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Cutting Room Floor

One of the most difficult and painful tasks for any well-studied sermon is to condense the material that is most important, relevant and valuable to the audience. Oftentimes, a good deal of good material is left on the preacher’s cutting room floor. Luckily, some of that material has found a place here.

At The Pastor’s Cutting Room Floor, you’ll find a number of things that don’t make it into the sermon, for a variety of reasons: there wasn’t enough time, the point was too small to make, the point was too technical to make, the issue is better dealt with out of the pulpit, etc.

Welcome to the stuff that didn’t make it. I pray it challenges you to deepen your understanding of God’s Word and to ultimately know Him better.

Scapegoat or Azazel? – Lev 16b

Leviticus 16:8 says, “And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel” (ESV).  Depending on what Bible translation you’re using, your version might say “scapegoat” instead of Azazel.             On Sunday I made a case for Azazel as a proper noun – the name of a desert demon.  Much of my time was spent demonstrating why I think that’s the best way to look at the text, but I…

Leviticus 12 – A Clean Quiz

Let’s do something a little different for this week’s Cutting Room Floor Blog.  Here’s a quiz to see who was paying attention and can best apply the concepts in today’s sermon.             Remember: the first person to email me a perfect score of correct answers gets a prize!             The first three questions come directly from the sermon.  The rest separate the wheat from the chaff! Question #1: Is it a sin to be unclean?             A) Always             B)…

Leviticus 10 – Weirdo Philo and Naked Nadab and Abihu

Philo was a Jewish philosopher who lived around the time of Jesus.  He wrote a commentary on the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy), much of which uses what is called the “allegorical method” of interpretation.  As a result of allegorizing, he comes up with some pretty strange interpretations sometimes.             One of those interpretations is that Nadab and Abihu—the two unfortunate priests who were burned up by God’s glory for offering “unauthorized fire” in Lev 10—were actually offering themselves as a…

Why Did Aaron’s Sons “Present the Blood to Him” (Lev 9:9)?

During Aaron’s first priestly work after the inauguration week of Lev 8, at one point Aaron’s sons “presented the blood to him.”  The blood is the blood of the Sin Offering, the first offering Aaron makes in his official role as High Priest.             What is this about?  During our study of Lev 1–7, we never read anything about other priests presenting blood.  Why are Aaron’s sons holding blood?             The Mishnah may give us a clue.  The Mishnah is…

Tabernacle Toilets? (Leviticus 8)

Leviticus 8 tells us that during the ordination ceremony, Aaron and his four sons had to stay inside the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, upon fear of death (8:33, 35). This raises the natural question: where, then, did the priests-to-be take care of business?             We’ve already seen from Leviticus 6:16 that the priests were required to eat certain parts of the sacrificial meal “in a holy place.  In the court of the tent of meeting they…

What Does It Mean To Have a “Good Name”?

Proverbs 22:1 reads, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold” (ESV).             What does it mean to have “a good name”? Certainly it relates to one’s reputation. It cannot be bought, otherwise it wouldn’t be more valuable than silver or gold.             One aspect I didn’t have time to explore in the sermon was how the context of Proverbs 22 might help answer that question. Bruce Waltke, in his excellent…

Leviticus 7b – What Does It Mean To Be “Cut Off”?

I grew up in New Jersey.  Which means I’ve been “cut off” multiple times.  However, I’ve never been “cut off” in a Levitical-sort of way!             Leviticus 7:20 says, “the person who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of the LORD’s peace offerings while an uncleanness is on him, that person shall be cut off from his people” (all Scripture in ESV).  What does it mean, to be “cut off” from the people?             Jacob Milgrom, a revered Jewish…

Leviticus 6b-7a – Priestly Underwear

Boxers or briefs?  It’s an age-old question!  Apparently, even Old Testament priests had to worry about what to wear under your clothes.             Leviticus 6:10a says, “And the priest shall put on his linen garment and put his linen undergarment on his body” (all verses in ESV).  “Linen undergarment” refers to the priestly underwear.  Believe it or not, these were essential for the priestly ministry!  More than one verse in the Bible pays special attention to the holy Hanes.            …

Leviticus 5a: Confess, Confess, Confess

I’ve heard it said, “Confession is good for the soul.”  That might have been an appropriate title for this week’s sermon!  Confession was a necessary element that took deliberate, “high-handed” sins and put them in the category of a forgivable sin.             But did you know there are several different words that translate “confess” in Hebrew and Greek?  Each of the words carries a unique nuance that’s helpful for our understanding of what it means to confess our sin before…

Leviticus 4 – The Bigger Structure

Hopefully by now you’ve noticed how each offering of Leviticus has a pattern: introductory verse (or two), opening paragraph detailing the most expensive kind of that particular offering, then 2-4 other paragraphs repeating much of the same material as the opening paragraph, only with less expensive offerings.             That pattern has been clear.  But did you know that there is a bigger overall pattern to the first few chapters of Leviticus, too?             Take a look at how each of…

