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Click here to read 2 Corinthians 1 on BibleGateway.com

“…there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can’t understand. – Corinthians 1:13

Computer programmers are notorious for their love of acronyms. Every time some new idea shows up, we* have to put it in acrynomical terms (no, I don’t care if it’s not a word). Is this because they are too lazy to say the whole phrase? Nay, nay I say. It’s to make the work seem more mysterious and exotic. “I’m an SEO strategist and engineer” sounds way cooler than “I try to get my links to the top of Google.” Gotta make that resume sparkle.

To be fair, programmers are a hilarious lot, at least in their own minds. So, instead of reminding the team to “Create, read, update, and delete,” they’ll say “Don’t forget the CRUD today,” and then laugh and snort, because all programmers are required to be nerds from 80s movies. I don’t make the rules.

As acronyms become more ubiquitous (yes, that one actually is a word), and it becomes harder and harder to keep track of them all, programmers start to find the humor in the acronym itself. My personal favorite example of this is the “recursive acronym.” For example, PHP stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor,” and GNU is “GNU’s Not Unix.” The acronym doesn’t stand for anything, except for the acronym itself. The ”secret” meaning is right there on the surface. Stop looking deeper.


This is why I get amused every time someone comes up with a “secret” new message in the Bible. “Do you know what Ezra REALLY means? Do you see the pattern in every 37th letter?” My friends, it is true there are some deeper truths in Scripture that take some time to pull out, but try to keep in mind the things we already know:

Love God.
Love Neighbor (and Enemy)
Give to the poor
Follow Jesus’ commands

The hidden message of the Bible is this: God loves you and He wants to spend eternity with you. Yes, it’s true He may use different ways of communicating it. If I love someone, I might send them love notes with metaphors, I might buy them presents that refence something personal between us, I might write poems or tell stories or even tell others how much I love them.

But changing the method doesn’t change the message: I love you.


We don’t have to look for the hidden meaning all the time. Sometimes, it’s staring us right in our bespectacled faces, straightening our pocket protectors, and reminding us that even our little cubicle empires, God loves us.

It’s the GLU that binds us to Him.
(I just can’t help myself.)


*Yes, “we.” I am one of the chosen.

David’s Descendant 

2Ki 11:1 However, Jehosheba, the wife of the high priest Jehoiada, hid Ahaziah’s infant son (Joash) and preserved David’s family line. From this family line came the Messiah (the “Anointed One,” Savior, Christ) (vv. 2-3; 2Sa 7:11, 16; 1Ki 8:25; cf. Mt 1:8-9). 

Did Jesus come from the line of Joash? 

The answer to this question is somewhat complicated.  We have two distinct genealogies given for Jesus in the New Testament, neither of which include Joash.  However, some perspective on Biblical genealogies can clarify what the author meant by this note.   

Matthew’s genealogy apparently traces the royal line from David, through Solomon through the kings of Judah.  Luke, on the other hand, traces the genealogy of Jesus through David’s son Nathan.  There are several proposed solutions to this problem: 

  1. Matthew traces the line through Joseph, and Luke traces the line through Mary. 
  1. Matthew traces the inheritance line (legal line), and Luke traces the bloodline 
  1. Matthew was interested in showing Jesus’ right to rule as a descendant of kings, and Luke was showing Jesus’ humanity through Mary 
  1. Possibly, Matthew was showing the “kingly” line, and Luke was showing the prophectic/priestly line ( I don’t think this one is quite as valid as the others, but it is an option) 

The evidence for these positions is as follows: 

Matthew was likely writing to a Jewish audience (such as using “kingdom of heaven” instead of “kingdom of God”), and leaves several Jewish customs unexplained.  Matthew is sometimes called the “royal” gospel, because he refers so often to kingship.  Additionally, he frequently refers to Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.  He traces Jesus’ line back to Abraham, to show that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promised Jewish Messiah. 

There is evidence that Luke received much information about Jesus directly from Mary, and was very interested in expressing the human aspects of Jesus’ life. For instance, he describes more miracles of healing, and especially focuses on Jesus’ ministry to women.  This is  consistent with the theory above.  Additionally, it is likely that Luke wrote after Matthew and was adding information to what Matthew had already written, emphasizing the Gentile aspects. He traces Jesus’ line back to Adam, showing that Jesus came for all people and from all people. 

In either case, in light of the chart below, it appears that Matthew more or less followed the genealogy of the kings in the Old Testament.  However, if that is the case, why did he leave out Joash (and others)? 

