Genres within the prophets

A ‘genre’ is a type or style of writing. Contemporary examples would include novels, scientific text books, fairy tales, insurance documents, poems, tweets, and so on. The are several main genres with the Bible, including historical narrative, poetry, letters, law/instruction, and prophecy. We’re interested in the prophets here, but there isn’t one single type of prophetic…

Bible and Culture students from several nations meeting with a civil servant in the Bundestag

Despite present appearances, God is in control

I spent last week on the edge of Berlin teaching on the Bible and Culture course, as I’ve done for the last eight years. It’s a four-week programme for IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) staff and graduates from Europe and Eurasia. This year, we had 35 participants from the UK across to Kazakhstan. I…

Belshazzar's Feast – Rembrandt. Purchased by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam with support of private benefactors, the Vereniging Rembrandt, the State of the Netherlands and the Stichting tot Bevordering van de Belangen van het Rijksmuseum

Introducing the Old Testament prophets

At Above Bar Church, Southampton, we’ve just started our five-week-long 2012 Bible School on Sunday evenings. I’m leading the track on the Old Testament prophets. In the first session, I introduced some important aspects of a framework for thinking about the prophetic literature, and we began to look at the first two chapters of Amos. Over…

Jeremiah’s Call and Message (Jeremiah 1:1 – 3:5)

I first wrote this post for the E100 Bible Reading Challenge. It was first published on the E100 blog in 2011. My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. – Jeremiah 2:13 God called Jeremiah to be…

Six key questions about texts in the prophets

We need to ask a few key questions about every passage we come to in the prophetic books. What is the historical context?What is the biblical context?How is the prophet’s message presented? (see Genres within the Prophets, Hebrew Poetry and Figures of Speech)What main problems does the prophet diagnose?What are the remedies?What is the underlying message about…

Image by .brioso. CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

Seven stories we keep telling

Over the course of around twenty years of analysing films, books and other media, I have often been struck at the ways in which storytellers keep telling the same kinds of tales over and over again. That’s not to say that the narratives they construct are inevitably wearied or hackneyed; far from it. There is extraordinary diversity in the way that the themes have been explored. Yet, it remains the case that, under the surface, most if not all stories are versions of a limited number of key themes.

A Fresh Start – Noah

Darren Aronofsky is a visionary and ambitious film-maker who constantly grapples with big themes in his work. Noah continues in this line as it explores significant – and very relevant – tensions within humanity: between benevolent care for the environment and greedy exploitation, between duty and self-interest, and of course, between good and evil. Aronofsky, along with co-writer Ari Handel, explores these issues and others in spectacular, epic style in the context of one of humanity’s oldest stories.
This post was first published in Film & Bible Blog. © Tony Watkins 2013.

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The Day of Judgement (Malachi 1:1 – 4:6)

I first wrote this post for the E100 Bible Reading Challenge. It was first published on the E100 blog in 2011. ‘See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,’ says the LORD Almighty. -…

The Story of Jonah (Jonah 1:1 – 4:11)

I first wrote this post for the E100 Bible Reading Challenge. It was first published on the E100 blog in 2011. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. – Jonah 2:8 God told Jonah to take a message far beyond the borders of Israel, to Nineveh, one of the greatest cities of…

The Suffering Servant (Isaiah 51:1 – 53:12)

I first wrote this post for the E100 Bible Reading Challenge. It was first published on the E100 blog in 2011. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:6 By the eighth century BC, Judah…