Mark Gignilliat

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Uncaged

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Uncaged

Luke 7-8 Psalm 45 It seems as if Jesus can’t help himself. More often than not, he puts the fox among the hens. Just when we expect him to act in a certain way, he surprises us again with the unconventional and unsettling. In Chapter 14 of Luke’s gospel, for example, a large crowd follows … Read More

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: A Golden Era?

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: A Golden Era?

Joshua 16-18 Deuteronomy and Joshua are divided along canonical lines. Though the narrative of Israel’s wilderness wanderings continues into Joshua’s provenance, a significant theological and canonical caesura exists between Deuteronomy and Joshua. The former is in the Torah. While the latter is located in the section of the Hebrew Scriptures properly identified as the Nevi’im … Read More

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Thou Shalt Love…?

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Thou Shalt Love…?

Deuteronomy 10-13 “Love me.” The intonation of the libretto flattens when love is demanded. How exactly is love required? Moreover, is such a command effective? The very notion of demanded love is the material of despots and totalitarian regimes where repression, not affection, is the aim. Or put it in more pedestrian terms, a spouse … Read More

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Are We There Yet?

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Are We There Yet?

Numbers 20-22 Where exactly are we? Oh, we’re in “Testing and Grumbling”: a lovely desert town on the Sinai Peninsula. Have you heard of it? The translation of the names of the location Massah and Meribah reveals the intended semantic force. According to Exodus (17:1ff.), Moses names this location in Numbers 20 “testing” and “grumbling” … Read More

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: When I See the Blood

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: When I See the Blood

Exodus 9-12 Whose first born son is going to live: Yahweh’s or Pharaoh’s? The force behind this question drives the reader forward in anticipation. Something cataclysmic is going to happen. And the reader feels it. Several chapters back in Exodus a foreshadowing of what is to come is rehearsed. Moses, like many prophets to come … Read More

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Who is Jesus?

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Who is Jesus?

Matthew 3-4 Psalm 5 The opening scenes of Matthew’s gospel are dramatic. A certain tempo and cadence marks these chapters as the narrative moves forward at a crisp clip. Jesus is born. The sages from the East arrive. Young Jesus heads for Egypt. Herod gives his awful edict. Jesus returns to Nazareth. John the Baptist … Read More

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: The Handing Over

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: The Handing Over

Genesis 22-24 Few texts of the Old Testament capture the imagination like Genesis 22. The tensions are palpable, and any readings that diminish the holy terror of this chapter do so against the text’s own grain. So many questions are left unanswered. For example, how did Abraham know he was hearing the voice of God? … Read More

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Are you a lover or a fighter?

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Are you a lover or a fighter?

Song of Solomon 1-4 As a young teenager I could always count on Song of Songs when the preacher grew long-winded. I didn’t have a very sophisticated understanding of the imagery in the book. But it didn’t take much for my adolescent mind to appreciate in new ways the provocative images: clusters of grapes, browsing … Read More

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Job’s Friends and the Limits of Human Wisdom

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: Job’s Friends and the Limits of Human Wisdom

Job 4-5 Proverbs 10 Job’s friends were certainly at their best in chapter two. “And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great” (2:13). Here we see Job’s friends entering into the anguish and … Read More

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: The Cost of Renewal

Advent Bible in a Year Blog: The Cost of Renewal

Ezra 10 Haggai 1-2 Religious renewal is never hurdle free. More often than not, such renewal comes at great cost. My wife and I lived in Oxford, England, for one memory-filled year. I experienced my first teaching post during this year. Our first child arrived in Oxford. We had a great flat in the section … Read More