I have been finding it interesting to explore how the greetings and affirmations of the New Testament authors sound when phrased in a more Arabic ways. Consider these examples:
Salam to all of you who are in al-Masih (1 Peter 5:14)
Mercy and salam to you from Allah our Father and from Ar-Rabb Isa al-Masih. (Romans 1:7)
For the law was given through Musa; mercy and truth came through Isa al-Masih. (John 1:17)
Accept one another, then, just as al-Masih accepted you, in order to bring praise to Allah. (Romans 15:7)
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Ar-Rabb Isa al-Masih must not show favoritism. (James 2:1)
But we preach al-Masih crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the nations. (1 Corinthians 1:23)
But Allah demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, al-Masih died for us. (Romans 5:8)
If you are insulted because of the name of al Masih, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of Allah rests on you. (1 Peter 4:14)
Praise be to the Allah and Father of our Ar-Rabb Isa al-Masih! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Isa al-Masih from the dead (1 Peter 1:3)
But in your hearts revere al Masih as Ar-Rabb. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)
Yet for us there is but one Allah, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Ar-Rabb, Isa al-Masih, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:6)
Maybe you find this language confronting? Maybe you find it thought provoking? Maybe you struggle to connect with it? Whatever your response, please share.
Should we assume that retribution and restoration are opposed concepts?
Commonly they are defined thus: retributive justice is a system of criminal justice based on the punishment of offenders rather than on rehabilitation; restorative justice is a system of criminal justice which focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large.
Many readers of the Bible have noted that the Hebrew word for God, Elohim, is plural given the -im ending and wondered how that squares with strict monotheism. Some, usually with a Christian agenda, have anachronistically read Trinitarianism into it. Some, usually with an counter-Christian agenda, have provocatively read polytheism into it. I would like to suggest both are mistaken.
Elohim is a plural word, but it functions as a plural or a singular word depending on the context. This is not as strange as it sounds. Consider the words: sheep, fish, squid, scissors and aircraft. They're all words for which the plural and singular forms are the same.
Now let's read Genesis 1:26-28, the source of this controversy, with this in mind.
Then Elohim said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness ... So Elohim created humankind in his image, in the image of Elohim he created them; male and female he created them.
I would suggest that what we have here is a single person, God, addressing a group, the heavenly hosts or divine assembly, what these days we call angels. Then having made the announcement God goes ahead and acts - unilaterally. The others watch, just as they did when God laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4-7). Maybe that's why Daniel calls them Watchers (Daniel 4:13,17).
Valerie Horner sent me this picture which she recently painted for an illustrated book of Bible stories called Holy Fire - Holy Blood. It reminds me that I should say more often that submissions are welcome.