Who “Is” or “Becomes” your Neighbor? (Luke 10:36) — Mondays with Mounce

Bill Mounce on sometime.

Bible

(You can watch this blog on YouTube.)

Changes in tenses are important to note. Even if it is subtle, there is always a reason. Take the parable of the “Good Samaritan” (or as I liked to say when teaching at Azusa Pacific University, the “Good Biola Student”).

The lawyer’s question is, “Who is (ἐστίν) my neighbor”? (Luke 10:29). It was a limiting question, designed to restrict his responsibility to a smaller group. I would guess the lawyer was thinking in ethnic and geographical terms. “For whom do I have to be responsible?” (Correct grammar can sound so odd at times, can’t it?)

Jesus tells the parable and concludes, “Which of these three do you think was (γεγονέναι) a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (10:36, NIV, also NLT). The problem with this translation is…

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The meaning of Romans 8:28: “God works for the good of those who love him”

ZA Blog on 5 days ago.

Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28 is one of the best known verses in Romans and probably one of the best known verses in the whole Bible.

Here is what it says: “For God works all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

There’s a good reason people like this verse and think a lot about it. It’s because we all suffer. We all experienced hardships, some of it almost unbearable, and those of us who believe in God and that’s most of us want to know what God’s relationship to that suffering is.

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What James Says about Taming the Tongue

ZA Blog on 6 days ago. Tagged under ,.

James online course

With our tongues, we can speak truth or we can speak lies. We can build people up or we can tear them down. Sometimes we say the wrong thing. Or we fail to say the right thing.

Everyone has experienced times when they’ve said something they didn’t mean to. When the words came out before they decided if they should say them. Sometimes it can even feel as if our mouths aren’t really under our control, like our tongues are separate from our bodies.

But the reality is, the words on our tongues come from the overflow of our hearts (Matthew 12:34).

It’s easy to shrug away slips of the tongue. They’re simply part of being human. But as Christians, we should always care about what we say—even when it’s unintentional. We’re representatives of Christ and vessels for his transforming…

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Who Is the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53?

ZA Blog on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,.

Isaiah

“The Suffering Servant” is a famous passage from Isaiah 53, which Christians claim is a messianic prophecy about Jesus. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus quotes from this passage and suggests it’s about him:

“‘It is written: “And he was numbered with the transgressors”; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.’” —Luke 22:37

The gospel writers and other New Testament authors quoted from this passage several times, explaining that Jesus fulfilled the various prophecies contained within it.

But some people claim this passage wasn’t a prophecy at all, and the Suffering Servant is actually the author of Isaiah. Or perhaps it’s the prophet, Jeremiah. Or a specific leper, whom the Babylonian exiles had seen die. In other words, it was…

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Did Martin Luther Really Want James Taken Out of the Bible?

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James online course

Martin Luther, the celebrated catalyst of the Protestant Reformation, famously took issue with the book of James. He didn’t think it expressed the “nature of the Gospel,” it appeared to contradict Paul’s statements about justification by faith, and it didn’t directly mention Christ.

“Therefore St James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to these others, for it has nothing of the nature of the Gospel about it.” —Martin Luther

It’s often said that Luther was so opposed to the Book of James that he suggested it didn’t belong in the biblical canon. But while Protestant churches embraced many of Luther’s ideas and teachings, our Bibles clearly still include James today. So is it true? Did the great reformer really believe this important book didn’t belong in the Bible?

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Why Christians Should Be Involved in Creation Care

ZA Blog on 1 week ago.

Creation Care

Today’s post is adapted from Creation Care: A Biblical Theology of the Natural World. In addition to the book, you can also take the online course, or watch a series of video lectures on creation care by Jonathan and Douglas Moo.

Our world is full of problems and issues. As I write these words, the media is full of stories about a migrant crisis in Europe, global terrorism, conflicts over the implementation of a same-sex marriage decision of the US Supreme Court, and the economic struggles of emerging nations such as China, Brazil, and India. Christians, of course, are deeply involved in these issues and a myriad of others in one way or another.

