Scripture Notes and Commentary

My masters degree concentration is in scripture. During the course of working on that degree and serving as a teacher for my parish, I've created a few papers that may hold some interest and value.

Introduction to Septuagint (LXX) Studies

By Steve Puluka on 03-Jul-09 14:43. Comments (17)

The Old Testament canon (list of books accepted) and text in the Christian tradition has a complicated and diverse history. What follows is a necessarily short and broad brush overview. There are three introductory texts listed at the end of the article where you can get the nuances of the history of the LXX. This is followed by a listing of sources for the Greek text of the Septuagint for further study. Finally, I provide a listing of the few available English translations that are done from the Greek Septuagint text and their sources.

Old Testament Canon

By Steve Puluka on 27-Jun-09 12:38. Comments (2)

During the formative period of the Christian Church, there was not a final determination of the canon of scripture within Judaism. There were a number of books circulating and in use in both Greek & Hebrew forms. The Greek canon (called the Septuagint or Alexandrian canon) contained more books than the Hebrew version (called the Palestinian canon). Ultimately, Judaism would accept the Hebrew canon and organize this in three parts: The Law, The Prophets & The Writings. One of the differences between the Greek & Hebrew canons is the number and division of the books. The Greek canon contains many books not in the Hebrew canon. These are rejected from the canon by Judaism.

New Testament Canon

By Steve Puluka on 27-Jun-09 12:23. Comments (2)

Christianity spread throughout the eastern empire by word of mouth. The apostles and the early missionaries walked the streets and preached the word of Christ. They were eye witnesses to the God’s saving events and bore their eye witness testimony in person, orally. As the number and size of communities grew, the need for written communication increased. The earliest portions of the New Testament are the letters that circulated among these Churches from apostolic witnesses. Next came the Gospels that organized and told the basic story of Christ. The ending of John’s Gospel, quoted above, notes that these are just a small portion of what could be told about the ministry and message of Jesus. Throughout the Gospels and letters there is a clear understanding and use of Old Testament as scripture, but the understanding of these new books as the New Testament came later. The twenty-seven books we know as the New Testament were not the only works about Christ and the Christian message from this period. Many others were written and circulated as well. Only later was this list established as we know it today.

Bible Canon

By Steve Puluka on 27-Jun-09 12:00. Comments (2)

The word Canon is used in four senses with respect to the Church, a rule of life, a listing of scriptural books, rulings of an Ecumenical council or Church law. Clement captures the general sense of the word well. The Canon is the “standards” of our tradition, in this case the rule of life. The word comes to us from the Greek, which borrows the word from Semitic word for “reed.” In Greek Canon carries the sense of a rod or a measuring stick. These are used by builders and craftsmen to layout their work. Hence, a Canon is a “measure” of something, a standard by which we measure.

Revelation 12

By Steve Puluka on 21-Mar-09 13:23. Comments (0)

The woman in Revelation 12 has been the subject of many a treatise and a variety of proposals for her identification has been advanced.Ê This is a cursive outline of the merits of Mary as the woman in Revelation 12, with a discussion of the weaknesses of this proposal as well. For the sake of brevity, the paper will hit the major points in the proposal with footnoted documentation to the fuller discussion of the issues mentioned. The identification of the woman as Mary is neither universal nor without problems, but neither is the identification of the woman in any other proposal.

Song of Songs

By Steve Puluka on 21-Mar-09 13:11. Comments (1)

The Song of Songs is unique in many respects. The poem is essentially a double monologue without any introductions of speakers. The book offers no direct reference to God, the law or religious themes. While the relationship of the lovers is central to the poem, there is no real dialogue between them, only mutual descriptions. What little dialogue that may exist is with the characters outside the couple, and even this is not always clear.

Amos 2:6-16

By Steve Puluka on 21-Mar-09 12:56. Comments (0)

Amos lived during the period of the divided kingdom. After the death of Solomon, the kingdom of Israel split into two jurisdictions, Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Judah is depicted by the Deuteronomic historians of the Bible as the true keepers of the Jewish faith. Amos comes from this true kingdom of the south into the Northern Kingdom to speak against the abuses of the north, but Judah does not entirely escape his condemnation either.

The Holy Spirit in Scripture

By Steve Puluka on 21-Mar-09 12:47. Comments (2)

John’s Gospel records a lengthy speech (13:31-17:26) that Jesus delivers to his apostles after supper on the night he is arrested. In the three major sections of this discourse first Jesus instructs them on the Father, the Spirit and himself. Then he describes how they should live as his disciples. Finally, he prays for them while predicting the events of the passion that are soon to play out.

The Old Testament

By Steve Puluka on 20-Mar-09 17:44. Comments (0)

The Old Testament was composed over a period of more than one thousand years. There were many political, cultural and literary influences on the many authors that composed these books. In this lesson we provide the tools to examine the literature to understand what meaning we can find in them today.

Holy Scripture

By Steve Puluka on 15-Mar-09 18:57. Comments (0)

The religious literature of the Jewish people was first set to paper around 1000 BC. This was about 200 years after the Exodus from Egypt. The full complement of the Pentateuch, or first five books of scripture was set by the time of the Babylonian Exile, 500 BC.

Psalm 68

By Steve Puluka on 13-Mar-09 20:24. Comments (3)

Psalm 68 is a lengthy expression of God's power and glory. This Psalm expresses a triumphant and conquering God that other nations will pay tribute to or fall beneath. This Psalm figures in important feast day prayers in both the Jewish and Christian tradition and is used as a proof text in the New Testament letter to the Ephesians.