Tag Archives: Exodus 20

Intensely Personal and Critically Communal

“You shall have no other gods before me…”  Exodus 20:3

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17

God’s plan for growing a people dedicated to Him and blessed by Him has been consistent from the beginning. He created us for relationship with Him, but also for relationship with one another. This is even evident in His bedrock principles, the Ten Commandments. But it may be less evident to those of us whose first language is English than for most others.

10 CommandmentsEnglish is a bit odd in many ways, with all it’s “rules” for grammar and then the thousands of exceptions to each of those rules. It makes it  a difficult language to learn. One of those oddities is that our word, “you” is both singular and plural (The New York version of “Yous” and the Southern version of “Y’all” notwithstanding). So, when we read the Ten Commandments in our English bibles and we see “You shall…”, and we read the context of God speaking from a mountain to some 600,000 Hebrew men (and lots more women and children), it is easy for us to read it as a plural “you”. If there were a Texas version of the Bible, we might be inclined to translate it, “Y’all will have no other gods before me.” But that would be an incorrect translation.

You see, we English speakers are accustomed to living with this ambiguity between the plural you and the singular you…we’re accustomed to just kind of figuring it out in context, leaving much accuracy to be desired. But most other languages (including the original Hebrew language of the Old Testament) treat …

I Plead the Fifth…Commandment, That Is…

 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.  Exodus 20:12

I am pretty excited about a new series of posts I am starting for the Summer.  I do not yet know how long the series will be, so no commitments along those lines, but I have a feeling the well of material for this series runs pretty deep.  I will be writing about things I have learned about the church…from my Dad.

Some of you know my Dad.  He blogs over at www.kencoffee.com.  He recently marked the end of his 60th year in vocational ministry (read about that here).  He has pastored and served on various church staffs over the course of that 60 years, but probably made his deepest and widest mark on the kingdom (so far, anyway) as a denominational leader/worker.  Growing up in his shadow, it still seems to me that, no matter how many people know about me and my ministry, I will still be known by most of them as Ken Coffee’s son.  And you know what?  That is OK with me.  🙂

With Father’s Day coming up, I have decided to honor my Father in a special way.  For the last few months, I have been working (off and on) compiling a list of things I have learned from Dad.  This list was originally supposed to be a Christmas present to him, but it wasn’t ready.  So now it is becoming a Father’s Day present…one that will last throughout the Summer, because the list is long.  There are things about family and things about cars and things about vacations and things about finances and things about work and things about sports and things about, well, just about everything.  …