Moreover, we know that all Christians are called in various ways to evangelism, discipleship, mission, and care for the poor and needy. It…

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Why you can trust the New Testament even though there are so many textual variants

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago.

How can I trust the New Testament?

There isn’t one, single, original, preserved copy of the New Testament. So how can you trust the text of the New Testament when all the earliest copies disagree with each other?

In this video, Daniel B. Wallace, Executive Director of The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, explains why you can still trust the text of the New Testament despite it having so many textual variants.

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This transcript has been lightly edited…

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What Is the Kingdom of God?

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago.

The Kingdom of God, Nicholas Perrin

Nicholas Perrin recently sat down with us to talk about the Kingdom of God. Take a look at some highlights from our conversation:

The kingdom of God is this compelling vision that Jesus shares with us.  It’s rooted in a much longer story—a story shaped by great books like Daniel, like Deuteronomy, like Genesis. But I think for many Christians, if they’re honest, they’re not really quite sure what the kingdom is about.

Kingdom is one of those terms that we Christians throw around, as if we all know what we’re talking about, as if we’re all talking about the same thing. Often, if you scratch below the surface, you see that we’re not talking about the same thing.

What difference does the kingdom really make?

Many of us struggle with these questions. What difference does the kingdom really…

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Introducing MasterLectures: Stream Bible and Theology Video Lectures on Demand

ZA Blog on 3 weeks ago.

Today we are announcing a brand-new video streaming service called MasterLectures.

MasterLectures gives you access to thousands of thought-provoking video lectures from the world’s leading Christian scholars—for one low monthly price.

Take a look:

Who MasterLectures is for

MasterLectures is for curious Christians. If you’re the kind of person who likes learning, MasterLectures is for you. MasterLectures features all-original content on the Bible and theology to help you read the Bible better, understand theology, and grow in your faith.

MasterLectures is for students. Because all videos are filmed with Zondervan Academic authors, they make the perfect supplement to a course textbook. With a subscription to MasterLectures, students get helpful video overviews on the same subject matter in their assigned readings. It’s perfect for students who want a little extra help—or want to get ahead.

MasterLectures is for…

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Who Wrote the Book of Acts?

ZA Blog on 3 weeks ago. Tagged under ,.

When was Acts written

The following post is adapted from Robert H. Gundry’s online course, New Testament Survey.

According to church tradition, Luke wrote the book of Acts. If he did, the book is a sequel to the Gospel of Luke. Evidence within Acts supports authorship by Luke:

Just as his Gospel opens with a dedication to Theophilus, so also does Acts. Vocabulary and style are very similar in the two books. Though it does not prove that he wrote Luke-Acts, frequent use of medical terms agrees with Luke’s being a physician. By his use of “we” in narrating parts of Paul’s journeys, the author of Acts implies that he was a traveling companion of Paul.

Other traveling companions do not fit the data of the text. For example, Timothy and several lesser-known ones are mentioned apart from the “we”…

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Why Did the Philippians Send Paul a Gift?

ZA Blog on 1 month ago. Tagged under .

Philippians

One of the reasons why Paul wrote Philippians was to thank them for supporting his ministry—not just in prayer, but with a financial gift. He specifically mentions their gift towards the end of his letter, in Philippians 4:15–18:

“Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are…

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Who Wrote Philippians?

ZA Blog on 1 month ago. Tagged under .

Philippians

The very first verse in Philippians attributes the letter to the Apostle Paul. Right from the beginning, it says who it’s from and who it’s to:

“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons . . .” —Philippians 1:1

 

The early church accepted that Paul wrote Philippians, and modern Bible scholars have found little if any reason to disagree. Some of the letters traditionally attributed to Paul are questionable, but Philippians is generally believed to be genuine. “Internal evidence” such as the letter’s style, content, and remarks about the author’s circumstances appear to be consistent with what we know about the Apostle Paul.

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