Beliefnet
For Bible Study Nerds
September 2014 Archives

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy…’” This quote from Matthew 5:43 reveals—again—how religious leaders in Jesus time had unwittingly distorted the Mosaic Law they claimed to hold supreme. The distortion was not […]

“If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic,” Jesus preached in his Sermon on the Mount, “let him have your cloak also.” With all this archaic talk of tunics and cloaks, it’s easy to overlook the devastatingly […]

Why was Jesus so adamant about mentioning “the right cheek” when he gave his command for followers to “turn the other cheek”? The answer lies in the social norms of that time in ancient Israel. In Western society today, one […]

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 5:35 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 […]

In ancient Israel, an oath was both a ritual act and a binding promise. Oaths were invoked in court cases to (supposedly) ensure that witnesses would tell the truth. They were also given as proof of an unbreakable pledge of […]

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made…’” In case you’re wondering, Jesus wasn’t quoting the Old Testament when he said […]

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 […]

It’s hard to overlook the uncomfortable truth that, according to Jesus, a divorced woman is considered an adulterer in God’s eyes—merely by the fact that her husband divorced her. “Whoever divorces his wife,” Christ said, “for any reason except sexual immorality causes […]

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), […]