bible

4th Sunday of Advent

December 21, 2014
Reading 1: 
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Reading 3: 
Romans 16:25-27
Reading 4: 
Luke 1:26-38, 46-55
By Bruce G. Epperly

This lectionary commentary was first published on December 21, 2008.

 

3rd Sunday of Advent

December 14, 2014
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Reading 2: 
Psalm 126
Reading 3: 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Reading 4: 
John 1:6-8, 19-28
By Bruce G. Epperly

This Lectionary Commentary was first published on December 14, 2008.

 

2nd Sunday of Advent

December 7, 2014
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Reading 2: 
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Reading 3: 
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Reading 4: 
Mark 1:1-8
By Bruce G. Epperly

This Lectionary Commentary was first published on December 7, 2008.

 

1st Sunday of Advent

November 30, 2014
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 64:1-9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Reading 3: 
I Corinthians 1:3-9
Reading 4: 
Mark 13:24-37
By Bruce G. Epperly

This lectionary commentary was first published on November 23, 2008.

 

Thomas Jefferson & the Bible

Question: 
What is your opinion of the way Thomas Jefferson edited the Bible?
Publication Month: 
August 2011
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

We can be grateful to Jefferson for his experiment. In my book, Spiritual Bankruptcy, I argue for secularizing the great traditions, and as a Christian, of course, I deal chiefly with Christianity. I contrast this secularizing with secularism, which tries to create knowledge anew out of what is indubitably given. I argue that the massive experiments with secularism, beginning with Descartes, have had disastrous consequences, whereas beginning with the accumulated wisdom of a culture and subjecting it to thoroughly critical analysis is highly productive.

Parenting: Rules, Consequences, or Proposals?

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Proper 29/Christ the King (Reign of Christ)

November 25, 2001
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Reading 2: 
Psalm 46
By John B. Cobb, Jr.

Jeremiah’s prophesies are not apocalyptic. Hence process theologians can take them much more straightforwardly. Jeremiah is hoping that a descendant of David will assume the throne of Israel and create a nation to which the widely dispersed Jews can return. He pronounced this vision of a hopeful future at a very low period of Israel’s condition. All of its leaders had been carried into exile or had fled to Egypt. Israel and Judah as nations had ceased to exist.

Proper 29/Christ the King (Reign of Christ)

November 21, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Reading 3: 
Colossians 1:11-20
Reading 4: 
Luke 1:68-79 and Luke 23:33-43
By Paul S. Nancarrow

The final Sunday of the liturgical year is traditionally recognized as the feast of Christ the King, or, more inclusively, the feast of the Reign of Christ. The lessons appointed for the day all reflect this theme. But the notion of the Reign of Christ can present the contemporary interpreter with significant challenges, especially as we wrestle with the religious dimensions and ethical consequences of the emerging American Empire.

Proper 29/Christ the King (Reign of Christ)

November 25, 2007
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Reading 3: 
Colossians 1:11-20
Reading 4: 
Luke 23:33-43
By Russell Pregeant

The readings from Jeremiah, Colossians, and Luke provide material for an interesting take on the theme of the Reign of Christ. Colossians 1:11-20 includes a hymn (vv. 15-20) that embraces a number of themes: Christ’s pre-existence and status as the one in whom all things cohere; the resurrection and exaltation; Christ’s role as the head of the church; and Christ’s work of universal reconciliation through his death on the cross.

Proper 28

November 18, 2001
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Malachi 4:1-2a
Reading 2: 
Psalm 98
By John B. Cobb, Jr.

Psalm 98 expresses a quite different mood – one of joyful triumph. It seems at first that the triumph is God’s and that we can celebrate quite unequivocally with the Psalmist. Surely as Christians we hope for God’s victory in the world! But as the Psalm continues, it becomes clear that God’s victory is identified with the victory of Israel.

Proper 28

November 14, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 65:17-25
Reading 3: 
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Reading 4: 
Luke 21:5-19
Alt Reading 1: 
Isaiah 12
By Paul S. Nancarrow

On this second-to-last Sunday of the lectionary cycle, the readings swing into full apocalyptic mode for the end of the Church Year. In this passage from Isaiah, we get the “positive” side of the apocalypse: the promise of a new heaven and a new earth, in which God’s holy mountain will be a peaceable kingdom and the city of Jerusalem will be re-created as a joy and its people as a delight.

Proper 28

November 18, 2007
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 65:17-25
Reading 4: 
Luke 21:5-19
By Russell Pregeant

Luke 21:5-19 and Isaiah 65:17-25 complement each other in important ways, and both cry out for creative transformation in light of our contemporary experience. The apocalyptic framework of the Lucan passage can easily be enlisted in the cause of an other-worldly theology that inures us to the sufferings of life in this world, and the hyperbolic promises of the passage from Isaiah can not only feed unrealistic expectations for this life (a world without sorrow, v.

Proper 27

November 11, 2001
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Job 19:23-27a
Reading 2: 
Psalm 17:1-9
By John B. Cobb, Jr.

This Psalm expresses sentiments that are much closer to the American people these days. Placed on the lips of David, it asks God to recognize his virtue and give him the protection he deserves. It partakes of the self-righteousness against which I wrote in the commentary for last week.

Proper 27

November 7, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Haggai 1:15b-2:9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21
Reading 3: 
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
Reading 4: 
Luke 20:27-38
By Paul S. Nancarrow

Haggai 1:15b-2:9

Proper 27

November 11, 2007
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Haggai 1:15b-2:9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21
Reading 3: 
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
Reading 4: 
Luke 20:27-38
By Russell Pregeant

Although process theologians disagree on the issue of subjective immortality (the survival of the individual person after death as an experiencing subject), they are firmly united in the affirmation of objective immortality (the retention of all experience in the everlasting life of God). And the function of such an affirmation is to insure the meaningfulness of life.

Proper 26

November 4, 2001
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 1:10-18
Reading 2: 
Psalm 32:1-7
By John B. Cobb, Jr.

I studied the lectionary options with the question in mind of their appropriateness to the present mood of our nation. I have chosen the alternative selection from the first Testament for interpretation and discussion.

Proper 26

October 31, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 1:10-18
Reading 2: 
Psalm 119:137-144 or Psalm 32:1-7
Reading 3: 
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
Reading 4: 
Luke 19:1-10
By Rick Marshall

The Isaiah text is a sobering indictment of the emptiness of religious activities if justice is not observed. The call to right behavior comes in verses 16 and 17. “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” And what is right behavior, right religion, if not taking care of the orphan, the widow, the oppressed?

Proper 25

October 28, 2001
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Joel 2:23-32
Reading 2: 
Psalm 65
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Reading 4: 
Luke 18:9-14
By Marjorie Suchocki

The Joel text is eschatological. The context is a devastating plague of locusts that has ruined the harvest. The people cry to God, and in answer receive word of the Day of the Lord, a day of judgment more scathing than that of the lost harvest. God will judge the nations in the midst of awesome phenomena; it is a day of dread. But in the midst of the prophecy of dread there comes a turning point. The dreaded judgment becomes, suddenly, not judgment at all, but a call to repentance with the promise of grace and mercy.

Proper 25

October 24, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Joel 2:23-32
Reading 2: 
Psalm 65 or Psalm 84:1-7
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Reading 4: 
Luke 18:9-14
Alt Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22
By Rick Marshall

The Jeremiah and Joel texts are the peoples’ confessions of sin and requests for deliverance, even arguing their case with God. The texts involve lament and grief over their behavior with respect to God, their ruptured relationship. The poetic piling up of words of sadness and despair can become overwhelming, cascading images of failure, a steady beat of hopelessness.

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