Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bible Culture and Customs Part 3

Chaff. On the day of Judgment the wicked will disappear like the “chaff that the wind blows away(Ps. 1:4). The “chaff” is the broken up stalks of wheat that are left over after the wheat has been separated from the stalk. It is quite similar to the small grass clippings that are left on our lawns after we mow our grass.

Concubines. The Old Testament mentions men like Solomon who had both wives and “concubines.” A study of the culture reveals that a “concubine” was a wife, but one of lesser status, such as if a noble married a slave or someone of lesser social status, especially to solidify relationships between families.

Titles. We are quite familiar with the Roman “centurion(Acts 10:1), a commander over 100 men, but the Bible mentions many other Roman officials, such as “proconsul (Acts 18:12), “tetrarch(Luke 3:1), and if we know the differences, we will understand more about the influence they held.

Religious groups. The Bible mentions some of the religious sects that vied for power in Israel, including the Pharisee and Sadducees, and knowing what the different groups believed helps us understand the Bible. For example, the Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection, so it makes sense that they were the ones who questioned Jesus about it (Matt. 22:23).

Athletics. 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 give us some insight into the athletic games that were so popular in the Greek and Roman culture, complete with running, boxing, and a crown made of leaves that will not last. Many other verses contain athletic allusions.

Girding the loins. 1 Peter 1:13 ( KJV) says to “gird the loins” of your mind. The long robes of the men would get in the way if they needed to run somewhere (women understand this very well), so they would pull their robe up and tie it (“gird it”) at the waist with their sash or belt. Thus to gird the loins of your mind is to remove any obstacle that gets in the way of acting quickly and aggressively.

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