Leviticus 3 – Comparing the Text

For each of the first three offerings in Leviticus 1-3, there has been a noticeable pattern: the text will begin with a paragraph explaining the offering ritual, then the next two paragraphs duplicate much of the first paragraph, only with a less expensive version of the same offering. My method for studying these chapters has been to begin with a translation and comparison of the text, putting each paragraph side-by-side and observing the similarities and differences.  When I go to…

Leviticus 2 – The Memorial Portion

Leviticus 2 overviews the Grain Offering.  This offering consists of fine flour (semolina), oil, frankincense and salt.  The priest would take a handful of the offering—making sure to include all the frankincense—and burn that handful on the altar.  The rest would be eaten by the priests.  The portion that was burned is called the “memorial portion” (Lev 2:2 ESV).             There exists some controversy over the meaning of “memorial portion.”  The Hebrew word—azkarah—has an uncertain etymology.  Most believe it means…

Leviticus 1 – *** (CRF Possibilities)

This Sunday we began a series in the book of Leviticus.  Boy, am I excited!  More excited than I probably should be.             But this Sunday was also Fall Fest, which meant I had much less time than normal in the pulpit.  I had to decide between preaching only verses 1-2 or preaching the entire chapter.  After much debate (and perhaps a few tears), I chose the latter.  That left a lot on the cutting room floor.             Some of…

Proverbs: The Upright Believer

The ESV translates Proverbs 29:10 – “Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless and seek the life of the upright.”  Let’s compare that with another translation: “Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, But the upright are concerned for his life” (NASB).             ESV has “bloodthirsty men” as the subject of both verbs – “hate” and “seek.”  Bloodthirsty men both hate the blameless and seek the life of the upright.             NASB, on the other hand, has “men of bloodshed” connected…

Galatians 6b – A Reflection on Galatians

At the end of a series, I find it helpful to reflect back on some of the things learned over the course of several months.  It took 13 sermons to preach through the 6 chapters of Galatians, a series which began on June 9th.  One of the ways I like to reflect on a book is to look back on the Big Ideas of each sermon, which reminds us of some of the main themes found in each passage (keep…

Galatians 6a – Sowing and Reaping in Scripture

Paul writes in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (all Scripture ESV).  There, he relates the concept to sharing “all good things” with teachers of the Word (6:6) and bearing one another’s burdens (6:1-5).  Though this is the first time Paul has used this analogy in Scripture, it has deep roots (pun intended) in the Old Testament and will become a favorite analogy of the apostle.            …

Galatians 5b – The Structure of Galatians 5

Sometimes when you work closely with the details in the text you forget to step back and see the bigger picture stuff the author does.  In this case, it’s pretty clear that Paul contrasts the “works of the flesh” (5:19-21) with the “fruit of the Spirit” (5:22-23a).  That’s the heart of the passage in Galatians 5:16-24.             Let’s imagine that the contrast of works of the flesh/fruit of the Spirit forms the center bullseye of this passage.  If we go…

Galatians 5a – Another “Cutting Edge” Text: Deut 23:1

Today’s text of Scripture was a little… painful.  Paul wasn’t cutting any corners when he wrote: “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” (Gal 5:12; all Scripture in ESV).  Brutal!             Paul plays with his words here, as the Judaizers were trying to convince the Galatians to circumcise themselves as a sign of adherence to the Old Covenant.  In true Pauline fashion, he doesn’t hold back and tells them exactly how he feels.             But there’s a chance…

Galatians 4c – What is Typology?

Greg Beale defines typology as “the study of analogical correspondences among revealed truths about persons, events, institutions, and other things within the historical framework of God’s special revelation, which, from a retrospective view, are of a prophetic nature and are escalated in their meaning” (Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, pg. 14 – an excellent resource, by the way!).             To put it another way, there are times when the Old Testament foreshadows something or someone…

Galatians 4b – The Little Things

In this week’s sermon, I did not end up cutting anything major from the discussion.  Most of what I originally intended to say from my study ended up in the sermon (a rare occasion!).  However, there were a few small morsels that I trimmed back.  Here are some examples (all Scripture in ESV): 1) Galatians 4:12b – “You did me no wrong”             Did Paul mean this sarcastically or was he speaking in a straightforward way?  Longenecker, in his Galatians…

Galatians 3c-4a – Adoption Past, Present and Future

Did you know that the Bible talks about our adoption as children of God in the past, present and future?  Just like our salvation has aspects of all three of these, so does our adoption. PAST             In Ephesians 1:5, Paul writes: “[God] predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (all Scripture in ESV).             This part of our adoption happened before we were even born!  It’s something God “predestined,” or…