How to download a copy of one of my articles

For those who want a full pdf of any of my articles that have appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, you can now download them at Academia’s website:  Academia is a searchable website where many scholars make their articles available.

A Christmas Play – Suing a Shepherd

Although this post is not typical for this blog, some churches may be looking for simple Christmas plays this time of year. Below is a simple one act and one scene play that I wrote, and my church performed last year. Because it is set in a courtroom, scripts can be put on the witness stand and the lawyers’ benches as a natural part of the scene.  Having scripts available reduces the number of rehearsals. We pulled this off with about three rehearsals. The scene set up is easy too since most churches already have a “courtroom” aesthetic and the pulpit can be the judge’s bench. Anyone is free to perform this play for non-profit purposes.

List of Characters: Bailiff, Judge “Judy”,  Plaintiff’s Lawyer, Plaintiff (Golda Digger), Defense Lawyer, Townspeople 1 & 2, Defendant (Mr. Shepherd), Bo Peep, Shepherd 2 (Mr. Pasteur).  (Note: there are some really small parts for more participation. One could combine townspeople 1 & 2 and give Shepherd 2’s lines to Bo Peep if necessary.)

 Stage set up: The stage area is set up like a courtroom. There should be a central, raised desk or podium for the judge and two small tables on the sides for the lawyers and their clients. Another podium should be situated to the judge’s left as a “witness stand.” angel-shepards

Performance Time: 15-20 minutes.  Only one scene and one act. Continue reading

Study 4:Creation and the Garden of Eden as a Temple

Reading the first chapters of Genesis may not cause the average Westerner to skythink of the Jerusalem temple, but Israelites of biblical times associated the temple with creation and the Garden of Eden. Evidence of this association can be found in the furnishings of the temple itself as well as the testimony of non-biblical Jewish writers (the most prominent being Philo and Josephus).

In several places, both Philo and Josephus wrote about how the temple represented the entire universe and how the temple’s fixtures and the priest’s garments symbolized different parts of creation giving God the worship due him.[1] The individual lights on the temple’s golden lampstand were thought to symbolize the planets and/or the lights that God fixed in the heavens (Genesis 1:14-16). Continue reading

The Fragmentary Dead Sea scrolls as Mad-libs

I recently rediscovered an amusing four-year-old blog post from my dissertation writing days. I was studying the Dead Sea scrolls, and apparently I was studying a bit too hard. In the pages of the ancient Dead Sea scrolls, I was thinking of Mad-libs.  Here is the post :

I am currently at page 1221 of Martinez and Tigchelaar’s The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (Martínez, Florentino García and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar. The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition. 2 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000).  Although the study edition is organized well, with the Hebrew on the left page and English on the right, the nature of the scrolls can make the reading a bit tedious. Many of the scrolls are fragmentary and have lacunae. These gaps make it difficult to discern what the author was trying to say.  I find myself trying to “fill in the blanks” when words are missing. At first, these attempts to fill in the blanks were serious endeavors.  I soon realized that I really had no idea what belonged in those gaps. dssmadlib

Filling in the missing words reminded me of “Mad-libs”.  When I was a child, my brother and I often took Mad-libs on long trips to pass the time.  Mad-libs are little booklets that contain stories with missing words (examples at   The fun happens when someone fills in the blank spaces with random words so that something zany and silly results.  Call it unscholarly, but some of the Dead Sea scrolls make great Mad-libs.  Try it out for yourself!

11Q18 (11QNew Jerusalem)

Fragment  7:  [____] on all the offspring of the children of [___] . [____] who shall eat [____} for them around [____]  hundred and fifty [____] on [____].

Fragment 11: [____] its four [____] were four cubits high [____]   [____] the … near the wall which surrounds [____] its width is two cubits and its height is two cubits [____]  and all is pure gold which [____] . [____]  of columns, turning from door to door [____] from door to door in the city-wall [____][____] with panels [____].

To browse through pictures of the Dead sea scrolls, visit:

Free e-books from

For those who are unaware, Logos Bible software is giving away a free e-book every day of the Advent season. These books can be downloaded even by people with the free version of the Logos software. The giveaways are not limited to Advent though.  Logos usually gives one free e-book away every month. Over the past few months I have downloaded commentaries, devotionals, lexicons, and some Greek primary sources . These e-books are of varying usefulness, but they are all searchable, which means you don’t have to thumb or scroll through pages to find (or not find) something relevant to your project.

I am not being paid to advertise for Logos; I simply wanted to make my readers aware of free stuff that will help them dig into God’s word. Here is the link:  Merry Christmas!

A Purpose Statement

Although the purpose of this site is stated on the “About” page. Stating the purpose as the first post is important. My last attempt at blogging fizzled out because I was writing for the wrong reasons–as a PhD student, I was “supposed” to write. With the passage of a few years I have reexamined my personal vision and feel like I am in a better place not just to write but  to make a contribution–however small it may be. This site also provides a central place of reference for students in my various courses.

So what is the purpose of this site?

Through and To is dedicated to the study and discussion of how the God of the Bible reveals himself through and to people. This focus has both historical as well as contemporary aspects. A deeper historical understanding enables the church and individuals to accurately apply God’s revealed word to contemporary situations so that God’s Word speaks afresh through and to people.

This site, therefore, seeks to deepen the church’s understanding of the Bible in its revealed contexts so that it can speak through the contemporary church to the world.  My hope is this site will make a small contribution in bridging the divide between the academy and the church. To these ends, this site will give readers insights from biblical studies as well as practical ways to use those insights in the service of the church and the world.

I will be building up other pages and writing weekly posts in the months ahead. I look forward to your comments, and I pray that you will find the content helpful.