Agent of the Lord, Warrior for the People
The prophet’s paradox By Yochanan Muffs

We usually think of the prophets as lacking an independent will. The prophet is the agent of the Lord. At times he is sent against his will by the power of the divine hand that grabs him. There is, of course, some truth in this. For example, in Ezekiel: “The spirit lifted me up […]

“How Can This Be?”
Picturing the word made flesh By David R. Cartlidge

28 Imagine you are a medieval artist assigned to paint the Annunciation—the very moment when Mary first hears the news that she has been singled out by God to bear “the Son of the Most High,…the king over the House of Jacob for ever” (Luke 1:32–33). You must show Mary’s reaction as she humbly […]

Lions, Lilies and Mousetraps
Hidden symbolism of an annunciation By A. Dean McKenzie

40 Since the beginning of Christianity, symbols and metaphors have been broadly used and understood by believers. Throughout the Middle Ages, everyday objects were interpreted in religious terms. A cluster of grapes could stand for the Eucharistic wine and the blood of Jesus; the cross or almost anything cruciform could symbolize the Crucifixion of […]

Bah, Humbug!
A scholar rips Handel’s Messiah By William H.C. Propp

Every December, concert halls and churches throughout the English-speaking world resound with the strains of George Frederic Handel‘s mighty Messiah. For centuries, music lovers have gone home humming the arias and choruses that Handel‘s librettist, Charles Jennens, lifted from the 1611 King James translation of the Bible. For this, we may all shout “Hallelujah!”1 […]

How December 25 Became Christmas

On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Joyful carols, special liturgies, brightly wrapped gifts, festive foods—these all characterize the feast today, at least in the northern hemisphere. But just how did the Christmas festival originate? How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday? The Bible […]


Rhetorically Writing
The New Testament authors used every tool of the trade to influence their listening audiences. By Ben Witherington III
Alphabet and Internet
What do both tell you about the Bible? By Mary Joan Winn Leith
Jesus and the beloved disciple