Bible and Bible Study: March 2006 Archives

Bible for PDA


Bible for Palm OS, Pocket PC, Smartphone, Blackberry and Symbian from Olive Tree Bible Software

Olive Tree software has a nice selection of Bibles and Bible study software for PDAs. I opted originally for Laridian's My Bible which may have been a miscalculation. (At the time, I thought the overall software a better buy and appearance). However, Olive Tree has outstripped Laridian in both the functionality of the Software and in the Bibles offered. For example, you can download for free the Douay-Rheims-Challoner with Deuterocanonicals, the Latin Vulgate, a parsed and unparsed Byzantine Greek New Testament, etc. In addition, you can get a number of other Bibles--ESV, RSV, KJV, and even, if you're a glutton for punishment, NAB.

Laridian has many of these and a few Bible Study aids not available from Olive tree, so I'll end up keeping them both, but I suspect the bulk of my reading in the future will be in the Olive Tree.

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Elijah and Mary

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In the Carmelite tradition, Elijah and Mary are brought together most closely in the image of the cloud that forms over the sea.

1 Kings 18:42:45

[42] So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Eli'jah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees.
[43] And he said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." And he went up and looked, and said, "There is nothing." And he said, "Go again seven times."
[44] And at the seventh time he said, "Behold, a little cloud like a man's hand is rising out of the sea." And he said, "Go up, say to Ahab, `Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.'"
[45] And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel.

Verse 44 is the relevant verse, and how one gets the image of Mary from that, I do not know, except that when one understands it in the way of the Medieval Carmelites, it is a most beautiful metaphor.

Mary is the cloud that rises out of the sea. The sea is saltwater, undrinkable, a vast body of water, next to which the kingdom can still thirst and die. The sea is salty, impure, an image of fallen humanity with its admixture of sin. Mary rises out of this sea, pure and perfect, laden with the water of grace that will pour out through her to all humanity--not the source of Grace herself, nevertheless the container into which all is poured until it overflows out to all people, limitless, and life-giving. Not God, but human, Mary rises from the sea, pure and Immaculate in her conception, formed as a vessel of God's grace and a place of refuge for His people.

Mary may not have made her appearance in the Old Testament, but through years of meditating and contemplating the story of Elijah, the Carmelite monks and friars came to understand this passage in a Marian sense. In so doing, they enriched the understanding of Scripture and provided another key to its depths.

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The Justice of God


From the same passage as the entry below.

Exodus 23:2-3, 6

[2] You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; nor shall you bear witness in a suit, turning aside after a multitude, so as to pervert justice;
[3] nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his suit.


"You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his suit.

God desires justice. Even-handed, God-like justice. The poor person bringing a suit is neither to be favored, nor to be thrown out of Court. His suit is to be tried with even-handedness, with fairness, with gentleness and wisdom. The law is to be decided with mercy and justice, but it is not to be changed either to favor or destroy the poor. The preferential option for the poor does not extend to warping justice to give the poor an advantage.

How good it is to know that before God, I am the poor petitioner. I go before seeking justice in my suit, and by the law, I am neither to be preferred nor to be rejected in my suit. How fortunate for me that my advocate, my lawyer, my representative and mediator before God is Jesus Christ--friend, advocate, and Savior. And how good it is that His suffering and death brought about the reconciliation of Mercy and Justice and opened the gates of heaven.

I wish I understood better the deep mysteries of what this means for us. But it suffices to say that poor as I am, when I am brought before the court, God will see not me, but His own son Jesus, whose agonies and death transformed me into a Son of God. He will see not me in my bedraggled state, but me, under the blood of Jesus Christ, transfigured, my garments whiter that any fuller's art could make them.

Oh what a God we have, and what a friend we have in Jesus, His Son.

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Exodus 22:21, 23:9


"You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

"You shall not oppress a stranger; you know the heart of a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

In this short passage, God begins to Instruct Israel in the law they will observe. Twice in the short span God emphasizes that the stranger among the people shall not be oppressed. There are two points that this passage suggests.

God is already preparing the people to know that there will be no strangers among them, that He is the God of all people and all people are His. His salvation is first for the Jews, and then for all the world. The joy He is preparing, He prepares through the House of David of the people of Israel. This shining Joy will be the source of hope throughout time. But for now, God says simply, "You know what it is to be a stranger."

This passage stands in stark contrast to passages throughout the early history of God's people that suggest hat God commands Israel to go among strangers and slaughter them down to the last of the sheep and oxen. Surely these two statements are not uttered by the same God. How can one and the same Lord say two such utterly different things to the people of Israel--how can His commands be so at variance?

They are not, or need not be. If one takes the passages that demand the blood of children and women to mean that God demands that all memory of their customs of foreign worship be destroyed among the people that they visit, perhaps this is what is required.

This is how the passage works for the follower of Christ today. When we go among a foreign people, we are not to adopt the local worship customs, but rather to bring those customs into concord with our own Christian worship. Throughout time, the Church has done this most effectively. The Church has taken to its bosom local practices and adapted them, showing the people of an area how what they always knew was a shadow of the true God. They were not left in complete darkness, but rather had a sense of God even from the practices they knew. These practices were incomplete, and showed a misunderstanding of the fullness of God but God left no person without recourse to Him. The sacrifice of His Son in time resonates out of time to give rise to "memories" and shadows of it even in times long before Jesus Himself. Similarities of the story of Jesus to tales told of other deities are signs of Jesus throughout time. The people who told these tales understood something about God, but theirs was a dark and incomplete understanding, shadows of the cross without knowledge of it.

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The Command of the Lord

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Psalm 19:7-8

The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
they gladden the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.

What then is this command of the Lord?

Deut 6:4-5

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

And what is the natural result of this?

Matthew 22:37

37] And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
[38] This is the great and first commandment.
[39] And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
[40] On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."

The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.

or in the RSV

The commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Bible and Bible Study category from March 2006.

Bible and Bible Study: February 2006 is the previous archive.

Bible and Bible Study: April 2006 is the next archive.

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