“Christians are a Bunch of Scheming Swindlers” (Søren Kierkegaard)

We have an uncanny ability to use pious and theological reasoning to explain away our responsibility to do the things that we don’t want to do, all the while cloaking our sinful inhibition in a facade of Christian maturity and conscientiousness.

Søren Kierkegaard: “The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”

That, or we find sophisticated ways of interpretating ourselves out of the Bible’s demands. As Søren says later, this is “the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close.”

He continues, “Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. ‘My God,’ you will say, ‘if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?’”

In other words, if your Christianity doesn’t make you uncomfortable or require much sacrifice, your Christianity is probably not that of Christ himself. It is probably not that of the Bible.

We have fashioned a God in our own image, rather than us resembling his.

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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Commentaries

This post is a re-blog of my post at Rolfing Unshelved.


This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.


Basic Description of Commentaries

A Biblical Commentary is a book that provides an interpretive explanation of a Biblical book or books. Commentaries provide a detailed explanation of specific Biblical passages, an explanation of a Biblical book’s larger structure or argument, and typically engage with introductory matters such as authorship, audience, date of writing, purpose of writing, composition, etc.

Literary/Rhetorical Devices in the Bible

As a promised in Core Seminars this morning at church, here are those literary/rhetorical devices–their definitions and contemporary and Biblical examples of them.


Definition – Specific conventions of communication.

Importance – Being aware of these devices helps one understand what the text is “doing” and thereby helps one understand the text in light of what it is doing. 

  • Idiom – A figure of speech or an expression unique to a particular language and culture; a group of words having a distinct meaning of its own, not deducible to the meaning of the individual words themselves.

Example: “Break a leg.”

Prov 24:20 –   For there will be no future for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out [i.e., he will die].

  • Arguments: e.g., “lesser to greater” and “greater to lesser.” – Making an inference based on an already established (greater or lesson) reality.

Rom 11:12, 15 (“lesser to greater”) 12 Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Mt 6:26 (“lesser to greater”) – Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

Rom 5:8-10 (“greater to lesser”) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

  • Diatribe – A rhetorical conversation partner, often posing possible objections.

Rom 6:1-2 – What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase [the diatribe]? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it [Paul]?

Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Concordance

This post is a re-blog of my post at Rolfing Unshelved.


This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools. This series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.


Basic Description of Concordance

A Biblical concordance is a reference tool that provides an alphabetic listing of Biblical words along with their Biblical references. This allows one to study the various uses of words throughout scripture.

Some concordances are organized according to the original Biblical languages (e.g., Hebrew and Greek). Other concordances are organized according to receptor languages (e.g., English), although these often include information about the Greek and Hebrew that stands behind the translations.

Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Atlases

This post is a re-blog of my post at Rolfing Unshelved.


This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools. This series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.


Cover ArtBasic Description of Atlas

A Bible atlas is a reference tool that systematically and visually (e.g., often through the use of maps and pictures) presents geographical, topographical, historical, archaeological, and cultural information relevant to Biblical studies.