Monday, February 26, 2007

The Sabbath

I was about to start blogging Leviticus 23, and I started writing about the Sabbath. And then it quickly became apparent that it was going to turn into a post on its own, so I made it into one. (Which you are reading right now.) The question I’m investigating here is: Does the Sabbath apply to the Christian? If so, is it different than how the Sabbath applied to the Old Testament Israelite?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Leviticus 22

Leviticus 22: More rules for priestly holiness, and sacrifices

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bible Commentary Wiki?

Anyone who follows my main blog will know that I’m somewhat fascinated with wikis. If you’re not familiar with the term “wiki,” here’s a brief definition:

A wiki is a website that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove, and otherwise edit and change available content, typically without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for mass collaborative authoring.

That definition, appropriately enough, came from Wikipedia, which is an online, collaborative encyclopedia. Wikipedia is the most well-known example of a wiki; if you happen to know something about butterflies, and go on over to the Wikipedia entry on butterflies, you can share your knowledge with others. Or perhaps help correct or clarify a point that the article is already making.

I myself have also started a wiki, about the Ubuntu operating system, which is aimed at helping new Ubuntu users—especially users who “grew up” with Windows—get used to a new way of working. This isn’t a normal wiki, in the sense that it’s not open for public editing—I want to maintain control, at least for the present, to make sure that it’s newbie-friendly—but the downside to that is that it’s still a very bare-bones wiki, because I’m not editing it 24/7.

In brief:
  • The upside to a publicly editable wiki is that you can use collaboration to get a wealth of in-depth information available, much quicker than you could if you were to try and do it on your own. (According to the main page for Wikipedia, since the site’s launch in 2001, there have been over 1,635,000 articles on the English version; there’s no way they would have accumulated that many articles if Wikipedia was maintained by a core set of people.)
  • The downside is that you have to give up a fair amount of control over the content of the site. You have to have a certain amount of faith that the people writing these articles know what they’re talking about—and that the articles are worth having in the first place. (How many of those 1.6 million+ articles are written about some guy’s dog?)
If you didn’t click the link earlier, but are interested in the topic, see the “Wikis” post on my main blog, for a more in-depth discussion of this topic.

The reason this comes up is that I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a Bible Commentary wiki. There are a number of good Bible commentaries out there—and probably a larger number of crappy ones—but it would be nice if a definitive, online commentary could be created. As it grew, with time, it would become an invaluable resource for future Christians. (Not sure if the “Tent of Meeting” refers to the inner structure of the Tabernacle, or the whole thing? Well, head on over to the Bible Commentary wiki, and see what they say about it…)

Just as with any other wiki, there would be pluses and minuses:
  • With enough contributors, the site could potentially accumulate a lot of in-depth knowledge.
    • Similarly, if there are contentious topics, you could get all of the different viewpoints in one wiki article, rather than having to read numerous commentaries, for all of their points of view. Pastors always have a million Bible commentaries lying around in their offices; if a pastor were editing the wiki on a particular topic, he could include the wisdom from various commentaries in the wiki article.
  • On the other hand, just as with any other wiki, the more contributors there would be, the more potential for articles being written which wouldn’t be accurate. Or which would not hold to the Gospel, or which would deny the Trinity, or contain heresy, or… well, think of the million things that Christians disagree about, and you’ll get the idea. A Christian Bible wiki would be concerned with more than just “accuracy;” it would also be concerned with Truth. You think some of the topics on Wikipedia are contentious? Whoo boy, if there were a Bible Commentary wiki, every article would become contentious!
So, I’m still thinking about it, and not sure where the thinking will take me. Maybe I’ll start one, and maybe I’ll think better of it. If I do start one, there’s a good chance that I wouldn’t make it a fully public wiki; maybe just have a core set of contributors, who have proven themselves to know the Scriptures, who can be trusted to give good analysis of what they’re reading.

My feeling is that if you are going to start a wiki, you shouldn’t aim for a lot of content in a short amount of time. Instead, you should concentrate on quality content, and let the site build gradually. For this particular case, if the Lord comes back tomorrow, then it doesn’t matter anyway, but if he tarries for another thousand years, then you’ve got a thousand years to write content that will help others to grow in their knowledge of the Scriptures.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Leviticus 18

Leviticus 18: Unlawful Sexual Relations

Monday, February 12, 2007

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Tent of Meeting

After my last post, I got to thinking about the diagram I had put up, of the Tabernacle. My problem is the “Tent of Meeting;” I’ve done the diagram as if the entire structure, including the Outer Court, and the Holy Place and Most Holy Place, are all part of something called the “Tabernacle,” whereas the little structure inside, holding the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, is called the “Tent of Meeting.”

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Verse of the Day

I’ve added a “Verse of the Day” item to the sidebar, from Bible Gateway. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of control over it—it’s got a fixed width, and a black background.

If they ever come up with a more customizable one, that I can fit into the sidebar better, or if I find one somewhere else, I’ll replace it.

Leviticus 15

Leviticus 15: Rules for discharges causing uncleanness

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Leviticus 14

Leviticus 14: Rules for cleansing from infectious skin diseases and mildew