I did not read as many books this month and likely won't complete another before January ends. So here is what I did finish reading so far this year.
Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson -- about following the Holy Spirit; see many previous posts with this label
Daughters of Islam by Miriam Adeney -- "building bridges with Muslim women" -- I quoted from this book earlier this month. Here are just a few more notes I made from it.
Irin praying for God to show her the way and then her reading John 14:6. "Grandfather, heritage -- all were superseded. When God points the way, you go ..." -- pg. 145
What it's like to work with an American -- pg. 189 "Charging in to help ... we can trample fragile local patterns that have stood the test of time."
Manners and Customs of Bible Lands by Fred Wight -- see this post for an introduction to this book which told of many interesting topics such as tents and houses, foods and their preparation for eating, customs at mealtimes, "the sacred duty of hospitality," dress, parents' position within the home, care of children, religion in the home, marriage customs, sickness and death, special events, shepherd life, growing and harvesting grain, care of vineyards, the olive and fig trees, trades and professions, music, cities, customs regarding property, domestic animals, traveling by land and sea, Palestine water supply, raids and blood-avenging, slavery in bible times and the Greek athletics and Roman gladiators.
Many great topics and interesting tidbits. I especially liked the part about slavery in Bible times and how the Levitical law gave many rights to slaves including the sabbath day off from working and celebration of special religious days. I learned that within this time in the world and in this culture, people often sold themselves as slaves to another in order to pay off debts. Within six years Hebrew slaves were freed and presented with cattle and fruit. Any time within those slavery years, a Hebrew slave could be "redeemed by relatives." (pg. 290) The author briefly discussed why the Mosaic law permitted slavery instead of abolishing it. He wrote: "When the laws were given at Mt. Sinai, slavery was universal among the nations of the world. It was not practical to do away with it all at once. Rather, laws were given to prevent the worst abuses and evils of it from being present among the Jews." He then went on to say how this worked among the Jews that by the time Christ appeared, slavery among the Jews had virtually disappeared.
The section about measuring grain and how "it is the custom that each measure must run over" was very interesting. The author described how the grain was pressed down, shaken and more was poured until the grain was running over. I liked this especially because it is how Jesus described giving in Luke 6:38. The description in this book made this verse come alive to me in a new way. (see pg. 223)
In the chapter "Education of Youth," I enjoyed the paragraph about the two rabbinical schools. Paul was from the school of Hillel which "placed tremendous emphasis upon Jewish oral traditions." By contrast Jesus was trained in the Shammai school "where there was less stress upon tradition, and more upon spiritual teachings of the law and prophets." This book claims that the unconverted Paul would have resented what Jesus told the Pharisees about their transgressing the commandment of God by their tradition (Matthew 15:3,6). - pg. 116
The part about schooling in Ur when Abraham was a boy was interesting. The author makes mention that "it is certain that Abraham and Sarah were familiar with the laws of Hammurabi, having been taught this Babylonian law code from their youth. The explanation for Sarah's action in giving her maid Hagar to Abraham as a secondary wife is that the law of Hammurabi allowed such to be done. Similar action was repeated in Jacob's family relations. But after the law of Moses came into being, this custom disappeared in Israel." -- pg. 113