Who Killed Jesus? The Historical Context of Jesus’ Crucifixion
Did Jesus Really Descend into Hell?
7 Tips for Understanding Revelation
Who Wrote the Book of Hebrews?
9 Tips for Learning Biblical Greek from Bill Mounce
What Language Did Jesus Speak?
Do You Know These 7 Differences Between the Bible and Quran?
Why Are Jesus’ Genealogies in Matthew and Luke Different?
What Happened Between the Old and New Testaments? 4 Things You Need to Know to Read the New Testament Well
Exegesis and Hermeneutics: The Bible Interpreter’s Two Most Important Tasks
How to Make the Benefits of Family Life Accessible to LGBT People
“In the day-to-day details of navigating Christian obedience with a gay orientation,” observes Nate Collins in his new book All But Invisible, “we do not have turn-by-turn directions to tell us where to go, but only landmarks that confirm we’re on the right track” (83). [See more of Nate Collins’ traditional view on sex and marriage at the start of this post.]
One of those landmarks Collins would like to recapture is the notion of vocation to guide discussions about what it means to be gay and Christian. Collins explains, “when the Bible refers to a particular behavior or pattern of living as a ‘gift,’ it is highlighting the calling or vocation that the gift represents to those who have it” (85)—including marital status. As with all gifts,…
Holiness Deserves Thoughtful Consideration – An Excerpt from Sanctification (New Studies in Dogmatics)
Thinking the holy for Christians, and specifically for reformational Christians, appears a difficult task. It remains needed, however, for the prophetic and apostolic witness to Jesus Christ insists on the importance of holiness from start to finish.
Many view holiness as accidental or expendable or even as a legalistic and conformist posture opposed to the freedom of the gospel. But Sanctification is one of the gifts of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In today’s excerpt from Sanctification, author Michael Allen explains why holiness deserves such consideration and how it requires a steady focus on the holiness of God.
THINKING THE HOLY
As Moses would tell you, you have to approach the holy in the proper way. The burning bush demands a specific posture and mode of…
Bible Interpretation: 4 Challenges and How to Overcome Them
You probably already know that the Bible was originally written to someone else who:
lived a long time ago, in another part of the world, where they spoke a different language, and had different cultural values.
A word that captures one of the greatest challenges and frustrations in Bible interpretation is distance. There are four aspects to this distance: time, geography, language, and cultural values. Being aware of these is a critical step toward interpreting the Bible correctly.
In this post, adapted from William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation online course, we’ll take a look at each of these.
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9 Tips for Learning Biblical Greek from Bill Mounce
William D. Mounce loathes the popular cliché “It’s all Greek to me.” As the author of the bestselling Greek textbook, Basics of Biblical Greek, and a former director of the Greek program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, he’s heard it said by too many overwhelmed first year language students.
According to Dr. Mounce learning Greek is simply a matter of putting in the time and plodding through the basic steps. After years of teaching the language, Bill claims that if you truly want to learn Greek, and you’re willing to put in the time, you will learn it.
In his online biblical Greek course, Bill Mounce shares some of his best tips for new Greek students who actually want to learn the language.
9 tips for learning biblical Greek from Bill Mounce
If you really want to learn Greek,…
Reading Proverbs In the Context of the Old and New Testament
One of my seminary professors used to cheekily refer to common Christian devotional practices as our “daily bread crumb.” Meaning: we often take a verse or even part of a verse and spin out a comforting crumb of exhortation at the expense of the whole loaf of biblical bread—whether the surrounding pericope or greater.
Perhaps with no other place in Scripture do we do this than with Proverbs. Ryan O’Dowd offers an important reminder in his new commentary on Proverbs (Story of God Bible Commentary) when studying this book:
such casual study of individual proverbs can be shortsighted, both because it is apt to overlook the endless depth of each saying and also because the sayings take on a whole new life in the…
The Line between Translation and Commentary – Mondays with Mounce 298
Every once in a while you read a verse that obviously cannot mean what it says. Whether you are working with a formal or a functional equivalent translation, both are going to just translate the words and leave the exegesis up to the reader (and the commentaries). But if you are reading a natural language translation like the NLT, they will often try to help the reader. A couple examples.
