“Wells without water”

Abandoned Well

  • Lesson this week (Sunday 10/9): Dogs and Sows
  • Teaching: Mike Riley
  • Text: 2 Peter 2:17-22
  • Key verse: “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”” (2 Peter 2:22)

Image Source: An abandoned well as seen on the October 5, 2003, Fall Foliage Walk in Shirley, Massachusetts. – Author Bob Burkhardt.


The Way of Balaam – “a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet”

Balaam's Ass

  • Lesson this week (10/2): The Way of Balaam
  • Teaching: James Anderson
  • Text: 2 Peter 2:10-16
  • Key verse: 2 Peter 2:15, “They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness”

Image: Rembrandt’s Balaam’s Ass (1626)

Extra study: Use either a concordance, web based search using a tool like Biblegateway, or a Bible dictionary to research Balaam.

How the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church went from a self-described racist to an adoptive father of an African American. An excerpt from ‘Bloodlines.’


JP: A Worthwhile read

John Piper: I Was Racist

Brief Excerpts:

I was, in those years, manifestly racist. As a child and a teenager my attitudes and actions assumed the superiority of my race in almost every way without knowing or wanting to know anybody who was black …

In 1962 my home church voted not to allow blacks into the services. The rationale, as I remember, was that in the heated context of the civil rights era, the only reason blacks would want to be there would be political, which is not what church is for. As I recall, my mother was the lone voice on that Wednesday night to vote no on this motion. I could be wrong about that. But she did vote no. In December of that year, my sister was married in the church, and my mother invited Lucy’s whole family to come. And they came. I remember an incredibly tense and awkward moment as they came in the door of the foyer (which must have taken incredible courage). The ushers did not know what to do. One was about to usher them to the balcony (which had barely been used since the church was built). My mother—all five feet, two inches of her—intervened and by herself took them by the arm and seated them on the main floor of the sanctuary.

The book: Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian

Impactful Blog Posts

Impactful Blog Posts

JP: Recent blog posts that I have found insightful and worthwhile

Danger – False Prophets

Danger False Prophets

  • Text for this Sunday (9/25): 2 Peter 2:1-9
  • Lesson Title: Danger – Falses Prophets
  • Teaching: John Wivell

Anna Beth Wivell’s blog

JP: As you can probably surmise, Anna Beth is John’s sister. She is a Bible translator preparing to go to Chad. Follow along with her blog here. A report on her recent trip to Chad is here. Interesting stuff!

The Cardiff Giant – a “cunningly devised fable”

JP: Briefly commenting on the phrase from 2 Peter 1:16, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty”. Peter is here expressing the absolute truthfulness of the Gospel. He was an “eyewitnesses of [Christ’s] majesty” on the Mount of Transfiguration. This is for John W. but I need to share this for what follows. The Greek of this phrase is “ου γαρ σεσοφισμενοις μυθοις εξακολουθησαντες”. Breaking this down a bit to make it more understandable:

  • σοφίζω (present active participle). Note the transliteration (where an English alphabet letter replaces the Greek letter): it is sophizō. Kind of looks like “sophisticated” and that’s about what it means! Here specifically it means “to devise cleverly or cunningly”
  • μῦθος is a noun. The transliteration is mythos which looks like “myth”. And that’s what it means – a myth or a fable.
  • Putting it together, Peter wrote .. “we did not follow a sophisticated (in a negative way!) myth”!
  • Other versions translate the phrase as follows:
    • ESV: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths
    • NASB: “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales
    • NIV: “We did not follow cleverly invented stories

You know some people will believe anything; and in the realm of religion, sadly, many do! The Christian faith and the Gospel of our Savior is absolutely true.

Some years ago we visited Cooperstown New York and the baseball hall of fame. Our children were young and I don’t think one of them was impressed. I don’t think Kathee was either (but she tolerated the visit). Wanting to find something that would interest the family, we went to the Farmer’s Museum” in Cooperstown. I saw there an artifact of one of the most unusual hoaxes perpetrated – the Cardiff Giant. The Wiki article has a nice summary of the details so I will not elaborate other than providing additional links and images.