Our Father Abraham

Went to a talk by David Bivin, of Israel, this morning. Rekindled some things related to the Hebraic roots of our Christian faith.

See the VanderLaan link to the right. And here's a good book by him.

Marvin Wilson's Our Father Abraham book is another great resource.

The gist: to understand Jesus, the Gospels, the Old Testament, and much of the NT letters, we have to know the Jewish context in which they were written. If God revealed His Word to eskimos, we would have to learn some things about seals, penguins, whale oil and blubber. Since He revealed Himself to Jews, we need to learn the history and culture of this people in order to plumb the depths of Scripture.

I think this approach can be overdone and stretched too far, but it IS part of standard exegesis to look at the text in its historical context.

Related texts:
Galatians 3:29 - And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Romans 1:16-17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Romans 3:1-2 - What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.

To whet your appetite further:

1. When Jesus cleanses the temple, make sure to read Isaiah 56:1-8 with it, and Jeremiah 7:1-11.

2. When you read Ezekiel 34:1-16, don't forget about Luke 15:1-7 and 19:10, and the times that Jesus feeds thousands on the hillsides of Galilee, having them sit down first (Mark 6:39 and Ezekiel 34:14-15).

3. I just read Isaiah 29:11 for devotions a few days ago, and remembered Revelation 5:1-4...

4. Several parables Jesus told were part of the story culture of Torah teachers before Jesus came to us. The standard formula was an ethical issue with a priest and a Levite getting it wrong, and a Pharisee getting it right. Jesus would substitute a Samaritan (Pharisees' worst enemies) instead of a Pharisee. This would be like us telling a moralistic story about a doctor, lawyer and minister, but then substituting prostitute for minister -- and she is the hero of the story! (See Joshua 2:1 and Matthew 1:5) Jesus did this to jolt them out of their self-righteousness and make them realize that even their worst enemies weren't beyond the grace of God.

5. This is just the tip of the iceberg. And we think we know our Bibles...


  1. I love Marvin Wilson's "Our Father Abraham". It was the first book that revealed the Jewish roots of the Christian faith to me. Bivin is going to be speaking at the Holland Baker this Saturday at 11am about his new book. I'm going to make every effort to make it. I agree that there can be excesses in seeing the "Jewishness" of the gospel. I saw it in my own interactions with the messianic movement. But, overall, I have been deeply blessed by the messianic movement.

  2. Steve, I really liked "Our Father Abraham" too. I had the same experience you did with thinking I used to know my Bible. I read it after returning from Israel with Ray Vander Laan - what an experience. It was after that, that I decided I need to really study a lot more when it comes to the OT. He put all us sem. students to absolute shame.

    On another note, I have just gotten ahold of a new book that I think you will like. It is by Robert Gagnon

    The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics by Robert A. J. Gagnon (Paperback - September 2002)
    Books: See all 8 items (Rate this item)
    Buy new: $24.57 Used & new from $25.74 Usually ships in 24 hours

    Here's what I got off of amazon. While visiting the my brother in law - Brian Keepers - I noticed he was reading it and he related that it had really helped him solidify some of his conservative feelings on the matter in some excellent exegetical work. So, being the kind of guy who is always looking for an opportunity to hold stable footing in the Word, I have picked it up and am planning on beginning it over the holidays. If you have time, I'd love to hear what you think about it.

    Jim Daniels