Eagerly Do Good, Readily Represent: Finding Your Story in 1 Peter 3:13–17

Jeremy Bouma on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310327301How should Christians live in a culture that’s either outright hostile or increasingly opposed to our faith?

That’s the question Peter addresses in part in his first letter to the churches of Asia Minor. Dennis Edwards explores this same question in his new 1 Peter commentary (Story of God Bible Commentary). In his exposition of 1 Peter 3:13–17, Edwards offers this guidance:

[W]e Christians need to be eager to be agents for good, and to be prepared at all times to represent Jesus with respect toward others. If we do so, at least some of our accusers will be brought up short by the voice of their conscience. (149)

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How Does the Holy Spirit Operate in the Believer’s Life?

Jeremy Bouma on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

rediscoveringholyspirit“On no other point, in my view, is the Spirit’s work more misunderstood than with regard to the manner of his operation in the life of believers” (244).

Which is why Michael Horton offers an entire chapter on “How the Spirit Gives” in his new book Rediscovering the Holy Spirit.

I’m glad he does. Because as a former pastor I’ve found Horton’s view to be true: people struggle to understand how the Spirit ordinarily operates in their life. After explaining the relationship between the Spirit and the means of grace, Horton helps us understand how the Spirit gives by getting specific:

Hearing Christ preached, being baptized, and taking Communion are not substitutes for faith but are the means through which the Spirit gives…

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Are We Misreading the Bible When It Comes to Gender Roles?

Jeremy Bouma on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310529392In politics, so-called “third-rail issues” are policy subjects so combustible, so electric that touching them leads to sure-fire political ruin.

Today, the issue of gender roles within marriage and within the church is as equally combustible and electric. Yet in her new book Gender Roles and the People of God, Alice Mathews grabs it with both hands in order to help us rethink what we were taught about men and women.

What can we learn from Scripture and from history that will help us reach the clearest understanding of gender difference in God’s purposes for us? The journey may drive us to rethink what we’ve been taught. It may help us see what we might otherwise have missed. (16)

She begins the conversation with a…

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Five Intriguing Insights About Grace and the Old Testament

Jeremy Bouma on 4 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,.

The language of grace so permeates the Bible and all traditions of Christian theology that to claim that salvation is by grace alone is, in itself, to claim very little at all (17).

9780310515760_imageSo begins Grace Alone, Carl Trueman’s tour de force examining the doctrine of salvation as a gift of God.

He examines the development of this theme in the early church, through the Reformation, to the Protestant confessions that still shape the church in the present day. Trueman also explores the biblical means of receiving God’s grace—with a highly informative engagement of grace in the Old Testament.

Below we’ve highlighted some of his material to help you better understand what the Old Testament says about this…

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5 Reasons Why “Christ Alone” Is at the Center of the Five Solas

Jeremy Bouma on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,,.

9780310515746Scripture alone. Faith alone. Grace alone. God’s glory alone.

These so-called solas were the rallying cry of the Reformers nearly 500 years ago. And binding them together was a fifth: Christ alone.

That’s the thesis of Stephen Wellum’s new book by the same name on the uniqueness of Jesus as Savior.

Solus Christus stands at the center of the other four solas, connecting them into a coherent theological system by which the Reformers declared the glory of God. (19)

Wellum offers five reasons why Christ alone came to form the center of gravitational force of the Reformation—and why it’s also the heart of Christian theology.

It’s the Lynchpin of Reformation Theology

First, Christ alone is essential for coherent Reformation doctrine. Wellum summarizes how Christ is at…

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How to Apply the Bible to Your Life in Four Steps

Jeremy Bouma on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310524175One hallmark of biblical interpretation is the meant-means distinction: we need to determine what the Bible meant (to the original author and audience, in their context and culture) before understanding what it means (to us in our context and culture).

Authors William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard echo this hermeneutical rule in Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, Third Edition, a fully updated resource to help students unravel the mysteries of interpreting Scripture.

One of those mysteries is the means side of the equation: how to apply the Bible. The authors explain that “all applications must be consistent with the meaning of passages arrived at by means of…sound hermeneutical principles” (609). But how can one make the connection between what a passage meant, as determined…

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4 Major Themes in First Peter and the Story of God

Jeremy Bouma on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

9780310327301Martin Luther called the letter “one of the grandest of the New Testament.” Early church fathers Clement of Rome and Polycarp of Smyrna were inspired by the letter’s consoling, hopeful words. More recently, Karen Jobes said the five-chapter General Epistle is “significant for the church,” especially the Majority World church.

