Monday, November 21, 2022

Just How Big was Goliath?


Of all the accounts recorded in the Old Testament, without a doubt one of the most beloved is David's titanic clash with the Philistine giant Goliath recorded in 1 Samuel 17.  

The text records of Goliath:

"And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.  So, just how big was Goliath?  The Chronological Study Bible explains:

"The height reported for the Philistine Goliath, 'six cubits and a span' (1 Sam. 17:4), indicates a very big man: approximately 9 feet, 9 inches tall.  If such a height seems tall now, it was much taller in ancient times.  Biblical people averaged about 5 feet in height, judging from skeletons uncovered by archaeologists.

Other Old Testament sources offer a different measurement for Goliath's height.  Some manuscripts of the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) and one of the Samuel manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls read 'four cubits and a span' in 1 Sam. 17:4.  This height-about 6 feet, 9 inches-would still make Goliath a giant for David's time.  It is difficult to know what caused the differing numbers of six cubits (9 feet) and four cubits (6 feet).

Some scholars have noticed a possible explanation in the Hebrew text.  The Hebrew words for 'six hundred' (17:7), a few lines below the 'six cubits' line, look very similar to the Hebrew words for 'six cubits.'  They suppose that the eye of an early copyist accidentally caught sight of 'six hundred,' and the similarity of those words in Hebrew caused him to write 'six' instead of 'four' with 'cubits.'  In this way, 'six cubits' may have replaced 'four cubits,' making Goliath appear to be 9 feet, 9 inches tall, when he was still a giant at 6 feet, 9 inches.

It cannot be know which of these manuscripts preserves the original number.  Nevertheless, the youth David (1 Sam. 17:33) faced an opponent who, at either height, was truly a giant among warriors of his day."1

So, whether 6 feet or 9 feet, Goliath was a big dude!

Courage and Godspeed,

1. Chronological Study Bible, How Big Is a Giant?, p. 313. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Our Daily Bread Devotional: The Socratic Club

In 1941, the Socratic Club was established at England’s Oxford University. It was formed to encourage debate between believers in Jesus and atheists or agnostics.

Religious debate at a secular university isn’t unusual, but what is surprising is who chaired the Socratic Club for fifteen years—the great Christian scholar C. S. Lewis. Willing to have his thinking tested, Lewis believed that faith in Christ could stand up to great scrutiny. He knew there was credible, rational evidence for believing in Jesus.

In a sense, Lewis was practicing Peter’s advice to believers scattered by persecution when he reminded them, “In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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). Peter makes two key points: we have good reasons for our hope in Christ and we’re to present our reasoning with “gentleness and respect.”

Trusting Christ isn’t religious escapism or wishful thinking. Our faith is grounded in the facts of history, including the resurrection of Jesus and the evidence of the creation bearing witness to its Creator. As we rest in God’s wisdom and the strength of the Spirit, may we be ready to share the reasons we have for trusting our great God.

By:  Bill Crowder

How can you be confident in sharing your faith with others? In this booklet, Mart De Haan helps prepare you to share the hope that is in you , as he presents converging lines of evidence for belief in the Christian faith. Discover how you can effectively convey the message of God’s love to nonbelievers with these excerpts from the “10 Reasons To Believe” brochure.

God Bless,

Friday, November 18, 2022

Book Preview: Counterfeit Kingdom - The Dangers of New Revelation, New Prophets, and New Age Practices in the Church by Holly Pivec and R. Douglas Geivett


About the Authors

Holly Pivec is a blogger, author, and speaker, as well as a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom. She has a master’s degree in apologetics from Biola University, where she also served as university editor for nearly a decade. She has co-authored two books about the New Apostolic Reformation: A New Apostolic Reformation? and God’s Super-Apostles. She operates a popular blog, which has followers from around the world, and she has spoken and written for several audiences and outlets.

Doug Geivett is a husband, father to two grown children, professor, author, and speaker. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from USC and teaches at Biola University and Talbot School of Theology. Doug has written or edited several books and spoken on issues related to the New Apostolic Reformation, Christian apologetics, and the Christian life to audiences all over the world.

About the Book

Is there a new reformation happening in the church? It depends on who you ask.

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a popular and fast-growing new movement of Christians who emphasize signs and wonders, and teach that God is giving new revelation through new apostles and prophets. But is this biblical Christianity?

In Counterfeit Kingdom, apologists and NAR experts Holly Pivec and Douglas Geivett show how the NAR’s key tenets distort the gospel, twist the Scriptures, are influenced by New Age practices, and lead faithful Christians to shipwreck their faith. They also offer practical suggestions for readers who are already influenced by the NAR, curious about it, or concerned about loved ones who have been swept up in the movement.

What used to be on the fringes of the church is now mainstream, and many are being influenced by it unaware. This book is a wake-up call.

Notable Recommendations

“Just as sound doctrine transforms, unsound teaching deforms. Written with victims in mind, this book is a powerful and compassionate antidote. I am grateful to the authors for enlightening me about this dangerous movement. Careful in argument, backed up by documented cases, Counterfeit Kingdom is a wake-up call to discernment.”

