
Reader Appeal: Students, Small Group Leaders, Sunday School Teachers Genre: Bible Reference FBSN Rating: A   Full disclosure first: I’m a total fan of Stephen Miller. I own several of his Bible reference books because I always find his work intriguing, well-researched, and accessi

posted 12:00:17pm Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Bible Resource Spotlight: The Illustrated Guide to Bible Customs and Curiosities
Reader Appeal: Pastors, Students, Nerds Genre: Bible Reference FBSN Rating: A   Don’t be deceived by the “pocket” size of George Knight’s book, The Illustrated Guide to Bible Customs and Curiosities. Sure, it looks small compared to the thick commentaries and weighty diction

posted 12:00:16pm Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Bible Resource Spotlight: Discovering Romans
Reader Appeal: Pastors, Small Group Leaders Genre: Bible Commentary / Sermons FBSN Rating: B+   When S. Lewis Johnson was a college man in the 1930s, he had little interest in God, let alone in preaching the Bible. All he cared about was golf. He competed in many amateur tournaments

posted 12:00:15pm Mar. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Bible Resource Spotlight: 30 Events That Shaped the Church
Reader Appeal: Bible Students, Pastors, Pew-Sitters Genre: Christian History FBSN Rating: A   It’s rare to find a book that could appeal to both a Bible Study Nerd and the average pew-sitter, but Alton Gansky has made one anyway. 30 Events that Shaped the Church takes a unique

posted 12:00:14pm Mar. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Matthew 9:27-34; Jesus Heals the Blind and Mute (Cultural Commentary)
Who is the “prince of demons” referenced in Matthew 9:34? Jesus’ enemies were pretty familiar with that guy—so much so that they felt confident accusing Christ of being his evil pawn. So who were they talking about? The “prince of demons” was a title for a high-ranking, fallen angel d

posted 12:00:59pm Mar. 20, 2015 | read full post »

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