Elysia McColley

What Is The Bible?

By Elysia McColley If you are somewhat new to Christianity, or even if you have been a Christian for most of your life, you may have some questions about the Bible. It is a massive book, with approximately 800,000 words! Just for comparison, War and Peace has about 587,000 words, and Les Miserables has about 655,000 words. Many people spend their entire academic lives, all the way up to doctorate degrees and postdoctoral research, trying to understand the Bible, and there is plenty left for them to figure out. If … Read More »

Jesus and Samaritans – Part 2

By Elysia McColley Read “Jesus and Samaritans – Part 1” “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” If you are familiar with Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, you may recognize that the above question was posed by an expert in the law just before Jesus told the parable. The parable was meant to answer the expert’s next question: who is my neighbor? I won’t recount the parable of the Good Samaritan here, but for reference, it is found in Luke 10:25-37. My last post showed that Samaritanism … Read More »

Jesus and Samaritans – Part 1

By Elysia McColley What would Jesus do? That is the question, isn’t it? Especially when we’re thinking about engaging with people from another religion! Does Jesus provide any reference for us to understand how we should interact with our Muslim neighbors? Take a look at the following pictures. What do these pictures seem to be of? Do these pictures look like images of Muslims? If that’s what you think, you are not alone. But these are actually pictures of Samaritans. Today, there is a community of about 800 Samaritans, mostly … Read More »

Ishmaelites in the Old Testament – Part 4

By Elysia McColley Read “Ishmael’s Desert Tribes – Part 3” So far in this series about Ishmael, we have looked at two prominent Old Testament figures – Job and Jethro – who were not Israelites and may have actually been Ishmaelites, or descendants of Abraham through his oldest son, Ishmael. There are several other Old Testament figures who may have been Ishmaelites, such as Agar and Lemuel, two kings who contributed to the book of Proverbs. Here, I want to look at someone who was possibly the most significant Ishmaelite … Read More »

Ishmael’s Desert Tribes – Part 3

By Elysia McColley Read “Who Is Ishmael? – Part 1” Read “Ishmael, The Wild Donkey – Part 2” We’ve been looking at Ishmael, one of the most controversial and misunderstood characters in the entire Bible. Being able to talk about Ishmael, from a truly biblical perspective, with your Muslim friends can be a great way to get them interested in the Bible and learning more about what it says. Mention that Ishmael’s birth was proclaimed by Jesus before the incarnation, and they will almost certainly want to know more. Here, … Read More »

Ishmael, the Wild Donkey – Part 2

By Elysia McColley Read “Who Was Ishmael? – Part 1” In this series about Ishmael, we have looked at how we need to critically re-evaluate how we think about Abraham’s oldest son. We have already seen how he was blessed and how he and his mother became the first two people to see the pre-incarnate Christ. Today, let’s look at one of the more difficult-to-understand aspects of Ishmael’s blessing. The Bible records some births as either divinely ordained or divinely proclaimed. The most obvious is the birth of Jesus – … Read More »

Who Was Ishmael? – Part 1

By Elysia McColley There are a lot of controversial figures in the Bible – Cain, who killed his brother but received a mark of protection from God; Noah, whose family was saved from the flood but then cursed his sons for trying to cover him up when he was drunk and naked; Judah, who consorted with someone that he believed was a prostitute yet became the forerunner of the Messiah. The list goes on, ad infinitum. I want to spend the next few weeks looking at who I believe is … Read More »

Jesus, Messiah

By Elysia McColley For the disciples of Jesus and the early church, the crux of their faith was that Jesus was the Messiah. The moniker “Christ” is the Hellenized form of the Hebrew word “Mashiach” (Messiah), so every time we refer to “Jesus Christ,” we are calling Him the Messiah. “Messiah” literally means “anointed one.” Throughout the Old Testament, when an individual was anointed, he or she became set apart for a holy, consecrated purpose. Consider when the prophet Samuel anointed Saul and later David to become king. Those two … Read More »

The Son of God and the Qur’an

By Elysia McColley According to the Qur’an, Jesus is not the Son of God. Muslims generally deny that He could possibly be God’s Son, based on the following verses in the Qur’an, as well as hundreds of years of Muslim theology: They [Christians] say, ‘God has taken a son.’ Exalted is He! Rather, to Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. All are devoutly obedient to Him. Surah 2:116 The Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the son of God.’ That is their statement from their mouths; they … Read More »

Jesus, the Son of God

By Elysia McColley One of the most important beliefs of the entire Christian faith is that Jesus is the Son of God. This belief is so central to Christian ethics, theology, and apologetics that all points of doctrine can disintegrate without it. When confronted with the idea that maybe Jesus was not the Son of God, Christians can become defensive and shut down any dialogue with the person that disagrees. The issue at stake here isn’t that we want to defend our faith; 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared … Read More »