Monthly Archives: May 2009

Another reason to attend Bible study

“Kansas girl rides ‘Laodicean’ to National Spelling Bee victory”

According to  USA Today, 13 year old Kavya Shivashankar won the national Spelling Bee championship by correctly spelling the word Laodicean. Several news reports say the word means lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics, but they fail to mention that the concept comes from the Bible.

Laodicea was one of three cities of the Lycus River Valley in Asia Minor (Colossians 2:1; 4:15-16). Today this area is in Turkey. Toward the end of the first century the book of Revelation was distributed to several churches of Asia (Revelation 1:11).

The water of Laodicea came from hot springs immediately south of the city. By the time the water reached Laodicea it was lukewarm.  Jesus described the church as being like the water supply of the city.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot.  16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16 NAS)

This photo shows part of the water distribution tower at ancient Laodicea. Mount Cadmus is seen in the distance.

Ruins of the water distribution tower at Laodicea. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ruins of the water distribution tower at Laodicea. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

We might also define Laodicean as a member of the body of Christ in the city of Laodicea.  Or, simply, a citizen in the city of Laodicea.

HT: Olen, Harriet

Paul in Ephesus

Paul taught in the school of Tyrannus during his stay in Ephesus. We need not think that Paul was assigned as an Associate Professor, or Lecturer. He may have simply used a rented facility or hall for his teaching.

But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. (Acts 19:9)

When we visit Ephesus today we see nothing but ruins and a few partially reconstructed buildings. We wonder about all of the things that happened to Paul, Apollos, Aquila, Priscilla, and Timothy in these places. Meditate on these things as you enjoy today’s photo.

Flowers blooming among the ruins at Ephesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Flowers blooming among the ruins at Ephesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Discovery of the Roman Pool of Siloam

In early June, 2004, an announcement was made by Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron of the discovery of a pool dating to the Second Temple period (Herod’s temple). Continuing excavations have revealed three sets of stairs leading down into the pool. Most of the pool has not yet been uncovered. In November, 2005, I spoke with Professor Reich at the pool and he explained several things about the discovery.

A feature article was published in Biblical Archaeology Review, Sept.-Oct., 2005. Todd Bolen of, who assisted in the excavations at the site, included some comments on his BiblePlaces Blog here in August, 2005. Many reports that appear in the news media are incomplete and sometimes misleading.

Pool of Siloam. View toward East. Byzantine pool is to our back. Photo by F.Jenkins.

Pool of Siloam. View toward East. Byzantine pool is to our back. Photo by F. Jenkins.

See Todd’s photos and comments about The Pool of Siloam Revealed at

Our photo shows the northern steps and the eastern corner of the pool. You can detect the present road level at the top of the wooden steps. In the distance, across the Kidron Valley, you can see a hill south of the Mount of Olives, sometimes called the Hill of Evil Counsel. Beyond that lies the Judean Wilderness.

Get 1,000 Bible Images now

Logos has announced the publication of 1,000 Bible Images for the pre-pub price of $19.95. Estimated ship date is June 2. This means you should buy today! Check full info here. I think these are all black and white drawing, but they will look good in PowerPoint or for use in class handouts. Here is a brief description of the program.

Don’t just read the Bible, see the Bible!

Now you can literally see the people, places, and events of the Bible text—right in front of your eyes! Bring your study of the Bible to life with this collection of 1,000 images, drawings, and illustrations—all produced by professional artists under the supervision of biblical scholars, in association with the German Bible Society. This vivid artwork shows the biblical sites, religious objects, plants and animals, archaeological findings, scenes from daily life in the Bible, and much more! As reliable documentation of biblical life, these images often give a better illustration and explanation than the text itself can give.

Each image includes information which explains the historical and archaeological background, giving you context and study material to understand scenes from the Bible, making this collection a must-have for teachers and pastors, as well as anyone interested in the history, archaeology, and culture in the Bible.

What’s more, with Logos, you can quickly access the Bible text relevant to each image! We make it easy to search for images by keyword, by Bible reference, or by each image description. These images will aid your personal study and sermon preparation, and will serve as a valuable teaching tool when you use them on your handouts or projected presentations. As you study the Bible, you can instantly see what you’re reading about!

This program is in the Libronix Digital Library System and may be downloaded (by those who have the LDLS installed, or by DVD. Here is a reduced illustration from the publication.

Drawing of Ancient Babylon from 1,000 Bible Images.

Drawing of Ancient Babylon from 1,000 Bible Images.

HT: Bible Places Blog.

The Pool of Siloam

More than 700 years before Christ, the Judean King Hezekiah dug a tunnel to bring the water of the Gihon spring to a new pool which he constructed on the west side of the city of David (2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chron 32:30; Sirach 48:17). This pool would later be known as the pool of Siloam.

One of the great signs of Jesus, recorded in the Gospel of John, is the healing of a man born blind (John 9). Jesus spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle. He then applied the mud to the blind man’s eyes and told him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.” We understand that mud made from saliva and water from Siloam will not normally cause a blind person to see. This sign demonstrates the power of Jesus over blindness and demonstrates the validity of His claim to be “the Light of the world” (9:5). The blind man’s faith to obey Jesus clearly played a role in his healing.

