Biblical Theology for Life

Module Three Questions (Week Three OL)

  1. Re-read Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (the Shema’) and Exodus 20:1-6 (compare Deuteronomy 5:8-10). 

SO: What would it mean for Christians to be “idolatrous” or “worship other gods”? Do you think Christians are tempted by (or succumb to) this?

  • Read Barrett, “Idols, Idolatry, Gods” pages 351-355 in the IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets (IVP, 2013). Keep your Bible handy to look up the biblical citations. 

RD: According to Barrett, what is “idolatry” and what was the ancient Israelites’ relationship to idolatry, idols, and “other gods”?

  • RD: According to Israel’s prophets, what are the basic features of idolatry?
  • D/O: Compare and contrast your initial definitions of “idolatry” and “worshipping other gods” with the particular emphases of the biblical prophets.
  • RD: According to Hosea 9:1-10 and Psalm 135:1-21, what is wrong with worshipping other gods?
  • Now read I Corinthians 8:1-13 (NRSV). This is one of the few New Testament passages explicitly about idolatry. Notice how Paul, before he gives practical instructions regarding idolatry, first presents some Christian theological teaching. He reminds his audience of the go-to Jewish text regarding polytheism and idolatry (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and the way this belief differentiates Christians from the surrounding culture—where people believe in many “gods” and “lords.” Christians, however, are doubly differentiated as they worship God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ unlike their Jewish neighbors without being polytheists like their Greco-Roman neighbors. 

RD: How does this material about idolatry relate to Reeves?

  • Read Thomas Oden, “No Other Gods.” 

D/O: What is your response to Oden’s methods and goal?

  • D/O: Summarize Luther’s and Calvin’s teaching on idolatry and compare it to your definition of “having other gods” in question 1.
  • RD: According to Oden, what do the New Testament and early Christians add to our understanding of idolatry?
  1. D/O: In light of Oden, revise your answer to the second part of question 1: are contemporary Christians tempted by (or do they succumb to) idolatry?

Quiz Instructions

  • RD: “Reading Data” – the content of your answer should come from the assignment – your answer is a report on the information contained in it. Cite it simply using APA (Kapic, p. 34).
  • SO: “Supported Opinion” – the content of your answer can come from your own head, but it still needs to be supported (with reasoning, illustrations, examples, etc.) from the reading.
  • D/O: “Data/Opinion” – the content of your answer should mix data from the assignment and your own reasoning, opinions, knowledge, or experience
    • sometimes the data and opinion will be separate and sequential: “Summarize Bockmuehl’s definition of holiness and then explain why you agree or disagree with Bockmuehl.”
    • Sometimes the data and opinion could be mixed: “Compare and contrast the popular understanding of ‘justice’ with the biblical account of ‘justice’ presented by Feldmeier.”

For every question, half of your grade consists of the content and half of your grade consists of composition.

  • content: do you understand the reading? support your claims with appeal to particulars from the reading, illustrations from your experience, or unfolding your reasoning?
  • composition: is your writing clear and cogent? well-organized? correctly spelled? grammatically correct?

For additional information, consult the rubric

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