—Michael Horton, Professor of Theology, Westminster Seminary California

"The Bible warns that wherever the truth advances, error will soon follow; it warns that where there are teachers committed to the historic Christian faith there will be teachers committed to new and novel nonsense. Those who love the Lord and are committed to his cause are right to be concerned by the rise of the New Apostolic Reformation. In Counterfeit Kingdom Doug Geivett and Holly Pivec helpfully expose its theological errors, spiritual abuses, toxic worship, and failed predictions. They expose it for what it is and call Christians to a faith that is far better, far purer, far more fulfilling, and far more consistent with God's Word."

—Tim Challies, author

“Many churches are unaware of the questionable theology of the cult-like movement that inspires much of the worship music they sing every Sunday. I have personally witnessed the destructive impact of the teachings and practices of the NAR and have long hoped that a book would be written to inform the church of its pervasive influence. Counterfeit Kingdom is the book I’ve been waiting for. Holly Pivec and R. Douglas Geivett have combined careful scholarship, a deeply theological gospel-focus, and a charitable tone to give the church a resource that is not only thorough but easy to understand. My honest prayer is that every Pastor in America will read this book. It’s the warning the church desperately needs.”

—Alisa Childers, author of Another Gospel?: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity

Learn more about the book here.  You can get your copy here.

You can checkout our interview on the Apologetics315 Podcast with Pivec and Geivett here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Related Posts

R. Douglas Geivett on the Hiddenness of God

Apologetics315 Podcast: The Enneagram with Marcia Montenegro

Article: The New Age Worldview- Is It Believable? by Doug Groothuis

Monday, November 07, 2022

What is Love? Considering Jesus' View of Love


Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a thoughtful sermon on the importance of love in the Christian life.  And this is undeniable.  Consider the words of Jesus when asked, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"1 Jesus replied, "Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind...Love your neighbor as yourself."2 Elsewhere, He said, "By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."3 Surely, love is paramount in the life of the Christ follower. 

However, it is also worth noting that the Christian concept of love is quite different from the culture definition that many hold today.  As Sean McDowell explains in his recent book A Rebel's Manifesto:

"One reason it is so challenging to love our neighbors today is that our culture operates under a different definition of love than held by Jesus.  Today, love means affirming someone's behavior and beliefs.  It means accepting someone for who they believe themselves to be.  And it means agreeing with however someone feels about themselves.  If not, you're hateful."4

One can obviously see this type of love played out in our culture daily.

But what was Jesus' view of love?  McDowell continues:

"...Jesus held a different view of love.  The apostle John said, 'By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers' (1 John 3:16).  According to the example of Jesus, love involves a willingness to sacrifice for the good of another.  It is commitment to the well-being of another person, even if he or she does not recognize or accept the reality of the good.  Love does not necessarily imply that others recognize we are acting in their best interest, which is why many confuse loving actions for hateful ones.  After all, people jeered at Jesus on the cross, thinking they were doing what was right.  Biblically, love involves being committed to the objective good of others regardless of how they feel."5

In other words, biblical love requires that we tell someone the truth even if it is difficult for them to hear.  We see Jesus doing this very thing throughout the gospels.  And it is for this reason that it is critical for the Christian to understand and practice biblical love in a manner modeled after Jesus.

Courage and Godspeed,

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Natasha Crain on why Christians have varying views on how and when God created the world

The age of the Earth/Universe is one of the hotly debated topics amongst Christians.  It is also a topic that has received attention in my own household as my kids have asked me some very relevant questions about this topic.  

For me, my focus has been more on informing them of the different views that exist among Christians.  One of the resources that I have found most helpful is Natasha Crain's book, Keeping Your Kids on God's Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith.  

Question 33 asks "Why do Christians have varying views on how and when God created the world?"  In this section, the author presents the views along with a helpful diagram (p. 201) which I have referred to frequently.

So why should you and your kids understand the different views on origins?  Crain provides a response based on an email she received from one of her readers-

"My son is 18 and just announced that he no longer believes in God.  We brought both of our children up in church, and he alone made the choice to be saved and baptized.  When he got older, he started hanging out with several kids who were atheists.  He started changing his views on religion.  I fought back with truth but felt like I was in a fight I couldn't win.  I was defeated by all the scientific arguments I couldn't answer.  I need stronger knowledge for the fight yet before me."1

"The science involved in the origins debate is very frequently the sole dividing line between Christian faith and atheism- for kids and adults alike.  Whether in a public middle/high school, a secular university, or everyday life as an adult, our kids will eventually hear that evolution is simply a fact and that the Earth is unquestionably billions of years old.  Our kids will also hear that those statements are irreconcilable with the Bible (in reality, some Christians would agree and some would not).  Therein lies the question of the day:  What will your kids do when they encounter these claims?"1

God Bless,

1- Keeping Your Kids on God's Side pg. 202