For many years we have been aware of the Pool of Siloam at the southern end of Hezekiah’s tunnel. A church dedicated to “Our Savior, the Illuminator” was built here in the fifth century by the Byzantine Empress Eudokia, but was destroyed in A.D. 614 and never rebuilt. Some columns from the building can still be seen. See Hoade, Guide to the Holy Land, and Murphy-O’Connor, The Holy Land, for details.

This photo shows the Byzantine pool at the southern end of Hezekiah’s tunnel. Note the present ground level along the blue fence.

Ruins of the Byzantine church at end of Hezekiah's Tunnel. Photo by F. Jenkins.

Ruins of the Byzantine church at end of Hezekiah's Tunnel. Photo by F. Jenkins.

In a post to follow we will discuss the newly discovered Pool of Siloam from the Roman period.

Jesus spoke in the treasury of the Temple

The events of John 8 take place in the Temple precinct in Jerusalem. At this time He claims to be the light of the world (John 8:12). Notice verse 20.

These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. (John 8:20 ESV)

This photo of the Second Temple Model shows the area of the Court of the Woman where the “treasury” or offering boxes were located.

Second Temple Model showing the Court of the Women. Photo by F. Jenkins.

Second Temple Model showing the Court of the Women. Photo by F. Jenkins.

Alfred Edersheim includes the following information about the Court of the Women with an explanation of the 13 offering boxes found there. The info follows without indentation.


The Court of the Women obtained its name, not from its appropriation to the exclusive use of women, but because they were not allowed to proceed farther, except for sacrificial purposes. Indeed, this was probably the common place for worship, the females occupying, according to Jewish tradition, only a raised gallery along three sides of the court. This court covered a space upwards of 200 feet square. All around ran a simple colonnade, and within it, against the wall, the thirteen chests, or ‘trumpets,’ for charitable contributions were placed. These thirteen chests were narrow at the mouth and wide at the bottom, shaped like trumpets, whence their name.

Their specific objects were carefully marked on them. Nine were for the receipt of what was legally due by worshippers; the other four for strictly voluntary gifts. Trumpets I and II were appropriated to the half-shekel Temple-tribute of the current and of the past year. Into Trumpet III those women who had to bring turtledoves for a burnt- and a sin-offering dropped their equivalent in money, which was daily taken out and a corresponding number of turtledoves offered. This not only saved the labour of so many separate sacrifices, but spared the modesty of those who might not wish to have the occasion or the circumstances of their offering to be publicly known. Into this trumpet Mary the mother of Jesus must have dropped the value of her offering (Luke 2:22, 24) when the aged Simeon took the infant Saviour ‘in his arms, and blessed God.’ Trumpet IV similarly received the value of the offerings of young pigeons. In Trumpet V contributions for the wood used in the Temple; in Trumpet VI for the incense, and in Trumpet VII for the golden vessels for the ministry were deposited. If a man had put aside a certain sum for a sin-offering, and any money was left over after its purchase, it was cast into Trumpet VIII. Similarly, Trumpets IX, X, XI, XII, and XIII were destined for what was left over from trespass-offerings, offerings of birds, the offering of the Nazarite, of the cleansed leper, and voluntary offerings. In all probability this space where the thirteen Trumpets were placed was the ‘treasury,’ where Jesus taught on that memorable Feast of Tabernacles (John 7 and 8; see specially 8:20). We can also understand how, from the peculiar and known destination of each of these thirteen ‘trumpets,’ the Lord could distinguish the contributions of the rich who cast in ‘of their abundance’ from that of the poor widow who of her ‘penury’ had given ‘all the living’ that she had (Mark 12:41; Luke 21:1).

But there was also a special treasury-chamber, into which at certain times they carried the contents of the thirteen chests; and, besides, what was called ‘a chamber of the silent,’ where devout persons secretly deposited money, afterwards secretly employed for educating children of the pious poor.

It is probably in ironical allusion to the form and name of these treasure-chests that the Lord, making use of the word ‘trumpet,’ describes the conduct of those who, in their almsgiving, sought glory from men as ‘sounding a trumpet’ before them (Matthew 6:2)—that is, carrying before them, as it were, in full display one of these trumpet-shaped alms-boxes (literally called in the Talmud, ‘trumpets’), and, as it were, sounding it.

Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as They Were at the Time of Jesus Christ, electronic ed. (Garland, TX: Galaxie Software, 2000).

Memorial Day 2009

Memorial Day (Monday) honors all the men and women who have died in military service in the defense of our country. There were 1,465 USA deaths in the Battle of Normandy. In addition, 2,700 UK soldiers and 500 Canadian soldiers died. It is estimated that between 4,000 and 9,000 German soldiers died.D-Day, June 6, 1944, is a very important day in American history. Here is one of the photos I made of “Omaha” Beach on a rainy day in 2002. This is where many American soldiers landed.

"Omaha" Beach in Normandy. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

"Omaha" Beach in Normandy. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A visit to this area and especially to the American cemetery helps us realize what a great debt we owe to those who gave their lives while fighting for freedom. A few years ago, prior to his death, I visited regularly with a veteran of World War II who was at Normandy. I enjoyed hearing him talk about the war, and asking him questions. I was always encouraged when I left his home.

The American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy. Photo by F. Jenkins.

The American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy. Photo by F. Jenkins.

We should not apologize for what happened here. We must never rewrite this history!