Christianity and Sexuality: What We Believe, Why We Don’t Believe It
Recently, a number of books have been published grappling with what the Bible and reality says about same-sex practice. Yet pastor Todd Wilson believes there is a crucial gap in these resources:
I don’t think we’ve dealt adequately with the question of homosexuality in the light of God’s design for human sexuality. Instead we’ve addressed the issue too narrowly—at times almost too exclusively in biblical or personal practical terms. (13)
Our approach typically asks one of two questions: What does the Bible say about homosexuality? How can I love homosexuals like Jesus? Although important, these questions miss something: “We need to put the question in a larger theological context” (14).
Enter Mere Sexuality, a cogent, compact book exploring what Christians have always believed about human sexuality. In a culture that’s deeply confused about…
The Tongue, Evil, and Defilement (James 3:6) – Mondays with Mounce 297
There are several things going on in James 3:6. Two of the more interesting are the placement of γλῶσσα and whether καθίσταται is a middle or passive.
“And the tongue is a fire (ἡ γλῶσσα πῦρ)! The tongue is a world of iniquity (ὁ κόσμος τῆς ἀδικίας ἡ γλῶσσα) set among our members (καθίσταται ἐν τοῖς μέλεσιν ἡμῶν ); it defiles the whole body (ἡ σπιλοῦσα ὅλον τὸ σῶμα), sets on fire the course of our life (καὶ φλογίζουσα τὸν τροχὸν τῆς γενέσεως), and is set on fire by hell (καὶ φλογιζομένη ὑπὸ τῆς γεέννης).”
If the second γλῶσσα goes with the preceding, it means “The tongue is a (or “the”) world of iniquity, and this means that the subject of καθίσταται is drawn from its personal ending.
If γλῶσσα goes…
Biblical Counseling vs. Christian Counseling: What’s the Difference?
This post is adapted from Heath Lambert’s Theology of Biblical Counseling online course.
There are some Christians who disagree that the Bible should be used to help us solve our counseling-related problems.
Christians who rely—to one degree or another—on the counseling insights of secular people have been called integrationists, Christian counselors, and Christian psychologists—among other things.
I want to show how the decision to be a Christian counselor is a theological decision. In order to do that, I will describe areas where biblical counselors agree with our brothers and sisters in Christian counseling, as well as some areas where we disagree.
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How to study the books of James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude
You probably already know that the books of James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude are some of the most read—and mis-read—books of the New Testament. They include passages on dealing with temptation, the holiness of God, and the famous doxology at the end of Jude.
But they also include passages on slaves and masters, wives and husbands, and faith and works—passages that don’t line up with many modern norms, or even other parts of the canon.
What can we learn from these books?
A great deal, it turns out.
The challenge, however, is knowing where to start—or even…
7 Tips for Understanding Revelation
The Book of Revelation is notoriously difficult to understand. Over the centuries, the church has presented countless interpretations and theories about the meaning and significance of this enigmatic work.
Even modern scholars approach Revelation in several different ways.
Whether you find that intimidating or enticing, we need some guardrails to keep us from getting lost in Revelation’s prophecies, metaphors, and apocalyptic imagery. Here are some tips for studying Revelation from Scott Duvall, who, along with J. Daniel Hays, teaches the Biblical Interpretation online course.
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Was the Reformation a Mistake? An Excerpt by Catholic Theologian Matthew Levering
I hold that the Reformers made mistakes, but that they chose to be reformers was not a mistake.
In 1517, the Church was in need of a spiritual and theological reform. In today’s excerpt from Was the Reformation a Mistake? Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical, Matthew Levering provides the backdrop to the Reformation and reasons why the Reformers were not wrong to challenge the Church in Rome.
Before proceeding, let me make some additional observations about whether the Reformation was a “mistake,” as my book’s title asks in light of the five-hundredth anniversary. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’s preaching of the kingdom of heaven includes his sobering parable of the wheat and the weeds.…