Phrasing the Bible

I love copy and paste. Even for Bible study. I enjoy “phrasing” passages in a word processor to help me visualize the structure of dense text, like that in the epistles.

I learned the most from William Mounce, who incorporates phrasing into his Graded Reader of Biblical Greek. Steven Brubaker taught me a similar approach in a class at Faith Builders.

I’ve compiled a few pointers of my own and several sample passages.


Koinonia and the Lord’s Supper

Is communion bread literally the body of Christ? Is communion simply a memorial of Christ? The Lord’s Supper is a core practice for those of us who take the name of Jesus, but we are not always sure how to understand it. Fortunately Jesus meets us in the supper, whether or not we have a correct understanding. Still, it is worth chewing on what the NT tells us about the Eucharist.

The different names we use, stress different dimensions. “Eucharist,” meaning thanksgiving, reminds us how Jesus gave thanks for food, even when it symbolized his own death. We also should give thanks in all circumstances, for God provides and God works for good. The term “Lord’s Supper” reminds us that Jesus is the host giving himself to us and for us.

“Communion” is a term worth chewing on. It derives from the Greek word koinonia, commonly translated in the New Testament as “fellowship, “participation,” or “sharing.” In 1 Corinthians 10:16-22, Paul describes the supper as a koinonia in the body and blood of Jesus. This, I suggest, helps us understand the metaphysics of communion–provides insight into how it works.

My recent essay for Essays For King Jesus by Anabaptist Perspectives explores the Lord’s supper as fellowship in the context of 1 Corinthians. You can read or listen to the full essay their.

Bible Business

Stewards are God’s Household Managers

Christians talk a lot about stewardship. Being stewards is indeed a biblical idea (though “managers” might be a better term, especially if modified by an adjective, e.g. “servant managers,” or “household managers.”) We know that what we are entrusted with is ultimately God’s resources.

What we may miss is that stewardship also describes our social roles in our various communities. We are stewards of God’s resources for the individuals or communities he intends those resources to bless. I explore the biblical meaning of stewardship vocabulary in this essay at Anabaptist Perspectives.

Managers in God’s Household: How to be a Steward

Kyle Stoltzfus and I discuss these ideas on a podcast with Anabaptist Perspectives:

I discuss on a Strength to Strength talk:

Bible Business

Business People Are Stewards

I am not talking about how to handle profits gained through business. Of course, if you do own a business that generates large profits, that does result in responsibilities to use that money well, but here I am concerned with a different question: What does it mean to steward business giftings and abilities and to steward business roles and opportunities?

I tackled these questions in a two-part series on the Anabaptist Perspectives blog.

Part One: Business People among God’s “Servant-Managers”

Part Two: Entrepreneurs as “Servant-Managers

Both of these pieces build from the basic biblical idea that stewardship is not just about what God entrusts us with, but also about who he intends should benefit from what he entrusts to us. We manage God’s creation for his creatures—especially our human neighbors.

An earlier post at Anabaptist Perspectives gives the biblical exposition.

Managers in God’s Household

This post from the early days of the 2020 pandemic reflects on stewardship in relation to hard times. It was also recorded in audio.

Factories, Gardens, Giving, Guns: A COVID-19 Economy and Stewardship