Doing Time in a First-Century Prison

The Mamertine Prison in Rome could have been called the “House of Darkness.” Few prisons were as dim, dank, and dirty as the lower chamber Paul occupied. Known in earlier times as the Tullianum dungeon, its “neglect, darkness, and stench” gave it “a hideous and terrifying appearance,” according to Roman historian Sallust.1Sallust, The War with […]

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The Pre-Incarnate Son

Throughout the Old Testament, we encounter a mysterious figure referred to as “the angel of the LORD” (Genesis 16:7), “the word of the LORD” (15:1 NASB; Jeremiah 1:4 NASB), or even the “presence” of the LORD (Exodus 33:14). This figure sometimes takes human form (Genesis 16:7), comes as a voice from heaven (22:11), or appears […]

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Tears

When words fail, tears flow. Tears have a language all their own, a tongue that needs no interpreter. In some mysterious way, our complex inner-communication system knows when to admit its verbal limitations . . . and the tears come.

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Saints in Circulation

During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, the British government began to run low on silver for coins. Lord Cromwell sent his men to the local cathedral to see if they could find any precious metal there. After investigating they reported: “The only silver we can find is in the statues of the saints standing in the corners.”

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Nostalgic Musings

For over an hour the other day I strolled down Nostalgia Lane with a September 4, 1939, copy of Time magazine. What a journey! Pickups sold for $465 and best-selling books cost $2. Big news in the music world was Bing Crosby, whose records sold for 35 cents a platter. What was most intriguing, however, was the international scene, as presented by the staff writers. The threat of war was a slumbering giant, and Adolf Hitler’s name appeared on almost every page of the Foreign News section.

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Does God Hate?

Hate is a powerful word. We are taught from childhood to avoid hatred at all costs and to obey the command of Christ to love everyone, including our enemies. So it’s shocking to read the words that Paul quoted from Malachi, who declared that God loved Jacob but hated Esau (Malachi 1:2–3). How can a […]

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Living Well

If there was one thing my dad taught me, it was to enjoy language – to find pleasure in the way words work together. Puns, riddles, crosswords and spelling games were the à la carte fun-fare when I was a lad. His favourite poem was “If” by Rudyard Kipling. But should someone ask him if […]

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The Sweetest Prayer

Repent! For some the word conjures up fiery preachers with piercing eyes; a bony finger pointed in the face of a “sinner in the hands of an angry God.” But repentance isn’t always like that. Sometimes it means a quiet acknowledgement that things aren’t right, and a humble resolve to change our thinking. Either way […]

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