  1. Genealogies in the Bible rarely included all the names. (the word for “son” can really mean ‘descendant”) This is called “telescoping” by Biblical scholars, and is quite common in the Bible.  For instance, we can compare the genealogies of: 

Ezra 7:1-5 compared to 1 Chronicles 6:3-15 
The genealogy of 1 Chronicles 6:3-15 lists the descendents of Aaron down to Jehozadak (Jozadak). Ezra 7 lists Ezra’s own genealogy going back to Aaron. Where the two genealogies overlap, 1 Chronicles contains 22 names and Ezra contains 16 names, making Ezra’s genealogy no more than 70% complete. Both genealogies span a time period of about 860 years from the exodus to the fall of Jerusalem, which suggests that both genealogies are in fact highly telescoped. A thorough search of the Old Testament reveals that there were many high priests during this time period who are not included in either of these two genealogies, which provides additional evidence that these genealogies are not complete. The following high priests are known from the OT but are not included in these genealogies: Jehoiada (2 Kings 12:2), Uriah (2 Kings 16:10-16), possibly two Azariahs (2 Chronicles 26:17, 20; 31:10-31), Eli (1 Samuel 1:9; 14:3) and Abiathar (2 Samuel 8:17)  

Matthew 1:8 compared to 2 Chronicles 21:4-26:23 
Matthew 1:8 has Jehoram listed as the father of Uzziah but there were several generations between these men. The names Ahaziah (2 Chronicles 22:1), Joash (2 Chronicles 22:11), and Amaziah (2 Chronicles 24:27) come between Jehoram and Uzziah. 

Matthew 1:11 compared to 2 Chronicles 36:1-9 
In Matthew 1:11 we read that Josiah is the father of Jeconiah (Jehoiachin). In 2 Chronicles, we see that Josiah is the father of Jehoiakim (2 Chronicles 36:4) and grandfather of Jehoiachin (2 Chronicles 36:8). 

  1. Genealogies sometimes trace the line of inheritance rather than the bloodline.  For instance, Matthew calls Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel.  However, in I Chronicles 3, Zerubbabel is the son of Pedaiah.  The likely explanation is that Zerubbabel was the natural son of Pedaiah, but Pedaiah died young, and Zerubbabel was adopted by his uncle Shealtiel, or in some other way became his heir.  This again suggests that Matthew was more concerned with inheritance (especially royal authority) than with direct bloodline. 
  1. Genealogies were sometimes altered to make them easier to remember, or to achieve a desired numerical value.  For instance, Matthew has 3 groups of 14, and he accomplishes this symetry by counting David twice, and eliminating some names.  Luke has 3 groups of 21 names.  Scholars theorize that these balanced lists aided memory in a predominantly oral society. 

If Matthew used some of these techniques for his genealogy, as is likely, then what the author means by  “From this family line came the Messiah” is that Jesus was a descendant of the royal line, and had the right to rule.  In this way, he is correct in saying that Jesus is in the line of Joash.  However, the actual bloodline (which Luke traces) was not in immediate danger of annihilation, as shown by the descendants of Nathan.  This note might be better written as: ..”preserved David’s Messianic line.” 

After Love

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Click here to read I Corithians 14 on BibleGateway.com

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy – I Corinthians 14:1

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First comes love,
then comes marriage
Then comes what’s-his-name with a baby carriage.

Is there any higher form of ironic mockery in the first grade repertoire? Many times was my face flushed with the fiery crimson of embarrassment at the jeering. And only half of it was because I was secretly hoping there might be some actual smoochaliciousness happening. Alas, much to the disappointment of my elementary self, there was very little lip action until much later in life.

Funnily enough, I never really thought about what came next. I think I pretty much stopped after the thought of locking lips, and never thought about what one did with love afterwards (no, not that. That’s for the grown up post). What I mean is, what happens after love?


I Corinthians 13 is quoted almost universally in wedding services (love is patient, love is kind, and so forth), but we all know that the original book of First Corinthians didn’t have chapters, so really chapter 13 just flows right into chapter 14. So if we look at chapter 14, the first thing is “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”

True love doesn’t stop with love. It is not an end to itself. Does love just stop with acceptance no matter what? Does love just let us do whatever we want, to ourselves and to our beloved? Of course not. No one would suggest that. Love leads into something else. It leads into spiritual intimacy, it leads into gifts of the spirit, it leads into prophecy.

Fair enough, what is prophecy then? We tend to have this vague idea that prophecy is about telling the future, but that’s only a small part of it. Looking at First Corinthians 14 again, we see that prophecy is for building up others, specifically as “the secrets of their heart is laid bare.” I’m not going to get into all of the gifts of the Spirit here, but let’s paraphrase by saying that a believer filled with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word have a sense of reality and wisdom, and it helps us builds up others at their very heart, the very center of who they are.


So if that is the case, and God is love, what comes next? Because God is love, and God loves us, prophecy must follow. The point of prophecy is edify us and to make us more Christlike – hence the point of love is to draw us closer to Christ, otherwise it is just self-serving or uncaring. Thus because of God’s love, He doesn’t just stop with us how we are, but works with us and in us to make us who we were created to be (this is also how love in marriage is supposed to work, but we are less awesome at it because of our own selfish sin, which God doesn’t have to deal with. Which is why the the best way to love your spouse is learn more about God’s love.)

People ask “why doesn’t God just accept how I am?” The answer, as it always is, is because He loves you. Loves you so much, that He won’t just stop at a shallow acceptance, but will draw you closer to who you are meant to be, and ever deeper into Love. True love will challenge you, it will build you up, and bring out the best in you, even the best you don’t see in yourself.

Anything less is not Love.

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