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Did you know that Exodus 34:6-7 is one of the most quoted passages in the entire Bible? The biblical authors reference this list of God’s character traits throughout much of Scripture. But why? 1/8

In these verses, we learn that all of God’s actions are an expression of these attributes: compassion, grace, patience, loyal love, and faithfulness. But how do these traits relate to God’s passion for justice? 2/8
Sometimes God brings severe consequences in response to human evil. How does God’s mercy and love balance with his anger at destructive human behavior? 3/8
Read 8 tweets
It’s the apocalypse! But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. In the Bible, the word apocalypse means “to reveal.” It refers to moments when God uncovers the true nature of reality to someone, usually in a dream or vision.

And because this often happens in dreams, biblical apocalyptic literature is packed with fantastic imagery and strange symbols: dragons and beasts, bowls of blood and fire, cosmic collapse, and more.
Interpreting all these images is what makes biblical apocalyptic so controversial and intriguing. So how do we read it wisely? First, we need to see how apocalyptic visions are all connected to the bigger biblical storyline.
Read 10 tweets
1/10 Have you ever tried reading the letters in the New Testament and found yourself lost or asking, “What on earth is Paul talking about?!” You’re not alone! Even the apostle Peter found Paul’s letters difficult to read. (Check out his comments in 2 Peter 3:15-16).
2/10 But with an understanding of the literary context, you can learn to read these letters with more wisdom and insight.

It’s important to remember that in the first century world most people did not read, so the apostles designed these letters to be read aloud
3/10 (see Colossians 4:16 and 1 Thessalonians 5:27). The letters would have been read aloud by the people who delivered them, like Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2 or Tychichus in Colossians 4:7 and Ephesians 6:21.
Read 10 tweets
Have you ever noticed how many streams, rivers, springs, and wells are highlighted in the story of the Bible? It’s a lot! In the beginning of the Bible, God transforms a desolate wilderness into a garden through a stream that waters the ground (Genesis 2:4-6).
The clay created by the water becomes the origin place of humans (Genesis 2:7), trees (Genesis 2:9), and animals (Genesis 2:19), creating the ideal heaven-on-earth place called “the garden of delight” (“eden” means “delight” in Hebrew). God provides these waters from “the deep”
that he contained and ordered under the dry land in Genesis 1. There is a crucially important part of the Eden story in Genesis 2:10-14, which describes a river that comes out from the garden. After flowing out of Eden, it separates and flows into four regions of the land.
Read 14 tweets
In the last couple of weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our entire world, creating a sense of instability and uncertainty that is new for a lot of people. Something happens inside of human beings in times of crisis. Our instincts for self-preservation kick in,
and we begin to cultivate a scarcity mindset. It becomes very easy to focus on the well-being of ourselves and our family and forget the difficulties of others around us.

Jesus of Nazareth was no stranger to this kind of social instability.
He grew up in land occupied by a foreign military, and oppressive Roman taxes made life difficult for his family and neighbors. And yet, he called his followers to a very different kind of response.
Read 5 tweets
In the opening pages of the Bible, humanity is portrayed as God's royal partner, his divine image. God orders a sacred space where heaven and earth are one, and then makes eternal life available to humans by means of a tree.
While many throughout history have imagined this as a magical tree that imparts eternal life, the biblical story paints a bigger picture. Sacred trees that offer divine life were a major theme in the religious art of ancient Egypt and Babylon.
But in the Garden of Eden, the tree is located at the central hot-spot of sacred space, the "holy of holies" of this heaven and earth place (see Gen 2:9). The fact that the tree of life is in the middle of sacred space means that the life it offers is not inherent to the tree,
Read 13 tweets

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