Celebrating the Transfiguration of Jesus

The Transfiguration is included as a Feast Day (liturgical colour: white) on August 6th in the Revised Common Lectionary, presumably as an ecumenical nod to the traditions of the Eastern churches. But it is already included on the last Sunday in Epiphany as well! Since we are reading Matthew this year, we have already read … Continue Reading

The ‘transfiguration’ of Jesus in Matthew 17

The lectionary gospel reading on Sunday, the last Sunday before Lent in Year A, is Matt 17.1–9, Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration. There some important things to note in relation to this passage as we think about preaching on it or hearing it preached. All three Synoptic accounts place this immediately after Peter’s confession of … Continue Reading

Was Paul unclear in his teaching on sexuality?

I have been engaging on and off in the debates about sexuality and Christian discipleship since around 1978, when Buzz magazine (which eventually morphed into Christianity magazine) produced a slightly risky exploration of the issues at stake. Since then, I have noticed that the discussion has shifted ground, both in wider society and within the … Continue Reading

The Transfiguration in Luke

This week’s lectionary gospel reading, the last Sunday before Lent, is Luke 9.28-36, this gospel’s account of the Transfiguration, with the option of continuing to read the episode that follows immediately on the descent from the mountain. There some important things to note in relation to this passage as we think about preaching on it. All … Continue Reading

How does Revelation configure space and time?

I am contributing the chapter on Revelation to the forthcoming Cambridge Handbook to Apocalyptic Literature, and this is what I am planning to say about time and space in Revelation. Any observations welcome! As part of the extended epistolary opening (which runs from Rev 1:4 to 1:11), John locates himself temporally, spatially, relationally and spiritually in … Continue Reading

Is Revelation a vision—or an audition?

One of the things I have noticed in studying Revelation in the last couple of years is the amount and importance of the material that John reports that he hears in comparison with what he sees. There have been several studies of the hymnic material in Revelation, and these sections are important in themselves, partly because of … Continue Reading

‘Head’ does not mean ‘leader’ in 1 Cor 11.3

The debate about the meaning of ‘head’ and ‘headship’ (even though the latter does not occur in the NT) continues to rumble on. The main reason for this for English speakers is that the term is deeply and widely connected with notions of authority, control and leadership—just think ‘headteacher’ or ‘headmaster’ and other compounds, and … Continue Reading

How do we make sense of the Beatitudes?

The Beatitudes—the collection of sayings that introduce the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matt 5, with their parallel in Luke 6—are amongst some of the most memorable of the teachings of Jesus. They are often cited as favourite texts, and are referred to as a key element of Jesus’ (challenging and puzzling) radical social ethics. … Continue Reading