I’m referring to the first letter of Peter, which has a new guide today to help its readers navigate its major themes: Dennis Edwards’ 1 Peter (The Story of God Bible Commentary series). Of this letter Edwards writes:

First Peter will assist us by affirming our Christian identity, guiding us in our relationships within and without the Christian…

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One Concern with Renewed Interest in the Holy Spirit: Depersonalization

Jeremy Bouma on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,,,.

rediscoveringholyspiritIn Rediscovering the Holy Spirit, Michael Horton encourages us to refocus on the person and work of the Spirit, in order to recognize him as someone other than Jesus or ourselves—or as something in creation.

Although the Holy Spirit has made something of a comeback in recent years, Horton bears a word of caution:

As with the revival of interest in the Trinity, renewed interest in the Spirit does not always mean clarity or consistency with respect to historic Christian teaching. It is not to be assumed that the Spirit whom people have in mind is the Spirit identified in Scripture. (20)

Horton has one particular concern in mind: the Spirit’s depersonalization.

His concern arises from both the culture and the church. Horton…

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2 Views on Human Evolution: Evolutionary-Creation vs. Unique-Origin

Jeremy Bouma on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310496052Discussions surrounding Christianity and science have been fraught with taut rhetoric and polarizing polemics on both sides of the aisle. The new Dictionary of Christianity and Science aims to shape these conversations by offering a framework for better dialogue.

Perhaps in no other discussion do we need such a sure, sturdy referee than in the one surrounding human origin. Through the Dictionary‘s “Multiple-View Discussions” entry type, two able scientists lead the discussion: Darrel R. Falk and Ann Gauger.

Below, we’ve engaged one aspect of their lengthy, robust discussion: the genetic evidence for so-called common descent—the view that our species, Homo sapiens, descended from ape-like ancestors.

We trust it will give you a taste of this definitive reference, showcasing why Scot McKnight says “Every Christian studying science will want a copy within arm’s…

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The Story of God and 1 John 3:11–18

Jeremy Bouma on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)

9780310327325I would imagine several sermons pivoted around this verse over the past several days celebrating Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday. It’s also the pivot verse in a passage Constantine Campbell engages in his new 1, 2, & 3 John commentary from The Story of God Bible Commentary series.

This resource offers a clear and compelling exposition of John’s epistles, as well as a guide for everyday readers in how to creatively and faithfully live out John’s lessons contextually. (Like each volume in The Story of God Bible Commentary series, Campbell explores this passage…

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Darwin, Darwinism, and the “Dictionary of Christianity and Science”

Jeremy Bouma on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310496052Faith and science have been both kissing cousins and sworn enemies throughout Western history.

That tension, however, hasn’t stopped Paul Copan, Tremper Longman, Christopher Reese, and Michael Strauss from offering the church and academy a new reference resource for the intersection of the Christian faith and contemporary science.

The Dictionary of Christianity and Science (on-sale 4/25/17) engages the crucial faith-science topics of the day. From Adam and Eve to the age of the earth, Big Bang to bioethics, string theory to the Scopes trial, this definitive resource offers you access to over 450 concepts, individuals, and debates, displayed in three types of entries:

Introductions offer quick and easy overviews Essays present further exploration of significant topics Multiple-view discussions stimulate discussion through vigorous, charitable, persuading points-of-view articles

To give you a…

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4 Non-Biblical, Non-Christian Views of Reality You Need to Know About

Jeremy Bouma on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

9780310521556_imageIn his new book The Essentials of Christian Thought Roger Olson tells the story of an aunt who was a passionately devoted member of the Presbyterian church. Though she was “one of the sweetest, most intelligent and devout Christian women he has ever had the privilege to know,” there was one problem:

Whether she was aware of it or not, her worldview, her metaphysical vision of ultimate reality, was radically contrary to that of the Bible and Christianity. (108)

This worldview problem is actually far too common. Which is why Olson devotes an entire chapter to non-biblical, non-Christian views of reality. We’ve briefly outlined these alternative perspectives that all Christians…

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