5 Reasons Why It Matters How Christians Talk About Jews

Jews and ChristiansThe Bible (both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament) is primarily about Jews.[1] You may think “duh,” but to some, this is a genuine revelation, especially when it comes to the New Testament. All the major players in the Bible are Jews (except a few foreign kings). Jesus was a Jew too. So it comes as no surprise that Christians spend a lot of time talking about Jews and their religion, Judaism. But what does surprise many Christians is when I tell them that it matters how we talk about Jews. Why does it matter? Here’s five good reasons:
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Reclaiming the Reputation of the Pharisees

Two rabbisThis post is written in response to “Freeing the Church from Pharisee Influence“, but also to Christians in general. As a scholar on first-century Judaism and the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), I get pretty tired of people beating up on the Pharisees. I’m also a Christian and I want people to read the New Testament appropriately. And so, I decided to write this article.

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The Call of the Prophets

If you were writing a letter to a friend, trying to convince him or her that some very supernatural events were real, what would you do?  I think that a probable course of action is to link it to something in reality to make it more believable and understandable.  You might also link it to the religion of your friend so that it fits into their worldview.  When Luke tells about Paul’s (the text still refers to him as Saul at that point) vision of Jesus (Acts 9) this is precisely what he does.

The Apostle Paul seemed to constantly be fighting an uphill battle in regard to his apostolic authority.  He writes in multiple letters about this topic because some doubted his authority, teaching, and even his motives.  One way for him to link his authority to Jesus, to the prophets, and to God was the retelling of his commission.  How did Paul use this true story to speak to the faithful?  Let’s dig in.

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Does God Care About Me?

I found this quote in the Mishnah last year while I was doing my class The Jewish Context of the Bible while preparing for my lesson on Akiva. After my class that week I wrote a post about two of his sayings, and then filed this third one away for another day.  After my recent post, In the Image of God, it reminded me of Akiva’s saying here so I decided at last to write it out.

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Jesus and his Jewish Parables

I have started a new series at Prestoncrest titled “Jesus and his Jewish Parables”.  Podcasts of the lessons are on my Audio Lessons page.  As of the date of this post there are 2 lessons up already: “The Pharisee and the Tax Collector” and “The Good Samaritan”.

If anyone has any questions over what I’ve taught, feel free to use this post as a place to ask.

Peace to you,

James